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  • Scotland. May 2014. Part 12.

    May 23rd.

    Left site 0845hrs, bound for Woodstock, Oxfordshire. The last point of the trip before home. Made a small diversion to visit

    http://www.studybed.co.uk

    at Thame. Glad we did, the perfect product for our spare room at home.
    Then on we went to Woodtock CC site. Arrived 1425.

    Reception, Woodstock CC Site.

    After setting up took a walk into the village, a couple of beers later, walked back to site in pouring rain. Spent the evening with tv and rain drumming on the roof.

    May 24th.

    Surprise, it was still tipping down. Walked to "Blenheim Palace", virtually next door to the site.

    Blenheim Palace.

    By staying on the CC site you get a very good discount on admission. Like most stately homes there is lots of luxury to look at,

    Dinner Table, Blenheim Palace.

    sadly the table wasn't laid for us. We wondered if Queen Anne had dined at it.

    Queen Anne, Blenheim Palace.

    Or even Winston,

    Winston Churchill, Bust.

    I'm sure if he did, there would have been plenty of alcohol and cigars. Any way for us it was a pleasant way to pass the last day before going home.

    May 25th.

    A dry sunny day, left site 0915 hrs uneventful drive and arrived at the storage 1215 hrs.
    This concludes the tour.

    Scotland Tour May 2014.

    The map gives a rough outline of the route.

  • Scotland. May 2014. Part 11.

    No longer Scotland, but living in the SE of England we like to make stops so as not too long on the road.

    22nd May.

    What a difference a day makes, pouring with rain as we left Barnard Castle. Left site 0830hrs. Destination Castleton in the Peak District. Fairly easy journey, rain stopped as we passed through Sheffield. Arrived at Castleton CC site 1130hrs. Nice site and being quiet we had a good choice of pitches. piched up then took a walk. Passed through the town and up the hill to visit Speedwell Cavern.

    Speedwell Cavern.

    An interesting visit. you go down many steps to an underground river, here you board a small electric boat operated by a guide. Then taken along the old mine workings stopping in a side tunnel half way, to allow the previous tour to pass on it's way back. Very interesting place but dark and wet so didn't have any pics. Back to the start then all those steps to climb back to the surface. Much puffed walked back into town. There we visited Blue John Cavern,

    Speedwell Cavern Entrance.

    This was interesting and done on foot, there was only Hazel and myself so had the guide to ourselves. She was very good and made me do various things on the tour, I think it would normally be for the kids but, as there was only us it had to be yours truly. Leaving the cave you follow the river back to the main street in town.

    Castleton.

    Back in town we browsed the shops and Hazel bought a nice pendant.
    Then to Ye Olde Nags Head for ale and food,

    Ye Olde Nags Head, Casleton.

    always a nice way to end the day. A short walk back to Eevie, then bed.

  • Scotland. May 2014. Part 10

    May 21st.

    Left site 0830hrs, taking a scenic route south across the border to Barnard Castle. Made a coffee stop at Jedburgh. Took a walk to see the Abbey.

    Jedburgh Abbey.

    As you can see the weather was good for a change. Pleasant driving for a change, shortly after leaving Jedburgh we crossed the border,

    Entering England.

    and returned to England. Skirted Kielder Water then almost due south to our destination. The road was amaziing, straight for miles but with loads of short steep up and downs, like driving on a switch back. Arrived Barnard Castle C&CC site 1400hrs. After setting up took a walk along the river

    River, Barnard Castle.

    into town. A lovely little town too. Bought Ma-in-Law a waistcoat and other bits in a nice haberdashery. Did a couple of pubs to sample the ales, wine for Hazel. Decided we would eat out for a change. Found a pub with a menu we liked, more ale and good food before the walk back to Eevie. Unusually for this trip the weather was hot and still was as we walked back via the river.

    Bridge, Barnard Castle.

    After shower we sat and watched a bit of TV and I booked a pitch at Casleton CC site for tomorrows stop.

  • Scotland, May 2014. Part 9.

    May 19th.

    Up bright and early, left site 0845hrs, destination Edinburgh. A pleasant day for a change and a pleasant drive. planned on lunch and a look round Aviemore but couldn't fin anywhere to park so missed out. Crossing the Firth of Forth is quite spectacular.

    Crossing Forth Road Bridge

    Lovely view of the historic Forth Railway Bridge but not weren't able to photograph it. Arrived at Edinburgh CC site 1310hrs.

    Eevie, Edinburgh CC Site.

    Set up and had a brew. Went for a walk along the waterfront before settling down for the evening.

    May 20th.

    The site has a mini bus link to the City Centre costing 5 return, resonable value and half hourly service. We got 1000hrs. Walked the length of Princes Street taking in the atmosphere then up the hill to the Castle.

    Sentry, Edinburgh Castle.

