Friday, 5 August 2016

Restless Horizon

I am writing to you now from my mountaintop base camp..

I've been living and working here since June, having been back in the highlands of Scotland since April this year. It's a simple life, working outdoors, relaxing in the beautiful surroundings here, walking, cooking and meeting the various travellers who pass through the area.

There are at least five good spots within ten mins of work..

This evening I've just had two bikers at the hilltop on their Harleys, looking for a place to pitch their tents. Too stony here, but I suggested a couple of places, and after taking in the views, they rumbled off back down the gravel track to the main road below.

I have a job here for the local council doing outdoor grounds maintenance until the end of October. We cover a large area of the west highlands; all my favourite places, sometimes taking up to two hours to reach the days place of work. I'm enjoying the outdoors and the scenery as I save for my future travels. My plan is then to head off again to Spain, to Portugal, and beyond in the new year.

The weather has not been particularly good here for most of the summer, apart from a few great weeks in May. It has not affected work, but to an extent limits the enjoyment of the weekends here where spending time outdoors is always preferable. Its giving me plenty of time to read through the guidebooks for my planned travels; so inspiring and bringing back memories of days in the sunshine.

On the technical side of things, all is well with the van. The long hours of daylight mean that there is plenty of solar electricity - it's still light from before 5am, and being outside at 10pm is no problem with a torch. In fact I have rarely used my lights in my van in the evenings. With the help of a friend supplying some parts, I have even managed to repair my diesel heater (thanks Rab), it's great having 2Kw of dry warm heat!

No shortage of solar amps!

Rio is as ever enjoying himself - he comes along to work every day in the van with us and afterwards burns off energy, sprinting after sticks on the beach, or chasing his ball to the bottom of a heather bank, time after time. The 1/4 mile track to my main camp spot is Rio's run - I let him out of the van at the bottom and he chases me up the steep winding curves to the top.

Ultimately, there's no better motivation than the knowledge that in another few months we'll be heading off to great travels and adventures in warmer climes, with enough put away for greater flexibility and options on the road. Six months travelling is the plan, Nov to end April, my route still being decided upon, and in the meantime there's every chance there'll be a bit more of a summer to enjoy in the highlands as well. For now, clouds drift timelessly above the loch, only broken by the jagged peaks, the wind can only whisper, yet throughout all this stillness, there is forever a restless horizon...

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