Highland Campervans | Blog http://www.highlandcampervans.com/blog.asp Highland Campervans | http://www.highlandcampervans.com/blog.asphttp://www.highlandcampervans.com/userfiles/design/highland-campervans-trans.pngHighland Campervans | Blog North Coast 500 - Highland Campervans rough guide                        North Coast 500 - The Highland Campervans rough guide! We are asked many questions about the North Co... Thu, 2 Nov 2017 13:39:00 GMT North Coast 500 - Highland Campervans rough guide

                      

North Coast 500 - The Highland Campervans rough guide!

We are asked many questions about the North Coast 500 route, so we thought it would be a good idea to put together a blog post with as much helpful information possible to assist with your trip planning. There is so much to say about this route that it is hard to know where to begin, so we would start by saying before you read this, get a cuppa and put your feet up as we may be some time!

How long should we take to do this route?

This is a question similar to how long is a piece of string, as you could travel this route in anything from a long weekend to weeks on end. Most of our customers choose a week to 10 days as a comfortable amount of time, it also means there is no need to take in too many miles a day. If you are wanting a trip where you don’t drive every day it may be worth extending the time so that you have a bit extra to stay in a spot you are enjoying for a few days.

Clockwise or Anti-Clockwise?

We don't think there is a right or wrong answer to this question but when talking to customers about this we judge it on a few things, mostly what do you like to see and do?

If dramatic scenery is your thing then you will probably want to spend more time over on the West /North West coast. That doesn't mean to say that the East coast doesn't have good scenery, far from it! Its just that the West coast is more renown for its jaw dropping landscapes at every twist and turn. So if this is your bag, we would suggest going anti-clockwise, you can swiftly take in the East coast and spend a little more time over in the West where you will enjoy the scenery in abundance and maybe even squeeze in a sneaky detour to the Isle of Skye, time permitting.

On the other hand if history or whisky is your preference, then spending a little more time on the East coast may be more beneficial as you have some fabulous historic sites and distilleries to take in. So taking the West coast in first and giving yourself a little more time to discover all that the East coast has to offer, more on that in a bit. With this route being a loop you do get to see it all at some point so either way you will have a wonderful experience and be able to take in everything along the way.

For this blog post we will take you on a journey around the route anti-clock wise to give you some pointers for things not to miss, places to stay that our customers have enjoyed on their trips and any little recommendations we can think of.

Our base in Inverness is perfect, we are smack bang at the start/finish line of the North Coast 500. You begin your travels up the A9 and once you are over the bridge taking in the views of the Moray Firth you hit the Black Isle, a place you could spend a week exploring what it has to offer. Lovely wee villages to visit such as Cromarty with its little shops and cafes, fabulous beaches for walks including Chanonry point that is a popular place to spot bottle nosed dolphins when they come in to feed in the bustling waters of the changing tides.

If craft beer is your thing then a visit and tour of the Black Isle Brewery would not go a miss and you could stock up on a few bottle for your journey.

                                

A little further up the East coast you will pass a couple of famous distilleries Dalmore in Alness and Glenmorangie in Tain, both offering great visitor centres and knowledgeable staff to tell you all there is to know about whisky.

                             

You will soon reach the historic town of Dornoch with its impressive cathedral, History Links museum and lots of quaint shops and cafes. Dornoch is also blessed with miles of sandy beach for a stroll anytime of the night and day.

                         

Here are a few sugestions for campsites around this area:-

Dornoch Firth Caravan Park 

Dornoch Caravan and Camp park

Embo Grannie’s Heilan Home 

Brora Caravan Club

Following the North East coast line there are many viewpoints to stop and take in the cliff top scenery over the water, there is a lot of history along this part of the route and many centres to visit and learn all there is to know. A visit to Dunrobin castle could literally take up a day with its beautiful gardens, interesting tour, popular falconry displays and unexpected museum, this is a highly recommended stop, the castle is not open all year so do check.

                         

There are more historic visitor centre along this coastline including:-

Timespan heritage and art centre

Dunbeath Heritage centre

Clan Gunn centre

Laidhay Croft Museum

Waterlines visitor centre

Wick Heritage centre

                                          

Gradually you will wind your way along the coast to the very top where you will hit John O Groats and there is always time for a picture under the famous sign. Now it is important to mention that even though we have given you a huge list of things to see and do already the journey from Inverness straight to John O Groats is approximately 120 miles and if you were to drive straight there it would be about 3 hours. So although it seems a long way it can also be taken in fairly swiftly if you are running out of time!

