Ich habe in einem anderen Forum einen Bericht geschrieben und dachte, dass es vielleicht auf den einen oder anderen unter euch interessieren könnte. Viel Spass!
Now, let’s start off with some general information about this trip.
15.9.17, BA751, BSL-LHR, A320, 1A
15.9.17, BA1468, LHR-INV, A320, 1A
25.9.17, BA1469, INV-LHR, A320, 1A
25.9.17, BA748, LHR-BSL, A320, 1A
The plan for this trip was to follow the NC500 route, with some detours, and to visit the Isle of Skye as well.
As we planned this trip in July, we quickly noticed that many places were already nearly fully booked, so we booked accommodation for every night.
These were the following:
15th of September 2017: pentahotel, Inverness
16th of September 2017: House by the Harbour, Wick
17th of September 2017: Farr Bay Inn, near Bettyhill
18th of September 2017: The Arch Inn, Ullapool
19th of September 2017: Airbnb, near Shieldaig
20th of September 2017: Peinmore House, Portree, Isle of Skye
21st of September 2017: Peinmore House, Portree, Isle of Skye
22nd of September 2017: Tirindish House, Spean Bridge, near Fort William
23rd of September 2017: The Boat Hotel, Boat of Garten, near Aviemore
24th of September 2017: Chieftain Hotel, Inverness
If anyone needs additional information about those properties, please let me know. I would recommend all of them except the House by the Harbour in Wick and the Boat Hotel in Boat of Garten which was a catastrophe. It was so dirty, something that I’ve never seen before, and I’ve stayed at many hotels all over the world. It was so bad that we tried to find another hotel, but everything in the area was sold out (Saturday night…) unfortunately.
We had to get up really early, namely at 3am local time. The drive to the airport was about one hour, where we arrived at 5.15am. After the check-in we went to the lounge to have some breakfast. Boarding for the 6.35am flight started a bit after 6. The flight was busy, especially in the front. This was the load: Business Class 28/36, Economy 86/114. The flight was operated by G-EUYN, an A320, which we hadn’t flown on before. As my OH is vegetarian, she preordered a special meal, as always, but unfortunately it wasn’t loaded. As the planes are return catered there was nothing on board for her, so the cabin crew were very apologetic and grabbed something from the buy on board menu. This is something that BA regulars will note has not been reported before, so we were pleasantly surprised. The cabin crew even proactively offered 3000 Avios (miles) as an apology and phoned Heathrow to make sure that her special meal would be loaded on the subsequent flight to Inverness. After landing we had to wait on the tarmac for a couple of minutes until our gate was empty so that we could disembark (to be fair we landed about 20 minutes early). We then went, as always, to the First Class Lounge which we can access thanks to our Gold status to have breakfast, yet again, and of course some champagne. We then met a fellow Flyertalker, rhivolution, who was on her way to New York City. It’s always nice to meet other Flyertalkers when travelling, I find it interesting to exchange about travel plans and talk about any travel related topics. After the 2h-ish layover, which quickly went by, our flight to Inverness was ready for boarding. This flight was operated by an A320 too, G-EUUT. This was our second flight onboard G-EUUT, as we have been on this exact plane last year, on 26th November, from LHR to HEL. This flight was very busy: Business Class 21/28, Economy 122/126. We settled in, and enjoyed the 1h20 flight to Inverness. Unfortunately, it took ages for the luggage to be delivered, and our bags were amongst the last ones to appear on the carrousel.
We then picked up our VW Polo (Avis) after a couple of minutes’ wait at the counter. This car was perfect for the narrow roads in Scotland and offered enough comfort for the both of us and was very fuel efficient (about 55mpg). We did a whopping 1263.6 miles, albeit at an average speed of only (about) 35mph.
We didn’t plan to do a lot of driving for the first day, so we only went to Nairn for lunch at the Classroom Bistro, then visited the Culloden Battlefield, before heading to Inverness. We checked in at the pentahotel, which we found had a very cozy lobby/bar area.
After a couple of drinks we then decided to have dinner at the Riva Italian restaurant, which was disappointing unfortunately.
As we’ve now been up for more than 20 hours straight, we went to bed and had a good night’s sleep!
This was Day 1, now some pictures!
BA’s Business Class Cabin seen from row 1:
Beautiful morning for flying!
