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…
So after a week in the new Adria... it seemed both the right time to review the motorhome and give our first impressions.... so over the next day or so, a new page has been created to allow us to post reviews... with the Adria Silver Edition Matrix the very first review!
Unfortunately, it also provided a great opportunity to test our cleaning powers as we sought to keep on top of the mess.... that said, it has fared far better than expected despite the snow! So after a couple of hours, we were delighted with both the interior and exterior. To be fair, this had been massively helped by the superb cleaning products from Diamondbrite married to some good old elbow grease!!
As noon approached, the sledging had to stop (each opportunity for sledging has been well and truly grabbed!) and we headed west towards Ullapool.
The journey was a fabulous mix of almost complete white-outs alongside some beautiful rivers/bridges and dams. We even managed to spend some time making a snowman, having lunch al-fresco and spotting some red deer stags... Today's wildlife has been amazing with red deer stags as close as 15m away and various highland cattle on show across the myriad of farms along the route. But perhaps the piece de resistance came in the shape of an eagle... this truly immense bird gradually lifted off close to the edge of a treelined hill and flew alongside the river... Magical!
So after Ullapool (with it's quaint but strange) appearance as it juts out into the loch, we headed along the western coastal route that zigzags through the Sutherland countryside. This proved to be different again, perhaps even lunar in its appearance with some immensely cold areas with lochs/rivers and even waterfalls in partially frozen condition.
As we left this beautiful, if remote, area we headed north west towards our eventual stop at Kinlochbervie and it's bustling harbour... a real fishing village make no mistake and one worth visiting... the promise of a fishing ship returning at 7am tomorrow has precipitated an early bed!!! Let's hope we get to see the action in the morning, we certainly couldn't be better placed as we sit high up on the cliff overlooking the mouth of the harbour...
John O'Groats awaits tomorrow too... exciting times!
Despite the mad dash from the Isle of Skye last night, the night passed without incident in a fantastic campsite attached to the Highland Riding Centre... having been welcomed last night, it seemed a great idea to spend more time there this morning...
So when Becki rang to confirm we could get the girls a ride... well to say the motorhome bounced would be no exaggeration!! So once breakfast was wolfed down (bagels today.... cinnamon&raisin of course!) the girls bolted out to the stables and onto their chosen ponies of Fidget & Fungus...
Under the careful eye of Catherine, we headed out for a lead ride into the woods across the valley. A genuinely fresh but beautiful start to the day which really started the day with a bang! Once the girls had been prised away from the ponies... we substituted the ponies for sledges and snowboards... much fun, giggling, snowball fights later, we headed back to the Adria and onto Loch Ness.
We headed into the Loch Ness visitor centre with a fair amount of trepidation, but we were really impressed with the moderate approach to the cinema-esque presentations. Both informative and educational it posed the question 'Do you believe it is true?' but in a scientific and measured way.... Really good and well worth visit, especially for girls our age.
Following the chance for a quick lunch whilst Nessie spotting... we headed into Inverness. After a brief visit to GoOutdoors for more clothes and a new 'Stingray' sledge, we headed northwards again to the Brahan Estate. A beautiful 4,000 acre estate on the road to Ullapool.... all paths point north tomorrow as we head to the northern coastline of Scotland. Spare a thought for us tonight though, its supposed to be heading towards another -10degrees (this time with no electricity!!!)
Another busy day draws to a close…. in summary, we’ve woken up in a Scottish ski resort at Glencoe, been sledging and run in deep snow at Glencoe. Then moved onto enjoy the Glencoe National Trust centre and a decent walk in the old volcano. Fort William followed shortly after this, with a chance to connect with the sea too. Then onto Ben Nevis for a whistle stop tour and then onto Loch Ness… Over Invergarry Pass and then onto Torgoyle House where we sit tonight….
Hmmm… that sounds busy and we probably all feel equally tired now too…
Add into that a chance to replenish supplies at Morrisons, get some well needed diesel and finally got the opportunity to refill the Gaslow system…. all necessary, but perhaps the most enjoyable was the Gaslow which felt like brilliant value for money at £10 for a full tank!!!
The day has been a whirlwind of lessons including the history of the Glencoe massacre of the (Mac)Donald clan. Geography lessons in the visitor centre on plate tectonics and rock formations. Natural history and biology also made an appearance both here and when we spotted some will red deer on the hillsides near Loch Ness. Maths lessons were clearly evident in the accounting in the supermarket and hopefully English will be covered by the finishing off of the girl’s diaries tomorrow…
Sadly, words won’t go close to describing the incomparable beauty of the landscapes today so I’ll just let these pictures give it their best shot….
Isle of Sky beckons tomorrow but we have chanced upon a beautiful CL here at Torgoyle House. Wrapped around by snow laden trees, this exquisite CL has the best of all locations but we can’t wait to just get up and get on the bikes tomorrow!!! Should be fun!!! Full nights sleep will certainly be required….
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