The Big Orkney Adventure Part 1

Has a camping trip ever been so eagerly awaited as this one? I don’t think so. It may not be #EspañaRoadTrip2020 one year later, hopefully that will make an appearance next year, but a desperately needed break all the same.

We booked 2 weeks’ worth of adventure beginning with a loooong drive up to Loch Ness.

As I’ve noted before, the van really hasn’t seen much action since the start of the pandemic, so making sure we had got everything was a long-winded process, glad I got KB to look over things last minute as I’d forgotten to load the several thousand John bags we will no doubt use along the way.

Mileage on take off was:

And we left a very rainy South Yorkshire just after 7am. Google reckoned we had 7 and a half hours of travel time to stopover number 1, but we knew we would be more like 10 or 11, so resigned ourselves to a long day on the road to make day 2 light enough for a small amount of sightseeing.

We headed for Abington services for lunchtime, where we stopped last year on the road to the Hebrides and made it just before 12 after an unscheduled and better than expected stop at – wait for it…

We breakfasted at Scotch Corner, the boy child finishing in record time and declaring it was the best breakfast ever – his father was less than impressed at this.

Lunch was a leisurely al fresco picnic amongst the caravans and dog walkers, punctuated by Mr Cotswold Motorhome next door crashing into a boat trailer and promptly doing a runner. KB offered the boaty man some insulting tape and a screwdriver to bodge the damage.

We then proceeded in a very tedious manner through a long stretch of roadworks at what we knew would be at least 4 more hours on the road.

In an unusual turn of events I took the wheel just past Aviemore as KB had a touch of malaise due to a dodgy tooth and roadworks induced fatigue. Went a bit off piste and abandoned the main carriageway for a bit of single track, passing place action, but eventually got us to our destination (without so much as a Nessie sighting neither).

We camped at Loch Ness Bay Campsite, at Drumnadrochit. Prebooked a hard standing pitch with EHU, asked to use our own facilities if possible and paid £37 for the pleasure.

It’s a big place 25 hard standing pitches around the outside and field space for tents in the middle. Block for showers, toilets and washing up and decent sized, more or less level pitches. Sorry mother, I will be steering clear of the facilities this time.

Mrs Woman was helpful at reception and pointed to the whiteboard map with our pitch marked, we followed the one way system and got set up with the aid of one chock.

I took a short constitutional with the infants and juniors to get the lie of the land, all very neat and clean.

We enjoyed pre-prepared chicken and roast veg with couscous for tea, with some carbonated refreshment for the grown ups, sat half in the mizzle under the canopy, accompanied by only the occasional midge.

We retired relatively early due to the long day and fresh air and excitement, ready for leg 2 to John O’Groats in the morning.



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