Sunday, 1 September 2013

Holidays - The Western Isles (Part 2)

Horgabost Isle of Harris
Well I arrived back from my 'wild' camping holiday on the Western Isles in the early hours of this morning.  It was probably at least a day early but I had my reasons.  You see when you load up your car with all the means to go camping it does help if you don't lose your car keys!

When I discovered the loss I was pitched at a wild camping site at a place called Horgabost on the western coast of the Isle of Harris.  In reality it is about as remote from civilisation as any place in the UK! In the distance there were the odd cottage probably owned by Hebrides hermits but the nearest small store was at least 10 miles away.

It is beautiful as you can see when the sun shines but this is the Outer Hebrides and my first night under canvas was spent listening to the wind tearing at the tent and the rain battering away trying to get at me.  Fortunately I took a tip from the professionals and placed rocks on my guide ropes.  Nae bother Jimmy!

At this point I must pay tribute to the AA! If you are camping or disappearing into the Ullu then full cover should be mandatory.  Fortunately when the keys disappeared (and I refuse to tell anyone how they disappeared) my car was unlocked so I could still load everything back into the car before I was recovered by Callum who arrived all the way from Stornaway on the Isle of Lewis.

Callum took me to the Laxdale camp site in Stornaway where I was introduced to Kenny a local locksmith (Scotlock) who assured me that he could replicate my car key and he could. It took him over 24 hours because he also works for the Council and the Police who require him for emergencies. I did not realise the technology that goes into our car keys in this modern age but Kenny knew and by yesterday I was queued up at Stornaway Harbour fourth in line for an emergency berth to Ullapool!  

I left Ullapool yesterday at 5.30pm and via, Inverness, Fort William and Crianrannich I arrived on the M74 at 11pm.  I slept for 2 hours at the Bothwell Service Station and then arrived home at 6am this morning.  It was the drive of my life!  I challenge anyone to replicate it and I am  71 years of age.

It sounds like a disaster but it was a wonderful challenge.  It is all to easy to think 'old' and this has given me a new lease of life. I was way out of my comfort zone (in more ways than one) but I am so glad that I took on the challenge.  The camping fraternity are brilliant. I do not understand how the huge gap between them and 'Westmonster' can exist? 

It was Kenny who told me that Cameron had lost the vote on Syria as he deciphered the complexities of my car key and he watched in wonder as I did a strange wee dance around my tent! More of that later...!

PS  What did we do before the mobile phone and a public thanks to my wife and daughter for their back up.  They thought I was crazy and now they know that they were correct!!!

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