Day 2

The now-traditional Sibster Forest al fresco breakfast

Bacon and mushroom morning roll

Bacon and mushroom morning roll

We had one other van for company overnight plus a Land Rover and tent. Nell enjoyed her walk around the long loop and then we drove off to Duncansby Head.

The roads in this corner of Scotland are little better in quality but are at least a little more accommodating than those in the North West. We had a very pleasant and leisurely journey in the morning sunshine.

Somewhat taken aback on arriving at Duncansby to find half a dozen motorhomes already here.

Hank at Duncansby

Hank at Duncansby

It was pleasing to see that the old orange HIC “No Overnight Parking” signs have gone.

We parked next to another MH and its driver came over to greet us and to admire Hank. They are on their way to Orkney tomorrow and quizzed us about our plans. I was swiftly recognised as a fellow knitter by his wife, who had clocked my socks. We swapped Ravelry IDs.

It is perfect weather for the location, which has been very busy all day. We took Nell over to look at the sea stacks before lunch, since when we have sat in the front seats, gazing across the Firth at Orkney. Our last view of home until next April!

Duncansby Stacks

Duncansby Stacks

I am really struggling with the technology to hand. I hate working with images on such a tiny screen/desktop area.

Day 1

We got away last night and reached the top of the road only for Mr Snail to recall that he had left his coat and wallet at home. He did a magnificent job of reversing all the way back to the gate…

We set off again. I was a little concerned about the exhaust puttering and asked if all was well. Mr Snail said it always sounds like that from a cold start.

On the way to Loth we heard an odd noise. I asked what it was and he said we must have run over something. I tried hard not to have images of cats running between the wheels.

We parked up at Loth and waited for the otters to come out and play. G&A Best came along to see us off and we all sat waiting for otters.

Hank at Loth in the evening light

Hank at Loth in the evening light

This morning we were up bright and early and ready for the early boat departure.

Ceridwen awaits the ferry to Kirkwall

Ceridwen awaits the ferry to Kirkwall

It was a beautiful morning and a calm sailing.

We exercised the dog and breakfasted on arrival in town and then hit the supermarkets before going for lunch at Helgi’s.

With time to kill before the ferry to Scrabster, we went to Brodgar for a walk around the RSPB reserve. As we set off, Mr Snail groaned. I asked what was wrong and he said, you see that exhaust pipe under the van? We used to have two of those.

Oh, dear.

The Pentland Firth was flat calm and plain sailing today. We set off for Sibster only to find the place chock full of motorhomes. It was a motorhome ghetto. Clearly the secret is out. We felt guilty about parking, and really ought to have gone elsewhere. But where?

Luckily four of the six vans here left without staying the night so now we don’t feel too bad. Just tired. Very, very tired.

D Day minus 2

Just. Don’t. Ask.

OK?

Well, if you must, go read woolgathering. I have no energy to repeat it all here.

Pass the chocolate, perleeeeeeeeese.

All change, D-day minus 3

I know that writing up A Plan was bound to be tempting trouble. No sooner did I have it all written down than it’s all change again.

Mr Snail was twitching about the weather and mourning the fact that there was a good spell coming up earlier in the week but poor weather timed for our departure.

I probably ought to kick myself but I have to confess that I opened my mouth to say that well, if he wanted to get away and make the most of it, it made more sense than just sitting here filling in time until we go…

Ferries have been re-booked and we now leave on Monday morning. We have two days in which to ready ourselves and Hank. What doesn’t get done, does not get done.

We now have far more of a holiday to enjoy on the way down south, though filling in the first part so that we arrived at Brahan on time seemed dauntingly challenging at first – especially when the site at Dunnet Head said that their ground was too wet to take us. We considered turning right at Scrabster for a few days and stopping at Farr Bay or Borgie Forest. Then I had another good idea, why don’t we just arrive early at Brahan and spend more nights there. It is such a lovely site, as good as being Wild in fact and is very cheap. It has the added benefit of miles and miles of walking on the estate. So, we are doing just that and are now having three nights there.

On the way down we shall wild at Sibster Forest, Duncansby Head and Dunbeath Harbour. We have a night booked on a Certified Site at Brora before finally heading down to Brahan. A far more leisurely journey than the original planned one of dashing to Brahan straight from the ferry. There will be more walking, extra beaches and also an Indian meal. Much to look forward to.

Here is The Plan

It’s A Plan, of sorts.

It remains tentative, though bookings have been made. We head for Kirkcudbrightshire, where we have a seasonal pitch for the Winter booked until 31st March.

  • Depart Sanday Saturday October 24th on the evening boat. Stock up at Tesco. Sleep at Brodgar
  • Sunday 25th morning ferry from Stromness to Scrabster, breakfast and dog walking at Sibster. Thence to Brahan Estate for the night, meet with BiL and SiL and Dog for afternoon/evening walking
  • Monday 26th to Huntly via Elgin (M&S Simply Food shopping) Clashmach Hill (4.5 miles)
  • Tuesday 27th stay at Huntly, Mr Snail to Aberdeen via bus for hospital appointment. Me and Nell most likely on a short riverside walk
  • Wednesday 28th to Balmoral Castle for overnighting in car park. Do the Royal Cairns walk (6 miles)
  • Thursday 29th Down the road via Braemar Riverside walk (3.25 miles) to Glenshee for overnight in the big car park. Do some or all of the Cairnwell Munros walk (up to 8.25 miles) today or tomorrow morning
  • Friday 30th to Taste Perthshire for overnighting via Pitlochry for a Chinese Takeaway and The Enchanted Forest at Faskally.
  • Saturday 1st October onward to Anstruther for two nights at the Silverdyke Caravan park, calling at Scotland’s Secret Bunker en route. Anstruther Fish Bar for supper. Coastal path walk circa 3.5 miles
  • Sunday, 2nd  a Michelin-starred retirement celebration dinner for two at The Cellar. Coastal path walk circa 3.5 miles
  • Monday 3rd to Lanark to overnight at New Lanark Mills. Walking by the Clyde to the falls (3.75 miles) and then the Visitor Centre and Mill Shop.
  • Tuesday 4th arrive Kippford

Should be a good trip! Walk lengths are the minimum that we hope to do. Nice weather and a good night’s sleep may extend any walk.

Committed (I should be)

Just a whisker over a week now until we hit the road for our Winter Migration.

I have committed to keeping the blog here and have written up an announcement on the old one to that effect. Do not be surprised if the switchover is messy. I am short of time and short of bandwidth.

I’ll be back shortly with an update on our travel plans and news of how the preparations are going.