Champagne Bar at the Heathrow T5 First Class Lounge
Inverness just before sunset
We started off having an excellent and delicious breakfast at the pentahotel. Before packing our bags and starting to head north, we quickly went to the Victorian Market. As our next stop was Wick, we knew we would drive North, so we checked out which spots we wanted to visit along the way. We decided to head to Beauly first, to visit Beauly Priory. The next stop was Tarbat Ness Lighthouse, where we were very lucky that the rain stopped for a while. After this we had a delicious lunch at Platform 1864 in Nain. Then we continued to Dunrobin Castle, which we didn’t visit, but just stopped by. We continued north on A99, enjoyed the views from the Berriedale Braes Viewpoint, before climbing the Whaliegoe Steps and visiting the Castle of Old Wick.
Tarbat Ness Lighthouse
Lunch in Nain, Fish&Chips, what else?
On the road
Berriedale Braes Viewpoint
On the road
At Whaligoe Steps
Castle of Old Wick
Old Fog Cannon, Wick Harbour
After breakfast we headed to the Noss Head Lighthouse, and very close by was also the beautiful Castle Sinclair Girnigoe, which really was impressive. We were, at least for the most time, the only ones there and I honestly could have stayed there forever. After spending more than an hour there, we continued north, to the Duncansby Lighthouse, near John o’Groats, where we had lunch at the Seaview Restaurant. As the Queen Elizabeth Castle of Mey was on our way, we stopped by there, but didn’t bother to visit it, as it was packed with tourists. We continued straight on to the northernmost point of Britain, Dunnet Head Lighthouse. Then, we headed to Thurso, as we wanted to have coffee, but as it was Sunday, unfortunately all Cafés we saw were closed, so we ended up buying something at Aldi! The next stop was Strathy Point Lighthouse, which was beautiful as well. We were, once again, the only ones there, which made it feel very special, tranquil and relaxing. Our accommodation was a couple of miles west, near Bettyhill, where we stayed at the Farr Bay Inn, which I would recommend to anyone. We had a great dinner and the staff was amazing.
Noss Head Lighthouse
Castle Sinclair Girnigoe
On the road
Near John o’Groats
Queen Elizabeth Castle of Mey
Oh, what I didn’t talk about yet… Sheep everywhere!
At Strathy Point
Our room, and the delicious dinner
New day, new adventures! After breakfast, and before heading off west, we walked to the Farr Bay to see the beautiful Farr Bay. Then, after a long drive on A838, a scenic route, we arrived at the Smoo Caves, which we visited on a guided tour for £5. We then took the scenic route yet again, where we made several stops to enjoy the landscape. After a quick stop at the Ardvreck Castle, we took A837 west to Lochinver, and then continued to a very narrow road to Inverkirkaig, Badnagyle and Dumrunie, where we were back on A835 to Ullapool. It was a lot of driving, but totally worth it, as it was one of the highlight of this trip.
On the road
On the road
Near Smoo Caves
On the road
We’re not the only ones on the road…
On the road
Lovely dinner at the Ceilidh Place in Ullapool
Now this date started with a beautiful sea view at breakfast in Ullapool. We bought some food and water at the local Tesco before heading off south. The route itself wasn’t lengthy, as our Airbnb place was 70 miles from Ullapool. Nonetheless we were on the road the whole day, taking the scenic route via Little Loch Broom, Loch Eve and Loch Maree to Shieldaig, dropping our luggage off, and then continuing to Applecross taking the Pass Bealach Na Ba with its steep road. It was a beautiful day, with a beautifully blue sky in the morning.
Little Loch Broom
On the road
Tornapress, starting to drive up the Bealach Na Ba to get to Applecross.
