Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Scottish holiday part 1; Stirling to Invercoe

The first day was all about getting as far north as we comfortably could. We picked up the motorhome from Busby Stoop garage on Monday and took it home to load up, then set off at about 12:30. Our route took us across the A66 and up the M6 into Scotland. We'd booked into the Witches Craig campsite near Stirling, which had been recommended by a friend of Lucy's who'd recently stayed there. On arrival we were directed to our pitch and given a key to the washrooms, and more importantly the key to the free wifi that was available all around the site.

The welcome at Witches Craig was really warm, and at reception I was also able to order milk and bread rolls for the morning. I also picked up a Visit Scotland map showing almost 300 campsites around the country, and a brochure for the ferry company Caledonian MacBrayne.

Feeling pleased that we'd managed to get to the campsite without crashing the van and had successfully got power connected we poured a drink, looked at the map and booked a site for the next night, not too far away at Tyndrum.

That night we learned that the success to happy camping was not to make the children go to bed as early as usual, but to let them stay up late and sleep in longer in the morning.

On Tuesday we had a relaxed start to the day and after packing up hit the road again for Tyndrum. After the luxury of wide motorway lanes and not many single carriageway roads the van felt wide and long, but wasn't actually too tricky to drive. We had a coffee stop at the Trossachs Woollen Mill where they served Costa coffee and a good slice of home made caramel shortbread.

Pinetrees campsite
Originally uploaded by westy48
We were in Tyndrum soon and after topping up the diesel at the garage we checked into the Pinetrees campsite and received another key for free wifi. With phones, an iPad and iPod Touch to support this was looking promising. We took the bikes off the rack and made our way up the village to find lunch. The Green Welly Stop where we'd refueled the van looked promising, and we got sandwiches at the Snack Stop there.

Back at the campsite Jack and Ed explored the playground and paddled in the stream. There were lots of children for then to make friends with as the campsite was busy with lots of walkers on the West Highland Way as well as caravanners and campervans like ourselves, We made plans to head into Oban the next day to visit the Calmac office and book some ferry tickets. We also booked our campsite for the next day on the shores of Loch Leven.

Jack had spotted the Real Food Cafe while we were out earlier, and we rode up to get take-away fish and chips for tea. The atmosphere in the renovated Little Chef was buzzing with families eating at the long tables while the queue to order snaked around them. The food was good too. We had collie which was cooked to order like everything else on the menu.

The car park in Oban was by the leisure centre. Seeing this made Jack and Edward decide we should go swimming, so we went swimming. The swim session currently running was full, so we had 20 minutes to kill before we could get in the pool. Just time for a quick Starbucks from the cafe at the pool, then.

The swim was fun, and Edward plucked up the courage to have his first go on a water-slide. After much faffing around he found that it was actually really exciting and we had a hard time getting him off the slide when it was time to get out of the pool.

Oban was busy and we did the shopping we needed to do but didn't have time to get to the CalMac office before we had to head to Invercoe.

At the campsite we were led to a waterside pitch with a fantastic view of Loch Leven. We were just a hundred yards or so from a stone pier and slip way where people were paddling and playing in the loch. There were crabs and other sea creatures in the clear water and the tide rose quite quickly. Within a few hours the pier was submerged and a horde of children stood on it, knee deep in loch but surrounded by much deeper water.

It was a beautiful evening and as I tended the barbecue I rang CalMac to book an Island Hopscotch ticket that would get us to Mull and Skye.

No comments:

Post a Comment