Gandalf the VW is parked up with a terrific view of the Moray Firth, in the highlands of Scotland, near to Lossiemouth.
We made the 5 hour journey from Beadnall bay, with a couple of comfort stops en route/ it was a tiring drive but the end result- our pitch at West Bay Caravan Park was worth the drive.
Our drive through the Cairngorms on the A9 enabled us to stop for supplies at an old haunt of ours, the House Of Bruar- a fabulous collection of local food, drink and goodies and we raided their cheese and butchery section as well as their local drinks too. Well worth a stop if you’re passing but perhaps hide your credit card as it’s easy to get carried away in there! Haha
We arrived on site about 5:30 and despite our weariness managed a quick set up. Our pitch had lovely views of the ocean and was close to the facilities block- we both enjoyed long hot showers in a heated shower block having had 6 nights of camping showers in our awning.
Our dinner was sausage and mash- with venison Sausage from the House of Bruar. Absolutely gorgeous and easily done in the Remoska now we were back on electric after 4 nights off grid.
We sat outside until dark, admiring the cruise liner leaving Invergorden just down the coast and slept well – especially after I took down the awning at 2am- the wind off the sea was making a racket through the awning!
Sunday arrived and we were both feeling tired – it had been a full on week of travelling on top of a full on half term of work.
We decided to have a day of doing nothing. We took a gentle walk to the village shop to pick up a couple of supplies and then Keefy made a delicious haggis pizza for lunch.
He started it off on the cadac pizza stone but it was struggling against the wind, so we transferred it to the Remoska for the second half of cooking. It was delicious.
We then took a wander down to the campsite beach and had some time larking around on the paddle board. I enjoyed a swim too. We both enjoyed making use of the on site bar, the Salty Dog when we made our way to the site for a dram.
After a lazy afternoon back at the van we cooked up Cullen skink for dinner which was delicious.
A perfect day of just sitting and watching the sea – something that we had driven all this way for- it really hit the spot.
Monday arrived and despite a not so pleasant weather forecast we were blessed with beautiful sunshine. We unloaded the bikes and cycled along the Moray coastal trail to Lossiemouth (6 miles but sadly not off road like other parts of the trail- although the road wasn’t too busy)
We found the bar/restaurant Harbour Lights immediately and got won over by their position and menu.
Keith had grilled haddock and I enjoyed Cullen skink for the second time in less than 24 hours! I have to say theirs was absolutely exquisite. We then cycled around the harbour, pausing on the wall for a while enjoying the sunshine and also on the look out for dolphins. I’d seen some from the pitch at the campsite yesterday but Keith missed them. I was itching for us both to see them together.
Alas, we were in the wrong place at the wrong time and no dolphins made their appearance- it didn’t matter though, we loved siting there nice and relaxed.
After a quick stop at the Coop we made our way back to the site for a relax. We enjoyed a local cheeseboard and to our delight spotted a pod of dolphins swimming by.
We spent the reminder of the day relaxing watching the sea and another cruise ship- before enjoying dinner- homemade chicken balmoral. (Chicken stuffed with haggis wrapped in bacon) served with neeps and tatties and cooked in the Remoska.
Tuesday arrived and again the weather was better than the forecast! We unloaded the bikes again and made a short but beautiful journey to Burghead. This section of the coastal trail is only 2 miles but is fully off road on a disused railway track – part of the Moray coastal trail.
Burghead is small but very traditional. The harbour is used for fishermen although there is a company operating boat trips, which we would have loved to have done one- sadly they aren’t dog friendly without us chartering the entire boat at almost £500 for 2 hours. A shame really- we’ve always managed a boat trip with Jazz and considering the amount of campers with dogs on our site I’m surprised there isn’t a market for dog friendly boat trips along this stretch of the Moray which is heavily populated with dolphins so would make an exciting family activity. But there we go. We saved ourselves £70 (or £500 for the charter) but for the record we were willing to spend our £70 to a local company for a boat trip.
We picked up a scotch pie and a macaroni pie for a picnic lunch to enjoy on the long journey back to Gandalf – haha! – from the Coop- nowhere else open in Burghead. We also enjoyed a look at the Pictish fort, which had great views along the coast too.
Once back at the van we went back down to the beach for more paddle board fun before enjoying more cheese, dolphin watching and an afternoon snooze.
When we were awake we couldn’t take our eyes off the sea!
Dinner was a slow cooker special of Beef stroganoff. As I went to wash up, We saw more dolphins – a majestic site. I just love them.
After dinner we started packing up as tomorrow was our big drive home. We enjoyed the most spectacular sunset we’ve ever seen I think in Scotland that evening. We could have been in Greece.
We’d very much enjoyed our time at West Beach Caravan Park. Although it was pricier at £37 pn we were pleased with the sea view- despite not being right on the front row (we only booked 10 days prior to arrival- the front row book up months in advance and I can see why!) we had a great view. Some of the pitches on the site in our opinion are better than others. The front row (S then number) are phenomenal location just a stone throw to the water. The ones behind that were ok, but a little hemmed in as were the E pitches in our opinion . We liked the VW pitches which we were on but felt ours #7 was the best of those as it had no van on one whole side so you got a wide view of the sea.
We did feel the rules on site were hit and Miss. No ball games for example but no one monitoring when people were playing ball games and therefore hitting our van. Parking with doors facing a particular way made some A class motorhomes that were LH have their main window away from the view. That must have been annoying.
The showers were well cleaned and nice but the push button was the shortest we’ve ever encountered and could have been a degree or two warmer.
Usually we’re not too fussy on these things but I suppose when you’re paying premium you take more notice of smaller details. Having said all of this- we really enjoyed our stay, it was perfect for our needs and we will likely return at some point.
As we left on Wednesday, we decided to make a morning of it seeing as the weather was so good and we were craving the mountains. We filled with fuel at Elgin which was so cheap (£1.78 haha!) and then made our way to Braemar. The route was splendid passing through Tomintoul – we were in heaven. At Braemar we then headed towards Pitlochry – another extremely scenic route, before joining the A9 which led us on our journey south and back home.
If you’ve never been to the Cairngorms- you need to go! There’s a past blog from our previous stays here. We’ve also got a previous blog from further down the Moray Firth / Moray Coastal trail last year here
We left Pitlochry at 12:30 and we’re back home at 9pm having stopped for some shopping in nearby Thetford. So a very good run indeed!
We’d had a brilliant time on our travels- Scotland once more ticked our boxes- and by staying East… no midges!!!!
Until next time