Monday, November 25

Friends on Skye

August 9th and I was off to Skye for a few days, meeting a couple of friends who recently move onto Skye and another who was just visiting.
Always happy to visit the island especially to do a bit of fishing, not a great deal of luck in that area but I did get put onto a possible spot for the future.
Camped on Steve and Helen's drive for the night before going on a nice lone walk to see macleods maidens .

Camping at one of my favourite site on loch Greshornish. I had decided to do a walk from one of my many guide books, The Islands, pocket mountain series. Up Ben Tianaveg offering views over Portree and on to The Storr. On the way up I met a French guy, said his name was Fred ! and he was from Paris. Anyway he was looking at another guide with a little bit of a different route, his was just up and down mine, was a little more convoluted, he joined me on my walk. We got lost a little along the way, but my navigation skills got us through in the end, but a 2.40 hour walk turned into a 4 hour one. We had explored the area more than we might have and I hadn't expected to take in a scramble, saw 5 white tailed eagles, one came very close, oh and no rain.

Jane needing some first aid from Helen.

Monday, October 21

France July 2013

Waiting to embark.

Its been a couple of months since our adventures in France came to an end, memories are fading so I'd better get them down.
Start off on the 16th of July we took a couple of days to get down to Dover, calling off at Hayfield in the Peak District for the night, wanted to visit a friend there, then Canterbury so we were in a good position for the ferry. Record breaking temperatures in London as we were sitting on the M25.
On arriving in France we headed off for Honfleur, never seeing a hint of Calais, picking up where we left off last year, stopping at the Aire there, finally after a year of waiting we had our meal in a restaurant by the quayside, bliss.

Our van on the Aire at Honfleur.

Next stop was Mont Saint Michel, could see signs of the Tour de France that had gone through the area a few days earlier. Stopped in the car park over night, we were getting the hang of living off the leisure battery with the fridge running on gas. Walked along the causeway onto the island there and back. Think we did our first French geocache of the visit.

Mont Saint Michel

La Rochelle was the next port of call, first stopping off just outside at Coulon, a little village with an Aire, could have done with more time here, a little more exploring, but that could have been said of most places we visited. The main reason for visiting was that it was close to La Rochelle and if we couldn't find anywhere to stay we would go back, no need to worry we found a campsite in the city itself. Another evening on the town and we were starting to get in the swing of things, practicing the French as well as enjoying the street entertainment and taking a ride on a Ferris wheel.

Carlotta @ La Rochelle

Would certainly visit here again and have been told to go onto the adjoining island.

Off now too the Pyrenees where we spent a whole week in a site at Estaing with a visit to Cauterets-Pont d’Espagne, and Lourdes. The journey to the Bridge of Spain was very nervous, twisty with plenty of subsided roads, we were able to admire the panoramic view of the famous Lac de Gaube, praised by the famous author Victor Hugo and the Romantics, higher up in the mountains but easy accessible to us as we took the cable car and chair lift. On the way back to the campsite returning through Cauterets which like other places around midday had looked like a ghost town, was now party central, we never got used to that.
Lourdes was a place we felt we had to visit being just down the road, it was fairly interesting but felt it was just like Scarborough but without the kiss me quick hats, very tacky.

Campsite Pyrénées Natura

Carcassonne was next on our list, well worth the visit, maybe could have done with another night. Another Camping in the City site, we had been looking for an Aire but having got disoriented and taking the van on a little scrape along the ancient city walls I was glad to find this site.


Oradour Sur Glane, two nights here and a very moving visit, saw this place on the opening of the landmark series The World at War, again on an Aire, free but no electric except for very short period, by this time we were adept at living without a hook up, just off the leisure battery, running the fridge off the gas. The new village is modern of course with some nice little bars which we never got to use, pity. We had an evening walking around the area and a whole day in the martyrs village itself.

The Martyrs village

Blois is the is the capital of the Loire valley but for us was just an Aire stop off on the way to Calais and home. By this time the heat was really up there, all of us were feeling it including Felix.

Felix "chillin"

Only just getting used to the lifestyle but the heat slowed us well down, once again wanted more time here, but the three weeks was a real learning curve, in terms of how to travel over longer period as well a abroad in the van.

The van itself performed brilliantly and the cruise control was a god send as was the shower.
Now just looking forward to Easter and the Côte d'Azur.

Off home.

21/10/13 and finally finished this page sitting on a very we pitch in the Lake District.


Monday, July 15

Start of the summer.

