16/03/12 I’ve never known a night like it

I’d been looking forward to little Loch Broom because there, just as it starts, if you catch it in just the right light, you’ll see one of those oh so rare creatures….the public toilet.

I shouldn’t have got my hopes up – it was locked – as was the Dundonnell hotel across the road – that opens in April.

There was also – quite rare in these parts too – flat grass. So I stuck the tent up, inserted Darth II and Hubert and listened.

Far off was the cry of…I dunno, a seal…near there was the munching sound of the ferrel goats who live…er…wherever they want – they’re ferrel. And the sea loch, and the soothing song of a river pouring into it.

3 days in, I was a little smug because the weather had been kind to me – there’d been no rain…a little wind (insert your own gag here, I’m not that cheap) but nothing to write home about.

Early this morning, well that all changed. Horizontal rain – the old tent bending – as it always has – with the wind – but this time the gusts were, gustier…

One of the tent poles snapped with a bang not unlike a gunshot. Suddenly I was in 2 sleeping bags as the tent fell down around me.

I stayed in the tent until I felt the wind/ rain had died down a bit. I packed as much as I could whilst inside – but I still had to put the tent into Hubert.

The rain started again and I tried – in vain – to put on my waterproof over trousers. This climaxed in me doing the dying fly (dance from Saturday morning tv show Tiswas – ask your parents) on my little bit of village green.

Finally I wrestled all the important bits away – but in my heart I knew it was for naught, since my beloved tent had carked it.

Cue Gareth (proprietor of the nearby Dundonnell hotel and Robert (his brother in law and all round handyman).
On hearing my tale of woe they furnished me with tea and biscuits – there would have been more Gareth told me, but the hotel doesn’t open until April.

After little chit chat out came the tentpole for manly examination. They concluded that sticking the pole together with some gaffer tape may help – but really I needed a replacement.

Robert suggested that he might have a pole from a tent he no longer uses – let’s see if it’s the same length.
“Yeah, right!” echoed through my cynical mind.

Out came his pole (please, this isn’t a carry on film) and it was exactly the same length and width as mine (…well, if that’s what you’re thinking, that’s your own fault).

So, happily amazed, off I went into the crazy weather. Having spent 3 nights under canvas – and having been bitten by 2 ticks already (one on the face – yum) – I have indulged in a hostel.
Sleeping in a real bed after having a shower – luxury I call it. The weather can do what it wants until tomorrow.

Walk a mile

Chris

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