We left Stornoway, (Isle of Lewis) on the afternoon ferry to Ullapool on the mainland. A quick walk around the castle grounds which is actually now a hotel and then the harbour.Our first stop was an overnight stop in Inverness. Our site was a thirty minute drive from the town centre, and we had planned on cycling in but with the dark clouds hovering above we caught the bus instead. Briefly exploring the town and Cathedral we then decided to go for a walk around The Ness Islands, a leisurely circular stroll linked with lovely Victorian bridges and parklands. The sun had appeared briefly so it was just lovely. Pity we weren’t going to be around for the Salmon festival .. the Scottish Salmon here is gorgeous.looking down from the Castle to the river Ness.
After a lovely afternoon decided it was refreshment time. We had a lovely few hours in a little bar .. great atmosphere, and we enjoyed it so much, we missed the last bus home and had to get a taxi … So annoyed with myself, the next morning I realised I had left my favourite Rayban sunglasses on the table at the bar … mmm think I should’ve left earlier and caught that bus. 😢 Al Pal was sensible that day and left his sunnies at home as he wasn’t expecting the ball in the sky to show its face or maybe he knew secretly we were having a few extra drinky poos. We had planned to do the North Coast 500 which apparently is a fantastic drive across the top of Scotland, but after much research this time of the year is super busy and lack of available spots to camp, be it on sites or wild camping we decided against it. We have experienced such stunning scenery the last few weeks we did not feel like we were missing out. Stopped at the battlefield of Cullen where in 1745 the Jacobites rising came to an abrupt and deadly end . It was were the last battle was fought on British ground and Bonnie Prince Charles (the young pretender) headed back to France with his tail between his legs. Never to venture back to Scotland again.
My cousin Diana,, whom I haven’t seen for nearly 40 years !! lives an hour or so from Inverness so we decided to change course and head to Lossiemouth (known as the jewel of the Moray Firth) and have a catch up. Such a pretty spot, scenic golf course and a fabulous beach too.The only campsite that we could find nearby …. we do not like holiday parks … but loved the chair. Allen the little bugger just couldn’t control his laughter when taking this. But the highlight was seeing my cousin .. .. it had been nearly 40 years since we last saw each other. It was as if it was last week .. we laughed so much, shed a few tears and shared memories of times together as children. During the school holidays we would stay at our gorgeous Grandma and Grandad’s. Grandad used to the be caretaker of a bottling plant called Magdale Vinery set in the beautiful valley of Healey House inbetween Netherton and Meltham in Yorkshire, tankers drivers would come from Devon and Cornwall loaded with sherry, port and babycham and this is were the bottling took place. As a child it was the most special place to spend holidays. When all the employees had gone home it was like living in the grounds of an enormous castle or that’s what we thought back then …their house was in the grounds so all locked away behind huge wooden gates. Diana and I would sing our hearts out standing on huge containers while our voices echoed through the valley … we thought we were the bees knees. Sorry ……….I’m rambling back to our trip. We carried on along the coast the next day and stopped at Spey Bay Golf Club, great pitch overlooking the golf course which was even nicer at night when we were alone.Allen says we’re not old enough to play golf yet haha
This area is part of The Coastal bike/walking route so we had a great walk along the old rail track… Not far from the Scottish Dolphin Centre, but no Dolphins in sight this day.Back on our bikes the following day as it was a fine day. Went in the other direction to Cullen, famous for the Cullen Skink ( fish and potato soup not unlike chowder ). Through forests, along the beach and the Golf Course it was a great day.oh dear…cycling along the track next to the beach I had a puncture, so Al Pal to the rescue (so the pic above is not Al gone crazy and wanting a swim it’s to wash his oily hands )
While out cycling we found our next campsite to stay the cute , very quiet fishing village of Findochty the sign says it all. One shop, a pharmacy come post office and a pub …and a fabulous view … pity we aren’t golfers because this site included a round of golf for 2 but you had to have your own clubs.. we thought about a game of bowls instead but after our cliff top walk decided against it. Bought the best local “tatties” (Royal Duke potato) at the wee shop, apparently people travel miles for them. Very hard understanding the locals here .. I asked if the campsite had a washer , ay lassie but nay drier …..( in this weather I need a nay drier ) 😂 we were on the look out for Scallops in the harbour from the fishing boats but couldn’t find any. We had bought some huge beautiful fresh ones while we were on Harris which Al Pal turned into a lovely dinner yum !This was also the region for the Malt Whiskey trail which included Glenfiddich but as the acholol limit in Scotland is even less than the UK, Al driving and I am not a fan decided not to visit.