On the top, at the viewpoint, at 2054ft above sea level, and it is the steepest ascent of any road in the UK (20% gradients)
North of Applecross, following the coastal road back to Shieldaig
Delicious dinner at Shieldaig Bar&Coastal Kitchen
We woke up and I heard it pouring down. It was raining. Heavily at times. Our plan for the day was to get to the Isle of Skye and explore the northern part. But the first stop, before crossing over the bridge, was Eilean Donan Castle. It opened at 10am, and we planned to be there early so that we could get a picture without people on it. Unfortunately, it was still raining, but it didn’t matter that much. We were so lucky. When we arrived, I saw the first tour bus pull into the parking. I quickly got out, took a picture, and only a couple of minutes later a lot of people started walking towards the castle. So we were just in time, as planned. The exhibition, which I found interesting, had a no photography policy, so no pictures from inside the castle. After an hour or so we continued our trip to Kyle of Lochalsh to cross over to Skye. We arrived at Portree around noon where we had a quick, but not so good lunch. Then, when heading northwest to Uig, the rain stopped, and the weather started to improve. The first sight on the Isle of Skye was Fairy Glen, then we did a quick stop at the Duntulm Castle ruins, drove to the Quiraing Viewpoint and did a final stop at the Kilt Rock viewpoint where we saw dolphins unexpectedly. As I left my zoom lens for my DLSR at home I didn’t take any good pictures of them. We arrived in Portree at about 5pm and checked in to our B&B. The owner was very kind and helpful and recommended us a couple of places to have dinner. He also told us to call and book ahead as the Isle of Skye was very busy (in fact it was the busiest September), and so we did. We treated ourselves to dinner at “The View”, the restaurant at the Cuillin Hills Hotel, with a perfect view of Portree. It was a great day, even though we were now not alone any longer, with many tourists everywhere, including buses with groups from China.
We passed this Red Squirrel reintroduction area just outside of Shieldaig
Eilean Donan Castle in rainy conditions
Near Uig, Isle of Skye
Fairy Glen, Isle of Skye
Duntulm Castle, Isle of Skye
The view from Quiraing
Kilt Rock Viewpoint
Dinner view at “the View”
Excellent salmon, and a great selection of Scottish cheeses
As we booked two nights in Portree we had a full day to explore more of Skye. After the delicious breakfast we headed to the west to the Neist Point Lighthouse. The weather was simply amazing, I don’t think we could have had more luck, especially since it was raining the day before and the day after also. It took about 20 minutes to get to the lighthouse from the top where the car park is located. After heading back, we walked further to explore other views, and it was totally worth it. We spent nearly all morning there, as it was truly beautiful. We had a quick lunch at Café Lephin, where I enjoyed a local beer, Skye Red. The next stop was the Fairy Pools, which we found a bit disappointing. It took quite some time to get there from the car park, and since we didn’t plan on bathing there, we didn’t spend a lot of time. We then headed back north to the Storr, where we arrived at about 4pm. We started hiking uphill, and it was exhausting. Unfortunately, we didn’t end the hike because I was too exhausted (I am the couch potato type person), so we turned back about half way up. I guess we’ll have to return at some point, as the views must be incredible up there. It was an interesting day, and the Neist Point was clearly the favorite spot.
Delicious breakfast at the B&B
Near Neist Point
Neist Point Lighthouse
Enjoying a local beer
Gardens at Dunvegan Castle
On the road
That’s the first close-up we had with one of those!
That’s as far as we got at Storr
Portree at night
Our next stop was Fort William, and we planned on taking the ferry back to the mainland. As we had some time left on Skye before taking the noon ferry, we decided on driving on a scenic route, B8083, which led to Elgol. The weather was rainy, and on the way back (it is a dead end), we had a coffee break at “The Blue Shed Café”. This café was very cosy. They had a map where every customer could mark where they were from and the even had binoculars to do wildlife watching. After the break we continued to Armadale, where we bought the ferry tickets and had to wait for a little while as the scheduled was amended for that day due to the tides. The crossing was quick, it took about 25 minutes only. After arrival on the other side, at Mallaig, we started heading to Glenfinnan, as the steam train was scheduled to cross at 3pm. We took the Alternate Coastal route A8008, a winding road, which was beautiful. As we headed towards Glenfinnan, the weather deteriorated and it started raining again. There is a car park at Glenfinnan, which costs £2, and there is a small trail leading to the viewpoint. It takes only about 2 minutes, but the viewpoint was not as we expected it. We were still quite far from the viaduct, and it was a small space that quickly got crowded. As there wasn’t time to head elsewhere on foot, we stayed there and waited half an hour or so for the train to pass, as it was delayed. The weather was so bad that I won’t bother sharing the picture with the train on the viaduct. Little hint: We went back on the next day and had more luck! Stay tuned!
We then headed to Fort William, the roads have in the meantime become flooded in some areas, so we had to be careful. Our B&B was a bit outside of Fort William, where we checked in at about 5pm. As we didn’t fancy the local restaurants and the only one we would have liked was already fully booked we headed back to Fort William to have dinner at a random place.
