It is essential to be there at 10:45am. We had packed up our belongings and stored them in the car. The day was tragic- cold, windy, wet. Not to be deterred we set off. Google said it was just twenty-five minutes to the viewpoint. We had plenty of time. As we rounded the tree covered turnoff into the carpark we were totally gobsmacked. I don’t know why but we were expecting a little siding where we could get a bit of a peek. No…this is a money-making venture- we were early and there were already hundreds of cars. £3 and you can park all day!!! Sue was thrilled that she worked out the machine. I was thinking we would only be there for twenty minutes!!!
Cath, Sue’s friend, had given us the heads-up. Just as we stepped out of the car the rain stopped. When we reached our selected viewing point the sun began to peek out. I kept telling Sue that the Sun was missing us and determined to find us at every location. She did-Sun that is. Then we heard the haunting sound of the whistle. The crowd went quiet. Then, through the pass she came- The Hogwarts Express – tooting and puffing and making a wonderful entrance. Phones came to life and recorded the moment. I felt all emotional. I had to ring my sister and share. She was just as excited. Sometimes travel really hits that spot in your heart.
It was Mother’s Day and of course we had contacted our children and decided to treat ourselves to a lovely lunch. We had booked Crannog, because you have to. Sue had the best mussels she had ever had and then we both had salmon on a bed of chargrilled octopus and chorizo accompanied by a bottle of Prosecco. The waiter was telling us that the mussels were amazing because of the way they were cooked. We looked at her with that ‘yeah right’ look which inspired her to qualify. They are boiled of course but then soaked in the sauce for two hours at temperature. OK that will do it. They were tender, succulent and full of flavour. A wonderful culinary experience.
The following day we were off to Dornoch but on the way we planned to do a little gondola trip. Again, we woke to a bleak day-cold and went. Seeing we were going up a mountain we put on plenty of clothes including gloves, and headwear. Mine was particularly charming but it definitely kept me warm. We arrived at the station almost an hour early and fortunately the café was open so we sat and watched the rain and drank our coffee hoping the weather would improve. We were resolved to take the gondola regardless and do a little walk at the top.
The moment we climbed into the gondola the rain eased and by the time we reached the top the sun smiled and greeted us. She had found us again. Yea!!! We climbed the path to the viewing spot and every slippery, rocky, unstable step I was so grateful to John, for convincing me to buy my shoes – ladies golf shoes. They were perfect. We asked a fellow to take our picture. It was then that we discovered that we were not on Ben Nevis- it was one of the Munros further over, but we were on the Nevis Range. Spook was his name and he told us all about the World Cup Downhill Mountain Bike race held in August. Sue messaged her son-in-law whose reply was that Fort Bill was brutal and the warning signs attested that.