Why should it be easy, when it can be tough - North for the winter! Again! Here are the part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8 & part 9. Winter is back again and we still keep wandering around the Windy islands. Let's see what part 10, will bring... 😎
You can also fallow the trip in Polarsteps. Not to overload the post with pictures, most of the photos you can find at the end of it divided into galleries.
27 October 2023 – Kinbrace, Scotland
In the morning George drove me to the bus station where my bus to Inverness was leaving from. I hadn’t managed to find another host on the way and was heading straight to Inverness and from there to the place I was about to live.
Well, they couldn’t meet me in Inverness at the time, so I would continue by train to Kinbrace.
I kept in touch with Ollie throughout the day letting him know where I was and how I was getting on. Then when I got off the train at Kinbrace I was very surprised that no one was waiting for me.
Good thing my phone had a signal and I had just renewed my plan the day before so I had a mobile data. Contacted Ollie while checking the time table about the trains back to Inverness. Just in case…
It turned out that somehow Ollie had decided that this was all about tomorrow…
Well, shit happens. And misunderstandings as well. So, I had to wait for about 15-20 minutes, but there was a shelter at the train stop and I wasn’t on the rain, so it wasn’t that bad.
Then a car arrived with two people. I remembered Ollie from our first meeting in Inverness few months ago, but the girl was no one I knew. Turned out that’s Debbie – the Workaway-er whom from I would take the batton.
04 November 2023 – Brora, Scotland
Exactly a week after my arrival, Deborah was leaving. The original plan was for me to arrive few days after her departure, but as usual, plans are not what they are. I am actually really happy for the chance to meet that beautiful soul although just for a week.
Nothing is a coincidence. I was supposed to meet her. Still have no idea why, but time will show. An incredibly sweet and kind soul with such a strong will and determination, who has left Brazil to find her place in Europe. To build a new life from a scratch. So familiar…
And for her, as for Loredana in Ireland, I’m sure she will succeed. We all know (well, at least those of us who have eaten that cake) that it won’t be easy for them, but these two are intelligent strong girls who will quickly move forward with building a new world for themselves.
So, to see Deb away, we had to go long way. The train from Kinbrace was cancelled and we had to get to Helmsdale to catch a bus from there, then on top of it, it turned out that the fuel was at the critical minimum and we had to refuel, which in turn required us to go even further – to Brora.
Sweet Debbie said goodbye with the help of coffee and a piece of cake and went off to Inverness and Glasgow where George was waiting to take her in. Good luck, Deb! 🤗
Eva (Eva and Adrian are the owners of the hotel), although an artistic person (or maybe just because of that), was under pressure all the time on the verge of panic and definitely not conducive to a leisurely stroll and soaking in the beauty of the moment. We must hurry or the world will collapse!
Well, it is what it is. After all, it was my first trip around the area and I was at least able to enjoy the scenery flying by the window. Beauty! (the photos above are from a different visit latter with Ollie, had zero chances for pictures the first time)
06 November 2023 – Thurso, Scotland
Two days later we had to go shopping in Thurso. There was the nearest supermarket – more than 70 km away… 🙈
That was the price for the peace of living in the middle of nowhere. Actually, only a fraction of the price… But I paid it gladly!
And the rest of us – those who chose with a clear mind to live disconnected from the world – enjoyed every minute. Well, there were also “accidentally” emerged here specimens, definitely out of place, but it’s like that everywhere, I recon… 🤷🏻♀️
So, we went both with Eva. I had less than an hour to walk around, so I didn’t see much, but from the little I was able to explore I got the impression of a small and cozy picturesque town on the ocean shore.
09 November 2023 – Tain, Scotland
Two more days later we had to go to Brora again. Ollie had managed to get me a doctor’s appointment, so I was a must attend. The driver this time was Ollie, so the tension was completely absent and I enjoyed the whole trip.
