We didn’t know it at the time but 2018 was going to be a defining stage in our journey from camping to a campervan.
It involved just as much exploring and adventures but our first visit to Balloch O Dee music weekend, in September, created a chain of thought processes and events that would finally result in us buying Dora, our campervan.
As it happened, September was already our focus but it wasn’t Balloch O Dee. It was our cycle trip in Portugal. Our visit to Faro, the previous year, had created another chain of thought processes which led to us organising a self-guided cycle trip from Lisbon to Sagres. So 2018 would involve a lot of cycling, in preparation.
Following a quiet January, we started our wanderings in February with a cracker!
A trip to the Isle of Mull and it didn’t disappoint.
There’s nothing better than going for a drive in the car with no particular destination in mind. The motivation for this particular drive was a simple fact that it was a cold and sunny day. We packed some rolls and a flask and set off in the general direction of Crieff. Crieff is a Scottish market town in Perth and Kinross. It lies on the A85 road between Perth and Crianlarich, and the A822 between Greenloaning and Aberfeldy. Crieff has become a hub for tourism, famous for its whisky and history of cattle droving. Wikipedia. It is also well known for Crieff Hydro Hotel a 4-star family resort located in its own 900-acre estate. That said, on this particular day, Creifff was no more than a point on the map to give us a general direction of travel.
A stop worth highlighting is Comrie Croft, an eco-friendly campsite with mountain bike trails that can accommodate everyone looking for a glamping or wild camping experience. Even although it was March, the campsite was busy, so we thought we would take a wander around and video what we saw.
Our most memorable part of this trip turned out to be our drive along the B827, pulling into the side of the road with snow-covered hills in the distance and tucking into our rolls. What more do you need?
Cycle to The Inn on Loch Lomond. March can be a great time for Groupon deals and sure enough, along came a deal for The Inn on Loch Lomond but rather than treating it as an opportunity for a cosy winter break, we prefered to take advantage of the fact that it is only 32 miles away from our house and cycle there.
April involved lots of cycling from Milngavie town centre
Milngavie is our home town and is perfectly placed for cycling and walking. Here are some examples of our April cycles –
1: Milngavie to Glasgow Green Suitable for Road bike or Hybrid. 11.21 ml long one way. Perfect for a return journey or why not get the train to Milngavie then cycle back into Glasgow. Sights along the way include – The River Kelvin Walkway, The SSE Hydro, The squinty bridge, Broomielaw and Glasgow Green
2: Milngavie, Lennoxtown – Kirkintilloch loop Suitable for Mountain bike or Hybrid. 19.86 ml loop. Sights along the way include – Mugdock country park, Strathblane, Cycle along a section of the John Muir Way and the Forth and Clyde Canal
3: Milngavie – Bowling Basin return trip Suitable for Road bike or Hybrid. 23.67 ml return. Sights along the way include – Lock 27, Forth and Clyde Canal, McMonagles moored boat for fish and chip, cycling under the Erskine bridge and Bowling Harbour
4: Milngavie, waterworks and Rangers training ground loop Suitable for Mountain bikes. This is a short 6.85 ml enjoyable cycle with some good opportunities to get muddy. Sights along the way include – CraigmaddieReservoir and Rangers FC training ground
5: Milngavie – Blanefield loop Suitable for Mountain bikes. This 11.42 ml circular route has some challenging terrain but isn’t too technical. Sights along the way include – First 4.5 mls of the West Highland Way Craigallian Loch Carbeth Hutters, great views os Ben Lomond & Dumgoyne, Mugdock country park and CraigmaddieReservoir
Finally, it was time to get our tent looked out and we had two adventures planned for May.
Our first would be to Carnoustie. A town in Angus, Scotland and famous for its golf but on the North Sea coast with spectacular views and castles.
Our second trip was Mhor fest. A festival of food, music, dance and camping. It sounded perfect.
There was no let up in June as we made a return trip to Arran. This time to meet up with family at Seal Shore Campsite.
No sooner had we said our goodbyes Arran than we were off to West Runton, North Norfolk, England. Stopping off halfway in Leeds, staying in an Airbnb.
We had a break from camping this month and headed to Hyde Park, London for a concert with Michael Buble headlining. We had planned on a quick blog about this trip but to be honest, there wasn’t much to say. Other than we didn’t rate the venue, too large and too far away from the main stage and unable to get closer because of a sealed-off area for VIP tickets! Also, Michael Buble turned out to be a disappointment. It was his first concert after taking a break due to his son’s illness. Our problem with Michael wasn’t his singing, that remained just as good. No, it was him! We felt an element of insincerity from him, gushy and with a pinch on inappropriate sexual references that felt a bit cringy. Disclaimer – these observations are solely that of ours and we don’t wish to upset or offend.
We managed to get in some more cycling this month as we were getting close to our big cycle trip in Portugal.
We also sold our large Airbeam tent as our new and smaller Vango Tunnel Tent was more than capable of doing the job and took up a lot less space.
Finally, our cycle in Portugal had arrived. This was an amazing adventure and deserved its own series of blogs. All of which can be found at Lets cycle Portugal
Fresh from our amazing trip to Portugal, we quickly organised ourselves for a trip to Balloch o dee. A campsite in Dumfries & Galloway that organises a music weekend at the end of September. Which, if you are familiar with the Scottish weather, you’ll know is an optimistic mindset to have.
We are also optimistic types and set off with great enthusiasm. Here is a link to our blog about our weekend – Balloch O’ Dee music weekend – 20th – 23rd September 2018
This trip would bring an end to our journey from camping to campervan. This statement from our Balloch O Dee blog probably sums it up – It was an absolutely freezing night in our tent – Think it’s time for a campervan!
Our journey had lasted 5 years and each year had reflected whatever stage in life we were at. We now knew that 2019 would be our campervan stage but which campervan would that be? That’s another chapter!
Now that our focus was on buying a campervan, we decided to hire one just to see if it was really for us. So we searched online and came across a small business who hired out Autosleeper Duetto’s. This turned out to be a very interesting trip.
Christmas in Edinburgh and relax.
Our hotel in Edinburgh was in a perfect location and plenty of stylish character.