August 2013tori's tales: August 2013

29 August 2013

No 89: When the lassie and the laddie went to wee Bonnie Scotland

 Imagine having this view, of Durham Castle, on a daily basis!
There is sure as heck a lot to be said about our time away but, in doing so, I'm aware of how much of your precious time I'll be taking up so will keep it as short and sweet (without the too-saccharine shine) as one can possibly do when she has a months worth of travelling to condense to one post!

Finchale Abbey Caravan Park - our very first campsite
The trip was, as you can expect, rather wonderful, although not without its stresses at times (for those of you who don't follow me on twitter - and I don't blame you for not doing so! - on our second to last night some not-so-nice character decided to pull up next to our motorhome in the early hours of the morning and scare the bejesus out of us by pushing on their horn long and hard before revving and screeching off into the night. I thought I was going to have a heart attack!) but always with something lovely to make up for it.

Alnwick Castle - otherwise known as the castle used for exterior shots in Harry Potter (think broom lesson)
Our most favourite (rather surprisingly we agreed on this) spot, and one of the absolute prettiest of places we came across, was Bamburgh. Our parking spot was perfect, right overlooking the beach, the town was absolutely adorable, the 'neighbours' were incredibly kind (one man took it upon himself to let us know his favourite spots in Scotland, pointing them out on the map so as not to confuse us - in his words - with his strong accent!) and the beach?! We thought the one in front of the castle was beautiful but after following the bay around to the left (as you look at the beach), and not-so-daintily making our way across some rocks, we came across one of the most stunning beaches I've ever seen (let alone in the UK) and, to top that off, we pretty much had it to ourselves!

Bamburgh Castle

Making our way across to the other beach
And check it out!!
There be our parking spot (Eric's the motor on the right!)
Our first stop in Scotland was another lovely beach town, Dunbar, from which I pinched a few shells! We parked up all of a couple of minutes from this little stone and sand number (which fit us like a glove) where we spent some time indulging in the pretty scenery of our first Scottish town before heading through it (and picking up an ice-cream on the way!).

Ever the boy, stone-skimming
Keeping my balance in the most awkward of ways (and looking like a Ninja whilst doing it)

Edinburgh was a little bit of a let down but we think that was because we were completely overwhelmed by the crowds thanks to the Fringe Festival (which we hadn't realised would be on when we decided on taking the trip - I know, silly us) as well as the fact we were parked out of town in a park and ride (my mind never allows me to relax when we are far from Eric - the break-in on our very first trip saw to that). It's somewhere I'd like to visit again in the future because, having read about recent trips taken there by Jen and Dina, I know we could do better at embracing all the city has on offer. Having said that, we did get a chance to enjoy the University grounds, and the University itself was the boys favourite we visited.

Poor Castle photography!
I had to keep this picture in because how often - really - does one come across a totem pole?! We had stopped at a campsite - Forth House near Leven - and took ourselves on a walk (that ended up being 3 hours long) to the beach, ending up in a very pretty little seaside town - Lower Largo - where this fella (and his friends) resided!

St Andrews was the prettiest town - I think anyway - that we came across on our trip. Beautiful old buildings, a nice looking high street (yes, I'm one to judge the look of high streets!) and a massive beach (albeit our walk along it was marred slightly by the some 100 jellyfish strewn about the shore). I'd happily live there, although I imagine I'd need a far few bob to do so!

University of St Andrews

Evening beach walk
From St Andrews we made our way up to Aberdeen in the hope of parking in a park and ride we'd found online. Typically, when we arrived, the P&R had a bloody height barrier so we had to turn around and drive back towards the centre to find a spot for the night/following day. Find one we did, thankfully, in a pretty suburb where all the houses, much like the buildings in Aberdeen itself, were built using a beautiful grey stone.

University of Aberdeen
Aberdeen showing off some of its stunning grey-stoned architecture
And to another seaside town we went. Our journey to Burghead was a literal washout when we were caught in a number of rainstorms but, come the next day, the skies had cleared (although we still had the odd light shower or two to contend with) and, yet again, we were able to enjoy a relaxing walk along - another very lovely - beach.

