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Old 18 Aug 20, 10:04 PM  
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mitch84
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One mad woman and her dog, NC500 Aug 2020 - day 4 Aviemore to Wick

I set the alarm for 7am, but when it goes off I snooze a couple of times, then start the process of showering and getting dressed whilst trying to make coffee and breakfast, pack and sort Max out all at once. I wash the dishes, then load the car, and off we go. Our first stop today is Dochgarroch lock, as we are going on a Loch Ness cruise.

We make cracking time which is good as it did take me a little longer than expected to get everything in the car. We pass road signs highlighting a yellow weather warning for heavy rain (hello Britain) so I pack both our rain coats just in case.

The boat is ready for us, so we wander on and sit outside at the back so I donít have to wear a mask for 2 hours.

We set off, chugging slowly down the canal, past the smallest lighthouse in Britain, and then when we enter Loch Ness we really pick up speed, charging right down the centre.

No rain yet, in actual fact itís very sunny so I keep swapping seats to try and get shade for us both, as stupid Mummy remembered his water bottle, but not his bowl to drink from.

Yesterday when I went to the brewery, I completely forgot to pick up a beer or two for my best friends birthday, so when I see the Loch Ness lagers on the bar onboard, I buy 2. £9.20 which serves me right for not being smarter yesterday as they are double the cost.

We pootle past Urquhart castle which I have visited myself back in the day, and I get some photos as they turn the boat round for us all to see.

A lady is on board who is a single Mum with 2 kids (at least one special needs) and 3 chocolate Labradors. She managed to remember a water bowl though (what a human being) and she sends her little girl over to offer Max water. I feel like my dog is quite rightly judging my parenting skills at this point as he pointedly drinks up like heís not been offered water in days 😂

We start to head back up the canal, and I must say Iíve really enjoyed it. Well worth it.

Get back to the car and the first stop is filling the car up with Diesel. 119.8 is the best I can do. This comes to £45.47 but I buy a meal deal for £4.95 too as Iím getting hungry. Quick wee stop then Iím on the road,this is my first actual section of the NC500.

First stop is Dornoch Beach. I park up for free and give Max a real treat, a swim in the sea. Iím a bit nervous as itís busier than expected but heís completely excellent and charges around like a loon, but comes back to me with no issue at all.

Much towelling and cold drinks for both of us, then back in the car.

Iím looking for the stone remembering the last witch execution in 1727, itís now in someoneís garden, but I find it.

On the road again we go, this time just to the outside of Dunrobin castle. I would definitely have paid to enter here and see the falconry display, but itís not dog friendly. So I just take a photo and have a nosy, then itís north again.

This time itís a quick stop at Cairn Liath. This is fabulous, we have to cross the A9 on foot which is a little hairy, but so worth it. I can let Max off and we both have a good nosy around.

My last stop is a museum called the Timespan museum which I have read you can take dogs into. Unfortunately itís closed though, so we decide just to push onto Wick where we are staying tonight. The roads get incredibly hilly, and I see my first Highland coo... you just wouldnít imagine here you are anywhere near a big town, but then all of a sudden, a lidl, a retail park, and a town, with a spoons 😂

Find the hotel and check in, super friendly again. And I have a massive room on the ground floor near an exit to the car park, so incredibly thoughtful. The bed is huge too.

I decide to go for a walk through town, I snap a photo of the worldís shortest street

And then I hunt down the Wetherspoons.
I sit outside with Max and order a pint of strongbow on the app. Absolutely ideal because I donít even need to go inside to order and therefore leave him.
I then realise I can order bar snacks from the app too, I even get 50% off my peanuts. If Iím honest, if i had known i could eat outside, and that it would be dry I would have eaten here tonight, but it is undoubtedly better to give the money to the independents after all. I stay here rather longer than expected, mostly because I realise my watch has not quite stopped but gone very slow. I spend under a tenner here including buying a bag of crisps for the car tomorrow.
Back to the room and I shower and get changed, feed Max then wander to the hotel dining room. Iím eating in the residents lounge so I can keep Max with me. To be honest with you, I think heíd prefer to be in the room in bed, but the hotel is packed with people coming past, and Iím worried heíll bark if he gets startled so I keep him with me and he goes to sleep on the carpet. Then starts flirting with the Scottish ladies visiting.

I order a wine, mozzarella sticks and chicken jalfrezi which are quite nice.

This costs £20.50. I ring DH, write my notes, then head to bed.
Itís been a busy day, but a really good one..


Mikes travelled in a car - 149
Amount spent -£91.48 but I have plenty of budget left from prior days to chip into the petrol
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Edited at 10:22 PM.
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Old 18 Aug 20, 10:10 PM  
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Thank you again for writing this. Looking forward to the rest x
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Old 18 Aug 20, 10:35 PM  
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How bizarre is it to see Wick appear in the distance after miles of nothingness... Its like a mirage

Great boat trip, love the pic of Max looking for Nessie
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Old 18 Aug 20, 10:55 PM  
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A good day on the road with some interesting stops. Itís a shame Dunrobin isnít dog friendly so that you could have had a wander around inside. Looks like you both enjoyed the boat trip down Loch Ness 😁
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Old 18 Aug 20, 11:21 PM  
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mitch84
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Originally Posted by christybell View Post
How bizarre is it to see Wick appear in the distance after miles of nothingness... Its like a mirage

Great boat trip, love the pic of Max looking for Nessie
I know, field, cows, sheep, empty field, oh a lidl superstore 😂
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Old 18 Aug 20, 11:26 PM  
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Originally Posted by Fuellady View Post
A good day on the road with some interesting stops. Itís a shame Dunrobin isnít dog friendly so that you could have had a wander around inside. Looks like you both enjoyed the boat trip down Loch Ness 😁
Oh I knew it wasnít, but I still fancied a nosy, you canít do everything and we were on the go from 8-5 so we had plenty on really 😂
I really enjoyed the boat trip x
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Old 19 Aug 20, 08:45 AM  
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Great pic of world's shortest street. My parents had their wedding reception in Mackays Hotel back in 1962
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Old 19 Aug 20, 12:05 PM  
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That boat trip looks great. Glad to see that you are having a lovely time. Thank you for posting
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Old 19 Aug 20, 01:34 PM  
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mitch84
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Originally Posted by arl71 View Post
Great pic of world's shortest street. My parents had their wedding reception in Mackays Hotel back in 1962
Ahh thatís nice, I wanted to stay there, but it was fully booked. Looked lovely though x
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Old 19 Aug 20, 01:39 PM  
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Thank you, great read.
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