We take the scenic route from Aviemore through Bonor Bridge and into the mountains. We wonder if anything can match the sheer splendour of the snowcapped Cairngorms in the early spring sunshine, and I feel a reluctance at having to leave so soon.
We drive due west, straight across the country to the bustling port of Ullapool and are rewarded with our first sight of the beautiful western coastline. We stock up on a few supplies at the supermarket whilst our car is plugged into the carpark’s ChargePlace Scotland charger. We have our fingers crossed as we’ll be relying on these, rather than Tesla chargers or Ecotricity, whilst we are in the middle of nowhere, and this is our first attempt. A moment of holding our breath and … phew – it is easy to use and works perfectly. We can relax now! It is very breezy here, despite the bright sunshine, and our youngest son is almost lifted off the ground as he munches on a sandwich.
Picnic eaten and car battery full, we then turn northwards and are on the final stretch. The skies are the clearest blue and we can see every detail in the distant mountains.
The route takes us alongside Loch Assynt and Ardvrek Castle and although we cannot stop now as we are aiming to reach our holiday cottage and unpack before dark, we do return in the Autumn to climb up to see the waterfall that feeds the stream you can see in the foreground.
We drive over the famous Kylesku Bridge, a well-known landmark along the North Coast 500 route. I am positively itching to grab my walking boots and get out and explore.
Vast evergreen forests meet the shorelines of the lochs. Every distant mountain seems larger than the last.
Yellow gorse lines the roadside and we do not see another car for twenty minutes at a time. Having an electric car that runs near-silently means we have to be very careful of wildlife, as animals cannot hear our engine coming. We wind our windows down and breathe in the crisp pure air.
I am startled to see whole vistas without a tree in sight. We live in a forested area and I am used to the Peak District and The Lakes. The crags here are stark and imposing, with nothing to interrupt the view of the rocks and scree for miles.
The light seems to shift and change, moment by moment. Looking through my archive now, photographs taken within seconds of each other look entirely different.
We find our lovely little holiday cottage just north of Scourie, unpack and then quickly get on our walking gear to explore the river that runs past the garden. This will be our base for the next four days – a nature lover’s paradise.