Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Plockton, Scotland (June 2008)

Jan lives in a utopian Scottish highland town, Plockton. It’s one of the last villages before you get to the Isle of Skye. This is a town with a few B&Bs, one sizable restaurant, one shop, and lots of nature. The village has about 350 people, and Jan and Hamish have watched it grow over the past 20 years.

I arrived around 8.30pm on Saturday, so we had some mezze for dinner and just caught up and it was lovely to chat about all sorts of things that had happened since we last saw each other last March.

On Sunday, Hamish and I walked Maddie at around 7am going through sheep paddocks, magnificent views over the bay, and I went on the boat with Jan at both 10am and 3.30pm. The first trip lasted about an hour and the prime objective was to see harbor seals; we did, as well as two otters and various birdlife. In the afternoon the trip was to go see dolphins, and the two we spotted were quite playful and stayed around the boat for over half an hour. The area supports quite a variety of birdlife and mammals, and remains relatively unspoilt. There doesn't seem to be a huge amount of tourism although it is certainly starting to become recognized and thus on the tourist trail. The boat tours, cleverly called Sails to the Seals, are run by a man named Calum who has been doing boat trips for the past 27 years in Plockton. He is a cheerful, jolly, humorous fellow, as seems to be the case with most of the Scots I meet – a good thing indeed.

In the evening we headed to Plockton Shores Restaurant for my pre-birthday dinner, and it was a gorgeous meal of Roast Lamb, Goat Cheese Salad, Spicy Vegetable Nut Roast with Goat Cheese, and Fish and Chips (Jan and I were sharing). And of course a bottle of wine, all with a panoramic view of the waterfront.

Monday I headed to Skye, and Tuesday was a lazy morning followed by a very scenic drive up to Applecross, where windswept cliffs drop steeply down to the open sea, with stubborn single white houses dotting the landscape of boulders, moss, and cliffs. I love Scotland.

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