August 1 – Back in Sweden

Home again
We had a lie-in this morning then we went for an expensive  breakfast  on the boat. Later  Patrik and Terese went to the tax-free shop and bought three bottles red wine. Time for lunch.  We decided to have the Lunch buffet  so we would  make it through the day and  this was also  expensive.  After lunch we took a nap  then it was only to wait until the boat docked.  We were home on Swedish ground again at 17.30 hours.

July 31 – Journey to Sweden

After a little lie-in and when we were all washed and dressed, we drove south.  Before we drove to the terminal to check in  we went for a little shopping.  More Magners for Terese and a supply of food to have on the boat, breakfast and  coffee breaks were so expensive on the boat. We went directly to our cabins and got settled in.  Patrik rushed  up and checked the open hours for the tax-free shop.  When they eventually opened Patrik was the third person in the shop and quickly made his way to the shelves with whisky ,  grabbed a bottle of Lagavulin Distillers Edition,  as he was terrified  it would be sold out.  Terese bought 2 bottles of  liquer in the tax-free shop.  Gun and Lennarth bought booze and sweets. Later Terese and Patrik went back and bought a few other things.  In the evening  Terese and Patrik treated Gun and Lennarth to dinner to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. The evening ended with a visit to the pub and a little sing-a-long.

July 30 – Stirling

The day started  as usual, up at the normal time, breakfast and morning chores.  We drove around looking for a Tesco store so Terese could buy Magners to take home, unfortunately we could not  find one but we found the road to Stirling , so we took it.   When we arrived at Stirling Castle we all felt we had seen enough castles and thought the entrance fee was a little  too expensive.  We decided to take pictures of the  outside of  the castle and also of the Wallace Monument which lies a bit away but  after taking  photos of the castle  we went down to Stirling Old Town  and took a coffee break with tasty muffins instead.  We went back to the car and continued our journey to Newcastle, tomorrow we take the boat home.  We drive Edinburgh Bypass and decide to drive the coastal route.  In Berwick-upon-Tweed we have a break and eat lunch at McDonalds and buy some Magners for Terese in the nearby shopping centre. When we drive south to Belford we choose the coastal route, it is nicer and there should be more campsites along the motorway.  Even today we notice it is a Bank holiday all the campsites are fully booked, but in Craster  we meet a kind owner who  finds us a spot for our tent so we decide to spend the night there.

July 28 – Isle of Islay

Patrik was awake first which was unusual, he seemed overexcited. Probably due to the fact that he was on Islay. During the night we had the worst rainfall in the whole of our trip the morning air dampness lay around 75% which made it impossible to see 15 metres in front of you in certain places. After getting packed up we went on the trips most distillery packed day. Our first stop was to Laphroaig which had a cosy little shop with leather couches etc. We were probably the first visitors for the day because the personnel seemed a little surprised but as usual very nice. The next distillery was Lagavulin. One of Patriks favourite whiskies. Unfortunately their shop was nothing special. It contained glassed in shelves where all the whiskies were. Patrik bought a dram glass and a postcard which he is going to send to Pär. We continued our journey to Ardbeg which had a proper shop and a restaurant. We were recommended to eat at the restaurant by an employee at Laphroig but we didn’t. Patrik bought a green water jug for his whiskies and Terese bought a picknick blanket in Ardbegs green colours. We met the cycling Swedish ladies again.

When this visit was done we continued north east to Kildaton Cross, which is an old celtic cross. It seems we managed to sightsee before the tourist invasion began. Then we hurried on to Bowmore where we hoped to join the round tour at 11.30, but it had already started at
11 ö’clock so we booked for the tour at15.00 hours We drove on to Caol Ila, which proved to be a smart move as their shop closed at 12 o’clock on Fridays. Patrik bought a Caol Ila Cask Strength and a dram glass,so now he has four (Edinburgh, Edradour, Lagavulin and Caol Ila). When the shop closed we drove towards bunnahahain, but was sidetracked by a lovely little pottery on the way, so we stopped for a look. They had a café so we had coffee and tea and a scone each for £2 per person. After speaking to the talkative and pleasant owner of the pottery we decided not to go to bunnahahain but go to Loch Finnlagan instead on his recommendation. After our visit to Loch Finnlagan we drove to Killnallan to look at the enormous beach. We then continued our journey to Bowmore so we wouldn’t miss the tour. When we arrived at the distillery who did we meet but the cycling ladies. Bowmore’s shop was being renovated but the temporary shop they were using was really nice. The distillery tour was interesting and exciting. We go through the whole production line (right now they didn’t have any distillation on the go) and really look at all the stages. After the tour we were treated to a wee dram. Patrik and Lennarth each bought a Bowmore 16year Limited Edition Sherry Cask which they had tasted and really liked. Terese bought a present for her uncle who likes Bowmore whisky. We then went and organised a little lunch. Gun and Lennarth bought rolls at the Co-op while Patrik and Terese went to the bakery and bought some pies to warm up. After lunch we took a quick look around the village. Patrik looked in “The Islay Whisky Shopâ€? but didn’t find anything special, even if the had lots of exciting editions, but they were a bit too expensive.

