So Many Butterflies

25/08/17

Last day and we stayed local, opting to explore some of the forest areas around Strontian. After a hearty breakfast of pancakes and jam, we set out to the nearby Ariundle Oakwood Nature Reserve.

Aside from getting caught in a heavy shower on the most exposed part of the walk, it was a glorious stroll through the woods and by the rushing river, and it’s really hard to describe the beauty and tranquility that embraces you out in the middle of nowhere. We saw plenty of butterflies, but it would seem you have to be lucky to see anything bigger or more exotic.

We stopped off in the Ariundle Cafe on our return to the car park, and it’s one of the more bizarre stops we’ve made. It’s definitely unique in appearance and practicality, and the service is super slow and relaxed. The toilets are like those in a personal home, complete with actual towels by the sinks as though it was their own personal bathroom. Still, any experience, no matter how strange, is still an experience.

Driving further out of town, we headed down a long and arduous road into the valleys towards Loch Shiel. You can find information about a length walk at the end of the trail with views overlooking the loch, but nowhere does it prepare you for the roller-coaster that lies ahead. Literally, that’s all I can think to compare that mountain road to. Granted, the views were lovely, as usual, but again it’s a route that should only be taken by experienced drivers.

Tomorrow’s the day we pack up our things and set off on the long road home, but if you’re planning to do a similar trip in the Scottish Highlands, on reflection I can say that the views and general atmosphere are quite simply stunning almost everywhere you turn, but the roads are narrow and sometimes obscure, things eventually get kind of samey, and there’s virtually no phone reception, so just make sure you come prepared for an adventure, complete with proper walking attire. It’ll do you a lot of favours. x

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