4-Xtremes – Part 58: Welcome to the land of curiosities!

Series: 4-Xtremes – The World Tour

A visit to Nessie.

Harsh landscapes, bizarre sporting events and the legendary Loch Ness: on the latest leg of their journey, the Kammermanns have a host of typical Scottish experiences....plus an unexpectedly warm swim!


Bright sunshine over a beautiful sandy beach and a deep blue sea. Where do you think we are? You'll never guess! We never would have thought of Scotland as a beach destination but on our way to Edinburgh, we stumble across a truly spectacular stretch of sand. With the temperature a pleasant 20 degrees and barely a cloud in the sky, it's like summer has been extended a bit; it's the perfect weather for kayaking.

Once we arrive in Edinburgh, we start looking for a parking space. As you can imagine, when we leave our Axor in a city for a few hours to go exploring, we always try and make sure the parking place is particularly safe, but they don't come much safer than the one we found in Edinburgh – right in front of the police headquarters!


A dream holiday: A kayaking trip...
A dream holiday: A kayaking trip...
... and watching the sun go down in a spectacular landscape.
... and watching the sun go down in a spectacular landscape.

Wild rivers, fresh raspberries and enchanting trees.

On the way to the castle, we walk through the city park and are captivated by the beautifully maintained flower clock – the oldest in the world. As we approach the castle, we come across more and more people... many of them will be going to at least one of two events that are taking place here at the same time: the Fringe Festival, which mainly features theatre and comedy acts, and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Scotland’s biggest music festival. It's mainly a military event but over the past few years, there have been an increasing number of civilian dance and singing performances. Unfortunately, tickets are sold out, but we still get to see all the bands marching. With Edinburgh Castle in the background, it's a simply spectacular sight! 

After looking around Edinburgh, we dive into Hermitage forest for a few days. It's a fairytale landscape with wild rivers, fresh raspberries and enchanting trees. Surrounded by dense green, it offers a welcome contrast to the crowds of the past few days.


The Kammermanns were impressed by Edinburgh, with its old town and view of the castle, ...
The Kammermanns were impressed by Edinburgh, with its old town and view of the castle, ...
... historic monumental buildings, ...
... historic monumental buildings, ...
... and the oldest flower clock in the world.
... and the oldest flower clock in the world.
A hearty performance at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Festival.
A hearty performance at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Festival.
In Hermitage forest, the Kammermanns enjoy some tranquillity after the city...
In Hermitage forest, the Kammermanns enjoy some tranquillity after the city...
... and come across some wild raspberries!
... and come across some wild raspberries!

It doesn't get any more Scottish than this: the Highland Games!

The further north we go, the narrower the roads get: they're often just a single lane with the occasional layby. It's survival of the fittest here: people immediately make way for our Axor! We reach the heart of the Cairngorms National Park – you can't find a better backdrop than this: a barren, empty landscape with steep rocky slopes over steel blue lochs. It's here that in a small town, we come across the Highland Games! From pipe bands with their bagpipes and drums to hammer throwing, weight throwing, tossing the caber and highland dancing, we get the quintessential Scottish experience! Even the weather is typically Scottish, with sunshine one minute and dark clouds and rain showers the next. On our way through the hills back to the Axor, we cycle past highland cattle, deer and sheep: it's a day where we get to tick off nearly all the Scottish must-sees in one go!


On route to the Cairngorms National Park.
On route to the Cairngorms National Park.
The Highland games are a captivating event, with events like bagpipes...
The Highland games are a captivating event, with events like bagpipes...
... throwing weights...
... throwing weights...
... Highland dancing in kilts ...
... Highland dancing in kilts ...
... and tossing the caber.
... and tossing the caber.
A herd of deer...
A herd of deer...
... and highland cattle: yet more typical Scottish sights!
... and highland cattle: yet more typical Scottish sights!

A detour to Loch Ness.

We continue our journey through the Highlands on the A 939, the Old Military Road, where we are greeted with breathtaking views around every corner. The mountains are adorned with vast expanses of purple heather, gleaming in the sun. We can't get enough of it! Finally, we arrive at Gairnshiel bridge. Built way back in 1749, this bridge has stood the test of time, but because of its age, it is only approved for vehicles up to 18 tonnes. Fortunately, this doesn't affect us – the Axor weighs only twelve tonnes. We are free to drive over the bridge!

It's now time to head north towards Scotland's most renowned destination: Loch Ness. We know that it’s a tourist trap, but we couldn't miss it – the stories surrounding this place are just too legendary! Of course, we don't see the monster, but we visit the entertaining and educational museum, which tells the story of Nessie and all the research that has been done surrounding her. We get the sense that the legend of Loch Ness is based more on successful marketing than actual sightings... The loch was still worth a visit though!


It's like the rainbow was ordered specially...
It's like the rainbow was ordered specially...
... the Kammermanns drive through the Highlands, enjoying perfect scenery.
... the Kammermanns drive through the Highlands, enjoying perfect scenery.
The Gairnshiel bridge, built in 1749, is limited to 18 tonnes – no problem for the Axor.
The Gairnshiel bridge, built in 1749, is limited to 18 tonnes – no problem for the Axor.
Unfortunately, the only encounter the Kammermanns got with Nessie was in pictures...
Unfortunately, the only encounter the Kammermanns got with Nessie was in pictures...
Loch Ness was still worth a visit though!
Loch Ness was still worth a visit though!
At John O'Groats, the Kammermanns bid farewell to mainland Britain beneath a dramatic sky.
At John O'Groats, the Kammermanns bid farewell to mainland Britain beneath a dramatic sky.
So many destinations – and the next one is not too far away for the Kammermanns.
So many destinations – and the next one is not too far away for the Kammermanns.

The shortest road in the world.

Our next stop is in Inverness. It was declared a city for the first time in December 2000 and so also became the northernmost city in the UK. Here, we stock up on supplies and refuel on diesel for the first time since our stay in France. Population density decreases significantly as we travel further north, meaning that there are fewer pit stop chances like these. This is where the famous North Coast 500 begins, an 830 kilometre-long road running along the length of Scotland's northern coastline. Despite strong winds, we manage to spend a quiet night in a small, cosy harbour. 

Before we finally leave the Scottish mainland, we make a very quick stop along the world’s shortest road. At 2.06 metres, this road is shorter than our Axor! It's more of a crossroad with its own street names, and has made it into the Guinness Book of Records.

A few kilometres further on, we finally reach John O'Groats, a small town often referred to as the northernmost point of the British mainland. And so yet another eventful leg of our journey comes to an end. Some things were expected, some things not so expected, but one thing was for sure: it was never boring! Let’s see what treasures the islands of Scotland have in store for us!


4-Xtremes – The World Tour.

An unparalleled journey.

Andrea and Mike Kammermann have been on tour in their Axor for three years. "4-Xtremes – The World Tour" is the motto of the journey that the two Swiss nationals embarked on in mid-2020 and which they share with the RoadStars community. Keep up to date and don't miss out on any of the stunning destinations visited by the adventurous pair.

You can find all the parts from the “4-Xtremes – The World Tour” series here.


Photos: 4-Xtremes

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