2020 Scotland Tour

10th September 2020 to 25th September 2020

The Google Map above shows the plan for this tour. Two and a half weeks taking in first the west coast and then the east with a stop over in the Cairngorms in the middle.

Starting early (about 05:30) the journey from Stafford to Ayr was pleasantly uneventful. Stopping at Tebay Services for a good cooked breakfast and a toilet break we arrived in Ayr just after noon and decided to take a walk on the beach to blow away the cobwebs after the long journey. Ayr beach front was impressive. A huge expanse of clean sand stretching down from the mouth of the river Ayr for over a mile down the coast. We strolled up to the light house and let the dog run.

Suitably refreshed we went to find the site. It was about a mile from the beach on the outskirts of town. Ayr Cragie Gardens Caravan Club Site. On booking-in we found the wardens had a similar motorhome to ours – and also purchased from Don Amott. We compared stories and niggles and warranty repairs, both discovering that problems we had experienced were not unique, and that neither had suffered any major issue that hadn’t already been fixed. So hopefully no future surprises.

We spent a couple of nights at Ayr. Revisiting the beach and taking a stroll through the town. A very pleasant Scottish coastal town, however the weather was deteriorating and forecast was worse. For the next 3 days the west coast of Scotland was expecting a months rain to fall and winds of 40mph to 60mph. Our itinerary had us moving up the west coast through Fort William and Oban over these next few days. Time to change tack – one of the beauties of motorhome ownership. If you don’t like the weather – go somewhere else.

After an hour looking at maps and weather forecasts we phoned the Caravan & Motorhome Club booking line to make some new reservations. Availability for a 8m motorhome was a little tricky but we booked into Forfar for a night and then Banchory for 2 nights. The East coast of Scotland looking like it would avoid the majority of the wet weather.

Here are a few photos :

Forfar Lochside Caravan & Motorhome Club site

After driving west to east across Scotland we eventually found the Forfar site – not as straight forward as most sites. The site had lovely new facilities that were allowed to poen under Covid restrictions by using the wristband system that seems to be common on club sites (only two people at a time in the washroom block – you hang your wristband on the peg outside. If there are 2 bands already on the peg you need to wait until someone comes out and claims theirs).

The site is adjacent to Loch Forfar which has a walking/cycle path around it’s circumference. It took us a couple of hours to walk all the way around.

Here are a few photos :

Silverbank Caravan and Motorhome Club Site

Banchory was a real find. We hadn’t planned to visit. It was simply the weather and availability that bought us to the site, but it is definitely a site we will return to. The site sits next to the river Dee on the outskirts of the small town of Banchory. It also sits on the Deeside trail – a 140 mile circular mountain bike route starting in Banchory. The route links up some of the best trails and scenery in Aberdeenshire, Deeside and the Eastern Cairngorm mountains.

We cycled along the trail to Crathes where there were a few crafty shops, cafes and a railway museum. In one of the galleries there were 2 artists from NEOS (North East Open Studios) explaining and showcasing their work.

Then we walked in the other direction into Banchory. A town with plenty of character in that upmarket Scottish way. Very clean and tidy with huge substantial granite clad houses in ample mature grounds overlooking the river. Considering this is rural Scotland I was surprised at the affluence on show especially on the roads: Lambogini, Porsche, and every other car seemed to be a Land Rover/Range Rover. Its proximity to Aberdeen could be the reason.

Here are a few photos :

Maragowan Caravan and Motorhome Club Site

To get ourselves back on track with our original itinerary we needed another couple of stop-overs before we arrived in Blair Atholl where we planned to meet our girls and their partners for a few days. We found availability in Killin for 2 nights as this was roughly en-route to Blair Atholl. We took the scenic route from Banchory over Braemar and past the ski centre. The drive wasn’t for the timid driver. Very narrow, twisting roads with over-hanging trees requires some concentration in a 8m motorhome that’s 2.5m wide. After 4 hours it does get a bit tiring.

