Thursday, April 21, 2016

Honeymoon In Scotland Day 5

We woke to clear Skye sky's and a fantastic view from our window!

Today we were going back towards Dunvegan castle as we were told that there may be the possibility of spotting seals.

We stopped in a little boutique gift shop that Kiera had spotted yesterday, we ended up buying a book called "The Life And Death Of St Kilda" a story of a far flung Scottish island. It's story is remarkable and is well worth a read.

We decided not to stop at the castle as we had other plans for the day, but first seal spotting!

Driving past the castle we headed to Claigan and it wasn't long before Kiera spotted them on a little island!

If you look closely the little white splodges are seals! We had now spotted seals!

Now that we had seen seals we decided that a bit of fresh air may blow the cobwebs away. We had heard of a place with fantastic views and a bit of a walk which we could take.

This is where Kiera's sense of direction went slightly wrong! The place we were heading for was called the "Quirang". Kiera said that she had been talking to a little old man and he had said it was just South of Portree.

So off we went. Yes, the little old man was correct in that there was a "Quirang" just South of Portree, but it was a bloody bed and breakfast and not "The" "Quirang"!!!!!

Mind you the drive gave some great views across the island.

After consulting google we got on the right track and headed North!

Spotting some Highland cattle as we went.

It did not disappoint! In fact it was spectacular. Even the drive up to the top was amazing.

The photo's give a reasonable idea of it's grandeur, but to be honest it was breath taking!

We walked for around an hour, both of us still full of cold, headed back to the car park and had a freshly made tuna sandwich from the catering trailer parked there.

We decided that we had taken enough fresh air and headed back to the comfort of our rather splendid hotel at Skeabost.

That evening we had a couple of beers from the Innis and Gunn brewery in Edinburgh and another gorgeous meal, we have been truly spoilt with food so far on this trip!

The journey continues............

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Honeymoon In Scotland Day 4

Another murky start to the day, but fortified with a good breakfast, I had Scottish Salmon and scrambled eggs, we packed, took a walk around the Glengarry Castle Hotel grounds and packed the car.

Today we were heading for the Isle of Skye!

I had also come down with a heavy cold, and was sneezing and snotting everywhere, both of us were a bit of a sorry state!

We both agreed that being on a motorbike at this time would be no fun at all!

Last night we had looked on line and booked ourselves into another luxury hotel on the Isle.

We were heading for the Skeabosh Hotel on the banks of Loch Snizort Beag - We had the Honeymoon Suite booked!

But first we had to get there. Retracing our steps and our first stop was Eilean Donan Castle. It was raining but still breath taking in it's rugged beauty. Steeped in history it was painfully restored to it's current state, which is unbelievable.

We parked up, bought a ticket, walked over the bridge and into the castle. Still family owned it was a place where history just oozed from every brick.

We were not allowed to take photographs inside, but take a look at the website, the banquet room was absolutely splendid!

The journey onwards saw us go back through Glen Shiel and her Five Sisters following the A87 over the bridge and onto the Isle of Skye.

It was pouring down with rain, but all this did was make the scenery even more dramatic! 

We noticed on the map a little road that curled around the coast, so we took this road and at Loch Ainort we headed for Moll. At the head of Loch Ainort is a waterfall, and as it was chucking it down it was in full flow!

For the first time we saw the Salmon Sea Farms just off the coast, from now on we saw many of these as we toured.

The road was narrow, flooded in places and had some fairly good drops to my right to the sea! But the views - spectacular!

Back on the main road we managed to catch our breath and decided to do a bit of a tour of the Western side of the island.

We branched off onto the A863 and we headed for Dunvegan Castle. Another castle steeped in history.

We stopped for a quick brew in the castle cafe, but did not go in to the castle as it was late in the afternoon.

It was only a 10 minute drive to the hotel from here.

On arrival the hotel looked very grand, we checked in at the desk and were shown our room. Wow! The bathroom was bigger than the bedroom. The bedroom had a four poster bed and the most amazing view over the Loch!

It's a shame we were both feeling a little under the weather! But we did have two nights here!

Kiera had a soak in the roll top bath and I snoozed.

That evening we went down to the bar, and as I was stood ordering drinks I noticed that the bloke and his wife who had just walked in happened to be wearing a New Milton Rugby jacket!

This was too much of a coincidence surely! I asked if he was from New Milton, and in an Aussie accent said "No mate, we were staying with friends of ours who live there" He told me their names and I knew them!!!

Small world indeed! We both had a chuckle about it, and after a fabulous dinner we joined them for a few beers. Great night! Thanks Kev and Francis if you are reading this!!

The journey continues.................

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Honeymoon In Scotland Day 3

We woke to mist and drizzle out side of our window, we could barely see the other side of the Loch.

We were spending another night at the Glengarry Castle Hotel, as Kiera was still suffering from her cold, we thought today we would take a boat trip on Loch Ness which was just up the road and then go for a drive.

But first breakfast! As in all the hotels we stayed in, breakfast really did set us up for the day. We ate well, which meant we only snacked at lunch time, ready for our evening feast!

We got away by around 1000hrs approx and drove the short distance to Fort Augustus. Last time I was here I was surrounded by bikers as I refuelled my little Honda C90!

