This was to be the first major trip in our Danbury Trafic panel van conversion and it ended in tears. I am writing this blog ten years after the event from notes in the log book so there are some puzzling features especially with the routes taken.
The Road North 16th July
We tend to break our journey once going to Scotland, but this time it was Day 6 before we got to the highlands. We first stopped at a CL near Preston, from time to time the rain had been torrential on the motorway but ended with a fine afternoon and evening. The next day we made it to the Caravan Club site at Kielder Water. It says in the logbook via Hexham but I don't remember how we got there. More rain in the night and I woke up with a corner of our sleeping bag soaked along with the headlining around the roof vent. If we hadn't been going to the Common Riding at Langholm I think we would have driven back to Bristol and dumped the van with Danbury. It was a good day at Langholm I had never seen common riding before and the whole day was impressive.
That night was spent at Kielder again and the next day we went to Hawick for lunch with friends. Jake was mugged by their barky German Shepherd and did a poo in their front room! Poor lad. We then went on for dinner with my relations on the outskirts of Glasgow before going south towards Kilmarnock and a CL.
The next day saw us spending the afternoon and evening with more of my relations in Prestwick. That night whilst searching for the chemical disposal I managed to leave a gate unlatched and several horses escaped. I managed to round up all but one and had to go to the farm house to get assistance. Subsequently found out that one of the horses could lift the latch which was why it was also tied with rope.
Day 6 - 9 Loch Tay
We crossed the Erskine bridge to the west of Glasgow then through Drymen, Callander, Killin and to our campsite in woodland a mile or so from the village, near to Loch Tay. We took the van into the village as there was no safe path and went for a 3 mile evening walk.
Next morning we ran out of water whilst taking our showers and found why it was so difficult to fill, the pipe run went slightly up from the filling point before going down to the tank. Drove into Killin and went on a five mile walk in the sun ending with tea in the village and then the short drive back to site.
A long lie in, then drove along Loch Tay to Pitlochry where we bought books and sweets and came back on the south side of Loch Tay where we picked wild raspberries.
Breakfast next morning was at a picnic area on Loch Tay.
Day 9 - 11 Invernahavon
We left our breakfast spot and went on to the military road (General Wade's) then the A9 to our campsite at Invernahavon, luxury, showers in a shower block.
Next morning we went to Kingussie and to the Highland wildlife park Red Deer, Reindeer, Bison, Arctic foxes Wolves etc etc a lovely.
When we made the rock and roll bed that night it broke, or rather the mountings tore out of the floor. Two problems instead of using bolts as hinges with the hinges on the bolt shank they used machine screws, the thread on those goes right to the bolt head as a result the hinge had tightened the shakeproof nylock nuts until the hinge had siezed. The second failure is that metal parts of the bed were screwed to the floor with very small screws that hardly went through the vinyl flooring. Another two mistakes Danbury.
So on day 11 we are going to Inverness, first stop a DIY shop to buy a socket set and long screws to do a proper job on the bed.
Day 11 - 14 Inverness
After getting the tools and the parts we went to have lunch with our friend Annie and later dinner. We are staying on the campsite that includes her parkhome, Bunchrew near Inverness, and is right on the shore of the Beauly Firth (Thats just inshore of the Moray Firth) .
We repaired the bed but have noticed another defect in it which I can sort out tomorrow. Went on a circular drive coming back via Cawdor, Dulsie Bridge and the B9007 Carrbridge.
Next day drove to Aviemore and the Cairngorms. Rode on the funicular railway and back to site on minor roads
Next morning left the site, took the dogs for a walk by the campsite and drove to Spean Bridge.
Day 14 - 16 Spean Bridge
We visited Spean Bridge properly in the morning then went to the Ben Nevis Gondola for a ride up the mountain, as you can see the views to the west over Fort William were fine but the summit of Ben Nevis was shrouded in cloud.
We finished the day at the Neptune staircase the series of eight of Telford's canal locks on the Caledonian Canal. The next day saw us go south to the Caravan Club's premier site at Bunree.
Day 16-18 Onich
From the first moments at this site we disliked it, the attitude of the Warden was that we were second class because we had a motor caravan. It was this attitude that finally persuaded us to leave the Caravan Club.
Next day we went across on the Corran Ferry to the A861 and then followed the northern bank of Loch Sunart on the B8007 all the way to the end of the peninsula at Ardnamurchan and the lighthouse it was a dull and showery day but had some great views. The islands are Eigg and Rum with Skye in the background.
Day 18-20 Near Oban
We stayed at the Highfield CL just North of Oban at Benderloch such a pleasant place especially when compared to Bunree and then we went shopping in Oban, not before we had banged the roof on a low branch hanging over the main road so now had a dent in our new van.
Day 19 was a Sunday and we went into Oban and took the 'steamer' to the Isle of Mull, Craignure as pedestrian day trippers sailed past Duart Castle and into Craignure. Then spent some time on the wee railway (which I now in 2015 see is permanently closed).