The journey south

We have left the islands and our journey south starts.

We drove off the ferry at Ullapool and headed for Tesco and then to the petrol station down the road to get diesel and propane.

They accepted our UK fuel card for the diesel and the propane was £45.50. Then we continued towards Inverness where we hoped to stop at the Highland rugby club car park overnight.

We were heading towards Inverness at the north end of Loch Ness but as our lights were still not working and our instrument cluster was dead we were fully prepared to pull over if the weather deteriated. 

Half way to Inverness we pulled over into Lael woods car park ///toxic.stew.submitted to see if it was suitable but it wasn’t as it was too close to the main road and wasn't level enough so we carried on to wards Inverness. 

As we got closer to Inverness the fog came in and worrying about our lighting problem we decided to stop earlier at a place called Garve, and the Black water falls. ///trucks.calibrate.nappyWhat a beautiful spot. A massive fast flowing river and falls, some of which had partially frozen! We wrapped the van up and went for a walk along the river marvelling at the falls. 

Once back to the van we decided to move slightly further away from the road and closer to the toilet block where it was more level and less icy. Another motorhome turned up for the night and we listened to the gritting lorries come and go, (grit depot next door) before falling asleep, after a very long day, at 9pm. 


Up at 8am and coffee. Checked weather. Gusts of 60mph + with fog and rain but milder. We decided to stay put and try to get the van fixed. The weather looked a bit better for travelling tomorrow. 

Andy called Green flag and then started to look for the reason that we had no lights or instruments. He replaced the fuses in the fuse box passenger side one by one until he found one that powered the instrument cluster, it was the 10amp 3rd from the left bottom row. He tried the lights and that fuse blew! He replaced the fuse again and it blew again. This meant that there is a short somewhere in the lighting circuit so he got under the van and checked the connections to the side marker lights and found the one in the middle by the step was completely soaking wet, shorting out the circuit! 

Mark from Ross’s garage arrived and Andy explained what he had discovered. Mark helped Andy rewire the light but the rear lights still would not work on the nearside so they by-passed the middle marker light with a new piece of cable direct to the rear marker and this in turn powered the rear lights on that side. 

All done, we set off towards Inverness and Highlands rugby club car park for the night. 

Arriving at the sports complex we parked on the road outside the ice skating rink and Andy went to the leisure centre to ask about swimming and other facilities. We thought that a shower would be nice and Andy fancied a swim. Then we drove around to the rugby club car park and parked the van and set off to find Peacocks where Andy bought some lairy swim shorts!

We walked back over swing bridge and had a couple of hours in the Beefeater trying out the local beer and orange Jamesons! Before we left the Beefeater we were able to fill our 5 litre bottle up with clean water, the barman kindly obliged, then back to the van and dinner. The night was noisy until around 11pm as the ice rink had pumping bass/dance music going on but we slept well once everyone had gone home. 


Andy got up and went to use the Jacuzzi and showers in the leisure centre for £6.05 unlimited time, he spent nearly an hour in the Jacuzzi and had a really nice hot shower and blow dried his hair! Back to the van for cereal before driving alongside Loch Ness to Drumnadrochit about half way down Loch Ness where we parked in the car park which had grey, black and clean water facilities for £5. 

Whilst we were there the chap who had the border terrier called Guss, who we met at Loch Slapin on Skye, walked past and we got chatting. He told us that he was thinking of staying overnight in the car park as it was out of season and he thought that we wouldn't be bothered by wardens etc. We agreed and discussed where we should park to be less conspicuous.

We went for a walk and had a look in the souvenir shop across the road and then went into the hotel for eats and mochas plus carrot cake and then back for dinner and TV. 

Later that evening we decided to move to Dave's rest ///dispenser.sticking.enrolling as Sue was worried about a sign which said “No motorhomes between 22:00 & 08:00” and we thought that we had seen a warden snooping around! Dave's rest was only a mile away and it did feel better and we slept well. 


In the morning we paid the £10 for the pitch by PayPal and headed south along the west coast of Loch Ness to Fort Augustus and the Revolution launderette on the forecourt of the filling station ///founding.campsites.sunshine stopping at Urquhart castle on the way. We pulled into the car park, ///payout.awoke.developed  and went into the reception where we discovered that our English Heritage cards allowed us in for free, saving us £25! 

