Easter Holidays Pt 4- Isle of Skye

Thursday

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)

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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.
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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:
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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!

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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. 🙂

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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.

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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!!

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our visit to The Isle of Skye Brewery, in Uig

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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!

Sunday
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.

Perfect!

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Dunvegan Castle

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Portree

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storm brewing over Cuillin Hills

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pleasant way to spend our last night on Skye

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

Yorkshire Dales- The final Chapter

Bluebell the motorhome is currently hurtling down the A1 Southbound, somewhere between Doncaster and Newark! We’ve decided to head homewards today as we both fancy going to the village fireworks event tonight, but my gosh, we are heading home fully relaxed, well fed, watered and a little stiff round the knees from the walks we’ve enjoyed!

We had a fantastic 2 nights at Brit Stop no 713 (near the viaduct 😉 ). We asked them if we could do 2 nights, as there were two walks that we fancied trying out and they were more than happy for us to stay. It was win win- we must have spent £70+ on their legendary a Station ale the first day alone, and day 2 we drank them out of the Ale (whoops!) and enjoyed a hearty 3 course meal off their huge menu! For us, it was really nice to not have to drive, and we found that even after a rather immense walk we totally chilled down and felt tons better for it (if not slightly hungover!!)

We did two walks near Ribblehead, one at took us under the viaduct and another that took on some of the Ribble Way. The latter was really adventurous! We found ourselves having to try out some survival skills fresh off the tele- on finding ourselves at a river that needed to be crossed, with no sign of a bridge, we remembered a tip from one tv prog, take off your boots and socks before wading through- it keeps them dry. So off came our boots and socks, Keefy lobbed them across the river (thankfully he’s got a good aim!) and off we went! It. Was. Freezing! Luckily we got through despite a near miss with Jazz where the current dragged him off and he almost slipped out of his harness! And we were very pleased to have dry socks and boots to put on the other side!

After our two nights at 713 we travelled south to Malham and parked up at the tarn. We had a walk that took in all the main sites, the Tarn, the Cove- a huge natural limestone pavement on the top of a big gorge, the pretty village, Janet’s floss waterfall, and Gordale Scar crag. At 6.5 miles (and a lot of challenging paths) it was a great walk but very tiring, although we were really lucky with the weather! After the walk we headed for our final BritStop of the week, a farm shop about 2.5 miles away from Malham. We enjoyed looking round the shop, and stocking up on the essentials; bacon, beef steaks for tea, local cheese and some veg! All the ingredients for a hearty local tea, beef in reed wine stew from my new campervan recipe book- thanks Sam! 🙂

We had a lovely evening chilling and enjoyed listening to the tawny owl that was on the tree above us. Sadly we couldn’t see it, but it was a lovely sound to hear.

So now we are on the home run, having had a brilliant week of eating drinking sleeping and chilling! We are so glad we chose to do the Dales, we’ve seen so many awesome things here and it’s been nice doing a smaller scale tour with less driving.

BritStops once again has been beyond Marvellous. We’ve managed to centre our tour around a small area taking in local pubs and farm shops and we cannot recommend it enough to anyone.

Holiday highlights are Ribblehead, Fountains Abby and Malham 🙂

Until next time

Lx

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This post is fuelled by the Station inn ale!! ;-)

Bluebell the motorhome is parked in the car park of our 4th Brit Stop of the week! We are high up in the Dales, where it is clear but blustery, that sort of weather where after a long walk, it only seems right to take advantage of the log fire in the pub!

We’ve had a brill couple of days, departing Harrogate yesterday morning and visiting Fountains Abby, which was stunning with the autumn colours in the trees. We spent a great couple of hours there (I actually think the £9.50 each entrance was more than reasonable with the Abby, the hall, the mill plus miles of beautifully landscaped gardens to explore- plus Jazz was welcomed in too!)

After our visit to NT Fountains Abby we stopped at Ripon to visit the cathedral to see the 6th Century crypt, very cool! And the prison museum, very creepy! We then carried on to Masham, home to Theakstons brewery and the MAsham sausage- both of which we sampled extensively 😉

We then headed to our stop for the night, an old Brit Stop hotel/bar in the heart of Wensleydale. It had a fantastic roaring fire and we were able to continue our Theakstons and Masham sausage tasting into the evening as I cooked us a sausage stew from some local Marsham sausages, which we washed down with a couple of bottles of Old Peculiar… Hic 🙂

Today, we got up bright and early, and tackled Buttertubs- a high pass that links Hawes to Thwaite. On the summit you can see these marvellous limestone stones that have been caused by years of acidic rain falling onto the limescale rocks to cause these 100 ft deep gorges. It got its name Buttertubs as legend says that in the olden days men used to store their butter there between market days, to prevent having to carry it down the hill then back up the next day.

We then made our way to Ribblehead, which is where we are now. There is this fantastic viaduct here which with the backdrop of the rolling dales, it’s very atmospheric. We’ve had a lovely walk this afternoon, and then a good session in the pub where we are staying tonight and tomorrow. It’s got some brill ales on, wine, whiskeys and food. What more could we want!!!

Until next time

Lx

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This post is fuelled by Theakstons ;-)

Bluebell the motorhome is out and about for half term, despite the weather warnings! We were supposed to go to Kent this week, but yesterday when we were due to leave we (luckily) caught sky news and learnt about this storm that was supposedly heading Kent way. Needless to say, after a few hours of umming and ahhing, we departed East Harling and rather than heading south, we decided to had north. To be fair, it doesn’t take much for me to consider visiting Yorkshire, it’s a well known fact I love it here, and any opportunity for me to carry on showing Keith that it’s not all grim up here, il gladly take.

3 hours later and a very very good journey traffic wise ( perhaps everyone else was taking the advice plastered on the tv- only make necessary journeys….) we rocked up into a rather large car park of the BritStop we had set the sat nav for- a 14th century village pub, promising log fires, real ale, and good grub. Perfect, just what we were after (who isn’t?!) We had a lovely night sampling their local ales, chatting to the very friendly staff and of course, being a Sunday night, catching up on Strictly! That’s right- the pub had strictly on their bar tv- can’t remember watching it in such a brill location- beer on tap, fire… yes I was in heaven.

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After a very good, long sleep we had a fry up, and set the motorhome towards Knaresborough. We’d read about its famous viaduct and knew that Mother Shipton, the prophet was born here. Nothing had prepared us for how beautiful it was. The viaduct and river was so pretty, and the old houses stuck out of the rock reminding me of Dinan and to some extent the Dordogne. It was lovely. The weather certainly helped- we kept hearing on the radio about the chaos in the south of England, but here we were in our sunglasses enjoying the autumn leaves and breeze. Lovely

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We visited Mother Shipton’s cave and the petrifying well. It was a great place to visit- we liked the fact that our pampered pooch Jazz could also enjoy it with us. The petrifying well was particularly amazing- basically anything that was hung there turned into stone by the minerals in the water after 3 months, and there were examples of teddy bears hanging, turned into stone, hats, gloves and even a lobster shell.

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We also enjoyed the Halloween figures dotted around the site…. Creepy or what?!

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After a really enjoyable day we headed towards Harrogate, where we found our next Brit Stop pitch within walking distance of Harrogate centre. It’s a not a pub, it’s a shop, but the owner was very friendly and also a motorhome owner. We enjoyed an evening stroll into Harrogate, which is where the Old Peculiar came in… Great night, great day! It’s good to back touring 🙂

Until next time x