Tour 2003
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2003 Roundtrip Scotland - Northern England The concise route

I did choose the DFDS IJmuiden - Newcastle ferry this year to visit Scotland and Northern England.

Sunday 22nd of June, Heerenveen - IJmuiden

I did leave Heerenveen this Sunday the 22nd of June. It was the first time that I did go by DFDS Seaways to Scotland. IJmuiden is just 150 km. away from my hometown, but due the road works and the always-busy Alkmaar ring road it did take 2Ĺ hours to get there. I had still two hours to go before boarding the ďPrince of ScandinaviaĒ.

Monday 23rd of June, Newcastle - Edinburgh

Morton hall Caravan park

Frogston Road East

Edinburgh EH16 6TJ

Scotland

T 0131 664 1533

F 0131 664 5387

The campsite is at the Southside of Edinburgh and is sign posted on the ring road A720. The Edinburgh city centre is in easy reach by the city busses. Bus stop at the campsite entrance.

Edinburgh Morton Hall Campsite

From Newcastle to Edinburgh is just a three hours drive along the coast. As soon as I entered Scotland the weather is much better than the last few weeks. The Scottish Tourists Office could consider inviting me every year, good weather guaranteed. The campsite isnít busy yet. But you find always some German and Dutch holidaymakers. The Ale sold in the pub on the campsite grounds isnít my taste. The third one I try is ďBestĒ itís the best too.

Tuesday 24th of June, Edinburgh

The weather is real nice. The city is just as I left it a few years ago and the coffee at the Waverley shopping centre still is of a good quality. The Waverley shopping centre is just at the end or beginning of Princess Street. The gardens along the Princess Street are well kept as always. Itís really nice to take a walk in the gardens.

Edinburgh Waverley Station

Princess Street still has the same big shops and after a morning of shopping itís a joy to go to the ďKenilworthĒ (a pub founded 17.. at Rose Street). Rose Street is a narrow street just behind Princess Street with a lot of old cosy pubs. Velvet Ale taste a lot better than the ale at the campsite, itís real smooth. As always there are some Dutchman in the pub, so I had a little talk with some boys from Groningen, The Netherlands. They really had a bad weather and had to endure a lot of attacks by midgets too. The midgets are small but very nasty flies, you find them from about Gretna and higher at the Scottish west coast. If you want to get rich, you have to find a definitive solution to eliminate these nasty guys.

Edinburgh Castle and Gardens

The Kenilworth serves good food too. I had a nice rib steak, but the Haggis is of good quality too. But no Haggis today. Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish made from; leftovers of a butchered sheep, leftovers like head meat mixed with oatmeal all cooked in a sheepís stomach with of course a choice of spices. It really taste good.

After looking around in some bargain shops I did call it a day. Tomorrow I will visit the ďOld TownĒ.

Wednesday 25th of June, Edinburgh

The weather is beautiful and after the morning coffee I did walk the ďRoyal MileĒ. The Royal Mile is around one mile long and goes from The Castle to Hollyroad Palace. In early days the Royalty often did take this street thatís why itís called Royal Mile. There are a lot of interesting small shops and pubs to visit walking this street. Hollyroad Palace was closed for the public this means there is someone of the Royal Family staying at the castle. The new parliament building is almost ready looking from the outside. Itís from an extraordinary architecture; there are a lot of natural elements at the facades and balconies. It looks a little bit too much to me, but after removing the scaffolding maybe it looks more relaxed. When I visit Edinburgh again I will have a look again.

Edinburgh, the new Parliament

At the old parliament near the castle it was very busy, a lot of people and police stood there waiting for someone. After asking, a policeman told me President Poutin of Russia did visit Edinburgh. I did wait just as anyone to take a picture. He arrived in a black limousine did just wave once towards us and went into the building. It was actually to remote to take a good picture with my small Canon. But he is the President of Russia and I saw him. After this wait I was thirsty and hungry. I did find a table at a not crowded pub. Seeing the menu and the pricelist it was easy to understand why this pub wasnít crowded. Caffreyís is good ale but 2.60 GBP for a pint is costly. However the Sirloin steak and the ale did taste very good.

Thursday 26th of June, Edinburgh - Dingwall

Camping and Caravanning Club site

Jubilee Park Road

Dingwall

Highlands IV15 9QZ

T 0044 1349 862236

Today I did take the A9 towards the North. The A9 is nice drive; enough places to take a rest or a meal and you can drive on. From Inverness I did take the A862 to Dingwall. The Dingwall campsite is near the railway station and sporting grounds. It was a warm day.

