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  • 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.

  • Scotland, May 2014. Part 2.

    May 10th.

    Woke to a dry day. Packed up and left site 0830hrs. Called at Sainsburys for fuel and provisions, on the road again 0930hrs. Destination Gretna via "Hadrians Wall". Crossed the River Tyne just west of Newcastle and picked up the route along the wall at "Heddon-on-the-Wall. Weather became dull and drizzly again. Stopped at the "Roman Army Museum" for cofffee and history.

    Roman Army Museum

    A very interesting place to visit with a potted history of Roman Britain and of course the wall. Some very good exhibits too.

    Roman Centurian

    After an hour and half we were back on the road. Sadly the weather spoilt the scenery and we didn't stop as often as we would have. Arrived "Braids Caravan Park" Gretna at 1330hrs. Set up Eevie,

    Eevie, Gretna

    and sorted out our route from here on. A 10 minute walk took us into the town where there's an outlet. Not much for us though we did get some t-towels. Couple of pints in the pub on the way back, then settled down for the evening. Our next stop would be Loch Lomond.

  • Scotland, May 2014. Part 1.

    May 8th.

    Set off for a tour of Scotland, left 0945hrs after picking up supplies at Sainsburys. Heading for a 2 night stay in York on our way to Scotland. Stopped at Peterborough services for fuel and coffee. Arrived "York Caravan Park" 1540hrs. We stayed here a couple of years ago on an England tour. Set up in the rain on pitch 16.

    Eevie, York

    Spent the evening relaxing and listening to the rain drumming on Eevies roof.

    May 9th.

    Had to get up 0230hrs to wind in the canopy as the wind had increased to gale force. Caught the 1030 bus into York for a stroll round. Coffee and paninis in Caffe Nero. Bought myself a waterproof jacket in M&S, which I wore strait away. Didn't do any of the usual tourist haunts as we'd done them on our previous visit. Got the bus at 1500hrs back to the site. Had a shower in one of the best facilities we had seen on a campsite.

    Shower York Caravan Park.

    They are unisex, but each is self contained with shower, hand basin and loo. Quiet evening, leaving for Gretna in the morning.

  • Plymouth and Wareham, Spring 2014, part 4.

    April 3rd.

    Bit dull and chilly, start. After breakfast drove to Abbotsbury to visit the Swannery. Arrived about 1100hrs, at admission desk they told us the feeding would be at 1200hrs so we strolled around for a while. Saw this on the way round,

    Swannery Floods

    quite amazed how little evidence of the event just a few weeks later. There are nice walks around the site, and there were many nesting swans.

    Nesting Swan

    They are obviously used to human company as you can stand alongside the nests without them showing any interest. As noon approached the keepers appeared wheeling wheelbarrows full of food. Swans hurtled in from far and wide, they obviously knew the routine. Children were invited to take part and given buckets and scoops to use in feeding.

    Feeding the Swans

    There wasn't much else to see so we returned to the car and headed to Dorchester for a look and lunch. While eating it started to rain, by the time we finished eating it was torrential. We briefly called in a couple of shops and then decided to give up and return to Eevie. It wasn't long before we hit flooded roads,

    Flooding Dorset

    I suppose as the winter floods had been so recent that the fields were still waterlogged, no longer able to take anymore the rain just runs straight off.

    Flooding Dorset

    Took a while to get back, and the evening turned out dry and pleasant.

    April 4th.

    A lovely sunny day, I had to take the car back and Hazel decided to stay on site and start sorting and pricing our stock for "Teeny Weeny World" www.themalthousehythe.co.uk I drove the car to Poole and they took me back to the site. Gave Eevie a clean and helped Hazel with the stock. Off home tomorrow.

    April 5th.

    Left site at 0915hrs hoping to pay a quick visit to the village of Tyneham. This village was taken over by the Army during the 2nd World War and has never been returned, it can be visited most weekends, where you will find a time warp with the school and church as they were when evacuated. Alas for us Eevie was to large to get there so we had to abort the visit and just headed home. Took the scenic route and arrived 1615hrs.

  • Plymouth and Wareham, Spring 2014, part 3.

    April 1st.

    No April fool tricks. Fine sunny day, after breakfast set off for Lulworth Cove. Only a short visit so Hazel could see it. Dismayed on arrival there was no short stay option in the car park, 3 minimum. The cove was quite busy but looked nice in the sun.

    Lulworth Cove

    Had a coffee looked round the visitor centre, then back to the car. Ticket still had 3 hours left on it so gave to another visitor to put in their car. Headed to Portland Bill, got there and it was thick sea fog and cold, couldn't see anything so headed back to Weymouth. Strolled round the town, coffee and panini in Caffe Nero. It was a lot different to our visit last year when the festival was on. Back to the car then off to Shaftesbury via Cerne Abbas, brief halt to see the giant.

    Cerne Abbas Giant

    Then on to Shaftesbury. Never been there before, it is a hill top town. during our walk round we found this street,

    Shaftesbury

    thought it looked familiar, and sure enough it was, it was in a TV advert for Hovis, I'm sure many of you will recognise it. Then we headed back to Eevie for the evening.

    April 2nd.

    Breakfast then off to Bournemouth. A lot different to how I remembered it. The town centre was very jaded with many empty shops, another victim of High St blight. Walked through the gardens to the seafront, it was virtually deserted. There is an aquarium there so we paid that a visit. It was well worth it as a lot of interesting aquatic life was on display, including Piranha,

    Piranha

    there is the usual tunnel under water with shark and other fish over and around you. Various smaller tanks with other sea life, including one of my favourite sea foods.

    Lobster

    Spent an enjoyable couple of hours there. Then we drove around Poole to Sandbanks, reputed to be one of the wealthiest places in the world. Judging by the properties I guess it could be right. We took the ferry from there to Swanage. Had a walk round the town which was even more jaded than Bournemouth. wasn't helped by al the roadworks going on. Then back to Eevie. Tomorrow Abbotsbury Swannery on the agenda.

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