Back to civilisation.

The woman in the tourist office did well to warn us about the deer. Many of them are caught in our headlights as we hurtle along the road towards Inverness at an unearthly hour of the morning. Fortunately, D spots every one. They don’t seem particularly scared. I think the driver is more scared. But he drives very well, leaving me time to remember that, in our hurry this morning, we forgot to take the shortbread that was left over, and to worry that the petrol will run out. We pass only one petrol station on the way, at Ullapool, and that’s closed.

We’re met at Gatwick by M1 and her husband, who have driven for two hours on a Sunday morning to compensate us – well, me actually – for our recent troubles. How wonderful! Here, as I kiss D goodbye, begins the second part of my trip.

The first difference I notice, as I get out of the car after the pleasant two-hour drive to M1’s house, is that it’s much warmer here. We have drinks outside in their garden, marred only by several unwanted buzzing guests. After a delicious lunch made by M1’s husband (I’m not jealous of her even though he makes all the meals … well, not much), M1 takes me to a lovely place where we walk around the grounds. Unfortunately, I fail to write down the name of it. But I do note how nice it is to be able to be online again after Achiltibuie, where even phone connections were problematic.

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