We didn’t have time to upload this before being towed down south, so here it is for you now. Sorry.
….must come to an end.
Brian has blown his head gasket. We have had a temporary repair attempt at local garage. Holidays here over the weekend so no chance of a proper local fix soon. Starting journey south now, plan to get to Darlington and re-assess. Journey may yet be completed on a recovery truck….
As gales continue to batter the west coast of Scotland, we continue to hide inside. The decision to abandon reliance on Brian and his awning is looking like a sound one. We have just adapted to being inside, and using the site facilities. The caravan has a big living space, which enables us to spread out inside, something which just isn’t possible in the van, especially without the awning (which is not designed for gale force winds). The site has a pub/restaurant on site which is actually quite pleasant, and has the benefit of free wi-fi so we can save on the mobile data fees. Most of the time is spent reading, swimming, playing cards (lots) and catching up on The Archers (2 omnibus editions and 2 episodes so far!)
The second night we were here we thought we’d try the free entertainment as they had a science show we thought Jonathan would like. Well, that was an…interesting experience. Jonathan has also done some of the sports training sessions, but I think he plans to blog about that himself.
We have special plans for this evening which hopefully will make the blog shortly afterwards, watch this space.
Not literally, don’t worry. After a blustery night in Newburgh (in a nice warm house fortunately) we used the time waiting for Brian’s return from the garage to study every weather forecast on the Internet. Things were not looking good, with heavy rain and gale force winds forecast.
Our next planned stop was Ardmair point, a peninsular near Ullapool. We decided such an exposed site was not the best plan, and the aim had been just to lounge around the site, walk, read etc. A new plan was needed! Thursday’s forecast was looking better, and the girl’s were keen to climb Ben Nevis so we decided to head down to Fort William (the final decision was only made en-route) with a view to the girls and me climibing Ben Nevis if the weather was suitably dry and settled for us to make an attempt with limited equipment. We pitched at the wonderful and well-priced Glen Nevis Holidays site
Alas the climb was not to be. The weather did improve, but only made it to sunshine and showers, with low cloud hanging over Ben Nevis for most of the day. Instead we opted to head off in the van and made like tourists (much to Ruth’s displeasure, she hates being a tourist).
We visited Nepune’s staircase, and impresseive series of locks at the beginning of the Caledonian canal and then Glenfinnan viaduct, which has always attracted tourists but now has the added draw of having featured in the Harry Potter films (including in the flying car sequence). Then we moved on for the obligatory attempt at Nessy-spotting. The whole day was punctuated with stunning mountain and loch views, and only a few rain showers. It was a fantastic day, and a taste of what we had hoped for on this part of the trip.
A further weather forecast review though confirmed our fears, rain, more rain, still more rain, and some gale force winds thrown in. Time for a complete revision to plans. We found ourselves a cheap caravan deal with free leisure pool, booking into Craig Tara, the former Butlins site at Ayr, now run by Haven Holidays, for a week. The cost is only slightly more than we would have paid in site fees for Brian, and gives us more space to lounge around indoors while the wind and rain howls around us! It’s not the sort of site we would normally opt for a holiday on, but for our purposes just now it fits the bill. As I write the winds are battering the caravan, but the rest of the family are happily swimming in the pool. There is an extreme weather warning in place for tomorrow as the remnants of Hurricane Katia are expected to make landfall here. We will be staying put and hoping the caravan is obliging enough to do likewise. Later in the week we hope to go into Glasgow for a day, and maybe spend another day karting and (belatedly) celebrating Susan’s birthday stuffing our faces at Frankie and Benny’s.
While we were in Newburgh Jennifer took us for a walk along the beach next to the Ythan Estuary. The whole estuary was just full of seals, floating in on the tide, and popping up to peer at these curious humans gawping at them. I’ve never seen so many seals, or so close. The coast here is really quite beautiful, even for someone who lives on the Isle of Wight and so is spoiled for choice of beaches!