Shiel Bridge Camping

8 Aug 2012

That’ll teach me to write a huge post – I lost it all in a WordPress wobble. It was only about the one, single time in my life when I juggled all my plates and WON! Sheesh. I’ll rewrite it another time… Time to crack on with the story of going on our second camping trip, to Shiel Bridge.

Well, we meant to go to Arisaig. But every campsite was full. So I looked a bit further. Full. And further still. The first place with spaces was Morvich Caravan Club site. Eep. Sounded posh. But it was open to non-members and as cheap as anywhere else. So on 8 Aug, Maxi Minx passed her Bete Noir swimming test (!), The Boss sold the old car, Midi and Mini helped me cram stuff into the boot of the inherited car, and by midday we were off! Into sunshine!

Maxi and Midi know that the Loch Ness Monster was actually a bathing elephant from a travelling circus troupe, but it didn’t stop them searching the glittering waters as we zoomed by. I was on a mission to get to Shiel Bridge at a reasonable time! Around 4pm we arrived to… manicured, clean, perfect SILENCE. Oh my word… How long would it take my noisy girls to get us turfed out for being too loud? Still, we set up the massive tent and strung up the solar-powered fairy lights that I’d nabbed for £2.50 from ASDA (result! Perfect night-lights, and saved on torch batteries). We spent a while admiring the incredible views from each of the tent doors then nipped down to the Jacobite for dinner. Alas, their card-reader was broken, and The Boss had totally forgotten (hmmm… should that be in inverted commas?) my reminders about getting cash out. So we’d no option but to go into Kyle of Lochalsh.

As it turned out, that was a good decision. We ate a fairly nice meal at Hector’s Bothy (nothing wrong with it at all if I’d been in the mood for fried stuff. But oh my word, the side salad was incredible! Flowers and very fresh herbs and white lettuce! I could have eaten a plate of that alone, and I’m a renowned salad-dodger) then went for a bimble for ice-cream. Hectors2Go was the source. After 8, chocolate orange and bubble-gum ice-cream all round. The server was a completely child-friendly star, being indulgent of my capricious minxes, who kept changing their minds about whether they wanted tubs or cones (he gave them both, for no extra). Midi instantly dropped her ice cream on the floor. He replaced it for free and graciously let me clear it up. And the ice cream was lovely, too!

We sat outside, braving the first of the midges, gazing at the view of the brooding Cuillins behind the Skye Road Bridge. What caught my attention, though, was the beautiful little ice-crystal fire rainbow. Eventually, though, the midges got my undivided attention, and I legged it to the car.

On the way back to the campsite, we had to do a quick stop at Eilean Donan castle – the evening sun! the reflections! the colours! …the bloody midges! I was wiping the little buggers out of my nose and ears. Luckily none actually bit, so I guess the Smidge does work.

The girls snuggled up in sleeping bags but didn’t even pretend they were going to sleep. I think they eventually passed out about 2245hrs, Maxi face-down into the 10p copy of Anne of Green Gables I’d bought for her ‘in 5 or 6 years’ at the school fete. I stopped cringing about the decibel levels their screeching had reached about 1am… And yet again I was soooo glad that we’d brought a potty: even 6 year olds struggle to hold it all in when they have to wriggle out of sleeping bags, find a zip, unzip, find a jacket, find wellies, find a torch, find one that works, find a parent, wake said parent, struggle out of more zips, scuttle down to the toilet block. Alas, though, us adults had to make the midnight runs to the toilet block. Still, the amazingly clear views of the beautiful Milky Way made up for the freezing cold.

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