Rosie’s European Adventure Part 1: Amsterdam and Arnhem

So our summer adventure begins.  One of our longest legs in the journey is from home to Harwich, but the roads were surprisingly quick. We arrive early for our ferry – let’s call it a ship because it was huge, a floating hotel and very comfortable. Straight on no problem, straight to our cabin, a nightcap in the bar watching GB beat the Netherlands at hockey and then time for bed. Hope they don’t hold it against us for the next week.


Blimey what a loud wake up call. “Dont worry, be happy” at full blast. Not what I particularly want first thing but it did its job. We’re up!

We travel up from the Hook of Holland on great roads. Only one wrong turning but the trusty sat nag got us to Camping Zeeburg. The campsite recommended by our friend Katty was really good. Facilities were great and its position for getting into Amsterdam were excellent. We had pre-purchased a 48 hour transport ticket and used it for the tram wherever we went.

The first day we got our bearings in the city, walking the lovely canals, looking up at beautiful buildings and visiting the cathedral Neuwe Kirk.  I’ve never seen so many bicycles, even when I was in Beijing. Everybody uses them everywhere and you have to look in every direction when crossing the road or you find yourself colliding with them.  


It is a lovely friendly city and we needed to make the most of it before the rain on Sunday.  We walked to Rembrandtplein to get the tram,admiring the statues in the square before heading for the Brouwerijhetij on Funenkade, which sits beside a windmill. Dubber had a 9% beer. Thought I was going to have to carry him home!

There are two smells as you wander Amsterdam, cheese and marijuana. The first is because this very Dutch food is on sale everywhere with small tasting pieces for you to try. The second is because the drug is freely available and tolerated and so everybody seems to smoke it. 


Sunday brought torrential rain. We delayed our start for the day and had breakfast with our friends who  are sharing some of the trip with us. We knew it was going to be wet so we planned a day at the Rijksmuseum. It took several hours walking through art work that clearly showed the development of Amsterdam from the 16-20 century. We loved some of the Vermeers and paintings of this era.  So that was the city trip done. Now time to explore a more rural Holland.


Monday saw us travelling eastwards to Arnhem. Our campsite in complete contrast being relaxing and set in beautiful forest on the edge of the national park Hoge Veluwe.  It was lovely to finally set up camp at Camping Warnsborn and relax in the evening sunshine after the long walk into Arnhem and back for supplies.


This is a great campsite with a mixture of ages and nationalities in our companions. Facilities are excellent and everyone so helpful. We think our grandchildren would love it. We spend the next day going for long walks through the forest and taking some time to relax in the sunshine.  


To walk or to cycle?  The next day we opted to walk and six kilometres later we arrived at the Netherlands Openair Museum.  Wow it was worth it. We had a great day exploring the 99 buildings which had been brought there from all over Holland.  The windmills were amazing.


What a great way to finish the first stage of our summer trip. We are loving the Netherlands.

A Monday Adventure

Another day out with Rosie and the grandchildren.  A quick selfie on the way to Markeaton Park, Derby.

Haven’t been here in ages, in fact since our kids were little and before that I remember visiting as a child myself.  We are heading for the paddling pool first as its a beautiful hot day, but so have several hundred other people.  The water is very cold so the children want to head off to some of the other activities including bouncy castle, several playgrounds and
fairground rides. There is so much to do here.

  
And then to end the day we had a train ride before heading home.  

  
❤️ Summer adventures

Rosie, Jonny Wild and the Broken Hearts, Y-ever-Not!

What do you get if you cross straw bales, cheesecake, a pint of Bohemian Ginger and portaloos with a sprinkling of positivity from Jonny Wild?  Well read on and you’ll find out!

imageRosie and I have just been to our first festival together.  Off we went in convoy with our friends the Harper-Danns and the Oakleys to ‘Y-Not‘ Festival in Pikehall, Derbyshire.  It’s the first time I’d camped at a festival; as you know until we had Rosie it wasn’t something I would do.  It was also the first time we’d had guests in our awning so a new adventure all round. First thing was to set up camp and Dubber didn’t check the new blow up mattress.  It needs a socket and we didn’t have hook-up. It left us a little deflated until Uncle said he had brought a mattress in his van.

