Well, we have just returned from our tour of the Scottish highlands and coastline. The NC500 (North Coast 500) tour is now becoming well established and has some of the best scenery Scotland has to offer. This is a totally understated tour with some amazing highlights such as the Applecross Pass, Drumbeg Bay, Durness & Smoo Cave, Dunnet Head and John O'Groats.
The tour starts and finishes at Inverness. That's following a 360 mile journey from home to up to Inverness!
On our first day of the tour we made our way (mostly on single track roads) from Inverness across to Applecross via the pass, and around the winding coastline over to Ullapool for the evening stopover at the Royal Hotel. The Applecross Inn was a great little place to stop for lunch. Whilst the food was very tempting we all had such a full breakfast at our departure hotel we settled for a hot pot of tea instead. Unfortunately the weather on this day was awful, with driving rain, gale force winds and fog over the pass. Unusual for Scotland. Todays mileage approx. 200mi.
Day 2 saw us around the coastline again, along Drumbeg Bay, up to Durness for lunch at the Smoo Hotel. Lots more single track today; but this is easy going as there are lots of passing places. We did stop for photos at Durness beach - this little cove is like a tropical paradise (see photo). Then over the Kyle of Tongue Bridge heading for Dunnet Head. Alas not the greatest scenery in Scotland, then on to John O'Groats; though quite remote there is lots to see here. Our stopover for the day was at Wick which was quite timely with a fuel stop at Tesco. Today we had sunshine but unfortunately fighting gale force winds again made riding the bike pretty hard work and very tiring. Todays mileage approx. 210mi.
Our last day (of the official 500 mile tour) we headed off down the East coast back to Inverness for lunch (tour end). Only thing of note to report was another day with gale force winds making for another challenging and exhausting ride. The scenery along the east coast was not quite as awe inspiring as the west coast but still a pleasure to see. Anyway, we were staying at Fort William this evening so after a short lunch break at Inverness we headed off along the A82 past Loch Ness and on to our last hotel of the trip. Todays mileage approx. 170mi (to Fort William).
The following day we just had our final 305 mile journey home back to the North-East. We came back through Glencoe which is one of our all time favourite locations and onward past Loch Lomond. Good weather today, no wind and no problems with traffic around Glasgow - which is quite rare.
What a great trip though despite the challenging weather. One word - BREATHTAKING.
Just as side note, if you are thinking of undertaking this awesome tour, check filling stations opening times and locations beforehand as we did prior, as many can be closed on Sundays. . . and at random times too so take care.
Anyone wishing to follow in our footsteps we have the GPS route planning data, fillings stations along the way, hotel contacts etc. you are welcome to a copy.
Well, it's that time of year again; time to view the splendour of spring flora, and in particular the colourful bluebells in our wooded hideaways.
So, like many others my wife and I took the short journey to the area around Roseberry Topping where we know we will be able to see and capture great photographs of these colourful flowers.
Another trip to the Lakes to take advantage the glorious winter weather saw us navigating from Coniston to Wast Water, Hardknott Pass and one of favourite places, Ambleside. Very poor weather spoiled play but we did manage a couple of nice photographs
Signets sleeping on Yew Tree Tarn.
One of several bridges along Wast Waters edge
We have just returned from a trip to Keswick in the Lake District.
Snow capped mountains and frosty hazy mornings made for some great atmospheric photographs around the local area including lake Derwent Water.
Sunrise Over Derwent WaterEvery time we visit Derwent Water we walk to our favourite locations to take another photograph but with different lighting. I'm always hoping at each visit the weather will look on us favourably and that elusive best shot of a lifetime will open up before our eyes. Here's hoping.
The robin illustrated in this photograph was so tame I'm sure I heard it tweet cheese when I pointed my camera his way!
Taken on a bitterly cold and wintery day in January along the shores of Derwent Water. http://www.nleephoto.com/p717222598/h81904a8c#h81904a8c