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Vicki Butler-Henderson: Exploring the joys of Highland driving

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Sometimes you won’t have travelled to a place for ages, be it a country or a country road, and you end up visiting it again shortly afterwards. And then again.

It’s one of life’s wonderful quirks. I hadn’t been to the Anglesey race track, just off the coast of Wales, for about a year and a half.

And then, in the space of one month, I’d been to the picturesque circuit on three separate occasions.

Another magnet for me seems to be the North Coast 500. No sooner had it been in my rear view mirror after filming for the most recent Fifth Gear series, but I was back again for another project.

The Torridon luxury hotel.

And to the very same car park where I’d brewed a cup of tea using electricity from the Hyundai Ioniq 5 we were testing.

That happened towards the end of last year when it was drizzling non-stop and getting dark.

My fellow presenter, Rory Reid, and I had stopped to recharge the car, and ourselves with our own-brewed cuppa.

We were in the car park of the Bo & Muc Brasserie (kindly translated for me to “pig & cow”) in Torridon, by Achnasheen.

What I did not know then was that, along with Highland cattle grazing next door, there was a boutique luxury hotel set in 58 acres of parkland perched right next to a sea loch!

Beauty spot of Loch Maree from Glen Docherty.

I surprisingly discovered all of this on my return trip, as well as the breath-taking views of snow-covered mountains surrounding it all.

During the revisit, I also explored some of the scenery on two wheels thanks to my first taste of proper mountain-biking, including some inclines which proved too steep for my limited pedalling skills.

So it was not only a treat, but very welcome relief, to stop and take in the fabulous smells, sounds and sights – including a captivating buzzard at home in the surrounding trees.

It was a revelation to come back to a place that revealed so much more about itself at every turn.

Glen Docherty on the NC500. Photograph by North Coast 500 Ltd.

And if all of that was not enough to make me want to return to that very car park (plus surrounding area!) and the NC500 in other seasons, then the winter wonderland of the beauty spot of Loch Maree from Glen Docherty, sealed the deal.

My sturdy set of wheels for the trip this time was a trusty Porsche Cayenne GTS – so that’s petrol power now added to the previous plug power – and maybe I should tackle it with pedal power next time?

You Tube: The CAR Girl Vicki Butler-Henderson
Twitter: @vb_h
Instagram: vickibutlerhenderson

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