Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Honeymoon: Week 1

Our tour of the Scottish Highlands, week 1 = 945 miles

The Wedding was fantastic so a MASSIVE thank you goes out to everyone who came (dressed up Medieval!) and who helped make it such a special day for us! Also thank you to everyone who gave us money as we certainly couldn't have come so far without it. 

We spent Sunday and most of Monday loading up and sorting through our belongings that have been in boxes since we moved out of our rented house nearly 2 years ago! It took us a little longer than expected to get everything into place in the motorhome so it was about 3pm before we got on our way, but then we weren't in any hurry to be anywhere so it was still stress free for us. 

To avoid the notorious Birmingham rush hour we took the M1 from J13 as far up as J24 near Nottingham, hopped across on the A50 to the M6 and found a nice spot near Kendal in the Lake District for the night. Ryan is a member of and so has the details of a lot of acceptable wild camping spots in the UK linked to his SatNav which makes them very easy to find. It doesn't mean that there is no chance of being moved on but as long as you don't overstay your welcome or be a nuisance you'll generally get left alone. Another great feature of this is that all of the spots are rated so you can choose between urban/rural laybys, carparks, pub stops etc so no nasty surprises or stopping every few miles to look at them to decide if it's suitable.

Tuesday morning we carried on up the M6 to Carlisle, took a short shopping trip to a Maplins and Halfords for a new stereo and speakers as the standard speakers can't contend with the engine noise and were crackling quite badly. Unfortunately the crackling problem was still there through the new stuff so Ryan has to do some work on the wiring to figure that one out, something that we knew would need doing at some point anyway due to the state of it all behind the dash! We also went on a slight detour down some tricky back roads to see Hadrians wall and, although the stubby remains of the wall itsef isn't much to behold, the view is still worth it! (and no the wall in the shot is not Hadrians wall, it's the car park wall!)

The M6 turns into the the A74(M) just after Carlisle and we pushed on into Scotland for our second night and stopped in a nice little spot near Moffat down a disused section of road that's frequented by lorry drivers. We have our suitcase generator with us so can re-charge our batteries etc every couple of days and save on gas even if we're not near a campsite with electric hook up.

On Wednesday we got through Glasgow (via the Clyde tunnel as we didn't fancy going over the bridge in high winds!) and drove past Loch Lomond and through the Trossachs on the A82. It's such a beautiful area with stunning views and cascading waterfalls around every turn but we didn't hang around as we wanted to get over to Skye the next day. We stopped that night in a car park from the wild camping list amidst the mountains near Glencoe and enjoyed a romantic meal with a glass of Asti left over from the Wedding. Bliss...

View from the Skye bridge
On Thursday we had a little wander around Fort William which is very welcoming to Motorhomers with our own designated car park with long (though a little too narrow) parking spaces.

We then drove on up the A87 near Loch Ness an on to Skye :) and spent the next 2 nights at the Caravan and Camping club site at Edinbane. The site has nice clean facilities and is a working croft with sheep and Highland cattle. Ryan bought some duck eggs from their shop which were delicious! We also checked out the Edinbane Pottery shop in the village which has some really incredible things inspired by the local landscapes, though even with the wedding money I couldn't warrant spending £75 on their cheapest teapot however beautiful it was so left empty handed.

Whilst on electric hook up we tested out our electric hob to save using our bottled gas, and got our laundry done. Our idea of using the bathroom as a drying room worked well too, the telescopic poles we have for securing our food in the cupboard during journeys can be fitted up between the walls and hold a surprising amount of clothes. With the roof vent open and the heater on they dry well when it's wet outside which is definitely a necessity.

On Saturday we left Skye and went on a boat trip around the Kyle of Lochalsh. It's a glass bottom boat and took us to see the birds, seals and a ship wreck. Whilst passing a salmon farm we even got to see a Porpoise but they're a little more shy than dolphins so it kept it's distance, though I was lucky enough to snap a shot of his dorsal fin!

We drove back along the A87 and the A887 to Loch Ness. The A82 road to Inverness was closed at a village and they diverted us along a slightly scary back road including a massive 15% incline which required poor Waki to be in first gear with all manner of burning clutch smells to get up it! We shall definitely be shopping for an engine with a pokey Turbo before long.

That night we spent near Dores by the shores of Loch Ness, and Kaa did his best Nessie impression for us! We were a little worried about how he would take to life on the road with all of the vibrations but he seems to be just fine with it. He looked a little confused at first but soon settled down and has been behaving exactly the same as before, friendly as ever and he even ate a mouse the other day so doesn't appear to be stressed at all.
On Sunday we done some shopping in Inverness and drove on up the A9 along the spectacular east coastline. Not wanting to drive any further we decided on what was listed as an an urban car park from the wild camping list at Latheronwheel that seemed fairly easy to get to, which turned out to be a harbour car park in one of the most beautiful places I think I've ever seen! What a gem! As the sun began to set we explored the rocks and pebble beach and lay in the remaining light on the cliff grass before turning in for a roast beef dinner and our cosy bed.

Monday morning we woke up very happy indeed, had a yummy bacon and duck egg breakfast and carried on North to Thurso then west to the Kyle of Tongue which had been our target destination from the start. When we were looking for ideas of where to go I was drawn to the spot on Google Earth and we decided that if Waki could make it we would try and get up there, so below thanks to a steady hand and Photoshop is a 360 degree panoramic view from the road that cuts across the Kyle itself (click on the picture to see it larger):

It's a shame that the sun wasn't prepared to come out whilst we were at Tongue as the waters along the North coastline really do glow a tropical blue in the sunlight but it was still a stunning place all the same. We hadn't really planned anything past Tongue so doubled back to a lovely seaside place called Bettyhill and went for a nice walk on the beach, it was actually a really warm day so we even dared stroll barefoot along the waters edge of the North-North Sea and explored the rock pools! 

Thanks for reading, I'll post Week 2's adventures when we get back if we can tear ourselves away... 

1 comment:

  1. So glad you're having a good time. Phil was particularly interested in the route you took (he loves road numbers) and your pictures are beautiful. Have fun! xxx