Day 3 – Tuesday 24th March
We are knackered, it takes a lot of concentration to drive a 6 tonne motorhome almost 750 miles in one trip, so today is for chilling! We unpacked the food we’d brought up with us and got the kitchen into some sort of shape! Mocha the cat was finally let out to explore inside the house, we’ll keep her in for 2 weeks so she has time to learn that this is her new home. The dogs have been here many times now and just wanted to go for a run around in their garden and check out all the holes they had dug last time! We set Clare’s workstation up ready for her return to work tomorrow & even unpacked a few things from the van & trailer that I delivered on Friday!
Day 2 – Monday 23rd March – Biggar to Sanday.
It was becoming clear a lockdown was imminent, so we set the alarm for 5am, had a quick breakfast and headed north. The roads were eerily quiet, we were making good progress, only stopping once off the beaten track for fuel. I was driving a 3m tall, 9m long champagne gold coloured motorhome, not the best vehicle to be in, especially when all I had read on Facebook the night before was locals blocking roads and causing hassle for people heading to the highlands to self-isolate in motorhomes away from the large towns and cities! All was well until the area around the Cromarty bridge on the A9, where numerous cars and vans started shouting and waving at me in a rather unfriendly way, it was starting to get a little scary. Whilst passing through Glospie, whilst stopped at a red traffic light, an old man with a walking stick shouted go home, you shouldn’t be here and spat at me! Things like this really do bring out the worst in people! We continued north and made it to Pentland Ferries at the Gills Bay terminal in time to catch the earlier lunch time ferry. Overnight in Scotland all ferry crossings were limited to Islanders only, so we had to show ID to prove our address and a letter from the solicitor to show we had sold our down south home. All this was done at a great distance from the staff who were all wearing gloves. Just over an hour later, we were in Orkney and I felt a huge sense of relief that my little family was safe. We drove the 16 miles to Kirkwall for the next ferry over to Sanday. Again we were asked for ID and proof of residency in Sanday before we were allowed to travel. The motorhome was on, but the car was 1st reserve so didn’t come over, so we quickly had to move the cat and a load of stuff from the car to the motorhome and we were off. We kept out of everyone’s way and found an empty passageway on the ferry for the 90 minute crossing. We’d made it, Sandhurst, Berkshire to Sanday, Orkney, 745 miles in 31 hours. We only had contact with 4 other people in that time and that was at a safe distance, so I’m happy that we haven’t passed anything on! We are now self-isolating for 14 days to protect the island community as there are no reported cases in Orkney.
Day 1 – Sunday 22nd March – Sandhurst to Biggar.
I had the feeling a UK wide lockdown was coming, so decided to get a wriggle on and we finished the last of the house cleaning, packed the last bits and the animals in the car & motorhome, said our goodbyes and headed north to the Carmichael Estate in Biggar. Clare was driving the new car and I was in our not very conspicuous gold motorhome! We’ve stopped in Biggar many times before in the motorhome using our Brit Stops book and even for a Viz Whizz a few years ago! We arrived early evening after a long hassle-free drive, and had an early night, in preparation for Monday.