A 14-day adventure by Sarah and Andrew
  • Day14

    Day 8 Homeward bound

    October 28, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    After a comfortable night’s sleep we set off for home via an M&S food hall where we got our lunch, and dinner for later. We had decent traffic on our journey and got home just after 3pm. In total we have driven 1212 miles, filled up with fuel 3 times, caught 4 ferries, visited 3 islands and stayed in 5 different hotels/B&Bs.

    We have thoroughly enjoyed our Highlands and Islands holiday and we were sad to wave goodbye to Scotland as we crossed the border. Smudge was waiting for us when we got home and was very pleased to see us. He has been following us around the house and has been purring a lot!

    We have some new ideas for places we would like to explore for future holidays and we have been bitten by the island bug. Thank you for reading, we hope you have enjoyed travelling along with us.

    Andrew and Sarah.
    Read more

    Isabel Johnston

    I have enjoyed reading your blog. I loved the photos. I am so glad you had good weather for most of your trip. Here's to the next time. xx

    10/28/17Reply
    Alistair Guthrie

    We, too, have enjoyed reading your blog and looking at some lovely photos. We look forwards to reading of future adventures in due course.

    10/28/17Reply
    Margaret Boggis

    Great blog. Great photos. Thank you!

    10/29/17Reply
    Margaret Boggis

    Excellent travel blog and photos! I have just caught up with reading all the entries having missed a few in transit. The Islands and Highlands are I think great and worthy of more time to appreciate them. The scenery is varied and spectacular. I think we clocked up a similar mileage last year but we went further north and did not include any islands - that was meant to be this year's safari!

    10/31/17Reply
     
  • Day13

    Day 7 Pitlochry and on to Perth

    October 27, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    We set off from our B&B in Dunvegan after breakfast. We were sad to be leaving Skye as we have really enjoyed the time we’ve spent there. However, we were able to enjoy the beautiful scenery on our drive in bright sunshine this morning. We crossed over the Skye Bridge and headed east to Invergarry. We stopped off in Spean Bridge to have some lunch and then continued our route east. We soon joined the A9 which felt like a much busier road than the ones we have been used to, especially on Skye.

    We followed the signs to the theatre in Pitlochry where we parked. As it was cup of tea time we went into the theatre and enjoyed a little something in the cafe where we sat by a window overlooking the river and relaxed in the tranquil atmosphere. We then set out for a walk by the river up to the dam where Andrew was keen to see the fish ladder, a series of ponds rising to the level of the loch built especially for salmon, trout and other fish to return to the breeding sites without banging their noses on the dam. We then walked into Pitlochry itself and then back to the theatre across a pedestrian suspension bridge which spans the river. The bridge is quite long as it is a wide river and so there is a fair bit of movement in the structure. We were grateful we were the only ones crossing at the time!

    The final leg of today’s journey brought us to our overnight stop in the outskirts of Perth. Tomorrow we will say goodbye to bonnie Scotland as we head south.
    Read more

  • Day12

    Day 6 Around Skye

    October 26, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    After a pleasant breakfast overlooking the loch, where we saw two herons, six geese and a few sheep at the water’s edge, we set off in the car to explore Skye. We first drove to Portree which is the capital of the Island. We parked up and wandered around the streets looking in a few shops and galleries. We also walked down the hill to the harbour where the water was crystal clear, we could see the little fish various seabirds were diving to catch. We bought our lunch from the only market stall in the town square, we both chose rolls where the filling was added before baking. Leaving Portree we carried on north along the single track road stopping at a couple of viewpoints at the side of the road to take in the scenery, made even better by the bright sunshine today.

    Our drive took us past ‘The Old Man of Storr’ (a large pinnacle of rock that stands high and can be seen for miles around). We reached the northern extremity of Skye and then followed the road south to Uig, which is a very pretty village set around a curved bay and harbour. Ferries depart from Uig for the islands of Harris and Lewis. We found a pottery shop where we spent a pleasant time browsing and watching the artists at work.