We weren’t just camping, mind you.  The boys (Dubber, Dunc and Uncle) were performing on the Sunday afternoon as Jonny Wild and the Broken Hearts, but before then we had lots of music and entertainment to watch and plenty of food and drink to try out.

imageFirst stop…..beer!  All the youngsters were drinking cider but I like the real stuff so a pint of Leatherbritches Bohemian GInger, 5.9%, did the job.  Actually it didn’t seem that strong, but there was definitely a ginger aftertaste.  Refreshing after setting up camp.  The main real ale bar was set up in what seemed like a circus tent filled with straw bales, which my friend Aunty seem to struggle with. Not once but twice did she fall through the gap between the bales, luckily with no drink in hand, but legs in the air, making us all laugh as she came up smiling and straw in her hair.  And she hadn’t yet had a drop! Well maybe a gin.  And I don’t know how she does it but she attracts oddball men and managed to engage with a number of them through the course of the weekend, the most infamous a guy from Liverpool called Paul Potts – no not that Paul Potts.

imageOff then to the Hog and Barrel for some cool music from our friends.  Tee and Katty aka The Herb Birds have such a great sound and got us in a great mood for more entertainment.

 

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Then it was the turn of our star billing, the one and the only Duncan Oakley!!!  🎉🎉🎉🎉. Dunc strutted his comedy stuff supported by Tony Basnett.  Mad as a bucket of frogs but oh so funny, Dunc gave us a fast paced set with loads of laughs, or is that laughittos, Dunc?  Don’t know how you do it Dunc, but the pace of your act is amazing.

 

 

The best music of the night came in the guise of Peter Hook and the Light on one of the smaller stages (there were 12 in all).  He should have been on the main stage as the Joy Division and New Order songs really got the crowds excited, with everyone singing along.

imageTime to eat and so much choice. We went for wood fired pizza which did a great job in soaking up the beer.  Now the problem with drinking beer is that the need to go to the loo increases, particularly if you’re drinking pints.  And if you’ve read my blogs before I am not the best at using public loos, and even more so portaloos, and imagine my horror when I saw the numbers of them compared to the 25,000 festival goers.  This was not going to be good and it wasn’t.  I won’t go into detail but crossed legs were much the better option otherwise it meant holding your breath, wearing a full face mask and rubber gloves to ensure the stench didn’t get you before you had to breath again and escape trying not to touch anything.  Lots of sanitiser used!

imageThe other major disgust was the amount of litter, particularly in the Rock and roll campsite which we had to run the gauntlet of every time we walked from the campervan site to the main arena.  Amongst the thousands of tents it was like a biblical scene and it was only one night in. By Sunday night it was hell on earth. Or is that me just getting old. No, it was actually disgusting because there weren’t enough bins.

Noel Galllagher and his band headlined Saturday night and I really enjoyed it although there were mixed views from our circle of friends.  Then it was back to our simple abode, a few quiet drinks together and then we were tucked up in Rosie for the night….well after 2pm when the noise from the discos finished.  You see …getting old!

Sunday morning and we cooked a full English for seven. Not an easy thing on Rosie’s little stove, but we managed with the use of foil trays, which kept the food warm.  It set us up for what then became a busy day toing and froing with gear for the boys’ gig.  They did a great job in the Saloon, singing Dunc’s songs which really went down well with the crowd.

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Then it was a quick race back to the Hog and Barrel for more comedy.  Dunc really did a great job in finding the comedic talent.  Scott Bennett was hilarious with very funny story telling about his dad and cheesecake.  Then we had the American comedian Will Franken with his wacky but clever observations.

We had a snack and went back for another beer and then it was time for Madness on the main stage.  All the old favourites, not always perfectly delivered but then like me they’re getting old!  ‘It must be love’ was great as was ‘Our House’.

imageWe ran the gauntlet finally of the rock and roll campsite and settled back for a few drinks with friends – all 12 of us – in the awning before settling again for a better night’s sleep.

