Thursday, 15 August – Torridon to Dingwall to Altnaharra B&B

Again, the next morning it was raining so we were not able to walk and take pictures are we’d hoped. In hopes of avoiding so many small roads we drove from Torridon almost all the way across Scotland to Dingwall where we stopped at a Tesco for some things. We found Tesco to be a convenient stop and got some things we’d forgotten or were running short of.

We saw what was probably a grey heron:

Then we stopped In Kinlochewe for a break and saw some birds, a female chaffinch and an immature robin:

Kinlochewe is at the south end of Loch Maree.

But we had to take small Scottish roads through the mountains again. While the scenery is spectacular, the roads are terrible: narrow, maybe one car width with passing zones.

As we drove into the RSPB Tollie Red Kite Reserve we first saw a murder of crows:

They were flying away from dozens of crows and seagulls picking over the newly plowed fields:

Then we spotted what we thought might be a red kite, which are being re-established in Scotland:

We arrived at the Red Kite Visitors Center:

Watched the birds at the feeders for a while and saw a blue tit and great tit at the same time, making for a good comparison:

Then we saw a bird land at the platform where the red kites are fed every day:

But we realized that the bird in the tree and this one were the same and it was a buzzard. He flew off and we didn’t see any red kites at the Tollie location.

We also saw a black bird:

And another, though he’d lost all the feathers on his head:

At another feeder, chaffinches, blue tits and two great tits:

As we drove on to Altnaharrah, we saw more Scottish scenery:

As far as we could see, Altnaharrah has two businesses, the Altnaharrah Inn and the B&B where we stayed.

After the Torridon Estate, the Altnaharrah B&B was quite a change. A very nice couple converted a three-bedroom house into the B&B. They live in a caravan (travel trailer) behind the house. We got the ground floor twin room, which was very tight for space, but the beds were comfortable, and the bathroom had a wonderful shower.

Although we (and another couple) had been unable to ask for dinner in advance, Mandy was able to prepare it for all six of their guests that night – a delicious chicken dinner. Breakfast the next morning was equally delicious – fresh and well prepared. Both meals were served family style around a single table.

Since none of the rooms were large, all the guests relaxed in the lounge and talked – about our various trips, and all sorts of subjects. The other guests were a couple from the Netherlands, and a man and his son who were cycling across Scotland to raise money for charity.

Our hosts kept birdfeeders out in their yard, and we got to watch many birds at it – mostly blue tits and chaffinches – and other birds around their yard:

Across the road, a herd of red deer waited for their evening meal – the farmer raises them for meat.

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