Scotland / Alba

Alexander wanted to visit a friend in England . Nicolas, who was a former racing engineer at Courage Compétition and later with Williams F1 started his own business in Yorkshire Dales. Perrinn Ltd. LMP 1 Manufacturer . North Yorkshire is only a few steps from the scotish boarder so it was clear that we would travel to the “Island” with our Land Rover and head further north. It was enough time to comply with all formalities to enter the UK so Jade our dog was able to join us on this trip. Scotland is a great hiking place – let’s say would be…….(more on that later)
In 16 days we made approx. 5’343 km .
Scottish for beginners: Glen = valley , Ben = mountain, Loch = lake, Ale = main drink…..

Day 1: Switzerland – Calais direct on MWY

Day 2:
Ferry ride to Dover ( 90 min.) – stopover in Bussingbourn, Nr Royston at JMC Classic Bikes – MWY direct to the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Camping at Townsend Farm in Malham.
Day 3: Stay with the Perrins – overnight at the Beck Hall, Malham (weather)

Day 4:
Shopping in Settle – via Kendal and A65 to the Lake District – on 952 and 5091 over the Kirkstone Pass – Ullswater – on M6 to Galloway (Scotland). On A47 west and A714 to Wigtown and along B733 to the “Torhouse Stone Circle” then further on to Kirkcowan. We didn’t find the local campground….so A714 north into the Galloway National Forest Park. A short walk without rain above “Loch Trool”. Camping at Glentrool.

Day 5:
Driving in the scottish rain. With a side trip on a Forest Drive to Loch Braday, we drove north through the Galloway Forest till Ardrossan. Ferry to Brodick, Arran ( 50 min.) Roundtrip on the Island to the “Standing Stones of Machrie Moor”, along the west coast and back over “The Ross” to reach the east coast again. Overnight at Middleton’s Camping in Lamlash.

Day 6:
Along the coastal road via Brodick to Lochranza. Short visit of the Arran Distilery. Ferry to Claonaig, Kintyre ( 30 min.) – along B8001 – A83 – B8024 to the realm of the past at Kilmartin and Kilmartin Glen – visit of the Cairns and Standing Stones of “Nether Largie” and ” Temple Wood”. Overnight at the Kilmartin Hotel.

Day 7:
Accompained by rain and hail we drove on B 840 along Loch Awe – Glen Nant – Glen Lonan till Oban. Shopping time: Rainboots for us and a warm coat for Jade….. Ferry to Craignure, Isle of Mull ( 50 min.) – south to the Pennyghael Hotel.

Day 8:
“Round Mull” – visit to the Duart Castle with a walk in its surrounding – A 849 south – we could see egales on the plateau of Glen More – along the Scenic Route B 8035 and B 8073 – where we could watch an otter family playing with birds on the coast. At Fanmore right turn and on a small single trail over a pass to Dervaig – B 8073 to Tobermory and the Western Isles Hotel.

Day 9:
Guided visit of the Distillery – along the main road east to Fishnish – Ferry to Lochaline ( 20 min.) – A 884 north, passing Gleann Geal with sight of herds of red deer – A 861 west – Loch Sunart – to Ardnamuchran along B 8007 to the most westerly point of the british mainland – short walk and coffee break at the lighthouse. We had to drive the same way back – on A 861 to the Glenuig Inn.

Day 10:
Following A 861 north – Loch Ailort – A 830 east direction Fort William – walk along “Neptun’s Staircaise” – a flight of locks of the caledonian canal. Sidetrip to Glen Nevis (bridges in the upper valley are limited to 3t ) – Ben Nevis and the surrounding peaks were still – or again covered with snow – A 82 south- B 863 round Loch Leven back to A 82 – Glen Coe – Rannoch Moor – photostop at Lochan na Stainge – Bridge of Orchy – sidetrip to Loch Tulla. Because there was no camping, we planned to stay at Inveroran Hotel on the Lochside and use our time for a longer walk on the West Highland Trail. Unfortunately the hotel was booked out. The aera is very touristic and Scotts are weatherproofed outdoor people. So further on B 8074 through the very beautiful Glen Orchy – A 85 west – A 819 south – B 840 along the other side of Loch Awe and back to Kilmartin’s nice warm Pub/Hotel again.

