Castle in the Skye:

Discussion in 'Scotland' started by agaric, Jul 14, 2016.

  1. Thanks!
    Scotland is definitively a very beautiful place! And all the people we've met were top blokes!
    Coco and paulcalf like this.
  2. Day 2: To Skye:
    The plan was to hike up Ben Nevis.
    Unfortunately we wake up to what I picture as a very Scottish day... Heavy rain, alternated with light showers. And a lot of wind. :D
    Well no hiking for us today. Instead we decide to try and drive to Mallaig to take the ferry to Skye.
    In Fort William, we change of plan again since the ferries may not be running due to high wind and stormy condition. We will have to use the bridge.
    The drive from Fort William to Loch Duich was very pretty.
    Unfortunately it was raining heavily and the van seals were starting to show signs of weaknesses.
    Quick stop in Loch Duich for damage control. Water seems to be coming from the doors (seals to be change I guess) but also in via the seat belt bolt. I'll have to had some sealant.
    We take advantage of a slightly less heavy rain to go for a quick walk around the loch.


    It's still early-ish in the afternoon. So we decide to go and explore Skye a bit.
    So back on the road!
    The bridge to Skye was a bit scary with the strong crosswind. But I guess it was worth for the T25 hightop in front of us.
    We ended up in Portree where there we find a weather forecast:
    - Tonight: High wind and heavy rain
    - Tomorrow: Sun :thumbsup:

    That's a good news! :beer:
    Plus due to wind direction Glen Brittle campsite is likely to be shielded from the wind. Let's go there!

    Whomever been there before knows that the road to get to the site is pretty steep... So it's quite a relief to get there safely after such a long day behind the wheel. Plus it is actually very shielded from the wind!
    Unfortunately the site is closed for unforeseen reasons... :(

    So back up we go and we finally stop at Sligachan camping where they have one last pitch available for us.
    The day was pretty hectic but we are still in a very good mood.
    It's time to test our home-cinema in the bay setup!
    That's close from perfect if you ask me! :D
    Plus tomorrow is supposed to be sunny !

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  3. Day 3: Glen brittle
    The sun is shining! (or close enough...)

    And there's a second good news, Glenbrittle campsite is now opened. To avoid the crowd we decide to go there and hike from the campsite.
    Scotland under the sun is just stunning.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The campsite is nice and remote. With a nice view from your pitch.

    Unfortunately there was no home made bred available that day... :(
    And we have lost a hub cap (on a cattle grid I guess...)
    But who cares... perfect day really! :beer:

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  4. Day 4: To Applecross
    The sun is still shining today. So we have a slow start. Enjoying the views from the site.
    Yesterday we have been active. So today we are ready to treat ourselves with some whisky tasting! If we ever leave the campsite we are of to Talisker.
    It's well pass midday when we are finally ready to tackle the hill climb to leave the campsite. But half way up (around the start from the hike to the fairy pool), we decide to stop to take a hitchhiker.
    She was hiking since the morning but had to stop because the midges where getting too annoying. At this point of the trip we still haven't seen any midges so we assumed she was lying. :p
    Anyway, she's thrill with joy to be in a vintage VW and is looking forward to brag about it to her children. I'm slightly tense since it would be quite ironic if we had a breakdown now...
    But we make it out! :thumbsup: Small detour to get this woman to a bus stop and it's whisky o'clock! We won't go for a tour (we had to wait 3h to get a spot). Instead we will just do the tasting! :D

    Now all energised, we decide to head toward Plockton (it was recommended by our hitchhiker). After a small break though... :burp:
    She was right it's a very nice village!
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    After a long halt, off we go to Applecross via the pass! Challenging day for the van!
    Some more stunning views up top.



    It's well pass 8.30pm when we start going down the pass and the warden of the campsite is long gone to the pub when we make it to Applecross.
    Not a problem though... They tell you to settle and to go to the reception the next morning to pay what you have to. :thumbsup:

    It's a clear night without too much wind. So guess what? Midges!!!! Our first encounter with them! (luckily also our last. So we have half of the UK's stock of Avon skin so soft for sale now :p)
    It was not a lie! But the upgraded mosquito nets will protect us perfectly! We will even dare opening the louvre windows and the pop-top while cooking! :)
  5. It's about time I try to finish this!

    Day 5: To Ullapool:
    Today we are in for quite a drive as we would like to reach Ullapool via the coastal road.
    We wake up to a light rain (by Scottish standard).
    To stretch our legs, we dare going for a quick run in the hills behind the camp.
    The trails were really nice and the green of the foam under the rain impressive.
    But we come back to the van soaking wet!
    Never mind, breakfast and we are off...

    I was looking forward to the fuel stop with payment at the pub like @fugly76 , but for us it was just a normal pump accepting credit cards :(
    Probably the biggest let down of the trip!

