Posted by: digibirder | July 4, 2009

Ahead of myself!

OK, so I’m here posting a trip report while I’m still on the trip! That’s a first. We are camping in Scotland and the site has wi-fi access, so we’ve taken advantage of it today. It’s quite expensive so we might only do this a couple of times during our two-week stay.

We haven’t visited Scotland for a number of years so we decided to make it our main holiday. We kept an eye on the weather forecast so that we could make last minute changes if necessary. We thought all would be well, so we booked 14 nights at Oban Caravanning and Camping Club site. The night before we left we checked the forecast again and the weather had changed somewhat, indicating that southern England would be better for longer spells. It looked like we would be off to Slapton in Devon again, but we decided to stick with our original plan and take whatever came our way with regard to the weather.

For the first time ever, we decided to take along our bikes, so we had to figure out a way to carry them on the back of car at the same time as being able to tow the trailer tent. We didn’t want a roof carrier, as we also needed to fit a roofbox for some of the camping items we need to take. We found a carrier that fitted behind the towball and that worked quite well.

As we’d planned on taking lots of walks and bike rides, I thought that a more convenient lens for my camera would be a good idea, so I decided to rent a lens from Lenses for Hire (as I have done before). I decided on the Canon EF-S 18-200mm IS lens, which is classed as a ‘travel lens’. It duly arrived the day before we set off, but I didn’t have chance to try it until later that evening when to my horror I discovered that it didn’t fit my camera! I could not get it to screw into my camera body. On checking a couple of review sites, it appears that it is only compatible with the Canon 20D onwards, and I have the 10D. There was no mention of this on the website description of the lens. In addition, there was a problem with the previous customer not returning the lens hood, so they were awaiting that to be returned and then sending it on to arrive at the campsite on the Monday. I tried to contact the emergency phone numbers and email address, both to mention the incompatibility and to try and prevent the lens hood being sent, but I was getting no response. I tried again on the journey up, but to no avail. I finally managed to contact them on Monday morning, but the lens hood had already been sent. Stewart did acknowledge that there was no mention of the incompatibility on the website, and so agreed that they were at fault there. When the lens hood arrived I packed it up in the box with the lens and prepared to send the package back to them. I was assured that I would get a full refund of the hire charge and the return postage. I couldn’t really see the purpose of emergency contact numbers if there is no response to any messages left. Anyway, I’ve had good service from them in the past so I will be using them again.

As Scotland is renowned for its midges, we made sure to take lots of repellent and bite treatments, and we purchased some citronella candles to burn in the tent. I read that the Forestry Commission use Avon Skin-So-Soft, so I purchased some of that before we left. It isn’t a repellent as such, but it was discovered by accident that it worked. The campsite shop and other shops in the area sell it, and people were saying that it worked, so it was worth a try. I’d say we’re having mixed results with our arsenal of lotions and potions.

Saturday 27th June
We didn’t set off as early as planned, and also made a few rest stops on the way, so arrived on site about 3pm. We were shown our pitch and we managed to get the tent up and a few things sorted fairly quickly. We did have a couple of moments of panic when Keith lost his glasses, then we lost the trailer keys. The glasses were eventually found under part of the tent’s mud flap, having fallen out of Keith’s pocket as he was bending down to pull the groundsheet straight, and the keys were found in the trailer lock, where I’d left them after opening the kitchen door out!

The midges were in full force and we were beginning to wonder what we had let ourselves in for! Apart from this, the site is very nice, set within an old walled garden making it very sheltered. There aren’t many birds about, apart from Chaffinches and Pied Wagtail. We do get an occasional visit by some Hooded Crows and there is a resident alarm call in the shape of a Common Gull! He/she flies round quite regularly and sometimes sits on the wall watching the comings and goings.

We were quite tired after the long journey and setting up, so we debated going out to eat, but the nearest pub was a drive away so we decided to rustle up a cheese salad. After a refreshing shower we had a fairly early night.

Sunday 28th June
We had a bit of a lie-in and a lazy start to the day, before heading into Oban for a wander and a look round any shops that may be open. As we pulled up to a parking spot by the quay wall, we spotted some Black Guillemots out on the water. As we went closer we could see that there were some heads poking from the sea wall – presumably that’s where they were nesting. Altogether there were about nine birds.

There were a few shops open and we managed to find a nice sandwich stall selling fresh seafood sandwiches. I had prawn and Keith had salmon – both delicious. We were eyed by a greedy Herring Gull as we sat on the quayside eating them, but he got the message eventually and went away.

We did a bit of shopping in the supermarket and then went back to the site to relax. For dinner we barbequed some rib-eye steaks and had those with salad, accompanied by a rather nice Redwood Creek Cabernet Sauvignon.

Monday 29th June
There was a slight drizzle in the morning, but it did clear up later on and turned into a lovely day. I woke up with a bit of a hangover, having overindulged the night before, so I wasn’t feeling too lively. We decided to relax on site. I did have to wait for the lens hood to arrive, though. I felt a bit better later in the day, so we went for a short drive round to Port Appin to see how far it was in preparation for a bike ride there along the local cycle trail, and also check out the ferry to Lismore Island, where we planned to take the bikes. It was quite a pleasant spot with just a hotel overlooking the bay and a small gift shop and local store.

After a brief stop we went back to the site to relax some more and then had a halloumi cheese salad for dinner.

Here are some photos from today’s drive to Port Appin.

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CRW_5031

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I think that will do for now as it’s getting near to bedtime. I will post more as and when we get another session of Internet access. Otherwise it will have to be when we get home.

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Responses

  1. blogging while on holiday? tut tut. all that food 😀

    presume you took the 10-20? but that canon must have been frustrating.

    midges? yeuck

  2. Lovely bay. Oh aren’t gulls so bold! I had one take the sandwich right out of my daughter’s hand, swooping down and never landing, on a beach once! Midges sond like our black flies- I hate them! Otherwise sounds like a heck of alot of fun!

  3. Wow – I’m impressed 🙂 Maddening about the lens though! Are you still using RAW? Great pictures – it looks a beautiful place to be.


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