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Nick78

Planning Scottish Highlands trip for easter 2020

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We are just starting to plan a 2 week trip upto Scotland with our tourer for easter next year my wife is a school cook so gets 2 weeks of at easter and we have other plans for the six weeks holidays , We did the NC500 last year in the car over a long weekend for my 40th and saw some really amazing places so wanted to take the tourer up and spend a couple of weeks up there.

 

We are thinking of travelling from Sheffield around 7pm and staying over somewhere around Glasgow or loch Lomond so wondered if anyone has stayed over in a layby or services ? It will be too late to pitch up on a site or would we be better leaving later and driving through the night and just grabbing an hours kip early morning ? We have a 3 year old little boy so thought it would be easier doing the main distance when he's asleep. 

 

We were thinking of staying near Arisaig first then moving upto Ardmair point Ullapool then Sango Sands then back down to Lochness maybe then home, would this be too much for a 2 week trip.

 

Any advice or experiences would be much appreciated.

 

 

 

 

 

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I have never stopped overnight on the roads near Glasgow but from memory there are a couple of service areas well clear of the M74 on the old road but you may be hit by the 'more than 2 hour stay' rule which makes it a non-starter or non-stopper.

 

I live in NE Scotland on the Moray Firth and I think that you are planning to go too far, especially with a 3 year old, if you aim to stay at Durness during your 2 weeks.   Whilst the scenery is good, the miles from Ullapool and whatever return route you took would mean that you would be spending a significant percentage of time in the car.

 

My suggestion would be to go to Arisaig as you propose and then for the next nights go as far as Gairloch and stay in the site there that is in the dunes - Sands Caravan Site - where you pick your pitch in amongst the dunes.  You will have lovely sandy beaches at both places which should make for an enjoyable holiday for the 3 year old and that means relaxation for you.  I speak from experience as a Granda to 2 three year olds whom the fresh air and digging on the beach tire out giving peaceful evenings.  Going further North will just be extra hours strapped in a seat.

 

From Arisaig going North, the easiest way is to take the ferry from Mallaig to Armadale, go up the eastern coast of Skye and cross the bridge back onto the mainland - an easy tow.  The ferry obviously costs but it saves lots of road miles and adds to the interest.  I would then route further north up Loch Carron, which has a couple of narrowish stretches but is the road I tow to Skye.  This route will give you spectacular scenery. 

 

From Gairloch, you could depart going North  but then curve back eastwards to join the A9 at Inverness for a smooth journey South with stunning scenery and all an easy tow.

 

The weather could be good in early April and definitely no midges but be prepared for winds and rain.  Keep an eye on the weather forecast and if the West Coast is wet, the East Coast is frequently dry and it is easy to cut across.  There are some very good sites along the Moray Coast with great opportunities to see wild life with dolphins a particular favourite and also super beaches

 

By the way, Scottish schools take Easter holidays for the first 2 weeks of April, whatever the date of Easter so with the Easter dates being about the 12th April in 2019, your second week will not clash.

 

Any more questions, just ask.

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I stop overnight in a layby on the A7078 at Red Moss, used to be the A74 before it was bypassed by the M74 - leave the motorway at junction 13 and then the Red Moss Inn is about 5 miles on - one half of the old dual carriageway has been left as a very long layby next to the Inn - few HGVs use it on a Saturday night which is when we always travel, arriving at 10pm and leaving at 8am the next day.

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Just make sure your van is watertight, it rains a LOT in Scotland! 

 

Andy

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20 minutes ago, Mr Plodd said:

Just make sure your van is watertight, it rains a LOT in Scotland! 

 

Andy

 

And England and Wales judging by the last couple of weeks!

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We toured Scotland this Easter (Barnsley to Edinburgh, Cairngorms, Inverness, Loch Ness, Glasgow back to Barnsley), we had great weather, sat on the beach in shorts and t-shirt in  Nairn. Very nice.

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Thanks for all the replies much appreciated.

 

burstneraddict Thanks for the detailed reply I am tempted to forget sango sands and Ardmair point and spend longer at arisaig and the dunes site you mention looks great,  like you say the little lad would love it and also Shep the border collie !

 

Black Grouse Thanks for the info I had a look on google maps street view and that looks like a good call the lay by looks huge.

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Arisaig worth a long visit even just for the sunsets.

 

geoff

 

How come we have Twitter names?....why?

