The Scottish Highlands - part 2

View of the town of Gairloch on returning from our first walk.
The light on the mountains in the background shifted constantly and we never ceased to marvel at the different but always magic scenery we saw every time we looked up at the far mountains towards the east.

Go to Map of northern Scotland

Go to Siv - Home

Walks from Gairloch
Day 4

Our first walk was partly a ride by car up north towards the Rua Reidh lighthouse (pronunciation: Rooa Ray). Our friendly landlady had told us that when the sign said 'No further vehicles allowed', we could just continue on. No problem.

We parked next to the lighthouse and more or less expected a brief look around. However, as we climbed up the little hill bordered by the cliffs and the sea we discovered a fairyland of hills after hills and dark craggy cliffs along the shoreline. (I was reminded somewhat of The Giant's Causeway in northern Ireland, county Antrim.) Sheep grazing in tranquil concentration gave us some cursory attention and then peacefully went on munching grass.


John is looking at the big jellyfish in the clear water by the red-colored rocks.

Jellyfish below
on the right - against the
bottom of the sea under the
clear water.



 A view of the beach we fell in love with (on the
 right)  The water was clear and a gorgeous  green close to the shoreline.

This is where we had lunch (below), but following  the advice of some German tourists, we did not try to climb down to the wonderfully pristine beach below.


A horned sheep behind a natural hedge.

Last look on our way back.
The dark pink kind of heather which alternated everywhere on the moors with the lighter pink kind and the almost white variety with tiny flowers. There is an almost endless number of varieties of heather in Scotland.

Day 5

Walk behind The Old Inn in the Flowerdale Valley - heather and heather and heather, one orchid and a waterfall that wasn't much to take a picture of. We were probably starting to get in shape a little though and
the nice weather is still with us. We had dinner at The Old Inn every evening and never got tired of it. Friendly ambiance and good food and even musical entertainment - no bagpipes though - in one of the bar rooms one evening. On August 8, John's birthday, we had reserved ahead in the restaurant proper and we had delicious scallops and wine of course.

 Here there are at least three different varities of heather, from very light pink to dark red.  

On the left - what we got to call the Scottish colors,
the deep red and the green of the fern. 
One of a couple of white orchids which reminded us of the Austrian Alps. No noticeable pink lines here though.

More of a close-up
of the many different kinds of heather on the wonderful Scottish moors - from the luscious deep pink through light pink with smaller flowers and ultimately the tiny almost white variey in the center of the photo.
Day 6
One mile north of Poolewe on our way
from Gairloch to Ullapool, we stopped at the renowned Inverewe Gardens on the Loch Ewe, 5 or 6 miles north of Gairloch.

"At the head of Loch Ewe, the village of Poolewe is warmed by the waters of the Gulf Stream, which allowed Osgood MacKenzie to build a subtropical garden on a peninsula just north of here in 1862 [...] Plants were gathered from as far afield as Australia, Chile and China." (quote from 'Scotland's Highlands and Islands' from Lonely Planet Publications)

Heavy rain clouds were gathering as we were making the tour of the amazing gardens. You were given a map to help you find your way around, but it was nevertheless a pretty confusing labyrinth where you tended to get back to the point where you were just a few minutes ago. We just managed to more or less finish our tour before the bottom fell out of the sky. We did not have lunch at the "pleasant garden restaurant" but indoors, since the elements had so decided.

The center at the
Inverewe Gardens. Loch Ewe seen from one edge of the gardens. What marks these huge gardens most particularly are the masses of huge rhododendrons growing all over the winding paths. They came in all sizes, from big bushes to fair-sized trees. In June when they bloom, it must be a dream to walk around in all the multicolored beauty. We might try to be there earlier another year just to see the rhododendrons in bloom.

(In '97 we were in Ireland just at the right time - around Bloomsday, June 16, when we were in Dublin - to see the huge wild multi-colored rhododendrons. On our one good-size nature walk in Glenariff, one of the beautiful Glens of Antrim, we saw the biggest rhododendron bushes we had ever seen at the time, along
the sides of the stream we were following on our walk - yellow, light blue and deep pink ones, a perfect dream.)

Gorgeous flowers in the Inverewe Gardens - the lily family (Liliaceae) - agapanthus africanus,  'African lily' or 'Lily of the Nile'. There were masses of them along our last walk back to the Garden Center.

Just off the main road to Ullapool are the Falls of Measach.
They fall into the beautiful Corrieshalloch Gorge which ends up in Loch Broom. Italian busloads and cars en masse made a stop here to see this small but pretty waterfall.

From this tourist stop we turned west and drove alongside Loch Broom to Ullapool where we had reserved a room for four nights.

A view below of the evening sun on the fishing boat harbor on our first evening in Ullapool.

Go to Scottish highlands -
Part 3

Go to Site map

Go to Siv's and John's homepage