1st Overnighter!

Glencoe 12th/13th March 2016

Well, the time had come to try our first overnighter as a family in the camper. The weather forecast wasn’t too great but we decided to go for it anyway. If the worst came to the worst we could always head home as it was only 90mins away, but as it turned out it wasn’t too bad. Our destination was the Invercoe Campsite in Glencoe. Great campsite in a great location, good facilities and pitches, no complaints.

Our new drive-away awning had recently arrived (we ended up going for the Vango Airaway Kela III – a different awning than we were originally going to get but it turned out for the best anyhow, more about that later). Once we had picked our spot we then set about getting the awning out of the bag for the first time. We should have checked the contents of the bag earlier. Turns out the awning doesn’t come with the ‘figure of 8’ strip for attaching the awning to the Bongo’s gutter rail. We continued to put it up anyway just to try it out and soon figured it comes with straps that can be slung over the roof of the van and pegged at the other side, thereby providing us with a quick fix until we got a ‘figure of 8’ strip. It worked quite well however we could have pitched the awning better…still, it lasted the night and provided great storage space.

Once were we were settled and fed it was time to get ready for bed. We were pretty good by now at getting the pop top up & down but this was pretty much our 1st time with the rock’n’roll bed, which turns out is really easy to set up. Me and my eldest daughter (K1) were in the pop top while my wife and youngest daughter (K2) had the bed. This was also our first time using my homemade thermal blinds, and they were a huge success I must say.

thermal blinds
Homemade thermal blinds, all for under £30 🙂

If anything it was too hot in the roof. I ended up opening the vents in the middle of the night. I also ended up out the sleeping bag trying to cool down! The only negative was that we didn’t have enough of a cushioned surface to sleep on in the roof. Ive heard the cushions off of ikea chairs make a good ‘make-do’ mattress…got one in the loft I will have to look out.  Other than that a decent enough sleep. Downstairs was comfy too, other than the dog jumping up and disturbing my wife sleep, will have to re-think dogs sleeping arrangement…

The next morning I was up bright and early as Eva (the dog) wanted out, and how lucky I was getting dragged out at stupid o’clock as the view down Loch Leven was breathtaking. After taking Eva a quick walk I quickly grabbed my camera and went back out for some photos. The mist was rolling in so quickly the scene was changing by the second. Here are a few of my pics (the don’t really do the scene justice tbh)



Once we were all up and dressed, washed & fed, we decided just to get packed up and go for a walk around Glencoe Lochan, what a stunning wee Lochan, before heading home. Getting the awning back in the bag proved easier than we were expecting, and we were all packed up ready to go before long. All in all a successful 1st night away. Looking forward to more 🙂

A few pics from Glencoe Lochan, not at its best this day to be fair but usually a stunning place for a wee walk & photos.

Dinner at Sallochy

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 🙂

Glencoe Road Trip

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

I had to do it, ideally i wanted the wee yin next to me, she was to be M to my 007, but this pic does not relate just how windy it was, she was not for getting out the bongo!

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 🙂

Young stag
That massive rich tea biscuit he’s standing on is lip licking good 🙂
I don’t mind these kind of road blocks at all 🙂

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?

So far so awesome!

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.

Turnberry Lighthouse

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.

Isn’t he handsome

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 🙂

Ailsa Craig

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.