We headed North again – the drive has been lovely for the most part. But around lunchtime, I noticed a faint juddering in the engine.
As it has been very wet, I thought it was possible the engine had some water in it and kept driving.
After a while it became evident that it was getting worse so I started to look for a garage.
Unfortunately, the road we were on was going through the middle of nowhere. I pulled in towards one town hoping for a garage but all that was there was a huge distillery.
I continued on and eventually arrived in Aviemore. I pulled into the Dalfaber Industrial Estate and we called the AA.
They sent out a local garage who diagnosed a defective coil pack. As we were parked outside a garage; we decided we may as well stay where we were until the next morning and get them to fix it.
We found out later in the afternoon that the local garage didn’t open on Saturdays, so decided to call the AA again tomorrow.
We called the AA back and explained our situation, they said they’d source the parts and send an AA van out to us.
After a few hours they called us back highly embarrassed – they’d found the parts but the garage wasn’t accepting the two credit cards the driver had with them. They asked if I could phone the garage and pay for the part directly instead of being invoiced later lol
I duly did so and within a couple of hours we were mobile again.
By this time, it was lunchtime so we decided to explore locally and stay on the industrial estate for another night as it was so quiet there.
We found some forest land nearby and went for a walk before heading back – our only issue is that we\’re running low on water and the toilet tank is getting rather full!
I had a disturbed night – the wind and the rain have been horrendous! The van has been rocking so hard, I thought it’d fall over!
We debated what to do and reluctantly decided we’d wait it out here another night – I was starting to get seriously pissed off; there was nothing to look at and my back is aching from sitting in the van.
We drove to the Tesco in Aviemore to buy some meals and bottled water, but when we got there we decided the wind didn’t seem so bad so we’d continue on toward Skye!
That was probably a mistake!
We set off and all was fine – we were heading for Kyle of Lochalsh (a small town just by the Skye bridge), but the road was REALLY exposed and the wind was getting stronger.
It got so strong actually, that it kept ripping the roof hatch open! Mum rode in the back so she could jump up and close it again when it opened.
After a bit she got snippy saying how stressful it was riding back there waiting for something to happen – I retorted that it was more stressful driving in 40mph winds!
Then she decided to get in front, but the hatch popped again so I told her she’d have to stay in the back.
She got in the back then reported that the hatch had actually broken away from one of the handles. She told me to continue on to Kyle of Lochalsh, but instead of holding it, she just sat there.
Well the inevitable happened, I arrived in Kyle and the damn hatch flew off! I jumped out of the van (nearly getting blown away myself!) and grabbed the hatch – thank fuck I want on the motorway!!!
I called the AA again, told them the hatch had blown off and there was rain coming in all over my cooker. They put us on high priority lol
We got a call from local repair garage which we had just passed and he told us to drive back to the garage.
After some debating we went with cable ties – I now have 8 ties holding the damn thing down! It still leaks a little bit, but I don’t think it’s going anywhere!
We’ll stay here tonight then go onto Skye tomorrow!
We had a quiet night, the 40mph winds that tried to steal the roof hatch died down late evening, so all we had to worry about was the rain!
We set off for Skye after emptying the toilet tank and refilling our water bottles in the local public WC. The weather wasn’t great but at least it want too windy.
We basically drove along the A87 to Uig, had lunch then drove back to Kyle lol – it was very beautiful, but there were very few places to park overnight that weren’t totally exposed!
I’m home now so the rest of this is written from memory. We spent the night in Kyle of Lochalsh again on the Monday then decided to head south
We left Kyle after a nice quiet night and headed back along the road. I spotted signs for a woodland walk just outside of Kyle so we went and got lost in the forest for a few hours. We got back to the van and had some lunch.
After lunch, we headed to Fort William, on the way we passed a monument dedicated to soldiers who fought in the war and there was a map of surrounding mountains so i got to see Ben Nevis too!
Fort William just apprared to be one large traffic jam so we kept going. An hour or so down the road i pulled onto a side road and we parked in a layby by a lake, there were mountains all around us and down the road was a boat slipway so you could get right down to the lakeside!
We found another forest walk that had several circuitous routes and a fabulous odour of wild garlic.
That night we parked near Loch Lommond, right by the Angel Falls in a little car park just below road level. At first we thought we were going to have the place to iurselves, but a van turned up a short while later loaded with supplies and half an hour after that, three walkers arrived and took tents out of the van and camped on the verge near us for the night.
Next morning, we were woken by the sound of road works and had a moment of panic when we discovered a council van in the entrance of our little car park doing road repairs.
Thankfully, they hadn’t blocked us in and we were able to leave easily.
We drove to Loch Lommond, we found yet another forest walk and ended up climbing half a mountain!
We went to a wool centre in Aberfoyle where I bought presents for the kids.
Then headed south and parked in Straiton.
We’d headed for Straiton as Mum had been there before and said it was wonderfully quiet! Which it was – a one street village with a pub, a shop and public toilets!
We did a circle walk around Straiton – I was tempted to stop at a farm and ask if they had any fleeces, but I didn’t think mum would appreciate sharing the van with a smelly fleece lol.
Then we decided to go to Galloway foret – somewhere I’ve been wanting to go as apparently it’s one of the best places to go to look at the night sky!
We arrived at a fab car park – hidden amongst the trees and went for another walk. It was so quiet! We didn’t pass anyone else and saw only a couple more cars in the car park.
We considered staying the night, but it was too cloudy to see any stars, there were no public toilets nearby (and I’d been having a dodgy stomach!) and it was bloody cold up there!
We kept going through Galloway and did a circuitous route back to Straiton. We parked in pretty much the same spot – on Straiton high street – and had dinner!
That evening I took Isis for a little walk and met a woman trying to train her 11 month old border collie to walk nicely on the lead – unfortunately, we didn’t help matters by making a big fuss of the pup and chatting to the owner lol
Later that night, I went along to the public toilet and happened to glance in the window of this woman as her curtains were open – there was only a bloody spinning wheel in her lounge!!
I considered knocking on her door and asking if she wanted to spin together for a hit but thought she might think me weird lol – so if you know a redhead from Straiton who drives a jeep, owns a border collie and an Ashford wheel; tell her the woman with dreads from the camper says hi
We shopped in Ayr, bought bolognese & cheesecake to cook for Kaz and her hubby then drove to Karens house in Glasgow!
We had a fab dinner and just sat and chatted for the rest of the evening.
Kaz’s hubby cooked a hoooooge breakfast – I actually couldn’t eat it all then Kaz and her friend took me to a woolshop called The Yarn Cake for a couple of hours.
We headed back to Kaz’s to pick up Mum then they dropped us off at the Roual Glasgow Concert Hall so we could watch Ramin Karimloo in concert which was completely awesome!
We left Kaz’s about 9.30 and headed south. We parked in Strathclyde country park and had a beautiful walk around the park, then we had something to eat before tackling the drive home!
For the first time that holiday it was very hot and sunny – typical! But we made awesome time!
We arrived in Portsmouth at 8.55pm and drove straight onto the ferry!
Oh, there are photos, but my camera is still in the camper so I haven’t uploaded them yet LOL