Our annual pilgrimage to Scotland, May 2017. Part 1. Norfolk to Skye 

Thursday (into Friday!)

Ruby the campervan is parked up at our favourite Scotland Border crossing, Carter Bar, just before Jedburgh. It’s 00:30 (Friday morning) and we were working until 7pm in Thetford. It’s been a funny ol week, we’ve battled illness, workload and a new (unplanned!) motor for Ruby’s habitation sliding door, but somehow we’ve made it here and in record time! If that doesn’t warrant a beer I don’t know what does. Unlike previous stays here, tonight we have company in the form of two other motorhome. Trying to be as quiet as we could, we set Ruby up for bed and crashed out for a hefty deep sleep. 


Friday dawns the most spectacular of day’s. We were up by 07:15 and enjoyed actually seeing the view! Usually it’s misty! Not only is it ☀️- it’s also HOT!!! At 07:30 I’m parading around in shorts and a vest top- with NO FLEECE! We had a quick chat with our neighbours before hitting the road again just after 08:00- destination, Loch Lomond, via New Lanark, a UNESCO heritage site near to Glasgow. We followed the Tweed Valley all the way and it was so beautiful, all these years of coming, it’s always a great treat to discover a new gem and has earnt a place on our “next time” list. 

New Lanark was lovely. It’s now looked after by UNESCO but once was a Georgian Mill village. All the buildings have been kept original, and you can go inside many for a fee. We chose not to as it was such a sunny day it seemed a shame to be inside. Instead we took advantage of the 5km woodland and waterfall trail along the banks of the River Clyde. Parking was free which was a nice touch and there is no entrance fee if you are only wandering the village without going inside. Parts of the walk along the Clyde reminded us of being in Colorado. After our walk, we enjoyed some of the New Lanark ice cream which is made on site. 

After a quick lunch we hit the road again passing through Glasgow and onto Loch Lomond. Always an exciting moment for us getting that first view of Ben Lomond. We stopped at the farm shop near to Luss, stocked up with local cider, cheese, venison- all the essentials! before carrying on to the main car park in Tarbet. Recently wild camping in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs has been banned, however they have introduced a fair system of pre purchasing a permit for the evening at £3 per night. We were keen to support it and duly paid our £3 online 30 days in advance, choosing where we wanted our permit to be valid. Sadly, on arrival at 5pm the car park was packed. We managed to squeeze in a space but the area was heaving. Obviously the sunshine and the bank holiday was bringing the world and his wife out, and although we gave it a good hour, we decided it was far too busy for us, and so we set off again, this time heading for the viewpoint at Black Mountains, just beyond the Bridge of Orchy. It was a gamble, would we turn up and find no space, as it was going to be near to 7pm. It was a tense journey, but luckily we arrived to find bags of room, with only one other van there. We bagged the best spot too, so we went about setting up a BBQ and went on to enjoy a fabulous evening. During the evening several other vans arrived, including a caravan, all stopping for some rest before heading north again early the next morning. We had a wonderful evening and slept like logs! 

Saturday arrived and the sunshine was still here. Hurray! The forecast however was not so optimistic, so we set off, stopping for breakfast at Glencoe, always a favourite- good lord, it was SO BUSY! We’ve stopped there every year for breakfast and this year without a doubt was the busiest we have seen. We squeezed on to the end and managed to have our breakfast, I decided to make the bagpiper a cuppa which he enjoyed. Good deed done so off we travelled again, towards Fort William.

 Again, it was PACKED! We squeezed into Morrisons for a top up shop, there were queues everywhere, not too dissimilar to the Christmas Eve shopping experience! I managed to get some local gin, which cheered me up, so shopping loaded in, we set off along the road to the Isles, our destination being one of our favourite sites, SilverSands at Arisaig. We tried to stop at Glenfinnan Viaduct, but couldn’t get parked. Are you noticing a theme here? 

Onwards we went, arriving at Silversands just as the rain began. A spot of rain does not take away the beauty of this place, and once again we were lucky to have a sea front pitch so we settled in, had a long nap and woke in time for the rain to have gone. 10 steps away from our pitch we had the most gorgeous white sand beach. It really is idylic. We enjoyed a beer on the beach, and met our neighbour, Charlie, who turned out to be a lovely fella- always checking if we needed anything from the shop when he went in his car. That evening I cooked us a delicious Simply cook prawn linguine and we went to bed around 11- it was still light! 

Sunday- the weather forecast wasn’t good, which was disappointing so we decided to have a lazy morning. I cooked us a cooked breakfast and just as I was serving up, the sun came out! “Quick”, I said to Keith, “get the outside chairs out, it may not last”! We enjoyed our sea view and watched as people fled to the beach, kayaks and dingies in hand, everyone desperate to enjoy the sun whilst it was there! 

Last night we discovered that the midges are here! Booo! Apparently it’s the long mild winter, but they are here, and in force. Keefy has been eaten alive! And guess what, we’ve left all our sprays at home! During a morning chat to our neighbour, he got brave and asked if they had any repellent he could borrow. Cue Charlie giving us an entire full spray of Smidge, insisting we keep it. What a nice man! 

Ruby is getting a lot of attention. Keith gets stopped several times as he is getting the bikes off! All these years of motorhoming and barely anyone ever speaks to us, yet now we have Ruby we seem to be attracting people for chat after chat! Not that we are complaining, it’s nice to be sociable, and everyone here is just SO FRIENDLY!

 We finally manage to get off, we are cycling 2 miles down the road to Camusdarach Beach- where the film Local Hero was filmed 35 years ago. We came a few years ago but the weather was dull and murky then.

Today, the sun is hanging on in there, so we optimistically pack a picnic and keep everything crossed! The weather gods are certainly on our side it seems, it’s a picture perfect day. This beach is simply stunning. It stretches for probably nearly a mile when the tide is out, as it was when we visited today. When the tide is in, there are 2 beaches not reachable without getting wet! I tried to send my drone up but it wasn’t happening, a badly timed update request means I can’t send it up which is annoying but can’t be helped. 😡 We had a lovely picnic though of cheese, venison slices, fresh baguette, and of course a beer and cider to wash it down. We had such a lovely visit! 

