Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Tuesday 6th September 2016...as Arnold would say''I'm Back"!!!!!!

Good evening this will be three posts in one so maybe a good idea to have a beverage and a comfortable chair!!!

When we last met I was just getting on the small yellow boat......

..so we will go from there....just 6 of us on what is really a small working fishing boat and comes with it's resident seal!!!

John the skipper was wonderful and filled us up with local interesting facts!!!!

Pretty soon the dolphins were playing with us they move so fast but managed these shots!!!

Next we viewed what the Guinness book of records notes in the smallest castle in the world.....a bizarre story worthy of a Goggle visit!!!  Except I have looked and cannot see anything about this....

These next photos are for my friend Carol....this area is described as Geologist’s paradise with some of the world's oldest rocks.....this was a special part of the journey!!!

From the Clachtoll beach car park (1) head towards the split rock (3), which is one of the possible sources of the township’s name, clach being stone in Gaelic, toll meaning hole. Walk down the board walk from the signboard, across the beach, over the stream, and up the other side. The easiest route is through the gate, along the fence and back over the stile. Keeping to the seaward side of the croft, across the blown sand, follow as best you can the old dyke running southwest.
The dyke is not only an old croft boundary. It stands on the boundary between some of the oldest rocks in the world, the grey 3 billion year-old Lewissian gneiss that dominates the land to the east, and the red Torridonian sandstone, a mere billion years old, lying to the west. Can you spot both of these stones in the wall?
Look across to the east and just above the shoreline notice the big semi-circular slab of red gritty-looking rock among the grey. This is a billion-year old beach. When it formed, what is now north America was still connected to this land; all this sandstone was formed from erosion of a huge mountain range, called the Granville mountains, just to the west of here. Imagine, instead of the sea, peaks and crags, steep gullies and ravines carrying snowmelt and sediment into great lakes and, over millions of years, laying down the sand that hardened into these rocks.
At the end of the dyke at the southern cliff top, to the right of the big boulder there is a hole (2) through which you can sometimes hear the roar of waves and feel the air gusting from a cave below. Perhaps this is the real clachtoll?
Walk to the west and you can clearly see, to the north of the split rock, the bedding planes that were once lake beds and notice how, since they were laid down, the land has tilted to quite a steep angle. Look north and you can see clearly how different the smooth sandstone landscape is from the rough gneiss to the south.
The split rock (3) is dangerous, especially in windy and wet conditions, so do not go up there unless you are very confident on exposed rock faces. There are traces on the top of vitrified stone walling. This is stone that has been heated to extremely high temperatures, partially melted and fused.  Archaeologists are uncertain what might have been going on up there. A beacon? A lookout? A defended farmstead? A funeral pyre? Your guess is as good as ours. By analogy with other vitrified stone sites, is likely to date back to somewhere between 3000 and 1500 years ago.
During this Iron Age period the people who lived in Assynt had a strongly maritime culture and they have left many substantially built structures around the coast. Right up until the present day the sea has been an important part of life, providing fish for food and trade and a whole range of other sea products, from seal blubber for oil to walrus and whale bone for tools. But in the Iron Age and the early Middle Ages approaching boats could also mean raiders and this might partially explain part the need for such strongly defended buildings. Boats were the primary form of transport here for thousands of years, the inland road connections being a very modern development.

The rock!!

This is the beach where I walked earlier in the morning...

The trip was over 2 hours and blessed again with sun throughout!!!

Back on the road passed this spectacular castle....

One of the most scenic bridges I have seen....

Soon I was turning off onto another one of the single track roads leading to my accommodation!!!!

I booked this directly from the web site and it is 2 miles from the small village of Scourie and is very remote and very beautiful.

I had booked a small mobile home or trailer which could have slept 4 people..it is a bit dated but very clean and comes with everything except of course modern technology!!!

What a  fantastic view from the living room!!!

The weather was hot and sunny and the inside was lovely and toasty warm!!!

I got unpacked and settled and then got my boots on and walked down to the coast and along the cliffs for just over an hour!!!

I had a lovely supper and salad and just enjoyed relaxing and looking outside when it got dark I watched a movie Mystic River quite a suspenseful and moving movie!!!

The bed is comfy and there.... you have my day!!!
Looks like there is a body in the bed...No there is not!!

Monday 5th September....

I was right about the bed another great sleep and woke up to rain and dismal looking clouds but no worries I had lots to occupy me starting with my peaches and yogurt breakfast followed by crumpets and jam and tea and by 10.30 am the rain had stopped and even though the sun did not appear it was not cold so I packed up and drove about 20 minutes to the start of the hike to Sandwood bay!!!

