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Hazy shades of Autumn

I’m back, here, in my favourite place, Applecross, Wester Ross.

I’ve seen lots on my way here.  I’ve done lots, I’ve eaten lots… I should be keen to share it all, in great detail, but right now all I want to do is lay here in front of the wood burning stove, supping whisky and re-living a few special moments from the past 48 hours…

The drive North… heading into Glencoe…

Guy Fawkes night, on the shores of Lochcarron (Wicker Man comes to mind)…

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Highland photo journal part 8- Glendale, Skye

Some places you go just have that magical feel that make you want to stay forever.  Glendale was one of those places.

 

It may have been the charming b&b we stayed in, the Byre, where the views were spectacular, or the food cooked by the landlady Diane, especially her gooseberry crumble, which the most lovely comforting home cooking….

…or the charming people like Craig, one half of Craig and Ellie who we met at the Red Roof  Cafe and Gallery where they own and run a lovely place full of was gorgeous looking home baking, food made from local produce, art and often music, or the stunning walks, like the one to Neist Point where the sheep have to have a head for heights and a good sense of balance…

 

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Highland photo journal part 7- The Three Chimneys (a foodporn installation)

Oh Glendale, how lovely it was to see you and your rolling hills speckled with white dot houses, like a sprawling metropolis compared to Glasnakille.

We had just enough time to find our feet, our lunch, and our first toasty hot bubbly bath in days before the evenings activities commenced….Dinner at The Three Chimneys!  We, of course, had to warm up first and this is where our Applecross squat lobsters once more came to the rescue.

After a lazy afternoon watching the remains of the rain stream down The Byre window (our b&b, more on that later) it was time for the main event.  Dinner.  There is so much to cover after our visit to Glendale, I am dedicating this post purely to ‘the feast’ and will complete coverage of Glendale once this is fully digested.

Now, these may look insignificant, but these tasty little dumpings of cheesy joy represent the start of our culinary adventure.

So without further ado….  

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Highland photo journal part 6- Elgol, Skye

I so wanted to be blown away with the epic scenery from Elgol.  I wanted to look into the fierce jaws of the Cuillins and be struck with awe and wonder.

This is what I saw:

Who ordered pea soup?!  Not me, but that’s what I got.  Oh well, 1 day our of 10 isn’t too bad.  Although I missed the views of the Cuillins I did manage to catch a brief glimpse of Elgol and Glasnakille, where we stayed in a camping hut in someones back garden.  Rock’n’ roll no?  Well, yes actually as we were informed by the locals this is also where KT Tunstall stayed.

 

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Highland photo journal, part 5- Isle Ornsey, Skye

Our journey from Applecross to Isle Ornsey seemed relatively short compared to other journeys we have done recently.  We arrived nice and early.  It’s easy to see why the Sleat peninsula it is called the garden of Skye.  It is so green and lush compared to the moorland that covers much of Skye.

We arrived early which allowed us to take a long, long walk around a remote and unknown coastal area.  Stopping only to get lost and to have to backtrack over clifftops, rocks and boulders, and through ferns and nettles and grasses.  It was pretty though.

 

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Highland photo journal, part 4- Applecross (a foodporn installation)

I promised foodporn…. but I also have to share my journey here and the provide a bit of background on the place that makes me happiest in all the world.

Having returned to Mallaig, we just managed to catch the calmac sailing to Skye.  Here’s our little adventurercar on board.

We skipped across Sleat and off over the bridge.

It may seem a long way round to sail to Skye, drive through it, then off again over the bridge, but it was much quicker than driving up over the mainland.

On arrival at Applecross we set up camp and made a spot of lunch using the local hot smoked salmon.

Yes, it was pretty amazing.

We then headed straight for the Potting Shed in the Walled Garden for carrot and walnut cake and a glass of wine.  The garden was looking beautiful, even in the light of the slightly greyed skies.

 

The last time we were here was in March when everything was suffering after the harsh winter.  It’s hard to believe the garden could have recovered, so it was nice to see how lush and colourful it was.  It looked like a scene from a fairytale.

 

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exciting possibilities…by boat and by bike

Today, I am pretty excited.  Plans for our next adventure are coming together and, I think, they are rather special.

We will be covering Arisaig, Knoydart, Sleat and Trotternish on Skye and, of course, Applecross.  Arisaig, Skye and Applecross will be repeat visits.  I know what awaits me there and I can’t wait to get back.

Given the remoteness of most areas this involves some careful travel and accommodation planning.  Passenger boats, car ferries, bikes and kayaks will all be making a contribution to our journeys up and around Scotland’s west coast.  I think it sounds amazing!  I can’t wait to get paddling again, it’s been too long…

However, I am actually starting to see the appeal of canoeing instead of kayaking- It’s a bit more flake advert and a bit less Bear Gryls.

I am particularly looking forward to experiencing Knoydart, totally inaccessible by road and can only be reach by rather lengthy hike through mountains.  Alternatively, and this is our preferred route, by boat from Mallaig.

As well as seeing these stunning places, I am excited as this trip will give me the opportunity to eat at some fabulous food establishments.

1. I can’t wait to try the Knoydart prawns!  I here they are a major contender to the infamous Applecross bay prawn I am so partial to.

2. The possibility of eating at The Three Chimneys.  I’ve done this once before and it was outrageously good.  I would love to repeat it and hopefully we can get a table- better book now- it can take 2-3 months for a reservation!

3. Jann’s cake shop in Dunvegan, Skye. You have not had a muffin until you have had one of Jann’s muffins, topped with home made chocolates!

4. The possibility of eating at Kinloch Lodge, Claire McDonald’s restaurant.  Another michelin star restaurant on Skye (in addition to The Three Chimneys).

5. Prawns at the Applecross Inn! -an oldie but a goodie.

6. Dinner at the Potting Shed in the Applecross Walled Garden.  It’s been too long!

7. Dinner at the Shieldaig Coastal Kitchen again, hopefully outside on the roof terrace.

8. Cooking big pots of squat lobster on the camping stove or steaks on the barbecue and eating them al fresco (the weather will, of course, be amazing and there will be no midges).

With all this eating I have in mind it’s a good thing we plan some serious outdoor activities.  I was unfortunate enough to have my bike stolen from under my bedroom window in the middle of the night just a month or two ago.  The cheeky so and so’s wheeled it right by my front door at 4 in the morning.  What’s worse, is the noise of the wheels squeaking actually woke me up but I couldn’t figure out what it was and didn’t until we found the cut security chain dangling lamely from the drainpipe a few days later.  Luckily it was insured and I now have a shiny new bike which I have been getting some practice on recently.

It’s easy to forget what you have on your doorstep and this is something I have been guilty of lately.  I should really make good use of the cycle network my house sits on and since the weather took a turn for the better I have been doing this when I can.

Until I journey off next, I have a feeling I am going to be getting quite familiar with the cycle network and I am looking forward to it.  Since I must be burning off at least ten thousand calories an hour I already feel justified in the extra food intake of late.  I do need my fuel after all!  Speaking of which, the picture of Jann’s cake has put me in the mood…I’m off for a rummage in the fridge.

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