Last weekend saw us taking a wee drive up the East shore of Loch Lomond and stopping off at the lovely beach at Sallochy. Nice drive and a nice dinner, good times 🙂
Saturday 20th February. Day trip to Glencoe in Nevis with my youngest daughter and my dad…3 generation road trip! 🙂
Weather wise it was a pretty miserable day, snowy, rainy, sleety, windy etc., but we had made our mind up to go so off we went. First stop was Tyndrum, I realised half way up Loch Lomond that we had forgot some deer snacks. A quick swing by The Green Welly Stop soon corrected that and we stocked up with some Rich Tea Biscuits. Sorted, they love them!
About 20 mins from Glencoe we stopped off at a lay-by as the wee yin was a bit peckish. Oh the flexibility you can have in a camper van, just pull into next lay-by and do what needs done no probs…get the wee yin a sandwich out the fridge, pop the kettle on for a coffee, nice and relaxed, no rush. Thirty minutes later we were driving through Rannoch Moor and then the majestic view of Buachaille Etive Mòr (the great herdsman of Etive) opens up before us. Even in this dreich weather its quite a site, as always. A quick pop into the Glencoe Mountain Resort for the wee yin to use the toilet then it was down to the Kings House Hotel to see if any deer were milling about the car park, and right on cue there was a herd of red deer hinds awaiting a wee snack. Unfortunately just as we got there the weather turned quite bad, blowing a gale and hailstones. My dad and daughter decided to wait in the car but I ran out and quickly fed some of the deer a handful of biscuits. In the space of a minute i was drenched and my face was stinging after getting blasted with hailstones, still, the deer were happy 🙂
The main port of call for today was a drive down the Glen Etive road. Its a stunning drive, one way in, one way out, all the way down to the head of Loch Etive. It was the first time my dad had been down this road and he really enjoyed it. There is quite a few famous wee spots down this road, one of them being from an image from a recent James Bond film trailer – Glen Etive in Skyfall
Further on down the road is another famous spot for photographers, the bike shed. A very picturesque scene, a wee rundown shed with an old bike leaning against it. The bike had to be replaced a few years ago as the original, which was standing there for 40 odd years, was stolen. A local photographer stuck another old bike in its place to keep the tradition going.
Its always a great drive down this road no matter the weather, and on this day we seen more deer than i have ever seen before along this road. I already had my 300mm lens on my camera in preparation for plenty of deer shots 🙂
At the end of the road we pulled in to the wee car park at the head of Loch Etive and had our lunch in the Bongo. Soup and a sandwich and a coffee / hot chocolate. Still blowing a gale outside but my dad went a wee wander while I cooked up lunch. Needless to say the wee yin stayed put, still happy and having fun but just not getting out in that weather. After lunch we headed back up the road to the A82, not many stops on the way back, just a few to admire the multitude of deer, then a final toilet stop at the mountain resort before heading home. Overall a great day out, the wee yin and the auld yin enjoyed it and Nevis done us proud again. As a new bongo driver I’m still a bit nervous on big drives, and kind of relieved to get home in one piece and with the temperature gauge staying firm in the 11 o’clock position 🙂 Will that ever change though?
Great family day out last Saturday in the Bongo. Fully loaded with snacks and supplies we set off down the West Coast. The weather was pretty poor when we left home (snowing) but the forecast was much better for where we were heading.
First stop was Ayr beach. I took Eva for a walk along the beach while lunch was being prepared. A mad concoction of tinned spaghetti and hot dogs which went down surprisingly well. We all then went another walk along the beach which was freezing & windy but the sun was visible so a very pleasant wee walk.
Back in the Bongo then on to our next destination, Turnberry. We parked up at the side of the road then had a nice walk through the golf course to the Lighthouse. Some further info about Turnberry here if you are interested: http://www.turnberry.co.uk and it is quite interesting to be honest, especially the part it played in the wars.
We explored the area for a while before returning to Nevis and setting off to Girvan for sunset. And what a sunset it was. Quite cloudy but that only added to the dramatic sunset we were lucky enough to witness from a perfect spot. The sun going down behind Ailsa Craig as viewed from Girvan beach was quite stunning. And what better way to capture it than with Nevis providing some foreground interest.
Dinner was cooked up in the Bongo, Irish Stew & potatoes (classic) and then it was time to head home. What a great day and again the family team work around meal times and washing up was great 🙂
Some Ailsa Craig info as copied from Wikipedia:
Ailsa Craig (Creag Ealasaid) is an island of 99 hectares (240 acres) in the outer Firth of Clyde, 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) from mainland Scotland, upon which blue hone granite was quarried to make curling stones. The now uninhabited island is formed from the volcanic plug of an extinct volcano.
