Scotland Road Trip Weekend - Day One

I mentioned in my previous blog about the need as a photographer to get up early to capture the majestic sunrises. In this adventure there was a need to leave in the early evening and travel the 188 miles to Glencoe in Scotland. 

So, it's Friday 4th August 2017, It's raining here in Penrith as we load the car up with all my Photography gear, this time we are packing for a wild camping adventure in Scotland. This requires a whole stack of stuff to be packed into the car. Tent, sleeping bags, stove and cooking essentials, change of clothes and of course, food, not just for Sarah and I but for Percy Sprocker Pup also. Our food consisted of lots of rehydrated pasta and super noddles along with lots of rubbish food to snack on. Our intention is to get to our location, pitch the tent, cook, eat and then wait for the sunset Golden Hour at 20:15.

We all jumped into the car and set off at around 15:20 heading north up the M6. It wasn't long before we both looked at each other and decided that we were both hungry or, Hung'y as we always put it. With this in mind, I frantically added a McDonalds stop over to my SatNav and it guided me to a Carlisle McDonalds drive thru and a very busy one at that. Again, we were at great danger of cutting all this very fine at the other end. We ordered our food....... Big Tasty for Sarah, Spicy Signature for me and a plain Hamburger for Percy. We gratefully received our food and went on our way. Our gratefulness was short lived as they had got my order wrong and I had been given a BBQ Signature by mistake, I had a rant at how useless they are and began filling my face regardless, Percy was happy with his burger as he always is. Unfortunately for him, he often eats what we eat when we are on the road. The journey as a whole was plain sailing and we made good time.

We had never been to this location before and were in awe of the spectacular views as we drove through western Rannoch Moor and then onto Glencoe, trying to take in all the views of the surrounding mountains was a great experience as a photographer. Being in awe and looking for compositions had to wait, a suitable place to camp had to be found.

With this in mind we headed down a road off the very busy A82 just before Buachaille Etive Mor (Stob Dearg) hoping for somewhere to park up and pitch the tent as we had a lot of stuff that we wanted to keep close. However, it seems everyone else had the same idea, every little suitable parking and pitching area was taken and what was more worrying was that everyone we see had a midge net over them and those that didn't looked like they were acting in a low budget kung-fu movie........ hands and feet all over the place! This raised the alarm for us as we did not have any form of midge defence, which was a real, real error on our part and a huge mistake, one we won't be making again, so much so that I have two midge nets on there way from Amazon as I type.

We couldn't find a location to park and pitch and decided to head back out on to the A82 to chance our luck along there. It was now getting close to the golden hour for sunset so we parked up in one of the carparks opposite the iconic Three Sisters, the sky was now developing some lovely colours and I didn't want to miss this......... Operation park and pitch had to wait.

I located my camera gear amongst all the other bags in the back of the car and setup. I took a few images and was happy with the result

Three Sisters at sunset, Glencoe, Scotland - 21:22 4th August 2017

We jumped back in the car and carried on with our pursuit to locate somewhere to park and pitch before we run out of light. I found myself pulling up at every lay-by followed by a debate with Sarah as to whether this was the place. This went on for what felt like hours, I felt like I was working for Google Maps mapping all the lay-by's in Glencoe. This fun was about to come to an end.

Whilst driving at circa 50mph in the dark along the A82, we spotted a couple of dear grazing at the roadside, the problem was, they also see us.......... One ran to my left, the other started to head left and then decided to run straight out in front of me........... I threw on my brakes, ABS kicked in and I steered hard to the left and then BANG! I clipped the back end of the dear with the right front corner of my car. Up popped my bonnet, off ran the dear and I drove slowly down the road in slight shock and relief that I see it run off but, I still had the worry of what damage had happened to the car, was our Scotland weekend going to be over and short lived. I pulled over in a lay-by, one I had already mapped, and got out to take a look at the car. As I got out and wondered round to the front I had visions of a huge dent, smashed lights, coolant leaking. To my surprise there was no damage with the exception of the bonnet of my E-Class Mercedes sitting about 8 inches higher where the windscreen is. I popped the bonnet and suddenly remembered that this was a safety feature and it was designed to happen in the event of a front end bump. Mercedes call it Active Bonnet, its designed for pedestrian protection but it also works on deer thankfully. Having realised what had occurred I reset the bonnet and felt relieved for both us and the deer.

Given what just happened we decided to head back to the carpark where I took the image above, parked up and agreed that sleeping in the car was our best option for the first night. We got Percy out and let him have a run around on the lead for a bit, grabbed our sleeping bags, lowered the front seats and settled down for the night looking at the stars and contemplating what was in store for us tomorrow................ thats for another blog. 

Thank you for reading and look out for Day 2 coming soon

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Bye from me for now.