A voyage of Scottish discovery

So we always intended to break ourselves in gently and accordingly to start with an unbounded trip around Scotland, broadly following the North Coast 500 (NC500), but not not rigidly sticking to it. By unbounded, we mean not constrained by time and campsites: we will go when the whim takes us, for as long as we like and stay as cheaply as possible (free if at all possible)

We have been here before: once in our old T4 (a lovely trip, but started out with midgies, many, many midgies….

And once when this van was very new to us: again, a great trip but in winter with no heating, though we did catch New Years Eve in “Boots Bar” at the Clachaig Inn, Glencoe.

But on both occasions we were heavily constrained by time and were only able to scratch the surface, so revisiting was an itch we had to scratch.
Ever the optimist, I hoped for a late summer heatwave and have packed an inflatable kayak, shorts and swimmers…. That said, space is a major consideration in such a compact van, so we rationalised a lot of stuff: basically it needed to have 2 functions or have a proven record of usefulness to come along.

To help with this we decided to make extensive use of vacuum bags, as we expect to still be on the road in October and have a need for cold weather gear, plus of course spare bedding etc. Our tailgate is stuffed (using our new Vangaroo – review will follow) and the rear cupboard is stacked with far more kit than we would normally be able to fit. Plus there is a bonus of vac bagged stuff being safe from damp, dust and pests.

Having made several more modifications, bought some more useful stuff, we set off, leaving home on 5th September, with a target to get past Manchester and into the Lake District. From here we set a leisurely pace to meet up with friends in Scotland , just outside of Ullapool on Saturday 11th. On route we stopped at Rydal Cave, which is worth a short walk (even in the pouring rain), went up the side of Bassenthwaite Lake, wild camping high on the north Lakes hills, before arriving in Scotland the following morning.

Rydal Cave itself is very cool and there’s a few pleasant walks around Rydal Water, but it was a lot busier than we expected, probably due to being so easily accessible, with a pay and display car park just nearby. That said, if you in the area, still worth a walk to see it.

Peace & quiet

And so to Scotland…. We set out to meander and visit several things along the way, so I spent months watching TikTok videos, YouTube videos and travel shows on tv, dropping pins in Google maps of places that piqued my interest (lots of ruined castles, lakes and waterfalls. We would then loosely join the dots.

More to follow soon – I leave you to a quintessentially English thing, found at a Scottish Castle – I ask you…. (turn up the sound for full effect)

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