Monday, July 18, 2011

Adventures in Camping Day 2: The Smoo

Day 2:

Waking to the realization that it was my birthday, my 30th no less wasn’t the best way to start the day. Still, putting that out of mind we trailed downstairs to sample the breakfast delights of the Seaview B&B and also for another look at ‘foreheed and teeth’. The breakfast was good but unfortunately ‘foreheed’ wasn’t in that morning, probably still at home brushing her monstrous teeth.

After a quick shower I came out of the bathroom to discover that my friends were all wearing black t-shirts with a picture of me looking very camp from a wedding about ten years ago and with the slogan ‘Vagitarian’ plastered under the picture on it. It took me a good two minutes to realize they were wearing the t-shirts. I had to wear one too.

Since the sun was out we went down to the sea front of John O’Groats to see what was there. Still nothing. A wee museum, a closed hotel and something called the Coffee Experience which disappointingly turned out to be a Costa.

After that we were off again, our next destination was a place called Durness which was a bit of a drive so we decided to not waste time. We stopped soon after, wasting time, at Dunnet Head which was a spectacular location and then at a wee beach shortly after. As we were mingling around looking like a bunch of ruffians a small dog (that looked like a tiny lamb) came bounding up to us. It wasn’t immediately clear who it belonged to until a high pitched snooty call of ‘Ruby, Ruuuby!’ echoed around the dunes. A middle aged lady appeared and upon seeing four t-shirts with my face (and my real face) with the slogan Vagitarian she quickly beckoned ‘Ruuuby’ over and darted off as quickly as her legs could take her. We were making friends.

After a solid few hours of driving where we got to soak in some radiation from Dounreay, get stuck behind dozens of German campervans and find a beautiful beach that reminded me of the one from the movie ‘The Beach’ except that it wasn’t shit and pretentious (take that Danny Boyle), we finally arrived in Durness.

The reason we had chosen Durness was because Fraser had mentioned something called the ‘Smoo Cave’ that was there. Apparently it was quite a big cave (the biggest in Scotland at one point, now second biggest) and well worth a visit.

After making our way down to the Smoo Cave which was very impressive and can be read about here:

Inside we noticed there was a tour on but because of recent rainfall it was off today. It was then that just inside the cave we say something dark and ominous swimming in the water. It’s name was…Colin!! Who you can read about in part 3.

After leaving Smoo disappointed but hopeful the tour would be on tomorrow we made for the campsite. As we were pitching the tent which belonged to Fraser he revealed that he had never actually been inside it and had only seen it from the outside when someone else had used it. From the outside it looked huge with a good sized porch area where we could all sit in our deck chairs. The sleeping area however was tiny, really only big enough for two but which we had to fit four which somehow we did, which involved sleeping in the most uncomfortable positions ever. We gently mocked Fraser for the rest of the day but since he was the driver we were quite nice to him apart from pissing in his sleeping bag, backpack, car and food. Bastard!

That night I got my tea bought for me including a Knickerbocker Glory .

It was one of my best birthdays ever. I was still 30 though, which was rubbish.

In part 3, Gairloch, dog shite, more Smoo and COLIN!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Adventures In Camping Day 1

30. It's not a particulary big number unlike say 172,5840,4912. Pretty big number right? But 30, that's nothing, unless it comes after a decade of being twentysomething. Then it's a huge monumentous number.

I'm 30. It's not fun.

Camping though, that's fun. Loads of fun. Combine it with a roadtrip. Double fun with a little fun cherry on top. So for my 30th, two friends (Lee and Fraser), my brother (Darren) and I (Sexy McSexface) went on a camping road trip around the North of Scotland.

Day One: It rained, obviously. Still a little bit of water wasn't going to deter us so we loaded up the car and off we went.
First stop: Aviemore for a bit of lunch. We went to a place called 'The Winking Owl' which was immediately christened 'The Wanking Owl' because we are so witty. (No owl has ever been caught wanking due its 360 degree viewpoint). Beyond that, the lunch was grand and then we were off again.

Next stop: Dornoch, for a coffee and a piss. That was it.

Stop No 3: John O'Groats where we intended to set up camp. We failed. Due to horrendous rain and gale force winds pitching a tent would have been impossible unless we wanted to awake the next morning in Orkney. So we decided to look for a Hostel instead which we found remarkably quickly. Unfortunately from the outside it looked like it belonged to someone who would mount the heads of lost travellers above the fireplace. Inside though it was quite pleasant apart from the woman behind the desk who told us we could stay in a B&B down the road for four extra bucks which was honest of her and now probably means she is out of business.
We quickly found a B&B called the Seaview (our room faced the opposite way from the sea). The receptionist had quite a unique look about her so she was nicknamed 'Foreheed and teeth' for the remainder of our stay. (Not to her face obviously, we're not monsters!). John O'Groats is a strange place as despite being a tourist destination it doesn't really have anything there. It's just miles of barren lansdscape that eventually gives way to the sea. It reminded me of Wuthering Heights to the point where I kept thinking I heard the warblings of Kate Bush echoing across the spooky landscape, although that may have just been the guy in the next room snoring who we could hear through the paper thin walls. We also heard him take a shit.

That evening we had some food which was served up by the aforementioned 'Foreheed and teeth' and then we spent the rest of the evening in the bar. Unfortunately the TV in the bar was on MTV so occasionally we would get glimpses of one of those awful reality shows about people who are famous for acting like inbreds. In this particular show we got to see some dumbass get her dumb ass waxed.

After that we retired to bed and hoped that the rain would stop so we could at least pitch the bloody tent. We would soon regret this way of thinking.

In part 2: Smoo cave, Ruby, Vagitarians and the TENT!!