Our Scottish Roadtrip
Scotland is right on our doorstep and is one of the most beautiful places you can visit in the UK. Full of rich history, panoramic views and the best hiking/motorcycling you're likely to find.
We'd been looking for a way to combine our love for hiking and motorcycling in a single trip, the obvious thing to do would be to ride yes? But what if you want to take a week's worth of clothes and you don't want to be soaked by the inevitable Scottish rains?
The solution presented itself in the form of a rented camper van from Justgo. This particular model benefits from a huge rear locker, big enough for a motorcycle. Justgo have outlets in the south near London and in Edinburgh giving you some flexibility. Prices range depending on the season and distance but we paid £500 for a long weekend, which is very reasonable and the service is exceptional.
Renting a campervan
How easy is it and what does it really cost?
JustGo's website is very simple, it gives you the option to choose the right camper for you, select the dates you are looking to hire and to book online.
We wanted to be sure that the 'Pioneer' model was right for us and the team were more than happy to show us around one before we booked.
Initially when booking 25% was taken as a deposit with the remaining balance paid 6 weeks before the trip. There's a handy online check in function for drivers licence checks and ID meaning you save time on collection. We lived that there is some flexibility with collection and drop off and that there is also a service to collect you from a train station or airport.
Where to park overnight with your campervan
Edinburgh Zoo is located just 3 miles outside of the city center and is tucked away on a hillside behind a holiday inn, blink and you'll miss the turning.
We visited the zoo in the off peak season meaning there was plenty of parking large enough for a camper van, however make sure you plan ahead if the zoo is busy you might be wanting for a place to stow your vehicle. Parking varies depending on the size of the vehicle but expect to pay at least £5 for the day.
Entry to Edinburgh Zoo is £17.95 for adults, £9 for kids between 3-15 and under 3's go free so it can be a pricey day out for a family of 4 but well worth it in our opinion.
The entire zoo is on a hillside so make sure you're wearing comfortable footwear, the staff are friendly and are on hand to help anyone with mobility issues, which we think is fantastic.
All of the exhibits are very well kept and for a relatively small Zoo it houses a host of fairly rare animals, not to mention the only Panda's in the UK! There are lots of interactive talks and displays, the staff were very enthusiastic and friendly and in the summer we think this would be an amazing place for a picnic. Expect to spend most of the day in the Zoo, there are catering services throughout but like any Zoo food can be pricey so might be worth taking a packed lunch.
Hike Ben Nevis Trail
Which trail and how long it will take
Our Hike of Ben Nevis started out at our Campsite at Glen Nevis, leaving the site you turn left towards the Ben Nevis visitor's centre where you'll pick up the trail. At a moderate pace you can expect to take around 4 hours to the summit depending on weather conditions, though if like us you're detracted by all the photo opportunities you can allow most of the day.
Park in the Ben Nevis visitors centre and cross the footbridge over the River Nevis following the trail to the right.
After following the river briefly you will bear left along a stone wall passing the Ben Nevis inn on your left as you enter a style onto the main trail.
Follow the wide path which climbs across the hillside. After passing above a small plantation the path from Glen Nevis Youth Hostel joins in from the right.
The path crosses a couple of footbridges over small streams and curves round, climbing above the valley of the Red Burn.
The path continues to climb to the left with Nevis to the right until it reaches a plateau Loch Meall an t-Suidhe, known as half way lochan. You will pass the loch on your left.
The path continues onto the north face of Ben Nevis eventually crossing the Red Burn Stream a welcome stopping point for hikers.
A well-worn route through the boulders and scree, climbing relentlessly in a series of very wide zigzags.
Eventually the gradient reduces as you reach the Nevis plateau, from here is a straight shot to the summit. The UK's highest peak.
Motorcycle Routes Scottish Highlands
Scotland is a motorcycle mecha full of stunning rides
There are far too many motorcycle routes to list but one route that we discovered on our trip to Scotland took us from our campsite in Glen Nevis west towards to coast on the scenic A380. Just 20 miles down the road is a great stop off point on the edge of Glen Finnan, home of the Glen Finnan Viaduct made famous in the Harry Potter Movies. The Glen Finnan visitors centre has a great cafe and amble parking for cars and bikes though not quite enough for a camper.
The Glen Finnan viaduct is just a 5 minute stroll from the visitors centre and well worth a look. If you plan your trip carefully you can ride over the bridge on a train, which periodically switches to a traditional steam engine that runs all the way out to the coast - book early it fills up fast!
From Glen Finnan the A380 parallels the railway to the coast towards Loch Eilt for 40+ miles, which is a stunning ride - the road quality is exceptional and highly recommended. The A380 ends at the ferry crossing point to Armadale for the Castle, Gardens and Museum, which is a great day out on the motorcycle if you have the time.