It was a great weekend; blessed with good weather; time spent with friends was brilliant, sharing a bit of Rosie joy.

Lessons learnt when attending festivals in the campervan:

1 The window opens over the sink making an outlet for breakfast sales….or so says Uncle.

2 Avoid straw bales when with Aunty or water down the gin.

3 Go for colonic irrigation before the festival and don’t drink beer to avoid any need to use the portaloos.

4 Remember Scott’s dad has all the cheesecake.

 

 

An English Summer

A 90th Royal birthday party, a village It’s a Knockout, Coldplay in concert and torrential downpours.  It must be summer!image

Our first overnighter of the season is in Whichford, Warwickshire and do you know it’s glorious sunshine.  Sitting here in my shorts listening to the birds and moorhens, with the local church clock striking the quarter hours.  Delightful.image

Our campsite, Cotswold Camping at Holycombe, is on the grounds of a Norman fortification, archaeologically excavated in 1953, now below ground, but surrounded by a beautiful moat which still exists.  In the centre of the campground  are standing stones presumably set in place after excavations, along with two bell tents, an airstream camper and a showman’s caravan.  The owner’s house is a holistic retreat centre, and they are getting ready for a family wedding, so it was great that we were able to stay.image

Rosie has a new awning. It’s a sun/rain shower awning in a very fetching blue and in the first couple of hours of being here, we managed both uses, but we are warm and dry in our Rosie.image

Our evening meal at The Norman Knight, five minutes from the campsite, was excellent overlooking the village green where there was a car rally going on.  You know the sort of thing.  Men of a certain age (Dubber included) looking at cars of a certain age that they drove when they were 19, which are now classic or vintage.  A bit like the men really.  Shame it threw it down with rain as rather than looking at engines and shiny bonnets (cars as opposed to female headdress) they were all collected under trees or the pub umbrellas drinking very wet pints of beer.image

Next morning we woke to a light shower of rain and a promise of sunshine which did accommodate us late morning.  A wander through Whichford and their lovely Norman church started our five mile walk. First stop was Whichford Pottery, an interesting place with shop, cafe and a wonderful array of pots.  We will have to stop their on the way back.  image

From Whichford we walked to Stourton and Cherington, two Cotswold stone villages linked to each other. But before entering Stourton we came across of all things a gin distillery! Well we had to stop and take a look, impolite not to.  Cotswold Distillery is a boutique distillery making amongst other things gin, absinthe and varieties of liquer.  England is full of surprises when you walk the countryside.image

Having enjoyed the walk to Cherington we had a pint of Hooky at the Cherington Arms before walking back.  A good number of fit points on the Fitbit so back to the pottery for a cuppa and cake, and a pot.  Oh and the dry loo too!image

Now even though I am now the seasoned camper, you know that I have a thing about loos.  I like my home comforts clean, fresh and flushable.  Not only does our campsite have two compost loos, but this cafe does too.  That’s means basically using a hole into the open air and sawdust.  I really can’t be doing with it.  Thank goodness the campsite has a flushable loo too or I’d be walking with crossed legs or having to drink many pints of Hooky in several pubs just so I could use the loo.

Full of fresh air and a good home (Rosie) cooked meal we relaxed in the evening with a glass of wine listening to the football on the digital radio and playing Skipbo.  image

This is a game we picked up in Florida and unlike Scrabble is a game that Dubber actually can win and yet he still moans with every turn of a card, almost as much as when he dropped the kitchen towel and it unrolled itself as it fell out of the van!

imageSo an enjoyable couple of days in the heart of England was had whilst the rest of the world went crazy.

Reminders (rather than lessons learnt)

  1. England in the summer is a beautiful place
  2. Stopping at a pub half way through a walk for a pint of Hooky is also a beautiful place
  3. Compost/dry loos are not beautiful places

‘Trust’ Rosie

We haven’t really ventured far in Rosie this season as our adventures in Florida took place. Now we’re back we need to get some Rosie time in before the summer adventure (you’ll have to wait and see).

