Touring Scotland has been a bucket list item of mine for many years, but especially since "moving back" to the UK in 2019. We all know though what happened in early 2020 "Covid-19", so 2022 is really the first time since then that "most" Brits have been able to roam "freely". Camping has seen a real boom during the Covid period, and appears to be here to stay, so it seemed fitting that we toured Scotland in our little Eriba Puck (our first caravan, but certainly not our first camping experience).
The Eriba brand dates back some 60 years, and has a somewhat cult like following (similar to VW campervans). Our Puck is the smallest model, and is no longer manufactured, so is quite collectible, and a real head turner on campsites.
|Our little Eriba Puck "Daisy Mae"|
Whilst we are both used to driving vast distances from 20-years of living in the Western USA, UK roads are much narrower, more winding, and generally much slower; on top of that pulling a trailer in the UK restricts the speed you can go too. With these restrictions, we decided to limit our "Scottish Tour" to the main highlights on the western side, and that still added up to 1800 miles.
Day 2 to 5: 3-night stop
Loch Lomond is the first "taste" that most people get of the real Scotland, the A82 leaves the Glasgow area on the easterly side of the Clyde, and soon the scenery opens up. We opted to camp at Cashel on the eastern shore of the Loch on our outbound journey, and on the western shore in Luss on the return. The easterly side is quieter, has easy access to Ben Lomond, but lacks a choice of amenities, the westerly side has better views I thought.
|View across Loch Lomond looking north|
|Spectacular views above Loch Lomond above Cashel forest|
Day 5 to 8: 3-night stop
Our next stop after Loch Lomond was a small 5-site campsite a few miles west of Glencoe village close to the road for Oban. The route we opted to take from Loch Lomond was via the A85 to the east of the Trossachs, which proved very scenic and less busy than the main A82, and still ended with a crescendo taking the A82 through Glen Coe - although the weather had started to "turn" at that point.
|The A82 through Glen Coe|
It seemed the further North and West we went on our tour, the worse the weather got; showers turned to persistent rain, and gusty winds seemed to get stronger - not ideal camping or photographic weather!. Despite the weather, Glenfinnan and Glen Nevis
we were able to knock off the "must see" list, and by utter fluke even caught the Jacobite Steam Train
(aka Harry Potter train).
|Jacobite Steam Train|
Clearly the "Big" draw at Glenfinnan is the viaduct for all those "Harry Potter" fans
, but there is also a magnificent monument to the Jacobite uprising of 1745, and the views across the Loch are stunning, even in wet weather!.
which heads southeasterly out of Fort William is a spectacular road, it curves and banks around every contour, whilst being overlooked by the UK's highest mountain aka "Ben Nevis". The road ends at a car park for the trail to Steall Waterfall
, said to be the "most spectacular short walk in Scotland", I would agree!.
|No shortage of lush river valleys - Sutherlands Grove|
Day 8 to 12: 4-night stop
Having endured a very rainy few days in the Glencoe area, our next stop for 4-nights was in Morvich
close to the Isle of Skye (which was equally as wet and windy during our stay). Typically the scenery on the drive between Fort William and Skye would be draw dropping, but all we could make out was the endless waterfalls cascading down every mountain amidst the gray and mist.
The caravan and motorhome club campsite at Morvich is surrounded by peaks on three sides, and really felt wild, even when enveloped in mist and rain. To the west is the Isle of Skye, a relatively easy drive from the campsite, to the north is Plockton and Applecross, and an hour to the east is Loch Ness.
|A "must" stop, although very rainy on our visit|
|The stunning views along the A87|
The Isle of Skye
was the real "stand out" of our Scotland tour, and not just because the sun shone. We opted to take the more scenic route from Morvich via Ratagan Pass
and the community run Glenelg ferry
, a truly memorable experience, and well worth the £18 fee.
|View from Glenelg to Skye|
Despite all the tour buses on the Isle of Skye, the island still felt untouched, and had a surprise around every corner.
|Island of Pabay from Skye|
|Salmon farm on east coast of Skye|
One of the most recognizable natural features on Skye is the "Old Man of Storr", we were planning to the hike to the base of the rock, but the car park was full, and the showers were coming and going.
|Old man of Storr|
The hub town on Skye is Portree, a quant harbour town
, but unfortunately also a major stopping point of tour buses. It is a good place though to stock up on food, tourist gifts and information at the "Visit Scotland" visitor centre.
The Isle of Skye is home to a couple of Distilleries, with Talisker being the big one, we opted instead to stop by the little but mighty Cuillin Brewery at Sligaachan Old Bridge
, we can recommend this place wholeheartedly!.
|Memorial at Sligachan Old Bridge|
|Sligachan Old Bridge|
"Probably" the most instantly recognizable castle that is photographed in Scotland (and used in tourist literature) is Eilean Donan castle
, which lies where Loch Dulch, Long and Alsh meet on the mainland east of the Isle of Skye. The castle is a big tourist draw, having featured in many movies, but is still a truly awe-inspiring place.
|Eilean Donan castle|
|Eilean Donan castle|
Eilean Donan castle is home to the Clan MacRae
, and close to Morvich on a hill lies a monument to the MacRae's and also the Clachan Duich Burial Ground.
|Clachan Duich Burial Ground|
Having endured 3 days of rain and wind in the Morvich area, and some brief sunshine on Skye, our Scottish tour was nearing a close as we headed south back to Loch Lomond. Instead of taking the A82 via Glen Coe we took the A828 towards Oban, then the A85 east. This route made a nice coastal alternative to the more mountainous Glen Coe route, and likely a lot less busy.
Day 12 & 13: 1-night stop
Our final stop in Scotland was in Luss on the western shore of Loch Lomond, a charming little village with enough amenities to keep most campers well stocked and watered, We were rewarded on our final night with a wonderful rainbow - Slainte Scotland!.
|Loch Lomond single malt|
As in most of the UK, the weather any time of the year can be unpredictable and changeable, but it did seem like we had exceptionally wet weather for the month of May during this trip. Despite the weather putting a bit of a damper on some of our planned "outdoor" plans, we did still get to see some amazing scenery, and check off some of Scotland's real gems (Loch Lomond, Loch Ness, Glen Nevis and the Isle of Skye). Having a flexible schedule (or a few days leeway to change plans where needed) we found useful, and we did plan excursions based on the days forecast (Loch Ness cruise whilst weather was changeable, Isle of Skye while there was some dry etc).
The scenery in the highlands certainly rivals anything you would find in more mountainous regions of the world, such as the Rockies in the USA, and has many similarities. Camping was a great way to spread a tour out over several different regions, but I am certainly glad we were in our little Eriba, and not in a tent!.Useful InformationCashel Camping in the Forest campsite
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