Now we longed to get back to the camping site and started to drive south. We had a quick stop in Port Ellen to check if there were available places on the 9.45 ferry from Port Ellen, instead of the 7.00 from Port Askaig (which meant getting up at 4 ö’clock). Luckily for us there were available places on the 9.45 so we happily rebooked. We then took a tour of Mull of Oa for a closer look at the countryside. Then it was back to the camping site.

July 27 – Arriving Isle of Islay

In the usual way and roughly the same time as all the other days we left the camping site by the small and winding coastal road to Oban.  We hadn’t planned so much today.. We are going to Arduaine Gardens and then on to Kennacraig from there a ferry ride over to Port Ellen on Islay.  While Gun and Lennarth went in to Arduine Gardens  Terese and Patrik sat in Loch Melfort Hotel and had tea and coffee and shortbread.  Gun and Lennarth thought the gardens were very interesting and had many different variations of plants which we had at home.  Driving a little further we stopped at Kilmartin for lunch then we drove a smaller road since we had lots of time before the ferry went to Islay.  By taking a detour we got to see Crinan Canal.  In Lochgilphead we searched for a Co-op, Patrik had seen that they had Balvenie Double Wood which was cheaper there. After driving around we found it and Patrik bought his whisky.  We drove to Tabert and took a walk around the town, ate ice-cream, etc.  We then drove to the ferry terminal and picked up our tickets.  We continued to drive south  until we found a place to stop,  and found  a very nice beach, so Gun had a quick dip in the sea.    We had food on the ferry and met some Swedes.  They  were from Stockholm and had flown to Glasgow then were going to drive around Scotland.  We  also met a group of ladies who were going to cycle round Islay.  When we arrive on Islay we drove directly up to Kintra Farm where the camping site was.  The tents were put up on grass covered  sanddunes by the beach. We ate supper, then it was time for bed.

July 26 – Oban

We woke up  at a reasonable time.  After getting ready  and having breakfast we followed one  of the guidebooks tips, to follow the road through Glen Nevis to the end.  When this was done we drove back to Fort William and then continued south.  When we came closer to  Glen Coe we discovered a road round Loch Leven.  We stopped at a Shell station in Glen Coe which had nearly everything.  After  Lennarth bought a plastic hammer for the tent pegs we continued on our way to Oban.  Immediately when we came to Oban we chose as we had earlier to drive out to the camping site, to make sure we would have a pitch for the tents.  When the pitches were organised and lunch was eaten we went for a walk  around the town,  book places at McTavish’s  visit the distillery and Craig’s Tower.  Oban is a very beautiful harbour town. It has a lively center and as usual pleasant people.  At the distillery Patrik  learned how to drink Daluine the proper way, a very nice experience.  He even bought an Oban Distiller Edition.  After our walk around the town center we drove back to the camp site to prepare  for the evening.  McTavish’s Kitchen was an exciting experience.  Lennarth ordered Haggis, which was really tastey and filling.  When we were enjoying our dessert and coffee the Scottish Show started and continued for two hours.  Lots of bagpipes, fiddles and accordions, highland fling and gaellic  songs. We then drove back to the camping site and slept.

July 25 – Fort William

Glenfinnan Aqueduct After all the lie-ins we had on Skye the last morning wasn’t. We got up 6 ö’clock so that we wouldn’t have to rush to the ferry which went at 10.15 but the journey to the ferry terminal which lay on the other side of the island went smoothly as the roads were fairly empty. We actually made the earlier ferry at 8.50. Glenfinnan Monument with Loch Shiel in backgroundWhen we arrive at Mallaig the journey began towards Glenfinnan to see the Glenfinnan Monument and Aqueduct and Patrik wanted to dip his feet in Loch Shiel.