There are some good camping sites in the John O groats area if you wish to stay there to take in the wildlife or to take a trip over to the Orkney Isles

John O Groats Campsite 

Stroma view 

Dunnet Head  

Another must visit if you are a gin or vodka lover is the Dunnet Bay distillers https://www.dunnetbaydistillers.co.uk/dunnet-bay-distillers/ known for their Rock Rose gin and Holy Grass vodka. Something different to whisky and they do tours most of the year, so best to check beforehand if this is something you want to add to your itinerary.

                                         

As you start to work your way along the North coast you will encounter single track roads and the landscape becoming more remote and barren, but with that you also get some of the most beautiful sandy beaches and coves to visit, although a dip in the sea maybe more than a little cold! Gradually you will work your way along the coast and reach Durness. From John O groats to Durness it is 90 miles and with quite a lot of small and single track road, it will take you about 2 and a half hours roughly although that doesn’t account for many photo stops or time to stop and savour the view with a cup of tea and slice of cake!

                            

Durness is a great area for many things, good walks on the lovely white sandy beaches, a visit to Smoo cave is an absolute must and if you have a sweet tooth then you definitely have to call into Cocoa Mountain for their amazing hot chocolate and maybe sample a handmade chocolate or two. The campsite at Durness, Sango Sands Oasis is very conveniently located with a pub serving good meals on site.(This may not be all year round so do check!)  A local and well stocked shop nearby is handy to stock up on any little daily essentials required.

                               

Moving on from Durness and down the North West coast you will notice the scenery changing quite drastically, every twist and turn in the road gives you a different stunning view and there are many photo opportunities, so have your camera at the ready! This part of the route probably requires the most consideration when driving, as it is nearly all single track with many climbs and descents as you travel through the mountains. We can wax lyrical about how beautiful this part of the route is and we promise that when you witness it yourself you will agree! So taking the stretch from Durness to Ullapool which is roughly 67 miles, 2 hours to drive straight but you won’t want to do that, there is far too much to explore even in this little area. If you have time make sure to take in the Drumbeg loop, again this area has some steep ascent and descents so do take it easy.

                           

There are also some great campsites too that have received rave reviews from our customers over the last few years.

Scourie- we have been told the local hotel serves great food!

Clachtoll - great beach!

Achiltibuie - Open all year and pub very close by serving fresh food

Ardmair - Lovely bay location just a little out of Ullapool for a more peaceful stay

Don’t travel this part of the route without a trip to the small fishing port of Lochinver. As well as many independent shops there is a must visit to the Lochinver larder if you are a fan of pies! Random but true, they stock a huge range of fruit and savoury pies to eat in and take away and they are delicious! Your onward journey will take you to Ullapool and if you have room after the pies from Lochinver then it’s a great place for fish and chips! Ullapool is another busy fishing port of the West coast, a small town with plenty of shops and restaurants with great views down the loch, you can while away many hours watching the boats and ferries sale in and out to the Western Isles.

                    

Your journey from Ullapool takes many more picturesque turns through the very scenic area of Wester Ross down to Applecross. This stretch is 85 miles and would take just over 2 hours if travelling without stopping, you will stop for sure as this area is full of stunning beaches and viewpoints with amazing panoramic views. As you leave Ullapool heading south on the A835 you will take a turning onto the A832, this is again a road to travel with care and consideration. Just as you turn off follow the sign to the Corrieshalloch Gorge, if you have a good head for heights then this is a great stop. It is a mile long box canyon viewed from a bridge or viewing platform over the 46m falls. It really is fabulous to see if you can handle the height!

                     

The road to Applecross from this point is extremely scenic and there are some great campsite spots here for spending some time in the area.

Gruinard Bay 

Big Sand 

Sheildaig 

Applecross 

                               

Now most people travelling this route are aware of the famous cattle pass road called the “Bealach na ba” a very narrow single track road of steep ascent/decent with sharp hair pin bends that winds its way up to or out of Applecross depending on which way you are travelling. We get asked many times if you should attempt this road in a motorhome. There are a lot of differing opinions on this. All of our motorhomes up to panel van size we allow to travel this route and have made this journey without issue but we advise that you take it on with caution and with the respect it deserves. If you are a confident driver with a good head for heights and good reversing skills (It is not always the road itself but what you may meet going up or down it that can cause issues) then you should be ok. There are a number of great You Tube videos that show the road and people driving it, this is a great resource if you are unsure whether to take on the road or not.

