Friday, 20 December 2013

Iain McKell - 'The New Gypsies' photography

While we are all spending time upgrading and preparing our camper vans for the next trip, there are some who have decided to abandon their motorised homes on wheels for a much more old fashioned or you might say 'traditional' way of living on the road.

A while ago I posted about new age travellers in the 90's and shared a video of an old 'World in Action' documentary about their lifestyle, and the conflicts taking place between travellers, local residents, and the police in England at that time.

Well, photographer Iain McKell has been putting together a project on a group of new age travellers, who have made the choice of 'returning' to the horse drawn gypsy caravan as their dwelling place. This smaller group are somehow managing to live in todays world in this old and simple way. Take a look at the photos – I'm sure you'll agree that Iain has captured some of the magic and beauty of that simple way of living.


Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Hiace Hobo site updates

Hi folks, 

I wanted to let you know of a few updates to the site. 


Vans For Sale page


Some of you may have already noticed the 'Vans for Sale' tab up there on the top right. This page features all the latest listings on eBay of Hiace Campers for sale. The newest listings are at the top. If you're on the lookout for a Hiace Camper, just bookmark this page, and you'll always be one click away from seeing the latest ones coming up for sale. 

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

2014 plans | Robs 4WD Hiace Camper Van | Winch fitting and Suspension lift

Welcome back!

Well, its coming towards the end of 2013, and the time has come to start planning ahead for adventures in the year to come. I've been working away here in Portugal, saving, and I haven't been covering too many miles, so naturally my mind wanders on to what might be next for me and the Hiace..


Saturday, 14 December 2013

Wild Camping Spots Map & GPS downloads for Europe

Hi folks,

I recently came across something really fantastic on a Spanish website. Its an interactive map of wild camping locations all over Europe. The locations have been submitted mostly by Spanish campervaners and there are photos and articles on most of them on the pages forum. The map is really well laid out, with all locations marked clearly. If there's more than one good spot in an area they are numbered, and zooming in guides you to the exact locations. A really great find for anyone planning a trip through Europe who prefers wild camping over campsites. There are also locations listed that have facilities too, including many of the European 'Aires' which are free camping spots with limited facilities. I stayed at one of these locations in Spain on my way to Portugal - in Palencia. Here's the link to the map:


Friday, 13 December 2013

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Jeff - Living the Van Life in the Algarve Portugal | Iveco Camper Van self conversion

On Sunday, I had the good fortune to meet a fellow van dweller and traveller, Jeff, from the north east of England. I'd stopped at a wild camping location and had a chat with him over a cup of tea in the sunshine. At nearly six years into the lifestyle, Jeff wasn't looking back, and was enjoying his second winter on the Portuguese south coast.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Mitsubishi Delica Chamonix 4WD Off-Road Camper Van | Snorkel now available!

I'd like to share with you a very special vehicle I came across on my travels earlier this year, whilst travelling through Yorkshire..

Monday, 18 November 2013

Cycle in the Algarve & Loch Garry Wild Camping Spot | Living in a Hiace Camper Van

Hi there,

For those of you who haven't already seen them on the YouTube channel, I've recently edited and uploaded two new videos. The first one was from a recent bike ride to the beach here in Portugal on a typically lovely sunny sunday. The beach is only fifteen minutes away by bike or only five driving, but its a nice cycle there through the rural landscape. That day there were a lot of surfers at the beach and I sat and watched them as I relaxed on the beach..



Sunday, 10 November 2013

Living and Working in the Algarve, Portugal | Living in a Hiace Camper Van

I thought I'd share with you a bit about what's its been like living and working in Portugal, now that I've been here for a few weeks.

I haven't been on any longer camping trips since I got here as I've been pretty busy working and exploring the local area by bike, also saving my fuel money for a few future adventures in this part of the world.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Leyland Daf 45 4x4 Overland Expedition Vehicle | Living in a Hiace Camper Van

Every so often on my travels, I come across a really interesting or unusual camping vehicle, so I thought I'd start to share some of them with you. I had a lot of feedback on the post I wrote a while ago on Jo's Citroen Berlingo camper, as it gave people some good ideas for their own van conversions, and seeing how others have set up their vans is always inspiring.

This camping vehicle is certainly one of the more unusual and special ones I've come across, and I actually had the opportunity to spend the night in it myself back in October! Originally a British Army truck, its been lovingly converted into a fully blown 4WD expedition truck, designed to go anywhere in the world, in comfort and style..


Saturday, 2 November 2013

Meeting an old bicycle hobo on the way to Camasunary bothy, Isle of Skye | Living in a Hiace Camper Van

Back in June, during the first month of my tour of Scotland, I spent a week exploring the Isle of Skye in the western highlands with my friend Nigel. One of our days out involved walking the path from the picturesque fishing village of Elgol, along the coast to the bothy at Camasunary.

On that walk we came upon this old guy pushing his bike along the difficult and rough path. He'd been making his way through the mountains from Sligachan, and was heading for Elgol. That's a long way and it certainly wasn't a mountain bike he was pushing..


Thanks for visiting! If you've any comments or questions please share them below. 

Do subscribe for updates, and why not check out the YouTube channel - tab above.

See you soon..

