Campervan Adventures #5 Go West!!

As The Pet Shop Boys said:

(Go West) Life is peaceful there

(Go West) In the open air

(Go West) Where the skies are blue

(Go West) This is what we’re gonna do.

The skies were distinctly grey as I set off, but the weather forecast was hopeful. By the time I stopped to make a coffee at Oykel Bridge the sun had come out.

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Starlight Express at Oykel Bridge

After my coffee break I carried on, heading north-west into the wilds of Assynt and Wester Ross. As I travelled west the scenery became more mountainous and spectacular. Passing through the village of Inchnadamph at the south end of Loch Assynt this was the view that greeted me.

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Ardvreck Castle and Quinag

The ruins were once Ardvreck Castle a stronghold of Clan MacLeod, who once held sway over the lands of Assynt. The original keep dates from around 1490. The mountain behind the castle is Quinag.

I carried on along the north shore of Loch Assynt, heading for Lochinver. The clouds, mountains and sun combined with a stiff breeze to create a constantly changing sky scape.

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Lochinver is one of the biggest villages in this part of the world. It is also one of the biggest fishing ports in Scotland. Because of its sheltered position at the top of Loch Inver it has always been an important port for landing fish. In the 1990’s the port area was extensively redeveloped.

One of the companies that transports the fish from Lochinver to its destination has some interesting looking trucks. The combination of Christian and Celtic imagery on the left hand trailer was particularly noticeable.

One other thing that struck me as I was wandering around Lochinver was the names on the War Memorial. It wasn’t quite so much the names (there were a lot of MacKenzies and MacLeods both Assynt names) as the regiments. Roughly a fifth of the Assynt men killed in World War 1 belonged to Canadian regiments. There must have been a major emigration in the years leading up to the war.

I traveled on from Lochinver over a wonderful, narrow, twisty single track road to Altandhu and the Port a Bhaigh Campsite. That part of Assynt is dominated by the peaks of Suilven and Cansip.

The view from the top of the ridge above Altandhu is spectacular.

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The Port a Baigh campsite was probably my favourite site of all the sites that I stayed at. The views were great, the facilities were modern and clean and across the road was a bar cum restaurant called the Am Fuaran (The Well) Bar which did great locally sourced food at a reasonable price. By the time I had wandered back from my meal the wind was beginning to pick up (again). It was rattling the canvas of the pop-top, and also rocking the van about a bit, so I decided to sleep downstairs, with the roof down so that it would be a bit quieter and with the pop-top no longer acting as a sail, less rocking about.

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