After a long day of driving we were well ready for a pottery day on our first day. Weatherwise this was to be one of our best days in a wet week. After a lazy breakfast we wandered down to the village shop for some supplies and then continued on for a view of Loch Ewe. On a previous visit we had driven out the the seaward end of the loch where there is an information board telling how it was used as a mustering point for the wartime arctic convoys to Murmansk. I found this a very moving place and it really gave me a sense of the past and the fact that landscapes hold memories.
Later in the day we drove around the coast visiting first a viewpoint down to Loch Maree and then back through Poolewe on the coast road to Ullapool visiting the wonderfully remote beach of Mellon Udrigle. The last time we had been here the air ambulance was lifting out a casualty and amazingly the same thing happened on this trip. While here we saw again devil's bit scabious and monkey flower and there was still plenty of heather in flower especially bell heather. We had excellent views of a hunting harrier as well as more chilling ones out to Gruinard Island, where, in 1942, the government tested anthrax with a view to investigating the feasibility of using it as a bioweapon. Eighty sheep were taken out to the island and bombs containing anthrax exploded nearby. The sheep began to die within days. The main purpose of our day was to reconnoitre the start of our planned backbacking trip into the Fisherfield Forest when we had a suitable break in the weather. Following this we explored a back road up to viewpoint overlooking Ullapool hoping to see golden eagles. In this we were successful with a family group of four of these majestic birds hunting over the hillside above us.
Feeling that it was time for lunch we headed back to Gairloch and round to the other side of the bay to the fabulous Badachro Inn where we enjoyed a delicious bowl of Cullen Skink. The tide was out and in a brief period of sun the brillantly coloured seaweeds gleamed gold against the water and we were treated to a wonderful rainbow.
Needing a walk after lunch we continued to Red Point beach in worsening weather. Foolishly we decided to walk down to the beach and received an absolute drenching for our pains.