News From the Road
End of Day Nine, Day Ten & Into Day Eleven


Part Six - Written by Nick Taylor
Coach Owner & Driver

Last blog on the mainland of Scotland

"We stop for the night in Durness at the Lazy Crofter Bunkhouse.  The accommodation was fine but I am getting too old for 8 bunk beds in one room - I am missing my bed at home.  Not far away we manage to have a seafood supper at the Whales Tail Restaurant. This was welcome and excellent (we hope they take our advice and use butter and not margarine though).  Frankly it was a poor nights sleep and I am feeling a little jaded.  This may be due to the steady relinquishing of my responsibility for the lovely old coach.   

The next morning is fine and for once warmer.  There is nowhere for breakfast so we travel on thinking there will be somewhere soon.  I thought the north coast of Scotland was supposed to be a little boring but the landscape doesn't disappoint.  A few Aston Martins pass the other way and we are still getting lots of smiles per hour.  Funny how you get used to Scottish breakfasts every morning and the lack of anywhere to eat is gaining focus.  "We could die out here and no one would know"  "Old coach discovered in the wilds of Scotland surrounded by 9 skeletons" is another comment.  We arrive at the small community of Tongue and enquire at a hotel, the Ben Loyal. Despite being a little later than their scheduled breakfast time, we are welcomed.  The breakfast and the view is just wonderful. A few of us walk up to the castle ruin on a hill opposite the hotel.  This is as good as anywhere we have been.  When we get back to the coach, the lady cyclists are there.  This time we show them the coach and share stories.  The shy and retiring John gets kissed by two of them.  I was a bit slow there.  I reflect on the fact that our progress each day is closely matched and that back in the day of the early 1950's coach transport was slow.  Thank you ladies for making this fun.  

We meet up with a few car enthusiasts at Thurso in the afternoon before setting off for our overnight stay with Dan and Dolina Mackenzie in Barrock.  A very warm welcome and Dan shows us his 1990 Peterbilt 379. For the uninitiated this is a huge American Truck only this one has more chrome, lights and fancy paintwork than The Sunset Strip in Las Vagas.  My grandsons want me to buy an old ice cream van and for a moment I wonder if I put a chest freezer on the back, would this qualify? 

The team are beginning to feel weary and ailments are surfacing.  HGE219 sails on untroubled.  Can you be proud of an inanimate object?  This is debated and our conclusion is yes.  We are so proud of this beautiful old coach that has so far brought us 1,100 miles without a hint of trouble.  I love her to bits and although sad to see her go I know without a shadow of doubt that this was the right decision.  She will soon be home.  I write this on the ferry to the Orkneys aware that control and responsibility is slipping away from me."