After all the drama of the past day and night I had retreated off the ridge of An Teallach, retracing my steps half way along. The wind was gusting significantly and I wasn’t able to stand up safely unroped. I had seen sunrise and made it to the highest point so was content with that, and I knew I would come back.
I slogged down to the van in Dundonnell and headed straight for the coast. From this little promontory I could see last night’s iced torpedo bivvy spot up in the clouds. I watched people on civilised wanders across the beach and laughed at the contrast a few hours and a drop in altitude can bring. I drank a cold beer in the sunshine.
After spending years obsessed with mountains I find myself drawn more and more to the coast. It offers the same sort of clarity and connection to landscape, with new possibilities.
I had gazed over the water from Skye once whilst on a film shoot, wondering what was in the distance. I was looking out towards Applecross, and in the years since I have heard the name mentioned lots of times. I drove along the coast determined to get there before the sun set, and secretly hoping there was some kind of establishment that would save me from another night of pasta and pesto.
I pulled in to the car park of the Applecross Inn just as the sun was dipping behind the Cuillins. After breathing the sunset in for a few minutes I jumped in to the back of the van to change and make myself look less like I had been sleeping rough in a snowdrift; an illusion of course. I picked a suitably comfortable corner of the pub; foreseeing a long, warm, indulgent exploration of the food and drink on offer. There was a photo of the land lady on the wall, she had won a ‘Land Lady of the Year’ award. As I sat and people watched I could see why people were fond of her. She made me laugh even from a distance. After an amazing meal I drove a little way up the hill on to a dark and ice cold Applecross pass, pulling in to a lay-by to sleep in my little van.
I woke and made myself breakfast with a view past Raasay and Rona and on to the snowcapped Cuillins topped by a gradient sky.