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Old 15 Aug 20, 08:11 PM  
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mitch84
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One mad woman and her dog, NC500 Aug 2020 - pre travel and day 1

Day 0 - pre travel day

I decided to do a quick pre travel day, and just a brief run down of what we are doing. Full info is on the pre-trippie if interested. But itís Me, Mitch, 35 (but not for long) and Max, 2 (and furry), driving Scotlandís answer to Route 66.

https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho... php?t=1176948

We also decided to go a full day earlier. I love Aviemore, and didnít want my 2 nights and 1 day there to be absolutely exhausted due to the 6 hour odd drive. So I decided to book a cheapie room only 30 mins south in Kingussie, get all the driving done on the Saturday, then wake up Sunday, have brekkie and then basically 2 full days to explore Aviemore and the surrounding areas.

So brief itinerary is

Home to Kingussie
Aviemore
Aviemore
Wick
Tongue
Ullapool
Lochcarron
Pitlochry
Home

So 8 nights away.

Hotels were an average of £80 a night for very basic accommodation (on the whole). So total accommodation bill (70% including breakfast) was £630.
I usually do a solo cruise, and I can get an AI cruise for well under £1k even with the single supplement.
Therefore Iím loosely trying to stick to £70 a day spending money, not at all likely to happen, but that would bring the 8 day holiday in for around the £1200 mark, still rather a lot but weíll see. Iím going to track spending just to see where we get to. Itís also the amount which means I donít have to dip into my ISA which I really donít like doing but after 3 months of DH not working and reduced income, it may be inevitable.

I am working today but I take the opportunity to nip out at lunchtime to get a pedicure. Crackers really as I donít think Max cares about my toes, but they do rather look like hobbit feet.



I also fill up the car with diesel whilst Iím out. 113.9p per litre so likely cheapest diesel Iím seeing for a while but i have 2/3rds of a tank left so it only costs £20.43. I deduct this from my first days budget.

Iím a bit lost with the packing, I have to bring the dog bed and loads of stuff for him, but as Iím moving nearly every night I donít really want my huge suitcase. I decide to take a small wheeley bag which I can slot the dog bag over, and then a hold-all with spare clothes that I can switch stuff in and out of, as well as a reusable shopping bag of shoes and coats to leave in the car, and a second with the dog bed, towels and his coat. Itís a biggish task trying to remember everything so I write some lists and get myself sorted between trying to complete some fairly meaty work tasks. In the end I give up, and resign myself to having to take my laptop to Scotland to get things finished up.

I nip down the farm at 4pm to say goodbye to my pony Lottie, itís still too warm to ride her so I just give her a brush, and feed her polos whilst the dog runs about like a loon.

I have a slight panic when I get back as there is a big puddle of water underneath the car when I get back which is obvious as itís bone dry here. I frantically text my BIL who is a mechanic, who assures me itís just condensation from blasting the air con. Crisis averted.

Come back, shower and hair wash, then make an easy dinner of a pasta bake and open a bottle of wine whilst catching up with the new series of Married at first sight Australia.

Day 1 - travel day

Eeek itís here...

I wake up quite early in the morning and bring coffee upstairs to bed with Max for a last cuddle. Iím going to really miss DH but I do understand him not wanting to close his business again so soon. It might seem odd me holidaying on my own so often, but we are very happily married - honest.

I start getting my stuff together. Iím not a big fan of breakfast early on after waking up, but I have a long way to go today so I grab a muffin.
I get myself ready, then get DH to walk with me to the park, so that Max can be thoroughly emptied 😂 and he gets a good run around.
Heís not over pleased with his new car harness (he usually travels in DHís car with a dog guard) but I strap him in and off we set. 334 miles to go...



I blast some tunes and Max goes straight to sleep, and I push through until Gretna Green which takes just under 2 hours. Iíve often driven past here, but never stopped, but I need a wee and think itís time to let Max out too. We have a quick walk through around the visitor centre complex.





I then hop back in the car, and my next stop is the Starbucks at the services. I had made myself a packed lunch but I annoyingly left it in the fridge and so I pick up a tuna melt and an iced coffee from some credit on my app.

