Monday, 25 February 2019

The NC381.......

 Shouldn't that be the NC500 you might be thinking??? Well here's maybe why not.....

"I have 5 days off work next week. Is that enough time to do the NC500?"
"How long do I need to do the NC500?"
"Tell me what I should see on the NC500"
"Is there a map of the NC500?"
"What route does the NC500 follow?"

If you are planning any sort of NC500 trip...then you might have thought some of these questions...or have read other people asking on the many NC500 groups that are on facebook.

So many people advise you need a certain amount of days...need to go a certain route...need to see certain places.

The truth is, you will never see all of the NC500....not in 3 days, 3 weeks and probably not 3 months!

We have just spent 3 days doing one of our many versions of the NC500...we drove 381 miles and despite having done the north coast many times before, we still found new places to visit and new things to see.

If you only have 3 days, then go for it! Don't let anyone put you off...just enjoy your experience.

Everyone will experience it completely differently. The NC500 should be your own personal experience of connecting with the wonderful beauty of the North Coast of Scotland.

If you wish to bike it, walk it, drive it, do it in a motorhome, motorbike, car or campervan....its your experience! Just remember to be respectful of locals, other road users and nature & wildlife as you go.

If you want to see castles, lochs, mountains, beaches, lighthouses, cafes, restaurants, harbours, or the open road....there is no right or wrong.  You decide what you would like to see, then plan your route....leaving room for a little flexibility.

Every time we go, we always make a list of places to go to next time....and the list isn't getting any shorter!

Just go and experience it 💜 your way, in your time...and above all enjoy it and create some amazing memories!

Here are just some of our photos from this trip. You can see more on instagram @rachie_bee_2015

Also, someone pointed put to me that there was no way of subscribing by email to my blog....there should now be the option to do so at the bottom of the page. 😁🤗😁






Sunday, 24 February 2019

This is what it's all about!




Shortly after 6am this morning the dog was jumping on the bed, I got up for the toilet and decided to peek out through the blinds.....my hubby must has thought I was bonkers as I threw on some clothes, picked up my camera and ran outside!

TJ was overjoyed....he was getting out before he even asked to go out!

There are not enough words to describe how beautiful it was!
It was flat calm...not a breath of wind....all i could hear was the birds waking up. Not the usual bird noise that usually wakes me up in inverness....seagulls and wood pigeons....but the bird song that always remind me of living on the machair at Clachan Sands, north uist. Its funny how such a simple noise can prompt memories.

This is what i love about 'wild camping'....no one else within miles, I didn't have to worry about waking anyone up with opening/closing the van door. Didn't have to worry about the dog, or calling him.

Just perfect peacefulness, serenity, beauty and calm....being totally present in that special, unique moment 💜💜💜


Saturday, 23 February 2019

Lying in bed...

It's after midnight, but cant get to sleep just yet.... today the wind has been blowing constantly....so strong it was a struggle to breathe at times....that's if I could fight my way out of my hair wrapped around my face.....but right now its flat calm outside....

We are parked up at Keoldale...its where the ferry goes from to go across to Cape Wrath. It's a lovely quiet spot, with a stunning view (in the daylight)



We went outside to let Tj out for his last pee and it was pitch black....all we could see was stars! We could hear the sea, so took the torch out, just to check we wouldn't be in any danger of getting washed away in the night! As you can see, the tide was out when we arrived.

So lying here in bed now.....all I can hear is the sea gently lapping below us....what a lovely noise to fall asleep to....whilst tucked up in a toasty warm bed ❤❤❤

I'm still not sure which direction to go in tomorrow. We had decided to head south and follow the road towards Ullapool BUT we have done every inch of the west coast many times......and there was a few beaches we passed today, that I am really tempted to go back to.

I guess we will just see in the morning. After breakfast......bacon rolls tomorrow. Here's the pancakes from this morning.

A break from the daily routine......

That's one of the many things I love about going away in our van....the break from the daily routine!

Every day spent at home, the morning routine is the same....usually woken up by TJ wanting to jump into bed with us.... I do my hair/makeup/shower etc while Stephen walks TJ. We usually rush off to work and then have brekkie at about 11 am with a cuppa.

Mornings in the van are always different.....sometimes I get up first and walk the dog, sometimes Stephen. Sometimes we get up and go quickly, then stop for brekkie an hour or so later, or sometimes we have a leisurely morning. Whatever we do, its always definitely different to what we do at home.

This morning i got up and walked TJ at about 7.30am. We had stayed last night at Dunnet Head....the most northerly point on the British mainland.




