Had no idea that we could make it this far North. Loose goal now is to complete a clockwise loop around the very top of Scotland before a scamper back down the East Coast to Edinburgh. The weather is being distinctly unscottish! Beautiful days and incredible landscapes. Pinched this from the lonely planet! Scotland’s vast and melancholy soul is here: an epic land with a stark beauty that indelibly imprints the hearts of those who journey through the mist and mountains, rock and heather. Nuff said!
Stopped off in Ullapool for a food stop and ablutions in Tesco. Tesco membership card providing a handy discount for one of these purposes whilst avoiding the wrath of Jackie by using the flushable facilities! Also snagged some smoked trout from a local smokehouse. Looking forward to that. Noticed a banner on the way out of town advertising Highland Games in Lochinver. Map says only about 60km away, so off we trot. Early in the trip we found an app that listed handy, (And free!), spots to park the bus overnight. First come, first served arrangement that has been awesome so far. Looks like Lochinver has a wee spot just on the Harbour. Giddy up and off we go..
The harbour parking spot not only has just enough room for us to squeeze into but is right opposite the pub and about 100m from the games field. Don’t mind if we do!
Morning arrives with the not so gentle hoot of bagpipes warming up and a steady stream of traffic arriving for the games. Much pomp and ceremony as the Chieftain arrives to open the day’s excitement.
Turns out that Highland Games isn’t just about a bunch of large blokes lobbing heavy stuff around. Highland dancing involving mainly brightly dressed lasses of assorted ages leaping amongst swords. A fly casting event involving mainly posh looking blokes wearing tweed jackets and kilts waving their rods around in public. Various track and field events from egg and spoon racing. High jump with some very suspect looking landing mats. Long jump with a handy horse box just after the landing area in the sand! Looked like the 400m track had been prepped by a small herd of hungry herbivores. Many of the athletes in these events took part in whatever attire they chose before brekky! Kilts, skirts, barefoot or workboots! Seb Coe style laptimes unlikely here!
The large blokes took part in a series of lobbing heavy things around events! Cannon balls used as shot put and seemingly stuck onto sticks. Weights that looked more suited for securing boats in the harbour rather than lobbing about were used for distance and height events. Utter madness but awesome to watch. Finale was the lads chucking a telegraph pole up in the air and trying to flip it over. Again super impressive and watched with great enthusiasm, particularly by the ever noisier cohorts in the beer tent!
Much fun had! Looks like a second night in our harbour digs tonight!