When preparing for a wedding, the first thing you want to do is get rid of your kids! Bring on the Grandparents!
Whoop, whoop Noni, Lou and John are spending a week with us in Scotland so we hired a cottage on Rhue peninsula, just a few miles outside of Ullapool, for them all to share. We stayed a couple of minutes away in a B&B, allowing us to be close by for the first few days then head to Ullapool to party child-free when our guests arrived. It was a winning solution!
Get your ‘nockers’ out
The cottage – Seascape – was an amazing find that ticked every box; just 3 miles to shops and restaurants but a million miles in terms of atmosphere. It felt remote and cosy, with a big window looking out over nothing but the sea, mountains and Rhue lighthouse. It had easy access to the beach (although not quite the amazing beaches of Kinlochbervie and Cape Wrath), rock pools and fishing spots – it was a paradise for nature-lovers and ideal for the Grandparents and kids for a week. We had our ‘nockers’ or ‘bins’ (or, as most people call them, binoculars) at the ready and spotted buzzards, seals, all sorts of smaller birds. The kids did not ask to watch television all week.
Where we walked: Rhue
This was a super easy ‘potter about’ kind of walk for everyone from kids to grandparents. From Ullapool, follow signs to Rhue – just a few miles outside of town.
Drive to the end of the track and park up in the car parking area (watch out for stray sheep!)
Pick your way down to the beach and skim stones or boulder jump across the headland (you can walk higher if you are scared of slipping) to the lighthouse.
You can walk further around the headland but it was a bit boggy when we were there. Very pretty though.
There is nowhere for food and drink on Rhue so take it with you!
Cheeseboard for breakfast
If you find you are in that part of the world, Suilven Vegetarian B&B is a fantastic place to stay. In part this is for all the reasons Seascape was a great find – Rhue is a fab spot – but Barry and Irene have designed and built their house themselves and it was beautifully cosy whilst architecturally making the best use of space and location. There are big windows on the mezzanine that look out to Loch Broom (from where they have spotted whales) and they have kept the whole upstairs open plan so that you can look out at views in every direction: mountains, sheep, water – it’s all there for you.
Barry served the most incredible breakfast of homemade yoghurt and jams, fruit, freshly baked soda bread and a veggie cheeseboard with locally made oatcakes. I love a cheeseboard but had never had one for breakfast… turns out it works. Watch out waistline as I’m swapping weetabix for slabs of Cornish yarg and Scottish blue!
When Irene heard it was our wedding, out came the champagne and our family was invited in to share a glass (my mum) and play with the cats (the boys!). We almost always self cater and what I loved about the b&b was the chance to chat to locals. Barry and Irene are bird lovers, mountain and nature enthusiasts and both owners of flocks of sheep, so it was fascinating to talk to them about the area – we jumped from tractor rallying in Skye to the perils of prawn boat fishing.
Taking the Grandparents for a spin around the Coigach
This was our second trip to this part of Scotland – we came up in January for a recce, staying in Lochinver. While we there we drove to the Coigach Penisula and were blown away by how beautiful and desolate it was. We decided to take the team for a visit as from Ullapool it also meant we could drive past Stac Polly – Saturday’s spot for the wedding – and check out timings and parking.
The Achnahaird Beach was a good kids walk – a narrow, long strip of sand with plenty of stones and shells to collect (and subsequently empty from Soren’s pockets – he is our hoarder and is regularly stopped by airport scanners or is the cause of a clogged up the washing machine. This time I found a whole crab claw in his coat!)
Where we walked
To reach the beach, drive to the Coigach Peninsula and take the right turn towards ‘the beach’ and Am Fuaran Bar.
Drive past the beach and you’ll spot a turning to the parking area.
It’s an easy walk to the beach with some mini dunes.
Watch out for muddy / sinking sand – sometimes this area can be more of a knee-high wade.
Remote bars are brilliant
When you leave the beach, take the route to the right and drive round the headland to the Am Fuaran bar. It’s a gorgeous spot and as you round the tip the view of the Summer Isles is car-swervingly good. It’s lucky it’s such a quiet road or this would be a crash hotspot as people drift around mesmerised by what’s in front of them.
The Am Fuaran is nothing exciting on the outside but it is the epitome of an old pub inside – dark wood panels, fireplaces and various ancient tools on the wall. A surprisingly good butternut squash soup was on the menu for lunch – maybe it was just me but this place felt so remote and old-fashioned, I was transported back to the days when lasagne sounded exotic and all pub food was beige and accompanied by chips! Of course, chips were on the menu, which is good because, let’s face it, we all secretly want them!
Happy kids, happy grandparents, happy us.