After having said goodbye, we leave Beauly in the afternoon. It is always difficult to get away, because Iain and Cathy always want us to stay for a while longer. We wouldn't mind too much, but there is so much more that we want to see in Scotland!
We drive south along the A82 and soon pass Fort William. We won't go to Arran this year because we think 2 days is way too short to visit that island. Instead, we have decided going to see Dunoon for another 2 days. The weather is nice so we could possibly camp.
When we want to enter Glen Coe past Ballachulish, however, we end up in a short queue and soon we are told by agents that we will have to choose another road, the coastal road towards Oban, because a serious accident has occurred and the road will remain closed for hours. The west coast is actually the only option because the next road to the south goes through Pitlochry and that is really a big detour. There are actually only two roads in the west that connect the north to the south.
With this route we pass all famous castles such as Castle Stalker alongside, also known as Castle Aarrrggghhh from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail where the grail is probably still in French hands according to the film. Right behind the castle is a small lighthouse, Port Appin Lighthouse, which was painted pink by a vandal a few years ago. According to the information board, the entire lighthouse was even replaced by a new one.
We drive through a fantastically beautiful landscape, like so many places in Scotland. It does not matter much to us whether we see a certain place more often or not, every time we enjoy the rugged nature again, especially when the weather is as good as it is now. We can finally sit outside in a t-shirt and which place could be better for a picknick than next to a loch with a view of the mountains.
At the northern tip of Loch Awe we drive past Kilchurn Castle, a restored ruins on an island in the lake and abandoned almost 250 years ago after the lightning had caused a fire. Further south you can find 3 castles, but they are not as accessible as this one. In the high season a steamboat sails to it.
Through Glen Aray we drive to the south, along Inveraray and Loch Fyne. We now go directly to Dunoon because we also have to find a place to sleep. Dunoon is located on the Cowal peninsula along Loch Long, a salt water loch. We do not have much time for sightseeing because we are trying to find a hotel, but it doesn't work out. Most are full, or, if there is already a place, we are not allowed to smoke in our room.That last argument ultimately brings us to a campsite nearby, the Invereck Countryside Holiday Park. A grumpy lady welcomes us and tells us that the ground is rather wet because last Tuesday the entire campsite was flooded by the rain. And indeed, we sink completely into the grass and our car gets almost stuck. Even the driest spot is still soaking wet. Just before dark, we finally set up the tent. Outside, midges, the vicious Scottish mosquitoes, are buzzing in large clouds but after half an hour they suddenly disappear.
It gets pretty cold in the evening and Elisabeth goes into the tent early, I'm still reading in the car for a while. The thermometer in the car tells me it is 7 degrees at 11 o'clock and on the news they say that at night it could be freezing. Fortunately, we have a lot of insulation material for under the our beds and warm duvets.