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