After having seen a documentary on TV about Scotland, which looked absolutely beautiful and remembering how much we enjoyed our trip to Ireland, we decided that it would be a good idea to do the same in Scotland … take the SL and drive where our noses led us. Having made that decision, we also thought it would be a good opportunity to combine it with a visit to Beverley & Don and Steven & Gaynor in England …
We again checked the weather forecasts for Harris and Lewis and because unfortunately there wasn’t any change in the weather conditions, we had to make a decision. Feeling rather disillusioned with the experience thus far, we considered aborting the trip and going back home … but we couldn’t bring forward our reservation on the ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam and since driving through the UK, more than 1000 miles (incl. through London) didn’t appeal to us as well, we decided to continue on, but drive north to sunnier skies.
After our time in Dornoch, although the weather forecast for the west coast hadn’t changed, we decided ‘to heck with it, let’s just go there!!!’ … sounds pretty simple, right? … wrong!!!!, after checking for accommodation in Harris, Lewis and even Skye – no luck – everything booked out!!! Talking to the locals later, we found out that you can’t just ‘go there and decide on a B&B’, you have to book at least a year in advance!!!!
People are very friendly and welcoming, the landscape is pretty similar everywhere in the East where we've been (unfortunately can't comment on the west for obvious reasons). So more tours with the car weren't our choice. Although a few villages were really pretty, in all honesty a number were rather dull (they seemed to lack greenery, eg. gardens!! - contrary to Ireland). Accomodation is really a problem in Scotland, being a fishing, hunting and golfing destination. Even in Dornoch we were just lucky, that someone didn't show up, so we could get a room in a B&B.
On the negative side, it's still really expensive. We tracked the cost last year in Ireland and this year in Scotland and it's roughly 20% more expensive. Taking into account that the pound dropped around 12%, this totals to 30% more expenses for a very similar holiday (and to add insult to injury, we found out that our local supermarket sells Glenlivet AND Glenffidich cheaper than their distillerires !!!).
So mixed emotions now, first bigger trip where we got stuck and pretty frustrated. Funnily we didn't read anywhere about the accomodation problems. One B&B owner said, the season is so short, that there's just not enough beds available.
So you live and learn!