Adventure & Overland Show 2015

The fourth Adventure Overland show was being held on the 26th & 27th September at the Stratford upon Avon racecourse.Adventure Overland 2015 (3)

Puffin was our choice of transport for the short trip to the racecourse on the Saturday morning.

There wasn’t any hold up at the entrance or parking at the show , as this is a well organized event.

There were some new exhibitors and plenty of trade stands selling all those must have, even if you haven’t a use for it items. So much to see, where do we start.

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There seemed to be more visitors wandering around than last year show. It was quite busy and the sun was shining making it an enjoyable affair.

When you look at the vehicles and destinations that they have travelled to, you can’t help getting itchy feet.

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Ruby came with us and enjoyed the attention from all the other visiting dogs.

Our Granddaughter was dragged along kicking and screaming, but she enjoyed it in the end.

I found my dream truck. A German converted Mercedes with a fabulous interior.

***Please Note*** (added April 2016) I made a mistake when I stated that the Mercedes was converted in Germany.

It is in fact an excellent DUTCH conversion by Adventure Trucks. There web site can be viewed here

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The extreme knitter was slightly disappointed with the lack of varied catering compared to last year and no craft marquee this year.

There is always a good turnout of VW T25 Syncros that I have a soft spot for.

The car park had interesting vehicles, like this Ariel Leader

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The range of display vehicles was extensive.

This Tiger is the star of a blog

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I’m already looking forward to the next show in September 2016.


Why do it

Before we set off on a campervan road trip there is always a buzz of anticipation, not knowing what will occur when we travel to a new destination.

“Puffin” the campervan is our escape route to another way of life. Leaving the stresses and strains of everyday problems behind.

Overnight trips to places we’ve always wondered about have now became possible.

The biggest adjustment to campervan life was coping with our newfound freedom, being spontaneous and daring to go beyond our comfort zone.

It takes some getting used to, accepting that we are self contained and we didn’t have to be back home before it got dark.

If only we had known it would be so much fun, we would have bought one years ago.


Puffin on Tour

Whilst driving home on the last leg of out trip, we discussed what we thought about it.

This trip was selfish on my part as I had wanted to drive the route with its challenges and visit some must see places in our lifetime.

Prior to starting I had worried that the extreme knitter might find all the travelling a bit much, but she’s a game girl and enjoyed the experience and the surprise places I had planned.

The problem now was what do we do to follow this trip.

The trip was demanding, as the time schedule meant we had to keep moving on. With more time we could have stopped and seen so much more. If we ever get to visit Scotland again it would be to visit a smaller area and take in everything that region has to offer.

The most important aspect of this trip was that we both forgot our troubles and problems back at home. We lived each day as it came and enjoyed the freedom from routine.

This was a true Escape Route.

Horses Heads

Wednesday and we are leaving the Scone campsite with the sat nav programmed for Berwick on Tweed as the destination, but travelling via Stirling. The route is not direct because I have driven over the Forth road bridge so many times in the past and I wanted to see or a least drive past the Kelpies.

The two gigantic horse head statues that over look the M9 motorway.


The Kelpies at the Helix

The Scottish English border was crossed just north of Berwick on Tweed. The parking at Berwick is now free, but you have to buy a time card for £1 to show when you arrived. Go figure.

A walk around the town and Tea & cake in a courtyard café.

As always we stop at Morrisons for diesel and food supplies.

We set about trying to find a campsite for the night. The nearest was Beadnall C & C club site, but that was waterlogged. Others that I phoned were booked up. Eventually I found a site with vacancies, but it meant back tracking up into Scotland

This was going to be our last sleep in Puffin for this trip and we are taking it at Dunbar C & C Club site.


The following morning we set off on the long drive. Heading home after a fantastic road trip with challenges, goals, achievements and loads of laughs.



The journey from Nairn involved travelling through the Cairngorms on the A939 past the ski centres.

Puffin parked by an old AA telephone boxP1110664

The ski slopes were covered in grass and heather, so the ski chairs looked odd on the green skyline.


The ski centres looked like Alaskan oil depots without the snow and all the equipment parked up. A helicopter was ferrying workers up to the top of the mountain.

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When we drove up the Bealach Na Ba, which is the third highest road in Scotland I did wonder at the time where the highest road was.

Yes, guess what, we found it.

The Cairnuilt pass at 2199ft on the A93 from Glenshee to Braemar, but I didn’t know I was driving it at the time. A Goggle search later highlighted the fact.


