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To Newcastle, Strathyre and along Loch Ness to Beauly

Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 04 to 06 July 2000

Tuesday 04 July, to Newcastle, Strathyre and along Loch Ness to Beauly

Scotland, a place where we both haven't been before and where we always wanted to go. In our fantasy Scotland has something special, something magical but we can't say exactly how. Today we leave for Scotland and see if our imagination is right. Maybe it is a disappointment, but from what we have seen on tv we don't think so. Anyhow, we will have a relaxing holiday.
The map of ScotlandWe have been travelling together a few times already, but always without a camera. We would remember all the beautiful images in our head, we thought. But now, going to Scotland, a country neither of us has been to yet, we have to take a camera. We have to lend one, but we are not quite sure how to use it. Therefore there are not many pictures in this account and the quality is not realy good, compared with the photographs you can find in later travel accounts on this site. For better pictures of Scotland, you can have a look on the other Scotland pages. Travelling for us means relaxation, no obligations, to be able to do whatever we want. So on our first day, we leave Groningen (in the north east of Holland) early to visit some old small towns in Holland first, like Alkmaar and IJmuiden. At 16h. we drive onto the boat and before long, we are sitting in the bar, looking at the darkening sea.
One tip for poor devils like us: take your own beverages, order one drink and keep refilling; it is much cheaper and we did it on this trip!
Elisabeth has a rough night, though, because she has never been on such a long boat trip in the night and can't sleep. So she listens to the music from upstairs, until she remembers the music on the Titanic also kept on playing while the ship was already sinking! Well, that does her no good to get some rest. Teije is unconscious, he sleeps well (he mostly does...)

Wednesday 05 July 2000, to Strathyre

At 9h. in the morning we arrive at Newcastle and before we get out of the harbour we have to pass several roundabouts. At the first one we go wrong already. It is the first time for Teije that he has to drive on the 'wrong' side of the road, so we decide to just drive around a bit for the first half hour, to get used to the traffic and the driving on the left side of the road.
The border between Scotland and EnglandWe don't exactly have a plan or itinerary, we just want to see all of Scotland. Quite ambitious, don't you think. But first we want to visit the Highlands, at a relaxed pace.
We avoid the highways and take the small roads to enjoy the environment. After hours of driving, we arrive at Stirling and after a look on the map we decide to search for a place to spend the night in Strathyre. According to the map it is situated almost in the exact geographical centre of Scotland, in a woody area.
Until now, we have always camped in a tent, but this time we want to stay in hotels or bed and breakfasts. But we are not prepared for the prices. After a comparision between all hotels in this small village, we decide to treat ourselves the first night with a somewhat more expensive hotel; well, that is what we thought. But after 3 weeks it turns out to be one of the cheapest hotels on our entire journey: £ 20 each., about € 65 for one night for two persons.
We stay in the Ben Sheann Hotel with 2 very friendly people, Terry and Lorna, as owners. It is only for one night, but it wouldn't be our last night there. But we didn't know that then.
From our window we have a beautiful view on the hills and the sun that sets. We feel totally at home.

Thursday 06 July 2000, to Beauly, the first time we see Loch Ness

Sunart peninsula Sunart peninsulaOur first night and morning in Scotland. We leave Strathyre and go into the mountains (says Elisabeth; hills, Teije says). We feal completely at home. The scenery is magnificent, this country has something, an atmosphere of vastness and quietness, it meets all our expectations. Through Glen Dochart we soon arrive in the area of Ben Nevis and Glen Coe.
Just past Fort William, we turn left onto the A830, into the regio Sunart. There are not many roads here and they become narrower all the time. We enjoy the landscape (as we do on all our journey) and now, afterwards, we can not understand why we have taken so few pictures (only 70 in 3 weeks, of which even some are lousy; nowadays we make 200 in one week).
View on Ben NevisIn Strontian, we are happy to find a petrol station (£ 1 a litre, € 1,61). One seriously has to take into account that there are very few petrol stations in some parts of the Highlands. After a few hours we are opposite to Fort William with a beautiful view on Ben Nevis, the highest peak in Scotland (and of all England). But we have to make a long detour, before we can continue our way to the north.
Along Loch Lochy and Loch Oich we arrive at Fort Augustus. Here starts the biggest water reservoir of Scotland: Loch Ness, 37 kilometers long, and averagely 1.6 kilometers broad. The depth is 200 metres. Driving on the A82, we can't see much of the Loch, nor any sign of the monster. But the view on the opposite side with it's steep hillsides is very nice, as is of course Castle Urquhart, which is situated just before Drumnadrochit. But we decided to find a place for the night, first.
Smoking in secret Smoking in secretWe end up in Beauly, 15 kilometers west of Inverness. After a walk through the village, we decide to go to a Bed and Breakfast, hoping that will be cheaper than a hotel. Well, it is not: £22,- each for one night and we are not allowed to smoke. After asking, we get permission to smoke one or two, with the cigarette outside the window! But we have no intention to quit smoking yet, so we spent the evening in the town and decide to look for another place tomorrow. We regret it, because Beauly seems a nice place from where we can visit all different parts of the Highlands. And also it means that we will lose some time again tomorrow, searching for a suitable place.


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