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Our Travel Adventures

Welcome to the Adventures of Larry and Connie Farquhar.

Week 5 - 2023 "Lands" Epic Adventure

Photo courtesy of Steven Dempsey Scar Park Motorhome Aire, Scotland
Week 5 Travel Route

St. Mary's Croft, Scotland

Scar Park Motorhome Aire
Scar Park Motorhome Aire

September 8, 2023 - After leaving the Hadrian's Wall area, we drove 125 miles to our next stop at an old Royal Air Force Seaplane Base. We're now in Scotland! Friends of ours (The Chouters), who have been traveling Europe for about 5-years, let us know about this place. Part of the old "RAF Wig Bay Seaplane Base" has been turned into a Motorhome Stopover. Similar to the "Aires" in France, which we used extensively a couple years ago. This stopover, known as "Scar Park Motorhome Aire", allows up to 5 motorhomes to stay the night for £10 ($12 USD), The price recently went up from £5 a night ($6 USD), which includes drinking water and waste disposal. Otherwise, there's nothing there but great views and lots of open space.

The owner of the land stopped by and we had a wonderful visit. Later that afternoon, his girlfriend also came by for a visit. Her parents and grandparents are American and lived in Arizona, not too far from where we now have a house. Otherwise, it was a day of rest.

Along our route today
Along our route today
Along our route today
Along our route today
Along our route today
Enjoying Happy Hour and some quiet time.

Loch Lomond, Scotland

The Electric Brae

September 9, 2023 - It was another 3+ hour drive to reach our campsite on Loch Lomond in Scotland. Today's drive was mostly on larger highways, taking us around the large city of Glasgow. We didn't have any desire to visit this large city, although I'm sure we missed some good sights. We can't see everything!

On our way, we stopped at "The Electric Brae", also known as "Croy Brae". This is a gravity hill illusion. We stopped at the small parking area heading downhill. We then placed our van in neutral and released the brake. Instead of rolling forward, downhill - we rolled backwards uphill! We rolled uphill for about 10 feet. Of course, it's a mind-boggling optical illusion. Just a little fun not far off our route.

We arrived at the small village of Luss, located on Loch Lomond (Lake Lomond) before lunch and went for a short stroll through this charming little village. Occupation of this area dates back to medieval times, but much of the village we see today was created in the 18th and 19th centuries to house workers from the nearby slate quarries. The neat rows of cottages come alive in spring and summer with elaborate flower displays on all sides as visitors make their way to the loch shore. Very picturesque, but clearly a tourist area. The beaches were getting full of the weekend tourists with all types of water sports in action.

Luss Caravan and Campsite

Our campsite for the night was Luss Caravan and Campsite for £40 ($48.50 USD) for one night, which included showers and electric (no wifi). A real pretty campsite, where we got a pitch right on the shores of the Loch Lomond. We had a great view out our front windscreen. Here, we caught up on some chores. It had been a little over a week since we did laundry. But there's always time to relax and enjoy the wonderful Scotland views. While Connie did get the wash done at £5 for wash and £3.50 to dry, the dryer didn't work that well, and we didn't have another £3.50 in coins, we had damp clothes to deal with.

Larry's Random Thought - Dogs

I've noticed it seems everyone in the U.K. has a dog and likes to show them off. Everywhere we go, whether it be in a campsite, through a town, a tourist location, shopping area, or parks. Literally everywhere there's a ton of dogs. To me, it appears 75% of people have at least one dog with them. They are well behaved, on a leash, and I haven't noticed excessive dog droppings. This may not seem unusual, but 90% of the dogs appear to be pure-bred. There are all sorts of good-looking breeds. Rarely have I seen a mixed breed being walked around. People appear to be proud of their pure-bred designer dogs and enjoy showing them off.

North Loch Lomond, Scotland

Bienglas Farms Campsite

September 10, 2023 - I sometimes question myself how I came up with our driving itinerary. This was one of those cases I asked myself "why"? I had made a booking for us to stay at the Bienglas Farms Campsite, located near the north end of Loch Lomond. I wonder why I made this booking, located only 19 miles away from where we spent last night. This was more of a lay-over and camping spot for hikers on the West Highland Way. It was £24 ($30 USD) for two adults, which included showers. No electric and no wifi. Basically, a place to park the van with restrooms and showers. They did have a bar and restaurant on site. The facilities were a mess! The hiker's stunk and didn't clean up after themselves. I used the community kitchen to wash dishes. Other campers (hikers) had left piles of dirty dishes in the sink. I saw this campground on a YouTube travel Blog that was used and recommended by some RV'ers traveling Scotland. This is probably why I had it marked as a possibility, but we definitely didn't need to stay here. There were plenty of free parking spaces just miles down the road. Connie had planned on hanging up the damp clothes to dry, but it wasn't to be in the rain.

