August 31, 2009

Shall I tell you where I am?

As road trips go ours was rather fine. Setting off 1st thing and heading towards an airport can be misery making but we had a mission and so didn’t mind at all. There was the inevitable jam on the M25 but the time passed listening to Chris Moyles with his guest Peter Jones. The catch phrases from the Dragons’ Den are slowly but surely making their way into everyday language as everyone gets it if you say, ‘shall I tell you where I am?’

It is a long way to Holy Island and we had to be there before the tide turned, as when the causeway is covered there is no movement on or off.
Since we visited there has been a news report about motorists getting wet – it really isn’t rocket science. If the tide is in do not drive into it!
It is a beautiful place: very peaceful and calm although probably not so during the day. We had a room booked at Bamburgh View - the one in the picture if you are inclined to look. The room was perfect. It looked like the owners had thought about what they would like from a b&b and created it. Many other establishments should try that!

We strolled about on the island, had supper in the Crown & Anchor, a good sleep, perfect freshly cooked breakfast and were clever enough to leave the island when the tide was out.

We headed towards Berwick but drove straight out again deciding to keep going to Edinburgh, which is stunning but so busy I felt quite claustrophobic. We parked the car in a strange shaped car park on 6th floor and trudged down the stairs. We got to the 2nd floor to see a sign that said, 'shops on 5th floor '...
Two things stand out – I saw a man in a kilt and pedestrians obey traffic signals. I spotted a crowd on a corner and thought they were watching a street artist or something but no they were waiting for the green man to flash them to safety.
On our way back to the strange car park we (ok I) managed to get us lost in John Lewis. Had to buy perfume to recover!

Arriving at Stonehaven we checked into Harbour Side. The town is quite large but we were in the beautiful harbour. Another fantastic evening and night followed by the entertaining Gordon and Marilyn from Canada over breakfast regaling us of their travel tales.
Setting off the following morning on route to Aberdeen we stopped off in a place called Keith.
All very nice and gentle. The Scots are friendly and the shops are fine.
We had decided to get a picnic lunch and The Deli supplied us with everything anyone could ever need. Keith was charming: friendly, chatty with an air of calm.

Stocked up with delicious food we drove to Spey Bay. This is where the river meets the sea and without slipping into gush mode - it is truly amazing. Each place we arrived at seemed more beautiful than the one before. There were swans on the sea and many people having lots of fun.

Loch Ness was our next sleep stop; The Clansman Hotel - more amazing views and moments of awe and another kilted Scotsman. Men should wear skirts – they are cool and if big flame-haired Scots can carry it off then anyone can. Even Gok would approve I’m sure! Nessie didn’t come to play but we had yet another amazing meal, strolled to the water via an underpass from the hotel and reveled in our brilliance in discovering all these fantastic places. Sitting by the edge of Loch Ness after dinner trying to comprehend the size of it was mind-boggling. But we managed and after more self praise returned to our perfect (again) room over-looking the water.

From here to Fort William we had a pause at Oich and found a tearoom by the swing bridge. We were becoming more convinced that we fancied a boating holiday and got chatting with the owner of the café.
He suggested we stop off at Laggan and visit the floating pub, which we did and all very pleasing it was too.

On to Loch Lochy to stay at the LetterFinlay Lodge Hotel and, yes, you’ve guessed, another amazing place. The hotel has a private beach and jetty so we were able again to get the water’s edge and bathe in smugness!

The Loch has its own monster called Lizzie who has been spotted many times – not by us though.
I think it is possible that Nessie and Lizzie might be boys and therefore stay hidden, as their girl names are embarrassing! Can you imagine a big Scottish monster rising from the depths only to be thought of as a girl?

And there you have it – our road trip. There are photos on the gallery page of my website if you fancy looking.

Shall I tell you where I am? I’m out x

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