The doctor’s appointment was over quickly, even the wait was no more than 5-10 minutes. I just wonder what these GP’s have been studying about for years and years, when the lady, although very nice girl, managed to tell me less than I already knew myself and left me hanging with no solution to my problem…
The plan after the doctor was to go to the nearest supermarket again. There isn’t one in Brora. So we continued on to Tain. We did some shopping, this time a serious one and headed back. I didn’t get to see any of the town, but hopefully I’ll get a second chance in the coming weeks.
We went to the butchers – Mick and Ken, to collect the meat we had ordered and sat for a cup of coffee/tea and a nice talk. What a characters these two are! We didn’t have much time – had to be back by 3pm, but we’re expecting them coming and I’m already anticipating the party that’s shaping up.
We were in a hurry. We hurried slowly though… 😉 No rush or tension, with good music on a sunny day, even singing along at times. We even stopped for a minute to take a picture of these beauties by the side of the road!
12 November 2023 – Garvault, Scotland
I was up early as always, but this time it was on purpose. The forecast for the day was cold but sunny and I had decided to take advantage. We had no guests, and although there was plenty to do after the problems with the leaking roof, I could get away for a while – no one would be waiting for me to serve them breakfast.
In the evening I asked Ollie for some boots, as mine aren’t designed to flip flop ankle-deep in water, and that’s the situation all around here. I learned this the hard way on my previous walk, which didn’t last long.
In the morning, I crept as quietly as possible to the kitchen (if you sneeze at the north end of the house, someone at the south end will say “bles you”) to find my boots per Ollie’s directions and make coffee. I borrowed a thermos, picked out a cool and warm looking pair of boots (apparently there are a lot of people my size here) and headed out to the river.
Deb had mentioned to me that there was a water jump somewhere upstream and just as I was about to head that way, I turned sharp right towards the hill. I mean, I’m a goat (Capricorn), but I also had a logical reason for scrambling up.
The morning was frosty, the sky was already stained by the approaching sunrise, and fog lingered in the lowlands near the lake and river. All of this promised a lovely view from up high, so I left the river for a future walk.
I scrambled through knee-high grass and ankle-deep water. Absolutely – even uphill are walking through water! Already tongue-tied, I decided I’d stop at “thaaaat little terase over there” and with the next step I was out on some dirt road.
Damnit! I was climbing through a moor and there was a road. True, a dirt road, but still a road! If I had known, I could have made it to the top before the sun appeared around the corner, but it is what it is… 🤷🏻♀️
Well, at least I got down by the road. 🙈
17 November 2023 – Berriedale, Scotland
We got pretty well with Ollie, my manager and companion for the months here.
Today we went to Thurso which turned into quite an adventure… We went with the old antique Land Rover, which was a new experience for me.
In the rover is even more cold and windy than outside. The heating is simply missing. Scarf, gloves and two jackets…
And on top of it my seat turned out to be wet. Found out that the first moment I lifted myself up a little. I thought I am just cold, but at that point I figured out why SO cold… So I spent the day cold and with a wet bum! 🙈🙊🙉
But it was fun. And I didn’t kill Ollie the whole day! Mainly because I can’t drive that huge rumbling thing… 😜 But also because he chose an amazing picturesque route and even brought me to a beautiful cozy café shop for breakfast. (where I was even able to dry my bottom a bit…) 😆🙈😆
30 November 2023 – Thurso, Scotland
And again with Ollie on a short trip around. He went for a tattoo, and I of course followed him.
The shopping, is a must as well, as this is the nearest supermarket, but it was fine. While he was enjoying himself masochistically, I was finally able to hang out in my own way.
Only an hour and a half (afterwards I had to wait that long as well in front of Tesco, but that’s another story), but it was enough for me to have a nice look around. I even managed to find myself another old cemetery! 😜
I love traveling with Ollie – no tension, just laughter, relaxation and pleasant conversations. I almost regretted it when we got back to Garvault… 🤫