Planning

My July has bucked the trend. I’ve had no big travel adventures at a time when so many people head off on holidays.

I’m not complaining. I’ve had two wonderful short trips recently – Rīga in May and Mull/Iona in June. I’ve also had a week this month in the “2nd home” in Bavaria.
August will be holiday month. So July is really for planning.

The 10 day break in August will be a stay at home one, as in staying in the UK. The question is “where”?

Northumberland, Durham and the Scottish Borders is a strong candidate. Lindisfarne, the castles at Alnwick, Bamburgh and Warkworth, Durham itself, Hadrian’s Wall.

Durham

Durham

Floors Castle on the Scottish side. Plenty there for a 2 night/3 day escape.

Gigha is another strong contender.

It’s a 20 minute ferry trip from Taylinloan on the west coast of the Mull of Kintyre. It’s a 3.5 hour drive to get there. Only 175 miles (280 km), mind you. Yes, exactly.

The other option to get there means taking 2 ferries before even the Gigha one. Gourock to Dunoon and then Portavadie to Tarbert.

Western Ferries to Dunoon

Western Ferries to Dunoon

Then it’s only 130 miles (208 km) to drive in 3 hours. £24.95 altogether for the two fares and 45 minutes sailing time. You have to add on waiting time, of course, plus loading and unloading time. Neither ferry can be pre-booked, so you can’t be sure of getting on the one you hope to catch.

1st leg

1st leg

2nd leg

2nd leg

3rd leg

3rd leg

A no brainer if travel time and cost are the only factors.

But then holidays are about taking your time, and enjoying the experience. I caught the island/ferry hopping bug a while back, so… I’ll keep you posted.

As a wee postscript, the Calmac timetable for the Portavadie/Tarbert ferry informs us that from 12 September onwards the 18:15 sailing “…operates only if requested no later than 16:00 on the day of travel…”. You just phone Calmac to request it.

ⓒ iain taylor 2016

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