    From Uig we made our way back to our B&B where we had a little rest before heading out for dinner. We decided to eat at the Edinbane Inn (a 15 minute drive away). Sarah had mussels (from Loch Eishort) and Andrew had cullen skink (a creamy smoked haddock soup with potatoes). Both dishes were delicious! For main course, Sarah chose herb crusted fillet of hake with cannellini purée and a hot salad of tomato, spinach and potato. Andrew chose venison and smoked bacon burger on a brioche bun. A very delicious meal.

    We enjoyed the quiet roads and marvelled at the starry sky on our journey back. However we had to be on the look out as we encountered sheep sitting and wandering in the middle of the road! We have really enjoyed our time on Skye and would like to come back to do some walking and explore other parts of the island.
    Read more

    Margaret Boggis

    Next time you should travel around in the VW camper-van. Hired out at a favourable rate to special people!

    10/26/17Reply
    Margaret Boggis

    Absolutely gorgeous!

    10/26/17Reply
    Alistair Guthrie

    It seems as if it will be hard to leave Skye tomorrow. A repeat visit is clearly a must, to experience more of the scenery and much more of the food.

    10/26/17Reply
    Alistair Guthrie

    The sunshine has to be seen to be believed. What a difference it makes when viewing places. Julie G.

    10/26/17Reply
     
  • Day11

    Day 5 Dunvegan: A day of lochs and locks

    October 25, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 10 °C

    After a final wander around Fort William we set off for our next destination. For a while we followed the road to Inverness which runs through the Great Glen, a geological fault line that cuts Scotland in two. The Great Glen is home to three lochs and the Caledonian Canal. We made a slight diversion to Fort Augustus where we walked up next to the flight of locks on the Caledonian Canal and watched some boats moving up hill. We ate our lunch at the very western end of Loch Ness and despite keeping a careful watch we did not spot any unusual creatures.

    We left the Glen at Invermoriston, the road from here until the Skye Bridge was very quiet and the scenery very dramatic. We passed a few more lochs on the way to add to our total. We crossed over the sea to Skye via the bridge and headed north through yet more stunning scenery and past more lochs. We arrived at our B&B around 15:30. Our room overlooks Dunvegan Loch with a backdrop of mountains in the distance.

    Eager to explore a little more of Skye we headed out again and drove west to get a taste of our surroundings. We encountered numerous sheep in the road and one cow! We carried on west until the roads narrowed such that a quad bike would be a more suitable mode of transport. We about turned and headed back for our B&B.

    This evening we dined at The Old School Restaurant in Dunvegan. As the name suggests it was once a school and is now a quirky but very pleasant restaurant. Some of the features include the old blackboard, now the specials board, and old school photographs. Sarah thoroughly enjoyed pan roasted sea bass fillet served on a potato and spinach cake with purple sprouting broccoli and a lemon and caper butter while Andrew, feeling rather adventurous, chose langoustines fished from Dunvegan Loch. We both finished off our meal with cranachan, a rather delicious layered raspberry, whiskey cream and oat crumble pudding.
    Read more

    Alistair Guthrie

    The scenery and the food take me back 40 years when we had our pre-Christine holiday in the north-west of Scotland. I'm almost tempted to get in the car to come and join you. I hope you continue to enjoy your exploration of Skye.

    10/25/17Reply
    Margaret Boggis

    Your trip sounds amazing. Glad you are enjoying it so much. Those langoustines look absolutely delicious!

    10/26/17Reply
    Margaret Boggis

    This is P from M's account! Only just catching up with all your travel blog entries, not having been able to access it for some reason. What can I say? Fabulous scenery - dramatic in the autumn colours and variable weather which actually makes it more attractive. Loved your food photography of your dinner on Skye! Looking forward to the next instalment! Reminds me of our Grand Scottish Safari last year and sorry that we did not do the Islands and Highlands this year for some reason!

    10/26/17Reply
     
  • Day10

    Day 4 Kinlochleven

    October 24, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 11 °C

    After a leisurely start, we enjoyed browsing in the many outdoor shops Fort William has to offer. Andrew bought some walking trousers and Sarah bought a new rucksack and waterproof jacket. We also popped into the bakers to buy some provisions for our lunch. The weather in the morning was overcast and rainy but the forecast was looking good for the afternoon.

