Saturday, 18 October 2014

Setting up Camp | Thoughts on the Internet

I had a really wonderful day today. The more usual warm weather was back (it's been quite thundery since I arrived)..

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

First few days in the Algarve | Update on Rio the dog

I'm fortunate enough to be house-sitting and dog-sitting for the first week here in the Algarve, so I've got plenty of time to explore the area and take a few trips..

Monday, 13 October 2014

Road Diary - Day 14 | Driving through Portugal

Rio and I set off from Barragem de Alqueva an hour earlier than on previous days at 10am as the sat nav reckoned it would take 3 1/2 hours to reach our destination..

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Road Diary - Day 13 | Finding Rio, Travelling with a Dog

Today has been a great day.. For a start I have crossed from Spain into Portugal. I am also no longer on the monotonous motorways..

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Friday, 10 October 2014

Road Diary - day 12 | driving through Spain

Yesterday morning I filled my water tanks and set off. First stop was to pick up José from Valladolid..

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Road Diary - Day 10 & 11 | Sailing to Spain with Brittany Ferries

I left my overnight spot, 1/2 hour outside Plymouth by 10am and trucked down the hill..

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Road Diary - Day 7 | driving to Kent

A long days driving today. I said goodbye to my friends and set off from North Yorkshire in brilliant sunshine just after 11 am..

Road Diary Day 5 & 6 | In God's Country | North Yorkshire

The past couple of days I've been spending time both preparing my van for a longer trip, and out driving in the dales and moors..

Monday, 29 September 2014

Road Diary - Day 4 | Blablacar to Yorkshire

I'd posted today's drive from Glasgow to Halifax on to see if I'd get anyone to travel with me and share the fuel costs..

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Road Diary Day 3 | reaching Glasgow

I had a nice lie in today and read for a while with my coffee this morning. My latest novel is 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, unbelievable, fantastical tales on every page.

Road Diary - Day2 | Glencoe

Mixed feelings heading south through the highlands.. Managed to slay the ghosts at the Clachaig Inn in Glencoe with some new friends tonight after a difficult day filled with memories of my times in the highlands.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Road Diary - Day 1 | Heading south

I left Scoraig today a day earlier than planned. The weather had become very stormy and the loch was rough with white topped waves. I got safely across on Bill's larger post boat, the Scoraig Sea Taxi.

I visited friends near Gairloch to say goodbye, then refuelled and bought a gas bottle refill (6kg propane) and a few groceries. Driving out of the town I picked up a hitchhiker, Hannah, from the Chech Republic. We chatted about the freedom of the travelling life, as I drove through Kinlochewe and on toward Torridon before dropping her off in Strathcarron.

After a short stop overlooking loch Carron to eat and decide where to stop for the night I headed on up past the Five Sisters of Glen Shiel to a loch side camping spot by Loch Cluanie. 4WD access by a rough track including a rock strewn ditch. I've been here before so no concerns about getting in and out..

Plans for tomorrow - a thorough tidying/cleaning of the van then drive to Glencoe via Fortwilliam for some supplies.

Thanks for visiting!

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

Do subscribe for updates, and thanks for your support!

See you soon..

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Scoraig Mechanics, A Lesson in Resourcefulness | Changing a Landrover Discovery Gearbox

Here on Scoraig, we rely on a 4WD vehicle a lot - to bring supplies up from the jetty, and to move heavy things around. Our Landrover gearbox had totally given up - the Landrover wouldn't keep moving at all without jumping in and out of gear.. We were starting to get tired of pushing wheelbarrow loads of just about everything up and down the track..

Monday, 1 September 2014

Cycling in the Highlands of Scotland

I recently had the opportunity to meet up with my friend Teresa from Ireland and her friend Hannah from England, who were both on a cycling tour of the Highlands of Scotland.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Wild Camping in Wester Ross - Scottish Highlands

Hello friends and fellow camper vanners.. 

Over the past couple of months I've been out there, exploring new spots in the highlands and returning to some favourite ones as well..

Monday, 28 July 2014

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

First day of work from the camper van

Hi all,

I've just had my first day at work on the new job, basically a day of classroom training..

My spot for tonight

- I'll be working in the town of Bonar Bridge at the end of the loch for a few hours tomorrow getting some hands on experience. For those who don't already know, my job will involve reading gas and electric meters at homes and businesses in the west highlands of Scotland.

