Category Archives: Weekends away

Loch Eribol

It’s 9.40pm and I’ve been sat here for almost 3 hours now. Where is here? Here.

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We had dinner earlier but decided to move on a bit and see if we could find somewhere else to stop. And then found a hole in the ground next to the road that was fairly big and fairly flat. It was a little windy but the weather was a whole lot better than the earlier cloud and mist round at Durness. So we did what any normal people would do…..Got the awning out, put out one of the windshields and plonked ourselves outside. And just watched the water and the changing light on the hills and rocks. It was sheer bliss. I’m still watching the sun setting now. And also the tide going out by the looks of it. But the water looks pretty peaceful and all is well in the world tonight.

Mountain bike downhill – Fort William

Roasting toasting and not typical scottish weather πŸ™‚

Finished work at 4 on Friday, walk along the Dundee waterfront, to meet Mr A and Miss A.

Camping at Glen Nevis, Fort William, ETA around 8, and apart from a stinky stuck in traffic moment at Broxden where we lost 30 mins, journey was ok. If the road from dalwhinnie to fort William could be a bit broader that would be even better. Scenery lovely but road seems to go on forever.

Arrived at one of the biggest campsites I have ever seen in my life, thankfully we were booked, so no fingers crossed and hope for a space. Camped up, oven on roasting chicken dinner, camping chairs out and beer out of fridge. Weather roasting, right at bottom of Glen Nevis, so scenery mental too. Actual pitch minute, but next door neighbours not arrived πŸ™‚

Oh no neighbours arrived late, with a bouncy spaniel, thankfully girls are with granny and grandad, or they would have spent the weekend bouncing off the window!

Sat am, up later than expected and prep for day up hill in the sun took way longer than we would normally do for the rain! Lots and lots of layers of sun cream and smidge! 2 mile walk back into fort William, Mr As thighs already causing problems, Miss A fancying conquering Ben Nevis, I bet that doesn’t continue if we actually come back to walk it!!!

As expected arrived in FW and could see our bus leaving in the distance πŸ™ lot of the day wasted walking into town to find toilets and wait for bus. Would have been quicker if bus driver wasn’t parked beside us eating his lunch.

Finally arrived at Nevis range about 1.30, amazed by amount of people, very busy! Headed straight for gondola, and were lucky not to have to queue for long. Ended up on a gondola with 2 riders, one girl away to do run and a ginger nut eating Australian just putting off time before his ride later.

Ride up similar to Austria, where tracks go underneath you,so was good to get a view of some of the course. Pretty short ride up, and top has cafe, lots of lots of bods drinking lots and lots of beer. Luckily weather was still roasting, so stroppy top and shorts, were still ok πŸ™‚

Timing meant we had time for lunch, and a seat before starting the walk down, to see the biking as we walked down. Could see the red track going round the hill, looks amazing, must go back and ride that πŸ™‚

Ground was steep, peaty and wet, so lots of people sliding all over the place on the way down, especially the muppets wearing stupid shoes, and that’s not just the kids! Walking down the course was really interesting, the pictcures from the telly don’t do it any justice, either the steepness, the rock or just how hard it it. Lots and lots of photos taken, some really pretty good ones, and we have all vowed never to try and ride that course!

What was mental coming down beyond the riding was the number of crashes, and flats, must be a complete nightmare to travel that distance, and to not make the time because of a flat.

Biking down would be hard, but walking down was hard too. We followed some of the normal down hill course and must have looked like idiots too, hanging onto trees and anything else that you could, to even walk down.

Half way down and a stop for a burger, could have been old boot at that point, we were pretty much all starving! Still making our way down,you could tell you we’re getting closer to the bottom as you could hear the tannoy, between that and hearing the whistle indicating that a rider was just passing. Bummer the amount of people who had got there earlier, and managed to pick up all the freebies, we were so late, we didn’t get any πŸ™ although one person was walking around with a frame, seemed a but strange!

Icecream at bottom and quick look round stalls, but was going to be a couple of hours before 4x started, we were all knack from heat, so took bus back to morrisons, to get tea and taxi back to campsite. Back on chairs with beer!!!!

Miss A just about broke neck trying out handstands, she would probably be the only person lying outside on chillow! Rest of night was pretty much us all collapsed, before aches and pains started for us to actually remember how hard it is on your body walking down hill.

Good weekend, good weather, body dead, lot of sleep to recover…

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Ayr

This weekend we were away in Ayr. The campsite (which I would recommend) was next to Culzean Castle. On the Friday we had a long walk down the huge driveway to the visitor centre but unfortunately it started raining!
Luckily on Saturday it was a nice day and we got a good look around the castle grounds. The pups were running rabid on the beach there which was funny.

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Kirkwall

Well it’s misty again. And we’ve just driven up the length of the mainland and its causeways to get to Kirkwall. After stopping at a few spots to try and make a phone call (if you come here don’t expect great mobile coverage) we got a night at a site in Kirkwall. Took some finding mind you. But we are in. And its quite sheltered thankfully. It’s a bit windy out – but then its Orkney. It’s usually windy!

Plans? What plans?

Well the idea of this trip was to travel around the north a bit. We had one or two paces we thought about going to but no firm plans. Which is just as well. Let me explain.

