But as we boarded the Corran ferry for the five-minute crossing of Loch Linnhe, that was all about to change.
Beautiful spring sunshine had brought out the primroses, celandines and violets in the hedgerows, while the larches were just bursting forth in fresh tresses of green. Willow warblers were singing everywhere, and beside the single-track road Loch Sunart glimmered like a mirror, with barely a ripple disturbing the surface.
We didn’t really have a plan, unless you call “Let’s head west and see how far we get” a sensible kind of plan. And we certainly did get quite a long way west – about as far west as you can go on the British mainland, in fact. After about an hour of poodling we reached Sanna, where a short walk from a grassy car park brings you to one of Britain’s most divine beaches – on a fine day, that is.
Sanna faces west, out to the Atlantic, with nothing except sea between here and America. White-tipped waves were rolling slowly in but the tide was on the ebb, and the sand that it left behind was baking quickly in the hot sun. And it really was hot. We almost needed sun lotion. Almost.
Ardnamurchan has an extraordinary landscape, like nowhere we’ve been before, and the almost complete absence of trees hints at what lies in store in the winter. But yesterday we were lucky – it was one of those gentle days when the lochs and the sea take on the deepest shade of blue and the breeze feels like the breath of angels. When this happens in Scotland, it’s special. From a high point above Sanna, the islands of Eigg and Rum and the distant peaks of the Cuillins on Skye just seemed to be floating somewhere between heaven and Earth.
And yes, I did also find some fascinating historical – or prehistoric – sites. More for my to-do list on The Hazel Tree! I can’t wait to tell you about them.