The world famous (Whisky) Forth Road Bridge

Dingwall is a nice town with all the shops and supermarkets you need. To the town centre itís just a few minutes walk from the campsite. Next to the railway station is a nice pub, but there are a lot more.

Compared to Edinburgh there is a great difference in the price you have to pay for a night stance at the campsite. Edinburgh three nights 42.00 GBP, Dingwall 27.25 GBP for five nights.

Friday 27th of June, Dingwall

The weather was again beautiful. Itís too warm to drive a long distance so I did visit Inverness. A charity shop had a Tina Turner video I didnít have. For just 1.50 GBP itís a bargain. No guarantees the shopkeeper said.

Dingwall Camping and Caravanning Club site

I did get my morning coffee at Littlewoods. Lunch was a Kentucky Fried Chicken one. Fast, Fat and Filling. On my way back I did take a tourist route along Beauly. Diana Gabaldon wrote in her book ďOutlanderĒ about this village. According Diana Gabaldon Beauly is just a few hours away from France. In the middle ages this was at least a few days. This American writer didnít do her homework well because there is a Beauly at the Englandís south coast thatís indeed a nightís sail to France. The story is however about Scotland and itís a good story too.

Dingwall is very central situated to make nice trips to the north, the west and the Loch Ness area. This afternoon I had for the first time some rain. Time to do some reading.

Cambrai War Memorial

Cambrai Dingwall War Monument

Saturday 28th of June, Dingwall

It rained all night, but this morning itís dry and beautiful. I planned to make a trip to Wick and Thurso. I did want to see Duncansby Head again. Itís just before John OíGroats, which attracts more tourists than Duncansby Head. I like Duncansby Head more. But seeing the sign ďWick 78 milesĒ made me turn of my route, it was to warm to drive so much today. I did visit the small village Bonar Bridge. Bought some postcards and stamps in the local post office. The shop did provide me with all ingredients to make a tasty lunch. I had lunch with a nice view sitting on a bench just beneath the war monument. What do you need more?

Bonar Bridge

Bonar Bridge War Monument

My European television set doesnít work in the UK. I did buy another one at Dingwallís Woolworth for the amount of 19.99 GBP. There was a problem when I tried to plug in the adaptor, because I have European sockets in the caravan. Iím an electrician so I did solve the problem with some wires. The build in antenna isnít marvellous and the extra antenna I bought at the Poundstretcher shop isnít working well too. Next Monday I will buy another antenna in Inverness. It keeps you busy.

Sunday 29th of June, Dingwall

Sunday is a nice day for visiting Inverewe Gardens at the west coast. A single-track road towards Inverewe is under construction. The EU is subsidising the widening of this road. It stays a scenic road, nice views and rest giving forests. The gardens are beautiful as always with all kinds of sub tropic plants.

Between Dingwall and the West coast

Kinlochewe is a small village. I had a nice morning coffee in a real family run cafť. Father behind the cash desk, mother working in the kitchen, three daughters serving the customers and a son just looking important.

Loch Ewe Inverewe Gardens

Inverewe gardens, Poolewe Scotland has outdoor growing sub tropic plants. The warm Gulf stream coming up from the south of England touches the coast here and will stream up further to the Norwegian south coast.

Monday 30th of June, Dingwall

It is unbelievable but the sun keeps on shining. Today I made a roundtrip along, Inverness, Carrbridge, Grantown on Spey, Inverness and back to Dingwall. If you wish you can visit a lot of whisky distilleries. But I did see different distilleries already, there is always the possibility to taste a drop of Whisky, but just as I do in The Netherlands the right percentage alcohol when driving is 0%.  A guided tour tells you a lot about the art of making whisky. For instance why Irish whiskey is darker of colour than the Scottish whisky. I did learn this at a guided tour in a Northern Ireland distillery. Whisky has to mature in a wooden cask. These casks are first used to mature cherry; The Irish do use these casks twice and the Scots three times, thatís the difference.

Loch Ness in between Inverness and Fort Augustus

On my way back I bought a new television antenna at an Inverness shop. For a cheap parking ticket you better park your car at Tescoís. Itís right in the town centre, afterwards you buy your groceries at Tesco and your parking ticket will be made free by the check out. Sometimes Iím a real Dutchman.

