Time for our annual pilgrimage up to Scotland, being used as our ‘shakedown’ trip to check out everything in the van before we head off to Europe in November. We have the awning back on the roof now in full working order, so hoping for some good weather to try it out.
A fantasticly quiet run up the M6 and onto the M74 without a delay in sight. It was all going far too well, so we decided to call it quits whilst we were ahead and stop overnight at Moffat C&CC. Pulled onto the site to be told they are totally full – a weekday in September but the good weather was bringing in unexpected high numbers of campers, so that was us out of luck. Wardens told us that Strathclyde CC site was an hour and a half away – not sure which route they use, it was 40 minutes straight up the motorway. Luckily plenty of space and a really lovely site less than a mile from the junction. We stayed here before as a good base to visit Glasgow abut this time it was just a convenient stop to get some sleep, the motoroway traffic did not bother me one bit, Iain was awake most of the night with it!
We set off early on this morning for Loch Lomond, slight navigator error as I took us through the centre of Glasgow, whereas the new motoroway now avoids the city centre traffic. However extremely thick fog meant you couldnt see a thing where we were anyway, Iain didn’t know we were in the middle of the city as the visibility was less than 100 yards in places, I should have kept quiet and he would never have known we weren’t on the right road. We crossed the Erskine Bridge and things were looking a little brighter but Loch Lomond was shrouded in a very low mist. We parked up at the Duck Bay Marina but after 10 minutes gave it up as pointless as the view was pretty much nothing. As we headed North and higher up towards Crianlarich the sun started breaking through and at we turned past the Bridge of Orchy Glencoe was beckoning in blue skies and just the odd wisp of mist around the mountain tops. By the viewpoint there was definite sunshine and we joined the throng of holiday makers taking snaps down the glen.
We are overnighting at the Glencoe Ski centre as they now have motorhome pitches outside the cafe, just below the chair lifts. There are only 2 motorhomes here but the log cabins are all occupied by walkers doing the Highland Way. The pitches are really just gravel parking spaces but you get an electric hookup, use of the loos in the cafe and there are some showers at the top of the carpark for £1. The best bit though is the views – we are looking down the Glen and far enough up away from the road that you cannot hear any road noise, this has to be one of the best views from our campervan we have had.
This afternoon we decided to join the many and took a walk on the Highland Way between the Ski Centre and the Bridge of Orchy. The path here is an old drovers track so easy to follow and well maintained. We were amazed at the numbers of people out in the middle of nowhere doing the walk. The majority walk the 97 miles from South to North, we were walking in the opposite direction and passed at least 30 walkers in under 2 miles. It is easy to see the attraction, mile after mile of incredible scenery through some of the most remote places in the country. We managed just over 4 miles and called it a day. The walking itself wasn’t too bad, however 22 degrees in Scotland walking in mountains is wrong in so many ways, the main one being the national animal of the Scots – the midge.
Back at camp and sitting a bit too smugly watching walkers hobble along to the cafe for some much needed refreshments before they are taken off by minibus to their guesthouses or they pitch their tents. The cafe here does a full cooked breakfast so we plan to sample that in the morning, then if the weather is clear we are going on the chairlift to the top of the mountain to experience the view of the whole range, from there its off to Loch Ness to do some monster spotting for a few days.