Monday, 29 November 2010

Highland holiday

After weeks of discussing where to go for our end-of-year holiday, considering Oman, South Africa and The Caribbean, we finally decided to spend some time in the magificent Scottish Highlands. The weather forecast was looking very promising for some nice paddle trips, so our kayaks went along with us. The first two days we stayed in the inn along Loch Torridon, where we spotted many otters along the banks and in the water eating the fish they had just caught.

Then our journey continued to Isle of Skye where we had booked an amazing place for our week's accomodation; The Old Chapel of Ease. The views over the sea loch were stunning (to see a golden eagle flying in front of your window without binoculars was the icing on the cake) and the modern interior of the chapel met all our needs. We just loved the sauna and jaccuzzi, especially after a walking or kayaking trip! We've explored various coastlines and some nice mountains like the Old Man of Storr. Everyday we saw the geologically stunning Black and Red Cuillins, the tops covered with snow. While paddling (Jaap in his new kayak) we saw a few more otters and even three sea eagles! The weather was surprisingly good without any wind and/or rain until Wednesday the 24th of November when the wind direction changed from the East to the North and brought us heavy snow showers and icy conditions on the roads. We had planned to go to the world famous restaurant The Three Chimneys but when our car (with kayaks on top) slided a bit down the little slope of the driveway due to black ice, we decided to stay put. As our muscles and blistered skin needed a well-earned break of all the hard work over the last few days anyway, we spent our time mainly indoors instead until we had to go back home again. Finally we had time again for visiting the Talisker Distillery around the corner, reading, painting, listening to music and just relaxing (especially after a second sauna bath!).

Initially we had planned to go to Peanmeanach Bothy near Fort William to spend time with our kayak friends for one night, but as the weather conditions were so bad in the North East of Scotland according to the news, we decided to start our journey back home. We didn't know how bad it would be so we took into account that we could arrive even on the next day. In the end, the normally 4 hour journey took us about 8 hours, mainly because the roads were completely piled up with snow and underlying ice sheets. Luckily our car with winter tyres (and maybe my great drining skills) had done a great job to bring us home safely again. The perfect holiday in stunning landscape; We wouldn't have wished anything else. We'll be back again!

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