In April this year we made the plunge and bought our first campervan – Myrtle.
After a couple of day trips to get used to driving her and we took the plunge and took her on an adventure to the Highland’s of Scotland. The anticipation was immense – how reliable would she be? We ventured to Ardnamurchan, just to the west of Fort William and discovered a wonderful place. There were no huge mountains but there was a much more remote part of the highlands, forests, hills, lochs, coast and moorlands…. all asking to be explored. So explore we did…
We found some great spots and some great campsites and truly appreciated the beauty of having bought a campervan.
The other big adventure of the year was to Cornwall…
Another far away place and a test to see how Myrtle managed with another long distance, but she is great… and the trust we developed for her meant that we did our first remote wild camp in the Cot Valley
Some more great spots and loving the freedom and ease at which you can just move on.
We had our final weekend with a baby in November when we took 4 month old Elliot up to the Lake District. He was impressed and very much agreed that life in a campervan is a happy one…
Roll on more adventures in 2016
Myrtle deserved a good run out yesterday – and so did we, so we headed to the North Wales coast.
We stopped at Llandulas, a small undeveloped part of the coast between Abergele and Colwyn Bay. A lovely place to stop – and without the stupid height barriers that cover every car park in Abergele!
We had a brisk walk along the coastal bridleway and then spent the rest of the afternoon just relaxing in and around Myrtle… It really is too good having somewhere to lounge out, make a brew, listen to the waves and just while away a few hours doing nothing….
From Carlisle we headed North for the long drive up into the Highlands. For some reason I always forget how far Glasgow is from the Border… miles and miles of motorway – but its always a relief to get there – knowing that Loch Lomand (and beyond) is just around the corner – and the traditional stop for an ice cream before pushing on.
We went as far as Corran where we got the small ferry across Loch Linnhe.
We were heading towards Ardnamurchan – the most Westerly part of mainland UK. It was slow travelling once we got off the ferry – single track, long winding roads where you didn’t get anywhere quickly. It was a very scenic drive – a mixture of forest and rugged coastline. We found a fantastic place to stop for lunch, a wooded area with a short walk down to the sea. It would have made an amazing place to stay for the night but the rare ‘No Overnight Parking’ sign meant that wasn’t an option.
So we continued and eventually at around 5pm reached our destination at The Ardnamurchan Campsite in Kilchoan right on the coast over looking the Northern part of the Isle of Mull – brilliant.
We went for luxury tonight and had electric hook up – another thing to test on Myrtle – and it worked perfectly, all so far so good. The sun was still shining so we got out the table, the chairs and the wine. Looking out to the sea and the hills – Scotland and the sun is an unbeatable combination.
Making the most of having the kitchen we cooked a Spanish omelette type thing – potatoes, spring onions, garlic, chilli, chorizo, tabasco sauce and eggs – delicious – I see a camper recipe blog coming up!
We stayed out until it went dark looking at the clear night sky’s stars and satellites – with clarity we just don’t see at home.
We had the joy of putting the silver reflector things on the windows for the first time – a bit of effort but hopefully worth it….
…. And so the adventures begin. This was the first overnight trip for us and Myrtle. Well, it would be several overnight trips – 10 in fact to the remote parts of the Scottish highlands. It would be do or die, but we were confident she would do.
She nearly didn’t do anything as she had been with our mechanic all week to have the exhaust replaced, however three exhausts had been sent and none fitted, the forth one came on the morning we were due to set off, so the new exhaust would have to wait – Scotland was calling.
So we set off on late Friday afternoon, exhaust blowing – sounding rough but looking good. Destination tonight would be the Scotland/ England border, which would get us well on our way but enough time to suss things out before it got dark.
We found a campsite just off junction 45 of the M6, not far from Gretna Green. Moat Vale Campsite was a great little find, a family run place on smallholding perfectly placed for an overnight stop when you set off late heading to the Highlands. We got here for about 7pm which gave us enough time to find homes for everything we had brought, giving each cupboard a job, packing it economically – it seems there is ample room to store all our bits and pieces.
It soon started to get dark, so it was time to switch on the leisure battery and see how long the lights would last. At the moment everything is just trial and error – working out what works well and what doesn’t.
We heated up some chilli and opened up a bottle of Prosecco – Cheers – Myrtles first night was well underway.
On Good Friday Myrtle had her first ‘proper’ outing, not an overnight, but a long drive out and a day at the beach.
We are still working out petrol, oil and coolant consumotion so this was her first test. The drive down to Abergele was a true bank holiday drive, lots of traffic and rain. We met up with a couple of traffic jams and got worried as the temperature gauge started to rise, but all was good. It took us longer than normal, not wanting to push her over 60mph – but campervan life should never be rushed…
We parked up on the road leading to the beach…(couldn’t get on beach due to height restriction – #camperproblems ) and it was great… An instant love of campervanning. It was a cold and bit of a miserable day, but being able to sit in comfort after a wander in the weather was fab. So chilled and relaxing.
Anyway, we love her and im sure will love her even more once we get to have an overnight stay….
So far so good, we picked up Myrtle a couple of weeks ago and are dying to get out in her. We have a week planned at the end of April when we will head up to Scotland and that will be a fantastic adventure.
Until then we are building a trusting relationship between ourselves and her. It takes me back to my first car, when you had to ‘drive’ a vehicle with no power steering and when you learnt how to fix things. So as it’s from back then, we have purchased a Haynes manual to guide us through any processes we may encounter.
Slight amendments so far have been a new wing mirror and a new rear bumper end… easy jobs to do ourselves. Hopefully everything else will be as simple!
The biggest challenge has been how to turn around the front swivel seat, but a quick email to the previous owner and we learnt the nack!
I think there will be lots of little nacks to learn.
Say hello to MYRTLE the 31 year old VW campervan about to embark on some new adventures….