Scotland in a motor home

(36 Posts)
thebluehen Thu 06-May-21 19:26:10

We have a motor home booked for a week in Scotland at the beginning of July.

We are camping and caravan virgins.

We initially thought we would just park up by the side of the road but now I'm not so sure that we can do that every day as we have water and electrics to think about (we have also hired a generator).

So I'm trying to plan an itinerary with various stops.

How feasible does this schedule look (other half thinks it's too much travelling for a week, but Google maps says no more than 2.5 hours travel per day)

Day 1 - Edinburgh collect van drive to Pitlochry
Day 2 Pitlochry to Inverness
Day 3 Inverness to John o groats
Day 4 John o groats to tongue
Day 5 tongue to Ullapool
Day 6 Ullapool to fort William
Day 7 fort William to glasgow
Day 8 Glasgow return to Edinburgh

Any advice gratefully received.

OP’s posts: |
EvilOnion Thu 06-May-21 19:29:48

I'd keep in mind that some parts of NE Scotland are experiencing a massive surge in Covid cases so there may be restrictions for what you can do/where you can go on your visit.

Hopefully there will be normality by then but something to think about!

AgentProvocateur Thu 06-May-21 19:37:27

That’s a very do-able itinerary.

xyzandabc Thu 06-May-21 19:37:56

You have no non driving days in that itinerary and at least 2-3 hours driving each day. Do not rely on Google map time for a motor home. Any journey will take you 20-50% longer than it would in a car.

So by the time you're up, had breakfast, packed up the van, hit the road, arrived in the new place it will be afternoon, so just time to check out the campsite, source dinner, get bitten by midges, retire to bed. Then repeat.

If you actually want to see the places your staying in, explore or visit anywhere, you need to allow some days not on the road.

I'm with your DH on this one. That is a fly around the country as quick as possible but only seeing the view from the front of the van type of itinerary.

Itwasjustresting Thu 06-May-21 19:42:35

You may find yourselves rather unpopular parked up at the side of the road with a genny running. There were so many vans last year parking all over the place and emptying their toilet cassettes into the regular drains that the locals ran out of patience and the tourist board really want people to use designated sites now.

Scottishskifun Thu 06-May-21 19:44:51

So you need to book campsites in advance they are very busy!

Would also pick one side of the country I get your trying to do the 500 basically but the roads are winding and may seem short distances but take bloody ages!

The east coast gets less midges and can be drier weather but typically colder due to the wind. Beautiful but more agricultural style with beaches.
The West is more "typical scottish" landscapes - mountains, valleys and mountain to sea scenery. But also more midges typically.

YanTanTethera123 Thu 06-May-21 19:45:00

Having toured Scotland in a camper van some years ago, we were surprised at how long it took to get to places. I think you’re planning a whistle stop tour OP, there’s no time planned for really looking around or detours to interesting attractions etc. or allowing for holdups.
Personally if I went again (and I would love to) I would focus on exploring an area or spending several weeks so I could actually enjoy it rather than sticking to a tick list.

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Itwasjustresting Thu 06-May-21 19:45:48

Good tips here: www.visitscotland.com/accommodation/caravan-camping/caravan-motorhomes-campervan/

denverRegina Thu 06-May-21 19:48:18

Are you not planning on actually doing anything? All you've done is name places there.

What do you want to see? You won't be able to just park up at the side of the road randomly without any planning ahead whatsoever. Why not concentrate on a particular area that you absolutely want to see?

suggestionsplease1 Thu 06-May-21 19:49:27

The Tongue to Ullapool and Ullapool to Fort William are going to be the most scenic parts of the trip. I think on the John O Groats day I would try to get a good bit further round than Tongue so that you have more time on the Wes Coast.. Ullapool to Fort William, if you're taking scenic route could easily be 6 hours driving (have you looked up NC500?)

However the NC500, as well as being beautiful, is likely to be extremely busy at that time, lots of single lane roads, anticipating passing points in advance, sometimes awkward manoeuvres especially in a motor home (think possible reversing up hills around tight bends, if it's very busy and people are misjudging space or trying to force you to reverse so they don't have to.)

So maybe the main roads compared to NC500 might be less stressful!

thebluehen Thu 06-May-21 19:50:20

Thanks for all the quick replies!

Ok, I'll have a little think about where we really want to go and cut some bits out so we can have more time to relax and enjoy and get booking some campsites.