    The Scottish soldiers always look imposing in dress uniform, the Afrika Corp called them the devils in skirts. It was very crowded up there and the amount of guided walking tours were a hindrance to those of us not in them, but, nevertheless we enjoyed it.
    Coffee and paninis in Caffe Nero then back down to Princes Street.

    Edinburgh

    We visited the art gallery for an hour, very interesting and free. Got the minibus back to site at 1630hrs. Leaving both Edinburgh and Scotland tomorrow.

  • Scotland, May 2014. Part 8.

    May 18th.

    Left site 0830hrs, destination Loch Ness, but first a visit to John O'Groats. We'd been to Lands End so this would complete our "end to end".

    Hazel, John O'Groats

    The weather was as bleak as our visit to Lands End, but not as wet. We took on fuel at Wick from when the weather began to improve. The journey was interesting with lots of old buildings,

    Lairds House

    this being one of them. I guess it was the Lairds house at one time if not still.
    At Inverness we drove along the north shore of Loch Ness to Fort Augustus before back along the south shore to Foyers, where Loch Ness Shores C&CC site is situated. There were some narrow but drivable roads along that stretch. Plus some stunning scenery.

    Fort Augutus to Foyers

    Arrived at the site at 1410hrs checked in and set up. The site only opened the previous year and all was very new, but very well done and laid out.

    Loch Ness Shores C&CC Site

    Looking at the pic up to the left on the hill is a large building. this is a hotel to which we climbed, had a few beers and chatted to the very friendly locals. A sweet old lady sat with us and chatted. We asked about the monster and she swore she'd seen it as had most locals, but she said they'd not admit it as it makes them look daft. There is a good view over the site from the bar,

    Loch Ness Shores C&CC Site

    with the loch in the background. Alas no monster visible. Passed a couple of hours drinking and chatting then back to Eevie for food and rest. Edinburgh tomorrow.

  • Scotland, May 2014. Part 7.

    May 17th.

    Dry and sunny start. Left site 0830hrs heading for Dunnet Bay. Took many twists and turns through the Highlands. Had to make a stop for this chap,

    Stag

    he looked quite content. A nice drive and stayed dry, picked up provisions at a Tesco on route, arriving at Dunnet Bay CC site 1400hrs.

    Dunnett Bay CC Site

    Reception didn't open til 1600 hrs so found ourselves a pitch and set up. Just finished setting up when a group of cyclists passed, they were on a Lands End to John O'Groats ride, probably feelin content as they had only 12 miles to go. We took a walk to the beach,

    Dunnett Bay

    very windswept but beautiful. The headland to the right is the northernmost point of the UK mainland. Then set up TV for the FA Cup Final, Arsenal v Hull City, being a lifelong gooner after a shock at the start and going to extra time, I went to bed content, a trophy at last. Tomorrow heading for Loch Ness after visiting John O'Groats.

  • Scotland, May 2014. Part 6.

    May 16th.

    Left site at 0835hrs, heading for the "Loch Ewe" area. Fuelled at Portree and crossed the bridge about an hour later.

    Skye Bridge

    Shortly after we started to find the Highland "A" roads we'd read about, single track with passing places.

    Highland A Road

    As it turned out they weren't a problem, plenty of visibility and passing places, what little traffic there was all driving considerately. Lots of outstanding scenery to enjoy.

    Skye to Loch Ewe

    A very pleasant drive. Even on the narrow parts.

    Another A Road.

    We took our time but it was impossible to stop at every view for photos, there were just too many. Approaching Gareloch was particularly stunning.

    Road to Gareloch

    We arrived at Poolewe 1330hrs, managed to get a pitch on the C&CC site "Inverewe Gdns" a lovely spot overlooking the Loch.

    Inverewe Gardens Campsite

    We did some washing in the laundry room then took a stroll round the village. The river Ewe runs into the Loch here.

    River Ewe at Poolewe

    Looking at the Loch today it's hard to believe it's importance during WWII, where many Atlantic and Arctic convoys assembled before setting off on their epic voyages.

    Loch Ewe

    Shortly after returning to Eevie there was a heavy downpour, lasted about half an hour and then cleared to a beautiful evening. Giving us a lovely sunset over the Loch.

    Sunset, Loch Ewe.

    In general it had been a lovely day, we settled for the night content.

  • Scotland, May 2014. Part 5.

    May 15th.

    Another dull day, but dry. Packed up and left site 0835hrs. Fuelled in "Morrisons" then headed off to Uig Bay on the Isle of Skye. A pleasant drive with lots of stunning scenery.

    On the road to Skye

    We didn't rush and stopped many times to take it all in. Approaching "Kyle of Lochalsh" we found this,

    Castle on the Loch

    almost the typical view of Scotland. Crossed the Skye bridge then headed for Uig Bay, I hadn't realised the island was so big, we had over 40 miles to do. Lots of ups and downs until the last down to our destination.

