Sunday, 19 April 2015

Video: SmooCave, Durness and The Cave of Bones, Inchnadamph

Here's the second instalment of video from our Easter tour of the north. A trip into Smoo Cave at Durness and a walk up to The Cave of Bones near Inchnadamph.


Next up and the final instalment will be our bike rides in the Cairngorms.

Thanks for watching!

Friday, 17 April 2015

Video: The Old Man of Hoy, Dwarfie Stane and Wee Fea

Here's the first video from our trip with footage of a walk to The Old Man of Hoy, The Dwarfie Stane and The Wee Fea.

Next up will be the Cave of Bones.

Thanks for looking in.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Family On Tour: Rothiemurchus, The Cairngorms and there abouts...

The final leg of our Easter holidays car camping tour of the north of Scotland took us to The Cairngorms for several nights before getting the ferry back to Shetland from Aberdeen.


For part 1 Orkney, part 2 Durness and part 3 Ullapool click the links.

We chose to camp at Rothiemurchus Camp and caravan park as it was in a great location in the woods, had excellent access to trails and was a bit less busy than the site up at Loch Morlich. It was a great decision and a site I'd highly recommend.


Our arrival coincided with the best weather of the trip. What lovely weather!


We all enjoyed a number of cycle rides around Loch Morlich and Loch An Eilein via the Old Loggers Road and other forest trails. Beren managed a ride of 20km one day; what a star!

Here's the castle on Loch An Eilein...


And when we went to Laggan Wolftrax mountain bike trail centre he even made a slow decent of the orange ride. To be fair it did terrify him, but he did it. Unfortunately the easy green route was out of action due to forestry operations, I'm not that evil un-necessarily.

Here's the view at the top of the orange route. Not bad...


I took a few solo rides out up towards Loch Eanaich and the Lairig Ghru and enjoyed the great trails and single track that the area had to offer...


I actually didn't take many photos while in The Cairngorms as I mainly took videos of the rides we went on, so they'll but up for you to see in the near future.

While out an about we popped in to Loch Insh where the ospreys had only returned to their nest the day before. We didn't have long to hang about, but despite the wind and poor weather that day I got a couple of snaps...




The weather deteriorated on the last day of the holidays with sleet, snow and wind. I had to get up on the final night to clear snow off the roof of the tent and tarp, but Beren and Clare slept on in deep cosiness...
 

By morning much of the snow had melted and turned to slush, but the mountains were fully cloaked in snow again.


Brrr.... thermal pants needed for a ride today...


But sadly we just had to pack up and head for Aberdeen and home.

If you've been following our trip thanks for coming along. I've got a load of video to edit now to give you a view of our walk to the Old Man of Hoy, the visit to The Cave Of The Bones, our rides and various other bits and bobs, so bear with me and I'll have them done as soon as I can.

Thanks for popping by!


Family On Tour: The Cave of Bones and Ullapool

The next leg of our family car camping tour saw us heading south towards Ullapool. Another fantastic drive through amazing scenery!



This is part 3 of our Easter holidays car camping tour in the north of Scotland. You can catch up with part 1 Orkney and part 2 Durness.

From Durness we headed south on the A838...


Wow, what a run...


Looking south toward Kylesku and the Assynt area...


Some view!



Here's a view of Sail Gharbh, part of Quinag. We passed so many hills and mountains that I'd like to go back on walk sometime...




And just around 3 miles south of Inchnadamph we broke our journey to investigate The Cave of Bones with a little walk up a beautiful limestone valley...


There were a couple of springs along the way and the river disappeared and re-emerged at one point.


It's only a little over a mile to the caves with a last section that might put a few people on edge if they don't like heights. Here's our first view of the caves...


Remains have been found here dating back as much as 5000 years. Polar bear, lynx, wolf and something a little more recent...



There were some fat looking Ravens about!


What a location...


And time for a picnic...


Looking out...



Beren actually crawled through one interlinking tunnel.


Soon we arrived at Ardmair Camp site, about 3 miles north of Ullapool. Another excellent location with great facilities. 



Ironically I'd stayed here back in Easter 1989 as a first year on my Geology degree. Just where those white houses are on the shore used to be a line of strapped down static caravans. It would have been my first chance to see the northern lights, but while others watched I was asleep!


A lovely spot...


Nearby is a lighthouse at Rhue. The same design as the old Muckle Roe lighthouse that now stands in the car park at Sumburgh Head.


And here's the ferry on it's way from Ullapool to Stornaway on Lewis...


We had a day of retail therapy in Ullapool...


Fish and chips, cakes and stuff and a few bits of outdoor gear in the sales...


As well as some delayed Easter egg hunting for Beren along the wonderful wooded valley of the Ullapool River...



Long tailed tits, chaffinch, woodpecker, we saw them all, but not the Easter Bunny!


Next we were off to Rothiemurchus campsite in the heart of The Cairngorms via the not-so-kwik-fit in Inverness for our last leg of the trip.

Again videos to come...


Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Family on tour: Durness

After leaving Orkney we landed at Gills Bay and had a quick run along to John O'Groats and the lighthouse at Duncansby Head. There's amazing coastal scenery there. We didn't see it...


This is part two of our family camping tour around the north of Scotland here is part one if you missed it.

After Dipping our feet in (so to speak) at Duncansby Head we headed west along the northern coast of Sutherland. This is an area we've never visited before and once you get past Thurso the landscape just get's better all the way with a myriad of amazing beaches and inlets.

These are the Rabbit Islands in the mouth of Tongue Bay...


The tide was out as we passed the Kyle of Tongue and the scene was fantastic. You'll have to wait for the video to see it properly as it's just a vast panorama of sands and channels covering a massive area. As with many places on our whistle stop tour it's one to return to.

Looking towards the head of the Tongue of Kyle from the causeway...


There were so many wonderful valleys and beaches and the drive down one side and back up Loch Eriboll was fantastic. I really am lost for superlatives for this stretch of coast. Find me a job in Sutherland please!

This is Traigh Allt Chailgeag, or to us the 'Beach of the lost welly', as Clare managed to walk into some proper quick sand. It had sands, back dunes, burns, arches and caves and even little wooded areas with a hazel tree. Stunning...


Eventually we made it to the campsite at Durness, Sango Sands...


And we had to persevere with views like this from the tent...




The weather was bright and clear, but crikey there was a cold nip in the strong wind!





A great place to explore...


And just soak it all in...


The on-site facilities were ace too, including the bar/restaurant with free wifi and great food.

Just down the road is Smoo Cave. An amazing limestone cave, part collapsed sea cave, part naturally formed limestone cave. It's free to go in and walk about, but you can pay a few quid to go on a little excursion deeper into it via an inflatable. Sadly nothing extreme though...




It really is some size!





We had intended to go over to Cape Wrath to camp, but weather and time was against us, so, after two nights at Durness it was south towards our next camp at Ardmair just north of Ullapool. And that is a place I've not been to for 26 years as a  first year geology student! 

Again I've got video of these areas to edit, so watch this space for them once I've finished the blog posts...