    The rest of the day is basically almost only driving through heavy rain! It's just raining way too much now to dare go outside!
    To compensate, we will treat ourselves with some products from the Applecross smokehouse! :food:

    Rather than staying directly in Ullapool with view on the massive cruise ships, we push to Ardmair Point.
    The campsite itself is really nice. With a stunning view on the Loch Canaird and Isle Martin (not with this weather though)
    The warden tells us that thestorm is meant continue tomorrow, but should clear out in two days... Hopefully....

    At the moment it's just too windy to even pop the roof!
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  6. Keep it coming. Great write up.
    agaric likes this.
  7. pull your finger out and get this trip report finished!
    agaric likes this.
  8. This is exactly the sort of route I want to do when my bus is finished, lots of camping and lots of walking although I don't mind the bad weather it lets me practice my navigation so bad weather days and night walks here I come. Bad weather for me is just an excuse to do it all again when the weathers better. Oh! dear getting way too excited my bus isn't quite ready yet.
    I do like your route its takes in all the key highlights , for me anyway!

    Keep the reports coming.
    Coco likes this.
  9. Amazing photos :thumbsup:, hmm need to do this trip but when ?
  10. last week in May or first week in June!
    agaric and 77 Westy like this.
  11. Sorry I missed this before now ,
    But if anyone else is going near the Skye bridge then you have to go to the little hut that sells sea food on the Kyle side just as you turn into the harbour .
    The best I mean THE BEST EVER ! Cullen skink you will ever taste .
    Please try it if you get a chance
    Merlin Cat likes this.
  12. Shame you didn't tell that before!
    I guess we will have to get back there to check if you're right :)

    Day 6: To Durness:
    As promised, we wake up to more rain. But nothing compare to yesterday in term of intensity!
    By our new standards, that's a good start!
    Plus I actually quite like sleeping in the van under the rain. It makes a very relaxing noise on the roof. But it should stop just before we wake up...

    Anyway, despite the low clouds, the view from our pitch very enjoyable.

    So today the plan is to reach Durness after a detour recommended by @Luna the Westy to Polly Bay.
    Unfortunately we were too busy admiring the views to even remember we had to look out for the junction. And we've only realised we had missed it after at least an hour. Well I guess this will be for a next time...
    It's also worth noting that we don't have a map of Scotland yet. So all junctions are a bit of a gamble. Luckily the road network isn't that dense up there... ;)

    So no detour means, that we reach Ardvreck Castle much earlier than expected.

    At this point we have the choice between going directly to Durness. Or follow the Loch toward the unknown...
    Unknown it is!
    We soon reach the half nice village Lochinver (the commercial port is ugly)
    Bold but not stupid Miss Agaric decides that it's about time we get a map!
    Smart move! She soon uses it to find that we can take a B road along the coast that will later bring us back to the main road instead of going back the same way!

    From my experience B roads in Scotland are usually a band of tarmac just wild enough for a car with a few passing places.
    This one is exactly that! But with stunning views! Tropical like beaches on one side, hills on the other!

    Detour over, the rest of the drive to Durness is now "normal" A road. (notice how spoilt we got)
    We reach Sargo Sand and are offered one of their overflow pitches. But that would have been my first choice even if the camp was empty (on top of the small mound with view on the beach)
    (picture taken from just behind the van)

    Sun is still out for a few hours and there are a few waves... I should go surfing but water looks really cold... I'm starting to yellow snow...
    Well that was without counting on miss Agaric.
    She subtly makes me understand that we have not been enduring the surf gears in the van all the trip for me to not to go surfing.
    I better get my ar*e in the water quick!

    Oh I forgot... It's almost not raining anymore!
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016
  13. Merlin Cat

    Merlin Cat Moderator

    Excellent write up and photos @agaric :). Sounds like you had a great time. Each time I read a thread like this I want to go on a road trip!
  14. We had a cracking time! The van acts as beer googles. Everything looks better when you're out with it. :D

    Day 7: To ????:
    The plan from there is less precise.
    I wanted to check the famous surf spot in Thurso. But overnight the swell dropped and the wave is not on.
    So the only constraints now are to spend a day in Edinburgh for the Fringe festival, taste some more whisky and some more hiking around.
    But first, THE SUN IS OUT, so we treat ourselves to a breakfast on the beach!

    Over breakfast a plan has hatched.
    Today we drive along the coast to John'O'Groats, stopping whenever we spot something we want to do.
    Then drive toward Inverness wild camp overnight whenever we fell like stopping

    It's already late in the day when we finally leave the campsite. And we won't really rush today.
    We will stop way to often to count. I remember Loch Eriboll, Kyle of Tongue bay (funny name and stunning views), Bettyhill's beach...

