Friday, April 1st
We had quite some miles to cover but were by now on far faster roads. The boring ones. At least they were not narrow, not until we were closing in on our night stop, a CL at a pub close to Ingleton. The day started out reasonably fair but by the time that we reached the camp site, it was pouring with rain. Our host appeared somewhat grumpy to see us and said had he known how large we were he would not have accepted us. Mr Snail pointed out that he had been absolutely specific when booking.
The site was full and clearly with "regulars". Due to the grumpiness we did not feel any need to go and have a civilised pint. The site was pricey, considering the basic nature so we did not feel bad about not eating or drinking in the pub. It had been a long day and we just wished to sleep.
No photos, it was far too wet.
Saturday, April 2nd
We had an early start as we were meeting up with the extended Snail family in Ingleton, so that they might admire Hank. We parked in the car park at Country Harvest (which would make a cracking good Britstop) to await the arrival of the Pocklington contingent, who were less than five minutes behind us. A miracle of planning and organisation. A hearty breakfast ensued before they went onward (I think, to the Lakes) and we went homeward.
Our destination was a lay-by at Beattock, back in Scotland at last. This is a place well known to us as we often stopped there to exercise the dogs when travelling between Wanlockhead and Moffat when we lived up in the Southern Uplands. It was still very wet when we parked up and there were large puddles to be avoided.
In the course of the evening we changed our plans, which originally had us going up Glencoe and using a Britstop at Loch Leven, with a good seafood dinner thrown into the mix. We elected instead to dash up North and spend three nights resting up at Glenmore, using the dining out money to pay campsite fees instead.
I did get a photograph in the morning of Hank on location. The rain had all but stopped by then. It did not stay stopped for long.
Sunday, April 3rd
Sunday is always a good day to pass through the Central Belt. I admit it, we planned it that way. We wanted to cover a lot of miles. We fuelled up at Abington which was where Teddy chose to travel on the dash instead of hanging around my neck as usual. He hardly moved all of the time that we were travelling.
Our first stop was to be past Perth, at the Perthshire Visitor Centre.
We ate a hearty but late breakfast which by this time we were more than ready for.
Then we legged it up the A9 to Glenmore Forest.
I took a series of snapshots of our progress-with-cat.
We had stayed at Glenmore before and knew the pitches to be large enough. We had no worries. However, when we got there not only was the site very full but also some pitches were out of action due to recent heavy rain and flooding. The wardens were very helpful however and found us a gravel pitch where we would not sink into the mire. It meant parking sideways on but it was fortunately very handy for walking out into the wood and onto the beach.
Nell was beside herself with joy - she knew exactly where she was! We all of us enjoy Glenmore. Even when it is full of holidaying families. Even in the rain.
We had boots with us and waterproofs. Nothing was going to stop us from enjoying our break from travel.
We walked around out to Loch Morlich beach as soon as we were settled.
On Monday we walked around Loch Morlich in some rather soggy weather.
One of the reasons that we wanted to spend a few days at Glenmore was due to the possibility of overwintering there on a seasonal pitch. It was quite cold up there and we were finding Hank nowhere near as snug as Brunhilde had been. Mr Snail volunteered to catch the bus into Aviemore and go shopping for a little fan heater as that would provide not just warmth but some good practical research into how we might manage living there without car to zip around in.
He was there and back in no time at all. We were soon warmed up. I made use of the laundry whilst he was gone.
On Tuesday we tried on of the marked walks that we had not used before and took a stroll up to the Green Loch (Loch Uaine), still in rather damp weather. There was a quantity of mist about but only sufficient to make the views enchanting and not enough to make us feel miserable or in any danger of being lost.
There were plenty of other walkers about and it was difficult to feel the usual sense of peace when ambling in the forest as families on cycles hurtled past..
It was worth the hike to the loch and we would have liked to go further, at least as far as the bothy but the pace of the last three weeks was getting to us by then.
We saved the walk extension for next time. Glenmore remains our favourite site and we shall return time and again.
It was worth the long drive up to Glenmore in a single day in order to have a 3 night stay and a proper break. We felt all the better for it, though by Wednesday I think we were all pretty happy to be thinking about home.
Wednesday, 6th April
The run up to Dornoch, and thereafter to the ferry, is by now routine. I had some doubts about whether we would be able to access the usual spot in our stupidly large van but the access proved to be wider than I remembered it to be and we manage to snug in. Hank is honestly a little large for the car park at the beach but with careful parking it is just about doable.
Nell's joy at being in Glenmore was nothing compared to her sheer ecstasy at being back at Dornoch. I think this must be her most favourite place after home.
It was Ceridwen's first time, as well as Hank's.
We had two other vans for overnight company.
Thursday, 7th April and home on Friday
The run up to the ferry was uneventful. We filled up with both petrol and LPG at Skeach Services, realising only later (when we learned that the vehicle is actually taller than we were told when we bought it) that we must have had only centimetres clearance between the AC unit and the canopy.
Hank made light work of Berriedale Braes. It was a breeze compared to the times we have done it in Brunhilde... or the Land Rover.
We were impressed.
It was a good run and we were at Sibster Forest, just outside Thurso, by lunchtime. Nell had a lovely walk and we had a good lunch and rested until it was time to go for the evening ferry.
Hank does not fit in the lines at the ferry queue and so we were directed to park up with the lorries at the quayside.
It was a good crossing and once we were back on Orkney we made our way to Brodgar for the night. We had the place to ourselves.
The lines at the North Isles ferry are also too narrow for Hank and so we had to park him out of the way again when we went for the morning ferry home to Sanday.
It was quite a tight fit on the boat.
Backing Hank in through the gate and up the track proved to be nowhere near as difficult as either of us had anticipated. He went through at the second time of asking. Here he is, installed at home.
Here's the full album of the week's journey home:
The End... or just the Beginning?