Trails and trials of the writer who walks
No prizes for guessing that deer are important to the economy of this area. Their turds are the size of wedding cakes and, in common with sheep, they would rather drop them on the tarmacked road than anywhere in the other thousands of acres at their disposal.
Inverie can only be accessed by ferry or on foot (but please read my earlier blogs before you attempt a pedestrian ingress!). There’s a tea room, a pub, a post office/shop and a population of around 70. Not unusually, this morning’s 9.30 ferry has been cancelled due to high winds. The small group of would-be passengers bond in the face of adversity and retreat together to the Pottery Café where ferry updates can be received by shouts across the counter when a proper old-fashioned telephone call comes in. No amount of Googling or standing on the table with your mobile facing Mecca will help here.
At lunchtime, a 12-passenger ferry arrives but the Inverie schoolchildren take priority , so it’s back to the café for those of us who didn’t get to the landing steps fast enough. I wonder how people do their shopping here?
“I phone the wee Co-op store in Mallaig,” an Inverie veteran called Jimmy tells me. “They send it over on the ferry.”
Indeed they do. From the next arrival, I watch locals take delivery of Co-op bags, prescription packages, Amazon parcels, two Pirelli tyres and a cat in a cage.
At Mallaig, they hold back the Fort William train to give ferry passengers time to get across to the station, but I’m stopping over at the Mission Bunkhouse where missionary position is perhaps the only way to survive a night on a thin sprung mattress. Mallaig has a passed-over undeveloped plainness, like an unfavoured sibling. Its surrounding mountains and beaches are overlooked gems.
So ends the great Cape Wrath adventure, in ignominious defeat. But I’ll be back!