Back from Assynt

From the summit of Cul Mor

From the summit of Cul Mor

That’s me back in Irvine after a two week long holiday in Assynt in the NW of Scotland.  As usual after we get back from a trip away, I’m madly rushing around trying to catch up with everything.  We were staying at the small caravan site at Achmelvich just a few miles to the north of Lochinver and getting an Internet connection was almost impossible.  We did have access to a couple of different networks but neither was available.  After a bit of asking around we found we could get connected if we went to the small sports centre in Lochinver and this was useful for keeping up to date with emails …..but I decided to take a break from the blog and FB……hence the silence on these pages for a couple of weeks.

I must admit it has been a very relaxing time without the hassle of crashing computers and I’ve come back feeling good for the break.  That said, I did use some bad language a short while ago when my computer screen reader decided to throw a wobbly and then refuse to work at all ….but we’ve got over that so hopefully this blog will get written without any more upsets!

Looking towards Suilvern

Looking towards Suilvern

As you know, we’ve been up to Assynt on a number of occasions in the past.  It’s a wonderful part of Scotland with a very distinctive landscape that I just love.  Over the years we’ve walked many of the fine hills here but these are always worth revisiting and there are  always others just a little further away to be explored.  As it turned out, the weather didn’t really play ball and we had a lot of low cloud, rain and on occasion’s high winds which tended to keep us low rather than venturing onto the tops.    Even so, we got to see some great views and wander through some really wild places.  When it wasn’t raining, I even managed to sit down and get some quick sketches made, a couple of which I’m hoping to develop into larger more finished drawings now that I’m back in the studio.

From Cul Mor

From Cul Mor

We did get a couple of nice days however and on these we headed up –hill.  Back in 2008 we’d had a fabulous day on Cul Mor and I’d always wanted to do a return trip ….so that’s where we headed last Monday.  Have to say that it didn’t look altogether promising as we drove south the few miles towards the hill ….we couldn’t see it at all to start with …thick low cloud was completely shrouding the hill.  There were however a few small breaks in the cloud and as we were putting the boots on we noticed one of the tops  breaking clear of the cloud.  For the next half an hour we had some great views as the hills all started to shrug off their covering of cloud to leave everything bathed in a pale sunshine……it was looking good for the rest of the day.  On our previous visit in 2008 we’d tackled this hill via a steep rocky slope to the north of the hill that lead directly to the summit.  This time we headed into the big grassy corrie between the hills two main summits, and took a gentler route up.  It’s a fabulous  place with the steep rocky summits rising on two sides and a very big view east to mainly empty country and remote hills.   This grassy corrie was like an oven with the sun by this time, fairly blazing down and the hillsides protecting us from the breeze.

From the beallach at the top of the corrie, it’s a short and rather rocky little pull up the main summit but instead of heading there we decided to wander out to the western end of the hill where big cliffs fall down to the loch strewn moor-land below.  It’s a great place to sit for a while with many of the classic Assynt hills all around .   Our walk back from here not only took in the main summit but many little detours to look at some of the strange and beautiful rock formations caused by erosion of the flat beds of sandstone from which much of the upper section of the mountain is formed.  Indeed, much of the soil there is almost completely made up of sand …. you could be on a beach in places!

Suilvern from Cul Mor

Suilvern from Cul Mor

We normally get back from these May holidays a few pounds lighter but this year I think we may well have put some weight on …….we certainly ate out a few more times especially after finding a fantastic bistro in Lochinver that served really excellent food and beer.   They also made a wonderful range of pies which I managed to resist during the holiday only to find that they do a ‘Pies by post’ service …..so I may just have to order a couple next time we have something to celebrate.

Anyway, I’m back in my studio this week and starting to enjoy the painting again.  It’s always difficult after a break away but I’ve started a new 120 x 120 cm painting …..so not a bad start.

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