With the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions continuing to be eased, we decided to take a trip up to the north coast of Scotland and set off from Glasgow on Friday 17th July. We drove up the east coast beyond Dundee to Arbroath for our first night's stop. We tried a place highlighted on one of our apps; however, it was the local seaside car park and was rammed with motorhomes! We pulled into the last spot between two behemoths and let Tashi out for a pee and to have his dinner, and then we set off north again in search of a better, less crowded location.
We found a roadside car park overlooking Lunan Bay which had a nice view and was quiet, despite being adjacent to the main road, and so we set up Iona for the night and enjoyed a stunning sunset. The next day, which was a 'cracker' weather-wise, we drove down to Lunan beach, and I recall commenting that I wondered who would venture down the twisting, winding road to the village and beach beyond! However, as we drove into the beach car park, we found that it was full and we were lucky to find a place to park. We had a great walk along the beach and watched all the people sunbathing, swimming and enjoying bar-b-qs. Tashi found the warmth of the sand irresistible and lay down as much as he could!
Next up we found ourselves in Kirriemuir and sought out the Drovers Inn in Memus where we booked an evening meal and were allowed to stay overnight. As it was still early afternoon, we got the bikes down from the rack and had a pleasant ride around a circular route in the local area. Our evening meal was reasonable, and the car park was quiet and relaxing once the last of the customers and staff had left for the night.
We moved further north the next day and spent the evening in another roadside car park overlooking Munlochy Bay before we continued to Cromarty where we found a fabulous spot in the hill above the town And the Cromarty Firth. From here we walked down through the woods to a local hotel and enjoyed a pint in the beer garden. There were a couple of rain showers; however, as the tables had summer umbrellas, we managed to avoid getting wet! Having walked back up the hill, taking approximately an hour, we were joined by another California Ocean which also parked up overnight.
The next day we had another great cycle, and Tashi used the time to catch up on more sleep! Once back on the road, we travelled to Golspie, again on their east coast, where we bought a fine fish supper from the Trawler Fish & Chip shop and ate it in a potential overnight spot just south of the town. However, after discussing the location, we drove further out towards Littleferry, where we found a significantly more suitable site. In fact, it was so peaceful that we stayed there for two nights. Several locals used the car park during the day to walk their dogs on the beach, but the area was big enough, and quiet come the evening, and so we enjoyed our stay.
When we left the rain was lashing down, and the clouds were low and heavy. Ho hum, Scotland in the summertime! However, as we pulled into Helmsdale in the early evening, the clouds lifted and the sun appeared, so it was a pleasant end to the day. We parked up down by the harbour and walked into town for a couple of pints in one of the hotel bars, which made a nice change.
Our next stop was at Watten Loch between Wick and Thurso, and we had a tremendous 18-mile cycle around the country lanes and byways. On our return to Iona, the sun began to shine, and so we set up the table and chairs outside and relaxed in the evening sunshine. A lovely day all-in-all.
The next day saw us driving along Scotland's north coast visiting Thurso, Melvich, Strathy and ending up in Bettyhill where we found a fabulous spot overlooking a great beach and the North Sea. We also had sheep and rabbits for company, and the sun provided a magnificent sunset as the night drew in. Bliss!
Then it was further west to Smoo near Durness where we parked up at the Smoo Cave Hotel overnight and had a meal and a few drinks in the bar, which had only opened to the public earlier that week. Unfortunately, the car park was full overnight with motor homes, and so we were woken early the next morning by all the activity outside our van!
It was now time to head home, and so we drove back down towards Inverness and found a great seaside spot on the Beauly Firth for our last night. The day had been overcast and dreary, however, in the evening, the rain eased off, and we were witness to a bizarre pinky glow in the sky as the sunset on our last night away on this trip.