The sun was still shining on our cycle back, and it continued to shine the remainder of the day and evening. We sat outside taking in the ever changing view from our pitch- we watched as the tide came in and then went out again.

We had a lovely chat with next door, and shared a drink together. As the evening went on we were joined by several other couples seeking out the best views of the site. Seems we were on the best pitch going- we were happy to share it. I also managed to override my drone so I sent that up to capture the phenomenal sunset. Next door also had a drone, a DJ phantom, so he sent his up too! 

The atmosphere on site was electric. Everyone having a drink, toasting the sun, it was just such a happy atmosphere. There were even people doing yoga on the beach! It’s a really really special place! Obviously the local gin helped of which I managed to make quite an indent and Keefy’s whiskey must have evaporated in the heat 😜 but we soon realised it’s was gone 9pm and we still hadn’t eaten! Whoops! Dinner was quickly cooked and eaten and we enjoyed the last of the sunshine. 

The whole campsite came out to see it dip below the horizon, I almost felt like applauding! Off to bed we went, tipsy but on a massive high to say the least! The next thing I know, and it’s 3am and K is raiding the fridge, rubbing the contents of the the fridge on his legs! Turns out he is in agony with his bites. 😞 An advantage of having Ruby is that he can’t pace any more, however tossing and turning in bed and grumbling is as bad for me to hear. At 4am I suggest we go down to the beach and he goes for a paddle! The seawater helped soothe his legs earlier and I know he must be in agony cos he agreed quickly, so at 4am we were on the beach having a paddle, like you do! 

The seawater must have helped as of course, he managed to get straight off to sleep, whereas I lay away awake for 2 hours! 🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄 mind you hearing the sea lap beneath you and the dawn chorus is not the worst way I’ve spent a couple of hours. 

Monday arrived and as forecasted, the rain decided to make an appearance. Next door, bless them, gave Keith some antihistamines to help his itching, and also a couple of cans of Tennants for our fridge as a parting gift- how nice was that? We had another couple of people stop by Ruby interested in her conversion, and admiring her, it’s really a very strange sensation for us as unlike many others it seems, we were not drawn to VWs cos of their image! It was just the van which worked for us! Hey ho, it’s really nice to have chats with lots of different people and something that has never happened to us before in 7 years of motorhoming! We waved a sad farewell by 10:15, and rolled into. Mallaig for our ferry to Skye just before 11. “Are you booked on?” the man cheerfully asks. “Er no….”. “Sorry but we are fully booked ALL WEEK!” You could see the colour drain from our faces. What an epic oversight. We’ve done this crossing three times before and never booked. What’s going on?! The man offers for us to queue in the reserve queue for the next ferry at 12:00 although he says there is no guarantee that we will get on. We decided to go for it. Luckily, Lady Luck was on our side and they fit us on, what a relief, neither of us fancied the journey back to Fort William retracing our steps! 

We arrived on Skye thanks to a smooth crossing (unlike last time!) and it’s been raining all afternoon. Can’t complain though, we’ve had our share of good weather for Scotland. We drove to Tallisker, hoping to park somewhere local so we can have a few drinks and a meal in the pub opposite the distillery. Like everywhere else, Tallisker is heaving with people and we struggle to park. 😔 in the end we manage to get a space but we are unable to stay overnight. So we opted for an early dinner in the pub, which was delicious before driving on to a large lay-by on the way towards Sligachan where we settle in for a chill. 

Until next time 


Summer 2016: Adventures in Europe, part 10- Homeward Bound

Day 26- Saturday

Location – Trier Campsite, €25 pn with electric

Miles driven – 300

Weather- showery but sunny and warm in late afternoon

Bluebell the motorhome is parked up on the banks of the Moselle River on the outskirts of Trier. It’s not the nicest campsite we’ve been on, but it is serving a purpose. 

We were up early and drove 4 hours to Trier and its 110 space aire, arriving at 1.00. Annoyingly, the aire car park was completely taken over by the ADAC world championship rally, and there were rally cars, stewards all over the place and a big cross through the Motorhome sign. Not quite knowing what to do for the best, I pulled over and promptly got whistled at by a steward- turns out I had stopped in a pit stop!! 😂 Bluebell’s been officially everywhere now! Lol

On the exit road there was a sign for a campsite so we pulled in and luckily they had space, Keith wanted to see the Roman remains here and I could tell he was disappointed the aire was shut. They probably could have included a note in the Camperstop Book as I’m sure it would have been known about.

After a quick lunch we walked along the banks of the Mosel River to the old town. We saw the Roman bridge, the lower columns were 2000 years old!

We crossed the Roman bridge and went into town, the outskirts of town are awful, seedy and filthy, I was crossing everything that the historic centre would be nicer. Once we got into the Market Square, we relaxed, it was very pretty indeed and had a lovely character- high wooden building etc, lovely.

A short walk from the Market Square and we reached the most impressive of the sights in Trier, the Porto Nigra, which is the worlds largest preserved a Roman City Gate. What an amazing sight. Keith went inside whilst I had a cheeky wine, payment for dog sitting!

We then did a walking trail which included other Roman remains, including the amphitheatre, Roman baths and Basilica. My favourite was the amphitheatre, it was surrounded by banks of vineyards and was a bargain to go in, only €4 each. You could go underneath the arena and right around the top of it. It was very easy to reinact Russell Crowe’s Gladiator!

Roman sights visited, we headed back to the market square for some beverages, Keith was happy he found somewhere selling Kristellweissen (spelling!) I settled on the local wine. We moved onto a pop up wine stall also in the market square, I tried the local fizz which was delicious, and Keith had a pino noir white. 

We then had a meal, only our second meal out of the trip- opting for a local restaurant also on the market square, we both had pork schnitzel and frites, which was delicious.
Day 27– Sunday

Location – Oye Plage- municipal aire, free GPS: n50.977090, e2.039650
Miles driven – 280 Weather– showery but sunny and warm in late afternoon

Bluebell the motorhome is almost back where she began 3.5 weeks ago! We left Trier bright and early and did a full service fill/empty before checking out of our campsite. 

