The two busloads of Austrian tourists were already well into the provided breakfast before we sat down to ours. After our simple meal we loaded up the Alfasud and set off leaving Thor’s River behind and in 10 minutes we were at our first stop; St Mary’s Chapel build in the 1100s, is a very small ruin set on the cliffside coast surrounded by hundreds of sheep within a large rugged grazing field. A stone wall surrounds the tiny stone building making its graveyard the only area not covered in sheep poo. Nico found the stampedes of sheep that ran away from him incredible and would have loved to chase them, probably off the nearby cliff.
Back on the narrow undulating road heading west through rough and rock strewn terrain, our next stop was a surprise; COAST Coffee,Tea & Treats is a converted horse trailer set up at the end of a driveway serving excellent expresso drinks via a high end Italian espresso machine and home baked treats. With the possibility of not having a real coffee again for the rest of the day we stopped in.
Any signs of civilization are few along this stretch of road and with our gas at 1/2 we noticed two fuel pumps next to a general store and filled up.
The balance of the drive was stunning views seen via an almost nonexistent road. Just about one lane wide with rocks and holes as a shoulder, one has to pace passing oncoming tourist traffic (mostly Dutch drivers towing their homes behind) with the scattered passing spots. These spots are often paved but are small and hardly give you and the other car space to pass. This seemingly endless dance of matching the passing spots with the speed of the oncoming cars impedes viewing the beautiful vistas. Even with the amazing natural sites free from any signs of human intervention , the drive becomes tedious and exhausting. Soon we were on the cutoff that made our drive 250 miles rather then the promoted 500. Eventually the roadway widened to two lanes. It was a relief to be able to have a lane to oneself.
Back in civilization, not far from Inverness, we stopped at the large Black Isle Brewing Co and picked up some beers to try later. An hour later we were back to Glenlivet.