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Touring The North Western Scotish Coast


Curtisden
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Has anyone toured the far west and north coast of Scotland, even the Western isles in a caravan, not a Motorhome. :rolleyes:

 

I have been over this area many years ago and know what its like but not towing. Stayed in the great glen and Bunree 10 years ago but no further with the caravan in tow.

 

Can you wild camp? :huh:

 

Is there much traffic? :huh:

 

I know all about the midge and will go early. :blink:

 

Any stories and help appreciated.

 

Peter

Kind regards Peter and Rosalind.  Remember 

"One hand for you and one for the ship".  https://www. flickr. com/photos/curtisden/

 

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Can you camp wild . .. officially no, personally I wouldn't anyway.

 

Is there much traffic . .. not generally.

 

Midges . .. don't see that as a problem personally, over hyped IMHO.

 

Depending on where you are heading I would plan your towing parts of your trip carefully to avoid unsuitable roads, then explore at leisure once the 'van is on site.

 

Give yourself plenty of time as there is so much to take up your attention.

 

Come back via the east coast . .. Aberdeenshire is very pretty (but then I would say that!).

2010 Volvo XC70 D5 SE Lux (2012 V60 D5 All Wheel Drive R Design after March 12!)

2012 Swift Conqueror 480, with Omnivent, Mini Heki in Loo, Mudflaps and ALKO Mammut Mover

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Can you camp wild . .. officially no, personally I wouldn't anyway.

 

Come back via the east coast . .. Aberdeenshire is very pretty (but then I would say that!).

Under the Crofting Act, those counties defined as crofting counties, north and west of the Great Glen plus the Northern and Western Isles, permit each householder to allow a caravan to stay without further permissions being needed - so wild camping is permitted if you ask permission at the nearest house - the Northern and Western Isles generally encourage wild camping as any form of tourism is welcome.

 

The part about Aberdeenshire is meant to be a secret!

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20+ years ago we had our first Great tour of Scotland, the place that my Girls remember best is a Caravan Club CL with the desert Island beach it's a bit expensive for a CL at £15 but well worth it for the views.

Here's a couple of pictures of the CL

 

ScotlandCertifiedsite.jpg

 

This picture was taken through the caravan window

 

ViewfromCaravanwindow.jpg

 

site details here Traigh this link might not work if your not a logged in member of the CC so here is the web site of the CL owners TRAIGH GOLF COURSE

 

How times have changed take a look at the video on the bottom of this page here parts of the golf course were fields that had Highland cattle in them when we were there, it is still a beautiful place and well worth a visit.

 

There is an other reason to put a visit to this CL on a Scottish tour and thats the journey on the old B8008 road from Fort William it has to be one of the most picturesque routs in the whole of Scotland you will often see aerial shots of steam trains travelling along the railway that twist and winds it's way along with the road to Mallaig it has the famous curved viaduct at the top of Loch Shield - Glenfinnan which has featured several times in the Harry Potter movies.

 

Glenfinnan%20Viaduct_new1.jpg

 

 

 

A lot of the roads in Scotland run up along side the Lochs were as this road seems to go up the side and over into the next Glen/loch so it gives a new spectacular view at each turn, once it reaches the actual coast it winds in and out of bays and coves you won't be disappointed the only drawback is that you have to come back the same way unless you catch the ferry from Mallaig

 

mallaig.jpg

 

across to Sky and come back via the new bridge and Kyle of Lochalsh to Fort William making a great round trip.

Edited by Elm6
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There are some lovely sites north of Fort William - all the way up to Durness, lovely one there perched on the cliffs. You can then go round to Dunnet Bay (via Altnahara CC site - fantastic spot). Don't worry about the single track roads, just be sensible and make sure that you can pull over into passing places easily. We always tend to pull over into the passing places and let others past - definitely a no no to hold up traffic on those type of roads.

Applecross is another site not to miss - just don't attempt to go over the "Pass of the Cattle" towing, take the long route round.

Go for it - we are lucky to live up here in the NE so don't have too far to drive to these places.

 

Jan

NE Scotland

 

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Thanks for that I know that area and agree. But great to hear from someone.

 

When we stayed at Bunree I have to say the midge was a B)))))) nuisance.

 

When would you go?

 

Been watching a prog about Applecross and its on the list.

 

Thanks Peter

Kind regards Peter and Rosalind.  Remember 

"One hand for you and one for the ship".  https://www. flickr. com/photos/curtisden/

 

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June - lovely weather and usually before the midges really start or September when they've finished. Of course up the far north there is no problem with midges at any time of year (apart from Altnahara unfortunately).

NE Scotland

 

Unicorn Valencia pulled by Merc E280 cdi sport

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Thanks for that I know that area and agree. But great to hear from someone.

 

When we stayed at Bunree I have to say the midge was a B)))))) nuisance.

 

When would you go?

 

Been watching a prog about Applecross and its on the list.

