We fell asleep listening to the waves lap at Mika’s wheels – ok, not literally but they weren’t far behind them – waking to the pitter patter of the rain accompanying the soft waves. Although it had been raining on and off most of the night, by the time we were up and breakfasted it had eased off and the sun had started to come out. We walked up the road into Lossiemouth to do some proper ‘local’ shopping, visiting the butchers to buy some Haggis and Black Pudding amongst other things, a local deli for some freshly smoked haddock and another where we finally found some local honey. It isn’t a particularly big or pretty place but it had the necessities (including several pubs and a fish and chippie!!)
As the weather is changing and we are expecting quite a bit of rain over the next week we thought it wise to do some research before we went out to the pub – a little more than a pin in a map which for us is impressive! – and decided that we would head for Loch Lomond for a couple of nights. So, we headed off into the hills, along the edge of the Cairngorms, whose peaks were covered in snow before they disappeared behind the clouds as the weather turned. Miraculously, the rain slowed and the clouds lifted briefly for us to stop in Pitlochry for lunch and a walk around, starting again as we got back on the road again.
As we weren’t in a hurry, we stopped at a farm shop for a coffee and then finally arrived at our little CL (Gartfairn Farm, Balmaha, Drymen, G63 0AQ, £12 inc.) late afternoon, amazed by the stunning views looking out onto Loch Lomond.
The forecast was right thankfully and the sun had come out to make an appearance today, so after a run/exercise and some crepes for breakfast we set off for a lovely walk in a northerly direction along the side of the Loch, part of the West Highland Way, wiggling through the forest where the bluebells were still aplenty, stopping after a couple of hours for lunch before heading back to Mika.
We managed to dodge most of the rain clouds thankfully but there were two points when it looked like we were going to be enveloped in the cloud but it just frisked us lightly before passing us by!
We woke to the pitter patter of rain which was expected, I headed off for a run whilst Keith did his exercises inside Mika for the first time in ages and once sorted we set off on the long drive South.
We decided that as it was going to be a pretty grim day wherever we went that we would get some mileage under our belt, arriving at our little CL in a field (The Village Field, Ossington Road, Norwell, Newark on Trent, NG23 6JW £12 inc.) around 5:30pm, roughly 10 degrees warmer than it had been this morning.
It was a warm but tranquil night and we managed to get ourselves sorted and on the road again before the rain arrived, setting off to Melton Mowbray to stock up on Pork Pie and Stilton!!! …… not to mention the fully stuffed bacon and sausage cob, all in all a pretty satisfying lunch.
With the market closing around us we did a quick food shop and headed North again to an overnight stop to catch up for a nice pub meal with Keith’s mum, Liz who is away for the week with her sister and husband, Pat and Keith. Unfortunately their CL was fully booked but we found one not too far away tucked behind an old Wool Mill which is still used to make some of beautiful wool, Merino Wool and Cashmere clothing. (Splash Farm, Lea Bridge, Matlock, DE4 5AF, £12.50 inc.)
As it is on the edge of the Peak District the hills rolled around us and the views were stunning when the rain clouds lifted enough for us to see, unfortunately better for the naked eye than the camera again.
We woke and felt honoured as the rain held off until about 8:45am which enabled us to get a little bit of only slightly damp air before the skies opened again and remained that way for the rest of the day….if nothing else, the grass was getting a good watering which it desperately needed!
We set off on our short hop back to meet Kevin and Petra in their new home at Mercia Marina on their beautiful narrow boat. Having spent the penultimate couple of days with them before they sold up their motorhome it was lovely to share the first cosy stove session with a bit of a European influence …. Paella, Red wine and Cheese!
Leaving the blue skies and sunshine of Derbyshire yesterday lunchtime we travelled back to ‘Base Camp’ in Holyport to find that we have some new companions who were so young they still had their price tags on!
Three weeks away to do Scotland just isn’t enough to do it justice but it was an excellent taster so we will be back to do some more walking and try and get in more than a couple of distilleries next time!