From Applecross back to Inverness the last stretch it is roughly 79 miles and just over 2 hours journey time, this is going via Lochcarron, Achnasheen and back over past the Black Isle before heading back into Inverness.

A pleasant road to finish off the route and depending on where you would want to spend your last night we can help with a few suggestions along the way so that you are little closer to the base for your morning return.

Here are a few suggestions for campsites within 45 minutes of our base on the route

Contin -  a countryside site tucked away by a beautiful river

Fortrose - for your last chance to catch a site of the bottle nosed dolphins at chanonry point

Ardtower - a beautifully maintained site just 15 minutes from our base and right next to the Culloden battle field for your last drop of Scottish history!

This really only is a basic round up of the route and probably hasn’t done it justice as there really is SO much more but the beauty also lies in coming on an adventure and discovering more for yourselves!

A few final questions that we do get asked frequently that may be on your list of things to find out……

Will we be ok with fuel?

Absolutely yes! There are many fuel stations on this route and most of our vehicles, depending on driving conditions will get 400 miles out of a tank of fuel.

Do we have to stay on a campsite?

No. You can freedom camp in the highlands but you must make sure to follow some basic rules and common courtesies. We have full information in the motorhomes and we can discuss this with you or also look at the guidance notes here CAMPA.ORG

Will we be able to buy groceries?

There are many independent stores along the route that stock all the essentials and more! Not to mention many wonderful restaurants and cafes for you to try a wide range of tasty Scottish cuisine. You will not go hungry!

I hope this has been a helpful insight to the North Coast 500 route even if its just a start to the planning process. You can visit the official site here and there is a huge amount of information and resource online. Don’t forget we also provide Road atlas, North Coast 500 Rough Guide and NC500 Map (if we can get them!) in our hire vehicles. Should you have any questions that I haven’t covered here that you want to ask, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at bookings@highlandcampervans.com and we will be more than happy to help in any way we can.

Happy adventures!


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Scottish Outdoor and Leisure Awards We have been riding on the wave of happiness after winning the first ever “Scotlands Best Motorhome Hire Company” award at the Scottish Outdoor and Leisure awards 2016. Last night M... Mon, 30 Oct 2017 15:12:00 GMT Scottish Outdoor and Leisure Awards

We have been riding on the wave of happiness after winning the first ever “Scotlands Best Motorhome Hire Company” award at the Scottish Outdoor and Leisure awards 2016.

Last night Michael and Ray attended the 2017 awards Gala Final in Glasgow as we were lucky to be finalists for two categories, Best Motorhome and Caravan Dealership and Best Motorhome hire company.

The sparkling event celebrated 17 categories this year ranging from Best Marina to Best Outdoor festival and everything in between.

Sadly, we didn’t come away with another glass trophy this year but we are still extremely delighted to have made it to the finals in two categories against some of the best in the industry.

We will have to look forward to 2018 to see if we can regain our title!


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Junior Workshop Technician - We are hiring! Job Vacancy - Junior Workshop Technician Would you like to work towards achieving a formal industry recognised qualification, funded by your employer? Do you like to use your initiative? Can yo... Tue, 10 Oct 2017 14:53:00 GMT Junior Workshop Technician - We are hiring!

Job Vacancy - Junior Workshop Technician

Would you like to work towards achieving a formal industry recognised qualification, funded by your employer? Do you like to use your initiative? Can you keep a cool head when things get hectic? If the answer to all these questions is yes, then read on…

Highland Campervans are the Motorhome and Campervan specialists in the Highlands, and the only National Caravan Council (NCC) Approved Workshop in the Highlands, enabling it to undertake warranty work for most manufacturers.

We are now looking to recruit a full time Junior Workshop Technician who will work in a busy motorhome workshop within Highland Campervans’ service department. The successful candidate will ultimately be capable of carrying out service, repair and warranty work to motorhome and caravan habitation areas. This includes safety checks of gas and electrical appliances, in addition to being able to complete chassis servicing to caravans, to a very high standard. Full supervised training will be given to the successful candidate, who will be expected to attend relevant courses and to pass National Caravan Council recognised qualifications over a 3-year period.

You will be joining an established business with a friendly team working alongside you, in a business which prides itself on providing a top-quality customer experience, whether for sales, hires, workshop or general product advice.  Applicants should be approachable, confident and capable of working on their own initiative. Fixed competitive salary with sales linked bonus scheme in place.

A full job description can be downloaded here.

The Application Form can be downloaded here. Please note that no CVs will be considered unless accompanied by a fully completed Application Form.


