Take a wee trip with me!

Day 5 - Glenelg and Strathpeffer

Back to my normal schedule! So, the reason everything got thrown off yesterday was because I was supposed to go to the Isle of South Uist. I had a site visit planned with one of the volunteers at a museum there who was going to show me their reconstruction of a 17th century boat, which I was really looking forward to it cementing my descriptions of Duncan and Fiona's sailing trip in MUST LOVE MORE KILTS. It's the only appointment I'd made because the rest of my research plans were mostly able to be self-directed. Well, the night before I got worried that maybe I should check online about the ferry tickets--ugh. The morning ferry was booked! I could have taken the afternoon ferry, but that meant rescheduling the museum visit for this morning and taking today's late afternoon ferry. Unfortunately that put me back on Skye at 6PM and my next hotel was in Banff 5 hours away (though it would probably be more as these tiny roads take longer for me than the average Scot). While possible for me to do, I felt it was too risky. And since I could cancel my South Uist accommodations but not my Banff one, I then had to scramble for a place to stay last night that wasn't already booked and wasn't over budget. Landed on Strathpeffer.

Is it just me, or do you also want to follow that with saying Hasenpfeffer in a Bugs Bunny voice? Just me? OK *ducks head*

This meant I had some unscheduled time for research and one thing I was still feeling fuzzy on was their launching off spot on the mainland (SPOILER: they take a boat trip from the mainland to Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye). I'd taken pics of the shore along Loch Duich on Day 2, but this now allowed me to focus in on the actual spot. I drove to Glen Shiel, looking for maybe some kind of cafe to ask for help (hoping they could point me to some local historian) but there wasn't anything. So I went farther to Ratagan. By now I had to pee, but no place there either. Resigned that the day was a bust, I turned back around to head for Strathpeffer, and a place to pee (!), and stopped in Dornie, which is a village opposite Eilean Donan Castle. Ate there, and after some Google-fu, hit upon Glenelg. It had a settlement in my time period and was in MacLeod land (good for the story) whereas the part of Loch Duich I was on was MacKenzie (bad). Problem? It was back along the stretch I'd just circled back from, past Ratagan, LOL. So back down the A87 I went and then turned off onto another one-laner, this one with switch-backs along a mountain (shudders). 

Photos of the scenery along the way

Finally reached Glenelg, and the nice lady at the general store where I stopped for a soda and a map told me how to get to the walking path that would take me to the nearby shore. It was windy and rainy, but I captured some great images for description!

Lots of sheep just roam the villages streets!

Photos of Glenelg and environs (with sheep, of course)

By now my phone was dead, as was my extra battery, so I pulled into the Glenelg Inn and stepped into their bar for a cuppa and see if I could recharge my phone. I walked through the door and was met with such an ideal spot I wanted to pinch myself! I'm definitely coming back to actually stay the night.

See the photos of this charming bar and my spot by the fire

They had a little library there, so I wrote a thank you in a copy of MUST LOVE KILTS and donated it to him.

Then it was back onto the by-now familiar stretch of A87, past Dornie, to the turn off that would take me through Wester Ross and Strathpeffer. Sorry I don't have pics of this beautiful landscape. The rain had settled in but good and the mist covered much of the landscape, though thankfully not the roads! I also was getting tired and wanted to get to the hotel.

Photos of my return trip through the Loch Duich area, with one last lone pic of the Wester Ross area (last pic in this series)

Close to 7PM, I pull into what turned out to be an awesome surprise! Strathpeffer was lined in Victorian homes and hotels and I was like, ah, this must have been a Victorian vacation hotspot! But I was still prepared for my hastily purchased (and super cheap) room to be the one dump in the town. Imagine my surprise when I pulled up to this sprawling Victorian hotel!

The bar lounge as well as the restaurant area were huge ballroom-sized rooms, with wood wainscoting and high ceilings. I could just see the fancy set in their Victorian clothes (or Edwardian--haven't found out its exact age) socializing with others while they 'took the waters' because, yep, turns out this used to be a major spot for the mineral baths back in the day.

They had this hilarious guy in full kilt dress doing the one-man band thing with accordian and electric keyboard. I was definitely the youngest there, but I didn't care. It was just such an unexpected find, and I had a blast just chilling, and having dinner and two scotchs. Their wifi was unusually strong, so I Facebook Live'd it!

Since I also have more time today on the mainland than my original plans, I'm going to head over to the Urquhart Castle area along Loch Ness. I was there last year, since it played a major role in MUST LOVE KILTS, but there's a particular scene in the climax of this new one that's nearby and I was kicking myself that I hadn't explored that area. Now I can!

New to this special list?

You can catch up by following these links:

Day One - Glasgow and lots of armor

Day Two - Drive to Portree, Isle of Skye

Day Three - Portree and Dunvegan Castle

Day Four - Neist Point Lighthouse and Coral Beaches of Loch Dunvegan

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Angela Quarles, Author

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