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