If you're looking for a good map of Western Scotland and the Western Isles, the one I recommend is the 'Road 2' - this map used to be produced by OS, but they stopped doing it. You can buy it here for £4.99:

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Working in Portugal | Scotland Tour Video | Living in a Hiace Camper Van

Things are going really well here in Portugal - I've been working for a couple of days now and I'm really enjoying it. I'm starting to lay out a vegetable garden on the land attached to the villa here. The first thing I had to do was to cut back some heavily overgrown bushes, and remove all the old branches for burning; pretty hot work and I was glad it was a more overcast day than usual for here.

After that, I've been servicing the irrigation system, cleaning out components, and replacing broken ones. There isn't usually a lot of rain here, so its important to have a functioning irrigation system if you're going to try and cultivate a variety of vegetables, herbs and salads, as is our plan here. After I had the irrigation system working correctly, and tested it, I got onto creating some wooden edges for the beds. There is quite a bit of old wood stored here, so I've been able to salvage enough treated 2x4s for the job.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

The Journey to Portugal, the Algarve | The Adventure Continues | Living in a Hiace Camper Van

Its been a few days since I posted an update - so much has been happening. I'm still overwhelmed by the new experiences I am having every day here, so I'll tell the story in pictures and a few comments. Enjoy!

 A stop off in Spain on the way down.. I later passed this group of overlanders again by the side of the road - one had broken down - I wonder what became of them.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Santander to Palencia Spain | Living in a Hiace Camper Van

Arriving into Santander on the ferry was beyond my expectations. The boat itself was more of a cruise ship and in fact some people were travelling straight back to the uk on a mini cruise. The ship 'Pont Aven' was luxurious, there was even a pool on board immaculately clean.

I did not opt for a cabin to save money, but I slept really well in the quiet lounge. There is a shower room, so if your planning to travel this route on a budget remember to bring your wash things and a towel with you.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Blablacar review | At Plymouth Docks | Living in a Hiace Camper Van

Hi all, I am having a beer, and watching Pale Rider, parked near Plymouth Docks, in good time for my ferry tomorrow. I wanted to share with you a great find, and a great way to cover the cost of fuel on a trip.

I just found out about Blablacar recently while in Bristol, and I wish I'd found out about it before I hit the road back in June. Basically it's a car sharing website and iPhone app on which you can post your planned journeys and it links you up with paying passengers who want a lift.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Toyota Hiace Super Custom 4WD - 2" suspension lift mod / wheel arch mod | Blood Red Off Road

As part of the van preparations for my Euro adventure, it was time to do the long dreamt of suspension lift to the van, and to fit bigger, more aggressive off road wheels and tyres - this would greatly increase the off-road capability of the truck, and mean I can get almost anywhere without getting stuck, and enjoy more inaccessible tracks and terrain with greater ground clearance under the axles and gearbox.

I headed down to see Dave at bloodredoffroad.com in Brighouse North Yorkshire to get the job done. From a previous visit, we had realised that the rear shackle bushings would need to be replaced, so had ordered up a replacement set in advance. (As the vehicle was twenty years old, the original bushings and pins could not be removed as they were seized together.) Don't begin this mod unless you have already got a replacement set on standby.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Spain & Portugal Trip, Winter 2013/14 Euro Travel Checklist


Today I've been thinking about and working on my checklist for my upcoming trip. There are not that many things to prepare in advance when you already live in a vehicle, so that really takes the hassle out of getting ready to go away, but as it is another European country, there are a few things to take into consideration.

Here's my checklist I've been putting together and looking into today:



  • Change phone to PAGo

  • Satnav

  • Euro travel kit & extra triangle

  • check breakdown cover details

  • Medical card

  • check passport and driving license

  • UK supplies to take

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The next leg of the journey, winter plans - The Adventure Continues - Living in a Hiace Camper Van

Hi all, I hope you're well out there wherever you are. I'm doing well - I've been staying with friends in north Yorkshire in the dales, going for walks, days out, and getting my van ready for the next stage of my trip. Its taken a while to get everything sorted out, but next week I'll be beginning my journey south, via the peak district and Bristol, and making a few more visits on the way, until I reach Plymouth docks on 19th October..


Saturday, 5 October 2013

Growers Ark Wild Salad foraging in the Scottish Highlands - Living in a Hiace Camper Van

Over the past while I've had the good fortune to become friends with Andy Cox and his partner Jessie, who together run an organic permaculture project called 'Growers Ark' located in the Scottish Highlands. I've been staying with them recently, helping out on the land, and with the admin side of things. It was an amazing time staying there in the beautiful and peaceful surroundings, living simply form the land.

Andy describes some of the herbs growing wild nearby..



Thursday, 3 October 2013

Journey South

So I've begun my journey south. Yesterday, after being stranded on Scoraig for two days due to the wind and waves, I managed to get back across the loch to my van in the post boat.

It was a very rough crossing and I chose the worst (or best, depending on how you look at it) corner of the boat to sit in. Big waves splashing over the side and a big swell made it a thrilling trip over, thankfully wearing wet gear saved the day.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Scotland Tour 2013 - iPhone clips and photos - Living in a Hiace Camper Van

I've got stranded on Scoraig and can get over due to wind and waves on the loch, so I've taken a bit of time to look through my iPhone photo album and piece together a couple of short videos, from the video clips and photos there from the past few months. Its all the random shots I pulled out the phone to take, as most of my photography was done on another camera, but as I'm sure you've found out for yourself, looking through your mobile phone photos tells a story, and takes you on a journey through the weeks and months, reliving your memories...

