Easter Holidays days 5 and 6 – Clachtoll to Durness to John O’Groats

I can’t believe it, I’m writing this blog from the most north east point in mainland Britain, the famous John O’Groats! And the weather is still sunny!!!

We’ve had a busy couple of days on the road, and therefore have reached our main destination about 3 days earlier than anticipated!! But every second has been exciting and every corner has produced another fantastic view!

We had a lovely peaceful night at Clachtoll on Saturday, and left at a later (for us so far!) time of 9.30. The people on the pitch next to us were lovely, and we’d had several chats with them. During our goodbyes, they recommended a beach to check out just south of Durness, called Oldshoreman. Apparently there was a walk from there leading to Britain’s most secluded beach- as you couldn’t drive there. They also felt it would be suitable to wildcamp there. So off we set, round the stunning headland of Stoer and towards Kylesku bridge, something we’d seen in a travel book and marked as a place to stop. The bridge was a wonderful piece of architecture, and like most places we’d visited so far, we found ourselves alone in wandering up to the viewpoint.

After the bridge of Kylesku the landscape turned very moonscapey, and against the bright blue sky it was beautiful. We soon found the road to Oldshoreman and arrived at the most beautiful beach we’ve seen. Unfortunately we were hit with numerous no overnight parking signs straight away, so we knew we wouldn’t stay there, however we enjoyed a lovely walk along the beach.

We decided to carry on up towards Durness and pull into a viewpoint when we saw one for the night. We found one about 1 mile south of Durness and pulled into a large layby with a fantastic 3 way view overlooking the Kyle of Durness.

We’ve been keeping our eyes out for a glimpse of the northern lights, but nothing yet. Jim, the warden at Clachtoll said the sky is a bit bright at the moment, but he saw them this time last year at Clachtoll so never say never!

Back to today, after a quiet nights sleep in our private viewing area, we decided to go and be tourists in Durness. We saw the lovely Sango Sands campsite which appeared to have a fab view of the ocean. Maybe next time we will stay there. We visited the craft village, and treated ourselves to a devine drink in the Cocoa mountain shop there. I had a wonderful hot chocolate, dubbed “the best”, and I am in no position to argue, it was flipping awesome! Keefy had a real coffee, which he enjoyed as he’s been slumming it whilst on the road drinking instant coffee!!

We also visited Smoo Caves, and took a fascinating boat trip into the inner cave. We both really enjoyed this, Colin the leader was really informative and we found it to be excellent value for money.

We carried on round the coast and passed through Tongue, Bettyhill and Thurso. We were actually hoping to stop near Tongue for the night and then do small journeys to Bettyhill, then Thurso, then John O’G stopping a night at each. I’m not sure how we ended up doing the whole road in one, I think it was a mixture of all the ‘no overnight parking’ signs that were in the majority of the car parks and laybys, plus the fact that we were enjoying the excitement of not knowing where we would end up! Anyway, before we knew it we had arrived in John O Groats! We actually were intending on staying at the campsite here but it’s all shut up, so we are in the car park, which thankfully has no ‘no overnighting signs’ here.

We’ve spent the evening looking at the road map to see what to do with the remainder of our week, seeing as we have reached our destination several days early. We think we are going to head towards the Cairngorms as we’ve seen there are a few Brit stops there. One thing we are sure about though is this is the reason we love motorhoming, the freedom, the flexibility and the ability to go where the road takes us!!!

Until next time xx

20130401-202125.jpg

20130401-202143.jpg

20130401-202240.jpg

20130401-202317.jpg

20130401-202336.jpg

20130401-202411.jpg

20130401-202504.jpg

20130401-202521.jpg

20130401-202541.jpg

20130401-202613.jpg

20130401-202634.jpg

20130401-202657.jpg

20130401-202824.jpg

20130401-202843.jpg

20130401-202856.jpg

20130401-202907.jpg

20130401-202920.jpg

Easter Holidays, days 3 and 4- Loch Lomond to Applecross to Clachtoll

Today is a combined blog for today and yesterday as yesterday I was too sozzled to write! 😉

Where to start- first of all, the weather…….. Has been AMAZING. I mean proper good, sunshine, blue skies, no clouds, you name it! We have worn our sunglasses permanently since Yorkshire, yesterday we managed to go from two fleeces to one fleece, and today- we managed no fleece, short sleeves and a paddle in the sea!! Tomorrow, we already have our shorts out ready,so if it rains- its our fault!