After tackling Berriedale Braes (a bit of a serious drop down and climb back up – with gravel trap run off areas!!) we went to the Hill o’ Many Stanes. Let me sum it up for you. It’s a hill….covered in heather….and some small stones in a pattern you can’t really make out from the vantage point you get.

Further on through Wick, where I thought we might stop. Well we did….. in Tesco at the edge of town…for fuel. And it goes to show not all Tescos look the same. It was what you might actually call pretty from the outside. Well might if that’s what you like :-s.

Further on and before you know it it’s John O’Groats. Not a huge amount there really. A campsite on the cliffs which could be nice, a handful of shops/eateries and some ice cream. Well it had to be done. They are also building some “retreat” lodges that look out to sea which look quite nice. And there looks like a central building of some sort going up with it. Hard to tell though.

And what else do you see up here? Motorhomes….with bikes outside them. Yup, it’s the support vehicles for those starting the John O’Groats to Lands End ride. Mad people!

OK here’s where things started to go a bit awry. We headed west along the coast and made a stop (I’ll come back to this in a minute) before we then went on to Dunnet Head – the northernmost part of mainland Britain.

The view from Dunnet head facing west

The view from Dunnet head facing west

Right. Here comes the bit where we made a little visit on the way here though. Passing the top of the road at Gill’s Bay we see the ferry to Orkney. Letting fate decide if we catch it we head down and see if we can get on. No problem. So Orkney bound we are right now. Of course we had to reverse on! With the warning buzzer for the step going in my ear as the step refuses to go back in right now. That was a panic in itself. But we are on. And moving. And I can see mist over that way. Damn!

Dunrobin Castle

Onwards and upwards through Golspie and as we passed a sign for Dunrobin Castle decided to head in. Good call as it turns out. Even more so since the weather is suddenly scorching.

First stop was the Castle itself. What can i say about it? It was a castle. Some interesting features and odd shaped rooms inside including chunks that were redesigned. Which looks a little odd really. It looks far better from the outside. Mrs A described it as a Disney castle. Strangely i heard someone else use exactly the same term later.

Dunrobin - the Disney Castle

Dunrobin – the Disney Castle

The gardens, and views, were more impressive. But the best part for me was the falconry display.

I’ve been to a good few over the years but this was a bit special. Not only did the Harris hawk dart between everyone and glide just above our heads but the owl that was out brushed people’s faces with his wings.

Owl in flight

Reach out and take one home

And all three birds appeared to respond to their names. And it’s not like they were tied down and brought out. The owl was second up but had been sitting in a tree next to us the entire time. And then it was tied to one of the benches we were sitting on to watch the rest of the display and be crowd friendly. Very impressive.

Just resting in the sun

Just resting in the sun

Enough of my gushing about the birds here. Lunch then on we go.

Another morning

Well today we got a look at our surroundings. Small car park, close to the A9, next to the loch. Turns out it was a sea loch until a crossing was built with some very odd sluice gates. They stop the rising tide getting into it but let out water from the loch itself.

Loch Fleet

The view out this morning

Loch Fleet out to sea

Loch Fleet out to sea

Where in the world??

Well we finally got packed and left at 8pm. But while everyone else was going Perth and left to T in the Park, we went right and north. Quiet quiet roads. Pretty good weather until 12 miles from Inverness when it became a bit of a pea souper as we would say. Was fine by the time we reached town though.

Didn’t need full beam until just before midnight when it finally got dark. I love the summer up here! The hunt for somewhere to stay started around about then too.. Found a great car park at the beach at Dornoch (nice looking place by the way) but no overnight parking allowed. Up some single track roads and then a forest park. Same again. Was almost giving up hope when Mrs A saw a sign for parking. Quick reverse on the main road. And we’re set for the night. Where? All I can tell you is the sign says Loch Fleet Nature Reserve. I’ll be able to see in the morning. Right now, tea and bed!

Fine weather and Fyne Ales

Arrived yesterday mid afternoon at a little place called Cairndow, just off the edge of the tip of Loch Fyne (after having lost a wing mirror to another motorhome on the banks of Loch Lomond!). Why I hear you ask. This weekend is the third FyneFest and the biggest one so far. It’s basically Loch Fyne’s answer to OktoberFest. Organised by Fyne Ales, next to the brewery in one of the many fields next to it. Plenty of camping space, plenty of food and around 100 beers to be sampled. So it was rude not to try at least a few. The van is only a short walk from the beer tent so after spending some time listening to the live music we would often have a wander back to sit and catch some sun. A quick brewery tour was in order earlier this afternoon. A quick stop at the back door to point at a couple of large black water butts half way up the hill (the water source), some time in three rooms inside and all done. Interesting stuff though.

All in all good stuff, and the scenery is something else. I’ll post some pics to the gallery when I get back.

My first swim

Well seeing as we are at Loch LomondΒ  we brought the blow up canoes for their first try on the water. I wasn’t too keen being in with daddy so decided to jump across to the other boat. Bit of a mistake there. I didn’t know that water could be that deep! Thankfully i felt a hand grab my jacket and heave me back in. But I thought I would check again a little later.Β  Nope, still deep! But it worked. They put me in the other boat with everyone else. See ya dad!

On the way back my sister went in with dad! Silly girl. So she jumped overboard too. But she made a break for it instead. She can swim too. But after a while of getting nowhere fast dad hauled her in too.

Thankfully its lovely now so I`m lying in the sun drying. Bliss!