Come along and enjoy a fairly flat hike leading to an amazing beach!!!

Never seen a Loch with a beach!!!

Some rolling sand dunes

and the lonesome and beautiful beach...


I had read that this beach is visited by a mermaid and also the ghost of a sailor....

I could just imagine a stunning looking mermaid perched on this rock!!!

Had lunch with a private view!!!

I took a different route back to the track up by these cliffs and here it was quite spooky......I was almost 200 yards away from the beach but as I approached the base of the rocks I heard what I thought was a waterfall but as I got closer it actually sounded like there was an underground cave under the rocks as I could quite clearly hear water lapping up against rocks!!!

At the base of the rocks there was no waterfall and no ocean but the sound was still there...there was a little wind so it could have been some sort of echo chamber but as I said I was a ways from the ocean!!!!!!!!!

Though Sandwood Bay is enjoyed by most in an uncomplicated way, some find it an eerie place and report an oppressive, even hostile atmosphere. Tom Atkinson, the founder of Luath Press, wrote in his classic guidebook The Empty Lands: "You will feel a certain uneasiness, maybe of spirit, while you are there... It is an indefinable feeling of dread, as though a slight haze has crossed the sun on a fine summer's day." There are those who have been so unsettled by this ambience they have packed up and left immediately. "Oh, I feel it myself occasionally," says Morrison when asked about the atmosphere. "I don't find it an unpleasant feeling. It certainly doesn't scare me, but it's strange. You're aware of people that have lived there before." This idea that the past is part of the present is something you hear often from people who know Sandwood Bay well. It's fascinating to think that here, somehow, is a place where temporal divisions have eroded; where human history, rather than sinking from view, keeps getting washed back on the beach like a slippery oarweed frond. Perhaps people are simply more sensitive to the vibrations of the past in such an empty place. Artificially empty, of course. The many tenants of Sandwood were evicted in 1847 as part of the Highland Clearances, and the stones from the abandoned clachan used for building projects elsewhere. The result of this unhappy period is that you now have over a mile of beach more or less to yourself. Little wonder that ghost stories and legends attach themselves, limpet-like, to Sandwood Bay. There have long been tales of mermaids. Crofter Sandy Gunn told the folklorist R MacDonald Robertson that, in January 1900, he had seen a beautiful mermaid, seven feet long, sunning herself on a ledge. More common, though, are accounts of hauntings, in particular by a bearded sailor with brass buttons and a peaked cap. In the early 1940s, this spectre is said to have appeared to two crofters collecting driftwood and bellowed: "All on this beach is mine, begone!" Cathel Morrison says he has never experienced anything supernatural at Sandwood Bay, but knows people who swear they have. "I wasn't long with the Trust when a lady phoned me one day. 'I wonder could you help me,' she says. 'Have you any information on shipwrecks at the bay?' She said she'd walked out on a beautiful day. Her husband and two kids decided to carry on down to the beach, while she sat beside the loch. As she sat there, everything got really dull and cloudy and she heard weeping and wailing. Then on the other side of the loch came a group of people dressed in 18th-century clothes. They were in great distress. She said they came round the loch and disappeared. Whether she fell asleep and was dreaming, I don't know, but she assured me she was a rational person and this had had a profound effect upon her." Sandwood Bay has seen its share of shipwrecks. The lighthouse at Cape Wrath was established in 1828, but before that there were many wrecks, the debris and bodies coming ashore on the beach; legend has it the splintered remnants of Viking longships are hidden deep beneath the sand. The treasure from a Spanish galleon is also said to be buried hereabouts. About five years ago a man travelled up from London in the belief that he could locate treasure using a brass dowsing rod. "He must have been about 80 and weighed 20 stone. He got half-way out and had to turn back. He left me the map. So far I haven't bothered looking. But when I retire, if I disappear on a luxury yacht, all the locals will know that I've found the treasure." The ghost stories that persist about Sandwood Bay could, though, have a prosaic explanation. Some believe the sightings of the spectral bearded sailor were, in fact, sightings of local hermit James MacRory-Smith, known as Sandy, who lived near the beach for 32 years and was not keen on company unless there was the promise of a drink in it. He died in 1999 at the age of 73. His home, a low bothy called Strathchailleach, is still there, about a mile inland from the beach, and it still has some of his paintings on the walls — a weird jumble of ships, devils, birds, wildcats and naked women. Sandy had been a scaffolder in Glasgow then served with the Black Watch. One day he and his wife were out driving when there was a bad smash and the car went on fire. He escaped but she was stuck in the vehicle and died. Traumatised, he walked away from his own life. His children were taken into care and he started travelling, first to Crieff then Rannoch Moor then Glencoe and finally to Cape Wrath, where he lived out his days reclusively and simply — boozing, fishing, walking, daubing the walls, digging peat for the fire and sleeping on a bed made of wooden fish-boxes. "If he liked you it was alright," recalls his friend Betty Heath, who lives in Thurso. "If he didn't like you, he would come to the door with a hatchet. "I think Sandy found some sort of peace at Strathchailleach," she continues. "It was a sanctuary. He just had the wildlife. A male swan once stayed with him for a fortnight. Swans mate for life and this one was looking after a female which had been ill. It was only when she died that the swan went away." Heath, 78, is the last surviving member of the Johnnie Walker whisky dynasty. She has been visiting Sandwood Bay since the 1960s. "I just love it," she says. "It's very elemental, especially when you see it on a moonlit night. It's like a gem that nobody has ever discovered. It's the loneliness of the place." Loneliness is not, perhaps, a quality that most people look for in a beach. It doesn't go too well with a Dan Brown and a Daiquiri. But this particular beach has an ineffable something that makes a visit a complex and shivery pleasure. While I'm driving away from the moor, back to the hotel, a stag runs out on to the road about 20 feet ahead. It pauses for a moment. Looks toward the car. Then bounds into the heather and disappears. The glimpse feels like a blessing and the animal seems an emblem for Sandwood Bay itself — beautiful, mysterious and solitary, a perfect wild creation.