We were on the road for 9am, and as a result we were filling up with ridiculously cheap fuel an hour later in Luxembourg- €0.92 per litre! After squeezing as much as possible in we were back on the road and soon in Belgium. Our toll free route took us through Belgium, round Brussels and back up to Calais. It was an easy journey and we were pulling into Gravelines aire at 2pm. Sadly the fair was in town opposite the aire, and we didn’t fancy a noisy night, especially at €7 for the night, no services, so we carried on to where we spent our first night on Oye Plage beach aire. You can imagine our shock when we arrived and there was a great big height barrier blocking the carpark- considering we had stayed there literally 3.5 weeks ago! Oh well, we trundled down the road to the municipal aire in the village and found a space alongside another Brit, shortly followed by several others!

We had a good chill, watching a couple of movies, and had an early night after prawn egg fried rice for tea.

Day 28- Monday Location – Home- Norfolk, UK Miles Driven 150 Weather – Sunny

Bluebell the motorhome is sat having a well earned rest having carted us and our mad dog around 2900 miles Europe for the last 28 days, with barely a problem -other than the tyre incident in Brugges and lack of power on hills!

We started this morning having had a lovely quiet night at Oye Plage, and having bit of a lay in. Once up, we decided to give ourselves a head start on packing up, stripping the sheets and loading up the washing bags- 2 huge Ikea bags full of dirty washing- oh joy!

After a thorough clean at the service point on site we head 30 minutes away towards Wissant, we were heading to one final WW2 site of our tour- the would have been launch site of the awful V3 guns set to bombard London with over 1600 bombs per day – Fortress de Mimoyecques (GPS n50.517 e1.4530)
It was only €5.50 to go in, and you got to explore right through the under ground tunnels, 600m of them. It was so eery in there, but so fascinating. Thank goodness for the French resistance who along with the RAF aerial surveillance noticed the site being built and therefore bombed it heavily so it never got completed.

After a very enjoyable visit (feels not quite the right word but I’m sure you understand!) we headed to Cite Europe, right next to the Eurotunnel Departure, for a chill, shop, and to give Bluebell a thorough clean – one less job to do when we get back. I had a good hour exploring the French supermarket- I’ve really missed the choice, sorry Germany but your supermarkets weren’t (in my opinion) as good as the French, before whipping us up an early tea. Keith got on with some bits of maintenance- we’d lost a few screws here and there. At 6pm we moved round to begin check in- a longer than normal process, not entirely sure why as the actual passport check was minimal, again! 8pm and we were on the train and by 11pm we were home and ready for bed!

We have had a brilliant tour- seen some absolutely amazing sights, eaten and drank some cracking food and drink. Our general opinion of Germany is we loved what we saw, but not sure we would rush back. We found some parts of it hard work- all outweighed in the end by the good stuff obviously, but we came back feeling satisfied but ready for home!

Thoughts now turn to our next adventure- lined up for October Half Term, and my birthday! We are thinking about visiting South Wales- but as ever, who knows till nearer the time!

 Until Next time








Easter hols 2015: Kent and East Sussex- Part 2, Canterbury to Whitstable

Bluebell the motorhome is still parked up on New Dover Rd P&R- we had a wonderfully quiet night last night and would really recommend you pay this place a visit!


Today we’ve done a massive bike ride- from our pitch here at the park and ride to Whitstable and back, a return journey of 20 miles, many of those up a gradual ascent!! Having said that, we have thoroughly enjoyed it, although I have no doubt we will be hobbling around tomorrow!! 

We cycled to the other side of Canterbury (nr to Canterbury West train station) where we picked up the old disused railway line, now turned into cycle and foot path. It was a massive hill out of Canterbury but it is totally off road and you go through the campus of Kent Uni, which looks a lovely place to study by the way.

The Crab and Winkle Way is a lovely off road route that take you past ancient vineyards, through some pretty woodland and then down into the very picturesque bay of Whitstable.  


We loved Whitstable, it reminded us of Aldborough and Southwold on the Suffolk coast. There is a lovely pretty working harbour andromeda nice shops and a handful of pubs to explore.  









As you walk around the harbour there are lots of stalls selling fresh oysters straight off the boats- sadly neither Keith or I are fans of uncooked oysters otherwise we definitely would have purchased some!  


There was an interesting looking fish market/ restaurant though which we eyed up for some fresh mussels for tea, and cod and chips to get us back to Canterbury, washed down with some local ale! We sat outside in the terrace overlooking the harbour. What a fab location! 


Seeing as it took us about 2 hrs to get to Whitstable from the motorhome we decided to set back about 3pm, stopping briefly at Tescos to get a French baguette to accompany our mussels for tea! 

The journey out of Whitstable was HARD! About 2 miles uphill!! But then as we aprrocahed Canterbury it became 2 miles downhill so it cancelled it out I suppose!

All in all a Brill day, and cannot wait to eat our mussels later! 

Until next time 


France, May 2014 Pt1 Le Touqet and Stella Plage

Friday: Bluebell the Motorhome is parked up on the coast behind a large sand dune on a free aire in France. But the question is, what coast are we on?! When we booked this trip, back in February, we booked with the intention of driving to the Mediterranean for a few beach days in the sun. But, given the fact the weather forcast was grim for pretty much the whole of France, and we are currently saving for our wedding day (exactly one year today to go!) we made the decision on our drive down to The Tunnel not to venture the 700 odd miles each way to the Med! This would save us at least £500 quid in fuel for the wedding fund, and with it being the 70th anniversary year of D Day, we thought Normandy would be a good place (and significantly cheaper!!) to head for, without feeling like we’ve compromised.

So, back to my opening statement: Bluebell the Motorhome is parked up in the blazing sunshine (not forecasted!!) on the Free aire at Stella Plage; just south of Le Touquet.

