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Scotland...... In February..... Doable?


RobJS
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Hi All,

Im looking for some advice from those who have either travelled to scotland with their caravan and those who have done it also in the winter.

 

Due to some medical issues I've had this year, my touring season is the winter and so far its been quite enjoyable. Ive clocked up 16 nights so far and I'm still not finished for 2016. I had some not so good news that i need to have quite a major operation next year so its my opportunity now to squeeze in an adventure before the van takes a summer break again and i need to go through intensive rehabilitation.

 

Scotland has always been a draw because of its scenery and the fact I'm half scottish and have never been able to make it high up into Scotland. That coupled with the winter-it seems an ideal opportunity to grasp.

 

Ive had quite a bit of experience towing now so long distances don't really bother me. I am thinking of getting to a site and staying there for about 7 days. Fort William interests me for what it has to offer and whats local to it.

 

Maybe two stop overs to get there and also another two for the return trip?

 

My questions are-

1- Do any of you have recommendations for stop over sites which are nice on the way north M6 side of the country. I am really open to where these are, as long as they split the journey quite evenly.

 

2- How long does it take with a caravan in tow to get from Glasgow to Fort William?

 

3- What things would i need to possibly consider as extras to going? An insulated aqua roll cover is on the list. I have propane and also have a spare electric heater i keep in the van. I dont have an awning so wouldn't need to consider any winter types for that.

 

4- I am told not to bother considering fully serviced pitches because of the fact the water lines will freeze and its just not worth it. Is that true, is there a way i can overcome that or should i just accept that as the fact of the matter.

 

4- The final question really is- Am i being unrealistic to consider this area in February?

 

 

Sorry- lots of questions but i hope that your responses will help me for some plans i have in future years to do some winter touring abroad hopefully.

 

 

Looking forward to hearing your responses and thank you for those taking time to reply.

Rob

 

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It is entirely doable to go to Scotland in February and there are a lot of sites open. Have you considered that it is school half term term middle two weeks of February with some overspill either side. Fort William will be hoaching in February with climbers/skiers/boarders/kids etc. . so if you can arrange a different date I think you will find it less chaotic.

HTH

Seesaw

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Have done school week when my son was young many times . .... and loved it. .... the more snow the better.

 

Sorry I'm not best placed to advise on sites but happy to add take a folding snow shovel, some pipe lagging for the water pipe.

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One stop north of the M6 is a bit further up the road just off the M74 is the Caravan Club site at Strathclyde Park, I would suggest that you go via Stirling up the A84 then the A85 to Crianlaich rather than go the Loch Lomond road. The best site in Fort William is the site at Glen Nevis but that does not open till March.

Have you thought about going further east up the A9 there is a great site at Grantown-on-Spey open all year and there is lots to do in the area Inverness is not too far away.

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Just come back from Glenmore Forestry Commision site. Snow on Cairngorm, winds up to 90 mph at top of railway -6 at night Red squirrels running around site Fantastic

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Rob J. I assume you are physically well and strong now after your misfortune. Whatever can be challenging whilst caravanning can be doubly so when it's below freezing outside. Scotland is the most beautiful country imaginable. When the midges are not around, the west coast is stunning. We did a 1 month tour in April/May this year. We drove from home in South Wales to Troutbeck Head CC site in the Lake District stayed 2 nights. Moved on to North Ledaig CC site for a week and went to Mull, Iona,and Staffa to see Fingals Cave. Moved on to Bunree CC site at Onich as a base to see Fort William and travelled to Mallaig on the steam train (opens May), also went back to Mull, then on to Morvich as a base for trips to Sky. We went Eastery across via Fort Augustus to Blairgowrie for a week then homeward via a small commercial site near Penrith for a night stop and Welshpool for a few days then home. If you can get clear skies this tour is just wonderful. We certainly want more like it.

Edited by Ern
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Very sorry to hear of your health issues and trust all goes well for you next year.

Scotland in February can either be very wet or in higher areas VERY frosty and snow. You must be a hardy lad to consider this.

If you want to holiday in this area in February may I suggest hotels. (tin hat already on).

There are many special offers on (except 14th Feb) and B&B can be had for £25 / night. In fact in Oban you can get a two night stay for £25 / night with dinner included on the first night.

These offers can be seen on the net but I usually just use www. Easybreaks. Sunday nights in the beautiful Isles of Glencoe hotel for £25 also.

However, if you insist in towing your tin shed up here in February, I would recommend you carry a couple of shovels, some rock salt and a decent heavy tow rope or chain, just to be on the safe side.