After travelling on some ordinary roads on the trip down the East coast from John O Groats, the driving experience had just got better and challenging again.

We arrived at the Scone (pro scoon) C & C Club site in bright sunshine.

The site is on the racecourse at Perth and turned out to be one of the best club sites we have used. The site managers were certainly the most welcoming we have ever met.


This Campsite had two Safari type tents erected on decking to rent out that looked intriguing.


Just an overnight stay here at Scoon as we needed to move on.

Nairn revisited

Leaving John O Groats we travelled further south down the East coast.

Back on ordinary roads again, how I missed those quiet single-track road of the West coast.

The A99 took us through Wick and on to the A9 towards Inverness, which is technically the end of the North Coast 500.

A visit to Morrisons in Inverness was needed to stock up our food supplies and fill up the diesel tank.

Then onward towards Nairn just east of Inverness

Nairn never lets us down. It becomes a safe haven, a place of tranquillity for us.

We booked into the C & C Club campsite on the Saturday night for two nights.

That evening we feasted on a cooked chicken (courtesy of Morrisons), Sautéed potatoes and salad. The Bacardi made an appearance, as I didn’t have to drive anywhere

Sunday morning saw us head of to Rosemarkie on the opposite side of the Moray Firth to our campsite.

I found the small forestry car park on the outskirt of the town and managed to squeeze Puffin in, as this was a popular attraction for a Sunday morning.

A small path left the car park and we walked on to the Fairy Glen. A waterfall set in a magical woodland. The path was challenging in places, but you have to overcome things to enjoy the beauty .

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We drove the short distance to Chandery Point to see if there were any Dolphins, but alas nothing.

We left the Rosemarkie area and travelled back on the A832 towards Inverness. A few miles from Rosemarkie on the left-hand side is the entrance to a Forestry car park in a small wooded area known as Clootie well at Munlochy.


A short walk from the car park and the woodland view changes to something surreal.



Items of clothing, pieces of cloth all hang from the trees.

The legend of the Clootie Well is that people used to take sickly children there and bathe them in the water from well.


Nowadays a piece of clothing or cloth is soaked in the well and tied to a tree with a wish for good health.


The material is left to rot away. It’s considered unlucky to remove any cloth offerings

Unbeknown to the E knitter I had two pieces of bright green cloth that I had hidden in the camper before we left home especially for this moment. We soaked our cloths in the well and added them to mass of hanging wishes.

Back to the campsite to catch up on some laundry and clean out some of the debris and sand that has accumulated in Puffin over the last few days.


As always when we land here in Nairn we end up booking an extra night stay, so we could stay until Tuesday.

Monday morning and we parked up by the beach in Nairn.

P1110634The Fishermans wife statue at Nairn harbour

A lazy walk around the town and then onto the beach, before we returned to Puffin to have a bite to eat.


We just sat for a while, because the previous days had been constant travelling and there comes a time when you have to stop to unwind.

In the late afternoon we returned to camp and walked through Delnies Wood.

P1110650Red Squirrel hiding in the trees


P1110653Ruby looking for Red Squirrel

Tuesday morning and we sadly had to leave Nairn. It did us good to have a longer stopover.


The End to Enders

We drove the 17 miles from Dunnett head to visit the last town in Great Britain.


We rolled into John o Groats about 11 o’clock having reached our “End to Ender” goal.


The place was busy with 44 cyclist all posing by the famous sign having completed the Lands end to John o groats trip.

The extreme knitter bought a post card to send to our granddaughter with the John O Groats postmark on them.

Then she posed with Ruby at another sign post with someone in mind


We eventually had the main sign post to ourselves to take the obligatory photo to show we had become “End to enders” in our own less strenuous way.


We bought fish and chips from a kiosk on the harbour which were superb. Talking to the man at the fish and chip shop it seemed that not everthing was not as good as it appeared.

The shops there were struggling to stay in business as although the place attracted large amounts of visitors they usually arrived to have there photo taken, then they climbed aboard there transport and left without spending any money.

He said that the following day they were expecting 800 cyclists to arrive on mass which would mean the whole place would be overrun, but they weren’t expecting any increase in business.

The whole place seemed a little run down with a lot of empty shop premises.


The refurbish hotel looked nice and with the North Coast 500 becoming popular perhaps the retail side will pick up. It’s going to take some outside of the box thinking to turn it around





Top of the world

Durness is as far as it’s possible to go up the west coast without falling in the sea. The route from Ullapool to Durness fantastic with it’s ever changing views. Turn a corner and you’re in the mountains around the next bend and you can be in moorland. Pastures suddenly appear and disappear.