Part I -
Ferry crossing, entering the highlands, Glencoe, Loch Carron, Isle of Lewis, Skye, John Muir Trust, Lindisfarne (England), Scarborough Fair, North Yorkshire Dales..



Sunday, 29 September 2013

Making Irish Soda Bread in a Camper Van - Recipe included

I've been asked recently (hello Rob) to share a bit more about the Irish soda bread I've been making while travelling in Scotland. Well, its all thanks to my friend mark from Belfast, who spent some time with me the day before I left for Scotland, and taught me how to make the Irish Soda Farls using only the ingredients, and what kitchen utensils I already had at hand in the camper van.

I've been sitting on this video footage for a good while, and I've also realised that when traveling, I'm having new experiences every day, and precious little time to sit back and go over the material I have collected, for editing. So for better or worse, I'm going to start sharing some unedited video footage from the trip. Basically if I don't - you'll probably never see it.

So here's one of a number of videos I shot of Mark talking about his bread, and preparing some in my van back in June...



Tuesday, 24 September 2013

SOLD 2/Oct/13 Sea Kayak for Sale





I've decided to put my sea kayak up for sale. I've had some great times in this boat, but now that I'm not around my other kayaking friends, and am into more serious travelling around, I'm not using it so much. Also it'll be less of a burden - not on the roof of the van.
I've listed it here on eBay: Valley Avocet Sea Kayak for sale
If you're interested you can get in touch with me through the contacts page.
I'm back staying with friends now for a few days, so I've been quite busy helping out with a few things in the garden, and working on some internet projects for them. Also I'm beginning to make arrangements for the next stage in my travels - I'll keep you posted once a few things are organised..
Thanks for visiting! 

If you've any comments or questions please share them below. 

Do subscribe for updates, and why not check out the YouTube channel - tab above.

See you soon..

Monday, 23 September 2013

The 'Bone Caves' of Inchnadamph | Scotland Tour 2013 | Living in a Hiace Camper Van

"The 'Bone Caves' of Inchnadamph contain relics of Eurasian Lynx, Brown Bear, Arctic Fox, Reindeer (dated to as long ago as 47,000 BP), the only evidence of Polar Bears so far found in Scotland, and human skeletons dated to the 3rd millennium BC. The skeleton of a bear thought to be 11,000 years old or more was removed from the caves in 2008."

So I set of this morning in search of dinosaur bones, armed with a nylon rope ladder from B&Q, a smoky old paraffin lamp, a caged canary, and two of Lidl's imitation 'Snickers' bars (not bad in my opinion).



Waterfall and pool near the beginning of the walk

Sunday, 22 September 2013

The Sika Trail, Rosehall | Scotland Tour 2013 | Living in a Hiace Camper Van

My first stop today was the beautifully peaceful and remote Raven's Rock Gorge on the A839 outside Lairg. I pulled in here to have some lunch, but soon decided to stay a while and explore the woods.






It turned out to be a reasonably short, but enchanting walk through ancient forest, by way of a gorge following a river, twisting and turning deep into the rock.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Dunbeath to Invershin | Scotland Tour 2013 | Living in a Hiace Camper Van

I set off from Dunbeath in the rain, after not exactly rushing to get ready. I was able to take a good shower, and top up all my water containers, have a good breakfast and get on the road again. I drove all the way to Brora; there were some great views out over the North Sea, and some great light on the water, in between showers.

It was still raining at Brora, so I stayed in and had lunch while listening to the radio – wet weather on the road means driving and mealtimes are the main focus of the day, so its good to have a well stocked larder. I'm now using my fridge more like a larder as the temperature at night is maintained in there during the day, and I don't need to run the gas all the time.

I soon hit the road inland, and was rewarded with a good change in the weather, more shelter, and some amazing scenery along the banks of Loch Brora..

Friday, 20 September 2013

Dunnet Head to Dunbeath Harbour | Scotland Tour 2013 | Living in a Hiace Camper Van

After taking my time over coffee and cooking up a boiled egg served with scotch crumpets I decided it was about time to get on the road. It was still raining quite heavily, though the wind had dropped somewhat from last night.

There had been a lot of rain last night and I wondered would it give me any problems getting out of the field and up the incline back onto the road. I got turned around without any problems and made for the road, but even with taking a bit of a run at it, I got wheel spin and couldn't get up.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Kyle of Tongue to Dunnet Head | Scotland Tour 2013 | Living in a Hiace Camper Van

Today's been a day of almost constant wind and rain. I set off from my camping spot early, just to find a more sheltered spot to have breakfast and get ready for the day. I found it at Borgie wood, a forest park a few miles after Tongue.

Here I had my coffee and breakfast, took a shower, and studied the map of the road ahead, thinking of possible destinations, and where to stop for necessities, where I might make it to today.

Back on the road I drove until I reached Bettyhill, probably quite a lovely place if the sun was shining. I stopped and picked up some smoked haddock for dinner, and a meat pie for lunch in a little shop brimming with everything you might need.

I pulled in for lunch at Armadale burn, by an old stone bridge, the van rocking in the wind as I ate my meal and drank tea. The rain continued to pour.

Next stop was Melvich beach, just to take a look down the track to see if I could drive right onto the beach. I couldn't but the car park had obviously been heavily populated by surfers, as the sign displayed..































Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The Next Step | Durness to Kyle of Tongue | Scotland Tour 2013 | Living in a Hiace Camper Van

I spent most of today just relaxing and resting up after yesterday's adventures. I had a lie in, drank tea, and spent done time on Internet stuff as there's a good 3G signal here.

I've been deliberating over what to do next, now I've been to Cape Wrath, and travelled all over the West Highlands - I've covered all of the original route I set out to do, even in spite of settling in one place for a couple of months.

Well having had an invite to go back and stay with friends on the west coast, I've decided to spend the next week making a loop around the north and east coast of the country - right up to John O Groats, then skirt the North Sea coast, before heading back through the interior to the west highlands. Good plan?

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Cape Wrath by classic mountain bike - Scotland Tour 2013 - Living in a Hiace Camper Van

Journeys end? Or just the beginning of a new adventure? If you've been reading the blog for a while, and following my journey around Scotland, you'll know that this was the furthest point on the map I was planning to reach, a goal of sorts, though I don't really believe in goals.

Nonetheless, it's come from an intention set in my mind, written down even, shared and seen by others, so that gives it some sense of meaning as a place to be reached. So, in spite of all my wanderings, changes of plan, and misadventure - this morning I set off, motivated by whatever has carried me here..

I boarded the small motorboat with my backpack, my camera, and my classic mountain bike (old Raleigh, no suspension)..



Monday, 16 September 2013

Blairmore to Durness – Scotland Tour 2013 – Living in a Hiace Camper Van

The parking spot in Blairmore is just opposite where the 4.5 mile path to Sandalwood bay begins. It has a toilet block and a fresh water tap 'round the back, and its okay to stay overnight there. It was dry this morning, but the forecast was not looking good, so I decided not to make the walk to the beach, as I'd likely get caught in the bad weather later, and my boots were still wet through from the walk to the Old Man of Stoer.

I had a quiet morning baking some bread for the next three days, topping up my water bottles, and cleaning out the van. I got everything neat and tidy again, all with the smell of freshly baked bread in the air. The bread should be fresh enough for three days; here are the three breads all ready..






























Sunday, 15 September 2013

The Old Man of Stoer – Scotland Tour 2013 – Living in a Hiace Camper Van

Today has been a pretty miserable day weather wise, and the forecast doesn't look great for the next few days either. If it stays like this I might have to rethink my plans. It didn't stop me this morning though, as I decided to brave the mist and rain and do the 3km walk to the Old Man of Stoer.






























Saturday, 14 September 2013

Achnahaird to Stoer Head – Scotland Tour 2013 – Living in a Hiace Camper Van

I had a really good nights sleep last night, not waking until 9:45am, and it was quite a good morning out. After my shower I decided to bake enough soda bread for the next couple of days, and spent the morning listening to music and making the bread.



Once everything was ready and stored away for the journey, I had a cuppa and relaxed a while, looking out at the view..

Friday, 13 September 2013

Scoraig to Achnahaird – Scotland Tour 2013 – Living in a Hiace Camper Van

Today I headed off again from Scoraig, to begin my journey north, and follow the original route up to Cape Wrath. It was a beautiful calm morning on the Loch, so after saying goodbye, I walked down to the pier on Scoraig to get my kayak ready to paddle back across to the van. Here's the view from the shore this morning..



It didn't take long to paddle across, although again, the wind did pick up a bit on the way across. I soon made it to the jetty on the other side though.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Another day on Scoraig

So, another couple of days living simply on Scoraig. My friends have got back from their trip and we've been spending some time together. Much if the day is spent in managing the gardens, as well as in harvesting and preparing food for our meals.

Today I was invited to attend the residents association AGM. It was really interesting for me to meet some of the other residents here, and to see how the decision making process works when the community are discussing infrastructure projects such as road maintenance, and getting supplies of fuel gas delivered here.

Of course the day came to a close with another fantastic meal, comprising of a wonderful salad, and organically grown sweet corn, picked just minutes before it was cooked. Without a doubt, the best sweet corn I've ever tasted..

The salad, all picked just before eating

Tomorrow I'll be paddling back across the loch in my kayak, before setting forth on my journey north, stay tuned..

Thanks for visiting! If you've any comments or questions please share them below.

Do subscribe for updates, and why not check out the YouTube channel - tab above.

See you soon..

Location:Scoraig

If you're looking for a good map of Western Scotland and the Western Isles, the one I recommend is the 'Road 2' - this map used to be produced by OS, but they stopped doing it. You can buy it here for £4.99:

Friday, 6 September 2013

Scoraig Wind Power - Scotland Tour 2013 - Living in a Hiace Camper Van

I had an amazingly peaceful nights sleep in this secluded place, even difficult dreams being held in the expanse of the peace of nature here. I've been on my own all day - friends off to the markets, so its been a quiet day with no agenda, just what I need. Keeping an eye on the chickens, watering the greenhouse, preparing some food when I felt hungry..

After lunch I decided to go and take a walk up behind the croft onto the common grazing on the hillside, and take a closer look at the wind generator that provides all the power here. I was soon making my way up the rugged rocky slope watching the turbine whirl powerfully in the wind. Turning back I saw the crofts below, and the stunning views out over the loch and the mountains beyond. I recorded a bit of footage along the way:



On Scoraig - Scotland Tour 2013 - Living in a Hiace Camper Van

After one of the most peaceful and quiet nights in a long time, disturbed only by thoughts of what was now nothing but ungraspable memories, I awoke to this view..

