Holiday booking – May 2011

On Cul Mor, Assynt

On Cul Mor, Assynt

I was talking with my partner yesterday evening about the various commitments I have for 2011. Despite it being some time away I already have a number of things lined up. In February I have a solo show of work at the Strathearn Gallery in Creiff …it’s a big space and will take a lot of filling – around 45 pieces of work apparently. Later, in the autumn, I’ve been invited to show work as part of the 2011 Dundee Mountain Film Festival. This runs for one weekend but each year they invite one artist and one photographer to show a selection of their work as part of the festival. At some stage next year, possibly in August, I’ve been invited to show work in a group exhibition at the Queens Gallery in Dundee. So then, as I say, I have a few things lined up ….and no holiday booked! As I’ve said in past blogs, we normally go away for the first two weeks in May and so, not as to miss out, we decided to book a place well ahead ….otherwise I’ll agree to something and we’ll miss our spring trip to the Highlands!

´From the summit, Ben Stack'

´From the summit, Ben Stack'

I think I must be getting old because in the past we always used to go somewhere different each year. Back in 2006 however we ventured north to Assynt for the first time ….and fell in love with the place. We went back the following year and then again last year. Guess what? We’re booking again for 2011! The thing is, it’s not just the stunning landscape, the beautiful spring colours, the magnificent wildlife and the friendly welcome everywhere, it’s also that we’ve found the most idyllic little place in which to stay. Being walkers, we like to get out early and arrive back late …and so we’re not really hotel or B&B people ….we like to self cater and then we can do exactly what we want to do at the time we want to do it. In 2006 we were looking for just such a place, either a cottage or static caravan ….and while Nita was trawling through the web pages she came across one advertising ‘Hill head Caravans’ in Achmelvich on the coast just north of Lochinver. It sounded perfect – a small group of vans set just back from a beautiful sandy beach …and just four miles from Lochinver. Well to call it perfect is an understatement. When we arrived that first holiday we couldn’t really believe quite what we’d found. You get to Achmelvich on a small single track road with stunning views down to a little sea loch below and bigger views across to the Assynt peaks. The wee road winds its way down to the community of Achmelvich. Maysie and Durrant MacLeod, the owners of the small site, were so friendly on our arrival and the vans were spotless, set just five minutes from the beach. In early May it was fairly quite here and when we set eyes on the beautiful curving white sands of the beach …there was hardly anyone else on it …just numerous birds and an odd seal bobbing about in the bay …wow, what a place to stay for two weeks.

'Suilven from Canisp, Assynt'

'Suilven from Canisp, Assynt'

We were lucky the first year there, the weather was very kind to us, it being hot and sunny and dry most of the time. We had wonderful days walking and exploring some of the famous Assynt hills, Canisp, Suilven, Conival and Quinag and spent less active days wandering along the rocky coastline or just sitting enjoying the peace and quiet of Achmelvich.

In the end then, it’s hardly surprising that we went back two more times …there’s hills a plenty and peace and quiet enough to un-wrangle the most stressed out brain. Here is to May 2011 and another bit of pure Scottish magic.

For more information click Hillhead in Achmelcich, Assynt.

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