After exploring some gorgeous places in Scotland and England last year, we decide it’s time to venture further afield and take Hiro the campervan across the sea to Europe this summer. Stu has a book about alpine mountain biking he’s been re-reading and banging on about since Christmas and there’s been a sad lack of snowboarding holidays in recent years. In short, there’s a distinct whiff of mountain-yearning in the air.
And so the Grand Alps plan is born: two weeks, two thousand miles and lots of very big mountains to drool over.
In the words of a certain TV show, winter is coming. The leaves are starting to fall and the mornings are misty and chilly. We need to grab those last opportunities for camping fun before they become freezing, Bear Grylls-style survival activities. We decided to squeeze some autumn mini-adventures in while we still can, so off we went to Loch Lomond for the weekend. Milo’s main plan for the trip was to lure out the Loch Lomond monster (Nessie’s lesser known cousin) with shortbread. Mine and Stu’s was to relax after a crazy few weeks at work and Milo’s fourth birthday party carnage!
Around this time of year, the lure of drinking cider and listening to music in a muddy, hippy-filled field is strong. In all honesty though, our last festival experience was not so great. Or relaxing. We slept in a two man tent with Milo, who was nearly two at the time (otherwise known as the ‘enjoys running full pelt into the distance and not coming back’ age), and ended up awake very early desperately hunting for coffee. We found closed food vans, litter pickers and a few late night stragglers instead. It was a pitiful scene.
So we were slightly apprehensive about repeating the experience – but optimistic that having a campervan and an older (although still pretty hyper) child would make for funner times.
In my dream world, every weekend (make that every day!) would be free for setting off into the sunset for camping adventures. In the real world, it’s just not possible. Other stuff crops up – work stuff, house stuff, the hectic bouncey-castle-filled social calendar of three year olds…
Not to worry, I’m going to share the many ways campervans make themselves useful, even if (like us) you’re not available for full-time campervan tripping! First up, they’re the perfect companion for any mountain bike fanatic…and their excited hangers on.
Honeymoon time – woop! Our lovely (and brave) friends and Milo’s super-aunty were roped into babysitting for a few nights so we could take Hiro on a belated honeymoon trip. Can a campervan possibly compete with a private beach in the Maldives (not currently a viable financial option) and give you a romantic honeymoon experience though?
(I should warn you that Stu and I are not the most romantic couple there ever was, as you might have gathered from our proposal story,so don’t set your romance expectations too high! I did, however, purchase a honeymoon candle. Oh yes.)
With a grand total of two campervan trips under my belt, I think I’m definitely now in the position to write my first top five campervan-related list. I love lists – ‘what’s your top five bands/foods/animals/smells [delete as appropriate] is my all-time favourite travel game.
These are also the reasons why, if you’ve filed away the possibility of camping under ‘too much roughing it involved’, I reckon campervanning could change your mind. They win the battle of campervans vs. tents hands down. I hope this doesn’t incur any scary tent-lover’s wrath…but bring on the debate! Continue reading
Sometimes the planets align, the gods smile on you and you find yourself in the exact right place at the exact right time.
After a wobbly start to our trip, being in Arisaig at the precise time Scotland was deciding to have its summer felt like some kind of act of divine fate.
We took a boat trip from nearby Mallaig and spotted seals and porpoises. Some hilarious confusion from the boat passengers ensued about what exactly a porpoise was. A whale? A turtle? A Nessie? All serious suggestions…
So, the plan was to travel all around and share the many different places and campsites we visited with you. Then Arisaig happened. It’s impossible to leave. It’s basically heaven on earth.
We drove up to Arisaig (‘the Safe Place’) on the west coast of Scotland from Glen Coe following our first big take-down challenge. We realised we needed to be off the campsite by 11am at approximately 10.50am. Would we make it time?
Challenge failed. We left over an hour later. Some work needed on the packing system!
The day’s driving entertainment from Milo consisted of his take on Eye Spy:
‘What’s purple and orange?’
Fifty guesses later…
Milo’s red car.
There can’t be many more scenic drives in the whole world than the one between Edinburgh and Glen Coe.
I embraced my inner tourist and hung out the window taking pictures the whole way – it’s totally stunning and a much-needed antidote to the retail park hell we’d endured earlier getting the last bits for our trip.
(Stu bought a rug, we took it back. I bought a rug, we took it back. We decided a rug was perhaps not an essential campervan purchase. We bought a tennis racket instead. You get the idea.) Continue reading
We’ve got a week off work…and the flu. Campervan Gang down.
After a few days in bed, a lot of flu medicine and some despondent Glastonbury watching, we emerged for our belated holiday. I discovered that Hiro is an excellent place to have a nap in Sainsbury’s car park when you’ve got a fever and we were now going to test the power of campervanning to heal and recuperate!