Homeward Bound

Dear Blog

We’re sorry we’ve been having so much fun we haven’t updated you for ages. Were sorry we’ve put more effort into living our dream, than we have into writing up the stories of our adventures. We’re sorry we’ve been so lazy and hedonistic!

It’s actually been about eight weeks since we posted our last blog post, when we were on the Orkney Isles. Since then we’ve travelled right across the North Coast of Scotland, down the West Coast, and across to the beautiful Outer Hebrides – “The Western Isles”. From there we headed down and then across to the Isle of Skye, and then what’s easily become our favourite part of Scotland, The Isle of Mull. We’ve had a flying dash across to Edinburgh on the train for the weekend to meet up with some friends and watch our Rugby team “Saracens” win the European Championship. And we’ve just spent a week in the Cairngorms as the final part of our Scottish adventure. Over the past few days we’ve been doing a slow journey South towards home, calling into Northumberland to explore Hadrian’s Wall, and see the sea birds at on the Farne Islands.

On this three month trip in  our van “Elton” we’ve had a fantastic time. While we both wanted to get out on the road and travel in our motorhome, there was always a niggling doubt once we started, whether living the life would actually live up to the anticipated dream – for one or both of us. We’re now on day 87 of this trip, and we’re both still enjoying every day of our adventure as much as we did the first. We still look at each other on a daily basis and give a “can’t believe this is real” grin to each other.

We’ve had some amazing weather while we’ve been away, but while in Scotland the wind was the one constant that was with us pretty much all the time we were there. It was only in the last couple of weeks that’s it dropped down to a gentle breeze. While in Durness in North West Scotland, we were battered with 60mph winds which made the van feel like ready for lift off! On Skye, just a few weeks ago, while most of middle England basked in sunshine, we had to hunker down for a couple of days while snow storms and blizzards came through. And in the Cairngorms just a week ago, we sat beside Loch Morlich, near Aviemore, in 26 degree glorious sunshine.

Our van “Elton” has been fabulous. We’ve heard horror stories of people who set off in new vans and have so many things go wrong in the first few months. From our experience, the Corado T449 has been a great buy. I think everybody expects a few niggly problems on on something as big and as complicated as a Motorhome, but we’ve had just two problems while we’ve been away; a leaky tap, which we temporarily fixed with some sticky tape, and our electric step packed up just two weeks into our trip. The step was an annoying problem as the cab’s a long way up from the ground, but we eventually managed to rig up a manual system to get the step back in use. We’re calling in at Lincoln on our way back South to get these couple of little issues fixed.

We’ve wild-camped for 68 of the 83 days we’ve been away. With camp site fees generally above £20 a night, wild-camping has saved us a fortune. It’s been amazingly easy to wild camp our way around Scotland where there’s so much open space and generally people are much more accepting to people parking up. The “Right to Roam” principles in Scotland, while not appropriate to vehicles, appear to give the Scots a mindset that people should always be given access when they can, rather than barring them just because they can. Back into England and it’s a very different picture, every bit of spare space has somebody looking to make money from it or has barriers across the entrance to stop anybody gaining access.

We’ve been to some amazing places, and seen some fantastic things in Scotland, but without doubt the highlights for us  has been the wildlife. We’ve spent hours and hours just sitting in our van watching out over mountains, cliff tops, lochs, forests and moorland for anything that moves. We’ve seen majestic White Tailed and Golden Eagles, soaring through the air. We’ve seen red squirrels scampering through the trees and over the forest floors. We’ve seen otters with their cubs playing in the water in the evening sun, and we’ve seen the fabulous comical, puffins strutting around their nests or arriving from a fishing trip with their bills stuffed full of sand eels. It feels like every day has brought us something new. How lucky we’ve are.

It’s fair to say we’ve struggled with what to do with the blog. We were full of great intentions to do regular write-ups when we set off, but we ended up not really sure who we were writing it for. Blog posts take a fair bit of time putting together, and we gradually started putting more of our posts onto Facebook. Facebook ended up being our preferred way of sharing the highlights of our journey, and most people, other than other bloggers, are more used to looking at and giving feedback on Facebook than they are a blog post. We’ll carry on with the blog for our future travels, but we’ll mix it up with Facebook as well.

We’re now just north of Lincoln, ready to have a sleepless night tonight watching the election results, before the van goes in to get fixed tomorrow. Glad we got our proxy votes sorted out, looks like every vote might count! We’ve got a couple of weeks around Peterborough while we visit family and friends, and then we head back to Watford arriving at mum and dad’s on Father’s Day.

Summer time is basically family time, and then 31st August we’re heading off to Europe for the winter – first stop Holland. 

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