Anyway, after a 4.5 hour drive we arrived in Elphin, a little highland village north of Ullapool. As soon as our friends arrived, we portaged (carried) our canoe, hiking, camping equipment and food & drink supply for three days on a trolley via a track for about half a mile to get to the shore of Loch Veyatie.
|Happy paddlers and a nervous dog|
|The most beautiful campsite|
After we pitched our tent, it was time to prepare our meals. The canoe is fantastic for transport because you don't really have to compromise on what to bring, unless of course you're travelling with three people + a dog like our friends! We brought fresh veg and meat along and while sitting in the porch to be sheltered from the wind we could watch the beautiful scenery and change of light.
In the evening the wind wasn't too bad so it was easier for the young lads to try out the sea kayak and for Jaap to experiment with the canoe sail our friends brought along. The campfire the guys made was very cosy and literally essential for me to keep warm while outside, even though I wore 4 layers!
|Walking the canoe to our campsite|
|Practicing in a sea kayak|
|Jaap having a go with a canoe sail|
|Making a campfire with lots of dried reed grass|
The next day we walked up Suilven which is one of the most distinctive and remote mountains of Scotland. It's formed of Torridon sandstone and sits on a landscape of Lewisian Gneiss. The climb to the 2 km long ridge is very steep and not for the faint-hearted, especially if it's very windy!
|Do you see our campsite in the far distance?|
|Good work-out for the legs © Ian Francis|
We all managed fine, even Mac, our adorable canine companion.
|Last stretch to the top|
|Sooo cute....both of them!|
During our trip Ian, who works for the RSPB, could tell us a lot about wildlife in the reserve. He found a nest of teal eggs and told us that what we were hearing and seeing above our tents were not didgeridoo birds (I was half asleep and it was really as if I was in Australia!) but rare greenshanks and snipes having their courtship display flight. We also saw adders, lizards, frogs, and young trout.
|Teal nest ©Ian Francis|
|Greenshank © Ron McCombe Wildlife photography|
|Drumming Snipe ©Birdwatching magazine|
In the the narrow bit of the lake which was very undeep and rocky, we had to line the canoe. While Jaap was doing all the heavy work, I was busy taking photos! We're a great team.
With a last view on the magnificent mountain Suilven, we paddled back to where we started. The ice cream in Ullapool was the right thing to do to soothe the muscles and to finish this memorable trip!