Driving from Ullapool to Fort Willam (via the Isle of Skye)

Ullapool is very small village with a population of approximately 1,500 people. Waking up there was a lovely surprise; the sunrise was beautiful and despite the following overcast weather it was a pretty little place. We headed down the road to the coastal road to have a daytime look around the area.

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The NC500 – Inverness to Ullapool (via John O’Groats)

A tired Carol & Nigel had arrived in Inverness; somewhere we started our original Scottish tour back in 2020 prior to lockdown being announced. We liked Inverness but this was only a stopping point as we had seen it before. We were roughly planning to following the NC500 route from here on. For those of you who don’t know the North Coast 500 it is a driving route of over 500 miles which offers stunning scenery, rugged mountains, fishing villages and beaches. It was unlikely given the time we had we would manage the whole route so we needed to be a little more selective about where we were feasibly able to visit.

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Aberdeen to Inverness – The Start of The NC500 Route

Aberdeen was great location for a few nights over New Year. We had grand ideas that it would be somewhere lively for Hogmanay; however we were disappointed to learn that in Scotland they still had covid restrictions meaning that there were not allowed to be any pubs open late and only selected venues were operating a late licence. The ironic thing was England had lifted these restrictions and many Scots were heading to the likes of Newcastle for a good New Year knees up! Not to be deterred we decided to stick it out and see how we got on!

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Dundee to Aberdeen, Scotland Coastal Route

The Restart

December 2021 saw us restart our previously curtailed Scottish expédition, and amid an outbreak of the Omicron COVID variant, we headed to Dundee.

I had been double-vaccinated and had my booster jab, and Carol had been double-vaccinated and had recently recovered from a bit of a cold during which she had tested positive, so we were both feeling as protected as we could be, and after 3 months of working from home, I felt good and very fit for travel.

Our plans were loose to say the least. We set the satnav to Dundee, just to have somewhere to aim for, but with no accommodation booked, and no real idea if we would make the 758km trip in one go, or whether we would tire and pull in before then, perhaps somewhere like the Lake District. We started off well prepared with warm and waterproof winter clothing, and even a couple of quilts and sleeping bags in case accommodation was a problem, forcing us to sleep in the car.

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Scotland, United Kingdom

Carol and I married in Scotland on April 1st 2017, so every year when we start considering our options for this year’s wedding anniversary trip, a revisit is always an option. This year we did it. Well, kinda 😊

We drove to Inverness, breaking up the journey with an overnight stay in Manchester. It was that night that COVID restrictions were first put in place. In a large hotel, very close to Old Trafford football stadium and the Bridgewater Canal, we appeared to be the only people staying there. A full English breakfast and a relaxing sit down with a coffee were no longer options. Now it was a very small buffet with a brown paper bag you could pack and take back to your room.

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Where have we been for the last year??

We have been very quiet for the last year…not because of choice but mainly because we returned back after our years travel and everything has been hectic! Have we still been travelling? Ooh yes! But time has been an issue with writing our blog, especially with us both back working full time.

So just so you know we haven’t fallen off the face of the earth and more posts are coming very soon. The first ones are from Scotland and our adventures over New Year last year!

Carol & Nigel xx

Chilling out on Korčula Island, Croatia

Korčula (pronounced Kor-chu-la) is the 6th largest island in Croatia and is 20 miles long and 4-5 miles wide. When deciding which island to visit we debated Hvar or Brac but decided on Korčula due to the favourable conditions for snorkelling as well as its dense forests. Due to the fact that the beaches are mostly stony it is not as popular as some islands and is also further away from the mainland but it still took less than 2 hours from Dubrovnik via the Jadrolinija ferry.

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A Short Break in Dubrovnik, Croatia

We had heard great things about Dubrovnik from friends who had visited including how beautiful it was and as it was just over the border from Montengro we headed there via bus from Budva which cost €20 and took 3½ hours. Upon arrival we were impressed at how picturesque it was, arriving on the road above old town.

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Exploring Budva and the Montenegro Coast

After a very enjoyable couple of days in Albania, we returned to Montenegro and found a great, very modern apartment to stay in in Budva. We were able to get a bus straight from Shkoder to Budva which was perfect. Through Old Town Travel it cost £21 for the trip which took 3½ hrs including the border stop. We weren’t held up long at the border, the difference was that on this occasion we had to show proof of our covid vaccine as well as our passport to re-enter. Our arrival into Budva was preceeded by some amazing mountain views along the coastline from the bus so we were excited about the time we had here to explore the area.

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Two Days in Shkodër, Albania

I had set foot in Albania previously, nearly twenty years ago, having a day trip to Saranda and Butrint whilst staying in Corfu, which lies about 6 miles off the coast of Albania. I was happy to return for Carol’s first visit, despite the reputation the country has in some people’s eyes, gained through movies such as Taken, starring Liam Neeson. Personally, I have encountered no trouble at all here. The main appeal for us to visit here was Lake Shkodër, a lake that straddles the Montenegro/Albania border, rather than to head to the capital Tirana.

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