The last 10 miles of the journey were along the banks of Loch Tay through Kenmore. Unfortunately it was raining with heavy cloud, but on a better day the views along this route must be stunning. The site was next to the river Tay (now in flood) and was flooded in places. We walked from the site through Killin and up to the Falls of Dochart. Whilst the power of the Tay in flood made the falls an impressive spectacle, it would have been nice to see the surrounding mountains and some blue sky instead of low misty cloud. There will be another time I’m sure.

Here are a few photos :

The next morning was no better. Rain, low cloud and mist, so we decided to move on and head closer to Blair Athol. The Blair Castle Caravan site couldn’t extend our booking by another night (full), so we found another site close by in Faskally.

Faskally Caravan Park

We used this site for a winter walking holiday a few years ago. We hired one of their lodges for a week in January and were blessed by 8 inches of snow that week. This time we were on a hardstanding on the site itself. The site sits adjacent to one of our favourite walks – the Killicrankie trail which follows the river Garry. So once we parked up we took the dog down to the river and along the path for a few miles

Blair Castle Caravan Park

Here we are again. This place is like a magnet to us. The sun is shining, the sky is clear and it’s 21 degrees in mid September. What’s not to like!!

This visit we have been allocated a pitch (273) at the back of the site rather than alongside the road that leads up the Castle. Whilst it isn’t fully serviced, it’s a much sunnier spot and my clean water extension hose just reaches the nearest tap, so the best of both I think.

Our girls wanted to come and join us for a few days, so I booked a lodge for them the other side of the river Garry. The 3 bedrooms allowed each of them the freedom to come and go when they could to fit in with work schedules and bring their partners with them if they wanted. Today (Wednesday) it was Abbie, Rhona and Aaron who were arriving, so we agreed to meet in the local hostelry for a beer and some food – The Atholl Arms.

As they had both spent 6 hours plus driving up from Stafford, it was a quiet night, with the promise of a walk to Bruar Falls in the morning.

As we returned, Moira’s brother arrived. He was staying at the Atholl Arms and is a keen golfer. Blair Atholl has a small 9 hole course so the 3 men decided to play 18 holes the next day. What a lovely course (Blair Atholl Golf Club). Lush and beautifully manicured with an interesting shared green on the 4th / 9th that sits on a raised plateau. We played the first 9 as match play and found we were all playing at about the same handicap, so played the back 9 as stableford each with a handicap of 9. Surprisingly I won by a couple of points.

Kirstie and Adam were next to arrive. After a further visit to the Atholl Arms we had an evening of board games and cards on the decking outside of the lodge. Really enjoyable evening – I hope we didn’t disturb the neighbours too much.

Saturday we decided to walk Ben Vrackie – again in the sunshine.

Unfortunately Jim and Abbie had to get to work on Monday and Kirstie and Adam also had to leave. But that left the 4 of us to try another walk. This time we attempted Scheillion – a Munro, and the mountain used by Charles Hunter to calculate the mass of the Earth many years ago. It’s not a long walk, but it is challenging both from a steep assent perspective and also the very rocky path for the last few kilometers. But the views from the top are stunning.

Here are a few photos :

St Andrews Holiday Park

On Tuesday we left Rhona and Aaron at Blair Atholl and headed to St Andrews. The site is situated above the East Sands on the cliff top with outstanding views across the bay and St Andrews harbour.

We have been to St Andrews a number of times but never stayed for more than a few hours. If you get the chance – visit. It’s got something for everyone: two sandy beaches, 7 gold courses including the famous Old Course (home of golf), the ruins of a castle, the ruins of an cathedral, a university, well stocked high street and bags and bags of character.

Here are a few photos :

Our eventual tour was very different to the one that we planned. But thats the real beauty of owning a motorhome. If the weather gets poor or you change your mind you simply move on.

Niggles

Only one thing to report this trip. At Blair Castle I couldn’t remove my 16 amp blue plug from the electricity outlet on the plot. The warden diagnosed that one of the pins in the plug had fused itself to the associated socket in the outlet. The blue 16 amp male plug needed removing from the cable and replacing before I could hook-up again.

The reason for this was not clear. Over the many years I have been Motorhoming I have never experienced this, but I could clearly see where the base of pin had over-heated. Perhaps a loose pin? Regardless I now carry a spare male and female 16 amp blue socket.

Round trip distance 1002 miles according to google maps.

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