Beautiful northern Scotland
I’m back from my trip to Sutherland. It’s amazing that despite all the places I’ve visited in Scotland and all the islands I’ve been to, this is the first time I’ve traveled north of Aberdeen in all the years I’ve been here. But! Better late than never.
The first place we visited was the area around Durness and Tongue, which has the most amazing beaches and sea cliffs. This is a photo of the town of Durness over Smoo Cave (which is the best name for a cave, no? ;D), the largest cave in Britain.
Next we stayed in Lochinver to climb some of the nearby mountains. We are already planning a trip back because holy. MOUNTAINS.
We hiked Stac Pollaidh to ease us into climbing, and mayyybe that wasn’t the best mountain to start off with, but it was gorgeous and well worth the climb. The first summit has a path all the way to the top as you see above. Definitely tiring, but nothing too difficult.
The second “true” summit is covered in crumbling sandstone and perilous drops and narrow paths that could easily lead to plummeting to your death if you’re not careful. Also, again with the crumbling sandstone (which I’m mentioning because if you need a handhold on a rock, some of it will not hold you and it will crumble in your hands). So.
But, the view! Oh, the view! Look at all those mountains!
And here’s one from the other side. 360 degrees of mountains and pretty prettiness! And we made it off safely, no less worse for wear except for the occasional midge bite and the horsefly that managed to bite me through my shirt.
Then we decided to climb Quinag, which is a bit of a higher mountain.
And, oh look, fog. Yessss I was totally hoping this fog would clear up by the time we reached the top since there was no fog in the forecast, but it didn’t. At least I got a cool picture out of it (the view would have been better, but alas).
(Taking this moment to mention that, no, it is generally not a good idea to hike up Scottish mountains in fog. Even if you think you know the mountain or the path is visible or whatever, nothing looks familiar when you can’t see where you’re going. Mr May and I always carry provisions; we had a map and compass, food, water, and completely waterproof clothing. We’ve navigated in fog before. These are all vital for hiking in Scotland since the weather changes so quickly.)
Still, we had such a grand time. THOSE BEACHES.
xx Elizabeth May