Our Travel blog
Thursday 12 May
Our neighbours on the Oban site are a couple in their mid 60's and have been civil but dour and monosyllabic for the last two days. Today as we packed up ready to hit the road they morphed into Willie and Margaret from Perthshire, the worlds most talkative couple. What a lovely morning it was with them. Married for over 40 years Willie is originally from Glasgow. A Rangers fan, for a 'wee while' he played professional football, turning out for Sunderland until life took him in other directions. Nowadays he's a doorman at Gleneagles Hotel, where he's met many a celeb, but is most proud of his picture with Sir Alex Ferguson. Margaret worked in retail but is now a self employed gardener and has worked on some big estates. She took great, and well deserved, pride in showing us around their caravan, which they leave at the site and visit whenever they can.
Enjoyable though our time with them was we needed to get going - I excused myself and got busy doing little jobs by way of a hint, including running the engine for a time. Eventually I dropped a sack over Alison's head and bundled her into the back of the van before speeding off. You can tell that last sentence was a lie because I'm still alive to write it.
Once under way we took the A85 where we joined the A82 again for the trip up to Glencoe. People have told us this is a spectacular place, except Willie who thinks its a bit drab and colourless, so we were immensely excited. Sadly, not far into the A82 some idiot in an American style motorhome took his corner excessively wide, and we were both saying how he was on the wrong side of the road and travelling too fast when a loud bang interrupted us and our driver side wing mirror scattered over the road.
Being on an already narrow road and with traffic piling up behind we did the only thing possible and carried on until we could safely pull over a mile or so further on. Ray carried out some running repairs, salvaging the wiring and generally trying to look butch and like he knew what he was doing. Once over the shock, and with dangling wires secured Alison bravely took the wheel again and we ploughed on to Glencoe.
Shock slowly turned to annoyance at having to sort it out, as well as the inevitable cost of course, and the fact we've no idea about the other party. We hope that they've learned a lesson, and if not that they meet every single midge Scotland has to offer. After a stop for a cup of tea (we're English after all) the scenery started to calm us as we drove across broad planes between mountains glowing green and gold in the sun or menacing and rugged in the shade.
Glencoe Mountain Resort, our site for a couple of nights is a base for skiing in the winter, so a chairlift leads up to The Basin, a plateau half way up the mountain from where ski pulls and another lift take customers up to a variety of runs. It also has a couple of mountain bike tracks and does a healthy summer business taking hikers, mountain bikers and those just curious to see the views up to The Basin at 2,300ft.
Once pitched up we made some calls and were directed by a garage in Fort William to a nearby one in Ballachulish, as they were concerned they were a bit too far away and a local garage would be easier for us. Cheered by their decency we duly presented Mavis for inspection and let the record now show that Lochside Garage in Ballachulish is a rare gem. After gently showing us the cost of a replacement wing mirror on his notepad with the kindly manner of a Doctor imparting grave news, the proprietor bade us return tomorrow when he'd fit it and we could resume our travels.
Buoyed by his helpfulness we stopped at the Glencoe visitor centre, which was making every effort to close early by the look of it, so we didn't linger but instead stopped further on and explored a bit of the Glencoe scenery up close. The river Add cuts through the rocks between the mountains, fed by waterfalls and streams that bring snow melt and rain from the mountains down narrow tree lined gullies that slice through the high valleys in bright contrast to the bare rocks around them. Lower down they become broad scree lined streams that meander through the lush valley floor seemingly in no hurry to meet the Add.
It was all most refreshing and we returned to a battered Mavis in a better frame of mind. Although we really do hope the midges are biting wherever the other motorhomers were headed!
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