Aviemore can be beautiful at this time of year but can also have the lowest temperatures in Britain.

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We're considering renting a cottage for a week somewhere around Fort William and Oban for April, May or June time, we've usually stay in the in-laws hotel in Dunoon but they don't take dogs, so we've not been up since getting our little dog.

Paul B

. .......Mondeo Estate & Elddis Avanté 505 (Tobago)

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It is entirely doable to go to Scotland in February and there are a lot of sites open. Have you considered that it is school half term term middle two weeks of February with some overspill either side. Fort William will be hoaching in February with climbers/skiers/boarders/kids etc. . so if you can arrange a different date I think you will find it less chaotic.

HTH

Seesaw

good point. I will check those dates for sure! thank you.

Have done school week when my son was young many times . .... and loved it. .... the more snow the better.

 

Sorry I'm not best placed to advise on sites but happy to add take a folding snow shovel, some pipe lagging for the water pipe.

snow shovel added to the list! thanks

Rob J. I assume you are physically well and strong now after your misfortune. Whatever can be challenging whilst caravanning can be doubly so when it's below freezing outside. Scotland is the most beautiful country imaginable. When the midges are not around, the west coast is stunning. We did a 1 month tour in April/May this year. We drove from home in South Wales to Troutbeck Head CC site in the Lake District stayed 2 nights. Moved on to North Ledaig CC site for a week and went to Mull, Iona,and Staffa to see Fingals Cave. Moved on to Bunree CC site at Onich as a base to see Fort William and travelled to Mallaig on the steam train (opens May), also went back to Mull, then on to Morvich as a base for trips to Sky. We went Eastery across via Fort Augustus to Blairgowrie for a week then homeward via a small commercial site near Penrith for a night stop and Welshpool for a few days then home. If you can get clear skies this tour is just wonderful. We certainly want more like it.

Sparkie has given some excellent food for thought and i think i may do that route instead and head up towards the Caingorms. One of the reasons for fort william was the harry potter train but as you say it dosent open until may, its no use to me!

Im in a much better place right now thanks for asking. bad news this week is that i need another major op in 6 months time so I'm taking my chances and getting a winter adventure in if i can before i get sucked into the medical world again. thanks for asking after me though- much appreciated!

Very sorry to hear of your health issues and trust all goes well for you next year.

Scotland in February can either be very wet or in higher areas VERY frosty and snow. You must be a hardy lad to consider this.

If you want to holiday in this area in February may I suggest hotels. (tin hat already on).

There are many special offers on (except 14th Feb) and B&B can be had for £25 / night. In fact in Oban you can get a two night stay for £25 / night with dinner included on the first night.

These offers can be seen on the net but I usually just use www. Easybreaks. Sunday nights in the beautiful Isles of Glencoe hotel for £25 also.

However, if you insist in towing your tin shed up here in February, I would recommend you carry a couple of shovels, some rock salt and a decent heavy tow rope or chain, just to be on the safe side.

Aviemore can be beautiful at this time of year but can also have the lowest temperatures in Britain.

Thank you. i will have to keep an eye on the weathers to see what its like much closer hand and make a call on it. At least though if the van is a no no then its not that expensive to B&B there. Thanks for the info on equipment and extras, i will add that to my list. Oh, and thanks for enquiring how i am. .. i think the easiest way of saying it is that I'm 'getting there-slowly'. ill get there though!

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You will undoubtedly need to keep a close eye on the weather, especially for travel days. There are whole sections of the main roads that can be closed off by the authorities if it starts snowing, with no alternative routes through them.

 

The C&CC site at Moffat is a nice stopover - on the M74, about half a mile from junction 15 from memory.

 

Re the aqua roll, remember to insulate the pipe that carries the water from the container into the van too - it can freeze - but we've done this many times with a jacket too and have had temperatures down to -6 with no problems. I've never connected up a full hose to the mains water though.

 

Whatever you decide, I hope you have fun and enjoy it - it's what its all about after all! :)

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#9 What you need to bear in mind Rob as far as B&B is concerned at that price, is that nightly site fees nearly cover b&b for one.

The decrease in fuel consumption goes a long way towards the second person's b&b. You also should have a time advantage.

If you go to Cairngorms in February, accommodation is not likely to be cheap as it's the middle of their skiing season. However, if you take the van I think Highrange caravan site is open all year. It's right at this end of Aviemore.