We arrived in France smoothly, quickly, (thanks Eurotunnel) and less stressed at the promise of saving some dosh, late last night and made the 2 minutes drive from train to Cite Europe aire, along with 10 or so other motorhomes for some serious shut eye. We must have needed it as we didn’t wake up til gone 10am!! Feeling heaps more positive, less knackered, and encouraged by the bright blue sky perking through our roof vents, we doned our shorts and picked a beach aire in our “All The Aires France” that was an hours drive away.

Our mission this week is to travel this stretch of coast without using toll roads, and we enjoyed our journey leaving the motorway at Bologne on the Route Nationale road towards Stella Plage. When we arrived, we were pleased to see there were plenty of spaces free, and enjoyed a walk over the sand dune and on to the beach. We narrowly averted a storm with a lunch break in Bluebell before off loading the bikes and cycling the 30 mins journey to ale Touquet. Most of the journey was on a special cycle path resulting in an enjoyable 10kms or so round trip.

We enjoyed visiting Le Touquet, it’s got lots of character, and has some interesting Art Deco buildings, some tasty looking fancy chocolatiers, designer clothing shops and a lovely stretch of sandy beach and promenade. The town of Stella Plage, where we are staying is also really nice- it’s got a handful of bars, cafés, patisseries, shops and a small supermarket where we stocked up on Camembert, wine, cider, and sausisson- which we then consumed whilst happily sat outside the van in the sun, reading, chilling and marvelling at how something as simple as wine, cheese and fresh bread can taste so damn fine!!!

Who needs the Med anyway?!



the free aire at Stella Plage



Le Touqet

Easter Holidays 2014: Pt7 Dundee – home

Bluebell the motorhome is safely parked up back home after an immense journey south from Dundee to Newark, then Newark to home.

Our last night in Scotland was spent happily parked up at a farm shop Brit Stop close to Dundee, where we were able to stock up on Aberdeen Angus burgers and sausages (we literally filled the fridge with meat!) and have a very quiet and relaxed evening enjoying the sunshine.

Bluebell parked outside the farm shop for the night

The next day dawned a sunny one, and not wanting to waste the sunshine we decided to stop at Tentsmuir Forest/Beach, just south of Dundee, for a walk in the sun, before hitting the road back south to near Newcastle.

Tentsmuir Beach is without a doubt the best beach we’ve been on in the UK, and that includes all those fantastic white sandy beaches on the Hebrides, the white sands of Morar- all of them are beaten by this magnificent stretch of golden, perfect sand which literally goes on for MILES. It must be a mile at least in depth, sea to sand dunes, and then it stretches round a headland for well over 2 miles I’m sure. Have a look at this aerial pic I’ve borrowed from Tentsmuir.org


We were literally the only ones on it, we saw not another single person on the entire beach. Incredible. The weather was gorgeous, the beach was amazing – we felt like we were in heaven!!





What is lovely about this amazing place is that there is the beach and dunes to explore, a pine forest nestled behind, and loads of way marked trails to follow, be it on bike or foot. Hidden in the forest was an 18th Century Ice House, and a World War 2 Pill box, that was actually only discovered recently as it was hidden beneath the sand!

18th Century Ice House,

WW2 Pill box

We had a brilliant time exploring this area, and couldn’t believe it was free (apart from £2.50 all day parking- bargain!) We reluctantly hit the road after lunch and had a smooth journey south, arriving just north of Newcastle around 6pm at a pub stop. Naturally we went in for a taste of the local ale, and after a pint of the 7.something % cider I nearly needed carrying back to the van! Keith however enjoyed a couple of pints of very reasonably priced local ale, coming in at UNDER £3 a pint- and half of that went to the local lifeboat charity. Great idea.

Next morning we were on the road before 9am, aiming for Newark for an Easter Sunday meal with Dad and Jenny which was lovely. Easter Monday, before leaving dad’s house, we borrowed his power washer, to get some of the sea salt we’d accumalated on our 1500 miles off!

Keefy with his hose, ahem

A nice and clean Bluebell, all ready for her next adventure!

Our final mileage was approximately 1600 miles, we filled with diesel 5 times, and are dead happy with the mpg we got (although we don’t know how to work the actual one out, we are pleased with our fuel bill!) we stayed on only one campsite during the 17 days away, and managed to fill with water/empty our loo every day!

We ate and drank some fine local produce and came back needing to shed a pound or two, that’s for sure.

Anyway, next trip is a mini break in Essex next weekend, the. We’ve got ten days in France to look forward to at the end of the month! Hurrah for school holidays

Until next time

Easter Holidays 2014: Pt 6 The coastal trail – Aberdeenshire

Bluebell the motorhome is parked at Brit Stop 810 not too far from the fairy tale Glamis Castle.

We set off from Brit Stop no 828 at 8am in the pouring rain with the intention of following the coast road east. Aberdeen council have very handily provided a brown sign tour of the coast road, which is well signposted and takes in many places of interest between Nairn and Aberdeen. This has proved to be the basis of our tour today, following the route through the extremely pretty fishing villages of Portgordon, Buckie, Findochty and onto Portknockie to see some interestingly shaped sea rocks named locally as the Bow and Fiddle.


We then carried on the coast road to Cullen, which is, as it’s name suggests, where the fish soup, Cullen Soup was devised. sadly as it was breakfast time we didn’t get to have any soup today but next time we will make a point to!


Viaduct and seaside at Cullen- a nice spot for breakfast

Next stop, 10 miles or so down the road was the charming 17th century fishing village of Portsoy, which we thought rivalled the picturesque fishing villages found in Cornwall and Devon. The tall warehouses that stand next to the waterside have been restored into quirky shops and cafés and we spent a happy hour wandering around here.



The old harbour at Portsoy surrounded by warehouses. You can see the newer harbour on the left.

It was then on through Whitehills, Banff and Macduff where although the housing wasn’t quite as pretty, the harbours were small and all had character. Gardenstown was the next stop, which was different to the other places we had visited today in that the village is built on a series of terraces which are set into the cliffs rising up behind the harbour. It was steep drive down into the village and in the end we couldn’t find the parking so turned round and came back up, stopping to admire the views half way up.