I sat up in bed and noticed silver light glancing off the surface of the water, was it? Reaching for my binoculars I saw them - dolphins! - a pod of about twenty where jumping and splashing in the morning light in the loch.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Back on the Road - Scotland Tour 2013 - Living in a Hiace Camper Van

So I find myself back on the road again in the Scottish Highlands, heading up from Loch Ewe to Scoraig on Little Loch Broom.
How did I come to be here, where have I been, and what have I been doing since I last checked in with the blog? Well the answer is that I was carried away by one of life's most powerful forces - that of love..

I met and fell for a wonderful woman on the shores of Loch Ewe. We have experienced a lifetime of memories and joy in a couple of months, and I can only say that it's been the happiest and most fulfilling time of my life.

You just don't know what's going to happen when you head out there and travel freely with plenty of time and no definite agenda.


Daily life by Loch Ewe

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Somewhere in Scotland.. - Living in a Hiace Camper Van

Hi all,

I know you're probably wondering what has become of me out here.. Well this journey has turned out to be a real life changing time for me - well I might have guessed that before I set off, things would never be the same again.

I'm going to continue with the rest of the Scottish tour posts, and then move onto some new and exciting things - so many possibilities have arisen and many new ideas for sharing here. I thought you'd like to see some camping footage from earlier in the trip, so here's a new video link. There are also many hours of video to be edited and I'll be sharing the best bits in the future.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Butt of Lewis to South Harris (yes) – Tour de Scotland 2013 – Living in a Hiace Camper Van


I awoke this morning to a wild and beautiful seascape. Gazing out into the north atlantic, I thought about all the fantastical creatures and vast and rich life that forever lived beneath the ocean waves.. but one can't daydream forever – it was time to roll out of there and explore what lay further south. I am always happy to arrive in a new location, but just as passionate about getting back on the road, and onward toward new and yet to be revealed experiences and sights, people, weather and location, all blended with my subjective present..

The engine blasted to life, and I was soon bouncing along the Lewis roads and back first towards Stornoway to get in touch with some friends back home, and pick up a few supplies I hadn't thought of. In this part of the world, even a Tesco carpark has its quirks and characters, ready to spring forth at any moment..


Friday, 5 July 2013

Tolsta to Butt of Lewis - Scotland Tour 2013 - Living in a Hiace Camper Van

Welcome back! (I have a connection again so will continue with the journey from the point we left off...)

I started my day with this view over breakfast, in the little carpark at Tolsta Bay on the Isle of Lewis:


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Loch Ewe to Tolsta, Isle of Lewis – Scotland Tour 2013 – Living in a Hiace camper Van


Today it was time to set off on my way again, northwards, towards Ullapool, then across the sea to the Outer Hebrides, and my destination of the Isle of Lewis.. I got everything arranged for the trip, and loaded my kayak and bike onto the van again ready to move on..


The camp before I left Loch Ewe

Sunday, 23 June 2013

At Firemore Sands, Loch Ewe – Scotland Tour 2013 – Living in a Hiace camper Van


Today was a quiet day relaxing and organising things for moving on tomorrow.. I've decided that as I've spent a few more days here than planned, I will go straight over to the Isle of Lewis via Ullapool. On Lewis, I will reach almost as far north as Cape wrath – in an equally remote location. There is also the choice extending the trip a little and heading north again after meeting my friend on the Isle of Skye next week – lets see what happens eh.

The highlight of today was the amazing sunset with its changing colours, in the evening. We also enjoyed a nice Colley (Saithe) I caught the night before off the headland for dinner, but didn't manage to get a second this afternoon to make the meal a bit more substantial. All the same, it was another great meal, with wine and a selection of vegetables and sweet potato, then this amazing sunset to round off another great day..


Thursday, 20 June 2013

Visiting Rudha Reidh Lighthouse – Scotland Tour 2013 – Living in a Hiace Camper Van


Today we went to visit the lighthouse at Rudha Reidh with the plan of having a look around and then looking for a spot to fish off the rocks there, as its right onto the open sea. The drive there was pretty exhilarating, high up above the sea at the tops of cliffs with amazing views. There were also some rickety bridges on the narrow road rated 7.5 tons, but looking a lot more fragile than that – I went over them with a boost of speed! Eventually we arrived at the lighthouse.


Jo's Citreon Berlingo Camper Van – Scotland Tour 2013 – Living in a Hiace camper Van


I recently received an email from a guy who was telling me about his Citroen Berlingo camper van conversion. Well it just so happens that Jo who is camping here also has a Berlingo that she's converted into a mini camper van, and is travelling around Scotland in it.


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

At Loch Ewe – Scotland Tour 2013 – Living in a Hiace Camper Van


I decided to stay on another day at Loch Ewe, as its a great camping spot, and I'm really just getting started with my sea fishing and want to learn as much as possible before striking out further north. Also this evening we'll eat the big Pollock caught last night.

I had noticed on the way to Poolewe that the road snakes around past the upper end of Loch Maree, so a trip down to explore that area was in order after breakfast. Driving down a stony track brought me to the beautiful stony shoreline of the loch, and it was possible to walk along the pebbly shore, past massive boulders, and peering up at tall cliffs. I really enjoyed seeing the loch from this new perspective.

On the way back to the car I spotted some deer in the field by the track. They hadn't been there on the way down. In this photo there are only two, but there must have been about seven deer together in the field at the time looking curiously over at me..