Next stop Aberdeen… briefly, as the rain pelted down we could not see the sense to explore it was 1 pm and it was so dark it felt like a winters day not the middle of summer! Continued on down the coast with the fog getting thicker …….Stumbled on the little village of Johnshaven where we had a very chilled afternoon watching movies and reading. Went for a walk later on and had a fabulous meal in the local pub before coming out into the errie fog ! Stayed here for two nights as it was a super chilled spot and the Anchor Pub’s food was so good we ate there both nights. Had another great ride this time into Montrose. Bank holiday weekend was 26th August so had to do a bit of research for our next couple of days. Decided to head for St Andrews and found a great farm Drumcarrow, just outside the town and booked in for three nights.complete with great views … a horse or two … Shetland pony and the obligatory sheep and cows, perfect.St Andrews CatherdralYes ! Finally we found a piper 😊outside a beautiful church piping in the bride ❤️I was a bit underdressed for the wedding but in my element. What a place for a reception, below and a perfect day too. A golfers dream in Scotland and a round of golf at St Andrews of course would be on their list. For us just a pic of “the bridge”One more place we wanted see around here was Crail not far from St Andrews. Once again found a wonderful site with a prime position.the lobster shack was closed so the place very quiet …more great coastal tracks to explore.
After leaving Crail we visited Scotlands secret bunker. Underneath a unassuming Scottish farmhouse it was kept a secret for 40 years. It was built to help safe guard Scotland during the Cold War in the event of nuclear attack. It’s 35 meters under ground and the size of two football pitches one on top of the other. Very interesting if not a little scary.
Getting close to the end of our Scottish leg, Al’s good friend Arthur from Melbourne was over in Scotland on holiday so we made our way over to Perth to spend some time with him. Found our site just around the corner from where he was staying. Such excitement, great wi fi so Al went mad and our downloaded movies library is well and truly in good stock now .The first day I left them and had a wander around the shops dangerous when alone, I started my ridiculously naughty day of eating … first a cheese and onion pie, always a winner , then had a huge bag of chocolate Minstrels (milky chocolate buttons coated in a crisp chocolate shell) I caught the bus home and then had a craving for chips in a tray with gravy 😂googled the nearest fish and chip shop that was 3 mile away …so runners on that’s what I did, took nearly an hour to get there but gee they were good. But the walk back did me good and did not feel as guilty.😊
Needless to say the boys had a great day/night together 😊The following day (both were surprisingly fresh) so we had a local walking history tour from Arthur around the Dunkled where he spent his childhood, including all the commentary about antics he got up to as a young boy. No wonder he went to Australia ha ha Wendy, a lovely old school friend of Arthur’s joined us too.lots of fun, lunch at the Dunkled hotel then nicely finished off in the evening with a great Indian meal with some of Arthur’s family. Such a pretty area, could have easily spent a week exploring the area.
Our last stop before we leave Edinburgh, three nights in the lovely campsite linwater, near the airport …. to do lots of washing etc and wind down. Of course not before : visting Stirling Castle The Falkirk wheel which is a rotating boat lift that connects the Firth and the Flyde canals. Takes about 20 mins for a narrow boat to complete the lift onto the upper canal.The Kelpies are 30 Metre high horse head sculptures located on a new addition to the Forth/Clyde canal …a monument to the horse powered heritage across Scotland. Our little visitors each day at linwaterWashing all up to date ….bags packed……hair cut … ( more exciting news I now have a hairdressers cape for when Al Pal cuts my hair .. he even asks me if I want a glass of champagne now when he’s doing it 😂) Pinot now having a rest for three weeks….Thank you Scotland it has been amazing ! ……it’s time now for our next wonderful adventure and we are so excited we could pop !! We fly to Milan today to meet Cara … woo hoo !!!!!!! Trumpets tooting…. bells ringing..champagne corks popping here we come ….
Until next time, lots of love xx