    There's not much to do in John'O'Groats. But on the pole with all the stickers we spot one that could be a perfect nickname for our van at the moment:
    Yesterday half of one of my beers ended up on my sweater. So we left it drying in the sun at the back of the van... The whole van now smells like a dodgy pub on a Sunday morning... :burp:


    It's late when we get back on the road, we don't really have a goal in mind. Just find a view on the sea for camping and enjoy the last ray of sunshine of this day.

    All checked!
    Merlin Cat likes this.
  15. Day 8: To Loch Leven:
    Our wild camping turned out to be pretty quiet (expect for some sheep). we had a perfect night of sleep.
    The sun is still shinning and today we are going drinking whisky! Perfect days by my standards!
    So we set off toward Edradour distillery.
    As it's a pretty small yet popular distillery it can apparently get a bit busy. But we are lucky and there are only a few of us for the tour.
    The place is just stunning!

    We even get to learn a few stuff...

    The tour already include some tasting but finishes at the bar where almost any whisky is at £2 a glass....:eek:
    How do they expect us to drive back from this place?!!!!! :p

    After having spend a few -too much- pounds in both the bar and the shop. We set off.
    And to avoid drunk driving, we decide to go for a run/walk in the hills near Edradour.
    Running up the hills in this weather is such a pleasure! It's almost 7pm when we get back to the van.
    We still don't know where to sleep this night... But we could really use a shower. :rolleyes:

    Unfortunately it's Saturday and the first camping we try is full...
    No problem back in the van and let's head to the next one...
    Well... The van doesn't agree... Impossible to start it... (weak fuel pump and hot start issues)
    To add insult to injury, a split is coming back to the camp while were are pushing the van out of the way... (nice owner by the way who stopped for a chat and offered to help).
    20 minutes have passed, let's try to start this engine again.
    Ticking like a Swiss watch on the first try! :)

    Miss Agaric used this 20 minutes break smartly and found us a spot Gallowhill farm (with hook up!)
    It's not the prettiest campsite ever but very clean and conveniently located to reach Edinburgh early tomorrow morning.

    Day 9: To Edinburgh:
    Following the advice given by a Scottish meat in Applecross we will be camping at Mortonhall Caravan & Camping Park. It has a direct access to Edinburgh city centre by 24h bus. At £35 a night it's quite steep but we don't really have a choice.
    However before going to the campsite we have one last thing to do. Run up Arthur's seat! (I've wanted to do that since my first trip to Edinburgh but never got the opportunity)
    Even though short it was steeper than expected! We barely made to the top!
    This done, only thing left to do is wander around the city and enjoy the show from the Fringe.
    Cracking days under the sun!

    Day 10: To London:
    The sun is still shinning. We are not really looking forward to the end of the holidays.
    We reluctantly set off much later than expected... 400 miles to go...
    We will make it home without any problem.

    1800 miles road trip... Almost no mechanical issues... :eek:
    Tons of good memories, incredible landscapes and even more love for our van! :)

    Can wait for another long trip with him!
  16. Baysearcher

    Baysearcher [secret moderator]

    Great photos and write up, good work!
  17. :hattip:

    Spot on fella. Great write up and my sort of trip to have a basic plan then just do what you want.
  18. Thanks! To be honest Scotland is quite good to photographers. Good lights and nice landscapes.

    Thanks. It's really a nice place to go and do just that. Scottish are also incredibly friendly.
    paulcalf likes this.
  19. redoxide

    redoxide Guest

    Cool trip, almost following the route for the NC 500. but missing the East coast which is a good idea as its a bit samey, being mainly coast and farmland .

    Its a good Idea on the return trip to get off the A9 after Inverness head across toward Carrbridge on the A938, good parking great pubs and an adventure park for the kids.. Ten A 95 to Spey bridge onto the A 939 and continue over the Lecht, stop at the ski lifts for a coffee and carry on toward Cock Bridge where you turn off onto the B976 and head down there to Balmoral onto the A93 and head for Braemar to the Spittal of Glenshee, stop at the ski lift for another coffee and take the chairlift up the cairnwell and walk down. or for a quick turnabout get the lift back down... travel down through glenshee to Blairgowrie .... and your now exiting the highlands...

    Best time for the road trip up here is OCTOBER . 95% of the tourists have gone, the rain has stopped the sun WILL be shining and you will think you are the only person on the road, even those pesky single tracks. October you will also get 30ft breakers at Bettyhill and best of all the midgey season has passed, we only book the rain and the midges for the tourist season...

    IMG_1343.JPG IMG_1356.JPG IMG_1357.JPG IMG_1376.JPG IMG_1377.JPG IMG_1381.JPG
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  20. I want to go back now! Those waves are perfect!

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