Seriously...Are we gluttons for punishment? My wife and I are renting another campervan to travel northern Scotland after doing it for 15 days in Iceland. At least we are well practiced and have the routine down.
Day 1 Aug 23: We fly Easyjet from Iceland to Edinburgh. Arr 3 PM. We have a place booked in Livingston, just a few miles from where we pickup our campervan in Broxburn the next morning. The taxi ride from the airport is roughly 35 minutes in stop and go traffic at 5pm. Welcome to the suburbs. Our place has a small kitchen/livingroom downstairs and bedroom upstairs. Plenty of room to get all our gear organized for round 2. Since we don't have a vehicle yet and we need dinner. There's a Beefeater Restaurant, walking distance from our place, and a small convenience store to get a few breakfast things for the morning. Decent enough meal and an easy walk. An after dinner wine/beer at our pad, and we are ready for the next part of our big adventure.
Day 2 Aug 24: We do a casual breakfast and then get a taxi over to Spaceships Campervan UK in Broxburn. We're campervan experts now, and go over the vehicle and then pack our gear. We're heading north to a Tesco superstore in Perth to stock up on food, beer and wine. Huge! If it isn't in this store, you don't need it.
Our destination is Dornoch, and we're glad we're driving mostly highway, to get use to driving on the other side of the road. (Also glad it's an automatic.) Dornoch campground is sandwiched between a golf course and a huge beach. Nice place to spend our first night camping. We hike over to the beach after dinner, for a feel of Scotland's northeast coast. We plan on seeing a lot of beaches and coastline on this trip. Really nice beach walk and... we get treated to a rainbow too. Good start, so far.
Day 3 Aug 25: Today is our 40th anniversary. The reason we decided to do this trip in the first place. My original plan is to camp at John O'Groats. We drive north along this beautiful coast with occasional stops, including a quick poke into Dunrobin Castle. We reach John O'Groats just after midday. Very breezy! No...let's call it a big steady, strong northerly wind. No way we will camp here today. The wind exposure will not make this a comfortable place tonight. On to Plan B.
Since we're here. We drive out to the Ducansby Head and hike over to the lighthouse, and then along the cliffs, to see the Stacks of Ducansby. What a beautiful area. The cliffs, the sea stacks, the views north, up to the Orkney's. Feels good to hike around for a couple of hours. This is....some great Scotland scenery.
New plan....We're going to Thurso to camp. I make a call to Captains Galley in Scrabster to see if they can fit us in for our 40th anniversary dinner tonight. 2 things going against us. It's Saturday night, and 2nd.....it's also a bank holiday weekend. No mercy! The host tells me zero chance, unless someone cancels. That's what I get for not booking way back when. Oh well, we'll find somewhere worthy to go for dinner. We hope.
The camp at Thurso Bay has nice grassy grounds and big views of the bay. Not near as windy as the exposed NE corner of John O'Groats. We get showered up. Put on our finest duds. Open up a nice bottle of French Champagne and do a toast above the lovely bay. We share a glass or two with our next door campers. Now the tough part. Finding a decent restaurant. We park in the center of town and walk around a bit. We notice a busy pub and restaurant at the Holborn Hotel. OK.... It appears this pub is going to be our only choice, as the restaurant is booked thru the night Wait minute!. The hostess from the hotel's Red Pepper Restaurant (next door,) tells us that a table opened up for us, and we can sit immediately. Only in the movies!! What luck! Turns out to be a superb meal. Dinner specials were a Morrocan spiced monkfish and perfectly baked and seasoned haddock. Scallop app, a bottle of wine and salads fill out a perfect anniversary dinner. We even get to see a marching bagpipe band just outside the hotel. Couldn't of planned it this good! Totally awesome evening.
Too be continued