 

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Bye Bye Twitter names!!

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I found the National Trust Battle of Culloden Site and visitors centre really interesting but I am a bit of a military/British history geek.

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Not an easy tow from Inverness south until you are about half way down to Aviemore.

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On 19/08/2019 at 21:18, Mr Plodd said:

Just make sure your van is watertight, it rains a LOT in Scotland! 

 

Andy

 

Last year we had 3 weeks in May on Kintyre-rain free

2 weeks at Brora in June 2 days showers

2 weeks at Findhorn in July 1 day rain

1 week at Holgates Silverdales June rained every day😂😂

2 weeks Fraserburgh in September 2 days showers.

 

This year

3 weeks in May Kintyre showers 7 days

2 weeks at Brora showers 5 days

2 weeks Findhorn showery for most of the two weeks

1 week at Holgates-rained 5 days-showers.

Of course it can rain every day for more than a year on the west coast.

Just not recently-past decade-in our experience

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Update!!

The main criteria regarding visiting us up here has to be flexibility!

On Friday we were going to Gairloch.

We are now at Granton On Spey heading up to Dunnet Bay at the weekend.

Rain is forecast every day for the next fortnight on the west coast!

Came through Aviemore on Sunday towing the caravan-turned off the A9 to soon big mistake it was Thunder in the Glens hundreds of bikers at 30C sunshine Aviemore was bouncing.

Ride Outs to our destination so had the amazing experience of being surrounded by every motorbike imaginable all the way to Granton on Spey 

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We went to Sango sands , Durness this May. We stopped at Blair Drummond on the way up, then went up to Sango sands in 1 go . It was a long day . we left at 8 and got there at about 3. If you book they seem to reserve you a pitch at the front with wonderful views over the beach. All though the last 16 miles are single track but there are long site lines to the next passing place and the etiquette of waiting turns was good apart from an idiot who insisted on coming on even though we were halfway along, but you always seem to get 1. I would say it,s perfectly doable in 2 weeks.

 

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On 19/08/2019 at 21:18, Mr Plodd said:

Just make sure your van is watertight, it rains a LOT in Scotland! 

 

I think if you actually look at facts and figures you will find that the main determining factor governing annual precipitation in the UK is not whether you are in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland or England, but rather whether you are in the west or the east of the country.  Additional factors such as altitude will affect the average as well, and while it is true that some of the highest annual rainfall will be found n the western mountains in Scotland, many places in eastern Scotland have much lower annual rainfall than places in the west of England.

 

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19 minutes ago, PeteG said:

 

I think if you actually look at facts and figures you will find that the main determining factor governing annual precipitation in the UK is not whether you are in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland or England, but rather whether you are in the west or the east of the country.  Additional factors such as altitude will affect the average as well, and while it is true that some of the highest annual rainfall will be found n the western mountains in Scotland, many places in eastern Scotland have much lower annual rainfall than places in the west of England.

 

 

:rolleyes:    :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

 

and some falls on stoney ground at times doesn’t it?  ;)

 

That particular comment was, as I am sure 99% of the readers realised, made in jest,  bearing in mind the propensity SOME caravans have to leak. 

 

Andy 

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By 2020 you will probably need a passport to get into Scotland    LOL

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Hi hope you have a good trip. If your looking for a quiet caravan site I'd recommend Invernahavon camp site near Newtonmore it's just off the A9 before the main turn off for Newtonmore. Plenty safe space for kids to run about in. Good clean facility's hard standing and grass pitches with hook ups. Lots to see and do around the site for example Landmark, Highland wildlife park, Highland folk museum, and of course the Cairngorm national park. Perhaps an option for your journey. I wish I'd found it earlier when our kids were younger

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A few years ago I had a couple of weeks at the Glencoe camping club site beginning of May, excellent views and hills to walk up. Weather was good apart from a couple of wet days but it did snow a bit a few times on the tops and the winter snow was still there on the higher hills. Daylight hours were longer being further north than home and the midges were just starting to bite at the end of the 2 weeks.

 

Travelling was from Warrington, just over 300 miles. Going I stopped at Moffat camping club site but did not stop on the way back. Going I used the A82 from Glasgow passed Loch Lomond and found the roads in this section slow due to the many bends whilst towing. Coming back I used the A84 towards Stirling and this was a much easier drive.

Edited by Paul1957
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