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Sunday, 13 June 2021

Happy to be home

Bill is safely on the drive and we are back home after another week away.

The ratio of distance travelled to coastline driven was rather less than I would have liked (given how far from Bag End I had gone) but as I initially went up to the area for another reason and “tagged on a bit of coast” as an afterthought, I’m counting this as a success. My Coast by Campervan project has now covered the section of coastline between Inverness and Cullen in the north east of Scotland.



The sun shone every day and when there were clouds they just made things more interesting, and whilst being in the van is always a win the week was not without frustration. It is not until you try to drive as close to the coastline as possible that you become aware of just how much is not accessible. And I don’t mean closed off because of the MOD or industry, but because there just are not any flippin’ roads! I drove as close as I reasonably could to the coast whenever possible and came away with even more respect for people like Ruth Livingstone who are doing all of this on foot 🥾 🥾.

However, frustration aside, the area between Burghead and Lossiemouth was very attractive, and Lossie itself was interesting because whilst I was there multiple Typhoon planes decided to practice aborting their landing which resulted in them all coming in over the sea, and once at a very low altitude hitting the engines and soaring off again. This went on for nearly half an hour and reminded me of a visit to Farnborough Air Show many years ago.



At least I could leave when I had finished my coffee, not sure I could handle living close to that sort of noise on a regular basiss.

I think the little villages of Buckie, Findochty and Portknockie would have been nice to wander around but all three had the same problem - signs for Parking which disappeared before a suitable expanse of tarmac was located. I ended up getting very frustrated, thankfully didn’t get the van stuck down any small residential roads, and to be honest by the time I got to Cullen (which has superb parking, right on the beach, thank you Cullen) I was tired and had had enough.





There were some stand-outs during the week which are threatening to derail/reroute the Coast project. The first was deciding to take a ‘scenic’ route up to the Highlands and travelling through the Cairngorms via Braemar. Holy moly - Lake District on steroids! I could have run Bill off the road with all the gawping I was doing at the scenery. Just a couple of stills edited off the dashcam to remind me how beautiful it was:





I really MUST spend more time in this area, which is definitely not coastal 😉.

The second was a visit to Clava Cairns which are near the location of the Culloden massacre. The site is late Neolithic/early Bronze Age and absolutely blew me away. It will eventually have a very picture-heavy blog post all of its own.

I’ve studied history for as long as I can remember, and in recent years the focus has been shifting from early medieval to pre-Christian times. There are numerous sites like this in Scotland and most visitors either completely ignore old lumps of stone or spend very little time there which makes it more likely I will have peace and quiet. According to Google "most visitors" only spend 30 minutes at this site - I was there much of the day and whilst there were regular arrivals folk did not tend to stay long and were quiet. It was lovely 👍.





The final potential sandbank onto which the Coast project might get stuck was the drive home via the Great Glen, Fort William, Glencoe and Rannoch Moor. Far too long since I have been up that way and had forgotten just how much I love it. What I did not love was seeing how much traffic there is in some areas, but I was doing the journey on a Saturday which might explain some of it?

One of the many well-placed parking spots on Rannoch Moor:



Late lunch at Loch Tulla, there are worse places to stop for a quick meal:



It seemed like a good idea to clean the inscriptions on the Monroe Memorial Cairn, so I did:







Afernoon tea at Loch Lomond:




Time away in Bill is always time well-spent. The van is a comfortable delight and not only did nothing go wrong (and the new tap does not leak 🤗) but for the first time EVER I did not come home with the usual list of “things I have thought I could add/change/make/do differently”. Good grief, does this mean I finally have the van set up exactly to my liking?







15 comments:

  1. I'm glad nothing leaked/fell off/got broken/went wrong and frustrations aside you enjoyed your holiday - and you got a free air show too :) Love the photos, especially 2, 3 and 5, and I thought I recognised Rannoch Moor - I got a similar shot from near enough the same spot a few years ago.

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    1. Thanks Eunice. The only thing which really went wrong was my being careless lifting the bed frame & mattress one morning to get to the storage underneath and managed to drop it all on my hand. Nothing broken (although I thought it might have been for a while) but the bruising and swelling has been quite spectacular. A very lucky escape 😌

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  2. I'm glad you had a good week with plenty of sunshine. despite the frustrations. I can well imagine the noise of the planes as I was at Farnborough Air Show many years ago too, must have been 1971 or '72, It all looks very lovely and you've completed part of your coast project and you've enjoyed your time with Bill apart from the ouchie of your bruised and swollen hand.

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    1. Thanks Eileen, parked at the beach at Cullen was very much like being at Farnborough, but without the crowds and entrance fee.

      I was very fortunate that my ouchie was not worse, and am well aware I got lucky.

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  3. Apart from the coastal route which was the object of your travels you certainly managed some of the grandest and most beautiful views that Scotland has to offer. Fortunately there are very many more.

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    1. Grand indeed Graham, and I know I have not yet seen some of the most magnificent.

      Don't laugh - but coming through Inverness I had to resist the huge temptation to turn right onto the A9! Similar 'problem' at Invermoriston, Invergarry, Fort William . . . but I shall wait now until after all the school holidays have finished.

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  4. Beautiful photos, Jayne. I've never been to Scotland - and living in Cornwall I doubt I will now, unfortunately. It looks truly spectacular.
    I am so envious of your lovely motorhome as owning one has been a long-lasting dream of mine. I thought I could adapt my Berlingo into a micro-camper, but have concluded that the best I can do is the occasional day trip, taking my camping burner, kettle, mugs, water, et al. For overnight stays I need more comfort!!

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    1. Oh I'm sorry you don't think you can adapt the car sufficiently 😟. I was thinking about you while I was away - were you waiting me for to email you 'cos I was waiting for you to write to me? Oops . . .

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  5. That was a beautiful trip..handy to be able to take stills off the dash cam as the best views are not always where you can stop

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    1. Lots of places with 'no stopping' signs, although thankfully Scotland understands passing places (which is more than can be said for Lake District road planners and most visitors ... sigh).

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  6. I'm definitely a gawp-while-driving person.....forever rubber-necking to look at roadside flowers or a picturesque view or, my old favourite from childhood - pony-spotting. :D. Those views of yours would've had me hyper-ventilating with delight.

    Glad to hear Bill is perfectly set up...now you can just spontaneously set off without having to think too hard about what you might need. Adds an extra layer of freedom, methinks. xoxo

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    1. Thanks Mel, I think we would have had fun travelling along together, and I was so fortunate with the weather.

      Yes, Bill will be ready for her next adventure (which might be a few weeks until the busy period of school holidays is over) once she's had a thorough clean.

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  7. I'm so happy you enjoyed your time away in Bill. And that you now have everything set up just as you wish, so your focus can instead be on finding some fascinating places to visit.
    I love that you cleaned the inscriptions on the memorial stone. X

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    1. Thanks Jules, there are so many amazing places to visit in this country sometimes I don't know where to start :-)

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