After I made the previous post, I just remembered one year when we spent Blonds birthday in Oban (February 14th would you believe). We sat outside a café opposite the distillery enjoying our afternoon coffee & scone. It was brilliant sunshine and warm enough for the café owner to put tables outside for her smoking customers.

You pay's your money & takes your chances up here in Feb.

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Blondchaser is correct it is the peak season for skiing and schools are on holiday. You will find that most B&B's will be busy or even fully booked for those weeks. Personally I would not stay at the High Range - its right next to the A9. As you drive up the ski road you have Coylumbridge campsite and next to Loch Morlich you have Glenmore campsite.

If you are into steam trains then Strathspey Steam Railway is in the middle of Aviemore.

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Hi Rob . ... glad to hear you are on the mend . ... best wishes . ...

 

Glasgow to Fort Bill . ..... allow 3½ to 4 hours . .... and, yes, use the A84/A85 route . .... then I can wave as you go past . ....

 

Pete

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Just a small point I don't think anyone has mentioned, the Scottish school week may be different to your local schools.

Also If it gets very cold, I always make sure the kettle is full before bed (its easier to sort things out after a cup of tea) and make sure the waste pipes our clear so don't freeze overnight. Other than the obvious we have never had major problems even when its been very cold ie -18C

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Good stop over site en route to Scotland is Ashes at J37 of M6, BUT closed till March 1st 2017

 

 

http://www. ashescaravanpark. co. uk

Graham

Unless otherwise stated all posts are my personal opinion 

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I went up there earlier this year, but slightly later than you are planning (end of March/first week of April). At that time the weather was very pleasant.

I stayed at the Kendal Caravan Club site for one night on the way up and the way back. Very pleasant wooded site.

 

I also stopped at Carr's Hill CL on the way up. 5 CL pitches and 5 commercial pitches on a farm. Again very nice.

 

In the Fort William area I stayed at Bunree Caravan Club site - absolutely gorgeous views over the loch - and amazing sunsets (so good I tried to be back from my day trips in time to enjoy it).

 

I detoured to Fife on the way back and stayed at Balbirnie Park Caravan Club site. Ok, and well placed, but not as picturesque as the other sites.

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We often use a cottage for that time of the year as not many sites open on way up or back from down south, Glencoe highland cottages are ideal, opposite Invercoe caravan site and very reasonable priced compared to extra fuel for towing and site fees, just had a week there with some great views and weather.

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You will undoubtedly need to keep a close eye on the weather, especially for travel days. There are whole sections of the main roads that can be closed off by the authorities if it starts snowing, with no alternative routes through them.

 

The C&CC site at Moffat is a nice stopover - on the M74, about half a mile from junction 15 from memory.

 

Re the aqua roll, remember to insulate the pipe that carries the water from the container into the van too - it can freeze - but we've done this many times with a jacket too and have had temperatures down to -6 with no problems. I've never connected up a full hose to the mains water though.

 

Whatever you decide, I hope you have fun and enjoy it - it's what its all about after all! :)

 

The road closures scare me a bit but the foresight of this means i could plan alternative routes. thank you!

#9 What you need to bear in mind Rob as far as B&B is concerned at that price, is that nightly site fees nearly cover b&b for one.

The decrease in fuel consumption goes a long way towards the second person's b&b. You also should have a time advantage.

If you go to Cairngorms in February, accommodation is not likely to be cheap as it's the middle of their skiing season. However, if you take the van I think Highrange caravan site is open all year. It's right at this end of Aviemore.

After I made the previous post, I just remembered one year when we spent Blonds birthday in Oban (February 14th would you believe). We sat outside a café opposite the distillery enjoying our afternoon coffee & scone. It was brilliant sunshine and warm enough for the café owner to put tables outside for her smoking customers.

You pay's your money & takes your chances up here in Feb.

I could hotel it or cottage but i really want to experience it in the van. i watched Andrew Dittons journey in the test bailey pegasus abroad during the winter and it has stuck with me. I would love to do a winter in Austria at some point in my life with the caravan- Scotland will be a good test!

Hi Rob . ... glad to hear you are on the mend . ... best wishes . ...

 

Glasgow to Fort Bill . ..... allow 3½ to 4 hours . .... and, yes, use the A84/A85 route . .... then I can wave as you go past . ....

 

Pete

Brill- thank you! Having my leg broken again next year isn't the best thing to look forward to, especially as its been broken 3 times already this year but having a trip away before hand will take my mind off it all. thanks for the heads up on timings!

