We booked a week in a holiday cottage on the south shore of Loch Sunart. This is an area of the west coast of Scotland we haven’t really explored before. Years ago we drove through part of this area to catch the ferry to the Isle of Mull, but it warranted a longer stay, especially as it has one of the highest populations of otters!
Our cottage was called Camus na h-Airdhe, one of a few cottages owned by the Laudale Estate. The cottage looks out on Loch Sunart and from our french door windows we saw a small pod of dolphins, an otter, a pine marten, lots of heron, a raven and lots of smaller birds…oh and some amazing rainbows. We also saw some deer and lots of seals.
It rained most, if not all, days! Unfortunately the west coast of Scotland does seem to get the tail ends of the hurricanes and storms that travel across from the Caribbean and Florida areas, thanks to the North Atlantic jet stream. Even our supposedly waterproof Gore-Tex over-trousers and jackets couldn’t hold back the rain on one of the days, but we didn’t allow it to spoil our holiday and it made lighting the wood burning stove in the evenings even nicer.
Enough waffle, onto some pictures.
Our cottage is shown in the first picture, albeit a bit dark as the sun was going down.
A family picture at the Lighthouse which is on the most Westerly Point of Mainland UK! I think we’d always thought Cornwall, on the southwest coast of England, would have the most westerly point, but nope it is in Scotland and here we are wrapped up and trying not to blow away! (We now just have the most easterly point to do and we will have done them all.) The beach was one we stopped off at on the drive back and I couldn’t resist posting a photo of Ylva’s sandy nose!
My life was consumed with working hard and very long hours to earn money for a few weeks a year of international travel. We went to many fabulous and breathtaking places around the world including Hawaii, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, Australia, various US states and parts of Italy. I also travelled to Peru and Bolivia for 31 days as a mix of holiday and unpaid leave (Follow links to see photo highlights). And so I thought my blog was turning into a travel blog…
At the end of 2016 I started to burnout and lose control of my mind, I wasn’t coping at work despite (or perhaps because I was) working almost every waking hour and not making enough progress to satisfy my own high standards. By early 2017 I was a jibbering wreck, unable to stop crying all the time and was eventually signed off with anxiety and depression. When my sick pay ran out I couldn’t face returning to work, stressed at the thought and afraid that my resilience was too weak and I would return to old habits of working every hour and so I requested a 12 month sabbatical (unpaid leave). So I am due to return in September, unless I resign.
My new life…
Whilst off work I have started doing more craft type things, I have wet felted a hat and a handbag learned how to knit, made some sea glass jewellery, bought a spinning wheel and I’m now learning how to spin. We bought a tent last autumn and instead of international travel we have been exploring the North of Scotland and some of its many Isles either with the tent or renting small cottages.
I have been blown away by the scenery that we have seen…and with my calmer mindset I can actually be present and fully enjoy being in the moment and after walking 20k steps enjoy an evening sitting in our tent with my husband and dog and knitting another hitchhiker scarf! Scotland has white sandy beaches and turquoise water, okay you need to wear layers, not a bikini…but then you often get a beach to yourselves!
We headed to Skye for a week to celebrate our 10th Wedding Anniversary. I first came to Skye on our 1st Anniversary and we have been many times since, but usually just for 1 night and so we wanted to stay longer to explore areas we haven’t seen yet. On our first full day we headed to the North West, beyond Dunvegan Castle and up to see Coral Beach. We were up and out early, so fortunate to be the first ones there, although there were others shortly behind us. The walk to the beach is only 1 mile each way, we walked a little further around the coast and saw an eagle perched on a rock. We could also see some seals across the water on a tiny island.
The weather was my idea of perfect, cold enough to need a hat and scarf (made by me!) but sunny and blue skies.
We stopped for our picnic lunch at Dunvegan Pier, and then drove to the Duirinish area and explored the peninsula and walked to Neist Point lighthouse. This is a tougher walk, it was fine heading out to see the lighthouse but goodness climbing back up was taking my breath! I say this but a guy walked past us and climbed all the stairs and was then chatting to an elderly couple and he wasn’t out of breath at all…clearly I am not very fit. On our way back we saw a herd of deer. The only thing missing was sight of an otter…but we have the rest of the week to keep searching for one.
I kept saying to my husband, shall we retire here? He replied that if it rains the rest of the week I won’t be thinking that. But on a sunny day Skye really is hard to beat.