The Caledoinian Canal and Ben NevisWe then continued towards Fort William. When we came to Fort William we drove directly to Glen Nevis camping site to make sure we had a pitch. When we had pitched the tents and eaten lunch we drove to Ben Nevis Distillery and was that a disappointment, ugly house and boring shop. Patrik bought a liten 10 year old Single Malt Ben Nevis whisky so he could taste it to see if it was anything for him. We then went to the Caledonian Canal to look at the locks. When we were satisfied with that we drove via Inverloch Castle and then into the town centre “High Streetâ€?. Dinner and Whisky tastingThere were plenty of souvenir shops, so Terese was happy and there were plenty of Whisky shops to keep Patrik happy. Patrik bought an Old Ballantrau. which he later discovered was recommended by “The Whisky Magazineâ€?, great happiness. After our shopping and a coffee we drove back to the camping site and had dinner. Patrik decided after dinner to climb part of Ben Nevis. He was gone an hour and climbed quite a bit up the mountain which take approximately 5-6 hours to climb. We then posted our postcards and planned the following days journey. To Oban, Glencoe, Islay, Stirling etc.

July 25 – In Fort William

Now we are in Fort William.  Terese  had 15 minutes on an Internet Café in the High Street.  She wanted to check if money had been drawn from her account in Edinburgh when she didn’t get any money from the ATM.   I would just like to inform you who read this blogg that a journey diary  will  be published just as soon as we have a little more time to input it.

We are having a good time, it is warm and nice.  We have looked at lots of castles, ruins, and whisky.  The people are kind and helpful.

July 24 – Isle of Skye

Harvesting peat with Old Man Of Storr in the backgroundThe day starts with light rain so we have a lie-in. Then we are ready we drive north towards the Old Man of Storr. According to our guidebook it should take 30 minutes to go up to the cliff. What a climb it turns out to be. We ended up in the clouds.. What a cool cliff, unbelievable that it hasn’t fallen over. What a view. Downhill went a lot quicker. Old Man of Storr After a quick bite to eat by Kilt Rock we continue our journey between Staffin and Uig which is said to be very beautiful as one drives through the mountain range Quirang. QuiraingWe made quick stops beside The Table, The Needle and The Prison in the mountain range but realised that we didn’t have time to go out to the place (takes roughly one hour return). We drove instead to Dunvegan via Uig. A little against our will we paid to get in to the castle, but we also got to go into the gardens. Inside the castle it felt familiar due to the fact that Blair Castle had already shown everything which we saw here. That which was most interesting was a scrap of satin material “The Fairy Flagâ€? from between the 5th and 8th century. Ancient in otherwords.

Dunvegan CastleAfter a quick look at the castle and gardens we drove to Talisker Distillery. The Distilleryis beautifully located by the beach at Loch Harport. The outside wasn’t as impressive as Blair Atholl. The shop was ok. The whisky range which interested Patrik was in the upper price class. We stopped at Aros Experience to see what it was. It really was a tourist trap, filled with unnecessary tourist souvenirs. We continued on to “The Lower Deckâ€? to buy Fish and Chips. The food was eaten at the camp site, Patrik drank one of his ale’s to his food.

July 23 – Arriving at the Isle of Skye

Urqhart Castle, Loch NessAfter the usual morning chores we travel towards Urqhart Castle, the most famous place along Loch Ness. After taking pictures of the castle, we didn’t go in, but continued towards Drumnadrochit, according to the guidebook this is where to buy Loch Ness souvenirs which we had promised to buy for the family.

Gun in the Scottish HighlandsAfter shopping we drove back towards Invermoriston because it is from that village the road goes to Isle of Skye. The road was really cool. We drove approximately 200 meters over the sea with mountain tops around us which were nearer 1000m. Before we went over to the Isle of Skye we stopped to look at Eilean Donan Castle which isn’t too far from the bridge to the Isle of Skye. Eileen Donan CastlePatrik, Terese and Gun went into the castle for a look while Lennarth went around and took photos outside. Inside the castle there were lots of old memorabilia from relations who own the castle. Not as much memorabilia as in Blair Castle, so one was a little blasé.

Portree HarbourAfter the sightseeing tour we went over to the Isle of Skye with the intention of finding a camping site at Portree where we could use as a base for our trips round the island. At Portree we found our way to Torvaig camping site where we stayed the rest of the day as it was raining. We took the chance to write postcard to our friends and have a rest. In the evening we went down to Portree for dinner. We ate at an Indian restaurant. Patrik took a dish that was so strong his eyes were watering.