Behind the main road to Mallaig, between the small settlements of Arisaig and Morar, lies a small back road.
It twists and turns, taking you up over hill brows, surprising you with sudden spectacular views out to islands of the Inner Hebrides, and snaking round bends, between crofts and holiday homes, with sedate sheep dotting the landscape as you continue on.
But not much further, and you come to a camp site that is close to my heart:
A glorious site, right on the beach, yet sheltered, welcoming, fortifying, restorative.
Years ago, the friendly owner, chatting and smiling, directing us to the “romantic spot” – perfect for a tiny tent – a tiny pitch, tucked behind a sand dune, with uninterrupted views out the islands of Eigg, Rum, and Skye beyond to the north.
It was a clear and warm summers day the first time we were here, and no sooner as the tent was pitched, we donned our swim suits, and we were laughing and dancing about in the sea.
Clear water sparkling in the sunshine, white sandy beach, gleaming and glittering.
This year, Skye called us again – the beginning of our journey through the Hebrides.
So of course we headed straight for Silver Sands – apart from our enchanting memories tempting us back, the location is also extremely handy for catching the early morning ferry from Mallaig.
Most of the drive up from Fife we discussed the chances that the same pitch might still be there for us.
We hoped for the good weather to continue, we eagerly anticipated that mad dash into the water, the first dip of the year.
A long drive later, turning up at late in the evening, we knew our chances were not fantastic. The same friendly owner, beckoning us over, asking what kind of pitch we require – for a tent, something small and romantic, perhaps, or a big spot near the facilities?
In unison we both shouted “the romantic spot” – the elation evident in our voices, and the owners beaming face – had we heard of this before?
We explained as we made our way over that this is our favourite camp spot in the whole world, gratitude thick in our voices. The tide in this time, the sun low in the sky.
And there we made our pitch. Even though it was too chilly for a swim, we were pleased as punch to be back.
Setting the stove on the dune, we cooked our evening meal, relishing every moment and every bite.
Still enough light to play down by the shore as the sun set over Skye, bathing the sea, the islands, our campsite and fellow campers in the warm reds and golds of the evening light.
This is bliss. This is freedom. This is what nourishes the soul.
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