The terraced fishing village of Gardenstown

Next stop- our most anticipated of the day and tour- the small handsome village of Pennan. The hotel and telephone box were featured in the film local hero (you may remember we found the beaches last week on the west coast) and finding the village was every bit as exciting as we’d hoped! Again, it was a very steep drive down, with three hairpins and a tight negotiation round the hotel itself, but even this was exciting as the drive down also features in the film! The village is gorgeous and although the weather was changeable we loved our visit here! We didn’t go to the pub- mainly because dogs weren’t allowed, but the interior scenes were filmed elsewhere- this and the frosty welcome we received when nipping our heads through the door meant we didn’t mind missing a pint here.







After a quick lunch, and a careful drive back up the steep road to the main road, we headed to Fraserburgh- home to the first lighthouse, Kinnaird Head, that The Northern Lights society introduced in the 1700s. It’s unusual in that it’s built into the structure of 16th century Fraserburgh Castle. Although the original lighthouse is now “retired”- a new automatic one lights up the shores these days- there is an excellent visitors centre and lighthouse museum, plus you can have a tour of the old lighthouse. We absolutely loved it- for a very reasonable £6 each we spent almost an hour in the museum, and another 45 minute on a particularly interesting tour of the lighthouse.

Trying on the light keepers uniform!

Looking at the different methods in which the lights work.

Once on the tour (we were lucky to be the only ones as it was the last tour of the day) we were taken right up to the very top- and shown the light, how it worked and even allowed to go into the light room where the lens was. Unfortunately the high winds meant we couldn’t go on the roof (90mph gust had been recorded the hour before!!) but we were allowed on the balcony where we had a great view.

inside the lens! Amazing experience

The outside of the lighthouse- we were at the very top on the previous picture!!

It really was a brilliant tour, and we learnt some amazing things!

We are now at our BritStop for the night, which is perched up on a harbour wall of a town near Aberdeen. It’s got an amazing beach, but we are too snuggled on Bluebell to go out now, it’s been a long, but brill day exploring and sightseeing, we can’t believe how much we managed to fit in! Tomorrow we are heading for Glamis Castle.


BritStop ao4


Panoramic of the beach we were overlooking- truly spectacular


enjoying being on the beach in the sun!


Glamis Castle





The beautiful gardens at Glamis Castle: The walled garden, The Pineteum and The Italian Gardens

Easter Holidays Pt 5: the East Coast of Scotland

Bluebell the motorhome is tucked safely behind BritStop 824 whilst her owners enjoy the ale from the on site brewery!

We left Skye this morning via the bridge and headed to the pretty town of Plockton for coffee and a wander. Plockton enjoys a micro climate and is totally sheltered, therefore there are palm trees that line the sea front- it’s quite a sight to see!! The sea front is very pretty, and hosts a hotel, a small shop where we picked up some delicious highland blue cheese, and a number of b and bs. I should imagine in the summer it’s heaving! We enjoyed a coffee outside the Plockton hotel- it was a bit early for anything stronger and we’d got a long drive ahead of us.



Next stop was the Eileen Donan castle, for elevensees- a tradition of ours that started 5 trips ago on our maiden voyage in Daisy. We visited that year, and enjoyed it- but these days we just pop into the car park for the obligatory pic of the outside and a brew.


From here, we took the stunning road towards Inverness – which takes in some breathtaking scenery through the 5 sisters mountain range, with a brief stop to take in the battle site of Glen Shiel; and we were lucky with the weather today, resulting in a gorgeous drive.

We got as far as Loch Ness, Brit Stop 824- a hotel and micro brewery. Let me tell you, the outside doesn’t look too much, but the food and beer is amazing. We’ve stocked up on bottled beer for the van, fed on haggis- Keith had a haggis pizza and I had haggis in the traditional form with neeps and tatties. Delicious! What’s more- if it hadn’t been for Brit Stops, we would never have found this place as it’s nested behind some houses, off the beaten track. For us, this is what we love most about this scheme. It takes us to places where we can have a true experience rather than a touristy/mass produced one.

Tomorrow we continue with our exploration of Brit Stops/ food tour- we’re heading to a cheese farm!! Sounds right up our street!

Bluebell the motorhome is parked at Brit Stop no: behind a cheese farm, near Inverness.

We couldn’t have been made to feel more welcome today, our hosts are lovely, and from the minute you pull in this is evident:

Our taste buds are going bonkers- we’ve been sampling (and buying) the cheese that is made here this afternoon, and it is delicious. The main cheddar they make here is voted in the top 10 in Britain, and I can see why. It’s creamy, but also mature- and as soon as I popped a taster in my mouth I knew it was a winner. We bought three variations in the end; the lady told us that the crumblier one was made from milk taken in the winter months, which then needed to be left to mature for longer. It was very interesting, and we can see why the shop/cafe have been awarded 5 stars from Visit Scotland. We especially enjoyed watching through the glass partition to watch cheese being handmade!


Other purchases that we picked up here were Scottish oatcakes with garlic and rosemary in, also lovely, and some ice cream from the nearby Black Isle dairy which was am.maz.ing!!! Keefy’s honeycomb flavour especially! And Jazz loved it!! Cheeky mutt!

Other than eating- which we started at Loch Ness this morning with a ginormous bacon baguette with this lovely view……


we did a little walk to a pretty village nearby, on the banks of the Moray Firth to try to spot some dolphins, as this stretch of water is popular with dolphins. Unfortunately despite a lovely hour sat waiting, we failed to see them this time, but will definitely return next year.



Whilst we were chilling tonight we saw 2 barn owls hunting for their tea and the beekeepers came to collect the honey from the nearby bee boxes. It’s been fantastic, and yet again another favourite spot has been born! Thanks Brit Stops 🙂

Bluebell the motorhome is perched on the seaside behind Brit Stop 828. Excitement is lingering in the air, as word in the van is that tonight is Fish and chip night! Yum yum.

