The start of our long awaited tour of Scotland holiday – a whole two weeks of travelling around Scotland in our little campervan – big test for us too as we’ve never slept in it for more than two nights and we have The Dog, a temperamental hound at the best of times, let alone in the confines of a campervan. This could be fun.
So the morning after a Genesis concert (that incurred an hour to get out of the car park, another hour and half to get home, punctuated by coming across an accident in a darkened country lane at gone midnight), we awoke at 7am after crashing into bed at 1.30am. Are we too old for this sort of thing? We went straight into our holiday packing routine like a well oiled machine – letting hubby pack the Van, (men like to be in charge of packing vehicles for some reason) while I got the last things together and sorted out rubbish, windows and the many other last minute jobs. With a light rain following us, we headed off first towards a petrol station. We weren’t particularly low on fuel, but Britain has been gripped these last few days by a self inflicted fuel shortage spurred on by our media. It wasn’t even an issue until a petrol company mentioned that they had to close half a dozen outlets as there hasn’t been a delivery due to a shortage of HGV drivers, but the media had got hold of it, screamed on their front pages “fuel shortages, but don’t panic buy” and then gleefully reported the mass panic buying that ensued, actually causing a shortage. Honestly you can’t make it up. As we were going onto the motorway and at the mercy of severely overpriced outlets, possible long queues and no guarantee of being able to fill up, we tried out our nearest local one which thankfully had diesel and a small queue – we glad we did as other stations we passed had nothing.
We jumped onto the M6 and headed north. We hadn’t had breakfast and decided to chance our luck at Shap. As followers of this blog know, our favourite little breakfast cafe in this village suddenly shut its doors a couple of years ago and showed no signs of re-opening. However I spotted its imminent return on a road trip with eldest daughter a few months ago, so we were confident. Imagine our happiness as we pulled up and the new Abbey Kitchen cafe had its lights on – we almost galloped in, bagged a window seat and ordered a full English breakfast, coffee and enjoyed the moment.
Suitably refreshed we headed up the A6, rejoining the M6 at Penrith and headed towards Glasgow. Heavy rain showers chased us up the motorway. Just south of Glasgow, we pulled into a service station for toilets and a stretch of the legs for 15 minutes, appalled at the cost of fuel at the adjacent garage. We continued up past Glasgow, and onto the A9 and onto our overnight stop of Aberfeldy. The rain started to ease up after raining on us for most of the journey and it started to brighten up. Mountains started to rise up and the scenery was stunning. Autumn is definitely here with the trees full of golds, greens and oranges. It’s beautiful. We had a stop here and making a brew while The Dog wandered around, having a good sniff. We’re not far away now. As we set off again, we cursed as we came across even better stopping places – isn’t that just typical?
We dropped into Aberfeldy, a lovely little town that we have visited before and home to Dewars whisky distillery. We stopped to get some food for tea and to top up with diesel – there seems no urgency to fill your tank here at all – as petrol stations will be few and far between from now on. We drive out of town for about 10 miles north west to a little hamlet and the small Glengoulandie caravan and camping site. Mainly static caravans, there are some hard standing for touring vehicles and we snag one in the corner. We decided to go for a walk and get ready, but The Dog has found an interesting smell and has her head firmly under a fence, fascinated. She’s also spotted deer in an adjacent field and happily watches them.
We walked out of the caravan site and across the road to a gate. It’s a fenced area with grass and bushes with little streams. We followed a well worn path, The Dog happily sniffing and checking out. It’s very pretty with mountains and hills all around. The massive blot on the landscape is the marching electricity pylons, standing tall atop of the hills – we actually walk up to the base of one. It’s a total abomination in my book. Scotland seems to have an abundance of the damned things – they have not really been out of our sight since we crossed the border, either alongside the road or on the horizon. Spoils the feeling of wilderness and timelessness with these ugly iron structures dominating the scenery. Sighing, we retraced our steps back to the Van. The sun broke through the clouds and shone on the nearby mountains, turning them golden. Beautiful. Being late September, the evenings get dark by 7:30 so we made the most of the sunshine before we nested and set up the Van for the night, made tea and watched films on the iPad. The Dog has taken over the back seat and looks like she’s there for the evening despite having her own bed in the passenger well.
So the first night of our road trip of Scotland. A long day of driving, but well worth it. Tomorrow we continue north and head west of Inverness before heading to Torridon on the west coast to meet friends.