News From the Road - Days Five, Six & Seven

 

Part Four - Written by Nick Taylor
Coach Owner & Driver

Travelling over Erskine Bridge feels like you are entering the Scottish Highlands.  Not only the beautiful Loch Lomond and the crags but of course the rain.  Today it is relentless and dampens our spirits and the inside of the old coach.  Apparently it has always let in a little water as is the way of most wooden framed vehicles.  We meet a few Rolls Royces and Bentleys on their round Britain jaunt before the annual Rolls Royce and Bentley Enthusiasts Club Rally.  I usually attend this (I have a Derby Bentley that might have been finished in time - Steve Lovatt have you finished the restoration work yet?).  Anyhow back to the old coach.  We travel through Glen Coe but in the words of Mike Batcheler (our keeper of funds and he who pays the bills man) 'This is the fifth time I have travelled through Glen Coe but still have never actually seen it!' 

Our overnight stop is with The Corran Bunkhouse.  Many may think this is basic accommodation but you would be wrong.  Halina is a wonderful host, the beds were comfy, the kitchen was well fitted and the cost was reduced for us.  This is how a bunkhouse should be run with abundant enthusiasm and care.  Tom cooked our evening meal of steak, mushrooms and salad.  Feeling smug again that I invited him, thank you Tom.  Our hosts Halina, her husband and his brother join us for the meal.  Great evening.  It is still raining.

Next day and it's raining.  This news is not helped by the knowledge that everywhere else in the country is struggling with record temperatures.  I knew we should have travelled up the East Coast!  The route from Fort William to Mallaig is wonderful and despite the mist we enjoy the journey and stop for a while to photograph the steam train.  This is the fourth steam train we have seen on this trip.  Tom has booked us into a fish restaurant for lunch and once again we have a great meal.  Most have the best fish and chips while I have Monk fish Thai curry (fabulous and I want to become a restaurant reviewer please).  Everyone at the ferry expected us and after the short crossing we reach Skye. Still raining! 

Now for the interesting bit of news:-  "VICAR SHARES BED WITH MAGISTRATE"  We arrive at Saucy Mary's Bunkhouse expecting to check in and experience our first real challenge.  They have no record of our booking and have no rooms available.  I question my own ability to organise anything although I know I have confirmed the booking several times.  There is a new Manager and the lady I was dealing with is no longer there.  The new Manager cannot be blamed and he did his best to find us alternative accommodation and we have to split up for the night.  Tom, Mark, Michael and Trevor have a family room to share but there are only three beds!  Trevor and Michael are our new couple and we hope they will be very happy together.  Don't worry Michael, I'm pretty sure the Bishop doesn't read this?

And another day but wait, the weather is clearing.  Still a lot of cloud but thinner and we even have a few moments of sunshine.  The road to Gairloch takes us through Glen Torridon much of which is single track and very steep in places.  I find driving our coach more of a challenge down the steep hills than up them.  At times you accept that she has to go in 2nd gear and travel at 10mph.  Downhill the brakes become a little too hot and it is important to select a lower gear and travel downhill slower than feels normal.  Smelling burning brakes is scary!  The coach feels at home in this environment so long as she is not pushed too hard.  Travelling slowly on a 1950 Coach on beautiful narrow mountain roads with stunning views, takes us back in time and makes us happy. 

We are now at the Old Inn at Gairloch and we are looking forward to the meal we have booked for this evening. 

Missing everyone from home, Kay, who will be watching the golf, Alfie the West Highland Terrier who will be asleep on the settee, and Daughters Frances and Natalie who will be too busy with their boys to relax and read this.  Love you all.  Nick