After a couple of days relaxing with Pete's mum, we decided to do a trip across to the east coast where the sun was shining. There are only so many days of drizzly rain that one can tolerate - after that you will drive anywhere for better weather. So heading north east we made our way to Loch Tay then followed the river Tay towards the A9 which would take us up to Inverness. After such a lousy summer in Scotland, the rolling hills were a beautiful green and the rivers were all running full. Even the usually rather barren highlands were a picture with the pink of the heather a contrast to the grass.
Just north of Inverness lies the area known as the Black Isle, though not an island but a peninsula surrounded on three sides by water. A rich fertile area with many acres under barley and wheat, as well as good land for grazing cattle. We had a wonderful 2 days with Judy and Alasdair, as always wonderful hosts and picking up where we had left off last time (a year prior) just as if it had been yesterday. Great food, great wine and a wonderful setting - a magic couple of days away.
A view of stunning countryside close to Bonar Bridge, Scotland
Great fun as always catching up with Al and Judy. In the backyard at 'Drummond'
We chose to go home another way, down through the Great Glen and Oban. Glorious weather again and as expected the roads were fairly congested with tourists taking in the sights of the Loch Ness. We stopped for lunch at a tea house overlooking Castle Stalker and again the views were spectacular looking across the water to the islands beyond. A good run back to Tarbert for our last couple of days with Pete' mum and the inevitable sad goodbyes.
Our lunch stop overlooking Castle Stalker and to the islands beyond
Having sold our little car to Tarbert locals, we then had to get ourselves back down to London so, with thanks to Andy (one of Pete's Easyjet colleagues) we took our last flight as 'staff' and said farewell to Tarbert for who knows how long. Now back in London for a few days with Liz and Bob, time to chill and have some family dinners. One last train ride up to Harpenden to our local haunt - the Thai restaurant at the Harpenden Arms hotel and a dinner with all the gang from Easyjet, and to learn how life after 'Policeman Pete' and his new systems were working. Goodbye and thanks to AD until 'next time', and we have no doubt there will be a 'next time'. Where in the world that might be, we have to wait and see.
Our time in the UK had come to an end. Despite the negative start I had with my visa issues, it had all been such a positive and worthwhile experience. The time spent with family was invaluable, the destinations visited were amazing and the new friendships made great fun - all in all a wonderful 15 months. Now we have to think of getting back to the boat and the next stages.