 

Thanks Peter

Ignore the bit in Monty Halls programme about the Bealach-na-Ba (Pass of the Cattle) being the highest road in the UK - it isn't as it's only 2000' high - the A93 Cairnwell Pass in Aberdeenshire is higher at 2200' - mind you the Bealach-na-Ba is still not suitable for caravans!

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This topic, or the replies drifted in this direction, has been covered a couple of times in the last few months:

 

http://www. caravantalk. org. uk/index. php?sh. ..ic=21364&hl

 

http://www. caravantalk. org. uk/index. php?showtopic=22051

 

and one from even earlier:

 

http://www. caravantalk. org. uk/index. php?sh. ..ic=16086&hl

 

It might be worth reading through them for background info.

 

I would not tour the Western Isles with a caravan for the simple fact that it costs a fortune on the Calmac Ferries even with the trial of Road Equivalent Mileage Tariffs on some routes this summer. Have a look at the costs on their website and you will see what I mean. There are also very few campsites on the Islands. Friends do take their caravan across but they go for 2 weeks and stay in the same quiet spot out of season. Whilst the main spinal route that runs down the centre of the Isles is OK for towing, you would be concentrating and miss much of the stunning scenery.

 

Skye is well worth visiting and the bridge is now free. The sites there were very busy when we went last May so I suspect that they will be even busier in the summer months.

 

We love the North West beyond Ullapool and there is usually a breeze which keeps the midges away. We got super sun tans from walking there last summer on two separate weeks whilst the rest of the UK was awash from rain. Come up and enjoy the scenery.

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Guest tyke65

We've toured the West coast and the North with our van with no problems at all. Most of the roads are no longer single track and you just need to be a bit steady on narrow roads.

 

There are no laws of trespass in Scotland so you could pitch almost anywhere but I would always get a landowners permission. In fact I would always go to a proper site or a CL/CS for security. The other problem with wild camping is that you need to carry your water with you.

 

As for midges, look at this website

 

http://www. midgeforecast. co. uk/2008/

 

but it doesn't start up again until may, I think.

 

We're going to Shetland and Orkney this year and coming back to Scrabster before working our way down to England. You'll have a super time wherever you go. As someone once said in a film 'take it easy but take it'.

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tyke65,

 

I would be very interested to hear your experiences after you go to Shetland and Orkney. We visited Orkney last spring but went B & B to Hoy, Rousay and the Mainland (as they call the largest island). We have never been to Shetland and are thinking of going. We were put off taking the caravan by the ferry cost, the lack of sites and the wind.

 

I'm not sure if you have booked your ferries yet but are you aware that there is now a private ferry Pentland Ferries that runs from Gill's Bay near John o Groats to St Margaret's Hope on Orkney. It is much quicker and cheaper than the Scrabster - Stromness North Link Ferry even though the latter is subsidised. They should have their new ferry operating by the summer. It is a very good road up to Kirkwall from St Margaret's Hope passing the Churchill Barriers and the Italian Chapel on the way.

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We went to Shetland in 1999 - took the ferry both ways from Aberdeen on their half-price Wednesday sailing, it was still £480 in total so expensive! The crossing is 12 hours overnight, the cabin was a waste of money as we never slept a wink because of the noise, vibration and pitching even though it was relatively calm. They can get gales even in mid-summer. I think it's a different ferry ship/company now.

 

When we went, there was only one site on mainland (the municipal in Lerwick) which was entirely adequate. A couple of smaller sites have opened since we went. There's also a campsite on Fetlar but it has no EHU. There's plenty of opportunity to wild camp as it's not illegal (no law of trespass in Scotland) and encouraged.

 

The roads are all good, having been rebuilt with oil revenues. The inter-island ferries are quite efficient and not expensive but they do encourage high mileages - we did over 1,000 miles in the fortnight just on Shetland, despite the high price of fuel.

 

We keep planning to go back but keep finding other places which we've never been to.

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:D Thank you everyone for the advice, most helpful.

 

We are planning to go march 2010 so plenty of time to plan.

 

Thanks Peter

Kind regards Peter and Rosalind.  Remember 

"One hand for you and one for the ship".  https://www. flickr. com/photos/curtisden/

 

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Guest tyke65

We've booked a 'triangle' from Aberdeen - Lerwick - Orkney - Scrabster leaving at the end of May. We booked through the Camping and Caravanning Club (10% off ferries) and were amazed at how reasonable the price was - £422 for a Disco3, an Elddis Odyssey 482 and two adults (pensioners, not sure if we got a discount for that!). We thought it would be a lot more than that and our main regret now is that we didn't do it years ago.

 

One big advantage is that the ferry company (Northlink) will allow you to change your ferry booking without charge, so if we decide we need longer (or less time) we can change the sailing with a phone call. I'm sure the site owners will allow us to roll or extend our bookings as well.

 

Watch this space!

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