F Xmas 2021 - Traveller's Tales 2 - History

The Gerrard Chronicles 2021 - Traveller's Tales - History trips

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History Trip in Scotland

Ken, again needing photos for history lectures at the U3A took us to more Scottish historical locations. We went North on
Saturday 5th June, as soon as we were allowed to after lock-down. We stopped at the Scotch Corner Holiday Inn, which we had in the past but we did not like their new shower room & will not be stopping there again.

Sunday 6th June To Aberfeldy

We left before 9 with very low petrol but I had noted a garage near Junction 59 on the A1 & filled up there at proper, not motorway, prices 1.26 per litre. Ho-ho. We went by the A1, A696, which although only a lane each way, is quite fast except in 30mph villages. We stopped for photos at Carter Bar.

On up the A68 to the Edinburgh By-Pass. A huge jam at first until the A7 roundabout but it was plain sailing after that: to the M8, M9 & a stop at the Sterling Services for Avis to have a toastie. Ken declined because of getting fat..

Then, it became really pretty. We turned off soon on the A828 to Crieff, where stopping seemed impossible. The next pair of roads, A828 & A826, were very attractive.

Loch na Creige

The Schiehallion Hotel was very easy to find but ken filled up at the Co-op Garage opposite: 1.31 per litre, not too bad. The Hotel is very nice in an old-fashioned way, although the rooms have been modernised. Parking was in the road putside, though. We never got a chance to shower, as we went into the bar, where strict Covid protools were observed, for a pot of tea. As we were on the 2nd floor, Avis did not go up to the room until later. We got into conversation with Scottish tourist Cliff from Motherwell, joined by Jim & Janice from Linlithgow. Sometimes, the accent was hard to follow, though.

Schihallion Hotel

Birks of Aberfeldy

Then, Ken went out into the town at 20:20 to take photos

Monday 7th June To Thurso

We set off at 9 precisely, East to the A9 past the Cairngorms, which still had snow on them & Inverness. We stayed on the A9 over Cromarty Firth, all the way to Helmsdale, with a stop in Tain for lunch, tea & Avis having a toast. This was 7.50 cash only, so the waitress got an armful of change, as apart from our cleaning lady Hazel, we just have not used any cash since Lockdown. The gorse was out everywhere.

Snow on the Cairngorms

Cromarty Firth Bridge

Cromarty Firth


Strath of Kildonan

Then, we turned up the Strath of Kildonan, which is a track with passing places, very pretty & fairly dramatic. This was one of the significant sites of the Highland Clearances, as it was one of the few places where Clansmen put up an effective resistance. It was very long, as well, a lot bleaker on top & over the North side than the Strath.

Ben Griam Mor, Ben Griam Beg & Loch an Ruarthair

First view of the North Coast

We went round the back way to Thurso via Westfield & filled up before the town. We visited Scrabster before checking into the Hotel. 222 miles did not seem to use much fuel, although Ken never went fast. The Station Hotel looks basic but, although the room is smaller, it is as good as the Schiehallion in its way. Very welcoming host. We went to an Indian on the other side of the road for dinner. This was ok but somewhat bland. Then, we chatted to a Wind Farms worker in the bar.

Thurso Beach

Tuesday 8th June To Oban

Dounreay Fast Breeder Reactor (Ken thought this did not work)

The weather was largely fine again. We left at 9 & set off, quite quickly, along the North Coast, stopping occasionally for photos & slowing down at Bettyhill & Tongue. When we got to Loch Eriboll, we ran into Camper Trucks big time & it took ages to get to Durness, after which, the problem evaporated.

Ben Hope & Loch Hope

Loch Eriboll

Ken did not know where they all got to but when 2 meet on one of these single-track roads, everyone is in trouble. It seemed to take a long time to get to Rhiconich but we had hardly started.
We went round by Scourie & down to Unapool. Inchnadamph was all closed up, so Ken peed on their wall. Only at Ullapool could we get a toastie for Avis & a pee for her. (3.95 Ken, 6 Avis cash only again. That drained all the cash he had). It was obviously far too late to go round by Poolewe, so we went down the main road to Muir of Ord & Drumnadrochit to Loch Ness, down the Great Glen, past Fort William & Onich. I made a mistake at the Creaghan Bridge, thinking we were there but then went on the the correct Connel Bridge & with a little difficulty, found the hotel. We had been on the road for about 7 & a half hours. The Wench in Charge was very helpful. I had booked a big double bed but these were on the 2nd floor & Ken had mentioned our ages when booking (something I should have done long ago) & she offered us twin beds on the Ground Floor. We had venison casserole for dinner, Avis not noticing the crushed black pudding garnish!

Wednesday 9th June To Gargrave

A bit later off, thinking it would be a much milder day, both in distance & time but Ken was wrong. It turned out to be 290.5 miles, almost as much as yesterday but without the single-track road aggravation. We went East past Loch Etive & then, Loch Awe, turning down towards Inverary just before Kilchurn Castle. Then, it was round Loch Fynne, Rest & be Thankful, Arrochar, Tarbet & down Loch Lomond. We had some light rain occasionally but from Glasgow on, having filled up at the restored BP garage just before Erskine Bridge, it rained most of the time down South on the A74(M). One Services was closed but the next, at Abington, was not.

Kilchurn Castle

Eventually & well before the next Services, the rain stopped, so at Penrith, we left the M6 & cut through the Lake District, going by Ullswater & over Kirkstone Pass. The A591 is the saddest Road in England (because one is leaving the Lake District), down to the Kendal By-Pass but straight over the M6 on the A65 to Gargrave, where we checked into the ancient (1640) Mason’s Arms, getting a nice room with an enormous bed, which was 10 extra Ken noted when we booked it but worth it to have Avis in it again. B&B only & we filled out a breakfast form. The nearest Chinese was in Skipton & the landlord had his doubts but it, the “Lychee” turned out to quite good & we had to take half of it away for tomorrow’s dinner at home.

SW from the Kirkstone Pass

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Traveller's Tales

Xmas 2021 Index page

Contact: Ken Baldry or Avis Saltsman, 17 Gerrard Road, Islington, L6ndon N1 8AY +44(0)020 7359 6294 or e-mail him or her
This page's URL: http://www.art-science.com/Xmas2021/travel2.html Last revised 15/9/2021 Copyright: ©Ken Baldry 2021 All rights reserved but print it off if you want to.