Once a year, my husband and l like to escape for a bit of hiking and child free time. This year we co-ordinated it with the summer solstice, making our way up north of Ullapool and doing a midnight hike up Stac Pollaidh to watch the sunrise. It rained solidly in Aberdeen from the Monday to the Friday and as we headed out of Aberdeen on the Friday morning we had serious reservations about our trip. But, as we left Ullapool, the skies got brighter and brighter and we spent the weekend in sun-topia topping up our Vitamin D levels. Meanwhile, the rain continued in Aberdeen...
Ullapool is the gateway to holidays for me. It's where we take the ferry over to the Western Isles to spend our summers. It always feels strange going there and not getting on the ferry. It's a tourist hub in the summer months and there were many coaches of tourists making their way through the town, perusing the craft and art shops and indulging in some of the freshest seafood there is.
We bought lunch from the Seafood Shack, a recent and very welcome addition to Ullapool's seafront. This gourmet takeaway sells locally sourced fresh seafood with choices such as hot crab claws in garlic butter, king scallops with wild rice and whole langoustines. It was so delicious, I'm tempted to do a roundtrip up there one Saturday, just to get another portion.
Just some more snippets from Ullapool.
We managed to sneak in an extra drive up north before heading to our camping spot for the night. I'm not normally one for including man made structures in my landscape images but l think Kylesku Bridge is a beautiful piece of engineering and enhances the surrounding landscape.
Ardvreck Castle is a pretty popular stopping point with tourists. Last Easter we had the whole place to ourselves on a beautiful sunny day. The kids paddled in the water (there is a sandy beach on the other side) and we had great fun exploring the castle.
Approaching our camping spot for the night. The hill in the distance is Stac Pollaidh.
It was an early start to make sunrise. The alarm bleeped at 1.45am with my husband desperately trying to snooze it. No chance. l got the kettle brewing for a flask of tea, snapped a couple of pictures of the van and we set off summit bound.
First views from the top. Although the sun hadn't yet risen, you could see for miles.
We didn't quite get the spectacular sunrise we were hoping for but it was still pretty special. It broke through the clouds briefly lighting up the skies above us. It was pretty incredible sitting at the summit, on our own, taking in some of the most spectacular views around (with our flask of tea to hand).
The morning briefly succumbed to the dullness and we headed back to the van for a quick snooze. By the time we woke at 10am, the sun was intense and the sky a brilliant blue.
Part 2 to follow.
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