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Gale Force Winds, Downed Trees and Mudslides – Oh MY!

     I know now that I picked the best day to go out on the ferry to Harris/Lewis yesterday/Monday — because today/Tuesday a strong low pressure system came off the north Atlantic bringing gale force winds to much of north and western Scotland. I left Skye during the worst of it and fought to keep the little car on the road all the way to Inverness! 

    I’m beginning to think it’s me bringing this to Scotland! By the time I crossed the bridge from Skye and approached Eilean Donan Castle (only going past it this time), here’s what the water looked like:

Waters of Loch Alsh!

Waters of Loch Alsh!

      These gales took down trees (right in front of me on A877 — the bus ahead stopped just in time and the guys on the bus managed to get most of the limbs off the road so traffic could pass!), caused a mudslide on A83 near Inverary (where I’d driven just days before!) and made driving even more of a challenge. But I made it to Inverness, passing Urquhart Castle on my way —

Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness

Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness

 Can you see the whitecaps in the background from the winds? Oh yeah!

    But today dawned beautiful and clear and sunny and warm, so back in my car I climbed and headed for the remote NW corner of Scotland. Durness and Smoo Cave were my destinations, traveling out to Ullapool and then north through Scourie and up to Durness. The best part, THE VERY BEST PART, was actually traveling through the area where the heroine of my December book, A STORM OF PASSION, lived and where the book opens. Quinag is a 2300+ feet high mountain on the Assynt peninsula, very dramatic against the sky as I drove past on my way north — Moira would have seen this everyday —

Quinag in the distance!

Quinag in the distance!

      I was heading to Smoo Cave to research a cave location for the second book in the Brava trilogy (A STORM OF PLEASURE, Oct. 2010) and wow was the cave impressive! They actually do boat tours back into the depths of the cave, but because of the high winds and heavy rains yesterday, it was too dangerous today. But I walked inside and got exactly the sensations of sounds and dampness and darkness that I needed to feel for the story…. Here’s a peek:

I have to walk down-where?! The path down to Smoo Cave!

I have to walk down-where?! The path down to Smoo Cave!

 

Entrance to Smoo Cave

Entrance to Smoo Cave

    The cave was created by both the sea and by a river — the rushing water of the river enters by a waterfall, crashing into the back of the cave and through it, out to the North Atlantic Ocean. If you climb back up (and make it!) and cross the street you can see ‘blowholes’ in the field that open into the cave — like this one:

'Blow-hole' from Smoo Cave

'Blow-hole' from Smoo Cave

 

      I drove back to Inverness a different way — all along Loch Shin and through Lairgs and the views were very different. The road is lower, following the lochs through the glens and I drove for miles without seeing another car! Here’s one view of  Loch Shin —

Loch Shin

Loch Shin

 

     So, whew, I am tired tonight — it’s 10:30pm here and I am getting tired. Tomorrow?  Culloden in the morning and a concert in the evening — Dougie MacLean, whose ‘Caledonia’ is a wonderful tribute to Scotland, is appearing here in Inverness and I got a ticket! I listen to much of his music while writing, so I am excited to be seeing him in person…

     Gosh, this trip is turning out to be so much better than I ever hoped — I was getting panicky in the last days before I left about being on my own and driving and all kinds of worries about traveling solo, but  so far, it’s been a wonderful experience…..I’m glad I tried it…!

 

Terri

5 thoughts on “Gale Force Winds, Downed Trees and Mudslides – Oh MY!”

  1. Bonnie says:

    OMG…I wouldn’t have gotten on an ferry with the water like that! I’m so proud of you. Pix are coming through great. So sorry I am missing this trip…even with the weather. Remember when we thought the wind at St. Andrew’s was bad? These pix look a lot worse. Glad you are still enjoying yourself. Enjoy.

  2. Lexi Connor says:

    I’m loving your trip (although I still wish I were with you instead of just reading about it!)!!

  3. Penney Wilfort says:

    Thank you Terri for posting the pictures I love it, have fun
    Penney

  4. Carol L. says:

    The pics and info are great Terri. God Bless you that you drove with all that rain and those mud slides.It’s great reading about all you’re seeing in Scotland.
    Carol L.

  5. Kiersten says:

    I LOVE Dougie Maclean and I ADORE Caledonia ever since I first heard both in college. It’s on the soundtrack for my WIP, though not Dougie’s version b/c that’s not on itunes and Lord knows where that old cassette from college is now.

    Am very JEALOUS that you got to see him live BUT I hope you had a great time!

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