UK Detour: Day 14, Ullapool

Mike, Liverpool Liz, and Jean-Marc consumed a bottle of wine each the night we arrived, owing to good spirits and good friends. The result of this meant our subject wasn’t in top form to be filmed or interviewed, so we spent the day location scouting in nearby towns instead. This included Achiltibuie, which had a post office about the size of my bedroom, open only from 9:00am–12:30pm. Not that Ullapool itself is much bigger, at around 1200 inhabitants. The air here is wonderful.

I got to use Mike’s beautiful little Canon EF 35mm f/1.4 L prime, which is a lens I’d never buy for myself, or even considered using before because the focal length is between where I like to be. But it’s perfect for landscapes and tack sharp.


The view from the back porch of Jean-Marc’s rustic house, nestled on the edge of Ullapool. A great thing to wake up to.


I’d wanted to try Marmite for years now, but never took the plunge to commit myself to an entire bottle of the yeast extract (as small as they are) in case I didn’t like it; it’s the only condiment I know that has the reputation of polarizing people into loving it or hating it. When I told Mike that I’d never tried Marmite, he said I was probably better off for it, but that I didn’t dampen my desire to try.

It tastes like what I imagine soya sauce tastes like when it goes bad, the water evaporates, and forms mould: a super salty, bitter paste. I put some on two slices of bread, both with and without butter, as I was told the butter should prevent the taste from hitting me too hard, but I couldn’t tell the difference. The Marmite far overpowered else. Certainly an acquired taste that I wouldn’t mind trying again…in 15 years.

large pond

Looking for “winkles”, short for the common periwinkle, a type of edible sea snail found under rock and foliage.

old gas pumps

These old gas pumps were found on the edge of town. I guess the town decided that they weren’t going to use them anymore, so they just left them abandoned instead of tearing them down. Not like they’re short on space around here.

black highland cow


drink and chips

Hair of the dog. For me, a half-pint of bitters. The construction workers would stop by and grab a pint. I thought it was cause they were off work, but they were just coming in whenever they were thirsty in the middle of their job.

Also, a bag of “Bacon Flavoured Fries”, which is sort of like sour cream and bacon Ruffles, packaged into a small bag as pub fare.

large pond 3


large pond


road to Achiltibuie 2


mountain view 1


mountain view 2


mountain view 3


mountain view 4


mountain view 5

At the top of this little mountain (marked by the concrete block that isn’t visible from the bottom). The little black square on the road at the base of the tower is the Range Rover. It didn’t look like a tall climb, but at such an angle you tend to get really tired. Also, when you’re up this high, it’s very windy and cold, which makes for very difficult photography (and is also why I’m wearing my hood).

brown highland cow



I can’t figure out what the fuck kind of animal would poop pellets so small, yet in piles so big.

small pond


road to Achiltibuie

There were lots of single-lane roads here, with extra slabs of concrete at certain intervals so one direction can pull to the side. And just as often is a wave from the other driver.

Europe 2010 travel diaries


  1. Photos 8 and 10 are totally postcard amazing…. this has only whetted my interest in going.

    I was at a Highland games once with hairy creatures like that. The lady told me they were “Heeland Coos”. : D I love Scots accents.

    • I never thought I’d see this kind of scenery in Scotland. I was more interested in the people, the culture, and the food. Not that I’d be any less amazed, had I expected it.

      And yes, the Scottish accent has to be one of the sexiest out there.

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