    Uig Bay

    As can be seen it is quite remote. The campsite is just a few hundred yards from the pier. Arrived 1400hrs and set up. Then we took a walk to the pub we'd passed on the way in, it didn't open til 1600hrs, it was only 1500hrs so walked back. Found a bar at the landward end of the pier so had a couple of beers there. The menu had Moules Marinere so decided to head back to the site have a shower and return to eat. Showers were very clean and water hot, but the block had no heating. The door had been left open and with the strong wind it was bloody cold. Back to the bar for our Moules which were very good but service was a very poor second. We didn't linger after eating and headed back to snuggle up and listen to the wind. Tomorrow heading for Loch Ewe.

  • Scotland, May 2014. Part 4.

    May 13th.

    Awoke to a beautiful sunny day, nice change. Packed up dry and left site 1015hrs. Destination Fort William via A82, guide books say a beautiful route. They are not wrong we passed some wonderful scenery,

    Waterfall A82, Loch Lomond toFort William.

    they have provided a lay by and view point for this. The weather remained kind and traffic was quiet so made a pleasant run.

    Mountain A82, Loch Lomond to Fort William.

    Lots of peaks still had snow. We took a short lunch stop at Glencoe,

    Eevie, Glencoe.

    The site of the infamous massacre.
    Then on to "Glen Nevis Holiday Park", where we arrived 1440hrs. Got ourselves set up on a nice pitch with a view of Ben Nevis from our rear window. There is a bar/restaurant just outside the site which we graced with our presence in the evening.

    Glen Nevis Restaurant

    We had a delicious meal, only negative there was just too much on the plate. Walked back to Eevie at 2230hrs under a lovely full moon, climbed into bed with this view from the window.

    Moon over Ben Nevis

    How wonderful was that?

    May 14th.

    A dry but dull day day, so we decided to explore the area in Eevie. Secured our stuff and set off, first visit was the "Commando Memorial",

    Commando Memorial

    sited here because when they were formed in WWII, this was the area they did their training. The sad thing was to see all the recent additions from the Afghanistan war. Quite moving and brought a lump to my throat. Leaving there we headed for the the "Nevis Range" an area of ski slopes and for the non winter, mountain bike tracks. Had a coffee and cakes then took the cable car up the mountain.

    Cable Car, Nevis Range

    At the top station is where all the downhill bike tracks start. There is a cafe and souvenir shop, but we didn't bother, just strolled round taking in the scenery.

    Panorama, Nevis Range

    Was well worth the visit. Returning to Eevie we headed back to Fort William, found parking space and had a look round. Quite a small town but with a good variety of shops, cafes, and pubs. We chose a cafe and had coffee. Before going back to the site we diverted to "Neptunes Staircase",

    Neptunes Staircase

    A set of locks on the Caledonian Canal which links Fort William with Inverness. There were quite a few yachts on the move and the locks were being operated by keepers. Returned to the site for a quiet evening, heading for the Isle of Skye tomorrow.

  • Scotland, May 2014. Part 3.

    May 11th.

    Woke to dry, dull and blustery morning. Packed our things and hit the road 0845hrs, destination Milarrochy Bay, Loch Lomond. Stopped just up the road to visit Gretna Green. Saw the famous Blacksmiths

    Blacksmiths, Gretna Green.

    where all the runaway marriages used to take place. The whole place is now very touristy with cafe and shops. They still do weddings, but I would imagine not so informal now, and doubtless more pricey.
    Skirted Glasgow crossing the Clyde west of the city, spotted a large Tesco and followed signs to the entrance, alas it had height barriers so we couldn't enter. first time we'd ever come across this. Pressed on regardless. Arriving at the Loch we detoured to Balloch where there is a Morrisons. Bought our provisions the on to the campsite, arriving 1415 hrs. We got a pitch Lochside which was nice and set up.

    Eevie, Loch Lomond.

    I unloaded the bikes to check the route to Balmaha only 2 mile away with pub and a ferry to Luss, which we planned to visit tomorrow. It was drizzling so I set off on my own, followed the Lochside path and within 5 minutes the heavens opened, at Balmaha I checked ferry times then cycled back to Eevie by road, very hilly, when I got back I was soaked. We decided to await tomorrows weather before planning the day. Settled down for the evening.

    May 12th.

    Woke to rain, decided bikes or walking were not on, so stowed loose objects and set off in Eevie to explore the Loch. Back at Balloch there is a centre called "Loch Lomond Shores, a mix of sport, boat trips and retail outlet, very nice but not anything we were up for that day. Then on to Luss, the soap "Take the High Road" was filmed here. Very picturesque village but so touristy I think the car park is bigger than the village. Found a little tea room, and had a superb Banoffee Coffee.

    Banoffee Coffee, Luss.

    Something new for us and it was delicious. Did the length of the Loch stopping here and there, but not doing much due to the rain. I'm sure it would be lovely cycling given reasonable weather. Arrived back at the site 1650hrs and settled down for the evening. 2100hrs and this,

    Loch Lomond.

    Taken from the rear window, why couldn't it have been this morning. C'est la vie. Settled down for the night as back on the road in the morning.

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