Just a small point I don't think anyone has mentioned, the Scottish school week may be different to your local schools.

Also If it gets very cold, I always make sure the kettle is full before bed (its easier to sort things out after a cup of tea) and make sure the waste pipes our clear so don't freeze overnight. Other than the obvious we have never had major problems even when its been very cold ie -18C

Good tip abut the kettle. i have a tassimo machine with a water reservoir behind it. that should work for me.

looks like half term is the week i am looking to go but as i head up there it will be the end of it. the rest of the uk seem to be on half term the week i am there.

Looking across Loch Leven towards Invercoe and Glencoe, very nice area.

Wow!

I've bought the insulated aqua roll cover today. i thought it would come in handy as i intend to tour in the winter in any case.

 

would i need to think about snow chains for the car and caravan? i drive a 4X4 and never been stuck in snow because it just gets through anything in its way but with that weight behind me, maybe its wise to think about this?

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Never needed to use snow chains, I did have them before changing to using 4x4's (mostly due to where I live)

 

I don't want to spoil your fun, but the guys in the snow ploughs do an excellent job in keeping the main roads clear. Just keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan to travel during day time and be a little flexible on what days you tow.

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Never needed to use snow chains, I did have them before changing to using 4x4's (mostly due to where I live)

 

I don't want to spoil your fun, but the guys in the snow ploughs do an excellent job in keeping the main roads clear. Just keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan to travel during day time and be a little flexible on what days you tow.

excellent. this is what i would rather do (be flexible) as there may be reason to stay longer at stopover sites. thanks!

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Just to show how it changes, last two March 2016, first one October this year.

post-59806-0-82966700-1480367722_thumb.jpg

post-59806-0-51305600-1480367735_thumb.jpg

post-59806-0-55023100-1480367747_thumb.jpg

Edited by donb
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One point not mentioned in the very good advice already provided is that the days are much shorter in the winter here up North. You can anticipate it being dark by 4pm and not light until about 8. 30 in the morning. The later you travel in February, the more daylight you will get but you will really notice the difference coming from South Wales. This shortens the days significantly for touring the area and means that the evenings feel very long.

 

It is good advice to have a couple of night halts identified that you could use at short notice if snow is forecast and the roads over the mountains closed at short notice. There is an increasing tendency these days to close the roads early rather than risk having vehicles stuck as this makes clearance much more difficult.

 

I recommend that you go for it. The scenery can be particularly stunning with snow to provide contrast and it is surprising how many animals such as deer can be seen at lower levels than in summer as they need to come down to seek grazing.

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It's a stunning place rob and am very jealous of the trip to one of the best places in the country. If you are fort William direction, see if you can head over to Plockton as there is a brilliant hotel there that served me some of the best fresh salmon I've ever tasted.

 

Glad you're up and about now.

 

PS: check the age of the tyres on olly, as they could be reaching there limit and it may help having fresher tyres on the van, especially if venturing in the slushy stuff

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One point not mentioned in the very good advice already provided is that the days are much shorter in the winter here up North. You can anticipate it being dark by 4pm and not light until about 8. 30 in the morning. The later you travel in February, the more daylight you will get but you will really notice the difference coming from South Wales. This shortens the days significantly for touring the area and means that the evenings feel very long.

 

It is good advice to have a couple of night halts identified that you could use at short notice if snow is forecast and the roads over the mountains closed at short notice. There is an increasing tendency these days to close the roads early rather than risk having vehicles stuck as this makes clearance much more difficult.

 

I recommend that you go for it. The scenery can be particularly stunning with snow to provide contrast and it is surprising how many animals such as deer can be seen at lower levels than in summer as they need to come down to seek grazing.

I like your recommendation! As long as no freak storm rages across the uk, I think I will take my chances!

It's a stunning place rob and am very jealous of the trip to one of the best places in the country. If you are fort William direction, see if you can head over to Plockton as there is a brilliant hotel there that served me some of the best fresh salmon I've ever tasted.

Glad you're up and about now.

PS: check the age of the tyres on olly, as they could be reaching there limit and it may help having fresher tyres on the van, especially if venturing in the slushy stuff

Excellent observation Milky! They were due to be replaced in Feb but the service agent (although recommended as per best practice to consider changing) said that there are no signs of cracking on them and there's loads of tread left. If I go it'll be literally the day I collect it after the next service so if they need doing or anything else for that matter, they will sort it for me. It's another good observation because I really should buy the steel wheel nuts just in case of any mishap.

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