    We set off in the car to Kinlochleven (after a short detour to Glen Nevis so that Andrew could show Sarah the campsite he has stayed in before and also to get good views of Ben Nevis). The scenery on our drive was once again spectacular, the autumn colours made to look even better by the sunshine that had broken through. After our picnic lunch we set off on a walk. Sarah was very excited to be able to walk a short section of the West Highland Way and Andrew enjoyed seeing the route in a different season (it has usually been late spring when he was walked the Way in the past). Our route took us on a steady climb upwards, which at times Sarah found hard-going, but the wonderful views and autumn colours made it worthwhile and encouraged us to keep going. Eventually the path flattened out and we were rewarded with amazing views looking down to Kinlochleven and Loch Leven with the mountains all around us. Incredible! We enjoyed a cup of tea from our flask while taking in the views. However, after a while we could see a rain shower approaching so we quickly put on our waterproofs and began our descent. It was just a short shower thankfully and we enjoyed the walk back to the car.
    Read more

    Alistair Guthrie

    Lovely photos, even if not the loveliest of weather. Relieved to know that Sarah hasn't been dragged up Ben Nevis.

    10/25/17Reply
     
  • Day9

    Day 3 Train journey to Mallaig

    October 23, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌙 10 °C

    We started our morning by exploring Fort William. The town has a sleepy feel as if it is heaving a sigh after a busy summer of tourists. There are a good few independent shops which makes it a pleasant place to visit. Our elevenses included huge scones which set us up for the day.

    Just after midday we caught the train to Mallaig. Before our trip we had been disappointed to discover the Jacobite steam train was fully booked which forced us to take a regular train. The journey has been voted the best in the world and features spectacular loch and mountain views not to mention the world famous Glenfinnan viaduct (as featured in Harry Potter). Despite the weather we thoroughly enjoyed the journey and arrived in Mallaig around 13:30. The Jacobite was there waiting to depart and we were at least able to see the loco.

    Mallaig is a small quiet town and the 2.5 hours we had to explore was ample, especially in the rain. Thankfully the skies cleared long enough for us to walk along the seafront for a while. We were entertained by a couple of Royal Marines hovercraft which were buzzing around the harbour.

    On our return journey we were treated to dry weather and good light which highlighted the autumn colours all over the mountains. The wildlife was also on show and we saw around a dozen red deer (both stags and does), a heron and an unidentified bird of prey.
    Read more

    Alistair Guthrie

    Glad that the rain cleared enough for you to enjoy a little of Mallaig. Your photos look really autumnal - apart from the boys' toys.

    10/23/17Reply
    Margaret Boggis

    Love following your trip. You are having mixed weather but what else can you expect? Your photos are wonderful!

    10/23/17Reply
    Matthew Hedges

    Sounds like you are having a very nice time! Bet it looks a bit different in the Highlands compared to when we did our walks Andy at summer time.

    10/23/17Reply
     
  • Day8

    Day 2 Fort William - A day of rainbows

    October 22, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌙 7 °C

    We awoke to gale force winds and the news that all sailings from Iona were suspended. The ferry company were to review the situation at 10am. At breakfast (both of us had a cooked breakfast which was delicious) our host, Richard, told us about the situation with two of his other guests who were due to cross to Mull and catch the 9am bus to Craignure (the only bus of the day). He asked that, if were able to get across, would we mind giving them a lift. Of course we agreed with a slight concern about luggage space. We enjoyed a pleasant walk around ‘the village’ in sunshine (and wind) with a few photo opportunities and a visit to one of the little craft shops on the island. We enjoyed Iona but our time there was too short. We would love to return for longer another time.
    As we returned to our B&B we noticed the ferry arrive in Fionnphort from its overnight shelter. We quickly gathered our things, got a lift back to the slipway and we carefully boarded the ferry despite the pitching and rolling. The crossing wasn’t too bad and we were quickly ashore in Fionnphort. We had a very pleasant drive back to Craignure with Kaitlyn and Ellie, mother and daughter who are visiting from Minnesota, and we managed to fit in all of the luggage. We dropped them off at the ferry terminal before we drove around the island a little further.
    We had our lunch overlooking The Sound of Mull. Frequent rain showers led to many rainbows. We eventually headed back to the ferry terminal where we were second in line for our booked crossing. The crossing was relatively calm and we arrived early into Oban. Our drive to Fort William was pleasant and the scenery again impressed, at times rainbows added to the spectacle.
    We have an opportunity for a late start tomorrow before our return train journey to Mallaig - voted the best train journey in the world!
    Read more

    Alistair Guthrie

    Pleased you found shops open on a Sunday as it can be a problem in some areas. Like the photos.

