A Travellerspoint blog

Glamping Scotland with Reggie - Part 2

From Glencoe, our next stop was going to be three nights at Loch Ness Glamping. The journey between the two sites was about seventy miles. But with an arrival time of 4pm, we had about 7 hours to do it. Even in Scotland in the pissing rain, we'd be hard pressed to find something to do.

The first stop was in Glencoe Village to take some photos of the River Coe bubbling along, and then for breakfast at a small shop cum coffee house cum cafe - Crafts & Things. Reggie-free again.

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Reggie wasn't allowed in but he stayed in the car.

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We liked the look of some decorated mirrors in the Charles Rennie Mackintosh style and Claire bought a couple. Photo to follow, but mirrors are difficult to photograph without acting like a mirror! So maybe not.

Once away we passed the Corran Ferry, and into Fort William on the A82, right through and on towards Spean Bridge. Neill and I stopped here on the Ashes Tour in 2013, and it was raining. At least today the rain had stopped and we continued on the A82 to the Commando Monument.

And here we stopped. Claire's father Victor Stevenson was a Commando and trained near here under Lord Lovat and was shipped off to Burma for the war against the Japanese. We took a few photos. Reggie wasn't allowed on the monument itself, although in his absence other visitors kept climbing over it and showing a distinct lack of respect.

Commando Monument

Commando Monument

Commando Monument

Commando Monument

Reggie had a little walk away from the monument where there is a path that heads across the mountains towards Spean Bridge village and then across to Fort William.

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As we sat in the car we decided to make a change to the route and go to the Isle of Skye. It's completely in the opposite direction to the glamping site at Drumnadrochit.

So at Invergarry we made a left turn off the A82 onto the A87 alongside Loch Garry and then Loch Cluanie. The next stop would be Eilean Donan castle. A very popular tourist spot and I am sure the castle was used in a movie or two (or more),

With the Insignia using fuel at about 49mpg, we had plenty of fuel to get us around 600 miles on a tank. The last fuel stop had been in Carlisle. We did pull into a small fuel station with a shop to get some snacks and a drink.

I had an idea that to get to Skye we could take the Glenelg Ferry. After the stop we took the left turn and were rewarded with a sign saying the ferry was 9 miles ahead and £15. Brake! The bridge at the Kyle of Lochalsh is free. So the ferry idea was knocked on the head.

A few miles on and we arrived at the castle. The car park was pretty full and we found a space after a tour around the lot. What I did like was a roped off area for motorcycles; just in case I ever get there on two wheels.

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We had a drink and Reggie had a paddle in the loch, and then with it raining again (!) we headed off to the Kyle of Lochalsh and the bridge to Skye via the co-op supermarket to get some sandwiches for lunch.

It briefly dried up as we headed over the bridge and onto the Isle of Skye, where it started to rain again. We aborted the mission at Broadford overlooking the sea, We didn't take many photographs as it was dull and wet.

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From Skye we retraced our steps back along the A87 and then left onto the A887 rejoinong the A82 at Invermoriston on the banks of Loch Ness, And hurrah. It stopped raining.

The traffic was pretty heavy as we headed the last twenty miles or so to the glampsite. I had the site in the TomTom and it was easier than we expected as we could see the armadillos on the hillside to the right. We checked in and went to the armadillo. Time for one pic.

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Once settled in we headed back down to Drumnadrochit to the Co-op to buy some essentials and to get fish and chips from the attached chip shop.

The first night took a bit of getting used to. The armadillos are a little cramped.

Tomorrow would be another day and we would have to decide where to go.

Posted by InvictaMoto 16:14 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

Glamping Scotland with Reggie - Part 1

To pod or not to pod?

The idea was originally to set off Friday morning and drive up to the Carlisle area for an overnight stop. Given the hassles and massive tailbacks that are associated with the Dartford Crossing, I added another overnight on Thursday to get part way along the road so that we would have a pretty easy day on Friday.

I chose a Days Inn near Baldock in Hertfordshire as it was cheap and dog friendly. We packed the car and when Claire came home there were a few bits to do and we set off. Luckily later in the evening the traffic wasn't too bad through the toll tunnel at Dartford. We made good time and were soon checking into the motel on the A1 service area at Baldock. Reggie was okay in the car and despite a bit of noise he wasn't too bad overnight. The odd bark and growl when people made noise in the hallways.

Friday we set off on the A1 route up to Scotch Corner where we would take the allegedly scenic and "biker friendly" A66 across from the east to west coasts of England. It is quite a narrow part of the country.

The run wasn't too bad until around Barnard Castle on the A66 where the road became two lanes of jammed cars. After 45 minutes inching along we checked the map and I set the TomTom for a country route via Barnard Castle and Middleton in Teesdale. Once we were free of the jams we purred along. At least we were moving and did see some nice scenery and villages.

