As i walked into Gairloch overlooking the beautiful and cleverly named loch Gairloch, i was met by Jamie and Andrea – honeymooners from Manchester way.
“Well, it was either here or the Maldives,” Jamie smiled laconically,”and there we would have just ended up talking to other couples who’d tell us about how much their wedding had cost…”
They were really enthusiastic about my little trip, “There’s a few quid – go and get yourself a coffee down in the bay, they’re really friendly there…”
I’m in Gairloch – thanks to them I’m eating ice cream and drinking ginger ale in a cafe – sorry, I opted against the coffee – but three flavours of top quality ice cream for £2.90 – well, it would be rude not to…
“That’s the most horrible thing anyone has ever said to me,” laughed the younger (than me) woman as I paid.
“All I said was she had a heart of stone – like a big rock hanging from a piece of string…” the male proprietor was laughing too.
“I can’t believe that,” I thought I’d join in, “let’s see if she’ll accept one of my cards…” and I told the story as I was leaving….
“Give the gentleman his money back,” there was a short pause while everyone looked for the gentleman – he dived into the till and gave me more than I’d paid…
Yes, folks, the Harbour Lights cafe in Gairloch – good food, fine banter and a generous nature – what more could you want?
I camped in a perfectly rectangular clearing in the woods and carried on to kinlochewe.
As I was having a lemonade stop (I’m trying to kick the irn bru – just say no – remember zammo – ask your parents) who should pull in…Stewart!
Brilliant as ever to see him – he helps me with my awry map reading and before I know it he’s off, I know where I’m going and he’s given me some money to get a little something when I hit the not so bright lights of Kinlochewe.
It’s a long, winding road as it joins the stunning loch Maree with its spine of islands.
Which is where I met Kenny – I guy on a bike with a happy smile and a warm welcome. It turns out that he knows Tom from Tentsmuir – who he pities for being a Raith Rovers fan – he soon pitied me for being a West Brom fan, a Baggie, if you will.
Kenny tells me he’s had depression for 14 years – this is managed with medication and the love of his family now. He, like me, is keen to make a bit of a noise about mental health and the silence that often accompanies it. He’s going to put an image of me up on the nature reserves website.
Who’d have thought there’d be a Fife – Wester-Ross connection?
Before he went he pointed me in the direction of their free campsite.
Amazing – before I met him I was just beginning to lag a bit – and now…well, I was still lagging, but I knew there’d be somewhere flat to lie down.
What a great leg of the journey.
Walk a mile