The television reception is now better with the new antenna and I even did see a small piece of Wimbledon tennis.

Tuesday 01st of July, Dingwall - Fort William

Glen Nevis Caravan and Camping Park

Glen Nevis

Fort William

Inverness-shire PH33 6SX

T 0044 1397 702191

F 0044 1397 703904

camping@glen-nevis.co.uk

At the roundabout (Edinburgh Woollen Mill) the campsite is sign posted.

Tonight it did rain a little, this morning itís dry again. Following the A82 the drive from Dingwall to Fort William is an easy drive. Along Loch Ness itís every year a little busier than the years before. A lot of tourists go for Loch Ness. Fort Augustus is also a nice spot to visit, you have to see the Caledonian Canal sluices.

Fort William campsite Glen Nevis

Being as early as half past one at the campsite, gives you the opportunity to do some shopping in Fort William. The campsite is about three miles from the town centre. Near the campsite is the Glen Nevis bar and restaurant. They want to maintain high standards. Not really to my likes, but itís close by.

Take a walk is real joy, just past the youth hostel; you can see highland cattle and more. These animals look very wild, but they are tame as a little lamb. You also see many walkers coming down or going up Ben Nevis the highest mountain of Scotland. The information centre is a few minutes away from the campsite. The walkers coming down are most of the time tiered and sweaty.

Walking to the top of Ben Nevis, special nice if you like flies or self-chastisements.

Wednesday 02nd of July, Fort William

This morning I did take a three miles walk to Fort William. There is a bus service from the campsite to the town, but itís very unreliable. The Edinburgh Woollen Mill is just at the end of the road and serves good coffee and sandwiches or cake. At the railway station I decided to take a return ticket to Mallaig. This is a scenic railway journey. You only have to look out of the window to see the deepest Scottish loch, nice views and magnificent build bridges. One of these bridges has twenty-one arches; it was the first build concrete bridge. Around the whole UK you have a lot of these constructions; All build at the start of the industrial era. They had full confidence in new techniques than.

Jacobite Steamtrain running from Fort William to Mallaig

Mallaig is a former fisherman town. Nowadays itís more tourists you find here. From here sails the Caledonian MacBrayne Skye Ferry. The town isnít very large, but you can buy a pint and good food too.

Back in Fort William the first thing to do was buying a pint and a Mixed Grill. After such a meal itís quite a walk to the campsite, but it helps you to loose some gained weight too.

Thursday 03rd of July, Fort William - Luss

Camping and Caravanning Club Site

Luss

Loch Lomond

Nr Glasgow Alexandria

Scotland G83 8NT

T 0044 1436 860658

Take the right turn driving on the A82 towards Luss nearby the Bagpipe and Kilt makersí workshop (Lodge of Loch Lomond).

Luss Campsite adjacent to Loch Lomond and the village

As always this campsite is very busy. But I had a nice stance near the lake, because Iím a member. The Camping Card issued by the ANWB is worth all the money I paid for it. You get a discount at The Camping and Caravanning Club Sites plus an extra discount if you are 55+.

Luss looks the same as a few years ago. Here live and work a lot of artists. Even Paul McCartney seems to visit this village for a break on his way to Kintyre. I bought a few years ago at a local shop a Scottish looking tin filled with Petticoat Tails Shortbread. This tin is now empty, so I did buy the same shortbread, but this time without a tin. The pub and restaurant is just a few minutes walk away from the campsite.

Friday 04th of July, Luss

Inveraray is my go today. Itís not so easy to find a parking place in this town. Itís crowded with tourists and a large queue was waiting to see the famous Inveraray jail. To long for me. I will be back another year. I had planned to drive to Helensburgh also, but itís to warm in the car. Back to maybe a cooler Loch Lomond.

Inveraray

It was a nice afternoon to read, having a pint, enjoying the view and activities on Loch Lomond. The good weather stayed the whole day, a blue sky and 25įCelsius. Itís a little bit to warm for me but the midgets, stay away thatís really nice too.

Saturday 05th of July, Luss

Today I did my shopping in Helensburgh. In Helensburgh there is still a genuine General Store. Everything you want they are selling in this shop even pink or egg yellow paint for the front of your house. This Saturday afternoon was a copy of yesterdayís afternoon.

