We did well to reach Edinburgh. 3 hours through the rain and wind driving an automatic for the first time. Many apologies to the man in the red van who was following as I lurched twice round the roundabout at Morpeth, wondering whether to focus on driving smoothly or figuring out which exit I needed. Hannah gave me 1 out of 10 for that roundabout with the 1 point earned for not crashing. By Edinburgh my roundabout score had increased to 7 out of 10 but that was before I got hopelessly lost in the suburbs.
I’d wondered about a campervan for years. The idea seemed to suit my nomadic lifestyle of travel and mountains and 2020 was definitely the year to do it. So Hannah and I hired a campervan for 10 days and headed north. We spent a couple of nights parked outside friends’ houses in Edinburgh and Lochcarron before ending up on a campsite just north of Ullapool.
Hannah definitely loved the campervan more than I did. She slept in the well ventilated pop up roof while I shared the downstairs with the humming fridge and smell of diesel and cooking gas. The van allegedly sleeps 4, but anyone managing that for a week without arguing would deserve a medal.
The van was easy to drive once I’d trained my brain not to put my left foot down on the brake everytime I wanted to change gear. It was brand new with a powerful engine and it sped up hills. It was also very smart and clean inside which worried me as I knew that after a week of muddy hill walks it would not be returned in anything near the same condition.
The one thing I did love was the ability to have a cup of tea everytime we stopped. Having a fridge was great too and I looked forward to an ice cold drink after hot walks. The ability to avoid midges was a definite plus, as was never arriving at the start of a walk and realising that I’d left a crucial bit of gear behind. The downside to that was that everything had to be packed away in the van before we could go anywhere. And if things weren’t packed away properly they would all slide to the front the first time I forgot that I didn’t have to change gear.
So will I be buying a campervan? Not just yet. I had a few moments of pure joy speeding up the A9 and driving the scenic route round the coast near Gairloch but ultimately the reality doesn’t quite match the dream. Does it ever? £100 per night should buy more than a night in a layby minus toilet facilities or in a campsite with snoring neighbours. Next time I come to Scotland it will be in my Skoda with manual gears and for the price of hiring the van I’ll rent a holiday cottage with a comfortable bed. Apologies to campervan lovers everywhere 😀