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Our Travel Adventures

Welcome to the Adventures of Larry and Connie Farquhar.

Week 6 - 2023 "Lands" Epic Adventure

One-lane track to Inverness One-lane track to Inverness
Week 6 Driving Route

Wow, time has been flying by. We have 2 weeks left in Scotland, and a week to get back to London for our flight out. We've been really lucky on the weather. The cruise was fantastic weather, with a couple cloudy mornings when at sea. We did get heavy fog in the morning in Iceland, but it burned off by noon. Even here in the United Kingdom, the weather has been very good, with a few nights of rain, but the days have been good. The locals even say it's been unusually sunny and warm for this time of year.

Loch Ness, Inverness, Scotland

Loch Ness Shores Camping and Caravanning Club

September 15, 2023 - We had another short drive from Fort William to our campsite at Loch Ness Shores Camping and Caravanning Club Site near Inverness. When I made our travel route, I tried to not have us drive too many hours each day, thinking we would also stop at various sites along the way. Perhaps I was a little too aggressive on the short drives. Today was only a 44-mile drive. Spacing stopovers apart by 100 - 150 miles would have been better. Oh well, it's working out fine. We have bookings and can't change our plans easily, so we're just enjoying the relaxing slower days.

During our drive today, we stopped at the small town of Fort Augustus. We walked around town, visited several gift shops, and had a nice Fish & Chips lunch. Fort Augustus is on the southern end of Loch Ness, with the Caledonian Canal going through town. We spent some time to watch boats going through the series of four locks, with a road bridge that swung open.

Our campsite at Loch Ness Shores Camping and Caravanning Club £43 per night for non-members ($91 USD), which includes showers and electricity. When we booked this campsite, we paid non-member prices. It's a club that runs these campsites. Our van rental company includes a membership to this camping club. We were once given a refund for the member price. When we checked in here, I asked for a refund in the difference, and they said they would process it. It's about a $30 a night savings for club members. The nice, near the shores of Loch Ness. We can't see the lake from our site, but there's lots of open grassy space between sites.

We're here for two nights. The first day, we didn't do much after arriving at the campsite. The next day, we drove into Inverness. The best part was the drive along Loch Ness, trying to find Nessie (the Loch Ness monster). It sure is a big tourist item here, with Nessie dolls, books, photos, maps, etc, in all of the souvenir shops. We didn't see Nessie, but we saw much of the lake. But as Connie said, it just looks like all the other lakes (lochs) we've seen. The drive today was along lots of "single track" roads. These roads are wide enough for one vehicle, with "passing places" along the road. Cars go 50mph+ down this road. It's a little scary, hoping we don't run head on to an oncoming vehicle. But it's not that bad. You learn when to slow down (curves and blind spots), and how to let oncoming traffic get by. We got lucky for a long portion of the road, as we got behind a large motorhome. He pretty much cleared the way in front of us and we just followed behind him. Just more of the Scottish fun!

Loch Ness, Inverness, Scotland

Loch Ness Bay Camping
Loch Ness Bay Camping

September 17, 2023 - Our next stop was just 5 miles away - on the other side of the Loch. It was actually only a 35-mile drive. Enroute, we headed to the Culloden Battlefield and Visitor's Center. We had heard of this battle, from the TV show "Outlander". A friend happened to ask us if we were going to visit the battlefield and we saw we were only 45 minutes away. I'm glad we visited there. The visitor's center was well done, presenting the true story of the 1745 Rising, from both the Jacobite (Jamie Frasier in Outlander was a Jacobite and became a prisoner) and Government perspectives, where weapons and unique artifacts are displayed. We watched movies, and presentations. The battlefield was well laid out with maps and markers showing what happened where. A very important and interesting part of Scottish history.

The drive to Loch Ness Bay Camping took us through Inverness again. This was a nice campsite, but one of the most expensive at £60 per night for non-members ($72 USD), which includes showers and electricity (again no WiFI). We do need Internet access, but we don't rely on getting or using the campsite's wifi (if available). Our cell phones can be turned into "hotspots" to give ourselves a private wifi with international data access (read below). The campsite was nice, but the restrooms and shower areas were cold.

Town of Inverness
Along Loch Ness
Along Loch Ness
Town of Inverness
Town of Inverness
Along Loch Ness
Town of Inverness
Town of Inverness
Town of Inverness
One-lane track to Inverness
Along Loch Ness
Along Loch Ness

The North Coast 500, Scotland

 The North Coast 500 is a 516-mile (830 km) scenic route around the north coast of Scotland, starting and ending at Inverness Castle. The route is also known as the NC500 and was launched in 2015, linking many features in the north Highlands of Scotland in one touring route.

Since we spent the last few days near Inverness, we're now officially traveling the NC500. We're doing the route counterclockwise. We've heard the western section is more dramatic, and approaching from the east makes it even more dramatic. This is the way we're doing the NC500. We're starting at Loch Ness, Inverness but won't be completing the circle back to Inverness.  After about 7/8 of the NC500, we'll continue south to the Isle of Skye. Then we'll head Southeast, starting to make our way towards London. 

Berridale, NC 500, Scotland

Ousdale Broch Car Park

September 19, 2023 - We originally planned to stay in a free car park at the Loch Fleet Nature Reserve. This was just a free parking lot that allowed overnight parking. However, I lost the coordinates and couldn't find it again on the map. With a little research, our next alternative was another parking area near the town of Golspie. This was at a hiking trailhead for £3 ($3.60) to park there and they allowed overnight parking. We arrived and it would work, but our Internet signal on our cell phones was very low. It was still early in the day, we left to find option #3.