Taking a walk through Luss

The local pub isnít the same anymore as it used to be. To much adaptations to our modern times. Artificial flowers and an artificial fire place too. It used to be an authentic pub and restaurant. The staff is still the same, but a little bit older.

Sunday 06th of July, Luss - Moffat

Camping and Caravanning Club Site

Hammerland's Farm

Moffat

Borders DG10 9QL

T 0044 1683 220436

Take the Moffat exit coming from the A74. After about one mile turn right at the Bank of Scotland. Right again after 200 yards. The campsite is sign posted.

I didnít see the sign. So before knowing I had made a mistake I was driving with my car and caravan on a steep and narrow road. But as always I did find a solution and back to Moffat. The campsite is adjacent to the Weaverís Mill and is just a few minutes walking from town.

Moffat...

It was a little bit cloudy this morning so when attaching the caravan to the car I had a real fight against the midgets. These midgets are everywhere. Your face feels hot. They are so small just as flees.

My mobile telephone didnít work last night. I polished the chip a little and did knock here and there, now he is working fine again and I could call the people I left behind. That electronics not always are in working order I experienced at the Royal Bank of Scotland cash machine. No money today.

This afternoon was the Formula 1 of France; I did see the race in a pub having a few nice pints of ale. Diner tonight will be a kind of English Style Macaroni, including a Gammon steak.

Bagpipes at Moffat

Moffat is a nice town with a lot of hotels and restaurants for such a small town. Tonight a pipe band was playing for a good course I did donate some money. The band had very old but also very young members playing. I like the sound of bagpipes.

Dumfries is my go tomorrow. I have been here many times before. It stays a nice city to go to.

Monday 07th of July, Moffat

Until today it only rained two nights. This morning itís raining or actually itís drizzling. But itís windy too, so itís not a pleasant weather at all.

Dumfries Shopping

Soon after parking my car in Dumfries the weather became dry. It was a nice day for walking through the town. Dumfries is a real town for shopping. The closer you get to England the more charity shops you see. Always looking for football -, Beatles Ė and Tina Turner books, CDís or videos.

This afternoon I did buy some pints in the Black Bull in Moffat. And did find a football book for my brother in law. No books about Tina Turner.

Tuesday 08th of July, Moffat

The scenic Moffat Ė Edinburgh route is beautiful. Grey Maryís Tail is about 20 miles from Moffat and is worth a visit. I didnít go any further than Selkirk. Selkirk is a small town, just as many. I did some shopping, had my morning coffee and did buy at the Red Cross charity shop a LP released by FIAT because of the appearance of Tina Turner on it. The same road back to Moffat.

The Theakston Ale is very good. Served cool and friendly in the Moffat Railway Bar.

Wednesday 09th of July, Moffat - Hexham

Caravan Club Site

Racecourse Hexham

A Dutch couple that had a stance on the Dingwall campsite too told me that the Hexham campsite near the racecourse was a good place to stay. At first I had planned to stay at the Haltwhistle campsite. It was still before twelve oíclock when I arrived in Haltwhistle. The town did look a little quiet to me and with the recommendation of the Dutchman in mind I did move on to Hexham.

The Hexham campsite isnít easy to find. He said donít look for campsite signs but follow the racecourse ones. Thatís nice, but out of the racing season the signs are removed. Therefore I drove three times with car and caravan through a very busy Hexham. Been on the wrong (residents only) site. Did have to turn on a narrow and steep road. But as always I did find it.

Hexham isnít at a walking distance and out of the racing season the campsite is very quiet. The washrooms and toilets do not stand todayís standards. Hexham and surroundings you easily can do from this site, but no next time for me on this campsite. Next time I try Haltwhistle for visiting Hadrianís Wall.

Hexham Campsite

Hexham has an Outlet Store and lot of other shops. There are enough Parking spaces next to the city centre even on a busy Saturday.

Thursday 10th of July, Hexham

This morning I had morning coffee and a toasted teacake for the first time this year at a Little Chef. And I did a Hadrianís Wall tour.

Hadrian Wall build by the Roman, Hadrianus, to stop the (in his eyes) barbarian northerly inhabitants.

Hadrian Wall is build by the Roman, Hadrianus to keep out the northerly inhabitants out of the Roman Empire. He did give without knowing the Northern England tourists industry a nice support this way. You see many walkers doing the whole or a part of the wall. In a temple (see below) I did offer some coins. You never know were itís good for and you have a less heavier purse too.

