My Scottish Motorhome Adventure
This story happened on: 18/05/2019
From a very young age Callum, my son, has wanted to go on holiday to the Scottish Highlands. Cbeebies teaches kids all sorts. Now that he is 19 and this will probably be our last holiday together, just the two of us…..let’s do it!
In my head I’m a brave soldier who can do anything. GIRLPOWER!....and all that stuff. Of course I can hire a big motorhome and drive it all around the Scottish Highlands, is what I thought back in January when I booked my hire with Swift Go. By February, my insecurities kicked in and I was beginning to wonder what the hell I had set myself up for.
My coping strategy of planning, planning, planning took over and after many hours plotting and re-plotting routes, finding sites, things to do etc…….. I felt a little happier with my decision. I still had worries about narrow country roads, parking, pitching up, using shower blocks…………..
On the 18th May, we got the train from East Grinstead to Livingston, well 3 trains, a tube and 2 taxis to collect the motorhome from the Swift Go depot. Handover was fairly straight forward and after familiarising myself with the controls, we took off towards the Strathclyde Country Park Site. The Sat Nav was so great with all the sites and vehicle dimensions already programmed in and our first stretch of road was an easy stretch of the M8. The only thing I could remember from the handover turned out to be the best advice – Take your time. So 40mph in the slow lane all the way.
There we were on our first site, correctly pitched with the help of some lovely Members……..now what did they say about how everything worked?? Thankfully we were right next door to the shower block which was spotlessly clean with great facilities and not at all scary. Now just to figure out how to put my bed together.
A great night’s sleep and our first proper day on the road, along the edge of Loch Lomond and through the mountains to the Bunree Site. My first experience of some narrow winding roads was a little hairy, especially with articulated lorries coming towards me. I must confess that I did hold my breath a couple of times but all was fine. The driving position in the motorhome is great and makes the experience easy and OMG the views! We stopped lots in the many laybys to take in the views, take photos, make a cuppa and let the traffic go by – still taking my time.
Our pitch at the Bunree Site was along the edge of the Loch and we were advised to pull in forwards to make the most of the view and what a view – stunning. This was our home for the next two nights. After settling in we took a stroll to the local pub for dinner – great food and friendly chat with other travellers from all over the world.
Day 3 was a trip through Fort William to the Ben Nevis Resort for a ride on the Mountain Gondolas. Here another worry was put to rest in the car park where parking the motorhome was easy. A coffee and cake at the top of Ben Nevis and a climb to the view point. Miles and miles of amazing mountains and beautiful lochs.
A quick stop at M&S in Fort William for some barbeque food and my confidence with this parking malarkey is growing. And then the sun came out! Prosecco and posh burgers outdoors in the sun J The motorhome was equipped with everything we needed – table and chairs, disposable barbeque, tools – we just needed someone to do the washing up. Sitting out (admittedly with coats on in the end) until gone 11pm with the sky still just light was amazing, we even saw dolphins.
Day 4 started early with the sun shining and more stunning views out across the Loch. Time to pack up (remember to unplug the electric cable) and move on to Oban for the ferry to the Isle of Mull. Having pre-booked the tickets on-line all I had to worry about was driving onto the ferry. Thankfully there is no reversing, you drive on guided by staff and drive off forwards. This was a great opportunity to take in the surrounding from the water and another chance to see dolphins. I was a little concerned by all of the information posters on-board the ferry telling you how to drive on the single track roads. SINGLE TRACK ROADS!!!! Too late to turn back now.
No need to worry though as the system works well, regular ‘Passing Places’ make the drive easy. Onwards to Tobermory, the place Callum really wanted to see. We checked into a local site and walked down into the harbour. What a cute little place. There is plenty to see with the distillery, gallery and plenty of little shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants. We had a lovely relaxing afternoon wandering around followed by dinner in Café Fish at the end of the road. Having done my research I booked ahead, we chose to sit outside and make the most of the sunshine. It was everything we had hoped for.
Day 5 and another ferry, this one much smaller, taking us from Tobermory to Kilchoan. Our long driving day travelling along lochs, coastal roads, around sheep and lambs and via the Glenfinnan viaduct. A must for all Harry Potter fans. Sadly the weather changed but the moody clouds added some atmosphere to our views. Plenty of stops and a couple of waterfalls later we arrived at the Morvich Club site. Amongst the mountains and clouds we had an early night.
Day 6 passing the Highland cows and Eilean Donan Castle on the way to Skye. Our first stop was Portree for a visit and some lunch. Another beautiful fishing village this one with a car park that has motorhome spaces. Moving on to our first CL site in Carbost. Very different from the club sites but with all the amenities and a view from the hilltop across Loch Harport. A 20 minute walk along the road takes you to the Talisker distillery where we had a tour booked (definitely worth booking in advance as they were fully booked all week). Our guide was great fun and ended the tour with a tasting. Dinner in the pub along the road was a great evening, sitting next to a German couple who told us about their travels, drinking Skye Ales and listening to live music. We wobbled slightly on the way back to the motorhome but slept very well.
Day 7 we headed back to the mainland and travelled north along the edge of Loch Ness stopping at Urquhart Castle for some Scottish history (another car park with motorhome spaces). Onto the city of Inverness for late lunch, I’d done some research and found the local Morrison’s car park allowed motorhomes and was feeling like a pro reversing into a space.
Our last site was Culloden Moor. Another great site, with little lambs in the adjoining field. We gave the motorhome a good clean ready for the journey back in the morning.
It was sad to say goodbye to the motorhome, we’d both loved the travelling around and after 750 miles it felt like our home. It was very comfortable and a pleasure to drive (we had the automatic version). My last holiday with a teenager!
Things I learnt ….
· I can do anything – GIRLPOWER
· Scotland is amazing
· All motorhome drivers wave to each other as they pass
· Saying good morning to complete strangers in your PJs is fine
· I want to go back again and see more