Scotland

I’ve been going to Scotland for as long as I can remember. I always want to be there more, 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 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 keep 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!