August 17 to 18th
Got an Acer n35 PDA with GPS capabilities built in off eBay, for £90.00 and was trying it out for the first time, it seemed to work very well. I do not think it is as easy to use as the laptop but it had other advantages and it got us there.
Gibson Park, Caravan Club Site High Street
Melrose, Scotland, TD6 9RY
Only sopped for one night on our way to Aviemore, we like Melrose and used to visit for the Sevens, so it seemed like a good place for the night. It is a CC site in the centre of Melrose just opposite the rugby club, not far off the A68 or A7, in an excellent position, two mins walk to the shops and bars and has the usual good CC facilities. There were a lot of Italian registered motorhome about, strange as we do not usually see many foreign vans at all. Walked to town on the evening and had a bar meal in one of the pubs and a few beers as well. Next morning we were lucky to get out of town just as the pipe band championships were starting.
August 18th to 22nd
The drive up was relatively easy but there were long hold ups at the Forth bridge.
Glenmore Forest Camping & Caravan Park
Aviemore, Inverness-shire, Scotland, PH22 1QU
Site is in the heart of the Cairngorms on Loch Morlich, with its sandy beaches, ideal for sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, fishing and relaxing. It is a Forestry Commission site but it is now run by the Camping & Caravan Club and has new facilities. Scotland's largest ski area is nearby with a funicular railway up Mount Cairngorm. We had been here before on our honeymoon, 35 years ago and the only change I could see was the new toilet block.
It was very wet when we arrived and the only hard standing had caravans on, luckily a percentage of the site is on hard rocky ground so we pitched there.
I managed to get the satellite working, to a certain extent anyway, we had some channels and we had forgotten the sky card for the didge box. It was at this time I discovered a problem with Midges, I was almost eaten alive in the short time I was setting up the dish. It was also very cold.
Our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary and it was still wet and cold, thirty-five years earlier, it had been warm and sunny, this global warming is working in very strange ways.
We headed off into Aviemore, we left the scooter and took the van as it was too wet (something we have rarely done). We wanted to have a look round, to see how much it had changed in 30 something years and have an anniversary meal. First we decided we would eat, and had a good three course Sunday lunch in one of the hotels and a beer that tasted like home brew (not good home brew). Then we went for our walk round.
Well most of the town has been taken over by Mcdonalds Highland Resort a hotel group, the old main street looked the same but what was the new town centre last time we were there had gone, replaced by this resort. We had, had a problem finding somewhere to park in Aviemore, Mcdonalds Highland Resort seemed to have car parks all over their resort but they are not in use. As I have already mentioned they pulled down the old centre and built a shop and car park that were both empty, when the rest of the main street was heaving. The whole of Mcdonalds Highland Resort looked empty when we where there (presumably it is used during the winter), what a waste. Lastly the ice rink had gone, a winter resort without an ice rink?? It was all very disappointing.
We finished the day with a trip to Cairngorm but we were too late to take the trip in funicular railway, it was a chairlift last time we were there. After that we went back to the campsite and had a walk through the trees to Loch Morlich.
Unusually for us we went out for a drive in the van again, first we had a drive to Loch Ness, we parked up to look at the lock on the Caledonian Canal at the top end of Loch Ness.
We then headed north, over the Kessock bridge to the north side of the Moray Firth and the Black Isle, for a spot of dolphin watching, of course we didn't see any, just lots of other people looking for them. It is still very cold.
Went back up Cairngorm but on the scooter this time and this time we did get on the funicular railway to the visitor centre. Now you can walk to the top of Cairngorm but if you get on the funicular railway to the visitor centre, you are not allowed outside, anyway the fog was that bad you couldn't even see outside, we came up for the view and it was foggy so we had a beer and went back down.
Eventually the sun came out and we had a pleasant evening watching the sun go down over the Loch Morlich.
It was a very long drive back home.