Although it’s a Bank Holiday weekend we decided we would have a day out in Rosie and just leisurely travel around Warwickshire and a few National Trust properties.
Charlecote Park was our first stop. Overlooking the river Avon on the edge of Shakespeare’s Stratford, Charlecote Park is still the family home for the Lucy family as it has been for 900 years.

We had a brief tour of the house but then wandered the extensive gardens and deer park. The landscape is beautiful.

The great thing about taking Rosie out for the day is that whenever and wherever you stop you can put the kettle on.  It still gets me excited being able to do that.  After lunch we drove a bit further on and went to Hidcote, definitely on my bucket list of places to visit and wow was it worth it.

Actually in Gloucestershire, Hidcote is an Arts and Craft house originally owned by an American horticulturalist, Major Lawrence Johnstone who created a series of ‘rooms’ in the garden.


Being May some of the blossoms are stunning.

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We loved it and have come home with lots of ideas about what plants we like….the Royal ‘we’ that is. Dubber doesn’t really know a peony from a dandelion but he did appreciate the beauty of the place.

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So time for an ice cream and then we drive back into Warwickshire for our third and final National Trust house for the day, Upton House near Banbury.  Owned by the Bearsteds, in the Second World War they moved their family banking business into the house from London and moved all their art collection into caves in Wales.  There’s an interesting Bosch and a Holbein to be seen.

So lessons learnt on this trip:

1 A reminder that we are lucky to have the National Trust so we can visit all these wonderful properties.

2  There’s still nothing better than putting your own kettle on in a campervan to make a cup of tea.

3 Buy Dubber a book on plants so that when I’ve bought lots of new plants, he won’t pull them up again when he’s weeding!

Cheers!

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Up the swanny without a paddle

Well you know how this all started, with a statement that I don’t do camping.  Obviously with over a year of camping in Rosie under my belt this statement is no longer really true.  However the idea of being under canvas camping still doesn’t fill me with enthusiasm.  Now I never said I wouldn’t, couldn’t or shouldn’t, just that it’s not my preferred accommodation when there are perfectly good alternatives with private bathrooms and a comfortable bed in hotels and motels abound.

So here I am with my best friend Pauline, and then her daughter Jessica invites us to go upstate to the woods to camp for Mother’s Day.  Several things to point out here.  Pauline lives in Florida; Mother’s Day is in May in the US and Jessica has just moved down here so it’s her first Mother’s Day with Pauline in a while; upstate may have less alligators but there are plenty of other critters to sneak into tents.  So what to do…..cheer and go of course.

Well guys, there is camping and there is camping. You have never seen so much gear put in the back of the car, so much so that we nearly had to leave the men at home.image After a couple of hours driving and a stop for breakfast at a Bob Evans, we arrived at our destination Ichetucknee Springs Campground.  This is a beautiful rustic campsite in the heart of Spring country with most of the amenities that you’d need.

So let’s unpick this a bit more.  It is a very beautiful place. With luscious canopies of trees when you look up.image The main lodge has great family facilities in a games room and there are places to sit out.  The toilet and washing facilities however are small and few for a campsite the size it is and I did have a tendency to check around for spiders which I expected to be like most American things large in comparison to anything at home. Think they must have been hiding!

So we pitched the tents in our pitch which had running water and hook up – yes I know we are camping but they are trying their best here to give me home comforts.

imageThe best comfort however was to come when Jessica and Trevor arrived with a queen size air bed which raises two feet off the ground, bought especially for me – the princess!  And it was very thoughtful of you Jess and very comfortable. Thank you.

Whilst waiting for the air bed to arrive we went off site to look for somewhere to eat and found The Gathering Place . Great food and great service.  As we were driving out we realised that we were by the Suwannee River, made a joke by singing ‘Way down on the Swanee River’ then realised that we actually were by the said same river. We were as excited as an alligator in a fish pond.  Wikipedia tells me this was written in 1851 by Stephen Foster and has actually the Florida State Song since 1935 although the original lyrics were censored in 2008.

image imageimageimageAlthough by the look of the sign on the last photo it could be a dangerous place!