Had a couple of days on the Applecross peninsula, Carlotta had never been and I thought it was a good opportunity to test the van on mountain roads. Great Sunday teatime meal in the Applecross Inn, Andy Murray was winning Wimbledon and there were folk musicians playing, they seem quite good. Took a cycle ride around the area and did a geocache at Sand, saw a couple of deer close up.

A couple of days later I went over to  Althandu, one of my favourite places, Took a walk out to the Suilven, a very warm day that seemed to sap my strength, took so long in getting there didn't have time to actually climb it, will try from the other side another time. Had a days fishing for brown trout, not much look there as the weather had changed becoming quite cold over on the West Coast and western isles, the rest of Britain sweltered in a heat wave.
Tomorrow we leave for France.

Suilven., Inverpolly

Tuesday, June 25

Its a Hymer (again)

Hymer Tramp GT
Well the MOT didn't go well, lots of minor things to sort out, mostly electric. Aberdeen is a pain in the arse if you want anything like this done and impossible to get it done cheap, had got a Polish auto electrician lined up to give it a look over, he went on a drinking binge apparently, 2 weeks later and he was still on it. In the end decided to cut our losses and really start all over again.
We started looking around for yet another van, we knew what attributes it needed to have and put the old one up on eBay, spares or repair. Paid a couple of visits to Perthshire as there are two good reputable dealers there and took our time, we actually missed one we really wanted but that was a blessing in the end.
When we spotted the Hymer Tramp GT it was love at first sight and Perthshire caravans we great people to deal with. We've had the van for a couple of months now and had a few little jaunts out and about along the Moray coast. Its near brand new only done 7000 miles, the interior is very smart and modern, interior décor can sometimes be a little garish but not this one. Funny thing, as you can see in the photo, it was parked right next to a Mobilvetta driver 52 which was our first camper.
My summer vacation starts next week and we have 3 weeks in France planned, making our way to the Pyrenees via Honfluer, Dover to Calais this time seemed a better route.
Interior details
Its been a poor spring, about a month late but weather has been good over the last few weeks, got out on some great walks mostly over Dufftown way up in the Ladder hills. Geocaching has been sparing, but I have my eyes on some over a few Munro's but there is still snow on the Cairngorms.
Well that us up to date I guess but really must write these things up as they happen.

Wednesday, April 24

Here's hoping.

Its coming up to MOT time and I hope everything is going to go fine. We took it out for a little spin last week, staying at Grantown of Spey for the night and had a nice curry in town, the site was very good.
I brought the van over to give it a a good wash and to put some vinyl tiles down, it snowed over night. Chances are if all goes well we will go to France at Easter.

Well the MOT didn't go well so we never went to France, failed in lots and lots of minor ways, I wont go into detail here, just to say the van is up on ebay as spares or repairs, Id had enough.
We did get away to Althandu for a week so that was good, had my birthday and a couple of nice meals over there. Quite a laid back week, a bit of walking, nothing too strenuous, weather was better over there than here on the east coast, spring seems to be about a month late this year.

Cul mor from Stac Polly.

We took a trip down too Teesside to see the kids, called in to a number of motohome sales outlets and spied a few potential buys, so new acquisition is on the cards, in fact probable off this weekend to pick one out.
Still got France in our sights but for the summer and the Atlantic coast rather than the Cote d'Azur, to hot and crowded down there during the summer, but would love to try for that next Easter.
Still the opportunities for some weekend motorhoming between now and the summer break, nine and a half weeks to that.

Sunday, January 6

Its diesel you idiot.

Van @ Braemar

Having finished work for the holiday's we went off for the weekend to Braemar.
I spent most of the time after that working on a new website for myself, publicising my landscape photography, Northlightimages.
Once Christmas itself was over we made off for Teesside again, stopping off at Mortonhall in Edinburgh. There was some high winds forecast so we set off on the afternoon and rushed for Edinburgh, in the rush I accidentally put in petrol instead of diesel, bringing the journey to an abrupt halt outside of Dundee. Anyway, managed to get a pick up, drain and back on the road in about 2 1/2  hours, but it cost £240 plus the £50 wasted on the petrol, hopefully a lesson well learnt. Waking up in Edinburgh on new years eve we heard the Forth road bridge has been closed to all but cars so we missed that at least.
In England and I had the chance of a couple of photography location visits, Paddys hole at the South Gare and High Force, both on the river Tees. We stopped with the kids for about 3 days before our return to Aberdeen via Mortonhall again, the journey home was incident free.
Planning this years France trip, I will be putting some work into the van as well as more walking and photography.