So for the rest of the evening I can cook dinner, relax and enjoy this view. It feels great that my job covers my fuel expenses and I can enjoy this beautiful part of the world and work at the same time.

Be well out there..

Thanks for visiting!

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

Do subscribe for updates, and thanks for your support.

See you soon..

Monday, 19 May 2014

Plymouth England to Scottish Highlands

Arriving back in the UK I was immediately struck by the crap weather, but even more so by the intense traffic congestion, even from the word go. I was suddenly in a van being pelted with cold rain, and trying to negotiate the Plymouth streets bumper to bumper with traffic. It took me almost an hour to get through the town centre and back onto the main road in constant rain. I didn't once see congestion anything like this driving through Spanish towns, everywhere being so spread out and the sun almost always shining.

I was soon on the way north, destination, the Yorkshire Dales to meet up with my friend Rob. I can tell you its one hell of a drive after coming off a 24hr crossing from Spain, to drive so far through England in one go - I was going to have to stop for coffee more than once to make it. We had planned to meet up at Blood Red Off Road in Hipperholme where Dave was putting the finishing touches to Rob's yellow Hiace Camper - you may have seen pictures of it on my Facebook page recently..

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Banos de Montemayor, Spain to Plymouth GB

Welcome back folks.. its been a while. With all the drama of the breakdown, the journey north through England, meeting and staying with friends, heading on to Scotland, deciding where to base myself, and getting an income organised, my writing fell by the wayside. I think today that things have found their place and its time to start sharing the story with you all again. I'll begin with the final part of my trip through Spain...
So after a few days on the road without an internet connection, I am now onboard the Pont Avon, on route from Santander to Plymouth docks. After spending the weekend resting and taking walks to the lake near Banos, Monday morning was crunch time for the van. The replacement water pump had arrived, and the guys were on the job by 9:30am on Monday morning. Within a couple of hours the engine was purring away and sounding good, and after running it for a while, and a test drive on the mountain roads I was good to go again. Great work by the mechanics at Auto Castro, Avda. de las Termas, 110, 10750 Baños de Montemayor, Cáceres.

 My friend each day over my stay in Banos..

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Banos de Montemayor, Spain, Day III

Today has been a waiting day, as nothing was is due to happen until Friday when the replacement water pump arrives. So a good opportunity for a lie in and getting things in order in the van. It turns out the spot I have been parked at outside the garage was in the shade all day so no solar power to speak of to put some charge into my battery - thankfully they are very happy to let me hook up to the mains to power up and keep things working, also charging the battery for the evening when everything is locked up.

Also an opportunity to head out again and do a bit of exploring in the hills around the village. So after a good rest, and freshening up, I was feeling good and ready to go..

Friday, 14 March 2014

At the workshop in Spain day II - fault diagnosis

I woke up at first light here in Banos de Montemayor, and it was also a little chilly, but not too bad. I was soon up and making coffee and expecting the garage to open pretty soon. By 9am everyone had arrived and they were already getting started with things. It wasn't long until we wheeled the van into the workshop and the two mechanics were continuing to strip down the engine bay to remove the water pump.

Quite a big job as you can see.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Caceres to Banos de Montemayor, Spain

“The word adventure has gotten overused. For me, when everything goes wrong – that’s when adventure starts” -Yvon Chouinard

It was quite a chilly morning in the hills after the heat of the day before. It always seems to get colder just before the dawn. I opted to switch on my Mikuni diesel heater. I don't use it often as its quite hard on the battery although its very effective, but its perfect when I am actually on a trip, driving every day to keep the battery topped up fully. After 10 minutes or so, the van was pleasantly warm inside and I was feeling like getting up.

 After a cup of coffee sitting on the rocks, I got things organised and set my GPS for todays chosen destination of Palencia, a place I've stayed before just within the town, and with some facilities and allocated parking for campers. The ideal place for a last night before the final drive to the ferry. I got on the road and soon I was bouncing along the dusty gravel leaving clouds of it behind me like horses in some spaghetti western..