We must be going soft as we decided to stop at another campsite. The Sango Sands site is located above the beach in Durness.

The site was unattended when we arrived, but a sign on the reception door said find a pitch and book in later at 4.30pm when the office opens.

The site was quite busy, but we found a pitch at the front overlooking the beach.


We walked down to the sea with its sandy beach trying to get Ruby to go in, but she’s learnt what waves do and wasn’t having any of that.


The German Overland trucks from Ullapool rolled on to the site in the late afternoon. The North Coast 500 is basically one road, so as we travel round we keep seeing familiar campers.



A fellow camper said he had seen the Northern lights the night before when he stopped at Dunnett head lighthouse.

We stayed up watching the night sky for any signs of the Northern lights. At about 10.30pm the horizon was tinged with a faint green glow and occasionally small beams of green light appeared, but alas that’s as far as it was to go for the evening. Staying up however gave us a show of stars in the night sky that I had only ever seen in photos.

The next morning after a breakfast of cornflakes and toast we set off on our trip. We hadn’t travelled far before we stopped at the Smoo cave which is just a little way on from Durness with it’s own car park and toilets.

A short walk down the wooden steps and we arrived at an enormous entrance to smoo cave.


The cave was formed by a combination of erosion from the sea and an inland underground stream.



Inside the chambers are waterfalls from the streams that pass through.


As we headed East across the top of Scotland there was an obvious change in enviroment. The single track roads petered out and we arrived at Thurso, the first large town we had seen for ages.

It was getting late when we arrived at Dunnett Head Lighthouse. It was also getting windy.



Dunnett Head is the most Northly point of the UK. and the lighthouse car park was going to be our overnight stay for the night.


There was one other campervan staying there and during the night cars arrived, presumably to see if the northern lights were going to show. Unfortunately the night was cloudy and there wasn’t a light show for us. Even with the light from the lighthouse flashing we managed to have a good nights sleep.P1110544



Departing Applecross saw us travelling on single track roads hugging the coast line. The E/knitter spotted a small wool workshop and of course we had to stop. I’m told that you can never have too much wool, but the spare storage space in the already tightly packed campervan is at a premium. A few miles on she spots another wool shop and more wool for future projects was purchased. These shops are isolated in the middle of nowhere, but she still manages to seek them out.




The route followed the coast passing through Shieldaig, Gairloch and Inverewe eventually arriving at Ullapool, which is the highlands ferry port for the island of Lewis, & Harris.


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When researching for this trip I had noted a Campsite right on a peninsular at Ullapool that looked appealing. As we headed into the town quite late in the afternoon I decide to try it. The site was large with a pay your £20 and pick a pitch policy.


A group of German Overland trucks were using the site


The town is within walking distance of the site and we had pleasant meander around before returning for the evening. The midges made a minor come back, so we shut the doors and settled in for the night.


We travelled the few miles from our previous night overnight stay at Loch Carron towards Kishorn.

Kishorn has a famous seafood cafe, so we stopped and ordered Jacket potatoes with a crab meat filling for our lunch. Its reputation for excellent seafood and customer service is well deserved.


Applecross has been one of my must visit destinations for many years. Access to the village is via the Bealach na ba (the cattle road), which is the steepest single-track road in the UK being one of the major attractions. The road is 11.4 miles long and reaches 2054 ft over a distance of about 5 miles whilst clinging to the side of the mountain with alpine like hairpin corners in the upper section. It was the only access road to Applecross up until 1975 when a road from Sheildaig in the north was built, although that is single track.



The Bealach na ba is also the third highest road in Scotland. I wonder where the highest is?

Having read many accounts of driving the cattle pass and how hair raising it was, the expectations for the drive were set.

Bearing in mind that Puffin is a twenty year old campervan with a non-turbo diesel engine, she steadily climbed the mountainside without any problem. The drive is exciting and I would certainly do it again.

There is a parking area at the top where you can admire the well earned view.



Having wild camped the previous two nights we decided to stay at the only campsite in Applecross.

Applecross Campsite


This campsite appeared on the Time team television program when they excavated a Broch on the site.

Applecross Heritage

Unfortunately it’s also renowned for its Midge population, who due to the good weather had decided to come out in force and eat me.



We took the short walk down into Applecross village from the campsite.



The Deer roam around the woodland opposite the community run petrol station and across the campsite.


The Applecross Inn has an excellent reputation for it food and entertainment.

The converted Airstream caravan park opposite the Inn sold coffee and snacks.