After a great sleep on the queen size air bed we were treated by Jess on Mother’s Day to Mimosas and bacon and sausage sandwiches (actually cooked by Jim) and fruit pies.  imageGood job Jess, and Pauline arranged some crafts to keep us amused.

Now one thing you need to know about Dubber aka Billypops is that when he comes to the US he seems to want to become Chevy Chase aka Clark Griswald. I don’t know what the fascination is but well he just has to keep reminding us of the Griswald Vacation movies – very worrying when you think that we are camping and when the Griswalds camped they got in a bind with bears and raccoons and all sorts of beasties. (You promised no bears, Jess).

imageAnyway please see our creation over breakfast…we’re crazy, crazy!

Day 2 of this Griswald adventure sees us going off to Ichetucknee Springs.  imageThe springs are famous for being beautifully clear and absolutely pure and they work really hard to keep them that way so there are strict rules in the State Park on what you can do where.

You can kayak some stretches, swim in deep pools with underwater caves or as our gang did tube.image

Now you’re going to keep getting fed up with me with things I don’t do but I’m not a water babe, although I have tubed before.  What I did need though was exercise so whilst the gang went off tubing, I carried the shoes and went off on a trail on my own.  I imagine myself like Cheryl Strayed walking through the woods on my own, in 90 degree heat, hearing noises in bushes, being adventurous, seeing the wildlife, being brave and so it was, but always 10 feet away from the Tarmac road which takes the little tram from each site of the springs!

Anyways we all survived our adventure whether in land or water.  And the learning points this trip?

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1 I do love being outdoors when it’s warm

2 A queen size air bed is do-able when you’re camping

3 Citronella bracelets are effective at keeping the bugs at bay but only from waist height upwards. Note to self investigate citronella ankle bracelets next time.

4 Breakfast is really good cooked outside and served with Mimosas.

5 I can go ‘Wild’ on my own

6 Adventures are best with friends. Thanks Pauline, Jim, Jess and Trevor for a great weekend.

Owls, a King and cake

Don’t you just love Sunday afternoon outings, particularly when they are spontaneous and the sun shines on a beautiful Spring day.  Worth a little jaunt out in our Rosie.

We head to Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre and Country Park and meet up with family for a fun afternoon.  It started with an owl display by Hawkwise Falconry. 

    
 Bottom, Fern and Angus (Long-eared, barn and eagle owls) behaved impeccably performing for the crowds and we had the opportunity to take part – even me, although fellow photographers weren’t quite as quick at taking photos as me!

  
   
Then it was back to Rosie for a cuppa.  

  
The campervan munchkins are in the habit of having a picnic in the back…there’ll be crumbs in the bed next time we sleep in it I’m convinced!

  
And then fully refreshed we went on a walk through the battlefield at quite a rate of knots. Those two little munchkins were racing off down the hill. 

  It took the four adults some effort to keep up with them.  Such an interesting site.  

  

 Must come back when we aren’t running down hills to fully appreciate the story of the battle that ended Richard III’s reign.

After our own battle with big sticks …that one is a bit big guys…… 

 we managed to get the munchkins to hold hands and share the stick…but not for long. 

 A lovely afternoon if not a laborious journey home thanks to sat nav having a laugh!  Looking forward to many summer trips this year, with the big one in August. Watch this space.

Anniversaries

‘Happy anniversary’ Bill sings to me every year on our wedding anniversary. A song made famous on ‘Lunch Box apparently. Before my time dear.

Anyway it’s the week for anniversaries. It’s 36 years since Bill proposed to me on Skegness beach in the rain.  Yeah, ever the romantic, it was in the days you could actually drive onto the beach! 

And we are spending a few days in the rain on the east coast again, this time Norfolk, celebrating another anniversary.  

