Due to a lack of organisation and internet that was to be expected I’m now writing this a few days later on a rather lonely looking hill on the south western Isle of Skye.
So, let me backdate this.
We decided to leave around 12pm (therefore actually 2pm) on Saturday after I panicked made seat covers for the front of the van. For people who don’t know Ruby, she is a 1976 VW bay window who we have spent the around the last three years restoring and modernising in a way that seems to fill fellow VW dubbers with a mix of admiration (for the interior) and disgust (for the engine conversion).
Now she has officially been on the road for just over a year and has done a few short breaks here and there. We decided that the Scottish Highlands would be a good road test, not just for the engine but to see if we could handle living in the rain, or snow as is currently happening, in a tiny space for two weeks without one of us throttling the other.
Our initial plan was pretty vague, a luxury of not having to book anything that comes from bringing your home with you! We thought we’d do the initial big drive and get somewhere fairly scenic and then potter around from there, we aimed to get from Birmingham to Fort William and spend the night around there. So we drove to Carlisle, got disappointed by the lack of coffee, swapped drivers and cleared Glasgow. We started looking for places to stop as it was starting to get dark and it had been around a 6 hour drive so far.
The unfortunate thing with trying to plan wild camping is that no one shares the spots they find for obvious reasons I suppose, and that if you look at a map it’s very hard to tell if it’s actually appropriate until you get there. This is probably the best example for me to date of this. I’m driving, Lee is searching for potential spaces with intermittent phone signal. As we’re driving towards a likely spot we notice that we’re actually near a large naval base and despite a few ok spots decide it would probably not be a good idea to stop near. We take a wrong turn and discover it’s a dead end road to an army base and turn around. Further down the right road where we were aiming for it turns in a large compound for the MOD, so yes in theory it was perfect, a small dead end road with no houses, just police and patrol dogs instead. So we keep driving, and as we seem to clear the signs and fences at the top of a hill, we nearly pull over but a sign says no cars… I mean whose checking on bank holiday? Nevertheless, as keep going and as we go round the corner there’s another very large military base… by now it’s probably been at least an hour and I’m tired, hungry and driving a van that is not exactly subtle when it comes to going anywhere. We dump it in a layby, eat bread and cheese because it’s too late to cook and go to bed where I picture armed military patrols attacking us in the middle of the night.