We ended up spending the night in a free, quiet and small car park for the Ousdale Broch. Brochs are massive drystone towers built by the northern Caledonian tribes 2,000 years ago during the middle Iron Age, between 400 BC and 100 AD. Archeologists believe Broch's were the center of farming communities. When we arrived, it was starting to rain, so we decided to hike down to the Ousdale Broch in the morning (if it stopped raining). We were by ourselves in this small car park for the night. It rained all night, pretty hard at times. When morning arrived, there was some fog, but the rain had stopped. So afterwards, the sun came out and we had a warm and sunny morning. We made the short hike to the broch, looking over the ruins. Again, interesting to see the remains of structures built over 2,000 years ago.

Our Internet Access While Traveling Outside the USA

I was recently asked what we do for Internet access in other countries. We use "Google Fi" for our phone and cell Internet service in the USA and while traveling. In the US, we have their "Flexible" plan for $35 a month for 2 phones. This gives us unlimited phone and texting on 2 phones, with international data being an additional $10 per GB (after 10GB it's free). We don't use much data with our phones when in the USA, so the bill is always under $50 each month for two phones.

When we know we're heading out of the USA for more than a couple weeks, we change our Google Fi plan to their "Unlimited Plus" plan for $110 a month for 2 phones. This gives us unlimited international data (200+ countries), unlimited texting, and international phone calls for around 10¢ a minute. We don't make many voice calls when outside of the USA. This plan saves about $25 verses the above-mentioned Flexible plan, if we use more than 10GB of data.

If interested in Google Fi, use this link ( to check out and get Google Fi. Using this link, we get $20 off our bill and you get $20 off your first bill. We've been very happy with Google Fi and have saved a lot from our previous Verizon plan. More importantly, we get international data (Internet access) at no additional charge!

Canisbay, NC500, Scotland

Ferry View Night Stop
Ferry View Night Stop

September 20, 2023 - After checking out the Ousdale Broch, we made the 80-mile drive to the John O' Groats signpost. The iconic John O'Groats is probably one of the most photographed signs in the UK, featuring in countless social media feeds and media articles. The signpost was installed in 1964 to mark 'Journey's End'; the very tip top of mainland UK. Almost all of the travel logs we've read of people visiting northern Scotland visited the John O' Groats signpost. We couldn't be left out. Besides, it's on the NC500 route and we visited the other end of mainland UK at Land's End in Cornwall, England, during Week 1 - 2023 "Lands" Epic Adventure.

After spending several hours at John O' Groats and having lunch there (Fish & Chips weren't great), we headed to our next campsite at Ferry View Night Stop for £30 per night ($36 USD), which includes showers and electricity (again no WiFi). This was a very small, but very cute campsite. Someone had turned their yard into about a dozen camping pitches, with the grounds all decorated with gnomes. They even had a small dining area serving dinner and breakfast. We found it unusual, but convenient, that we had to "book" a time to use the showers. 

On route to John O Groats
View on route to John O Groats
Map of the "End to End" trail
On route to John O Groats
John O Groats Signpost
Fish & Chips Lunch
John O Groats
View from John O' Groats
On route to John O Groats
John O Groats Signpost
View from John O Groats
John O' Groats Hotel
Houses across the bay on
On route to John O Groats
John O Groats Hotel
At John O Groats
Viking Larry!

Durness, NC500, Scotland

Sango Sands Oasis

September 21, 2023 - Today's drive was about 80 miles but took 3 hours to drive. We had heard from several friends and YouTube travelers that the place to stay on the north shore of Scotland and as part of the NC500 drive was at the Sango Sands Oasis. This was our destination and we would be staying there for 2 nights. It was £29 ($35 USD) per night. This was for 2 adults and electricity, which also included showers but no WiFi. When we made the booking several months ago, they only wanted a £10 ($12 USD) deposit. The rest is paid upon arrival. Sango Sands Oasis is located in the small town of Durness, which is the most north-westerly point of the Scottish mainland.

The reason it took a few hours for an 80 mile drive were the roads, and the scenery. Most of today's drive was on single track roads. Although the speed limit is 60mph, we're lucky to get up to 45mph. 30mph is more like the normal speed on these roads, when not pulling over for the oncoming traffic. While this may sound stressful (it is a bit), I actually enjoyed today's drive. Slowing down and enjoying the wonderful scenery was great. The road took us through mostly Scottish Highland fields and coastline. Including sheep and cattle on the road. Today's drive is how I imagined driving through Scotland. It rained most of the drive, sometimes fairly heavy. But that was all part of the Scottish experience.

Sango Sands Oasis is a nice campsite overlooking the Norwegian Sea. We're on the cliff's edge, overlooking the Durness Beach with the waves breaking on the rocks and nearby cliffs. Great views, especially now that the rain has stopped. We spent the rest of the day catching up on laundry and working on this blog, photos, and videos. Tomorrow, we'll explore the local area, including Smoo Cave.

Location (Map)

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Week 7 - 2023 "Lands" Epic Adventure
Week 5 - 2023 "Lands" Epic Adventure

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Tuesday, 28 May 2024