It’s the first anniversary of my relationship with Rosie.  This time last year we tried one night away in Norfolk and in doing so made contact with our friend Phil and his lovely jam and chutney-making Andrea.  So we are back at theirs for two nights hooked up and comfy in the garden of their lovely home, The Nest.

  
The weather wasn’t going to be kind to us but in fact we had no rain on our 6-mile walk to Cromer along the cliffs being blown over by the edge of a dying hurricane. I jest not.  Despite having to hold onto each other at one point so as not to be blown off our feet, it was a great walk along a well signposted path which forms part of the Norfolk Coastal Walk and Paston Way.

   
       Arriving in Cromer smelling the fish and chips everywhere we walked we had a light lunch – Bill had the Cromer Crab- and then pottered about until getting the bus back to The Nest, the bus giving personal service, dropping us outside the house.

   
 Back in the van for a cuppa and the obligatory Chocolate Hob Nobs.

   
 So Rosie one year on. We’ve had exceptionally good times.  You are still a sanctuary in the rain, home from home for a cuppa, and have taken us to some wonderful places.  And even more to come. Happy anniversary xx

Rosie and Chloe’s adventure

Once upon a time there was a ‘big’ girl called Chloe. She is going to be a big sister, that’s why she’s big. Anyway one day Chloe went away for a short holiday in Rosie the campervan. Chloe had had a ride in Rosie before but she had never camped. Chloe was very excited.

GJ and Billypops had got everything ready before driving to collect Chloe and drive to their campsite in the New Forest.  The New Forest is a national park and has lots of wild ponies.

 

Holmsley Campsite is in the heart of the New Forest with no dedicated pitches in most areas and few hook ups. This trip Rosie went without hook up, was stood on hard surface with the awning on grass. Chloe ‘helped’ get the awning up whilst Billypops stood and watched. Oops, think that was the other way round!

  
After settling in Chloe enjoyed some site takeaway before bed.

  
After dinner Chloe had to decide where to sleep; up top or in the hammock. ‘Up top tonight, hammock tomorrow’. Good choice.

The next day was beach day so we had breakfast and enjoyed a stroll at Highcliffe, 15 minutes from the campsite.

  Then the beach day really got started when we drove on to Mudeford. Fun in the sun.

  
After the beach it was an early evening walk and dinner in Christchurch.

 
Back to the campsite for a drink watching the sun go down and then a cosy sleep in the hammock for Chloe.  

Did you enjoy your trip in Rosie, Chloe? Think the picture says it all.

  

Homeward bound

So the last ferry.

  And then that’s the last we see of the sea. We shall miss it. We are homeward bound after two weeks travelling in our little Rosie through the Outer Hebrides and it’s time to reflect….are Rosie and I ever to ride out again?

  
I started out by saying I don’t do camping and I think after two weeks it would be fair to say I do. This is said however with some restrictions for future adventures. I think I’m a fair weather camper. I know, you’re surprised aren’t you!  Although until Harris we escaped the rain, the couple of days we were more or less restricted to the campervan it was claustrophobic and living with damp coats and shoes in a small space, forever opening windows to get rid of condensation, and trying to dry mattresses from wet awnings is no fun. And how many more times can Dubber bang his head.  I don’t think the memory part of his brain works, so he forgets to duck at the appropriate moment. Whereas I look like Mrs Overall constantly hunched up as I slot everything into its allotted space.

In Rosie’s favour she has done us proud negotiating the steep and rough roads of Harris and Lewis, the narrow roads of Barra and the Uists with their passing places and even the bashing of a gate post by Dubber (yes that was another story).

  
Rosie has been our cosy bed each night, our kitchen when we’ve wanted a cuppa, our sanctuary in the rain, our convenience when the toilet block was too far in the night.

She’s been the talking point with strangers, a saving grace to those in need, a member of a select club as we wave at the other T25s we pass, the little camper in amongst the caravans and motor homes with her own unique personality.

Rosie played her part well.

So yes I think Rosie and I will ride out again. Not quite the love of my life but a quiet respect for each other and a fondness which has enabled me to knock a few more islands off my bucket list.