The castle ruins were amazing and we spent an hour walking around all of the very well maintained parts of the castle reading about it’s history before walking down to the shores of Loch Ness where there was a woven hazel pig and a Highland cow. We took some selfies and then went back to the van to continue our journey to the launderette. 

We sat in the van whilst the washing was being done, boring, and had lunch then headed for Fort William for the night where we parked in the car park next to Lidl. ///pocketed.diverts.steps and went to Weatherspoon's where we sat next to a roaring log burner. Then back to the van via Morrisons to pick up a bottle of Bushmills, a bit extravagant and we suffered for it later as we ALWAYS argue about things that are not important, so we hit the sack and looked forward to a new day tomorrow!  


Awoke to icy conditions and slippery pavements. Andy got dressed and walked to Morrisons and Weatherspoon's as Sue had said that she had lost her phone last night and as we couldn’t find it in the van he thought that she might have left it behind. No luck in either but on the way back to the van Sue called, on her phone and had no recollection of losing her phone the night before or telling Andy that she had lost it! Gggrrr. Note to self: Ration the Bushmills in future. 

We got on the road with an unusual silence between us but the ice soon melted between us and we started to talk again. We were heading south east towards Edinburgh via The Kelpies car park where we knew it was a safe and legal place for the night. We decided against heading through the Cairngorms as the weather forecast was ice and snow so we opted to stay in the lowlands and on M and A roads. 

We travelled through Glencoe on the A 82, the road we used to get to Fort William on the way to the outer Hebrides on the  8th of November. The views were spectacular again. We thought about stopping at various places but Andy decided that he wanted to get to The Kelpies tonight and so we kept driving. As we left Glencoe and pulled into the Stirling area we were able to take the M9 and we then realised that we were back in civilisation with all that it meant, litter, traffic, people! We felt like we had seen the best of Scotland and that what would be left of our tour would now be a disappointment. Still, chin up. 

Soon we were pulling into the car park at The Kelpies and parked up for the night. Coats on and a walk around the Kelpies before returning to the van for a bit of YouTube and bed. Andy was falling asleep at 7pm after the long, tiring drive and eventually gave up and went to bed at 8pm. 


Rain, rain, rain all night and into the day. Andy got up and went over to the café to make use of the wifi and power to catch up on the web site. Sue met him there an hour later and we sat for a further hour before deciding what to do with the day. We agreed that due to the lack of overnight parking and services around the Edinburgh area we should go straight to Dunbar where we could park overnight at the swimming pool near the harbour so we packed the van and set off from the Kelpies. 

The journey was very windy but we arrived at the swimming pool car park and noticed that there were no spaces for motorhomes so Sue got out and had a walk around and found a space down at the harbour next to the life boat station. ///bottom.snowballs.uncle 

We drove down and backed the van into a space which was just big enough and went to the swimming pool where Sue had a shower in the health suite and Andy went swimming. On the way back to the van Andy slipped over on a drain cover and scraped his knee which didn’t stop bleeding for a couple of hours, ruining his trousers which also now had holes in the knees! After cleaning his knee up we went to the pub where we sat next to a lovely fire and enjoyed a couple of pints. 


After a good nights sleep we went for a walk around the town of Dunbar and its harbour reading about it’s history and marvelling at the independent shops. The harbour was thrilling as the rough sea was smashing against the walls. Up on the highest point of the sea wall/harbour wall there was a small amphitheatre and stage where we imagined there would be shows in the summer. As we looked north east we could see the isle of May. 

Soon we were back in the van and heading for Thurston manor leisure park, ///backhand.opts.threaded where we had discovered we could use the services for free but first we needed diesel so we found an Esso garage which accepted our UK fuel card and filled up. 

We soon arrived at the leisure park and Andy popped into the reception to ask where the services point was. We emptied black and grey waste and filled with clean water and set off for our overnight at Sunnyhills farm shop car park ///presses.export.presumes where we were going to stay for free if we have a snack in the café. 

Next stop, England!