The main goal was Scotland, Highlands, Sky, polar lights and orcas. We had the first 3 but not the 2 latest! Anyway, we saw deers, otters etc. and we also had some crazy weather happenings !
Scotland is a new amzing sight each time you pass a bend. And certainly even more for those hiking (which was not an option in november, unless you are an amphibian). For those who can’t or don’t want, then minor roads are the best option.
You’ll love Highlands during autumn if :
– You like to experince the 4 seasons in one day;
– You don’t care about cold, fog, rain, snow and tempests;
– You like the golden hour and you’re fan of photography;
– You like to hike with your dog (on leash) and to free camp;
– You dream of cristal-clear (cold) waters and white-sands beaches and don’t have the budet to go to the (hot) caribean islandss;
– You like to simply stay motionless comtempplating mother earth at work;
– You prefer to be all alone.
(This list can be completed, ogf course).
Anyway, we would suggest to avoid Highlands if :
– You don’t want to have you dog leashed. The land is private everywhere and though you are allowed to walk/hike even if there are cows/sheeps/llamas grazing, if your dog goes too close, farmers are allowed to shoot him … And it’s also mandatory on some beaches to protect birds.
– You travel with a camper/van and you don’t have a dry toilet (or you don’t want to go in the nature …) because there nowhere to empty your chemical waste (I guess it would be easier durinfg summer, but you will need to pay for camping).
– You have a very small budget. Nothing is free, and everything is quite expensive ….
– You are scared by minor roads.
Here are the reasons why we loved Scotland :
– Landscapes are awesome ;
– feeling lonely and safe ;
– Scottish people, so kind ;
– the very small roads ;
– It’s so easy to park for the night.
– Dogs are allowed quite everywhere.
The things we disliked :
– Massive deforestation. It really ruins some of the most scenic glens. from the original caledonian forest, only 2% remains. There are also many ads for B&Bs, electric lines and big fences in some of the most beautiful places, ruining them a little bit.
– Being forced to keep dogs on leash. We understand the reasons why but we don’t like, at least you can walk with them. Beware if there are cows such as Higlands, especially if they have calves : they can be potentially very agressive towards dogs and their behavior is fairly unpredictable.
Tips and hints :
– Paper road map : The AA one is perfect. You can find it in the visitor centres.
– Finding water : campings or gas stations.
– Emptying the waste water : We went to high pressure washers.
– Emptying WC : More complicated. We use a dry one, no issues.
– Litter : No issues, there are bins everywhere.
– LPG : available in many stations. mainly in the Gleaners, but also at Morrissons. It becomes an issue the northern you go. You can download a list for your GPS device at mylpg.eu.
– WIFI/Data : Different options are available. You can use a local simcard, or if you stay in BB, hotels, campings, you’ll often have Wifi, or use roaming from your native offer. 3G hardly works into towns, and doesn’t work at all in the far north. The best option and the one we chose : you can often park on the ports parking lots, and there is free wifi in most of them. And the good news is that there are a crazy amount of ports in Scotland.
– Food : No issues!there are supermarkets everywhere: Tesco, Morrissons, Lidl, Spar, Coop for example. Supermarkets are open from 8:00 AM (sometimes 6:00 or 7:00) until 8:00PM (often 10:00PM), everyday !
– The single-lane roads : Pretty easy! Scottish are very polite drivers. You need to use passing places to let people overtake. You’ll always get a greet ! Don’t forget to say thank you as weel ! Of course, never ever park on a passing place and never ever drive in the grass : the ground is often very muddy ! Beware to cattle grids, wadering cattle, potholes etc. Drive safely.