We hit the road with the sun shining down on us and clear dry roads ahead. How corny does that sound.. but oh so true. We have been so blessed with good weather all we could do was hope it continued through the next few days and our visit to North Ledaig Caravan Park.
The journey to the site was fabulous, the scenery was absolutely breath taking and as MB was driving he was unable to fully appreciate what was unfolding in front of his eyes, so pleaded for colourful detailed updates from LB who was comfortably sat at an odd angle attempting to describe in detail the glorious mountainous images all around. It was a challenge as it really had to be seen to be believed. Awesome.
We rolled onto the forecourt and were booked in having been told to wait in the car and someone would be along to take us to our pitch. Having no idea where we would end up we waited with a lot of trepidation.
A few minutes later one of the staff rolled up in his land rover and signalled for us to follow. He took us onto the site and we passed caravans of all shapes and sizes, slowly moving nearer and nearer the beach front. A look of ‘could it be ?’ crossed our faces but we didn’t dare say anything.
We took a left, two rows behind the beach and thought we would be sat behind a row of caravans but he drove over the grass and directed us to a pitch which looked directly over the bay. Jumping out of the car we thanked him and were told the row of pitches in front of us were not being used so we had the best view possible, we couldn’t believe it could get any better.
Video of this moment was taken, mainly because taking only pictures didn’t do it the justice it deserved. Would love to be able to show you this but doesn’t form part of our current package on WP, should you wish to see it please view it on our facebook page, we’re easy enough to find. It’s only a minute or so long but shows Pod, scenery and site at its best. Anyway, back to the blog.
The awning didn’t go straight up, the weather was just too good. So lunch was cooked and eaten sat looking out at the still, glass-like bay of Ardmucknish Bay.
Once Pod was set up as usual the sun was beginning to set, we walked along the beach passing dog walkers and families fishing, their children wrapped up snug on their parents laps hoping for one last catch before the sun went down.
Dinner was eaten in the awning with the front opened to the spectacular sunset occurring directly in front of us, by now it was a little chilly, it was October after all, but we couldn’t close the awning down so just wrapped ourselves up and took the view in until it was burned into the back of our eyes.
Straining our eyes to the last speck of colour we had to succumb to the darkness and the clear sky that displayed a spectacular clear star embedded sky. The walk to the facilities consisted of MB laughing whilst holding onto LB’s arm, directing her as she walked head back giving gasps of amazement at the constellations displayed above.
Facilities were clean and had great hot showers, facilities for both of us were fab. Nothing beats a hot powerful shower.
Woke Saturday morning to a slight mist rolling over the bay, breakfast was eaten with the front of the awning open and we greeted passers-by with a cheery ‘morning’.
The plan for today was to drive into Oban, visit the distillery, hunt down a battered Mars bar and do some food shopping as our supplies were running low. Rumours were abound that battered Mars bars no longer existed, but a quest to find one was still the order of the day.
Parking was easy enough and a ticket was bought for 4 hours. Oban was quite busy so we strolled round the streets, getting our barings and to find the distillery to book our spot on the tour later. The distillery was on the main stretch and we called in, booked in for the 1pm tour and bought our tickets for £8.00 each, we were also given a £5.00 voucher to spend at the end.
Now the hunt for the battered Mars bar began. Oban was bigger than we thought but we located four of the likely take-away/chippies in the centre, none had this delicacy on offer, the reason being given was it caused havoc with the batter, making it unusable for anything other than Mars bars.
Slightly dejected other options were looked at and a battered black pudding was eventually decided upon, this was chosen and eaten by MB, not something LB could or would ever consider and opted for the good old standby, fish.
Both were eaten sat on the sea front listening to a busker on the bagpipes whilst dodging very inquisitive seagulls who thankfully hadn’t taken to dive bombing for which they are known to do elsewhere.
The search for the Mars bar had taken longer than we expected so we wolfed down the remainder of our lunch and speed walked to the distillery for 1pm.
We were shown round the distillery by David, he was very stern and had our small group of 8 in fear of stepping in the wrong place, this was evident from the start. No photography allowed and he demanded phones be not just put on silent/flight mode but switched off.
When one of our number didn’t react in a timely fashion he questioned their integrity to be told the phone had been switched off prior to entering the distillery and within the first 20 minutes of the tour an elderly gentleman’s phone began to sing merrily from his top jacket pocket causing him to fumble like mad and hand the phone to David to be turned off.
The tour lasted about an hour and we found it to be very enjoyable and informative, wish David could have injected a little humour into it all the same, although this became more evident towards the end when the ‘tasting’ began. I think he enjoyed this as much as we did.