OP’s posts: |
FAQs Thu 06-May-21 19:52:25

It’s worth looking at this, this is one of the most popular motorhome guide books for stopovers www.britstops.com/

capercaillie Thu 06-May-21 19:53:32

Wouldn't rely on parking up at side of road. There's a lot of tension around that at the moment - and local communities are frustrated with the amount of litter, toilet waste (including campervan waste) and blocking parking areas (sometimes sensitive ones like graveyards). Book into campsites. You're also going to spend a lot of time driving - won't have time to actually look round places or go on even short walks.

denverRegina Thu 06-May-21 19:54:53

Why not collect the van and drive that day to Ullapool?

It's a 4 hour drive and you'll pass through Pitlochry and Inverness.

Spend a couple of nights somewhere near Ullapool and then check out and go over to Skye for a night.

Via Mallaig and past Glenfinnian to Fort William. A night there.

A couple of nights either Oban or Loch Lomond area and Glasgow.

Back to edinburgh with the van.

midgedude Thu 06-May-21 20:09:25

How big is the motor home ?

Have you prior experience of driving single track roads?

Just returned from a run around in our van for the first time since covid .

It's pretty clear that over crowding & poor parking have caused problems last year in some communities, a lot of new" no overnight" signs up

It's also pretty clear that some people don't know how to drive single track roads( hints stop at wide bits if somethings coming your way, be prepared to reverse , let faster vehicles pass, don't park in the passing bays )

If you are on a campsite you don't need a generator

If you are parked at the road side you should not have an external generator connected to the van

It's nicest if you arrive somewhere, stay a day ( couple of nights) before moving on. Gives you time to explore

YanTanTethera123 Thu 06-May-21 20:30:19

denverRegina

Why not collect the van and drive that day to Ullapool?

It's a 4 hour drive and you'll pass through Pitlochry and Inverness.

Spend a couple of nights somewhere near Ullapool and then check out and go over to Skye for a night.

Via Mallaig and past Glenfinnian to Fort William. A night there.

A couple of nights either Oban or Loch Lomond area and Glasgow.

Back to edinburgh with the van.

This is almost the route we did! And we could easily have spent three weeks there.

thebluehen Thu 06-May-21 21:55:39

Had a complete rethink this evening and actually think we are going to scrap hiring the camper van and just book a couple of B and B's in Scotland. Maybe somewhere in the Trossach's and then onto Skye.

OP’s posts: |
Itwasjustresting Fri 07-May-21 06:35:52

That also sounds a good plan! And maybe less stressful in terms of driving time.

denverRegina Fri 07-May-21 06:56:37

You need to get booking then. There's not much left!

Don't discount travelodge and premier inn either if you're struggling to find somewhere.

Igotjelly Fri 07-May-21 06:59:47

You’ll need to be quick booking. We’re off to Skye in July and had to book air B&B’s over a month ago!

Happytentoes Fri 07-May-21 07:35:58

EvilOnion

I'd keep in mind that some parts of NE Scotland are experiencing a massive surge in Covid cases so there may be restrictions for what you can do/where you can go on your visit.

Hopefully there will be normality by then but something to think about!

The outbreak is in Moray, centred in Elgin but also spreading west to Lossiemouth and east to Keith.

Hoping it’s contained quickly as no-one needs more restrictions.

Enjoy your trip OP, just be sure to pack for all weathers 🙄

Throwntothewolves Fri 07-May-21 07:43:01

I think it's too much driving for one week, it's basically all you'll be doing.
Whether you decide to use a camper van or B&Bs/hotels I would try to book asap as everything, including camp sites will be booked up. It's the first week of the school hols in Scotland (not sure where you're from w
So sorry if you know that already) and pretty much everyone I know is hiring a campervan and touring Scotland this summer so it's going to be busy!

averythinline Fri 07-May-21 07:45:44

Your new plan sounds more like a holiday!...... we drove from Inverness to Skye across the top of loch lomond....amazing but October so not so busy.....so if you wanted to do a motor home trip at some stage would suggest that time of year...
..in the summer would recommend SMIDGE insect protection....I'm an insect magnet and this is fab.....

EvilOnion Fri 07-May-21 08:03:53

I know @Happytentoes, I'm in the area.

It's just something to consider as there's talk of a localised lockdown. Hoping nothing comes of it!

Happytentoes Fri 07-May-21 08:24:35

@EvilOnion sorry you have that to deal with. 🤞🏻 It can be dealt with quickly.
I am not far away from you ( Aberdeenshire). Its grim thinking of being locked down again.

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