We were on our way early (well… 9am) this morning, and just like the old saying goes- the early bird catches the worm- or in our case, lots of sightings of dolphins! We headed to Nairn harbour for our brekkie, and whilst cooking up eggy bread and beans (you can imagine the smell in our van this week!) Keefy exclaimed that he’d seen a dolphin! Eggs abandoned, I joined the search, and sure enough over the next hour we saw several sightings – one was pretty close too. I failed miserably on the photo taking- I was too busy squeeling every time it reappeared. However, that’s one thing to tick off the list, as it was an amazing sight to watch these beautiful creatures playing in the wild. Apparently bottle nosed dolphins are called this because their long snout is said to look like an old fashioned gin bottle. It made me smile- I wonder how much truth is in it.



From Nairn, we drove east to Burghead, where they celebrate two New Years- the 1st and 11th Jan under the Julian calender and to discover about the Clavie tradition and also see some Pictish stone engravings. The visitors centre (donation entry) is excellent and enjoys a panoramic view from the roof. There is also the remains of an Iron Age fort here, as well as the Burghead Well. It was a nice place to visit, and we are glad that we made the journey off the main road to get there.



We then took the coast road east, towards Lossiemouth, making one final surreal stop at the small fishing village of Hopeman. It’s got a pretty harbour here as well as an alladins cave type shop/gallery that we nipped into. Half an hour later we emerged £60 lighter but having gained this bad boy for our living room (at home not in the van!!) luckily we are traveling in a large vehicle as it’s got a few miles to cover before it’s installed with a couple of malts next to the sofa at home!!

So now it’s time for fish and chips after a great day exploring this lovely stretch of Scotland.

Until next time

Reflections on the Isle of Skye

Wild Camping
We found no problems whatsoever in finding places to park overnight whilst on the island. Some were nicer than others- but more often than not they had marvellous views. Most small car parks and laybys/viewpoints has at least one wheelie bin for your rubbish. Just make sure you follow the wild camping rules-
1) don’t overstay your welcome, most locals are happy for you to park for one or two nights.
2) leave no trace of your stay- don’t empty your waste water or loos and take away your litter unless there is a bin there
3) try to spend some money in the local community- most places are happy for you to stay as they thrive on income from tourists.
4) if there is a sign saying “no overnight parking” – don’t ignore it- it gives us a bad name!
5) try to avoid setting out excessive camping equipment when wild camping, especially if you’re near a community. Locals usually don’t want their area being made to look like a campsite- there are plenty of campsites dotted around if you want to set out chairs/awnings/BBQs etc

We found these spots:
1) small car park in Broadford

Not the main town car park, but opposite the chip shop (yum yum)

2) Staffin Beach Car park

Right next to Staffin Beach- a dead end road and very quiet. Fab views across to Applecross Bay. Dinosaur footprints can be seen on Staffin beach itself

3) layby 0.5 miles south of Sligachan Hotel and Bar on the A87 towards Broadford

This layby was slightly set back off the main road and we had a very quiet night here. Possibly aided by the drinks we had at the bar 1/2 mile down the road – the Sligachan Hotel, which is also a micro brewery and has a fine selection of ales and whiskeys

Finding water and emptying waste water/loo
There were 3 public loos that we were able to use to empty our toilet cassette etc (make sure you don’t use the chemicals though)
At Broadford and Dunvegan there is also an outside tap so we were able to use our hose to refill the water tank quickly. When we did this, we made sure we spent money in the local shop as a thankyou.

Food and Drink
We enjoyed lots of good drinks in various establishments on the Isle although we never got round to eating out this time. We’ve eyed up two restaurants we’d like to eat at next time though. There are Coops at Portree and Broadford and local groceries shops at Dunvegan, Staffin and Uig.
Here’s where we drank:
1) Bakur Bar, Uig
Situated next to the Isle of Skye Brewery, the ale here travels the 30odd metres from brewery to bar. We tried the Red Cuillin, and the Black Cuillin on draught, and both were delicious. No dogs allowed.


2) The Lodge Inn
This inn has a very warm welcome, both from the landlord and his wife, and the roaring fire in the bar. We enjoyed a couple of pints of their Lodge Ale, brewed specially for them by the Isle of Skye brewery. Dog friendly

3) The Old Inn, Carbost
This was by far our favourite inn we went visited. It had a cracking atmosphere, served ales brewed from nearby “The Cuillin microbrewery”, and was opposite the Tallisker distillery, so naturally we sampled a dram too! Food menu looked delicious, we nearly ate, but didn’t and regretted it. Very dog friendly.

4) The Sligachan Hotel
We purposely stayed local to this bar, as it’s home to the Cuillin microbrewery. The in house ale was wonderful especially washed down with a Tallisker in front of the fire. Mackenzie Bar- Dog friendly

Our favourite attractions
1) The Old Man of Storr

A tough walk if you want to get right to the top, but options to shorten walk whilst still enjoying the views

2) The Quaring

Again, a tough walk if you go right to the top, but a well trodden path leads you from the car park to the base where you can still enjoy the mysterious atmosphere

3) The Isle of a Skye Brewery

Located on the pier at Uig, a great shop full of local beer, whiskey, tablet, and other local treats. We loved stocking up in here, and the Tallisker flavoured tablet was to die for.

4) Fairy Glen

Another must to see- a miniature valley, where everything is green, and where legend has it that the fairies live! When you visit, you can easily see how this myth came about!

5) The Tallisker Distillery

Located in the pretty village of Carbost, although we didn’t get to visit, we most certainly will return. You can smell the whiskey in the air, and there is a lovely pub to visit too. (See above- The Old Inn)

The weather on a Skye when we were there wasn’t brilliant- we tended to have one good day and one bad day. Most nights were stormy. We were told however that Skye has had the worst winter/spring in a long time and that it’s usually nowhere near a bad as this. We don’t go to Scotland expecting sunshine, and as we were told by a couple of locals: “There’s no such thing as bad weather here on Skye, just the wrong clothes!”


