Hello once again from the van, after what I have to say has been a really lovely week, so thank you, UK! We have spanned Wales, England & Scotland this week, and reminded ourselves what our beautiful country has to offer, which is easy to forget in the day-to-day grind, especially depending on where we’ve been locked down…!
Our next stop on from the Brecon Beacons was the beautiful Bala Lake, which, by the way, has excellent signal! We were finally able to crack out the paddle board, and had a really rather enjoyable time.
But of course, all good things (most especially spells of good weather..!) must come to an end. Come the next morning, we’re in Snowdonia, looking forward to some good climbing aaaaaand it’s foggy, and it’s windy, and it’s rainy, and, honestly, it’s pretty miserable in a one-room van! We had spoken about this before, and we’d decided that, although we’re trying to live sensibly and on a budget, we want to have good vibes and good memories, and we are not doing this to sit damp and cold on the side of the road. So it was decided that we would get a campsite, so that we could pitch up our tent, have a little more space, have a warm shower, and get a good night’s sleep. And it was a really good decision, I have to say. We were able to spend the day relaxing in the relative warm and dry, and plan which route we would take up Snowdon the next day – forecast: sunny!
Sunday morning. It’s not sunny. In fact it’s probably foggier and windier than it was the day before. I would’ve dragged myself up that mountain to prove my point, but, as my husband pointed out, the great thing about van-life is that we have the freedom to come back and do it whenever we see a good day for it. Although disappointed, I did agree, and so we started our drive up to Scotland (we had to be in Inverness by Tuesday for a one off day of work that he had).
As we headed north, the weather seemed to be improving (strange to say of the north, I know!) and by the time we reached Cumbria, it was beautiful! We decided to stop and do a hike I’d been wanting to do for a while and would WHOLLY recommend – High Cup Nick. The climb is a little tough for the first half hour or so, but once you reach the top, you’re pretty much walking the ridge of the valley until you get to the best view. And here it is:
Anyway, after, of course, getting drenched on the way back down, we continued our drive up and found a lovely little pub just across the border where the landlord lets you sleep in the car park in exchange for the purchase of a pint – no complaints here!
During the drive, I was able to watch a few training videos that I had to complete. It was, shock horror, a Sunday, which I know doesn’t sound like a good work-life balance, but in my opinion, why waste a long drive when I could get something productive done and free myself up some other time? A no-brainer really.
So since then, we’ve been hanging out in the Cairn Gorms National Park which really is stunning. We’ve also been amazed at how positively encouraged van life is here! In Lossiemouth, we stayed in a car park in town that literally asks vans and motor homes to come in, providing toilets, drinking water and bins. We’ve even spent the past few nights literally half way up Cairn Gorm itself, (not least of all because the internet signal is amazing!) where they are building a toilet block, water disposal etc.
We tried to take a walk to the so-called ‘Emerald Lake’ on Wednesday, but in reality, made it only a few hundred metres. Unbeknownst to me, my husband had spent a lot of time in his childhood foraging for mushrooms … and what did he find in these Scottish forests – only some of the biggest and best he’d ever seen! Much excitement ensued. Not really for me, since I don’t like mushrooms, but the pure child-like joy on his face was like I’d never seen before!
The next day, we did actually make it to the lake, which really was green like they said!
My biggest win for this week, by the way – finding a gym where you don’t need a membership, but can pay for a one-off entry, including, of course, a shower! So I’ll have washed my hair at least once this week! We are enjoying a lot of time in the lochs, but I am conscious that I don’t want to be contaminating it, so I’ll not be wild-washing like some do…!
And that’s another week gone, just like that! We’ll probably spend another few days here, before heading over to the West coast to check out some of those rugged beaches while the good weather Scotland has been having hopefully continues!
I have been really pleasantly surprised at the lack of internet issues whilst on the move so far, not needed to pitch up in a café or anything (which I’m secretly hoping for one of these days!), but we’ll see how long the luck can last …
Check out more of our travels here!