For our final night on Lewis, we booked a table at the restaurant in the Doune Braes Hotel, and they allowed us to park up overnight, which meant we could enjoy a bottle of wine with our meal! This photo of Loch an Dunain in front of the Hotel was taken in the evening once we returned to Iona to turn in for the night.
And so, after an enjoyable visit to Lewis and Harris in the outer Hebrides, it was time to say “farewell” and return to the Scottish mainland. We embarked on the ferry at around mid-day and settled in for the trip back to Ullapool.
Once in Ullapool, we headed back to the Morefield Hotel to enquire if the owner would allow us to park up overnight again, only to discover that the hotel is closed on Wednesday's due to a lack of staff. A situation that seems quite common and is caused by the lack of itinerant Europeans who are staying away from the UK due to Covid-19 restrictions. However, the owner was happy for us to park overnight and even allowed us the use of the toilet facilities, which was very good of him.
Today we left Ullapool on the west coast and drove east, stopping by Loch Borralan for lunch. This area has some of the most spectacular of our Scottish mountains, and we were able to see their majestic form as there was no low lying cloud!
After lunch we drove through Glen Oykel, and later in the day, we arrived at the east coast town of Golspie. We have been to Golspie and Littleferry previously, and so we headed to the pleasant parking area at Littleferry for a couple of nights.
Once we had settled in, we took a walk along the beach and watched a storm brewing out at sea.
In the morning, we had an energetic cycle up into the hills behind Golspie, and it turned out to be a tough outward cycle. It was up a long steep hill before returning and coming down again before heading back into the village and returning to Iona.
In the late afternoon, we had a lovely stroll in the woods adjacent to Littleferry and along the shore of the Dornoch Firth, a tidal inland waterway. Being tidal and as the sea was out, we could see seals basking on the sandbanks!
Next stop, Brora. Having left Golspie, we drove north along the coast road to another quaint east coast town and found a pleasant parking area on the edge of town by the River Brora. After a walk along the riverbank and into the hills, we returned to the van and had a pleasant lunch. Then, in the early evening, we strolled into town and stopped off at the Sutherland Inn and quaffed a couple of frothy ales before ordering a takeaway curry from the local, renowned Indian Restaurant.
As it was a reasonable day, we drove along Loch Brora and eventually found a place to park up and get the bikes off the bike rack. We then retraced our route and cycled back into town where we visited the old harbour and the beach before cycling back to Iona.
Once we had the bikes back on the rack, we headed south to Dingwall and found a great overnight spot in Evanton down by the Moray Firth. We were somewhat taken aback when, at about 8:30 pm, a couple of elderly locals arrived and passed our van to head to the small adjacent beach, at which point they stripped down to their swimwear and set out into the sea for a late evening swim, brrrr!
After a cup of ‘java’, we set out on a 3-5 mile walk into Evanton and back round to our overnight stopover. This turned out to be a great walk on reasonably flat terrain that was partially on roads and partly on farm and woodland tracks.
Our next stopover was for three nights and was to be the last on this trip. We had, therefore, decided to spend our last days in one of our favourite campsites in the lovely village of Cannich, near Glen Affric. This location has a good number of walks and cycle routes, and so we spent our last few days walking and cycling around the environs.
We saw this lovely old cottage on a stroll around the village.
Today we drove up to the Dog Falls car park and had a great circular walk in the surrounding woodland, taking in the Dog Falls and views of the river Glass.
Today we had a fabulous 30 mile round trip from Cannich to Kilmorack and back down the other side of the river Glass. The three-hour bike ride set us up nicely for our dinner and we booked a table at the nearby Tomich Hotel where we enjoyed a Thai Green Curry and a Thai fusion lamb shank!
Not a bad way to finish our latest trip in Iona around our beautiful country!