Tuesday, 18 June 2013

At Loch Ewe – Scotland Tour 2013 – Living in a Hiace Camper Van


Today's been another one of those days.. The weathers not so great, but fine and more usual for these parts. We decided to head into Gairloch to get some fishing supplies, before heading to a great location to see how it would go – things ended up going very well as you will find out..

The shop we went to is one of those that has just about everything you might need for the outdoor life, and much more besides – I love this about the Scottish highlands; you come across all kinds of curiosities in the most unusual places. This 'Farm and Garden' shop had everything from rubber boots, to lanterns, to bird feeders, to gas and midge nets. We headed to the fishing tackle section.

Sarah's been coming fishing on the west coast for thirty years so advised me what might be the best equipment to get if I was going to catch fish to eat. Perusing the various rods and other tackle on offer here, I picked out a Water Spin rod rated 30 – 60 grams 2.7 metres in length, so not huge and still relatively light. I also bought some quick release swivel fasteners, and four silver lures, two of the wedge type at 28 grams, and two of the fish shape, at 40 grams. Sarah picked out a longer heavier rod as she had recently broken the tip of her previous one on the rocks, and some of the same spinners as she'd recommended to me.

After getting some food and other supplies it was time to head back to the camp and get ready to go fishing..


Friday, 14 June 2013

Loch Shieldaig to Loch Ewe - Scotland Tour 2013 - Living in a Hiace Camper Van

I awoke today with this beautiful view before me, and the memories of the whales last night still vividly in my mind. After coffee and a bowl of muesli I was again on the road with Loch Ewe already in mind as my destination.


Thursday, 13 June 2013

Applecross to Loch Shieldaig - Scotland Tour 2013 - Living in a Hiace Camper Van

The weather is still wonderful. After getting a big load of laundry done and hung out under the awning, I've spent most of the day out on my bike, exploring the area around Applecross bay.

My camp at Applecross

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Glencoe to Applecross – Scotland Tour 2013 – Living in a Hiace Camper Van


Another amazing day!

I had a good lie in – in this heat its harder to wake up early, and I've been sleeping lightly, then deeper in the morning. I got the van all packed up, and stocked up with water, full tanks, then headed out onto the road. I stopped and filled the fuel tank, got a new propane cylinder, got an extra 20 litre jerry can of diesel, and drove out of Glencoe into the sunshine.

I pulled in at Fortwilliam to stock up on groceries for a few days, and found that they had a Lidl, and a Morrisons, and paid both a visit. In Morrisons, the lady was chatting to me about this and that and told me that seven spectators had been killed at the Isle of Man TT – not having heard any news since I left N Ireland it was the first thing I had heard of the outside world. I might go the rest of the trip without hearing the news, and see what is important enough to hear through word of mouth.


Sunday, 9 June 2013

Still at Glencoe - Scotland Tour 2013 - Living in a Hiace Camper Van

Today has been a relaxing day at Glencoe again - I got mesmerised by the spell of the place, the river pool, mountains on every side and the great weather, and decided to stay on another night. So here I am after sitting by the embers of my campfire and taking it easy all evening.

I was out on my bike earlier today and took a ride down to the village where I chatted to the man in the shop - he'd been a soldier in N Ireland, so thats what started the conversation when he heard my accent. He was sharing tales of how well he could handle the whiskey and was a bit of a connoisseur by all counts! He reckoned that because the whiskey has been in the bottle for years, you need to add a drop or two of water to bring it to life again and enjoy the full flavour..

Well, I bought an ice cream and cycled down to the loch to relax. The Glencoe yacht club were out, so I spent a while watching the yachts weaving in and out, then suddenly all moving in sync, remarkably there were no collisions, though they were sailing so close I was expecting it. I had the ice-cream, and a mince and onion pie (in that order, well I didn't want it to melt), while relaxing in the sun. I'm well into the travelling spirit already..

Yachts on Loch Leven

Friday, 7 June 2013

Ardmore forest, Isle of Mull, to Red Squirrel campsite, Glencoe Village - Scotland Tour 2013 - Living in a Hiace Camper Van

Hi folks ~

Today has been a pretty relaxing day for me..

I set off about 11am from Ardmore wood on Mull with the destination of Glencoe in mind. It's a place I've visited many times before, but I've never taken this route before, and looking over the road atlas, it looked to be a good one.

I drove along the road from Tobermory to Salen - the thought crossed my mind that this is probably the busiest road on the island, and it had two lanes going in opposite directions, (well, as opposed to single track with passing places), but, after a while it returned to a single track road, albeit with a better surface.

I arrived at the ferry at Fishnish, doesn't that name make you hungry? It was a short crossing to Lochaline, but was as exilerating as most sea crossings are with the fresh breeze and sea spray, a double trailer of timber was taking up one side of the deck.


Loch Na Keal, Mull - Ardmore Forest, Mull - Scotland Tour 2013 - Living in a Hiace Camper Van

Hi, how are you?

Today has been such a great day - it feels more like a week with all that has happened..

I was rudely awakened this morning by a ram, butting its horns against the van, and into my bicycle spokes! When I tried to face him off, he stood his ground and made circles of the van, and occasionally butting it again - did he think it was a big sheep? Who knows?