Before we headed to the campsite, we made an hour's detour to visit the small town of Inveraray. Our goal was to tour the Inveraray Castle, which isn't a true (defensive) castle. It's the home of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll. An Inveraray Castle has been standing on the shores of Loch Fyne since the 1400s, although the impressive castle we know today was the result of a fire in 1877. We toured part of the first floor and basement. The Duke and Duchess still live in the other two floors. I guess they need to help pay for this mansion somehow! We enjoyed the tour, looking at all of the displays. Later, we walked around town and had lunch before heading out to locate our campsite for the night.

The Town of Inveraray
The Town of Inveraray
The Town of Inveraray

Oban, Scotland

September 11, 2023 - The original plan was to stay in Oban for two nights. My notes also indicated the campsite we planned to stay at didn't take bookings (reservations), so we would need to arrive early hoping there were sites available. It was also another one of those "why did I plan to stop here" moments. The plan had us staying here two nights. Oban was only 50 miles from last night's stop. We looked at the map and didn't see any special reason I had planned to stop in Oban.

Doing our research this morning, we found out that the campsite we planned to stay at had changed owners. The new owners now accepted bookings. We decided to make a booking (to insure we had a place to stay), but only for one night. Our next stop was for two nights, but we changed it to be for three nights (there's places there we want to see).

We headed off for the 50-mile drive to Oban, stopping at a Lidl grocery store. We were almost out of groceries. I may have mentioned it before, but we love the grocery stores here. $130 (USD) later, we had a cart full of groceries. We're set for at least another 4 or 5 days.

Oban Holiday Park
Oban Holiday Park

We found our way to the Oban Holiday Park in a slight rain. It had rained a bit harder last night. The road to this campsite was a single-lane road with pull-outs. Luckily, we didn't have any problems. We found the campsite and checked in. The only sites they had for campervans were on grass. With the rain, the grassy areas get muddy. It's not uncommon for motorhomes and campervans to get stuck in wet grass and the mud. We carefully found a spot to park up and get situated. The first two electric outlets I tried didn't work. There are three outlets on this pole and luckily the third one worked. We lucked out and it didn't rain much more, but still enough rain that Connie couldn't hang the damp clothes. We didn't have any problems with the mud when leaving. Oban Holiday Park was £27 ($33 USD) for the night and included showers and electric (no wifi).

Fort William, Scotland

Ben Nevis Holiday Park

September 12, 2023 - It was a pleasant drive to Fort William along a scenic mountain drive. We arrived early and decided to visit the Glen Nevis Visitor's center. However, the parking lot was very full. We ended up going down the mountain a little way to the "Braveheart" parking area. It was named this, as parts of the movie "Braveheart" with Mel Gibson was filmed in this area. This car parking area was developed for the film crew and their equipment. After they left, it was turned into a car park, but kept the name. We enjoyed a relaxing lunch here with some good, warm weather. Connie went for a short hike before we moved on to our campsite for the next 3 nights.

Our "home" for the next few nights was in the Ben Nevis Holiday Park. £32 ($38 USD) per night, including showers and electricity (no wifi). A pretty nice campsite near the mountain Ben Nevis. Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in Scotland, the United Kingdom, and the British Isles. The summit is 1,345 meters (4,413 ft) above sea level.

Braveheart Car Park
Ben Nevis
Braveheart Car Park
Along today's drive
On a short hike near Braveheart Car Park
Along today's drive
On a short hike near Braveheart Car Park

Our full first day we spent visiting the Glenfinnan Viaduct and getting photos and videos of the Jackobite Train, a.k.a. the Harry Potter Hogwarts Train. When we first arrived, all of the parking areas were full. We drove ahead and found a place to watch the train pass by close-up. We returned to the viaduct to explore the visitor center and decided to have lunch, then wait for the train to pass by on the viaduct. We got some good photos and videos.

That afternoon, we did a little shopping and visited the Ben Nevis Whiskey Distillery. We're not normally whiskey drinkers, but they had some good whiskey.

Our last day at the Ben Nevis Holiday Park was spent relaxing, editing this Blog, and editing photos. We decided to treat ourselves and had dinner at the M & M Restaurant in the Muthu Fort William Hotel. Dinner was "OK", but not great. Service was extremely slow, as there was only one waitress trying to cover the entire restaurant.

Next stop - trying to find "Nessie" at Loch Ness. 

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Monday, 04 March 2024