What seems like a couple of years ago now, Mr Stoatie and I set off on our road trip to Skye and the Highlands. Things have been so hectic here that it’s taken me a while to get around to post about it, and I think it’s going to take quite a few instalments!
We’d originally planned to drive as far as Loch Lomond and then stop overnight and break the journey, but we were doing so well that we decided to hammer it and get up as far as Oban so that we would have more time to explore there. I was feeling remarkably well and enjoyed the journey through the glens despite Mr Stoatie throwing the ScoobyVan around the road like a Top Gear presenter. Unfortunately though, as is traditional, I started to develop one of Jane’s heads about ten minutes from Oban itself and by the time we reached the campsite I was reaching for a bowl.
The site we stayed at was a few miles out of town and was based in a huge walled garden – more like a walled field! It backed against Barcaldine Forest so there was wonderful walks for the dogs. Across the road to the front there was access down to the beach. It was one of the weirdest beaches I’d ever been on, as it was full of huge plastic tubes, stretching along the shoreline, some of which had been made into circle shapes and were floating in the water. A really empty industrial landscape in the middle of wonderful scenery.
The first day we went into town to get info on the crossing to Skye from the CalMac Terminal. Right by the entrance there is a wonderful seafood stall selling produce straight from the sea – their boat is tied up about 15ft away. We decided to go for the seafood platter, I can’t describe how good this tasted! Please note that Mr Stoatie had started without me, he scoffed both slices of bread before I got a look in.
They had live crabs and lobsters at the front of the stall, which attracted a lot of attention, and there was a gentleman going round offering samples of mussels in white wine. The couple next to us arrived with a few oysters each on a bed of ice, we were immediately sorry we didn’t try those as well. Maybe next time! The stall was buzzing the entire time we were there and is obviously very popular.
Mr Pinchy meets his fans.
As you can tell from the pictures it was rather grey and drizzly.
We stopped at Dunstaffenage Castle on the way back, which was the historic stronghold of the McDougall Clan and a temporary prison for Flora McDonald (she crops up a lot on our trip!) The great thing about places like this is that you can take the dogs in too. They were even allowed in the gift shop which was rather nice of the staff as they were soaking wet by then. The castle is built on a plug of basalt and it’s quite a climb to get in. There is a small house inside, built in 1725 which looks habitable, it wasn’t open, but you could clamber over everything else. The dogs had great fun and were so entertaining (to everyone else) that an American tourist had to take their picture because ‘they were so cute’ Unfortunately I didn’t find being dragged around very cute, especially when my vertigo kicked in!
The Castle is on a spit of land extending out into the Firth of Lorn, a good position to defend.
You can see the height of the curtain walls and the plug of basalt they were built on. The ‘new house’ is just peeping from the battlements at the top right. The building under the tree is used to house the shop and toilets.