I walked up to the view point....you can see for miles from here....across the Pentland Firth to Orkney, over towards Duncansby Head and John o'groats. There was a fresh breeze, which certainly woke me up! I also forgot to take my camera with me!

But it was just so nice, just throwing on some clothes, jumping out the van and being somewhere different....a break from the routine. Tomorrow morning we will be somewhere else....not sure where yet!

Breakfast this morning I think will be freshly made pancakes. I bought one of these 'pancakes mix in a bottle'....we will see how they turn out! If they are a failure, we always have cereal, bacon, eggs, smoked salmon......we wont go hungry!

Before I go and tackle the pancakes, I will leave you with some photos of our lunch stop yesterday at Dunbeath. A stunning spot which we have stopped at often....not overnight yet, but it is perfect for that!







Sunday, 17 February 2019

An afternoon adventure

Thanks to our lovely little doggy TJ, we were awake early this morning. By lunchtime we had all the housework done and decided to go out in the van for a wee adventure.

We packed our dinner in the van, so we could stay out and eat whenever we felt hungry.

We chose a road that we hadn't been on before....it went up the hills above Cannich and alongside the River Cannich up to the dam at Loch Mullardoch.


The road is about 9 miles long from Cannich and is single track all the way. It is stunningly beautiful and rugged all the way along...and today after the snow melt and heavy rain, it was very wet all around. The river was full and racing alongside the road. All the trees, bracken and moss created a wonderful pallet of colours. We made a mental note to come back here in the autumn.

On reaching the car park at the end of the road we were greeted by the stunning view along the loch.....the car park isnt huge, but it is level and big enough for 2 vans to park comfortably & safely.  There is more space closer to the small power station and this might be more sheltered when its wild.

The heavens opened as soon as we parked up, so we just sat and relaxed until it stopped.

After about an hour, we were rewarded with sunshine and blue skies and we went for a stroll.


We could see from the map that there was also a car park over the other side of the dam, so we drove there for a look. There was 2 car parks there, both more sheltered, but without a water view. There is also a track here for a longer walk along the loch with stunning views of the snow dusted mountains.



We were gutted that we couldn't stay the night at this stunning spot (work tomorrow) but we will definitely be back another time.

We decided we didnt really want to drive back along this road in the dark, so drove back towards Cannich.....we met these 3 along the way....driving along whilst listening to Runrig's Cutter and the Clan.....you can't get much more of an awesome Highland experience than this!
We stopped at urquhart castle car park on the way home and cooked steak and chips for our dinner.

I couldn't resist taking some more photos.....yet another fab adventure!
Next weekend we have a long weekend. We cant wait to be away for a couple of nights in our 'second home' ❤




Thursday, 14 February 2019

Dinner for 3

Today was another one of those days.... Hubby was working and I had the day off....it was also valentines day.

After being together for 9 years, we don't feel the need to join the masses in over paying for a 'love themed' meal, just because it's valentines day....what better way to celebrate than for me to meet hubby, after work and have a 3 course meal ready for dining in the moho!

I spent the afternoon with TJ at Hopeman Beach, which was quite lovely... It was actually 14 degrees... Not bad at all for February! I then drove to Nairn... At 5.30pm it was still daylight (just) and with being a mild, calm day, there were lots of people enjoying the last minutes of daylight and we we enjoyed a leisurely stroll before tucking into seafood and paella.

What a lovely evening! We must do this more in the summer.... Take full advantage of the longer days....and having a motorhome! 😁 😁






Saturday, 9 February 2019

38 days........

38 days since we last had a night away in the van! 38 long days!

We did plan a weekend away 2 weeks ago....but the weather was so bad, we would have been better going away in a canoe....so cancelled our plans.

I did however take advantage of a lovely sunny day off last week and took the van, and TJ to Nairn.

It was such a perfect day off.....I popped into Inverness for a bit of retail therapy and to pick up a few goodies for a wee picnic...then headed off to the lovely Nairn Beach.

With the warm sunshine bringing everyone out, it was quite busy....but the car park is plenty big enough for parking a 6m motorhome.

I fell in love with my van all over again last Thursday....I walked along the beach with TJ....took some photos while he ran about and splashed in the sea,  and then went back to the van.

I put the heating on, put the kettle on and just relaxed......nothing to do but relax....no housework......just a latte, a bar of galaxy and feet up in the sunshine. Perfection!

Of course I could have gone to Nairn in the car.....but it would have been a different afternoon.

Here's a few photos from my perfect afternoon......