Finally arriving at the next stop at Stobart's Motel. Stobart's are one of the biggest UK truck companies and the motel is on the northern side of Carlisle. It is dog friendly, in fact the staff made a fuss of Reggie, has a cafe and bar onsite.

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Once checked in we had a run into Carlisle to have a look about and take Reggie for a walk. We found our way to a free car-park near the castle. On the map it shows a park behind the castle that goes across to the river.

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The park had lots of these sculptures that were actually musical instruments. A kind of tubular bells.

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Saturday morning and we were packed and on the road again. The plan was to head north past Gretna to Glasgow and pick up the A82 and stay with it alongside Loch Lomond to Glencoe. We had crossed the border into Scotland and with more stops required for Reggie to stretch his legs and ablute, we pulled into a services on the M74. Had we seen the overhead signs and then heard the radio, we would have been able to plan a detour. Why? There was an accident on the A82 about halfway up the left side of Loch Lomond that had blocked the road.

I pulled off the motorway and looked for a right side of the Loch route. In this area there aren't too many roads! In the end we had it sussed and let TomTom lead us around Glasgow onto the A81 and A84, and we stopped in the touristy town of Callander for lunch, and my first haggis of the trip. It wouldn't be the last.

Callander

Callander

Another purchase was the Avon body spray that gets good write-ups as a midge deterrent. I have tried all kinds of mosquito/midge repellents and only Johnson's "Off!" bought in Finland years ago has ever worked,

From Callander there was heavy traffic in the opposite direction as people unable to get south on the A82 had to travel along the A84 and the way we had come up. The traffic for us wasn't too bad.

There's always a bit of frustration when you have had to make a quite long detour, and as we arrived at Crianlarich to rejoin the A82 and the original route, the road to the south was still closed. Adding to the frustration was the column we had joined had a guy that looks at a 60mph speed limit and does 45! Just before we entered Glencoe itself the guy turned into a hotel and we were let loose.

The scenery is superb despite the rain! Yes. It rains in Scotland. Frequently. In Callander it had been warm and sunny. There had been rain at some stage though as the "Fishery" car park was pretty well flooded in parts. TomTom took us through the glen and then right onto the small road with passing places across the River Coe to the Glencoe Youth Hostel. There are two on this road, the Independent, and ours, the Scottish Youth Hostel Association hostel. We checked in.

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Although they are testing the water with dog friendly hostels, dogs aren't allowed in the cafe/restaurant or the lounge. So basically they can go in the entrance hall and into the bedroom. Personally, this is a little restrictive and as long as the animals aren't where food is prepared then they could be allowed into the breakfast room or the lounge where it is comfortable to sit and maybe chat with other guests.

Once checked in we had a run to look for the visitor centre. We found it but it closed at 5pm. We did have a little walk in the rain and then back to the Hostel. We decided to eat at the Clachaig Inn that we had passed on the road after we turned off the main A82.

In contrast to the YH it had no restriction on the dog - obviously guests don't go in the kitchens! Oh. It was still raining! Hard. There is a no reservations policy at the Inn and no organisation for getting a table. It becomes a free for all!

Just hang about and dash when one becomes free. Not good. The food was okay, but the "who runs faster" system was shit. We found a table that was in the hallway on its own and Claire and Reggie took residence whilst I queued at the bar to order drinks and food. It took fifteen minutes to get an order in and once seated it took a few minutes to be delivered. I guess at the pace they take orders that the kitchen is waiting for it to arrive and can concentrate on one at a time. Certainly not worth the Tripadvisor rating at all. In fact I rated the organisation as pretty poor.

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As we were staying only two nights at the YH, we had breakfast booked only for the first morning, and so once the group occupying most of the beds in the hostel had had theirs we went, we had ours, leaving Reggie to his own devices in the twin room we had. We had another trip to the visitor centre (where dogs aren't allowed in) and went on the longer run through the glen. Unfortunately, it was raining most of the time, and forestry work meant that most of the walk was of scrub and severed off tree trunks. But we all got a walk! Not a tourist attention grabber!

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Glencoe

Glencoe

Glencoe

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From the visitor centre we headed towards Fort William and decided to take the Corran Ferry across Loch Linhe. It's not cheap for such a short and fast crossing at £8. But it is always nice to be on a river ferry! Scenic but not as long as the ferries we have experienced in other countries, and especially the Rhine.

Corran Ferry

Corran Ferry

Corran Ferry

Corran Ferry

On the other side we followed the A861 along the loch's edge to where it meets the A830 main road from Fort William to Mallaig. Traffic was pretty light as it was Sunday, but I guess as Mallaig is a port on weekdays there might be a lot more heavy stuff on the road.