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Read all about it! Apologies for the lack of news on our blog the last few months! We have been so busy at the Highland Campervans base! There has been lots of news and not a lot of time to share it! Don't forget yo... Sat, 29 Jul 2017 08:20:00 GMT Read all about it!

Apologies for the lack of news on our blog the last few months! We have been so busy at the Highland Campervans base! There has been lots of news and not a lot of time to share it! Don't forget you can always follow us on our social media pages as well, where we up date news most days! You can find us on the following channels, click on the words below and it should take you to the pages directly!

Facebook 

Twitter

Instagram

We also featured in this months MMM Magazine! Be sure to get yourself a copy! Not only does it have really great motorhoming adventure stories and really helpful and useful tips and information. The summer 2017 has a great piece written by travel writer Robin McKelvie about his journey around Dumfries and Galloway in one of our Globecar hire motorhomes, the Vario.

                                                    

Be sure to grab a cuppa, put your feet up and have a read or to pass some relaxation time, how about visit our social media pages and catch up with the latest Highland Campervans news!


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Watch our new video! We are delighted to introduce our new video “You and Me on the road by Highland Campervans” We put this together to give a great example of what you would experience if you ... Tue, 9 May 2017 14:22:00 GMT Watch our new video!

We are delighted to introduce our new video “You and Me on the road by Highland Campervans”

We put this together to give a great example of what you would experience if you were to take a North Coast 500 road trip in one of our motorhomes.

The video captures many of the fantastic sites on the now famous 500 mile route and we are lucky enough to be situated at the very start and the very end of the journey! With so many great travel connections to Inverness now, you can arrive to Inverness Airport which is only a few miles away from our base with daily flights from all over the UK and now Amsterdam connecting us to the whole world! We also can collect you if you arrive by Bus or train and if you are driving to us, you can safely leave a car with us free of charge whilst you  are on your motorhome adventure.

We get asked many times if our motorhomes will take on the single track roads in some of the remote areas of the highlands and this video will show you that, yes! They will happily take on the roads of the North coast 500 route with ease……including the famous cattle pass the Beallach Na Ba that winds its way from sea level to 626 metres high (2054 ft) quite rapidly in a series of twists and turns and hairpin bends. You have to have a good head for heights!

Please get a cuppa, sit back and relax and escape into the video and please get in touch if you would like help to plan a motorhome adventure in the future!


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Highland Campervans is 10!                                                        ... Fri, 10 Feb 2017 12:40:00 GMT Highland Campervans is 10!

                                                       

 Today, 10th February 2017, Highland Campervans are celebrating being in business in Inverness for ten years! 

Starting it's life as a hire company, Highland Campervans has grown arms and legs over the last decade into the busy, well known local business it is today.

Now not only a motorhome and campervan hire company, with a busy fleet of 9 hire vehicles, Highland Campervans offers new and used Vehicles for sale at the base in Dalcross, Inverness. Being a dealership for many national and international maufacturers such as Globecar, Swift Group, Wellhouse Leisure, Knaus and Weinsburg. Also offering a popular brokerage service to customers wanting to sell their Motorhomes or campervans.

The workshop demand has increased so much that two new technicians were taken on board at the tail end of 2016 to cope with demand and hoping that in the future we may be able to take on the work of conversions again.

It is a very exciting time at Highland Campervans with all areas of the business flourishing and expanding. Here is to the next 10 years!

 


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We are recruiting for a Workshop Co-Ordinator.                                          Are you passionate about giving excellent customer ... Thu, 12 Jan 2017 11:29:00 GMT We are recruiting for a Workshop Co-Ordinator.

                                        

Are you passionate about giving excellent customer service? Would you enjoy working for a business where no two days are the same? Do you have initiative and are not afraid to use it? Can you prioritise tasks when things get hectic? If the answer to all these questions is yes, then read on…

Highland Campervans wish to recruit a full time Workshop Co-ordinator. We are extremely proud of the work we do to help our customers receive the best service possible. First impressions count and as the initial point of contact for customers telephoning or visiting Highland Campervans you’ll be a fantastic communicator and be brilliant at dealing with people and understanding their needs, whether face to face, over the telephone or by email. You will play a vital role in the smooth day to day running of our busy workshop, taking bookings, checking in vehicles, ordering replacement parts and invoicing customers. You’ll be able to use your initiative to get things done. Making sure that we have adequate workshop and shop stock will also form a key part of your job, keeping a regular check and ordering replacement stock when needed.

