NEW : See my campaign to establish a National Coastal Path here
I had parked the previous evening in a car park high above the Aultbea overlooking Loch Ewe. Below me there were large circular fuel tanks belonging to the MOD which I believe might be used to store submarine fuel. Loch Ewe was used in the second world war as an important strategic stop off for the North Atlantic convoy, and there are lots of informative signs around the Loch about this.
I walked around the southern end of the loch and stopped briefly at Inverewe gardens. However I only wanted a quick coffee, but the queues from the various coach tours put me off and I decided to carry on walking. I have been to the gardens before, but now they were an essential drop off point for the various national and international coach tours. The only way I will ever go on a coach tour would be if I was bundled on under general anaesthetic. Sorry I dont see the attraction – and judging by the faces of those who are on them, they dont either. I accept that it is an affordable way to have a holiday but its not my thing.
Anyway, I stopped off at a local small coffee shop at Poolewe and recharged my batteries. The road to Cove wound its way along the side of Loch Ewe and I eventually came to the beautiful Firemore beach at Mellangaun. It had a lovely view, sand dunes and was best of all – it was quiet. I spent the night there as it was possible to drive the van onto the area just behind the beach. Finding a convenient place to spend the night takes up a significant amount of time. Many of the lay-bys have “No Overnight Parking” signs displayed – for no real reason that I could see. The Highlands and Islands of Scotland relies on tourism and yet the local councils seem determined to dissuade campervans from staying anywhere other than on official camp sites which are few and far between. Modern campervans have gas heating, electricity, hot showers and built-in toilet facilities. So why on earth would I want to pay £12 just to park for the night? I have seen hundreds of campervans and motorhomes this year, and quite frankly there isnt enough B&B and hotel accommodation to go round. I cant see why it wouldnt be possible for the local councils just to provide a simple area with a tarmac surface and maybe a water stand pipe to fill up water tanks with. Also, motorhomes do not cause miles and miles of traffic tailbacks that caravans do, and as I said before the popularity of this kind of holiday seems to be growing. It seems a no brainer to me to provide simple facilities that would cost next to nothing, but then perhaps the Scottish Tourist boad or whatever they call themselves these days are only interested in those that can afford to stay at Gleneagles.