Glenfinnan, where Charles Edward Stewart aka Bonnie Prince Charlie, arrived in Scotland and raised his banner. He left again from nearby after being beaten at battle at Culloden on 16th April 1746.

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Glenfinnan

Glenfinnan

Glenfinnan

Glenfinnan

Glenfinnan

Glenfinnan

Glenfinnan

From Glenfinnan we set off along the main road for Fort William in the hope of getting some food. Although we found a dog friendly pub, food didn't happen, unless you count a packet of crisps and a pint....

Sadly, there was football (soccer American chums) and it featured my club, Arsenal losing 2-0 to London rivals West Ham United. The locals in the pub seemed to be honorary Arsenal fans judging by the colourful language. From here we got back in the car and headed back to the visitor centre for a coffee before it closed and then to the YH. Checking the dog friendly places, we chose the Glencoe Inn for dinner. We should have gone there the night before. Not too crowded, Reggie very welcome in the bar and they had food! What could be better? The staff were very friendly and to be honest it knocked the Clachaig Inn into a cocked hat. The next morning we would be packing up and heading about 75 miles to Drumnadrochit and the glamping site.

Posted by InvictaMoto 05:43 Archived in Scotland Tagged glencoe glenfinnan callander Comments (0)

Lee Wick Farm Glamping

Claire, Reggie and Me!

So Glamping Day arrived. The car was packed and we were off just after 10am.

The initial plan was to go to Saffron Walden and speak to Chris about the GT. TomTom estimated that we'd be there at 11.24am. In the we had to abort as it was way after that and we were still stuck in traffic some 60 miles away and we had the glampsite to go to.

I emailed Chris and as he was away today (Saturday) it will have to be another date.

We made a stop at the services at Thurrock to let Reggie go for a pee and stretch his legs, and then we set off again for the glampsite. Despite the actual roads not matching the Google map image, we arrived in good time and of the three pods, we were the first to arrive. The key is kept in a small key holder and we had the combination!

The pod is quite spacious inside, with the front half having the table and chairs on one side and the futon on the other. At the back is the kitchenette and the bed opposite, the en-suite at the back.

The shower facilities are catered for in Pod 1 by the addition of a "shower shed".

So darned clean and undamaged!

So darned clean and undamaged!

Our Pod

Our Pod

Once we had unpacked and settled in we needed lunch and so we headed back put to St Osyth itself and looked for the dog friendly pub that the information book in the pod mentioned. With internet being crap the info came in handy.

We parked opposite the Red Lion and Claire went to check. A pint of bitter and a plate of ham, eggs and chips later and we were ready to face the rest of the day. Claire had Diet Coke BTW.

Then we were back at the pod, it was getting like the car knew its way. Our next trip out was to St Osyth Beach. Once clear of the town we crossed some farm land and then entered "caravan world".

We parked up by the Sailor Boy complex and parked. Free parking by the seaside? Too amazing for words. The beach is a bit scabby but the sea wall provides a path that extends a long way either way from here.

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On the way back we needed cash and ended up driving to Tesco at Clacton to use the ATM, and buy batteries for the torch. They said we needed a torch as the site has no lights. Luckily, the Insignia does have lights fitted!.

Back at the pod we dug into the crisps and coffee whilst Reggie had his dinner, then we were off again, this time to the Chinese takeaway in St Osyth.

Dinner was taken reading kindles and magazines whilst the England football (soccer to my US friends) played on the DAB radio.

Once we'd chilled we took Reggie out for his walk. It was dark and although we thought the road through the farm and stable yard was just a drive way, it appears to be a road judging by the mopeds and cars speeding along it. So our walk wasn't as good as we would have liked.

Come Saturday morning we'd had a reasonable night sleep, Reggie barking a few times and a few of him on the bed with us. The owners don't want dogs on the beds or the futon, but we had loads of throws with us to ensure that if he did climb up there would be no marks or muddy feet.

Saturday morning we had a lay in, and then breakfast, pack the car up, quick tidy around, and then we were off to Claire's sister via another trip to Sailor Boy and walk the other way to wards the Martello Tower. The beach at Jaywick is a little better than St Osyth itself, and Reggie enjoyed the walk and the sand between his toes.

TomTom then decided that although it was working perfectly with routes planned and imported, it locked out when trying to plan a route from scratch on the unit. Luckily, once clear of the area, Google maps on Claire's Android phone started to work and apart from a wrong turn by Colchester football ground where the A134 is signposted but doesn't exist, we arrived okay.

Sally and Ian have a Labrador called Paddy, and he and Reggie made friends in seconds, running around the garden at rocket pace, tumbling and playing that wore them both out.

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All in all, it was a great early weekend! The pod was really cool and it is enthused us for the holiday in Scotland later in the year.

Posted by InvictaMoto 06:14 Archived in England Comments (0)

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