It's hard to put into words, just how pretty Sandbanks is.... the views are wonderful over to Swanage and beyond and the company was excellent!!!
We had all been looking forward to seeing Libby's godparents in Sandbanks and we weren't disappointed.... with an upcoming wedding to plan and girls bridesmaids dresses to be finished... it was brilliant to see Aunty Louisa's family.
So following multiple dog walks on the beach along Sandbanks, followed by some real family fun and a chance to spend a night out of the van... we leapt at the chance... It has been a great day and both girls are on 'cloud 9'!
Swanage and the Studland coast await tomorrow enroute to Wellington in Somerset.... 222 miles to go and counting!!! We are getting closer!!!
Our day started with a well needed clean of the van after a particularly muddy series of tracks through North Yorkshire Moors, the Adria was brilliant and barely missed a beat despite the poor weather... but it did receive a fair bit of mud for its trouble...
So with the fabulous Diamondbrite kit firmly in hand, we spent an enjoyable hour on the van... this made a huge difference and we couldn't speak highly enough of the 'dry wax' and 'rain screen' products... such a pleasure to spend so little time to achieve such a decent result!!!
After this we headed into Stamford for a full look around and a chance to visit the wonderful deer park at Burghley House. This old house is full of history and family intrigue but the real attraction was the ability to get so close to the deer who roamed freely around the estate.
But with the light closing in, we set off for the south coast and a chance to see the girls' godparents in Sandbanks.... an old family haunt which we are really looking forward to seeing again.
313 miles to go!!
Today appeared to have all 4 seasons in one day... One minute being pelted with rain that turned into sleet, yet out of nowhere occasional glimpses of blue sky and sun rippling across the moors... beautiful yet foreboding in equal measure...
So we thought we would get a slow start today after such a busy drive last night to /York, but the morning sun was too beautiful to miss so we managed to get 'breakfast views' with the sun rising over the moors!
After some scrambling around, the odd missed turn and hasty detour to avoid Rosedale Bank... we passed across Blakey Ridge towards the picturesque Hutton le Hole.... a beautiful drive and one made better by the dappled sunshine.. Add a bit of scrambling over rocks until we decided enough was enough so we headed south. South to Rutland and the beautiful market towns of Stamford and Oakham... with the fantastic Rutland Water between both towns... Maybe a bike ride tomorrow, maybe some more work but we need to hit the south coast by nightfall as we need to make our next destination Sandbanks, Poole.
Is there a better way to wake up…. perching on a cliff top overlooking a Scottish fishing port in full flow? It was a beautiful sight and made us appreciate the Scottish Salmon that is such a family favourite. Thankfully, we got to stretch our legs as it required a decent walk to see both the beach and the harbour entrance…. but it was chilly!!!! Perhaps not as chilly as earlier nights, but particularly windy!!
After the morning constitutional to the beach, we spent some time enjoying seeing the various sights - driftwood shapes, kelp, varying stones of all shapes and sizes…. but no seals although later on we did discover that Killer Whales weren’t too far away in the Isle of Lewis…
So began the hardest drive of the trip so far…. Up northwards towards Durness and Sango Sands along a beautiful single track road on the A382. The lying snow hilltops and crofting villages were interspersed with beaches that would equal any in Cornwall… huge expanses of white/golden sand…. Truly breathtaking!
After a chance to visit Sango Sands beach and see the dolphins playing, we headed west towards our eventual destination John O’Groats and the start of the journey south to Lands End… it is worth noting that this 104miles journey is slow!!! at times painfully slow as it took over 3hrs!!! But time wasn’t a problem so we enjoyed each rolling hill and viewpoint towards the Orkneys.
We finally arrived at a blustery, rainswept John O’Groats around 4pm…. with the mist coming in from the Orkneys, it was a great feeling to have reached the top of the UK mainland… With Libby enjoying the power of the wind as she balanced herself as she lay back to a peculiar 45 degree angle, we planned the first stop.
Sadly, we were let down by two campsites due to the ice in their sites (the first time this has happened this trip) so the eventual destination was further than the planned Dornoch. We ploughed on against the relentless weather with roads improving as we headed southwards, becoming a decent A9 trunk road just north of the oil rigs near Cromaty.
Thankfully, this kind people at Brahan came to our rescue.. Having loved the wide expanse in the estate, we were more than happy to head towards Dingwall and the Brahan CL. Finally pulling in at 9.30pm, what a busy day!!!
Tomorrow promises a trip to Aviemore, Granton on Spey and possibly Culloden…
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