A Site For Sore Eyes !!

Tuesday 22nd April – Killin to Bunree (56 Miles)

Easter was over and so it seems was the nice sunshine, for now at least. We awoke to rain pattering on the roof and after making the morning cuppa’s I opened up the nightblind on the Heki and peered up at thick grey clouds. I was glad that I had done the necessary on-board domestics in the warmth of yesterday evenings sunshine. Whilst I went across to the facilities block Shazza baked a fresh loaf of bread ! I can’t remember the last time we actually bought a loaf of bread.

I had met Tom and Jo only yesterday evening, they were our new neighbours at ‘Maragowan’ and were travelling in their Bessecarr Motorhome, we got chatting, as you do and we discussed briefly our fulltiming adventure. Anyway, I of course just happened to mention my blog, well it would have been rude not to, and they asked me to give them the blog details which I of course did. Thankfully for Tom & Jo, it was only a short neighbourly friendship as we were now moving on to Bunree, another CC site but this one is overlooked by the famous ‘Ben Nevis’, this is certainly one of the flagship Club sites, right on the water’s edge where the sea hits the Scottish coastline and flows inland to become Loch Linnhe and is only Twelve miles from Fort William. I had stayed at this campsite once before, but it must have been a good fifteen years ago, so I wondered whether it had changed since my last visit. The journey from Killin to Bunree wouldn’t be a long one, just about one and a half hours, but from my memory of previous trips up to this part of West Scotland I knew that the scenery was going to be spectacular, even in the rain. I know that our van is reasonably large, but today ‘Big Momma’ would pale into insignificance in comparison to the mountains that would be peering down on us.

A Comanche heading into the 'Wild West', rather significant don't you think ?

A Comanche heading into the ‘Wild West’, rather significant don’t you think ?

And that 'Hill' is bigger than it looks !!

And that ‘Hill’ is bigger than it looks !!

For once I am breathtakingly speechless !!

Shazza, following behind in Wuxly managed to take some photographs but the A82 is a climbing, twisting, winding road so she too had to concentrate on her driving rather than getting me some blog photographs ! There really are no words that I could use to do justifiable credit to this incredibly scenic drive. I have done it in brilliant sunshine and in conditions like today and it is beautiful in all conditions but you have to drive it yourself to really appreciate this remarkable landscape. There was one thing, early on the journey, that was making this journey a bit of a headache, quite literally !! There was a very loud rattling coming from the galley area, now there are always a few vibrations and rattles on a vehicle like this, most you can reduce or dampen either by packing out cupboards or inserting tea towels or similar and others you just learn to live with. However, this was not one of the usual rattles, perhaps Shazza had forgotten to put the tea towel in the grill pan, whatever it was I could not drive with that noise for the best part of another hour so I found a convenient lay-by and pulled in. I set about searching for the source of the irritation and Shazza joined me. It was not the grill pan, this had been dampened down in usual fashion so what could it be ? It wasn’t the oven trays they were clamped in nice and secure !! I just happened to touch the glass top hob cover and it moved, it appeared lopsided and on closer inspection I discovered that a rubber grommet was missing. The glass top hob cover sits nicely on top of two rubber grommets and this prevents any contact with the metal cooker frame, however, with one grommet missing, glass and metal were knocking together. Fortunately the wayward grommet had not been lost, it was just hiding behind one of the rear burner hobs and once re-inserted into the vacant cavity my sanity was restored and we continued with our journey. The rest of the journey was uneventful with just one more brief stop, just six miles from our destination, to top up both vehicles with fuel. After this I certainly would not now need to re-fuel ‘Big Momma’ for another four months as our final destination was only another 70 miles away and I had a full tank of fuel with a range of over four hundred miles. Our main form of transport whilst on our ‘work’ site, for shopping and sightseeing, would be ‘Wuxly’ but that would only get used twice a week at the most so the fuel budget should return a nice surplus.

Most CC sites state no arrivals prior to 12pm, that is because people vacating the site have up until then to leave. However, on most sites there are no issues with accessibility so if you did arrive prior to the allotted time, and they couldn’t let you on as there were no pitches available, you could wait in the arrivals lane. The site at Bunree had a particular issue with the access road, it was narrow in that it was just one vehicle width wide with limited passing places therefore the ‘No Arrival before 12pm’ rule was enforced. We timed our arrival to perfection, although a departing unit was pushing the latest departure time to the second !!

imageThe greeting at the office reception was as we have come to expect as long-standing club members, the happy smiling faces and a nice welcome to the site, this was ‘before‘ we mentioned that we too were CC employees on our way to our first site !! Once I had mentioned that we were on our way to our first site though the conversation flowed, useful information and tips were imparted and we were invited to stop by for a cuppa one afternoon, when we were not otherwise engaged, to gain some more useful information and insight into our future lives as an Elf & Elfette. This would be quite useful because the Assistant Wardens at this site just happened to be the Assistant Wardens, last season, at the site we were heading for. So after the usual booking in Admin and payment procedures were completed we went to select what would be our ‘temporary’ home pitch for the next six nights. The site had not changed since I was last here, it was still a perfectly manicured site and I even recognised the pitch that I had occupied all those years ago, unfortunately that pitch was already occupied, but it didn’t matter which pitch you had, the views were all spectacular. We had a good choice of pitches and selected one that was conveniently placed for conducting the essential on-board requirements but which also had Sea, Mountain and Forest views and just to put an even bigger smile on our faces than we already had the rain stopped and the sun made a brief appearance !!

