Driving to Durness
One of the reasons I wanted to visit the northern part of Scotland was because my latest book is set there. (Actually parts of the last three.) My Notorious Highlander takes place in June and July in the Durness and Assynt area, and I wanted to be sure I was getting the setting and climate correct. I've been to Scotland mostly when it's cold, windy and rainy, but I knew it had to be warmer in summer, right? Yes! :) It was a beautiful sunny day when we drove from Ullapool up to Durness. It was in the 60s or around 70 degrees.
Ardmair Beach looks out over Loch Kanaird and Isle Martin, to the right. Isle Martin is a nature reserve owned and managed by a charitable trust of the local community. A ferry transports visitors out in summer. Ardmair is a fishing village. You can see the peak of Ben Mor Coigach to the north (above.) Lots of visitors and tourists climb this mountain.
We stopped beside the road to view Stac Pollaidh (Anglicized to Stack Polly,) apparently from the Norse, Stakkr Polla which means "the pinnacle of the pool river." This is a really beautiful and interesting mountain, just over 2000 feet in height. We didn't get to walk to it but apparently there's a good path up most of it. I hope to go back and visit it one day! I love walking and hiking in Scotland, as long as it isn't too difficult. I've read that it's a three hour walk. It is said the views from up there are amazing. You need a beautiful, calm, warm day such as this to hike up a mountain.
|Ardvreck Castle on Loch Assynt|
|Here I am with Ardvreck Castle ruin and the incredible mountains behind me.|
|The two lane road and pull off with the mountains in the distance.|
Chief Torrin MacLeod vows to possess and wed the spirited lady who stole his heart the previous winter. But Lady Jessie MacKay wants naught to do with the dangerous warrior, no matter how devilishly handsome and charming he is. When Torrin arrives unexpectedly at Jessie's home, along with Gregor MacBain, a man Jessie was formerly handfasted to, she is thrown off-kilter. She never wanted to see either man again, but now they are vying for her hand. Torrin promises to protect her from the devious MacBain, but how can she trust Torrin when she has witnessed how lethal he is?
The more time Torrin spends with the strong and independent Jessie, the more determined he is to win her heart. Once she allows him a kiss, he feels her passion flame as hot as his own. After she knows Torrin better, Jessie finds herself falling for the fearsome Highlander. But the odds are stacked against them. The sinister MacBain is bent on kidnapping Jessie, making her his bride and killing Torrin, while Jessie's conniving younger brother, Haldane, is determined to use Jessie to take over the castle in his older brother's absence. Jessie fears she can never be with the man she loves, while Torrin will do everything in his power to ensure they are together forever. In his heart, she is the only lady for him.
Read Chapter One!