The South Downs Way, England

South Downs Way

This post may take some time, even years! In 2019 I started walking the South Downs Way starting in Winchester in the South of England with the aim of spending the odd day here and there completing different sections and eventually ending 100 miles later in Eastbourne.

As I live just next to the Downs it is possible to do most sections as day trips but for the furthermost point from my home, the historic city of Winchester, we stayed overnight in the nearby village of Exton.

The first day’s walk followed a route of about 12 miles from Winchester to Exton.

Scotland – The West Coast & Hebrides

Isle of Coll, Hebrides

Last June I travelled with my family to the West Coast of Scotland.

We drove north from Glasgow through the Loch Lomond National Park – a stunning area of Lochs & mountains. There are many diversions to follow through the park; we took the Eastern route and stopped for a picnic by Loch Lubnaig.

Loch Lomond

From here we headed to Oban, a lovely small port on the West coast. We checked in to our hotel and then headed out for a freshly caught dinner at the Waterfront Fishouse Restaurant .

Oban Harbour

From the restaurant there is a panoramic view over Oban harbour and we ate watching the sun set over the mountains.

Sunset over Oban Harbour

The next day we had an early start, heading off with Basking Shark adventure boat tours, to swim with seals off the Isle of Coll. Along the way we saw sea eagles and looked out for basking sharks.


We stopped for a break at Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, famous for its colourful houses and the children’s TV programme ‘Balamory’.

Isle of Coll

We moored off the coast of Coll – a pristine wilderness.

The sea was freezing cold so full dry suits were necessary. We swam around the tip of the island and encountered a colony of around 20 seals. We quietly watched them, as they watched us, bobbing their heads up and down. Sadly I don’t have any photos of them due to a lack of an underwater camera!

Following lunch on board the boat, I took some time to explore the island.

Isle of Coll, Hebrides

The beaches resemble a tropical paradise (without the heat) – white sand & crushed shells, lapped by crystal clear, turquoise blue sea.

Wildlife, Isle of Coll

The only sounds are that of the sea, wind and birds.

Following another night in Oban we headed north and stopped at Port Appin, walking down to Airds Bay for lunch.

Airds Bay

Carrying on northwards we drove to Glen Coe then down through the Bridge of Orchy to join the main route south. Several films have been made in Scotland and the James Bond film ‘Skyfall’ features many scenes here. It is a much starker landscape than the west coast but very dramatic.

Map of Scotland

Overall an amazing holiday, helped by the weather, I highly recommend it and hope to explore more of Scotland in the future. For more information on Scotland have a look at  the Visit Scotland website. You can see more of my photos on instagram.