Scotland – one breath-taking view after another!
I have always wanted to venture the highlands of Scotland and the adventure has been knocking on my head ever since I knew how to drive. I always thought the best way to visit such places would be with a camper/caravan/motorhome call it what you want.
A friend of mine, Joanna and her family, beat me to it! Her boys are the ideal age as both are old enough to help out and be hands on at different tasks yet, they are not teenagers with their growing up issues 😉
One thing that this type of holiday takes is a lot of advanced planning. They booked their motorhome way back in January as they wanted to choose the best one for them. In fact, they chose their motorhome with a hob, oven and microwave. Other motorhomes would not have all these amenities. You need to have all the options available to cook when on the move you never know what will happen. Apart from these the motorhome also had a BBQ, a stove for cooking outside, a table and chairs for alfresco dinning.
The company they booked with is: Motorhome Adventure Scotland which is located in Kinross. Kinross is a town close to Edinburgh and is the ideal location to start the trip in the highlands. The owners of the motorhome were very helpful. They suggested them to hire a 6-berth caravan, which they call Bill, so as to have a little more room inside than a 4-berth. It was a Peugeot Bailey Advance Approach 665.
Apart from the mentioned amenities above and the usual amenities like bedding, shower, kitchen and sitting area it also had an awning and a bike rack in case one would want to hire bikes. When hiring a motorhome, one should check that most of these things are available without having to pay extra.
For such a holiday the choice of the motorhome is very important, you are going to be in this vehicle most of your time and there is no room for privacy. On a positive note it is definitely the best bonding and memory maker. If you are on a budget, this is not the best type of holiday as motorhomes are not cheap but then again this is your accommodation and also transportation, you also will not be visiting restaurants that often. If you are not a camping type of person, this is one of the best ways to try camping as it is a luxury experience next to tent camping. In fact Joanna described sleeping in the motorhome as you would on a cabin-cruiser.
Driving a motorhome can be challenging, and many times Joanna and the family had to do a U-turn in single track roads due to going the wrong way. So, make sure you have a good satellite navigator and take it easy. Some practice on larger cars would also be a good idea. I know I am trying to find an instructor to teach me to drive a larger vehicle to start working on my trip! It is not a requisite to have any special license to drive a motorhome. They are intended to be under 3.5T weight, which is the maximum tonnage within driving licence B (car licence). However, it is for sure an added bonus if one knows how to manoeuvre a big vehicle especially when you need to park and reverse. UK drivers are very respectful and abide strictly by the rules thus, if you stick to the rules and take it easy driving would be ok. Take the best insurance package that they offer as you never know what will come along and safety is always a top importance on such holidays.
Scottish people love motorhomes and a lot of foreigners visit Scotland in Motorhomes therefore, Scotland is relatively motorhome-friendly. Prepare to wave a lot; drivers of motorhomes who pass you on the opposite side of the road have the habit to wave at you and as courtesy you wave back. It’s like being part of a community.
In Scotland it is permissible to make wild camping. However, I don’t really suggest it because it is very difficult to find a location where you can park your motorhome overnight. Scotland is dotted with beautiful campsites so you will have no problem finding one where you need it and with the requirements you want. You will need to settle in a campsite at night cause you will need to empty the loo and grey water, fill up with fresh water and hook up to electricity (unless you are hooked up you cannot charge your phone etc.). Just to give you an example the fridge has three functioning modes, while you are driving you have to set it on battery, which is a separate battery powering up the motorhome only (not engine). While you are parked for a long time or overnight without electricity point you can put it on LPG gas energy; most motorhomes can run on LPG gas cylinders. On the other hand when electricity is available you can hook up and all appliances and power sockets are thus energized.
Good campsites have nice clean showers and you will find it more convenient to have a shower at a campsite rather than in the motorhome (it’s a bit tight in there!). One has to remember to take flip flops and carry bags for the showers. Also very convenient is that some campsites have a laundry and for approximately £4.50 one can wash and tumble dry some clothes. Joanna went for 10 days and as often suggested she went prepared for all weather so she had from jackets and raincoats to shorts and t-shirts but obviously one has a limitation on how much one can carry for four persons. An added bonus for the kids is that most of the big campsites have a playing area. The boys loved going there in the evenings to meet other children, play and have a chat.
Motorhome holidays imply in themselves exploring and that means a lot of walking. It is the most natural way to see the spectacular attraction off the beaten track so expect uneven and sometimes slippery terrain. Good trekking shoes are a must along with drinking water in warm season.
While Joanna was exploring they also went on a wild life boat trip and they were prepared with binoculars and camera to get to see and capture the best out of their trip.
What you do on your trip is all up to you, you can go canoeing, or white-water rafting. Renting a bike for a day and going mountain biking is another option, it all depends on your ability, your preferences and your budget.
One thing everyone agrees on after a holiday in Scotland is that it has such natural beauty, one thinks that they have found the most beautiful spot but then finds another one around the corner. Many times Scotland is compared to Ireland and for some things they are similar so for more nature loving holidays check out my blog on Ireland for more inspiration.
Whilst we thank Joanna, Gordon and their boys for giving us their tips and hints on how to travel in a motorhome, if 10 days in the wild is a bit too, there are some itineraries for 4 days so why not combine 4 days of wild and 4 days of city life. I know that Edinburgh is famous for its lifestyle.
Would anyone like to share their story with us? Have you been to Scotland and visited an interesting place to share with others? If like Joanna you beat me to a city or had an experience you would like to share to help others make their trip a fantastic one, get in touch!
We are all little big explorers.