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Family Tour 2018 Day 13-14

Category: Caravanning
14 Mar 2019
Written by Andy Hits: 35

This covers the last two nights away from home, and our big push south.  From Dallachulish we pushed south to Lochmaben, near Lockerbie.  Then from there down to near Coventry, visiting some family on the way through.

Day 13:  04/10/2018, Dallachulish to Lochmaben (175 miles)

So the journey home really began, and we were sad to leave the campsite behind and be on our way.  Our route down took us over a very interesting cantilever bridge at Connel. I was able to snap a quick picture having driven over it, and underneath it on the A85:

We continued on to Luss, beside Loch Lomond.  Some scouting ahead on google maps had told us there was a good sized car park, along with a filling station, both of which were going to be useful for continuing our journey.  There was plenty of space in the car park, and we copied a motorhome and parked across parking spaces, rather than length ways.  We weren't sure how happy bus and coach drivers would be if we used one of the bays marked for them.  However, we are sure that this would be a different matter had we been there at the height of summer on a nice day.

With the caravan parked, we tended to the dogs needs, and stretched our legs too beside the loch, before heading into the village to find lunch

Family Tour 2018 Day 11-12

Category: Caravanning
07 Mar 2019
Written by Andy Hits: 53

In this next stage of the tour, we spent a day exploring Skye, before then heading over on the ferry towards Fort William

Day 11: 02/10/2018, Skye (84 miles)

The morning after the windy night before was a complete contrast.  It was sunny and bright, and we were quite happy to begin our exploration of waterfalls of sky.  The first ones we went to were a short distance from the camp site, but as we were continuing on to other ones, we did drive and park up near by.  A short walk from there took us to the Rha Falls:

The weather over night appeared to have supplied them with a good amount of water.

Back at the car, we then planned our route to get to the next set of falls, at Loch Mealt, and falling over a cliff into the sea.  We picked the (not much) smaller road via Sartle, rather than going right the way to the top of Skye.  And what a view of the Quiraing we got as we went along our way.  We stopped in the car park to take some quick pictures of the landscape, and will have to come back and walk it properly another time:

It feels a bit hard to believe that it is real, and not just an artists epic landscape!

Family Tour 2018 Day 7-8

Category: Caravanning
21 Feb 2019
Written by Andy Hits: 127

From middle of the Highlands we push north east to John O'Groats, before heading south to Inverness for the weekend

Day 7: 28/09/2017, Altnaharra to East Mey (116 miles)

While walking the dogs before breakfast I first had to get a picture of one of the best farmers signs I had ever seen:

Yes, the sheep and lambs around this area truly have no road sense, and with them free ranging, real care needed to be taken.

Sun rise was something to be beheld too:

But with a bit of sadness to leave such a beautiful site behind, we packed up, and by 10 am we were on our way.

We retraced our steps from the previous day passed through Syre and Bettyhill, passing the white walled, red roofed church in Syre:

We had wondered about heading out to Strathy Point to see the lighthouse, but didn't fancy our chances of a dead end road with a caravan behind.  But just after the village of Strathy, there was a nice big carpark with views looking back on the lighthouse.  It was fairly breezy, but I got a few snaps of it in the distance

We hoped to fill up ready for our drive down to Inverness in Thurso, or another petrol station or 2 between us and our camp site in East Mey, but one was getting its fuel delivery, and the other appeared to be waiting for the tanker to make it there too, so we carried on to the camp site.  This was another Certificated Location, called The Crofters Snug.

They also have some glamping pods, which the owner was staying in, rather than the house, and came over to direct us to a pitch.  He also recommended using the mover to face nose down the inclined pitch to face the front windows across the 1 field between us, the sea and then Orkney.  We didn't bother with the awning, as it was rather a stiff breeze, and we were only staying one night.

With the dogs settled, we then popped out for a hearty bowl of soup (and lots of grandparents complimenting us on our daughter) at Castle of Mey.

Family Tour 2018 Day 9-10

Category: Caravanning
28 Feb 2019
Written by Andy Hits: 90

On Days 9 and 10, we spend some time around Inverness, and then drive down Loch Ness and take the bridge, over the sea to Skye

Day 9: 30/09/2018, Inverness (36 miles)

A quiet day today, starting off with a visit with our friends to their church, which was out in Culloden.  We headed back to their house for lunch, and while we waited for things to finish cooking, I got taken bird hunting watching.  I was lent some camo gear, and got my biggest lens out, a 170-500mm and stalked up to the unsuspecting birds with much success.  Even to the point that I was closer than the minimum focus distance!

Once the bird feeders were re-stocked, the birds came thick and fast:

Family Tour 2018 Day 5-6

Category: Caravanning
14 Feb 2019
Written by Andy Hits: 135

Continuing on from Carrbridge, our next bit of adventure takes us up past Inverness into the middle of the Highlands, where we spend 2 nights at the Caravan and Motorhome Club site at Altnahara, beside Loch Naver

Day 5: 26/9/2018, Carrbridge to Altnaharra (125 miles) 

Having not put the awning up the night before, packing up didn't take too long, and we were soon on our way to our next stop Altnahara Club Site.

A short stop over at a Tesco filling station near Inverness ensured we had plenty of fuel for the drive up to the middle of the Highlands.  We were well aware that we were going to be quite some way from the nearest shops and fuel.  It did seem that someone there didn't appreciate us using the filling station with our caravan attached, as there was a horn beep from behind us!  But there was very little else we could do, and by using pay at pump, I'm sure we minimised the amount of time we were there.

Back on the A9, and we continued north, and from the wheel I enjoyed the impressive sight of some of the offshore platforms moored up in the Cromarty Firth.

It appeared our steady progress unnerved one car as we made our way along the A836, as it pulled to the side to let us pass.  But past Lairg I the "main" A road became the smallest ever A road I've ever been on.  I've driven plenty of small country lanes with passing places, some of which with cattle grids too, but I wasn't quite expecting an A road to do so.  Not that I was complaining. On our way through almost everyone seemed good at stopping in a passing place, and you could typically see from one passing place to the next.

At one of the many, we did pause to double check what a rattle was from behind, it turned out to be nothing to worry about, just the feet on the corner steadies, not anything jockey-wheel related.  But while we paused there, the car that had pulled in earlier passed us.  I think we passed them again at another passing place when they motioned us through, so it all seemed fair.  I hasten to add that I was not tailgating, and particularly on these small roads, even 30 mph seemed on the fast side.

Eventually we passed through the village of Altnaharra, and take the turning onto the B road leading along side Loch Naver.  We were being quite cautious along this road, as there were roadworks, and the campsite had warned of road closures.  Coming up on what looked like a possible closure, I stopped at a place that (with some effort) we could hopefully turn around and take the other (long way round) to the camp site.  Meanwhile Hannah jumped out and checked with the workmen, and although they were working on drainage beside the road, we were fine to come through.

When we reached the camp site, we pulled past the space outside the office as there wasn't a lot of spare room.  A gentleman came out and greeted us by name and gave us first refusal of the pitch he thought was best.  This was apparently because we came along at a gentle steady speed unlike the motorhome behind us, which from his comments had arrived a lot more "enthusiastically" than us.

He offered us a pitch right on the edge of the loch, with an access track for other pitches running past.  It was very tight, and much as we would have liked to have reversed in, we broke out the motormover.  Without running our wheels over the stones at the track edge (and likely getting stuck) we couldn't get the angle we needed.

The awning got put up, once fresh water was in the barrels, along with purification tablets.  Another unique thing to everywhere else we have stayed was that it uses (filtered) spring water, as it has no mains water connection!

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