The island, colloquially known as “Paddy’s milestone”, was a haven for Catholics during the Scottish Reformation in the 16th century, but is today a bird sanctuary, providing a home for huge numbers of gannets and an increasing number of puffins.
The island is owned by Archibald, Marquess of Ailsa, but since May 2011 has been up for sale. By March 2013 the asking price was for offers over £1,500,000, down from the original asking price of £2,500,000.
Well, the day finally came and we picked up Nevis on Saturday. All went super smooth and before we knew it we were sitting eating chips overlooking the Clyde. It was a really dreich day but that did not deter us. We were having chips in the bongo that night come rain, hail or shine…well, there was definitely no shine, plenty of rain though. We even braved the elements and had the roof up for a short time. It was a very cosy affair with all four of us round the wee table eating our chippy, however a very enjoyable one. Day 1 was a success.
The next day saw us visiting the The Scottish Caravan, Camping & Motorhome Show. This had all the makings of being a financial disaster but we managed to keep our sensible heads on and our only purchase was a wee electric heater for the bongo. 99% of the camper vans there were VW’s and if we needed any convincing that we had made the right decision to go down the bongo route then this was it. How the VW’s can justify their price tags is beyond me. The only thing I seen that I felt could benefit Nevis is swivel seats, they do look good. Is that an option in a bongo?…I will have to research. We had our lunch in the car park so this was our first attempt at cooking in the bongo. I say cooking, we had forgot the pots so it was a pot noodle & crisps all round. Followed by a coffee. Our wee fold up kettle we purchased a week ago was in its element.
Troon beach was our destination the following day. A slight improvement in the weather but still too windy to put the roof up. I was hoping to get some nice pics of Nevis at the beach with the roof up but sadly not to be. That said the weather did not deter us and the kids and dog had a great time on the gloomy, yet dramatic beach.
We then headed further along the coast to Portencross where we cooked up some soup for the girls and some mince for me. Loving cooking in the bongo and surprised at how easy we managed in such a small space. Teamwork was key and the girls mucked in brilliantly. Having the roof up would have helped but still far too windy. It was also the first time we had cooked in Nevis with Eva the beagle on board…and again surprisingly hassle free, the space being so tight she has no option really other than to mooch from under the table. Another successful day.
Today the girls were still off on school holidays so we ventured up to Aberfoyle. It was a lovely day today so finally I would get some decent photos of Nevis.
After cooking up some hotdogs for lunch we took Eva a walk around the woodland trails and also stopped at the wildlife hide for some photos:
It was then back to Nevis for coffee and hot chocolates, happy days. The kids are really enjoying the bongo and even tidied up and cleaned without being asked before we headed home, daughter no.1 was especially industrious…if only the same diligence could be applied to the state of her bedroom!
So far so good in Bongo Land!
Tomorrow, we pick up Nevis. Its been a long 2 weeks since we made the decision to become ‘Bongonauts’ but I’m sure it will be worth the wait. The internet has been scoured for Bongo data and many Facebook ‘Bongo’ pages have been joined. Are we being paranoid or does every other post on Bongo forums start with “Help! we have a problem with <insert cringy bongo name>”. The occasional “Phew! Billy’s passed his M.O.T” is thrown in to balance the scales of optimism. On the flip side though, watching many a happy Bongo owners homemade adventures on Youtube has reminded us why we are starting this journey. The Bongo ‘youtubers’ who video themselves giving you a tour of their beloved vans are heartwarming, the pride oozing from them as they show you a roof raising at the push of a button. Its clear to see the pull these wee vans can have on you.
Nevis (yep we have a cringy bongo name too) is a 1997 model, 2.5td automatic with 4 wheel drive and fitted with a camper van side conversion. No auto roof, but it does have a manually raising roof which sleeps 2 (I was so looking forward to videoing myself pushing that button!). We have also opted for the Easycamp Sebring 200 drive away awning, also supplied by the dealer. We have resisted rushing out and buying loads of stuff for Nevis’s homecoming, however that decision was probably driven by the fact that the day after tomorrow we are going to the Scottish Caravan, Motorhome and Holiday home show…timing could have been better!
So the journey begins tomorrow, we already have a few trips planned, the possibilities really do seem endless at the moment. Will that still be the case once the five of us (mum, dad, 2 daughters and a Beagle) have spent a night away together in Nevis?…time will tell.
To be continued…