My notebook is now sprinkled with phone numbers and flight information, but we’re no nearer to knowing how we’re going to get away from this remote corner of the British Isles. It’s not that we haven’t enjoyed our time away here, but enough is enough. We want to leave.

The ferry journey back to Ullapool seems interminable. When we finally arrive, we make our way to the car, where we try to discuss our options civilly while not in the best of moods. We decide to try the tourist office and end up spending over an hour while an overworked assistant takes time from helping other customers to try and sort us out. All the options turn out to be very expensive, and so we choose the most convenient one – a flight from Inverness to Gatwick tomorrow morning. As we thank the assistant for her help, she gives us a word of warning: “When you drive to the airport, look out for the deer.”

In the evening, standing outside in the cold by the road (because there’s no reception for the phone in the house), D manages to book a later flight home. Adding up the prices of all the flights, the car and the hotel, he calculates that the cancelled ferry has cost us about £600.

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The three-hour ferry ride from Ullapool to Stornaway is uneventful. We have a look around Stornaway while waiting for the bus to Eoropie. Eventually, the bus leaves the “big” metropolis and weaves its way to the northern tip of the island. As we go, I look out of the window hoping to see B&B signs. I see none. And only one hotel, which isn’t very near to the place where we want to start our walk tomorrow. D doesn’t seem at all worried. I don’t know why not.

On arrival, we visit an ancient church built some time between the late 12th century and the early 16th century. To get to the church we walk along a path, past a man and his dog cutting a hedge. Actually, I think the man was doing most of the work. On our way back, we see the man loading his cutting machine and dog into a van. I go up to him and ask if there’s anywhere to stay in the area. Was that brave of me? I’m better with strangers. The man recommends a place nearby. We chat to the man about the walk we’re planning for tomorrow, the weather and so on. Then we walk to the lighthouse and on past the cemetery, back to the road and on to the B&B.

True enough, there’s a house with a B&B sign, exactly as the man described. How wonderful! Or not. We approach the house full of hope. D says, “Do you really do bed and breakfast?”

“Oh no,” says the lady. We don’t do that any more. We wonder why the sign is still there. She phones the only other B&B in the area, two miles away. “Can you walk that?” she asks. “Oh yes,” we say happily in unison, but that place turns out to be full. I have visions of sleeping outside in a field. (Remember this is northern Scotland and it’s none too warm.) Then the nice lady, for such she has become, says she and her husband are willing to put us up anyway. Now this really is wonderful. We wait while they prepare the room, and then go in to find a luxurious and spotlessly clean room with an en suite bathroom. We slide in between the sheets covering a soft mattress, lay our heads on soft, welcoming pillows and sleep soundly. Our dreams possibly touch on the long and isolated walk we plan to do tomorrow, but certainly don’t reflect the calamity that is about to befall us.