I’ve been going to Scotland for as long as I can remember. I always want to be there more (I’ve dreamt of living there since I was small), but just over the border isn’t enough – it needs to be the Highlands (one of several requirements) which unfortunately means a good chunk of a day travelling.
Some of my first best memories are from when I was small and we stayed in a caravan overlooking the Eyemouth beach. I need to acquire and electronify these pictures. The gulls kept calling me back. I once had a trip on the inshore lifeboat. Trixie has been a couple of times and also quite enjoyed herself at Coldingham .
Trixie’s cousin Misty lives above Gare Loch. They met nose to nose and were both very well-behaved.
We had a short weekend to fit round a good weather window (2017) exploring the hammerhead peninsula and other parts of Wigtownshire. Our first stop was Monreith . At Killantringan we did some scrambling . Trixie enjoyed walking round the Mull of Galloway .
The Hebrides have had my interest for a while. I have been to Skye a couple of times (2002 and 2005) with a day trip to the Outer Hebrides (2002).
Trixie spent a week on Tiree in 2010 where she had a good scramble at Vaul and spent hours exploring the rocks and sand at Gott Bay .
We spent a few days on Bute in 2019 where Trixie spent 1/2h telling me there was a small mammal in the sea wall at Rothesay . I decided we needed to explore more of the west coast islands. In a second 2019 trip we started off by passing through Arran on our way to the Mull of Kintyre . From here we headed up to Colonsay where we spent a lot of time on the beach at Kiloran (so much time that Trixie asked to be picked up, walked up one arm, behind my head, down the other arm, and put herself into her bag!) and finished off with a few days on Islay . We’d have liked to go to Jura but it sounds like the roads there really require a Land Rover.
After covid killed my plans for a 12 island Outer Hebrides trip in May 2020 I decided to do the mainland part of a plan I’d made several years ago to drive round the Highlands and Islands properly but there were always reasons not to do it all in one go so it kept getting put off. September was a great time to do this with the heather blooming. We stopped off at the Grey Mare’s Tail on our way north and popped over to Skye briefly so Trixie could say she had put her paws on an island. We should have spent more time in the west and north enjoying the beaches – there were plenty we didn’t go to. Our favourite was Ceannabeinne – it is pretty near perfect with a pool to paddle in, one to swim in, the sea for either, a shallow sloping beach of lovely sand, and rocks to scramble on..
Greedy for more time north of the border and fortunate with good weather on a few long weekends I managed 2 more escapes in September! The first was back to the hammerhead peninsula where we again enjoyed the Mull of Galloway and tried a couple of different beaches but decided the best was one we had already been to which is down a single track overgrown pot-holey road – but there are too many other people prepared to drive down it, and we discovered a couple of things that made it not so great when the tide was out. The second trip was meant to be less of a constant drive and more of a destination for time chilling out looking at the horizon at the end of the Road to the Isles – somewhere I’ve been meaning to go for a while but til now it has always seemed a long way. I would have quite liked to go to the small Isles but 1) that involved being near people on a ferry and 2) no vehicles on the islands makes things harder for me. We decided to relocate when too many people started turning up for the weekend. Discovering Lismore wasn’t far away and we didn’t have to get out of the vehicle on the ferry we spent a night there , then noticed the Isle of Seil was not so far from that. We would have spent a night on Seil if we hadn’t had to return home – it’s a shame it doesn’t have sandy beaches but there are rocks for Trixie to scramble on .
Within 24 hours of getting back from this trip I was already planning the next. All the potential mainland places I’ve been that might have met my requirements seem to have been on peninsulas. There’s only 1 realistic one left to investigate which also happens to be the only ‘point’ of Scotland we haven’t been to in 2020 (we’ve done, N, NE, E, S; NW is not an option). I really hadn’t intended going up again til I had at least a long weekend, but the mid-October threat of ‘home’ going into lockdown and another depressing weekend of doing nothing resulted in a very last minute impulsive decision to go as far west as we could in the UK mainland. Let’s call it checking out the location to see if my theory of its suitability was correct and to plot a potentially longer escape. We visited Ardnamurchan lighthouse because it’s just about as far west as you can get on the UK mainland but our real destination was Sanna, and wow, it met my expectations!
The end of a winter lockdown and WFH coincided with the first May bank holiday and a snow forecast so we took the opportunity to have a short break in the Cairngorms. Sadly the snow forecast shifted back so we didn’t manage to get ourselves stuck but we did find a little bit to put our paws in.
I thought a week off work and the late May bank holiday might provide an opportunity for the long overdue Outer Hebrides trip but various things made it not such a great option again 🙁 We took the opportunity to fill in a few missing bits in the Highlands after a brief visit to Skye because we were passing – Trixie enjoyed pretending to be queen of the castle at Strome and a ship’s cat at Diabaig , and we spent some time around Glencoe and Glen Etive – beautiful bluebells , lovely loch , and stunning sunrise .
I had an appointment in Glasgow a couple of weeks after this so it made sense to escape for a weekend. The weather wasn’t fantastic but we still managed to relax and catch up on our catnapping .
One of us needed to do something creative after this and decided it was time for a change of photos on the lounge wall. The idea of putting themed Scottish pictures within the flag appealed. The results look like postcards 🙂
We’d been putting off taking holiday for a while but in early August decided it was time for a few days away. A work colleague also had the week off so we met up one day and went to a waterfall and loch together. We also spent time just drinking in views.
August bank holiday meant 10 days off work. With an excellent forecast we booked 5 ferries 1/2 week before to (finally) make it to the Outer Hebrides – 16 islands. The hopscotch route included Mallaig and we couldn’t leave Uig til the Monday so we thought we would have to have 2 days on Skye, but as we were driving north we spotted the Raasay ferry and as we hadn’t been before we spent 1 night there . We had a couple of locations in mind on the Uists that might not have other people near them and be next to a beach. One was right on the top of a very steep sand dune along a sandy track which we had our wheels spinning in when we tried to leave. I think the conclusion is that my car is not suited for driving on to beaches and therefore the slightly more public and popular beaches (though not over-run by any means) are probably better for us. I’m very pleased to say neither of us had a shower and 1 of us had 7 sea dips (1 per day) on the Outer Hebrides .
Mid-Sept had 1 of us with 2 appointments in Glasgow and a week’s holiday to use before October… so of course it made perfect sense to stay up for a week. We spent about 3.5 days in Ardnamurchan, 2 days on Mull , and then 1 day after the 2nd appointment on Great Cumbrae .
November had 1 of us with an appointment in Glasgow and a birthday to do something with… so naturally we woke up in the Highlands and were extremely pleased with our little paws to find snow on the tops
A couple of weeks later 1 of us had another appointment and so of course had to spend the weekend there again. This time there was slightly more snow 🙂
We finished off the year with a cold mid-December visit. Frosty ground is SO much nicer than mud. We walked half way up the pap with stunning inversion views , lapped up some of a part frozen lochan , and enjoyed the sunny clear skies.