Benefits include an attractive basic salary and access to our company pension scheme (eligibility criteria apply).

Full details of the role including hours and salary can be found in the job description which can be dowloaded here

A copy of the application form can be found here. Please note that a full completed application form is required - CVs submitted without a completed application form will not be considered.


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Competition Time! Win Tickets for the Scottish Caravan and Motorhome Show at SECC!                                                 What better way to start a ne... Wed, 11 Jan 2017 13:23:00 GMT Competition Time! Win Tickets for the Scottish Caravan and Motorhome Show at SECC!

                                               

What better way to start a new year than with a competition! You can be in with a chance to WIN a pair of tickets for the Scottish Caravan and Motorhome Show at the SECC, Glasgow in February!

Highland Campervans exhibit at this show annually and we are giving our customers a chance to WIN tickets via a competition on our Facebook page. At the show you’ll find the latest models and widest selection of caravans and motorhomes, from the country’s leading manufacturers and dealers, in one destination offering the perfect opportunity to compare models, layouts and specifications before choosing which one’s for you.

Head over to our Facebook page and comment on our competition post, give our page a like and you will be entered into the draw. You have until Monday 23rd January when all the entries will be put in a hat and the tickets will be drawn.

Want to go to the show and haven't bought tickets yet? What are you waiting for, you can try and WIN some! Good Luck!


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Merry Christmas!                                                  As the festive season a... Wed, 21 Dec 2016 15:32:00 GMT Merry Christmas!

                                                

As the festive season approaches we would like to take the opportunity to wish all our customers old and new a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy......as well as adventure filled 2017!

We are closed from Thursday 22nd December and re-open at 9am Tuesday 3rd January 2017.

We've noted some useful contacts and information below for whilst we are closed.

Emergency servicing/repairs

David Brownless - Highland Motorhome and Caravan Services - 07415 330915

Calor Gas

The closest Calor supplier is Esso, Longman Road, Inverness, IV1 1SD (infront of B&Q) Tel: 01463 234178

Our online booking service is permanently live so, you can still book a hire adventure for 2017 whilst sipping mulled wine and eating mince pies! All bookings and enquiries will be processed on our return on the 3rd January.

In the event of an emergency, you can email our General Manager, Michael Taylor at  - michael@highlandcampervans.com

Michael will be checking emails periodically and will respond as soon as possible. Please provide a contact telephone number in any email sent.

 


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Highland Campervans are the Best Motorhome Hire Company in Scotland!                We did it! Highland Campervans has been named “Scotland’s Best Motorhome Hire Company” in the inaugural Scottish Outdoor ... Mon, 5 Dec 2016 11:54:00 GMT Highland Campervans are the Best Motorhome Hire Company in Scotland!

              

We did it!

Highland Campervans has been named “Scotland’s Best Motorhome Hire Company” in the inaugural Scottish Outdoor and Leisure Awards.

We were presented with the award at the glittering gala final event in Glasgow on Sunday 27th November where we were up against some strong competition of 9 other motorhome hire companies in our category from across Scotland.

The judges for the Scottish Outdoor and Leisure Awards were set a difficult task as some of the best businesses across Scotland engaged in the first year of the awards. With 1000 businesses participating, the lucky finalists, voted for by the public were a true reflection of the best in the industry. Over 8,000 votes were cast by the public; a true testament to the eagerness of customers to show their appreciation of their favourites. 17 categories were represented from campsites and holiday parks to outdoor festivals and adventure experiences.

For Highland Campervans the timing couldn’t be better, as we are about to celebrate our 10th year in business in Inverness.

After the voting took place and we were into the final judging stages, we had to submit 3 customer questionnaires from previous hire customers explaining how they felt about their hire experience with Highland Campervans. We also had to enter a statement as to why we thought we should win the award…… thinking a little outside the box we decided to create a video instead of doing a written statement. We thought it would capture the attention of the judges and also make it easier to explain why we thought we should be voted as Scotland’s best motorhome hire company!

We had a lot of fun producing the video with Jo doing the talking and Ray cleverly editing it all together, we were very lucky to have some hire customers agree to be filmed whilst I did a handover with them and also to chat about the hire experience they had just returned from.

We are delighted to have won this fantastic award and most of all we are so grateful to the customers who took the time to vote for us to get us into the final stages. But the one ingredient that makes hires possible is our customers, many of whom return year after year. So thank you for trusting us with your adventure, you can now travel safe in the knowledge that you're heading off with the Best Motorhome Hire Company!!

Here is our video entry for you to watch

 


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