A Roman Temple

In the afternoon I did some shopping and Hexham sightseeing. For the second time these holidays it did rain for a short period. Safeway is convenient close to the parking places so I did my daily shopping there. Caffreys Ale was 7.00 GBP, for eight cans.

Ale isnít widely available in the Dutch shops and itís expensive too. Therefore I always take a few packages home. Twenty-four cans are now stored in my caravan and maybe on my way back there is an opportunity to buy some onboard. Sometimes they have an offer you canít refuse.

Friday 11th of July, Hexham

Today I did spend shopping and looking around Hexham. The Outlet Store offers all kind of goods. I did buy some nice smelling perfume for my mother and a double English style socket to mount in the caravan. Hexham has a lot of second-hand bookstores and charity shops. I wish we had the same kind of charity shops in The Netherlands; you find often something you want or like and it's for a good course too. Charity shops you see the most in England.

This evening I will make a list of things to take back home, such as Chutneyís of different tastes, Colmanís Mustard, Salt & Vinegar and Cheesed & Union Crisps. Sunday I will sail back home and than I want to have enough of all these goods with me, you canít buy them easy in The Netherlands. A lot of relatives and I like these goods, so I have my souvenirs to give away also.

Saturday 12th of July, Hexham

Nice weather again on my last full day in England. I had my list, so Safeway had a good day and my budget was almost gone. I did even find some books in a second-hand store I missed yesterday. On a sunny Saturday it's very relaxing to sit on a bench and watch people going by or to listen to real live music.

Nice shopping at Hexham

After a long day at Hexham I had a nice meal on the campsite. I made Chile Con Carne combined with bacon. It tasted really nice. It was a lovely evening to drink some bottles of Newcastle Brown (what's in me, isnít spoiled) and reading a book.

Tomorrow morning I will have enough time to pack the caravan and car properly. The ferry sails around five oíclock in the afternoon and it's just a short drive to Newcastle.

Sunday 13th of July, Hexham - Newcastle

Around twelve oíclock I did leave the campsite knowing that I had a beautiful holiday and that soon duty will call. It wasnít busy on the roads; except for the A1 and A19 these roads are always busy. Finding the ferry terminal was a piece of cake. The road signs to the terminal are excellent.

I change my last British pounds into euros. On board both currencies can be used, but all prices are standard in euros.

Around five oíclock I was on board. Checking in goes at this side of the North Sea a lot slower than in The Netherlands. The British customs are always more precisely than their Dutch colleagues. The vessel is this time the "Duke of ScandinaviaĒ.

DFDS Seaways departs from Newcastle

Had tonight diner on board. My former neighbour Oene Dijkstra was on board too. He made a tour through Scotland by coach. We had a nice talk about Scotland and more.

Monday 14th of July, IJmuiden - Heerenveen

After a goodnights sleep, I did leave IJmuiden at half past ten. I did avoid the Alkmaar traffic jam by taking the Zaandam route. At twelve oíclock I was at home.

Eeltje

22nd of June, Heerenveen Ė IJmuiden, MS Prince of Scandinavia

23rd of June, Newcastle - Edinburgh

A19/A1/A720 along Berwick-upon-Tweed

24/25th of June, Edinburgh

26th of June, Edinburgh - Dingwall

A90/M90/A9A835 along Perth, Pitlochrie and Inverness

27/28/29/30th of June, Dingwall

Tour along Poolewe

Tour along Bonar Bridge and Garve

01st of July, Dingwall - Fort William

A835/A82 along Inverness, Fort Augustus and Invergarry

02nd of July, Fort William

Tour Mallaig (by train)

03rd of July, Fort William - Luss

A82 along Glencoe, Crianlarich and Tarbet

4/5th of July, Luss

Tour Inveraray

Tour Helensburgh

06th of July, Luss - Moffat

A82/M8/M74 along Glasgow

07/08th of July, Moffat

Tour Selkirk along A708

Dumfries Shopping

09th of July, Moffat - Hexham

A74(M)/A69 along Carlisle 

10/11/12th of July, Hexham

Tour Hadrian Wall

Tour Pennine Chain (County Durham)

13th of July, Hexham - Newcastle

A69/A19 along Corbridge

14th of July, IJmuiden - Heerenveen