Taking the High Road: Snow & Photos
Our planned start at 6am doesn’t quite work out, but we are on the road well before 7. By the time we stop for breakfast two and a half hours later, we are more than 100 miles north of Birmingham and our full English is most welcome. The sunshine that saw us off when we left home gives way to dark clouds, then rain, then hail, then sleet. Around Manchester, we start seeing white-topped hills; then cars with snow on their roof; then piles of snow lining the motorway. Overhead signs show snow forecast. The radio bulletins talk of blocked roads in the south of Scotland. Margaret texts us with promises of clear skies and sunshine which we want to believe – but somehow can’t.
We cross the border well before lunch. I am driving and there is a slight feeling of Welsh deja vue when I leave the motorway one junction too soon and have to make a slight adjustment to the route – but otherwise it’s fine. I am coping well with driving a huge automatic Chrysler, apart from learning the hard way not to try to adjust the seat while driving – and occasionally panicking when I have to slow down and can’t find the clutch.
After a late lunch in Callender, in a cafe where our presence drastically reduces the clientele’s age profile, I go in search of postprandial chocolate – and discover the only sweetie shop in the world that doesn’t sell any of that essential foodstuff.
Then it is photo time. The sun is back and we pose by the river, mountains in the background. Relieved of the steering wheel, I spend the next three hours happily snapping every mountain we pass. Glencoe has its usual effect. We park and take yet more pictures.
And finally, a few miles from our destination, I see my first deer. Away on the hillside, no more than a dark smudge on the photo, but magnificent nevertheless and an indication that there will be more to come.
We drive through one final sunshine and as the last loch gives way to the sea, we arrive in Mallaig to bright sunshine. We should know better than to doubt our sister’s word.
[Tomorrow: we take to the sea.]