Our choice for this year’s main vacation was Scotland – the land of lochs, the Highlands, the castles and whisky. It should be the perfect destination for our first long camper trip. There is a handy ferry connection between IJmuiden, a 20 minutes drive from Amsterdam, and Newcastle in Northern England, which is close to the border with Scotland.
On June 30th we departed at 17:30 in IJmuiden on the Princess Seaways Kobnhavn. To our surprise our cabin turned out to be quite comfortable with a bunk bed and private shower and toilet. At 09:30 the next morning we arrived in the port of Newcastle and after organizing money and a breakfast we took the A1 along the east coast of Northern England.
Our first destination of this day was the remote village of St. Abbs. In the St. Abbs Head National Nature Reserve we hiked through the hills along the cliffs to the Stevensons lighthouse where we had great views of the rugged Berwickshire coast. From St. Abbs we drove past Edinburgh to Perth – the gateway to the Highlands. We camped in Scone, which is famous for its Palace. We spent the evening in a local pub watching the final Spain vs. Italy of EURO 2012.
Next morning we took off to drive further north as we wanted to get to the Cairngorms, our first hiking destination. On the way we stopped in Dunkeld to visit the partly ruined cathedral and from there we made a 3 hours walk from Birnam to The Hermitage and along some waterfalls, through the hills and woods around Birnam and Dunkeld.
Our camping for the night was in Blair Atholl. In the evening while cooking dinner the water supply stopped working and with it the whole electric circuit broke down in the back of the camper, which meant that also the fridge didn’t work anymore.
The most important and eye-catching building in these parts is Blair Castle, dating from 1269 and seat of the Atholl dukedom. Nowadays you can visit the rooms in this whitewashed castle and stroll through the surrounding park with its Highland cows and deer. In front of the castle we also enjoyed listening to a traditional piper. When we left Blair Atholl we saw that the battery lamp in the dashboard of the camper was lighted up. We stopped at a Bosch service but they had no time to check it. Convinced that it had something to do with the electric circuit which broke down last night we decided to go on with our trip and at around lunch time we arrived in Aviemore, a ski and tourism resort in the Cairngorms.