Day 11:
Following A 83 north to Loch Fyne and Inveraray – A 814 south along Loch Long till Helensbourgh near Glasgow – visit of the “Hill House” designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. For once the weather was friendly so we looked out for a nice campground at Loch Lomond, it was Friday, the aera a destination for tourists and townsmen. “Booked” – “for members only”…. didn’t I see a sign “campsite” further north at the A 83? – so back north. Unfortunately the camping was transformed to a cottage village but the sign was still there….ment, all the way back direction Glasgow and further on M 898 and M 8 south/west. There must be campgrounds along the coast….we only found golf courses, resorts and fully booked Inn’s during 4 hours drive.Finally we’ve found a bed on the side of A 713 in the Galloway Forest Park. Overnight in the little bit fusty Lochinvar Hotel near New Galloway.

Day 12:
Via Dumfries on A 75 to Gretna Green – M 6 south to Penrith following A 66 to Keswick, the Lake District National Park and the Cumbrian Mountains – accompaigned again by heavy rain! Many aeras in UK were flooded and roads were closed on this day. We had good luck! After a short break in lovely Grasmere we were able to continue our drive on the planned route. A 593 to Skelwith Bridge – B 5343 till Great Langdale – further on the small single trail over Wrynose Pass and Hardknott Pass to Eskdale Green – Santon Bridge – along the Wast Water to the Wasdale Head Camping.

Day 13:
DirectionRavenglass – A 595 – just before Waberthwaite turned east on a small Single Trail over Corney Fell – A 5092 – A 592 – B5284 – via Kirby Lonsdale and Settle, back to Airton in Yorksire Dales NP to see our friends again. It was the only day on the whole trip without rain and it was Sunday. Everyone was outside, also a local group who performed the Moorish Dance. We used the day for a walk and photoshooting at Malham Cave and spent another night on the Farm Camping in Malham.

Day 14:
Straight on M 1 to Castle Donington and the flat of the legendary Norton Bikes. We had a very warm welcome and an unexpected almost private visit of the whole production. Following M 1 south to Odsey near Royston where we spent the nigth in a small Inn.

Another stopover at JMC Classics – they had a Norvin for maintenance ( Norton Manx Frame with Vincent engine) – we had to see this bike! Ferry to Calais later in the afternoon.

Tag 16: MWY back home

Road Maps & Single Track Roads
AA Road Atlas 2012 Great Britain and Ireland 4 miles to 1 inch scale. This map is pretty good on roads but the Tourist Informations (Campgrounds etc.) are not always up to date.
I can describe Single Track Roads in Scotland shown in the above mentioned map as follows: Red = relatively clear overview, our ∅ speed was approx. 50-60 km/h Yellow = narrow, blind bends, lorries on the way, our ∅ was approx. 40 km/h White = very narrow, often rough surface, bridges are often narrow and limited to 3t, or one has to find out ;-), our ∅ was approx. 30 km/h
White in England = very narrow Single Tracks often with dry stone walls on both sides and therefore with blind bends.
Exept of the “Forest Drives” all roads are tarmac roads. Unfortunately there are very few possibilities to park along the roads and I don’t recommend to park on the field – marshland says hello….

Travel season and weather
I cannot give a clear comment on this because we had extreamly bad weather conditions with only one single day without rain. Even scottish people complained about. It was so wet that the water had no place to go. Strong wind, rain and snow on the peaks round Ben Navis and even on top of Ben More at Isle of Mull. This is the reason why we spent only few nights on campgrounds.

Landscape, Wildlife & what to see

  • Yorkshire Dales National Park and Malham Cove
  • Wrynose- and Hardknott Pass in the Cumbrian Mountains – very narrow tracks with 30% of inclination.
  • Kilmartin Glen with its archaeological sites.
  • Isle of Mull – Golden- and Sea eagles can be seen near Glen More
  • Gleann Geal (high stock of wildlife), Ardnamuchran and the (wild) west coast

Good hosts

  • Kilmartin Hotel & Pub: lovely refurbished rooms – good food – local beer
  • Glenuig Inn in the same named village – good organic food – local beer
  • Riverside Farm Camping, Townshead Farm, Malham – pretty and friendly

You better plan a trip to Scotland. Campgrounds are rare and sleeping in the field quit difficult. There are no off road possibilities without taking the risk of getting stuck in the marsch. Forest drives are operated and lorries are on the way. So there are only the official parkings with the signes forbidden…. Scottish people as well as Brit’s are very friendly to their guests – we always felt welcome so did our dog. On weekends the small Inn’s are often fully booked and if one is not flexible to change the travel route, you better book in advance. We didn’t look for B&B’s because the dog was with us but Hotels were never a problem. Rainboods and all weather gear is a must. We had no mosqitos in these conditions.

click on the pic