Felt funny being back again, but good to be able to point out all the things that I had forgotten about and failed to talk about on my last adventure to Kiera.

We found that a boat was due to sail in just over an hours time, so a quick look around the tourist tat shops and a brew taken as we watched the boats go up and down the lock gates on the Caledonian Canal.

The canal is fully operational and connects the East Coast of Scotland to the West Coast and is approximately 60 miles long.

The boat pictured is the Harvest Anne - more info on this boat can be found by clicking on the link (HERE)

Our boat trip lasted around an hour, it had commentary and for the money was pretty good with some spectacular views! Thankfully the rain held off with only a few spots falling, but it was a bit drafty out on the Loch so wrap up warm if you intend to do this trip!

Kiera feeding the ducks by the locks

I had decided that as I could not be in France then France would be with me!

Looking the part with my French Beret!

After our boat trip we decided to go exploring, I looked on the map and we roughly decided on a bit of a circular tour.

We headed North on the A82 right up along side Loch Ness, where at Drumnnadrochit we turned left on the A833 before turning right onto the A862 towards Beauly.

Same route as I took on the C90. Now just after you turn right you are faced with a 25% gradient, which in a car is steep, but on my little C90! Well, all I can say is, if I had driven it in a car first, there is no way I would of attempted it on "Lucille".

The hill goes on and on and on! Kiera was really surprised with the roads I travelled on!

At Muir of Ord we swung left on the A832 and at the "T" Junction of the A835 we should of turned left. However Kiera wanted for no other reason than it was "there" to go take a look at a viewing point at Loch Ussie at Knockfarrel.

If you have not clicked on any of the links it may be worth clicking on "Loch Ussie" (wink wink)!

Loch Ussie we found, as well as Knockfarrel, some dead end tracks and a few locals! But definitely no signs to a viewing point! We did see some Red Kites flying high though.

Back on track and onto the A835 before turning off again onto the A832. All the time the scenery was amazing.

At Achnasheen we picked up the A890 and passed Lochcarron - stunning views again!

This road took us all the way down the the A87 where we turned left and hugged the shore of Loch Duich before we drove through Glen Shiel with the Mountain Range of the Five Sisters towering above us!

We passed by Eilean Donan castle on Loch Duich, probably best known for the BBC trailer which it is shown on and many other films.

We did not stop here, we knew that the next we would be travelling back along this road and this would be our first port of call, with a wander around the castle.

Now Glen Coe may be breath taking and probably the best known, but to be totally honest Glen Shiel not only takes your breath away, but leaves you speechless as well. In my opinion the finest Glen in Scotland!

Just past Loch Cluanie we turned right but still on the A87, all the way to Invergarry where our hotel was just 5 minutes away where a roaring fire and a G&T awaited!

What a day!

That evening we fine dined in the hotel's restaurant, and once more the food was divine.

The journey continues.....

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Honeymoon In Scotland Day 2

We woke early, and decided that as we were awake we would get a move on and breakfast North of Glasgow.

So with a quick coffee from Costa, we set off Northwards.

Our rough aim was to travel till around 1500hrs then take a look to see what hotels were nearby, then call it a day and relax.

We made it through Glasgow, it felt strange being back, travelling on roads I used to know so well.

I lived in and around Glasgow for 5 years, moving back down South in 2005. I had various jobs whilst up there, from Debt Collector, to Courier then a Driving Instructor.

We passed over the Clyde and then over the Erskine Bridge towards Loch Lomond.

At Alexandria we pulled into get breakfast at a pub adjacent to a travel lodge, we feasted on a full breakfast with loads of coffee. It was inexpensive and very good.

Ready now to hit the road, we filled up with fuel and and followed the A82 along side Lock Lomond.

This is where Kiera started to come down with a cold, in fact we were lucky we were in the car as I really do not think that Kiera could of continued on the bike with the amount of sneezing and nose blowing which came on suddenly.

At Crainlarich, we swung left still following the A82 and followed this all the way through Glen Coe which is spectacular.

This was also the route I took on "Lucille" my Honda C90 when I did my Corner to Corner - Lands End to John O'Groats and back again challenge.

It was great to see the roads I travelled on, and a new deeper respect grew for "Lucille" How she coped with some of those roads is still a mystery! 

At Fort William we stopped for cold remedies, and a quick look around the town. Not much to see to be honest.

After Fort William we came across the memorial to the Commando's or Royal Marines. Here is where a lot of their training took place when they were first formed during World War 2.

We continued on the A82 and finally decided on the Glengarry Castle Hotel just outside of Invergarry looking directly over Loch Oich.

It was that good we stayed for two nights, as we felt it wise to rest up and we simply could not fault the hotel!

Below is the view from our room.

Kiera choosing what to have for dinner - we were spoilt for choice!

Within the grounds of the hotel is the ruins of Invergarry Castle, you cannot get in to it, but it is clearly visible from the track going to the hotel.

Our room was wonderful with a four poster bed and luxurious bath room. The staff were attentive and it was a joy to stay at this fabulous hotel.

The following day we planned a circular route to drive and a trip on Loch Ness hunting for Nessie!

The journey continues.............................