Sunday 16 March 2008

Island Hopping Scotland - Loch Lomond to Lower Wensleydale - and home

Nearly the last day of our Scottish Island Hopping holiday in a motorhome, and an early-ish start was required to pulll in a visit to the Maid of the Loch the other end of Loch Lomond. The Maid of the Loch was the last paddle steamer and the largest inland waterway passenger vessel to be built in Britain. Launched in 1953 – Coronation Year, it was built for service on Loch Lomond, the largest lake in Britain. Withdrawn from service in 1981, and vandalised thereafter, the Maid was rescued from dereliction in 1992 and as the first stage in restoring her to service is now open to the public in a static role.

As luck would have it, whilst not fully open on the day we were there, a group of school children were visiting the Maid, the Winch House and Slipway, and the boiler in the Winch House was actually in steam, so we were able to tag along and see things we would not normally have been able to. After a couple of hours anorak time, we needed to be heading south as time was pressing on, and we needed to be in Yorkshire by the evening. The SatNav was set for Leyburn - 205 miles and 5 hours later (after a detour due to roadworks), we arrived at the Caravan Club Lower Wensleydale site, near Bedale.

As soon as we came over the border from Scotland to England, the sun came out, and apparantly, most of England had had hot and sunny weather the whole time we were away. Typical.

This was our last stop and was nothing more than a pitch for the night before our last 125 miles home to Derbyshire the following day. The Wardens were extremely welcoming, the facilities, as ever with the Caravan Club, were excellent, but as we were late arriving, our pitch was one of the least popular, with our nose against one access road and our bike rack abutting the other. We were pleased M&S had changed their carrier bags to fluorescent green, as two were deployed to stop any passing site traffic catching us.

Once set up, we got the chilled champagne out of the fridge, lit the candles, and sat in the last rays of the evening sunshine, and celebrated what a totally wonderful holiday experience we’d had.

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