OS Explorer map 369, Perth & Kinross Ochil Hills East & Loch Leven – I do not own this map, and had not visited it before starting this blog. Visited for this post 6th July 2018. (This is the fifth of fourteen posts concerning my July 2018 trip to Harris and Galloway with my Cambridge friends.)
So, when we departed from Dunfermline, we had a little under four hours of driving to do to get to Ullapool in time for our 1730 ferry – which would take us to Stornoway, only an hour’s drive from our destination, my family’s holiday cottage on the Isle of Harris. Unfortunately, I’d not allowed enough time, and Dunfermline was interesting enough that we left later even than I intended, meaning that we were rather rushed once we’d left, and our original plans of buying lunch to eat in some pretty bit of countryside were abandoned.
Instead, as lunchtime approached, we got off the A9 and came into the town of Dunkeld, parking up and entering the Co-op to get ourselves some sandwiches.
Lunch bought, we drove a tiny way along the street to a car park that, while very busy and not particularly attractive, had the draw that it had toilets. It was later discovered, to our dismay, that these toilets cost 50p a pop , but use was nevertheless made of them and we were once more on our way. Dunkeld looked really very pleasant, and I am sorry I didn’t get to spend more time there.
Our journey after this consisted mainly of traffic on the A9 and mounting worry that we would miss our ferry, especially after a petrol- and toilets- stop in an Inverness industrial estate. The last leg of the trip, along the A835 to Ullapool on the west coast, was at least, as ever, wonderfully scenic, and it was here that we learnt of Millicent’s prescriptive standards for mountains – many of the mountains we were seeing were not “proper mountains”, apparently, due to some arcane combination of missing criteria.
We finally reached the ferry terminal at about three minutes past five – last check-in was 1640, so we were significantly late, but fortunately they let us on anyway. In fact, the fellow checking our tickets was very impressed that we had all the right tickets and boarding passes printed off and ready.
The ferry journey was two and a half hours long, and spent in a combination of eating (once we finally found tables in the restaurant), dozing, chatting and reading. Towards the end of the journey, some dolphins were spotted by Vesper and Cheremy, leading to jealousy from the rest of us when we heard. It was a clear day, and some lovely views were also to be had from the deck at the beginning of the journey, looking back at the receding mainland.
We finally reached the Harris cottage, our home for most of the next two weeks, at a little before 10pm, and had a slow evening, sitting around tired out by our journey while Queenie began Shabbat (and Millicent and Cheremy disposed of the extra kosher wine) before a reasonably early bed was sought by all.
 In an interesting anticipatory error, I initially typed not “I forgot to take any photographs” but “I phorgot”…
 Or plop? (Sorry…)