Easter Holidays Pt 4- Isle of Skye


Bluebell the motorhome is parked up next to another motorhome down the end of the beach road at Staffin Bay. We are parked up underneath the cliffs, at sea level, next to the beach that is famous for its dinosaur footprints. The weather is clear (hurrah)

our pitch at Staffin Beach

Today, we drove the road from Broadford to Staffin, that passes through Portree. As soon as we departed Broadford the scenery stepped up from what we’d seen yesterday (granted the weather definitely helped!) As we got towards Portree Keith suggested we try the walk to the Old Man of Storr seeing as the weather was behaving. Our guide book intimated that this was the most popular walk on the island, and given how busy the car park was I’d have to agree.
the view of The Old Man of Storr as we approached on the road

Thankfully we’ve (I’ve!) been trained well and so before setting off we made a full packed lunch including flasks of soup and tea, sarnies, cake, crisps, choc and a cheeky tinny of Tennants! (It was only 10am!!) We also made sure we had all our hiking gear on, boots, weather trousers, macs, fleece etc, as despite it saying it wasn’t a hard walk in the book, you just can’t be too sure. I’m glad we did- unlike every other person we passed (and there were lots) it never fails to amaze me seeing people rock climbing in converse, and today- heeled boots!!!!

We took (by accident) the more advanced rock climbers scramble to the base of the Old Man – and it was tricky to say the least at the top. I possibly had a minor panic when I realised the path around the base was non existent, but I’m proud to say we persevered and survived(!) and scrambled round, and therefore were rewarded with the most amazing views:



Having carted my tripod up, I was pleased to be able to give it a whirl, and I was very impressed especially given the wind speed up there! The spikes on the feet are ingenious.

Naturally, once having our picnic sat underneath the old man himself, we noticed the far easier and safer path that we should have taken up, so we had a good chuckle about that and looked forward to our descent.

Once safely back in the van, we drove on 5 miles or so for our second luncheon of the day- this time at Kilt Rock waterfall view point. The waterfall falls over the cliff into the sea and is next to the rock formation entitled Kilt Rock- supposedly it looks like a kilt. I will let you decide!




Next and final stop, the beach at Staffin to a) see if we could stay overnight there and b) hunt these dinosaur footprints. We’d read the best time to see them is at low ride, which we’d missed by 4 hrs, but nevertheless we happily hunted for an hour or so, aided by the trusty hip flask of homemade sloe gin of course as by then we knew we had found our pitch for the night.

Sadly no such luck with the hunting of footprints, but we will stick around until low tide tomorrow, due at 1137 to see if we have any luck. Keith asked a local who was walking his dog, and apparently he’s lived here years and NEVER seen them. So we will see!

Friday and Saturday

Bluebell the motorhome is parked by a river, in a sheltered valley behind Brit Stop number 822.

We woke up after a quiet and relaxed night to a bit of a murky one in the weather department, but it didn’t affect our plans- we were going to have a late breakfast then go footprint hunting at low tide, then drive the 5 miles or so to the Quaring- a mystical unusual rock formation, including The Needle, The Prison and The Table. Our book told us that whatever the weather it was something to visit.

First things first- the dinosaur footprints. I’m happy to say, after an exciting (and competitive) hunt, Keith found them, we think! This to us looks like the photo displayed at the info board, and we are fairly sure it is it, but without the Staffin museum open and no indication on the beach it’s a bit difficult to be 100% sure. 🙂


Next we drove up a great pass to take us to the start of the Quaring walk. At first the path seemed a breeze, much easier than yesterday’s Old Man of Stoer, but as we approached the bottom of “the needle” a trickier path presented itself to get us to “the table”. We took the path with some sense of trepidation, but equally were keen to get to the top section to appreciate the full sense of enormity. The path was hard going, but we got there eventually, just in time for the mist to come down! Typical eh? Oh well, we got to the top.








Once back at Bluebell we were exhausted, cold, wet, hungry and a bit grumpy, so rather than venture out to find a new spot for the night, we decided to head back to the familiarity of the Staffin Beach spot, where we’d spent a pleasant night last night. We weren’t the only ones- our fellow motorhome neighbour had also returned, so we settled in for a chill and more importantly an early night.

All was well until around 6pm when our alarm bells were raised when our neighbours very quickly packed up shop and moved up to the next layby- a higher slip layby, that was right on the edge of a cliff. We couldn’t understand why they had moved in such a rush- the wind was picking up and it seemed odd to us to go to a higher lever on a cliff edge. Ever being the optimists, we decided to punch their spot, as they’d nabbed the best spot earlier and settle in for a panoramic view. About an hour later the wind picked up, and convinced it was just a passing storm, we made light of it, and settled in waiting for the storm to pass. By 10pm it was showing no sign of easing, if anything the winds were getting stronger and stronger, and bluebell was rocking further and further. Keith admitted to me this morning by this stage he’d noticed the windows buckling. We out an hour later, we’d managed to get enough mobile data to load the met office and bbc weather, both of which saying that the winds were south westerly and would increase to 50 mph by 5am. As we were parked our bum was totally the first thing these south westerly winds were grabbing as they bounced off the sea. Excellent- obviously this is why the other motorhome moved!

We set the bed out deciding once again (like Glencoe on Sunday) it was now far too dark and dangerous to drive and that we would be brave and hold tight. Once the bed was out we lasted approximately 5 mins before I decided enough was enough and that we were moving. My justification was that the exit road followed the south westerly wind so the wind would be pushing us up the hill rather than crossing us and making us wobble.

We got the 500 odd yards up to where the other motorhome had retreated to, and to our surprise there was no sign whatsoever of the winds in that spot, so we joined them and hit the sack. All was well, apart from the battling rain, I can’t remember ever hearing such heavy rain until 5am when the wind swiftly changed direction to the west, which meant we were now entirely swaying, the bike rack was clattering, the TV Ariel was squeeking- you name it. Keith this time made the call to move- this time back up to the main road and along maybe 10 miles to a sheltered pull in where we got an extra hours kip.

So when we woke up at 8am, it’s safe to say the mood was fractious- we were both drained and in addition to our lack of sleep the bed had broken, one of the lights had fallen off and the fridge door had broken! We spent the next half an hour fixing Bluebell, but we were both thrilled that other than these minor unrelated problems, there were no signs of leaks, or outer damage. Hurray, we’d survived.