Another spacious pitch, conveniently next to the 'Service Point' and with spectacular views !!

Another spacious pitch, room for the Awning too if the good weather returns positioned conveniently next to the ‘Service Point’ and with spectacular views !!

 

This is the view from our 'front' living room window !

This is the view from our ‘front’ living room window !

Once Shazza had re-located ‘Wuxly’ from the car park to the pitch and ‘Big Momma’ had been transformed from ‘transportation’ mode to ‘home’ mode we went for a stroll around the site to admire the views.

The stony beach, just footsteps away from our pitch.

The stony beach, just footsteps away from our pitch.

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After returning from our very scenic stroll and brief perusal of the local attractions information, in the site’s ‘Information Room’, we returned to ‘Big Momma’ and my beloved started planning an itinerary of ‘Shazza’s Expeditions’ just to keep me out of mischief for the next few days !! After a very tasty ‘Spaghetti Carbonara’, followed by the last couple of slices of Shazza’s ‘Coconut & Orange’ cake and the last two glasses of Port, well out of the first bottle at least ! we settled down for a night in front of the TV, how fortunate that it just happened to be a night when they were showing ‘live’ coverage of a Champions League Football match, Chelsea versus Atletico Madrid. The wind had picked up, as it tends to do at nights on the Western Coastline, it was whistling a little but nothing too strong to give ‘Big Momma’ the wobbles. With nothing remarkable on the NEWS we switched off the TV, batoned down the hatches, took our mugs of hot coffee to bed and sat reading our respective books.

Wednesday 23rd April – “An Drochaid” circular walk (7miles)

It is so quiet here, so much so that I was first to awake but not until 08:45am !! I guess we had better make the most of these long lay-ins as we won’t get many of those once we commence our Elf & Elfette duties in just eleven days time. I had heard it rain in the night but it had now stopped, although it was still a cloudy grey overcast sort of morning ‘we‘ (Shazza) had decided that after a ‘relaxed’ day yesterday we needed another ‘Expedition’. Personally, I think she wanted revenge for the ‘Eric Expedition’ I took her on, up that small hillock at ‘Killin’ !! Today was just a gentle stroll across the main road from the site and our first target would be the ‘Inchree Waterfall’ then on to the ‘An Drochaid’ circular walk, no major ascents, on good footpaths and a relatively easy seven mile walk with, hopefully, lots of decent views. We prepared a simple picnic lunch and the usual flask of coffee and we also decided that ‘Dave’ should accompany us too, after all this was his adventure as well.

Once we had consulted the map board in the car park (although we had walked to it) we saw four walks were marked. We had opted to combine two, the Waterfall Walk and the

Once we had consulted the map board in the car park (although we had walked to it) we saw four walks were marked. We had opted to combine two, the Waterfall Walk and the An Drochaid walk. The trails were well-marked and we were soon on to our first stage through a lightly forested path.

 

Small ascents here and there but nothing troublesome or strenuous.

Small ascents here and there but nothing troublesome or strenuous.

We were already getting glimpses of some wonderful scenery, I was hoping it would get better though !!

We were already getting glimpses of some wonderful scenery, I was hoping it would get better though !!

 

Another footbridge and small climb.............

Another footbridge and small climb………….

Then our first view of the Waterfall !

Then our first view of the Waterfall !

One more climb which brought us to our first viewing point.

One more climb which brought us to our first viewing point.

And there it was !! Okay, so it isn't Niagra falls but it was pleasant enough.

And there it was !! Okay, so it isn’t Niagara Falls but it was pleasant enough.

It's not often that we get a chance to have a photograph together but we fortunate that were a trio of people at the viewing point as we approached. We took their photographs and they returned the favour.

It’s not often that we get a chance to have a photograph together but we fortunate that were a trio of people at the viewing point as we approached. We took their photographs and they returned the favour.

No time to Dawdle though, we were barely a quarter of the way !

No time to Dawdle though, we were barely a quarter of the way ! So back onto the forest path and onwards and upwards.

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We came upon a little renovation project !!

We came upon a little renovation project !!

Well at least it still had a garden gate ! And just look at those views !!

Well at least it still had a garden gate ! And just look at those views !!

But enough of the property viewing, time to get on with our walk and find a good spot to enjoy our sandwich.

But enough of the property viewing, time to get on with our walk and find a good spot to enjoy our sandwich.

'Dave' thought that this looked like a good place for refreshments. However, he also decided to take an unexpected 'swim' so he is sat here with soggy legs !!