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Beja Portugal to Caceres Spain

Today I awoke to the sounds of a town coming to life around me, and I sheltered in the park beneath tall trees. It was a little cold, but not too cold at all. Soon I was making coffee and listening to the local radio station; a friend to all on the road. It amazes me how I am getting to know all the latest pop songs, and listening to the music being played and enjoying it – you can get used to anything, the emotions and sentiments are human and universal.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Lagos to Beja | Algarve 4WD off road

And so, I find myself unexpectedly back on the road again. Long story. My personal circumstances have changed and I'm heading back to old GB. It makes me reflect on the forces in life that will drive a man to cross continents, sail over the oceans or climb mountains.

How often in my life I have done this for love, many people do it for money or security, fewer still do it purely for the adventure; pushing out further from their comfort and familiar life purely for new experiences and the freshness of a live brought to fullness by change.

I feel a sense of strength that  I've gone further for adventure alone, even if aspects of it didn't go to plan, then, nothing does.. but I return for another reason..

I'm camped in a sizeable wooded picnic area on the edge of a largish town called Beja. The weather is mild but it's dark now. It's a lively feeling in this town - biggest place I've been around in months and its quite an uplifting feeling to be surrounded by this energy.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Journey along the west coast of Portugal - Part II

I headed off back along the four km or so of rough road back to the main coastal route. The plan now was just to make my way on down the coast, stopping at a few places that looked interesting along the way, before finding somewhere to spend the second night. The next place I pulled in at was a good lunch stop, just south of a place called Sines. 

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Journey along the west coast of Portugal - Part I | I have the van again!

"Here's the keys to your Ferrari," said the Portuguese woman at the hire car place, as she brushed shoulders affectionately with me. And so it was, I would drive up to collect the Hiace in a little red VW Up 1.0. The next morning I set off by 10am to make the six hour journey to the garage where my house on wheels was being repaired.

Its a long way, but the weather was warm and the day peaceful; I watched the scenery pass by through the window as I cruised along the way you do when the journeys end is a long way distant. The plains of the Alentejo where carpeted with beautiful white and yellow flowers as far as the eye could see, with occasional dots of red, and the little farms came into view, then receded behind me.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Hiace Hobo 2.0 | Bodywork repairs

Amazing news today.. My van will be ready to collect by friday! The repairs are all but finished and its looking really good. These pics were sent through to me today...

Monday, 3 February 2014

Mitsubishi L200 4WD Overland Expedition Camper | Demountable Camper Body

While I'm washed up here, waiting to get back on the road again, hopefully soon, what better thing to post about than another interesting camper conversion project. I'm always interested in different ways to set up a camper for travel and living. So, here's another amazing 4WD warrior for you.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Hiace Camper bodywork repair pictures | Update on work in Portugal

Hi folks,

I got these photos of my van sent through from the mechanic today. I'm still waiting for the repairs to be completed and asked for some photos. It seems that the main bodywork repairs are done - it just needs painting and assembly now. The first picture shows the drivers side door. It was not closing properly after the accident as the hinges were all crushed in and the door was bent. Looks straightened out ok now. It also looks like he's fixing a small area where there was a bit of rust behind the drivers door around the air intake, that was not caused in the crash..

Sunday, 12 January 2014

'Summer of (Family) Love' - A Film by Kirsten Dirksen

You may have come across Kirsten Dirksen before on Youtube, especially if you are regularly taking a look at the latest van living videos. Her posts on the 'tiny house movement' often come up alongside them because of the crossover with living in a smaller space, and the ties with simplicity and sustainability. Well her latest feature length documentary is well worth watching. Kirsten and her partner Nicholas Boullosa have filmed their experiences travelling and living in a 1981 VW Westfalia camper van for a summer with their three children. Here's the trailer:

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Thoughts on the New Year..

2014 is here.. I've had several conversations over the holidays about how the turn of the year is a time when people start over, really think deeply about their lives, and sometimes make huge personal decisions and actions that will change their future..

In the philosophy of van life, making the decision to live on the road, takes us beyond this once a year 'taking stock' and releases us into a new world where this is almost a perpetual state of being. Life can be reinvented month to month, week to week, and on a trip, day by day..

It's from this perspective that I'll share with you some recent events in my own life that though challenging, lead me into the new year with anticipation, optimism and a new appreciation of my chosen lifestyle..

You may wonder why the blog has been relatively quiet, yet I'm in a new world, with many beautiful things to experience & camping spots to enjoy. Well, quite some time ago this happened: