First Trip South for 2020

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We’ve finally managed to get down South and into Scottish Highlands. First proper trip away this year and ever in this van (if you don’t count our little jaunt over to Orkney Mainland last month to give the van a shake down).

Reading some of the comments on the online about visiting Scotland and seeing some of the press reports about the Highlands we had some reservations but this is where we alway go and love so off we went….

We took the Sunday night ferry over from Westray to Kirkwall and overnighted in Kirkwall. Fish and chip supper and Vera on STV player. Nowt else to report for Sunday night…

Up early on Monday morning for the 06:30 Stromness/Scrabster crossing. We were a little disappointed that breakfast on the ferry was reduced to hot rolls, so bacon for me and sausages for Marlene. Ah well with the current precautions in place it was only to be expected really. Also, hand sanitiser everywhere, which was good and used liberally.

I had a few wild camping spots earmarked that I wanted to either use or just check out for future use.

The first of these was at Strathy. It is at the end of a long single track and looked like it might be a great place for a stop over in the future. I think it would be but when we got there it was heaving with cars, campervans and motorhomes. It was a gorgeous day (more of that later) and there were a good number of people about. To be fair they all seemed to be keeping well apart but it was still way too busy for our liking so we did a quick u-turn and left.

I had another potential wild camping spot to reccy but the sat nav must have got its knickers in a twist cos it took us along some very narrow winding lanes ending at a house. Turned round and headed back.

Aah well, as the saying goes, “If you don’t know where you’re going you can’t get lost”.

Along our random meanderings we espied Borgie Glen (The Unknown) that appealed to Marlene so away we went. There was a nice, small car park there with just one car in it. We took Oscar for a walk and he had a little paddle in the stream.

It was still a bit early to settle here for the rest of the day and overnight so we went on to the place I had in mind for the night – Rosal Clearance Village.

This is a lovely spot, it is down a pretty rough pot holed track so fairly unsurprisingly was empty.

It was perfect and we had planned to stop the night there but I took Oscar for a couple of walks and both times he came back with four or five ticks on him, plus Marlene found a couple on the seats. That coupled with the intolerable heat in our tin can (I said it was nice day, maybe a bit too nice, we’re never happy are we!) made us decide to move on again.

Suddenly now, the day is slipping by and we really need somewhere we know we can bed down.

So off we went to the Falls of Shin. We have stayed here a few times in the past and I knew from their website that they were closed so figured it would be okay. It was, there were a few cars in the car park near the play-park but apart from that it was empty.

The end of a busy day. Steak and onion baguettes for dinner, couple more walks for Oscar and bed.

Woke up in the morning to find the van surrounded by midges but then this is both the place and the time of year for the murderous little blighters!

Took Oscar for a quick walk then, made our escape. The funny thing was there didn’t seem to be half as many in the woods as there were hovering round our van! They were obviously looking for dinner.

Our next exploratory visit was Rosehall Trails. What a cracking place! There was a hand made sign at the entrance saying no overnight camping but we were only there for a quick stop anyway this time round. People are bit sensitive about Covid19 at the moment plus an increase in visitors for the same reason, maybe in the future this may disappear.

We had a brew and took Oscar for a walk – he discovered a pond!

Little rest then on to – Knockan Crag. There must have been half a dozen motorhomes there, plus various cars, didn’t even turn in, just drove straight past! This is on the NC500 though so I suppose it is to be expected and along this stretch of road we have seen rather more campers/motorhomes that off the beaten track. That said I have seen it busier.

Next stop, another one familiar to us – CR Garve (Highland). Surprisingly this spot was/is empty. I say is as we will probably call it a do for today as yesterday was such a busy day. We’ll just chill out and spend the night here.

After his experience with the pond at Rosehall Trail I fear Oscar was getting a bit ambitious after his pond. I’m just glad he was on his lead!

Then whilst walking back to the van there was a shot in the distance and he was off, hauling me back to the van and jumping up at the doors.

Once inside, there were a couple more shots and he was hiding in the toilet!

He really doesn’t like bangs, or trains, or well, all sorts of things really. He’s such a Jessie!

That’s us for now, no more shots for a while so we’re all settled down. Oscars snoozing between the front seats, Marlene’s knitting and I’m doing this. Time for a bit of visualising now (Sofology advert)…

We’re down here till the end of the week so I’ll add more posts as the week continues.

Happy days so far.


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