Coffee at the «Blue Shed Café»
Now this was in some way a strange day. As the weather was bad the day before we headed back to Glenfinnan as the weather was much better today. On the way there we stopped at Neptune’s staircase, which is a staircase lock comprising eight locks on the Caledonian Canal. It takes ships 90 minutes to pass through, and luckily enough when we arrived there was “The Lord of the Glens” passing through. When we arrived at Glenfinnan we didn’t park at the official parking, but at a parking just half a mile or so further, where a road lead towards the viaduct. Now there was another viewpoint signposted to our left walking towards the viaduct, which would be facing east, but I didn’t like that because of the back light, so instead we headed further, under the viaduct, and then up the hill to our right, to find a spot facing west, so we would have the sun in the back. We arrived just in time when the train arrived. We were much closer now, so this was totally worth it. After this we started heading back to Fort William, but continued to Glen Coe. It was very windy in the valley, so we had to eat our picnic in the car. Many parkings near the viewpoints and hiking trails were already full, so we didn’t bother to find a spot and go hiking. As our destination was Boat of Garten in the Cairngorms National Park we had quite some driving ahead of us. The original plan was to visit Fortingall, which was described as the most beautiful village in Scotland, but, unfortunately, we didn’t think so at all. Killin, just a couple of miles west was much nicer and interesting, especially because of the Dochart Falls and the Old Mill. It started raining again, quite heavily also, so we didn’t really do something else other than driving around. Even though we didn’t visit any sights, the driving itself was nice, as we took small roads where often we were the only ones and we drove through beautiful forests and landscapes. For the last bit we decided on taking the A9 to Boat of Garten, where we arrived at about 5pm in the terrible hotel described upthread. It was so dirty that we tried to book another hotel, but as it was a Saturday night everything was either sold out or simply not worth the extra money. We headed to Grantown-on-Spey to have dinner, and bought a couple of beers at the local Co-op to drink in the hotel room, as their bar wasn’t very inviting either.
As our hotel was so terrible we didn’t bother to have breakfast there, so we drove to Aviemore where we had an excellent breakfast at the Mountain Café. The reason why we were here in the first place was that we had booked a luncheon on the Strathspey Railway. Before heading to Aviemore station to collect our pre-booked tickets though, we visited the Cairngorm reindeer center in the Glenmore Forest Park. It’s the only reindeer center in the UK and they had two types of tickets. One was to visit the stables and information center, the other was for a 2h tour. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time for the 2h tour, so we bought tickets to visit the information center. We then headed back to Aviemore where we had to wait a bit until our train arrived. There are two services on Sundays, one regular service at 12.30pm, heading to Broomhill via Boat of Garten. The next service at 1pm was our train, the luncheon service, taking the same route, but with a duration of 2.5h we had a couple of stops on the way and the train was very slow as well. Both services were operated by steam locomotives. The luncheon was £36 per person, which included a 3-course meal, coffee and tea. It was a nice experience, but the service was not so good and the food quality could have been better. But for the price I guess it was alright. After arriving back at Aviemore station we headed directly to Inverness, where we checked in and had dinner and drinks at the hotel as well. We enjoyed a couple of beers, whiskies and G&Ts and played pool.
After having our last Scottish Breakfast, we headed to the airport, returned our car, checked in, and went to the small lounge in Inverness.
Our flight departed from Gate 2, and boarding started a bit late. Inverness airport doesn't have any jetways, so you simply walk over the tarmac to the airplane. The load on this flight was the following: Business Class 22/28, Economy 126/126.
We were served lunch on this flight, and this is what my OH got as she pre-ordered a vegan meal (if you are Vegetarian you always get the same meal so this was to get some change)
I started writing this report in the plane:
As we had a long layover we went to the Galleries First lounge straight away, where we met a fellow FTer, jcm9000, who was on his way to FRA and then onto DOH, CMB and MLE. It was really nice to meet him and we had a couple of glasses of champagne together. Our flight boarded from B gates, which I always like, because you get to see widebodies from very close.
The load on BA748 to Basel was the following: Business Class 16/24, Economy Class 126/132. We lined up on runway 09R for takeoff after a couple of minutes in the queue as it was very busy
A busy T2 as well:
The crew on our flight was fantastic. We were addressed by name, offered drinks before the meal and coffee and tea afterwards. They worked very hard from takeoff to landing, it was one of the best flights I had in BA's European Business Class, Club Europe, really. It was certainly a nice way to finish this trip.
G&T and nuts before the meal
Bearbeitet von florens, 30 September 2017 - 12:48 .