We decided a chill was in order, so drive round the coast road to Uig, to stop at the Isle of Skye Brewery to stock up, then onto the Fairy Glen- a magical mystical small valley just outside of Uig where it’s really unnaturally green, and the hills and lakes are all in miniature! This is a natural phenomena caused by glacial meltwater ten thousand years ago, but I can see why the myth is that fairies live here as the hills look tiny and perfect and have ridges round them- you honestly can imagine the fairies living here!!


our visit to The Isle of Skye Brewery, in Uig





The Fairy Glen

We headed towards Dunvegan and are now happily nestled behind a sheltered Brit Stop- an old hunting lodge that is now a bar/restaurant and inn and so, seeing as it’s Saturday night we are going to have a few drinks and a chill in there tonight. Sounds perfect, and just what the doctor ordered after last nights adventures!

We had a great relax at our Brit Stop last night, and got mildly tipsy on the inn’s special ale- brewed specially for them by the Isle of Skye Brewery. It was delicious and we happily chatted to the landlord and landlady for a couple of hours.

After a great nights sleep, we hit the road in the rain, and managed to full with water at Dunvegan. We had a bacon butty looking out towards the castle, and then followed the road to Carbost, home to the Tallsiker distillery. Sadly the distillery is closed today, however there is a fantastic smell of whiskey lingering in the air, and the pub here, The Old Ship, is a fantasticly warm and cosy place to spend an hour or so, before heading back towards Portree for our final night on Skye.


Dunvegan Castle







storm brewing over Cuillin Hills


pleasant way to spend our last night on Skye

our pitch over looking the Cuillin Hills, and half a mile stagger from the Sligachan Hotel bar!

Easter Holidays 2014: Pt 3 Glen Coe to Skye

Bluebell the motorhome is parked up right next to the gorgeous white sands of Arisaig, just off the road from Fort William entitled “The Road to the Isles” – the A380 to Mallaig.

Today we left Loch Leven fairly early, as we wanted to get some supplies from the Morrisons at Fort William. After a quick scoot round, a few mins online, a diesel fill and a calor gas exchange, we were back on the road, heading towards Mallaig. We had a brief stop at the Glenfinnan Viaduct and monument. The viaduct was used for filming some Harry Potter scenes (we’ve actually not seen HP so this was lost on us!) However, it’s a nice location with a visitors centre and of course the Bonny Prince Charlie monument too.



Our intention for the rest of the day was to get to a campsite that we’d booked onto, allegedly on the beach that Local Hero was filmed at (Camusdarach Campsite). I say allegedly, as either we totally misinterpreted their website when booking, or someone was slightly exaggerating their position on the coast- either way on the road down to this particular campsite, we passed some stunning beaches and beautifully located campsites right on the sea front, so our hopes were getting higher and higher as we anticipated our arrival. When we arrived, we were surprised that the campsite was half a mile or so back off the coast, there were limited limited sea views, and the actual beach used in the film was over a mile away! Keith went in to check, and decided once he was told there were no sea/beach view pitches etc (despite pics on the website showing sand dunes and seaside) that we would not take our pitch and we would look for a different site. I was pleased in a way when he returned to the van to tell me, as I’d spent 10 mins sat in the van feeling disappointed the site wasn’t as we’d expected it to be.

So off we drove, this time slightly back on ourself maybe 2 miles. The first site we passed was called Silver Sands so we pulled in to check it out. As we drove down the entrance road, we were thrilled to see pitches with a sea view that seemed vacant (tick), with hook up (another tick) We drove up to the reception and was greeted happily with a sign saying if you can find a pitch, it’s yours- we will be round in the morning to collect money (£16 pn with electric): perfect. We bagged a stunner of a pitch, which was hard standing (unlike the grassy boggy pitches of Camusdarach Campsite- another cross by their name). It was £9 a night cheaper, the sun was shining, and so naturally we plugged in, cracked a beer and went for a chill on the beach. Chill is an accurate word actually, as the driving wind was freeeeeeeezing, but the sunny skies and beach/sea combi more than made up for that!!







So a lovely relaxing evening was had by us all, Jazz enjoyed an hour or so tearing around on the beach, I was happy playing with my camera and tripod and Keefy spent an hour umming and aa ahhing about whether or not to bbq! Decided against it in the end due to rain clouds looming, so we settled on the Aberdeen Angus steak each anyway but cooked inside (still fab view though!)

We had a wonderful night at Siversands , and would whole heartidly recommend. Just to warn you though, you can’t book, so it’s luck of the draw I guess if travelling during peak season.

Bluebell the motorhome is parked up overlooking the mainland (well, if we could see it that is- visibility not good today) We went to visit the beach filmed on for Local Hero this morning with the help of this handy site
it turned out that you could access it 1/2 mile further on up the B8008 past the Camusdarach campsite (not what we’d been led to believe) The beach is a hidden gem, that has huge sand dunes protecting it from the road, and is a good half a mile wide of pure white sand. You can see where they built “Bens Shack” for the movie, and also the church, which isn’t actually a church in real life, they dressed it up to look like one. This is also he stretch where Burt Lancaster arrived in his helicopter at the end of the film. It was great to finally visit the official one- over the last 5 yrs we’ve stopped at a number incorrectly!!!




We then carried on up to Mallaig to board the Calmac ferry to Skye- a 30 minute crossing which we’ve done before but I doubt will do again!!!! Well- it’s taken us both til now (6hrs) to vaguely recover. I never get sea sick, until today that is. Bleughhh. To be fair, it is a wee bit murky out there, and we probably should have not bothered with the sausage baguette each beforehand.

We drove off the ferry and travelled 1/2 mile somehow to the visitors centre where we emergency pulled in (you don’t need to know the rest!) An hour or so later, we felt better enough to check out the wild camping spot at the south of the Island. It was nice and had a cracking sea view- but it’s elevated position and today’s windy weather meant that we felt like we were still on the boat. Down we came, and trundled about the roads between Armadale and Broadford for an hour or so, feeling uninspired, tired, hazy, spinny and nauseous still. We are now parked on the sea front at Broadford, within walking distance of a chippy and a pub. I suspect this combination of establishments will aid our recovery, and so we can set off tomorrow feeling normal again

Until next time