Over breakfast i had decided to go kayaking in the loch, so I gathered my things together and got the kayak down from the roof. (I decided to remove the rear parking mirror to make it easier to get the boat up and down.) This is how the van looked this morning inside as I was getting things ready:


Thursday, 6 June 2013

Loch Awe to Mull - Scotland Tour 2013 - Living in a Hiace Camper Van


Hi, I hope you're keeping well..

I'm sitting in my van on the Isle of Mull, looking out at a sunset thats been lingering for hours, reflecting on the day gone by..


Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Glasgow to Loch Awe - Scotland Tour 2013 - Living in a Hiace Camper Van

Welcome back!

Today I set off from Glasgow heading on towards Gourock to get the ferry to Dundoon, and drive into Argyll National park - a route I have never taken before.

I stopped off at a supermarket on the way to Gourock to get some food to last me a couple of days, and to fill up the fuel tank for the journey ahead. After eating lunch I set off for The ferry port.

I drove onto the ferry for Dundoon - its one of those small drive on/drive off ferries as it doesn't have to go a long way, but the views are great as you can see the mountains and forest on the other side, and today was warm and sunny too..


Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Troon to Glasgow - Scotland Tour 2013 - Living in a Hiace Camper van

Welcome to day 1 of my Scotland Tour! It's been a gentle start to the trip and I haven't covered too many miles. Read on to find out why..

I set off from Ballybogey forest where I slept last night, at 6am, and headed into Larne to board the 7:15 ferry to Troon. Arriving at 9:20 on Scottish shores I followed the coast road up through Largs, and Skelmorlie, and soon found myself in Greenock.

I'd covered more ground than I intended to in an hour or so; I was eager to get moving on the journey I imagine, but having planned to meet up with my cousin in Glasgow I wanted to stop somewhere along the way and pass the day resting after the early start, and look around wherever I was stopping along the way.

In Greenock I drove to the top of Lyle hill where I parked with a good but misty view if the lough and peninsulas beyond. I walked to the summit, then went back to the van and slept an hour or so, though its not easy to surrender to sleep when your setting out on day 1 of a trip and leaving your old life behind in another land..


Sunday, 2 June 2013

Last day in N Ireland - Living in a Hiace camper van

Another great day! - and I'm now off on my journey, still in N Ireland, but I've left Belfast and ready for the morning ferry to Scotland..

Today has been a great day of farewells - meeting up with friends, and seeing some I haven't seen in a while too.

I had breakfast with friends in Belfast and enjoyed catching up with their news after some time.. Thanks for breakfast, good conversation, and your hospitality Leo & Teresa!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

How to load a Sea Kayak onto the roof of a hitop camper van single handed

Welcome back!

This afternoon I made this time lapse video of how I load my kayak onto the roof of my Hiace camper:


If you'd like to see how I fitted the roof bars to the glass fibre roof take a look here:
Fitting roof bars to a Hiace Hitop camper van / Solar power update

Friday, 31 May 2013

Last day of work in Belfast, and getting a few things sorted on the van

Hi folks,

So what have I been up to yesterday and today?

Well, yesterday was an amazing day here weather wise, and I couldn't have picked a better day to be without the van - it was booked in to have a CV boot replaced, and have a general once over before the trip. The CV boot replacement was going to be tricky to attempt alone because I'm not tuned in with how to remove the free wheeling hubs on the front axles.

So anyway, I was about on my bike all day in the sunshine, and enjoying the laid back atmosphere around the university area in Belfast. I had a good few hours to wait for the van and it couldn't have been a better way to spend it than cycling about, relaxing somewhere a while, then cruising off somewhere else. I checked out the tall ship 'Pelican' still moored in the harbour from the weekends maritime festival, and hung out a while near the Titanic centre, watching roller bladers.


The Pelican moored in Belfast Harbour

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

New video, Part II, Donegal Wild Camping Trip, Ireland

Here is Part II of the Donegal, Ireland wild camping trip video!

In this video you can see Patrick braving the Atlantic for a swim, brave man. We've got some sea kayaking footage from Malin Beg bay by the Silver Strand, and a scenic drive to the the remote and beautiful abandoned village of 'Port'.

You'll also get to see what Liz makes for breakfast in the camper van, and experience the drive up to Europe's highest sea cliffs at Slieve League near Teelin. I round off the trip with an off the beaten track scramble down to check out one of the Napoleonic era sea defence towers at Slieve League. I'll be trying to find something extra and worth seeing at any tourist destination I visit, so stay tuned for something a bit different. Enjoy!


Part 1 of the video is here: New Video - Donegal trip part I

Diary:

I've been back in Belfast for a day since my visit to the North Antrim coast. We had a wonderful time, and the weather was the opposite of the rain that was forecast. If you're planning to visit Ireland, don't be put off by the weather forecasts, as its often totally unreliable, especially on the coasts. The last day, we spend chilling out at White Rocks on the beach, watching the surfers. It was hard to leave and return to the city again.

I'm feeling pretty good today, since I managed to meet my friend for lunch after her job interview (fingers crossed), get my light rock fishing rod repaired, and get the van washed, all before starting my shift at 4pm - all of course after a long lie in following the trip. This is my second last day at work, (night shift tomorrow night is the last) and I've been clearing out my locker and lightening the load even further. I can recommend this to anyone - there's no feeling like walking out of a job and having no ties. My manager even came out to bid me farewell and wish me luck..

What are your favourite camper breakfasts? What are your thoughts on letting go and moving on in your life? Leave a comment..


Thanks for visiting! If you've any questions please share them below. 