Read more at: http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/sandwood-bay-is-a-beautiful-beach-shrouded-in-mystery-1-477058

The rain came down on the way back but again not cold...

Glad these days are over for me and that I have crossed the Camino off my bucket list!!!!

With the walk on the beach I reckon I walked 9 miles a really good workout and always thankful I can do these hikes!!!

I arrived home thinking how different the mobile was from 24 hours earlier a bit chilly inside but it seemed to warm up again.

Another simple good supper and then I wrote this which I hope I can copy and paste into my Blogger writer!!!

Watched another movie but the choice was limited and it was a bit far fetched for me but passed a couple of hours....

Then I did some planning for the next week which looks to be exciting with some special events which I will tell you about later!!!
As always when I spend a lot of time on my own my mind tends to wander and it always start with me being so thankful and blessed to be on this long and amazing journey which is soon coming full circle as 5 weeks today I shall be back in Nanaimo!!!!

Off to bed......Yashi Kochi!!!

Tuesday 6th September and a great sleep.......got the car packed up and I must mention how happy I am with Gran Coche negro...she preforms really well on the small tracks, just the right size with oommpphh if needed!!!

On the road by 9 am and I have some plans for the ride!!!!

So here we go if it is not the opposing vehicles you have to watch out for on these single track roads it is....
This beach looks so serene but I tried to go for a walk along the shores the wind was just howling way to strong to be comfortable walking!!!
Next was a rare sight a cave made by both rain water and sea water!!!

I walked down to the cave but because of the high winds the main chamber was not open and the boat ride inside was cancelled!!

you will see in a minute where the water flows into the cave.. a pretty strong force!!!

 This is where the river enters the cave!!
I enjoyed all of this but again extremely windy!!!

Can you stand more beaches..they really are exquisite!!!!

This is not a bird's eye view but a lamb's eye view!!!!

It was time for a hike and this is where I went...

 The power of zoom!!!!

 This is taken through what we now call the picture window!!!
and finally a beach!!

 I am now in the town of Thurso, google it to see where in Scotland I am.....I am staying in an airbnb for 3 nights but the hostess contacted me a few days ago and was so sorry she had made a mistake with the booking and would I mind sleeping in the living room tonight on a real bed and then tomorrow move upstairs..no problem to me..
I have full use of the kitchen and it is lovely....

So tomorrow I am doing something I do not do very often and really do not care for but sometimes we just have to bite the bullet...check in tomorrow!!!

Told you it was a long post!!!

Yashi Kochi!!!!


Carol said...

Spectacular geology Les!!! Thank you so much. I am going to do more googling to read about the Cachtoll area. I have always wanted to tour Scotland, Ireland and England because the area is the birthplace of geology as we know it. I must admit I enjoyed this entire post immensely... there is such a different feel about this area from your other travels. Also really enjoyed the Sandwood description... I wonder if maybe you were hearing ghostly sounds of when the beach was closer to the cliffs? Just a thought! I have really enjoyed the historical info too from all the castles and ruins u have visited... this journey is one of my favs... may Just have to go some time. Interesting, one other friend just visited Ireland with his 2 teenage kids and an Amiga was just in Scotland! Cheers... looking forward to the surprises ahead!

mexicokid said...

I knew you would enjoy the history and the formations more to come blessings L

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