Five days away....

Setting off on the 10th October we headed towards Helenshurgh located to the north-west of Glasgow. We looked about for a pleasant overnight spot but ended up moving on to Tarbet on Loch Lomond and parking up at Slanj; a former church turned bar/restaurant which allows campers to park overnight in their car park. As Tarbet is located outside the current ‘central belt’ lockdown, we were able to sit outside and enjoy a beer or two before heading into our van for the night.

We rose early to a lovely sunny, crisp October day and were soon on the road again heading generally west of Loch Lomond. We found ourselves driving towards Colintraive and, en route, we took a slight detour ending up on the shore of Loch Riddon at the end of a single track road. It was a great location, and we watched a good sunset as the evening, and tide, crept in. The autumn colours were genuinely stunning as we made our way across Scotland, and it is a great time to tour the country.

Our next day was overcast, but our spirits were not dampened, and we were able to get a walk of a few miles in before the rain rolled in off the sea. It was then that we decided to set off again and make our way to Colintraive where the sun welcomed us, and we enjoyed a beer in the beer garden at the Colintraive Hotel. After a stroll around the small village, we headed north to find our next overnight spot which turned out to be at the Coylet Inn, another camper friendly hotel. Here we enjoyed a couple of beers next to a wood-burning brazier and then ordered a fish supper to go. A great end to a lovely day.

The wind had grown in strength overnight, and we woke to a gentle shower od leaves falling on Iona from the trees under which we had parked overnight. Again with no real destination in mind, we drove off and found ourselves en route to Ardentinny, east of Loch Eck. Once there we checked out the Scottish Woodland site, overlooking Coulport, which allows overnight campers. We considered the area a worthy contender, however, as it was only mid-day we elected to drive down to the Holy Lock and have a ’swatch’ at Sandbank, Dunoon and Innellan. On the way, we parked up in Sandbank and had some lunch and enjoyed the views and the unseasonably mild weather. I have to say that the drive south was rather dull as the coast is one long dormitory town after another, all blending into each other. In a stretch I estimated to be about ten miles long, we saw no shops, pubs, cafes or anything other than bungalows!

After Innellan, we carried onto through Toward and continued round the headland and headed north again where we found a smashing wee layby overlooking the Kyles of Bute, the Isle of Bute and Arran in the distance. On this occasion, we were treated to a fabulous sunset, and the sea came alive in the dying embers of the day. Special! The next morning started early again as Tashi began yelping at about 5:00 to get attention. He had been acting like this the previous two mornings, and we thought he wanted ‘out’. However, I had begun to believe that he was probably a tad disorientated and was seeking company and so we brought him up onto the bed, usually a complete ”no-no” and he settled down giving us all an hour or two more sleep.

After a slow start, we set off again and headed back up towards Sandbank to return to Ardentinny and the woodland car park. However, on the way we took a notion to carry on up Loch Eck and check out the Jubilee Point car park just south of the Whistlefield Inn. On arrival, we found another campervan parked up in the small car park, and we stopped to appraise the situation. Having taken a walk to the small beach, we decided to drive back down the entrance road about 150 yards and park up at the side of the loch which afforded us a better view and more privacy. As evening crept in, the breeze abated, and the loch turned into a ’sheet of glass’, at which point I decided to let the drone loose!

We woke to more calm, mirror-like water on the loch an I got another great shot or two

after breakfast before the breeze returned and rippled the water into a more typical undulating surface. As we had decided to head home today, we had a quiet relaxing day loch side before setting off back to Glasgow at about 15:30. It was 15th October and we had enjoyed soem fine weather and some fantastic scenery, a wonderful tonic to destract us from the Covid-19 chaos .

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