Do subscribe for updates, and why not check out the Youtube channel - tab above.

See you soon..

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

More North Coast N Ireland wild camping..

Yesterday we had a great time again on the north coast. After visiting the Giants Causeway, and checking out the new visitors centre which is mostly submerged into the hillside, we had excellent fish 'n chips in Portstewart for a late lunch.


The Song Remains the Same? (The well known Led Zeppelin album cover was made here)

Mid-afternoon we headed up to Downhill and Benone strand. After driving around on the beach for a while we parked up and spent the afternoon chilling out. There was big surf and a number of surfers enjoying the waves and spray.

We relaxed there until the tide came in too far and fast to stay on the beach much longer. A few cars got stuck as they were driven up onto the softer sand to escape the tide.


Parked on Benone Strand

Having abandoned the idea of staying overnight on the strand, we set of in the direction of Magilligan point to find a place to camp. It's a peninsula jutting out into Lough Foyle that ends close enough to Donegal for a small port to ferry cars to the other side.

To reach the point entails driving past a huge prison, and an Army base & firing range, with red flags blowing in the breeze. At the end there is an old sea defence tower and 'The Point Bar' - so lots to experience.

There are a few suitable wild camping spots on the left, a bit before reaching the ferry terminal, but we chose to stay next to the terminal, go for a pint, then cook dinner with this sunset as our view; another amazingly memorable day:






























Do you have any favourite wild camping spots in Scotland you could share with me? Whats your most memorable camping memory? Do share below.

You might also like ~ Rest & Recovery

Thanks for visiting! If you've any comments or questions please share them below.

Do subscribe for updates, and why not check out the Youtube channel - tab above.

See you soon..

Sunday, 26 May 2013

North Coast camping in N Ireland

Welcome back!

I've been keeping busy the past couple of days as my friend is visiting. Last night we had a farewell night out for me, and we went to the pub with a few close friends. If you're ever in Belfast, check out 'The Duke of York' bar off Donegal Rd in the Cathedral Quarter of the city - a place full of character and atmosphere.

We all had quite a lot to drink, which isn't my usual lifestyle at all, and today we are suffering just a little. Not to be deterred, we have headed up to the scenic North Coast of N Ireland for two days camping.

Tonight we're parked in a seaside car park with a beautiful view and its very relaxing and peaceful. Just what I need at this point.
We're sharing this spot with a German reg. VW T5 - so there's a good feeling of safety in numbers, not that there's anything to worry about here.

Earlier today I did a spot of fishing off Carrickfergus harbour, and within 10 minutes caught a small pollock using a shirasu head and Eco Gear bait. It was very similar in size to the ones I caught last weekend in Donegal so the young must be prevalent around this coastline at this time of year.

In case you're wondering, part II of the wild camping trip video will be ready in a couple of days as its mostly edited and almost ready to upload.

Here's a shot of tonight's camping spot..




























What are your thoughts on wild v campsite camping? Any other camper van people out there into fishing? Leave a comment.

You might also like ~ Quiet Sunday Spot

Thanks for visiting! If you've any thoughts or questions please share them below.

Do subscribe for updates, and why not check out the Youtube channel - tab above.

See you soon..

Friday, 24 May 2013

New Video - Donegal trip part I

Part I of the Wild Camping Trip video is now available on YouTube:


I hope you enjoy the video - I certainly enjoyed making it..

Part 2 of the video is here: New video, Part II, Donegal Wild Camping Trip, Ireland

Today I've been hard at work on the van preparations. I've had all the mud flaps off and undertaking the messy job of Waxoyling the rear of the wheel arches to prevent corrosion. I got it done and I'm pleased to get to this point.. It took ages to get all the painting done in these places due to the weather and now I've finally got the area properly treated.

I've also done a good clear out of the van itself, following on from my storage space clear out yesterday. I removed a good sized bag of junk that had gathered up in the van over the past year. Its good to know exactly where everything is now, and to have a little more free storage space, and cut down on some extra weight before I set off..

Whats the one job you are always putting off on your camper van? What do you think are the most important things to have with you on a trip? Share in the comments section.

You might also like ~ Fitting roof bars to a Hiace Hitop camper van / Solar power update

Thanks for visiting! If you've any questions please share them below. 

Do subscribe for updates, and why not check out the Youtube channel - tab above.

See you soon..

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

More Donegal trip photos / clearing out

I thought I'd share with you a few more photos from the weekend in Donegal. I was mainly shooting video which will soon be edited and posted on the YouTube channel. (You can click on any picture to enlarge it)

Kayaking at 'The Silver Strand' Malin Beg

Early morning at Malin Beg

The rugged coastline at Port

Parked at the stony beach at Port
The Jaguar car club arrived up at Slieve League

Today I've been finishing clearing out my belongings. I've been keeping some things in storage for the past year and it was time to be free from all of that in time for hitting the road on Monday 3rd June. I made a trip to the recycling centre, and to the local Barnardo's charity depot. Seeing the empty storage space was a good feeling and its taken a long time to get there. Each step of this journey becomes more and more liberating as I release the bonds of possessions and refine my life of simplicity in the van.

What are your thoughts on living a simple life? Any ideas I could implement in my life? Share below.

You might also like ~ The Adventure Begins...

Thanks for visiting! If you've any thoughts or questions please share them below. 

Do subscribe for updates, and why not check out the Youtube channel - tab above.

See you soon..