And we’re off! We’ve finally begun our travelling adventure.
What started as a dream and fanciful chat six months ago, has become reality. We’ve packed up and stored, or sold all of our belongings, rented out and left the house, said our goodbyes to the family and have headed off on our big adventure. We never would have believed when we first started talking about doing some long term travelling that we could or would make that dream actually happen. But here we are in our van in a tiny little bay in eastern Scotland, overlooking the sea, and we can at last say our journey has truly begun.
It’s fair to say that while the last six months preparing for our travels has been exhilarating, it’s also been incredibly hard work, physicallyand emotionally. Getting the house emptied and ready for renting was much tougher than we anticipated. Picking the right van for our travels, and then committing a large chunk of savings to buy the van was was scary. Carol retiring from work was a lovely decision to make, but it did mean all of a sudden a big chunk of regular income disappeared.
Saying goodbye to our friends and families was the hardest emotional challenge, and while we know we’ll always be having trips back to see everybody, it’s was still tough saying our goodbyes. Mum’s and Dad, all of our kids, our children, our grandchildren, friends and best friends, neighbours – we probably won’t be seeing any of them for at least three months, but at least it’s easy enough to stay in touch, Skype and FaceTime video chat is probably going to get regular use.
We finally set off last Monday after spending some time with Phil’s kids in Nottingham on Sunday. Our plan was to have a couple of longish days driving to get ourselves Into Scotland fairly quickly, and once there we’re going to spend the next three months on a leisurely drive travelling anti-clockwise around the Scottish coast.
We’ve been away a week now and……………. what an amazing week it’s been for us. We keep looking at each other and smiling, hardly believing what we’re doing and so excited about the journey ahead of us.
We travelled north via the Lake District, where we had our first stopover on the banks of Ullswater. Amazing stopover for our first night. The beauty of travelling this time of year is that the roads are fairly empty and there’s always room in the best stopping places.
We’re visiting Edinburgh for the Champions Rugby cup final in May (hopefully to watch Saracens), so we decided to bypass Edinburgh and head to the Scottish coast north of there. We finally hit the Scottish coast just north of Montrose. We’ve spent the rest of the week slowly moving northwards around the coast with a general principle of travelling not more than about 50 miles a day. It’s a lovely way to travel as it means we can take our time enjoying the journey itself, and not the destination. The Scottish coastline is breathtaking with amazing views, scenery and fantastic fishing villages seemingly around every corner.
One major benefit of motor homing in Scotland is that there are far fewer restrictions on where you can park and stopover than the rest of the UK. There’s also much more open space. As a result, our plan for this Scottish trip is to “wild camp” as much as possible. Not only does wild camping save us camp site fees every night (c. £20 a night) but this also means that wherever we drive, if we see a nice spot and there are no specific parking restrictions, we can stay there.
In our first week of being away, we’ve managed to wild camp every single night. We’ve stayed in some incredibly beautiful places – beach car parks in the middle of nowhere, village quays overlooking harbours and the fishing boats, and cliff tops overlooking the wild North Sea.
Permanent wild camping does mean we need to manage our resources carefully – battery power, water supplies etc. We set up our motorhome Elton with a solar panel, and an extra leisure battery so we could be fully self sufficient – everything’s working exactly as planned so far. Our only minor scare so far is how few garages have LPG pumps to fill our gas bottles. We are slightly nervous about this as we go further north to the wilder parts of Scotland. We need gas for heating and cooking!
So, all in all, an amazing first week. We could write pages and pages about this first week…….but maybe the pictures on this post will give some idea of the things we’ve seen and the places we’ve stayed. (Click on the pictures to see them in full size)