Day 6 of our Holiday crept into my room and gently pulled back my covers - before smacking me on the backside and shouting 'Get up! It's a beautiful day!!'
And do you know what? It was! The clouds that had blanketed the sky yesterday like a brooding, grey blanket of misery were now broken up by large patches of sunshine. The peaks that commanded each and every view were repeatedly bathed in sunlight as clouds drifted past on the morning breeze. In our lodge, my four friends and I knew this was going to be a good day for walking. However, all was not Lemon Drizzle Cake with us - a Raspberry Trifle shaped cloud still lingered; the cloud of the perpetually damp walking boots!!
Yesterday, was a very wet day footwear wise. After walking through boggy ground in ferocious rain and wind, all of our boots were soaking wet inside and out. All except Jim's - who reportedly managed to keep his footwear bone dry (presumably by making some sort of pact with the devil which involves murdering us all in our sleep and drinking our blood in way of sacrifice) but no-one likes a smart arse, so we'll ignore his boots in this instance. And burn Jim at the stake for Satanism and general not niceness.
So the weather was suitable for walking, we wanted to go walking, but our boots were wet still from the day before. As we sat round the table in the dining room (the only time of the day we actually even go into that room) trying to work out an alternative activity, Leigh suggested that we do one of a few Forest walks that were in the surrounding area. Unfortunately, her suggestion fell on deaf ears. Well, you know how it is - if four blokes go on holiday with one girl, you know she is only there to look pretty and take the edge off the smell; no-one expects her to actually have ideas.
So you can understand why it took a while for her ever increasingly louder ideas to be actually understood by the four testosterone amoebas she was living with. Thankfully, Leigh's brother Ben had learned over many years that sometimes the strange sounds that came out of his Sister's mouth were worth listening to. Eventually, after an intricate exchange of symbols, sign language and a short puppet show, it was agreed that we would go on a forest walk.
We drove the half an hour drive to where the walk started. It was on a National Trust piece of land, on the edge of a loch. Sadly, due to budget cuts, there was no one to properly maintain the Gardens that the walk went through, so in places the Gardens were not looking their best. Dotted along the walk were Fire/Wife Beater stations, where the paddles used to beat out a forest fire (or to beat a wife if she was on fire - or for other reasons) were kept. Now however, no beaters were there. These days, if your wife or forest are on fire, you'll just have to improvise.
The walk was about 1 and a quarter miles long, and wound its way through the forest. There were various plants that definitely looked foreign in origin - some definitely had a healthy tan, and serious facial hair. Seriously though, some plants had massive leaves, and they didn't look like they were natives to this Country. It was interesting to see all these plants etc. and I took quite a few photos. On the second half half of the walk, we found our way down to the edge of the loch. The shore was covered with slate like rocks and outcroppings or layered rock that pushed its way out of the ground at what seemed to be almost 45 degree angles. I can't back that up, as I haven't had a protractor since I was 14 - you'll just have to trust me.
Jim was at the waters edge, laughing as his Satan-endorsed walking boots boiled the water that came within a foot of where he was standing. As he laughed, he skimmed stones across the loch's surface. Thankfully, although his footwear has demonic powers, Jim's arm has the dexterity of a boxing glove wearing baboon trying to get pickled onions out of a jar, and he was only able to get one or two skims out of the stones he was hurling clumsily out into the water. With purely the best intentions, I walked down to the waters edge to show Jim how it was done. Within a few throws - and much to Jim's bemused indignation - I had 'found my arm' and was getting 7, 8, and 9 skims with little or no effort. I could tell Jim was a little frustrated, so after skimming a stone for 10 skims, I dedicated the rest of my time to helping those less fortunate than myself - or Jim, as I like to call him.
With my guidance, Jim started getting more and more skims - 6, 7, 8. But time was getting on, so I decided to retire as undefeated champion. Jim however, was determined to beat me and stayed by the water, skimming stones furiously. I will admit that he was getting close to my record, but he hadn't beaten me. But then, Jim called on an 'Independent Adjudicator' - Cain - to verify his Skims. And surprise surprise, suddenly Jim had got more skims than me. From my viewpoint further up the shore I didn't think that Jim had beaten me - but Cain apparently gave the decision to Jim. What concerned me was the fact that as Jim celebrated, Cain (the Independent Adjudicator) was celebrating too. Something didn't smell right - and it wasn't the dog.
However, being the bigger man, I let Jim have his moment. I also put two rocks into his rucksack when he wasn't looking in the hope that he would have not realised and carry them back to the car, struggling confused under the extra weight. And I would have got away with it too, if it hadn't been for that pesky Ben, who was in on the joke but at the crucial moment couldn't keep a straight face.
We left the walk and drove a little way further down the road to the Kyle of Lochalsh to have a drink and get some provisions. We went to a hotel called Lochalsh Hotel (I think) and sat outside. I went into the hotel with Ben to get the drinks from the lounge bar, while Jim, Leigh, Cain and Jack waited outside. While I was ordering, a old man walked in and asked if the bar sold crisps. The staff politely told him no, but they did do nuts or had a bar menu he could look at. Well, the man reacted as if the staff had told him that his wife looked like a man, and his children could benefit from a paper bag over their faces. He could not believe that there were no crisps available (and said so in a loud and indignant voice), and stormed out. It really was pathetic to see. And funny.
After a brief pit stop in Co-Op to get more provisions (but not what we actually meant to buy) we headed back home - pausing briefly to stop by the roadside to risk life and limb to take a photo of yet another amazing view. Oh, we also stopped by the loch where we were staying to take pictures of the 5 Sisters - a Swedish all girl pole dancing troupe who were staying in the lodge next door. Or they are a range of 5 peaks visible from where we are staying. I forget which.
And now we are home, having our individual selections of dinner. I haven't had mine yet (Soup and a Roll), but will do so as soon as I have finished typing this. Hopefully tomorrow's weather will be as good as today's (which was fabulous all day, in case I haven't mentioned it before), and hopefully our walking boots will be dry.
It has been another great day on this holiday. Tomorrow will continue this theme I am sure.