Looking back towards the village
Forever crab-hunting

You can just about see Eric's bottom if you look hard enough!
Nairn next and, wait for it.....this photo below was the best I could get but, yes, we did, we saw DOLPHINS!! I was SO incredibly excited (can't say the boy was too bothered, although he humoured me by following me whilst I skipped to the spot where I first saw them and then while I walked alongside them, taking photographs every time a fin appeared!). I spotted not one but two, frolicking (I have no idea how dolphins would frolic) in the surf and it was quite the perfect sight!

Yup, thats' a dolphin alright!
Isn't this a picturesque parking spot? It would have been perfect if it weren't for the rowdy town youth overnight!
We had originally planned to go no further North than Inverness but, after being told on a couple of occasions how pretty Dornoch was - and that Queen Madge herself married there - we thought we'd venture a little higher and give it a try!

Eric is second from the right
Thank goodness we did because, yet again, we came across another pretty-darn-near-perfect parking spot (blame the rather loud and obnoxious neighbours for it not making it to the number one spot!) opposite the beach.

Oh, and look, I was there!
I shan't go into too much detail for want of not boring you to death but our next journey down and alongside Loch Ness was the least pleasant of the trip - no parking spaces coupled with lake-side roads (which are never particularly motorhome-friendly) and hours of driving to get from one spot to the next meant the pair of us were completely fed up by the time we made it to Fort William from Dornoch at about 9:30pm (in the dark). To top it off we had to park in a bowling alley car park (and could only do so overnight) because we weren't allowed to park anywhere else.

We drove on to Glen Nevis the next morning - along a road that so was NOT meant for motorhome use (my heart was in my mouth the whole bloody time, there and back!) - and, although the walk was lovely, it was definitely the most touristy of areas/walks we'd visited/wandered along since Edinburgh thus it lacked sparkle for us.

Make up free (that was the nerves!) coupled with poor selfie-skills does not a pretty picture make!
Thank goodness for Oban! Our first stop on from the area of Fort William didn't necessarily afford us the best parking spot but boy did it make up for it with oodles of charm and bundles of stunning views. 

Looking across the water to McCaig's Tower
The view from Dunollie House
Breathtaking view number one from McCaig's Tower across Oban
Breathtaking view number two
Glasgow was the city we both enjoyed visiting the most whilst in Scotland. Fantastic shopping, gorgeous architecture and the easiest city parking/travel (a tube, yay!) ever - what more could a motorhomer ask for?

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Hogwarts-esque University of Glasgow
Our final stop, after returning to English soil, was the hidden gem that is Lancaster (and I say that, really, in the loosest of ways because I knew nothing of Lancaster before I visited whereas you good folk could know everything there is to know for all I know. Ha). Look guys, its an actual Lego-looking Castle (now a prison) and the most stunning Sacre-Couer-looking memorial. Sigh.

And I'm done! I do so hope you enjoyed hearing about our trip. Thanks again for coming along for the ride!

26 August 2013

No 88: Home again!


We're back, sporting slightly tanned foreheads, definitely grubbier bodies (sorry, always one for tmi), piles of unworn clothes and some dodgy selfies!

A big massive thanks to everyone who followed my instragram updates and tweeted or commented on my posts, asked about the journey or checked in with me every now and then. It was lovely to keep in contact and I so enjoyed sharing our trip with you all.

I'm looking to make a few changes on this here Tori's Tales before I head home to Winchester on Saturday for a week at home. If there's anything new you'd like to see, or anything you'd like to see stay put, please do let me know!


21 August 2013

No 87 Wanderlust

*As you read this I'll be pootling along somewhere to/in/from Scotland! I'm away for the month of August but shall endeavour to keep in touch (tweet/read and reply to comments) as often as I am able. Thank you for popping by and be sure to check my daily updates on instagram!*

Today's post is travel-related, an inspirational roll of pretty photographs that'll at most give you the travel bug or at least make you want to get out and explore!

anxious soul



in the valley of the matterhorn

all we've known we may know again

Sunndal, Norway

the only compass that I need

livin' on the edge

and the trees will talk to the skies

* on the shore

Scan 33

summer sunset

The Trollstigen Road and Stigfossen Waterfall

the explorers: friday morning landscapes


the narrows of the columbia river gorge


Je suis vivant.






here forever