Our first taster came from a cask served in small shaped tumblers, this was an 18yr old and was very pale in colour, dissolving on the lips before it reached the back of your throat. We were then told the glasses in which it had been served were ours to keep, a lovely little keep sake. If you wanted to buy more they were £5.00 in the shop.
From here we moved into the a bar area set up behind the shop, we were instructed in the different depths and intensities of various whiskeys’ around Scotland and were treated to a second taster of an Oban 12yr old, LB definitely has a pallet for the more northern peaty options. The shop was the next stop and of course the vouchers were used, a nice bottle of Oban 12yr old was bought to be supped later as the sun went down. All in all our initial expenditure of £8.00 had been well worth it.
We walked back to the car and drove through Oban to find a large Tescos. Stocked up on necessities and a few goodies and couldn’t help but notice the huge display of Iron Brew, made us chuckle and of course bought a few too.
Sunday arrived and we were again spoilt by fantastic weather, the sun was again promised for the entire day so we had the maps out and checked out a few local walks. We wanted to set off from the site so decided to tackle the hill that sat behind the caravan site, Beinn Lora.
Rucksacks were loaded and off we set turning left out of the site and onto the main road into Benderloch. The walk was easy enough to find but very steep to start, even though it was close to the road the tall pine trees blocked all noise leaving a still eeriness behind.
The path wound round the hill eventually taking us to a small peak, we could see Beinn Lora a very short distance away so regaining our breath we soon reached the top which gave amazing views all around.
The temptation to continue to the next hill nearly won but we had left it too late in the day to complete so we turned and walked back down taking a slightly different route and walking back along the beach instead of the road.
Don’t know whether it was due to the fabulous weather we were having or the fact we coming to the end of our week away but we were in no rush to rush around and spent the evening relaxing in our awning taking in the brilliant scenery, made a nice change for us.
Woke on Monday to a slightly overcast day and we had been warned of rain moving in. We had been so lucky all week and couldn’t begrudge a day of bad weather, we were going home tomorrow and secretly this made it an easier decision.
One thing on our ‘to see’ list were highland cattle, so far we had seen them once on our travels but hadn’t been able to stop, so on our last day it was our mission to find some, or at least one!
Fortunate for us we hadn’t driven more than a mile away from the site and we discovered a herd in a roadside field, all appeared forward facing and intrigued by our arrival, needless to say as soon as the camera made an appearance they decided the grass at the other end of the field was more appealing. With a little bit of perseverance, one obliged and its image was eventually captured.
Our rambles and adventures attract some attention off Facebook and we were in boxed by a fellow pod owner Robin who lives in Oban. He was keen to discuss pods but our only chance to meet up was at his place of work Dunollie Castle and today seemed the perfect day for this so off we set.
Now, we like doing our research on places before visiting and we couldn’t help but notice Robin’s surname appeared in the history of this castle, so our interest was growing. It would appear this pod owner was a little different in two ways, one being he was the owner of an original split screen pod and the other he was next in line, following his mother, to be the clan chief of the MacDougalls.
We arrived in the car park and paid our £5.00 entry into the grounds, we had planned to tour the castle and its surrounding gardens and try and find Robin towards the end. We knew he was working and didn’t want to interrupt. We had only walked 30m the most and who should we see leaving the museum and walking straight towards us but Robin, easily recognisable from his Facebook picture.
We couldn’t miss this opportunity and caught his attention immediately, he seemed to see us at the same moment and appeared to recognise us also from Facebook. Wonderful medium when used appropriately.
We couldn’t of met a more genuine down to earth person and he willingly gave us an introduction to the museum, we didn’t want to high jack him so thanked for the initial tour and said we would catch up with him later, we were eager to find out more about him and see his pod but wanted to explore the castle too.
The museum was full of personal history and detail, the incredible items collected by the family, especially Hope were amazing. A full picture of a life gone by. We loved the transformation of what was now the public toilets, the way they depicted a by gone age and used as an exhibit, when not in use, was an incredible idea.
We came across Robin outside the museum and he gave us a tour of the derelict castle and Dunollie House.
Pod was next on the itinerary and was a great sight to behold. The split screens are a personal favourite of ours, they seem to give the pod such character and wish they’d kept this feature on the current ones. Robin had a little gem and as we left him, his pod and castle we wished him well on his future adventures and his planned restorative work on Dunollie Castle hoping our paths would cross again one day.
We returned to our pod and looked back on our incredible week away. We both loved Scotland anyway, this trip just strengthened it and made us want to explore it more.
The following morning loomed and our long journey home lay ahead. We had an incredible time, were blessed with fantastic weather and met some very welcoming people. Including our little bird friend who would visit us inside the awning. We will be back. July 2016 in fact.