May 2017 - April 2018
  • Day1

    Glasgow

    May 29, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 11 °C

    Glasgow was our first stop on the route - staying with Andy's uncle Alex and auntie Janet. Andy hadn't seen them for years and Maddie had never met them, but fortunately Andy (snr) and Ann's tales of crazy Glaswegians didn't turn out to be true. A very family oriented few days - seeing Alex and Janet's children and grandchildren, meeting Liam, Andy's cousin who we'll be staying with in California, Maddie's cousin Tom and his girlfriend Maggie. We spent a bit of time at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery (scary stuffed animals) and Andy got to visit the Ibrox, home of Glasgow Rangers (lots of giant footballers, not much football).Read more

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  • Day4

    Aviemore

    June 1, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    The test truly begins here (or so we thought..). First time camping for us! We pitched us at Rothiemurchus campsite which was quite nice and quiet (compared to incredibly busy Aviemore!) and had good facilities. We stayed for a few days and climbed Cairngorm and Ben Macdui. It was our first big walk and was pretty successful! A few aches and pains and we discovered how unfit we are..., but the rain stayed away and we got to see a herd of reindeer! First couple of days camping down and so far so good...Read more

  • Day6

    Rogart

    June 3, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 8 °C

    So, day 3 of camping and we threw in the towel! Weather was dreadful heading up the east coast and we discovered this place just up from Inverness and had to give it a try! Sleeperzzz is a collection of old first class train carriages which have been kitted out with bunks, kitchen, showers etc! A really great place to stop (not just a novelty) and good value too.Read more

  • Day7

    Orkney Islands

    June 4, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌫 9 °C

    Orkney was probably our favourite place we visited In Scotland and not what we were expecting. At the very top of the UK, we were expecting wild weather and rugged landscapes, but it was actually quite a calm, quiet and incredibly friendly place with so much history going back at least 5000 years!
    Our first stop was in Stromness on a nice little campsite right on the peninsula. Cheap and cheerful with a nice little common room. Stromness itself is very quiet, but has a number of good pubs with v friendly Orcadians. Madeleine annoyed Andy by singing Peter Maxwell Davies constantly and we can confirm that it is not in fact a nuclear wasteland.
    We decided to attempt our week sans car and whilst we managed pretty well with just our packs, Orkney is not that easy to get around on foot. The bus we wanted to catch didn't turn up so we hired bikes and rode to Skara Brae and Marwick Head. The trip eventually ended in disaster when Madeleine got the chain wedged (and I mean really wedged) in the frame. Covered in oil, we knocked on a door, borrowed someone's phone and the nice bike man came to fetch us and take us home...
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  • Day11

    Westray

    June 8, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    Westray was our only island hop - it has the best puffin place so the choice was a no brainer! After a 90 minute ferry from Kirkwall, we caught a bus up to the main town, Pierowall. Town is a stretch as a description but it had what we needed (shop with crisps and a hotel serving fish and chips...). We set off to walk to Noup Head and we struck by how incredibly quiet the place was - we only saw a few cars and people and most were tourists we'd seen on the boat! The bird colonies on the cliffs were fantastic and Andy braved his fear of heights to take a look. Although we apparently missed a pod of dolphins passing by while we were looking at the cliffs!! No puffins yet either. We walked back and took a quick peak in the castle - completely unmanned and a bit creepy in the dark passageways! Quick stop at the pub for fish and chips and then back on the bus to the south of the island. We walked a short way to Castle O'Burrian - a rocky outcrop - and settled down to watch for puffins. We were rewarded within minutes and ended up seeing loads of them! We walked back to the ferry terminal an hour or later and put our feet up. Perfect day for it, but we ended up tired and sunburnt after walking about 15 miles in the sun!Read more

  • Day14

    Loch Assynt

    June 11, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 14 °C

    Our first attempt at wild camping! After spending an age finding the right spot, we finally found Loch Assynt and pitched up right on the lake next to our very own ruin. Very soft ground made for easy pitching, but a slight worry about stability.. The sun was setting beautifully over the loch and we set up trangia to cook. Unfortunately, whilst trying to build a fire, the wind completely died and we had our first bad encounter with the Midge.. We flailed about throwing our stuff in the car and batting midges. Quick snap of a deer on the hillside and then we jumped in the tent. 9.30, still light and tucked in for the night.. Oh if only there was a bit of wind or rain, we said, the midges might go away! Be careful what you wish for.. A wild night followed with rain and wind like we've never experienced in a tent! Spent most of the night awake because it was so loud and worrying that our slightly unstable tent might blow away, water coming down the hill would wash us away and 'it's definitely not a sea loch, right? Is it?!'
    We survived the night though, tired and smelly, but amazingly not wet!! Might be a while though until we wild camp again..
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  • Day15

    Gairloch (over the sea to Skye)

    June 12, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    The second stop on our family tour - at least 20 years since Madeleine was last here! Heather and Bob were kind enough to take in two rather smelly campers, let us dry our VERY damp tent and fed us some lovely (REAL) food. Clearly we looked weather beaten as they very generously offered to let us stay the night (cheers Tom for the loan of your room!). We didn't see Skye unfortunately from Gairloch, but we drove the coastal road to Applecross and looked out over the sea to Skye! It might be becoming a cliché, but we found the lure of Skye as romantic as ever, so instead of camping in Applecross (which we thought was a bit touristy) we decided to keep going over to Skye!Read more

  • Day16

    Isle of Skye

    June 13, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 11 °C

    Our first experience of Skye was a few years ago on a February holiday. The experience this time could not have been more different! In February, you're sharing the island with the locals and the weather. In June you're sharing it with the world and his wife! No room at any inns, but the campsite just outside Portree was perfectly nice. We made it up the Quirang which was just stunning. After parking a good mile away and despairing at the game of rush hour being played by the motorhomes, we walked for 10 minutes and lost the crowds! We walked all the way around the cliffs - a bit hairy in places and not to be attempted when windy. A steep climb quickly rewards you with really fantastic views across Skye and to the mainland.Read more

  • Day20

    Ben Nevis

    June 17, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 13 °C

    We couldn't leave Scotland without taking on the highest peak in the UK... but we were particularly unlucky with the weather! Not that the west coast has the best reputation for weather, but given that the rest of the UK was experiencing a heat wave, we did feel a bit hard done by. But we soldiered on up the Ben early in the morning, entering the cloud after about an hour and not leaving it for the rest of the day! It's a really tough slog up there and with no views to reward us, we were a bit miserable.. But we made it and did manage to dry off for a well deserved meal at the pub.Read more