‘Dave’ thought that this looked like a good place for refreshments. However, he also decided to take an unexpected ‘swim’ so he is sat here with soggy legs !! We ate our picnic and enjoyed just how peaceful it was, since the Waterfall we hadn’t seen any other people !!

Back on the walk and another good path.

Back on the walk and another good path.

And then we were rewarded with this magnificent view !!

And then we were rewarded with this magnificent view !!

And this one !!

And this one !!

Before we knew it we were off the footpath and back onto the main road and heading back to the campsite. I couldn’t resist taking the next photograph ……………..

Not your usuall 'Take-Away' !! Half a deer, Brace of Grouse and that famous Scottish drink.......... yes 'IRN Bru' !!

Not your usual ‘Take-Away’  establishment !! Half a Deer, Brace of Grouse and that famous Scottish drink………. yes ‘IRN Bru’ !!

Now either this walk was exceptionally easy or we are really becoming much fitter but even with stops to view the Waterfall, the lunch stop and my frequent ‘photographic’ stops !! we still completed this 7 mile walk in just three hours. We got back to ‘Big Momma’ and had just settled down with a cuppa reviewing the days Photographic efforts when there was a knock on the door. It was ‘Bill’ the site warden and he invited us to join him, his wife Linda and their Assistant Wardens ‘Mike and Pauline’ for a coffee, as we had just made one we took our mugs of coffee with us. They were all really friendly and gave us lots of information and useful ‘tips’, the sort of practical things that you don’t get told on the Training Course !! Mike and Pauline were Assistant Wardens at the site we were going to for our first season and they gave us lots of really useful information, the best places to go shopping, where to get the cheapest fuel, good places to visit as well as the practical stuff like what our ‘Assistant Wardens’ compound contained (Shower, WC, Wash Basin, Fridge Freezer and our own Washing Machine as well as the usual facilities, EHU points, fresh water tap and grey drain !!). They also have a house on the Isle of Skye, although they are in the process of selling it, but they gave us lots of information about great places on the Island to spend our days off, including distances from the site. The bridge that crosses from the mainland to the Isle of Skye is only 16 miles from the campsite !! The four of them were absolutely brilliant, really nice genuine people who repeated what all the wardens we have spoken to on our journey up here have said, basically, enjoy the stress free life working in a truly magnificent environment and as well as imparting lots of good information and answering our questions they have even managed to answer questions that we didn’t know we wanted to ask !!

As each day passes and we are getting closer to ‘our’ site, there is still a bit of nervousness, there is nothing worse than starting a new job and being the ‘Newbies’, but that is tempered with lots of excitement and we are now impatient to get started but for now we still have four days left to enjoy here at ‘Bunree’ and more places still to explore………………….

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9 Responses to A Site For Sore Eyes !!

  1. Thomas Hope says:

    A great read Eric, thanks. We were at Bunree last year and loved every minute of it and to be honest wished we had gone back again this time as Garliston although nice isn’t a patch on Bunree IMHO, but hey we wouldn’t have meet you and been introduced to your wonderful blog! 🙂
    We are of home tomorrow via a short detour to “The green wellie shop” for old time sake then back to work next week to saved hard toward our dream to follow yours.
    Take care
    Tom and Jo

    • Thanks Tom, glad you are enjoying my re-write of ‘War and Peace’ :0) This time last year we were still only ‘Dreaming’ of the day we could be fulltiming, hard to believe that we have been ‘on the road’ now for 7 months and already done lots of things, seen lots of lovely places and getting fit in the process !! I of course realise that everyone’s situation is different and you have to wait until ‘your’ time is right but just remember this, a dream remains a dream until ‘you’ actually do something to make it happen ;0)

      • Thomas Hope says:

        Very wise words 🙂

        • And a few more !! Act in haste and repent in leisure :0) you and Jo will know when the time is right for you. If you are like us you will have lots of If’s, But’s and What If’s going through your heads. If a can help in any way, if only as a sounding board or for a sanity check then please feel free to contact us :0)

  2. Steve & Lys says:

    Thanks so much for some great memories , as you say the pics don’t do the area justice , but still stunning :0)
    Nearly there now , enjoy your week there , I know Shazza will keep you busy !!!
    We leave the farm tomorrow and start to head to Barcelona , we have picked up another sitting job , this time its going to be very hands on as the owners are still there and they will also be working !! Its only for two weeks , just before we meet Nick and Cathy .
    Enjoy your week , looking forward to the “job ” blog !!
    S&L xx

    • Hi Steve & Lys, sorry we have missed your calls, did leave you a voicemail though :0) enjoy your trip up into France and give Nick & Cathy our warmest regards when you meet up :0) hope all goes well in your next mini-farm sit, I am sure we will speak soon but until then love to both xx

  3. Debs says:

    More gorgeous photos from your walk. what a gorgeous place….. and how brill finding out lots of info on your new job 🙂

    • I guess we cannot help but take wonderful photo’s with landscapes like that all around us. We are eager to get started on our Elf & Elfette duties but going to miss this ‘Freedom To Roam’ for the next four months !! Lots of places to walk/ visit on our days off though :0)

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