We have covered a lot of miles since Loch Lomond and passed through the most stunning roads we’ve ever driven on. Even though we have both done Loch Lomond, Glen Coe, Fort William and Ullapool several times before, driving the 400 odd miles we’ve driven in pure blue skies and sunshine and seeing the tops of mountains (including Ben Nevis!) has been simply spectacular.

We had a wonderful drive through Glen Coe yesterday, again a first for us with it not raining!! We restocked in Fort William and carried on up to Applecross. I had read about how wonderful Applecross was, and how spectacular the drive over the pass of the cattle was. I’ve been looking forward to it for ages. Never in a million years would I imagine that we would be lucky enough to do it in fab weather- we saw all the way to Skye. Driving over the pass in Bluebell had been on my mind a little- I knew from what I had read that it was achievable, but I was still nervous. My lack of being a good passenger unfortuantly meant that Keith didn’t get a look in in attempting it. We pulled onto the pass and my stomach had butterflies in. We got about a mile up and we hair pinned round allowing us to view where we had driven already. To our surprise about half a mile behind us was a large beer truck and a couple of other motorhomes. Immediately I relaxed, if they could do it then I could. If we got stuck, then at least we had the beer truck for company!! Needless to say half an hour later we were tucked into “a room with a view” space outside the renowned Applecross Inn. We were keen to eat there having read rave reviews and we were lucky that they allowed to pitch in their car park in return for us eating and drinking there later.

A quick doggy walk and a beer in the beer garden overlooking the bay followed and later that evening we wandered down for dinner. The meal was every bit as delicious as we’d anticipated, we both had mussels from Skye for starter and I had scallops and bacon on rice for main, whilst Keith had freshly caught haddock. It was Devine! We washed our meal down with several drams of whiskey and subsequently awoke feeling a bit delicate this morning.

We still managed to hit the road for 8 am today and within 15 mins on the coast road round from
Applecross, we had seen 4 magnificent stags stood by the road and also a herd of angus cattle blocking the road. The scenery on today’s journey was unsurpassable, we have seen stunning coastal views, mountains, lochs and moonscape. It’s been absolutely stunning. We were heading for Clachtoll beach campsite, an old haunt that we visited on our very first motorhome trip in Daisy in 2010. We weren’t sure if we would travel as far as Clachtoll today, but we did, we couldn’t help but see what the next view would be!

So here we are, we are pitched right by the sea on Clachtoll beach campsite. We’ve cooked our Aberdeen Angus (not ones from earlier!!) steaks outside tonight and walked the beach, paddled in the sea, recharged our batteries, had loooooong hot showers and drunk some gin and wine.

We are having the most fantastic time in the world. Tomorrow, we will head north towards Durness. Once we’ve passed Stoer, we will officially be the most north on mainland that we’ve ever been. We saw a sign for John O’G today- 170 miles on the scenic route. We have 6 days to travel this, so shouldn’t have any more long drives! Apparently the weather is set to stay too!

Happy Easter everyone!!

🙂

20130401-191950.jpg

20130401-192003.jpg

20130401-192016.jpg

20130401-192045.jpg

20130401-192105.jpg

20130401-192126.jpg

20130401-192144.jpg

20130401-192159.jpg

20130401-192237.jpg

20130401-192319.jpg

20130401-192331.jpg

20130401-192350.jpg

20130401-192405.jpg

20130401-192419.jpg

20130401-192432.jpg

20130401-192457.jpg

20130401-192512.jpg

20130401-192527.jpg

20130401-192547.jpg

20130401-192558.jpg

20130401-192611.jpg

20130401-192623.jpg

20130401-192633.jpg

20130401-192646.jpg