2nd May 2014
(Friday, 7 April – Monday, 12 April 2014)
“We hired Hamish from Monday to Friday at the start of April and were the first customers to use him! From the moment we got in touch with the Company, we were impressed by the level of personal service. We are a family of four and planned to take all our bikes. We used the bike rack hired out by the Company and dropped our bikes with them on Sunday. Claire then arranged for all our bikes to be fully loaded for us. We had also taken advantage of the awning, to maximise space and the luxury hamper from the Finzean Farm shop to get us started.
We picked the van up on Monday in beautiful Spring sunshine and after a quick briefing of how everything worked we were off! We headed for Aviemore via the Lecht and Tomintoul. We had booked in to the Glenmore site in Aviemore for the first night. The scenery was spectacular, so we took our time and enjoyed the drive. Our two kids of 7 and 10 were really excited about our adventure and alternated between looking at the scenery and wildlife and taking advantage of the on-board DVD player to watch a movie en-route.
When we arrived at the site, we set about putting up the awning which was pretty straightforward. We would definitely recommend watching the short video on the Company’s website which explains how to put the awning up. We had it up in no time and unloaded our bikes and set off to explore the site. There are beautiful walks and cycle tracks around the campsite which are really child friendly. We decided we liked the site and booked in for a 2nd night there and then, to give us the best opportunity to explore the area. We had booked a pitch with electric hitch up. For us, this gave us the ability to use a small electric heater that Claire had provided. At this time of year it was great, as it made Hamish very cosy in a very short space of time. The awning also has a “zip-off” facility. This meant we could leave the awning up by fixing a couple of extra guy ropes and drive the camper van away. We also locked our bikes up with a lock that the Company had provided and left them at the site when we went off exploring in Hamish.
We cooked every meal in the van over the next four days at our daughter’s insistence! She was so excited at the ability to stop wherever we liked and cook a meal, that she didn’t want to visit a coffee shop or restaurant!! There is a small fridge, sink and 2 ring gas burner in the van and we were able to rustle up some pretty tasty food. The van is well equipped and as serious coffee drinkers, we were delighted that there was a cafetiere and a milk jug to warm milk on the hob!! All utensils/plates etc were provided. The hamper from Finzean Farm Shop provided beautiful pork sausages and bacon, locally sourced. We also had delicious cheese, oatcakes, cake, coffee and a bottle of wine amongst other goodies!
We had two wonderful days at the Glenmore site, cycling around Loch Morlich ( the highest beach in the UK) and up to the Green Lochan. Both routes very spectacular and easily manageable for the children. It is an area we will definitely return to.
We headed from there to Drumnadrochit via Inverness and travelled along Loch Ness. It was another beautiful day and we pulled in to a lay-by at the side of the Loch and cooked bacon rolls and had coffee. We are pretty sure that a queue almost formed outside Hamish! We spent the night at Drumnadrochit not far from Glen Affric and this is also a wonderful part of Scotland full of beautiful walks. We moved on from Drumnadrochit and headed further down Loch Ness to Fort Augustus. We could not resist a stop off at Urquhart Castle, which is a beautiful ruin overlooking Loch Ness in the care of Historic Scotland. It was well worth a visit and plenty to capture the kids attention.
Our next stop was Fort Augustus. We spent a couple of hours here watching the boats make their way through a series of locks as they moved from Loch Ness to the Caledonian Canal. There was plenty there for the kids to see and again it was a beautiful day. We visited the little museum at the side of the locks, which was very interesting and free. We tore ourselves away from Fort Augustus late afternoon and headed North East to Tarland. We phoned ahead that afternoon and booked a pitch. Hamish was to be returned at 10am on our final day, so we needed to be somewhere close at hand. We travelled there through numerous “B” roads which again delivered fabulous scenery and along the route we stopped briefly to look at Community Woodland and picturesque picnic spots/walks which we will return and visit in the future. We arrived at the Tarland site just before 7pm. We were very warmly welcomed there by friendly staff. The site was immaculate and we received a discount here, as with the Aviemore site, due to the site being a member of the Camping and Caravan Club, (as described on the website). Unfortunately we had missed the village shop, so for the first and only time of our holiday we ate out. We had dinner at The Commercial Inn in Tarland. The food was very tasty and we received a discount voucher from the Site staff. There were a number of interesting walks nearby and again something we would return to discover in the future.
We were able to get Hamish cleaned up really quickly and delivered him back in time, to discover that our own car had been cleaned whilst we were away!
A perfect end to a truly lovely holiday. We would highly recommend it to any family with a sense of adventure!