There is a joke in England that throughout the ages, after all the clan wars were done, the political arguments settled and the bar brawls ended, the border to Scotland is actually demarcated by the sudden absence of the midge. A vampiric little blighter that serves no other purpose than to make the inhabitants of Scotland want to peel off their skin for the itching. Luckily, up to this point we have avoided them. However I think this morning they had a meeting and realised they had let us slip past so converged on us in mass at sunrise. Buzzing around the van, there was a midge cloud so thick you could have described it as midge soup. Instead we chose to drive away and fix breakfast somewhere less dangerous for our skins. They must have been so annoyed not to even get a taste of our exotic southern blood.
After a short drive we found a picturesque layby. With the back doors of the van open to the view, I sat there and enjoyed the sunshine, typing up this blog for the last days travels on my tablet. It was truly an inspiring time, a realisation that this lifestyle would be possible. To travel and work remotely has been a growing ambition of mine. Sitting there quite comfortably, tapping away, gave me the taste of the sweet lifestyle I want. Now I just have to train my life in that direction.
Onwards we drove, soaking in more views straight out of a national geographic commercial. I’ve run out of similes to describe the incredible landscape. We reached Durness where a fellow traveller had told us you can drive right down onto the beach! This was true but looking at how soft the sand was I didn’t fancy getting stuck and having to dig big Bex out. It was also early in the day and we wanted to get some information on the ferry to Orkney. Turns out, it’s eye-wateringly expensive to get there with a camper so we sacked that off and went down onto the beach.
This beach doesn’t belong in Scotland, it’s a beautiful, clean, tropically white beach with a perimeter of jaggy black rocks and pure blue water. Messing around awhile we came up with the crazy plan to go for a swim. MY GOD it was cold. We are talking ball shriveling, hypothermia inducing, stop the hearts of old people, cold.
There was only so much “swimming” I was willing to do as this meant submerging my torso, which made me squeal like an infant girl. We splashed around for a while. I went for a run along the front to have a look at a guys jetski and then we got out. It was fun but too much to hang around. But, at least a few days of grime had been washed away and we felt much cleaner afterwards.
Today we must have covered about 30 miles, max. There was loads of stopping for photos. One occasion I made friends with a seabird with an enquiring, black face and red beak. I coaxed him in with some bread and got some good photos but he wouldn’t come any closer than a meter, no matter how gentle I was. This was the true relaxed holiday day that I have needed for a while and it was great.