Till the next time………..

Another day, another port

Millport to be exact. Day 13 and we head south. Rosie spends the day going up and down hills between Loch Long and Loch Lomond. Bless her she’s really working hard. The result is the Bonny banks of Loch Lomond.

  
We are heading south to meet family at Nardini’s in Largs for a fish supper before boarding the wee ferry to Cumbrae and the town of Millport.

  This little island is ten miles all the way round. Dubber runs most of it, well he usually gets half way round and realises he has one of two choices, run back or carry on.
  
Millport is the town on the island, no more than a large village and is a seaside destination for folk from Glasgow. It boasts a few restaurants and cafes, notably The Midge Cafe and several pubs, notably The Tavern. 

  

Day 14 and we don’t have rain….yet. Love the view from the flat. It’s so peaceful here. Well it would be if my lovely nephew didn’t watch such rubbish films of a morning. 

  
It’s time to desert Rosie for a couple of nights and put away the sofa bed each morning rather than Rosie’s rock and roll bed. She deserves the break.

  The day ended up being bright and sunny. We walked up to the highest point and got great views of Bute and Arran. A walk along the Prom, soup and cake at Wyn’s and a couple of gins at The Tavern and we will sleep well tonight.

Rosie in the Glen

Day 12. It’s still wet and misty. The last time we visited Skye, some 15 years ago, it was wet and misty. We drove over the bridge to Skye that day and when we stopped at Portree the rain stopped and the sun came out. Well the rain stopped today at least, until we started off for the ferry. 

  
We turned off towards Armadale to catch the ferry and two young girls thumbed a lift so we thought, why not. There’s plenty of room in Rosie. Hence the earlier picture of Leonie and Ann-Sofie, two students from Belgium. They stayed with us on the ferry and all the way to Fort William where they were hoping to walk up Ben Nevis tomorrow.  Rather them than me.  I climbed a Munroe once and nearly needed a helicopter to get me down much to the hilarity of Dubber and my brother who were ready to just roll me down! So another good deed/rescue under our belts.

  From Fort William we then travelled through one of my favourite places, the majestic Glen Coe. It is fabulous. Last time we did this we walked from the visitor centre with the children who were teenagers. We saw on a rock some tents and people obviously queueing at a cafe so we thought well we deserve a drink. As we walked closer we saw that the people were dressed quite strangely and there were old hags and hairy men. We realised it was a film set and we had walked straight into it, but no one said a word. We later found out it was  the blockbuster film of ‘Rob Roy’.

   
 Glen Coe is stunning even in the rain.

Home for our last night of camping before sunny Millport (high expectations) is Pine Trees Campsite at Tyndrum, set alongside a stream and woodland it is conveniently a short walk to The Real Food Cafe where we dine on a very welcome plate of fish and chips. 

  

Speed bonny Rosie over the sea to Skye

Day 11. Dubber says ‘Accuweather gives us a two hour window to pack away the awning.’ So we are up for the two hour window but there is no let up in the rain until we’ve packed up, then it stopped. So very wet awning in waterproof bags, that aren’t, means wet cushions later. It did go from bad to worse but that’s for another day, so here’s a picture of the Blackhouse on site. Anyone read Peter May’s books set in Lewis amongst the black houses?

  
We had time before getting the ferry so we stopped at the Harris Tweed shop in Grosebay which we had tried to walk to the day before and failed. I managed to buy some nice wool. And it’s not duck egg blue girls!

  
We then travelled towards West Harris and those beautiful beaches and found the Hebrides Art Gallery and cafe. Fantastic little find with the artists in residence and the cafe all blue and white like the sea and sand. We bought a print that will always evoke our time here. 

  
 Anyway speed bonny Rosie as we are going over to Skye.  We are booked into the Skye Caravanning and Camping site at Edibane, a Caravan Club site which we haven’t done before. Brilliant and so helpful. Because we had a break in the weather we asked if we could put the awning on the grass by our pitch, but then they helped us take it to their barn to dry off properly. Really helpful and welcoming.