TWO SNAILS (plus a dog and a dragon)

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April 1st, Time to go home

[Previously we were dining out in Wales]

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.

Hank at BeattockLayby off the B road adjacent to the M74 and railway line

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.

FuelA late breakfast at Taste of Perthshire

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.

Loch Morlich BeachRight by the campsite. Still some snow on the hills.

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. 

Loch Morlich BeachStill the Easter holidays so many people about

On Monday we walked around Loch Morlich in some rather soggy weather.

The Far SideWalking around Loch Morlich in the rain - we finally foound a WiFi signal on the far side, but only when the hub was perched on Mr Snail's head

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.

Mist in the treesOn the way to the Green Loch

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.. 

The Green Loch

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. 

FenceAt the loch viewpoint

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.

DornochOvernighting at Dornoch

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.

Ceridwen at DornochOn the way home from Wales, Ceridwen's first time at Dornoch

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.

Teddy on the dashGoing round Berriedale Braes on the way home

We were impressed.

Hank at Sibster Forest

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.

At Sibster

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.

Teddy at the Northlink Ferry QueueSoon be back in Orkney, Ted

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.

Brodgar Morning 2

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. 

Teddy on the dash in the North Isles Ferry QueueSoon be there, Ted

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?

Topic: Scotland, Ted's Progress

Categories: England, Orkney, Scotland, Site, Trips

Tags: beattock, brodgar, dornoch, ingleton, lenmore

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18th/19th March, Dornoch to Blair Drummond


A rather longer day, covering around 180 miles but with the added bonus of fish and chips thrown in.

The Plan had us split the day in to four equal legs, with two coffee breaks and a lunch stop neatly dividing the drive. We were aiming to be at the Bridge of Allan by 4:30 pm, allowing a chip supper from the Allanwater Café and leaving plenty of time to check in at Blair Drummond. As usual Mr Snail declared "too soon to stop" and drove on all the way to Ralia before we stopped for coffee and rather delicious muffins.

I took leave of my senses at Ralia and bought a handbag!

A hand....bag!I do not believe that I have used one of these contraptions in over twenty years and I cannot think what took hold of me, other than the fact that it is purple

After a grey and mizzly start, the sun came out just as we crossed the border in to Perth and Kinross. We drove on to Perth, where Mr Snail hoped to find a motorhome dealer with a waste trolley in stock. We failed in that mission but we did fill Brunhilde's fridge with goodies from M&S - my first M&S in over 14 years. My first pot of their sour cream and chive dip in just as long. Oh, my!

Allanwater Café, Bridge of AllanI have many happy memories of this place and have eaten several excellent fish suppers, not to mention the wonderful ice cream with Amarena cherries!

The Bridge of Allan was not at all as I remembered, not a sleepy little village but was in fact heaving with people and traffic. Bruni would not fit in the car park but after a full circuit we did find a kerbside spot outside the care home by the river. Happily this was just around the corner from the Allanwater Café and there were picnic tables at hand.

Allanwater CaféMany dreams have been had of this place

Two large Cod suppers were speedily ordered.

NB - we do not order Large fish because we are greedy, no, we order Large fish because it simply fries better and yields a nicer result. Skinny fish dry out in the cooking. So, imagine our horror...

Large Cod SupperNooooo! Two small fillets do not equate to a large fish!

I swear it was not a trick of the memory. The years have not been kind to the Allanwater Café. What was once the best chip supper in Scotland is now distinctly average. The business is now in the hands of a new generation, the fourth, I believe. Clearly not safe hands. Greasy batter, lukewarm fish, undistinguished chips. A grave disappointment after so many years waiting for a good piece of cod.

We were so sad that we did not return in search of home-made ice cream and cherries but simply went on our way - though not before I spent some time enjoying the real and definite signs of Spring.

The Blair Drummond Caravan Park is a Caravan Club Affiliated site.Part of the Blair Drummond Estate, the site is set largely within the old walled garden and is separated from the Safari Park by a woodland, accessible from the site. It being the Easter school holidays, the place was quite full but the warden pointed us towards a quiet part of the site outside the wall. This space had three pitches but only ours was occupied.

Blair DrummondOn site in a "quiet location" at Blair Drummond. The woodpecker was all but deafening!

The woodland walks were beckoning to Nell and she happily slipped through the hedge with us and in to a world of trees, rhododendrons, snowdrops and daffodils. There were woodpeckers pecking and birdsong everywhere about us.

Rhodies in bloom

The sun was quite strong, strong enough that I bemoaned not bringing a hat and a bottle of water along. We kept in the shade of the trees as much as possible and were entertained by surprise vistas - the castle hove in to view at one point

closely followed by the realisation that we were looking down on the Chimpanzee's island at the Safari Park!

We found a swing in the woods

and also a tipi construction

and then Mr Snail led me up the 

Garden Path

and home to Brunhilde and another early bedtime - we had an almost equally long journey to face the following day.

Blair DrummondOn site in a "quiet location" at Blair Drummond. Only the trees and the birds for company

Owls hooted and called all night and the woodpecker was busy very early in the frosty morning. We were perhaps not as refreshed as we might have been when we set off the next day.

NEXT: 19th/20th March, Into England

Categories: 2016c, Bruni on Location, Scotland, Site

Tags: blair drummond, brunhilde, brunhildes last trip, scotland

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Thursday 17th March/Friday 18th March

Dornoch Beach

We decided to catch the evening boat, leaving the day free for packing the van. This was a really good idea and meant that we left feeling quite fresh, unlike those times when Mr Snail has leaped immediately from his desk to driving seat and I have been worn out from making all the preparations alone.

It was an easy crossing. As usual we spent the night at the Ring 'o Brodgar car park and alone so we disturbed nobody when we rose at 5 am to catch the early ferry from Stromness and were again blessed with an easy crossing.

Breakfast at Sibster Forest, where we walked Nell around the long loop, fuelled us up for the shortish leg to Dornoch. We had debated travelling further but after a 5 am start, 70 miles is probably pushing things far enough. Sure enough, we were ready for bed by 7:30 pm, though not before a nice long stroll on the beach with the dog and my camera.

Dornoch Evening

Next: Dornoch to Blair Drummond

Topic: Dornoch Beach

Categories: 2016a, Scotland, Trips, Wilding

Tags: brunhildes last trip, dornoch

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