    10/22/17Reply
    Margaret Boggis

    Looking good Andy!

    10/23/17Reply
     
  • Day7

    Day 1 Iona

    October 21, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    We had an early start this morning and were on the road before 8. Our drive alongside Loch Lomond and onwards to Oban featured stunning scenery. We had allowed plenty of time for our journey and arrived at the Ferry terminal over an hour before our crossing.
    We had dry calm weather for the crossing to Craignure so we sat on the top deck. We could see for quite a distance but the full drama of distant mountains was reduced thanks to clouds obscuring the summits. Upon arrival on Mull we bought lunch from the well stocked Spa shop (resisting the temptation to buy any of the numerous knick-knacks on offer!). We drove a short distance before stopping in a lay-by to eat our lunch. The heavens had opened by this point so we elected to stay in the car.
    The roads on Mull are single track with passing places and we were grateful the latter were numerous as there were a fair few cars to pass over the course of our hour long drive across the island. At one point Andrew spotted a soggy bird of prey sitting on top of a telegraph pole. He managed to get a few photos before it flew away. Mull has successfully re-introduced sea eagles and we suspect this was one of them. When we arrived in Fionnphort we parked the car and walked to the jetty to wait for the ferry. Another smooth crossing later we were unexpectedly greeted by a car to take us to our B&B. Considering we didn’t even know when we were going to arrive we were very impressed! Our B&B is very smart and extremely comfortable. Our room has a sea view, a seal popped up to say hello just outside our window.
    We braved the heavy rain to explore the island a little and made our way to the Abbey. We were very disappointed to discover they are now operating on a winter schedule and so there are no services while we are here. We discovered that the doors were open so was wandered in to look around. The interior is very plain and simple but with a warm, welcoming feel.
    This evening we ate at one of the two hotels on Iona. Sarah chose salmon with roasted new potatoes and sweet chilli sauce followed by fruits of the forest creme brûlée with home made shortbread while Andrew went for roasted Iona lamb with black pudding mashed potato and a red wine jus followed by sticky toffee pudding. We both thoroughly enjoyed our meals and after a torch-lit walk back to the B&B we are now settled in for the night.
    Read more

    Alistair Guthrie

    Pleased to catch up with your progress after our busy day yesterday. We hope you get some breaks in the weather so you can make the most of the day. Your room looks nice and the food sounds really tempting. Black pudding mashed potato! - must try that some day. 👨‍🍳

    10/22/17Reply
     
  • Day6

    Day 0 Dumbarton

    October 20, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    Andrew was able to finish work early today so we left Harrogate a little after 15:30. We had a good run without any major delays. Sarah drove the first leg and Andrew took over at Gretna. We arrived at our hotel around 20:30 and had a warm welcome. Dumbarton is just a stopping off point for us and we have an early start in the morning for our drive, along the banks of Loch Lomond, to Oban. We are really looking forward to our first full day of our tour.Read more

  • Day1

    Getting Ready

    October 15, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    We are getting ready for our Scottish holiday and we hope you will follow us on our journey.

    Samuel Johnston

    Beware of the hurricanes approaching!! No seriously, I am looking forward to following your adventure to Skye and back to Harrogate. Make sure you celebrate my birthday on Trafalgar Day the 21st!! Sammy & Eileen wish you both a happy holiday.

    10/15/17Reply
    Matthew Hedges

    Are you walking any of the West highland way?

    10/15/17Reply
    Sarah and Andrew Guthrie

    Possibly, we won’t be able to walk very much of it but we would like to walk a bit. It will depend on the weather!

    10/15/17Reply
    4 more comments