Iím breezing along at this point, the scenery looks stunning and I canít understand why the sat nav is saying itís going to take so long to arrive. I make a quick stop at a lay-by just to see if Max wants a wee or a drink. Then I hit the outskirts of Perth... What should be the last hour takes 2, in fact it takes 30 minutes to drive a mile. Iím absolutely exhausted by this point and Max is telling me heís understandably fed up.
We start moving again and Iím so tired itís getting dangerous, and I notice that some of the lay-bys have access to a lovely riverside path, so I stop. I put Max on his lead and we just do a 10 minute walk, which makes both of us feel better.



Then the last 30 minutes through the most stunning scenery, and weíre here. Kingussie in the Cairngorms

I check in, this was one of the cheapest hotels and itís great, they upgraded me to en-suite which was super kind, and the room is great albeit very hot.



I dump my bags and head straight out with Max. I find a couple of places to let him off, then a lovely river for him to cool off as heís super warm.



Then to the hotel bar for a well deserved cold pint. The staff and (fairly well lubricated for 5pm) locals are so unbelievably friendly, couldnít have picked a better place to stay.

I shower as Iím dripping, get changed into something cooler, which I sweat in immediately as the room is boiling, then we walk out to where I have booked for dinner - the tipsy laird. The staff again are super friendly, and I order a cider, and the Tipsy burger with cheese. Everyone loved Max and he was brought water straight away, but the only problem was that the table I was given was on the through flow to the toilets/kitchen so he was up and down like a yo yo saying hi to everyone, and I didnít get the most relaxed meal 😂

The burger comes though and itís massive! Onion rings were an extra £2.50 but they have given me a portion (hopefully for free). So kind of them but I donít like onion rings unfortunately. I break up a couple to feed the dog a couple of bits of batter to look like I tried, but dogs canít have onions (or to be fair batter ideally) so I have to leave them. Big feed for £12 though.



I decide to leave after this, weíre parked in the middle of the through flow really, and itís not super restful for either of us, so I pay the bill £15.65 and walk back the same way as earlier Max can have a run around and I phone DH for a quick chat.

I head back to my hotel and buy a bottle of wine. £15.50 that I drink a glass of in the bar, a glass in bed, and pack the rest for another night.

I watch a bit of tv on my iPad, and have an early night as we have an adventure tomorrow...

Miles travelled - 334
Amount spent - £55.64 including the half tank of petrol
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Edited at 10:55 PM.
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Old 15 Aug 20, 10:56 PM  
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Got more planned tomorrow so will hopefully be a bit more interesting x
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Old 15 Aug 20, 10:57 PM  
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Great start.

Iíve also had a panic about a puddle under the car. And dashed off to the garage to be quickly reassured it was just the air con. I still find it disconcerting to see.
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Old 16 Aug 20, 07:21 AM  
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mitch84
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Originally Posted by BevS97 View Post
Great start.

Iíve also had a panic about a puddle under the car. And dashed off to the garage to be quickly reassured it was just the air con. I still find it disconcerting to see.
Super disconcerting! Thankfully I just bombarded my BIL with texts and photos though before going to a garage! 😂
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Old 16 Aug 20, 07:39 AM  
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Just found this. Great start will be following along. Lots of pictures of Max please! My lab puppy would love a trip like this with lots of rivers, beaches and pub food!
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Old 16 Aug 20, 07:47 AM  
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Originally Posted by Diz View Post
Just found this. Great start will be following along. Lots of pictures of Max please! My lab puppy would love a trip like this with lots of rivers, beaches and pub food!
Donít worry, my ability to take photos of Max is unrivalled 😂 how old is your pup? Max loves water and food too...
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Old 16 Aug 20, 08:15 AM  
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Pup now 10 months old - loves all water even a puddle gets rolled in 😂
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Old 16 Aug 20, 08:56 AM  
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Great start. We're lucky enough to live in Fife so my son has done the NC500 earlier this year and loved it. Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip.
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Old 16 Aug 20, 01:34 PM  
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Great start, although a lot of driving today. Shame about the hold up's around Perth but sounds like a reasonable journey despite that. Nice looking meal at night... glad you're finding the people friendly so far
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Old 16 Aug 20, 03:31 PM  
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Originally Posted by Fuellady View Post
Great start, although a lot of driving today. Shame about the hold up's around Perth but sounds like a reasonable journey despite that. Nice looking meal at night... glad you're finding the people friendly so far
Everyone has been incredibly friendly, you never feel alone as everyone wants to stop and talk to us (well Max really)
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