Friday, 11 November 2011

The weather makes for interesting pictures. As I said in previous posts, we left Ullapool by 9 in the morning and drove out on the A835 and made only one or two brief stops to take in the view (believe me there are not many places where you can stop!) and yet, looking at the photos, one could be forgiven for thinking they'd been taken hours apart.
Not so. Today's batch are all taken in the stretch with Cul Beg and Cul Mor on the left and the vast cliff face of the Cromalt Hills on our right. Click to enlarge the picture and you may see the deer, but I doubt it!

The other thing about mountains is that they change shape. Not so much when walking, perhaps, but drive a few miles by car, look back and it's sometimes a struggle to recognise a single peak. Suilven is famous as a rounded hump on the eastern horizon when staring out from Lochinver. From this road, looking west, it presents a conical ridge and when we get further north, I'll be looking out for it.
At various places along the 835 it's possible to catch a glimpse of the old road winding off around an outcrop of rocks. Not wide enough to take one of today's cars, possibly wide enough for two people walking abreast, or more like a man walking beside his pack pony. It's a forlorn reminder of days gone by, and a shiver runs through me as I think of walking alone here a hundred years ago without a telephone, a car or any real map. I discovered the other day that travellers maps used to run in strips; a single road with way markers. No doubt you could roll it ip and put it in your pocket! Or maybe not. Flat packed in oiled canvas might be safer.
There's also admiration for the men who brave all weathers here to take electricity and telephone wires to isolated communities. Every now and then telegraph poles stalk across the tracts of swampy land and march straight up into the mountains, sometimes up the cliff face on our right. I wonder at the creatures who live up here, exposed to wind and rain even in summer, and icy blasts and snow in winter.

Stopping briefly, we look back the way we've come. From here to Ullapool isn't that far, as miles go; but in other ways, it's a whole different world.

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