I’ve not written a blogpost in a while, as it felt inappropriate at the start of the pandemic; most people were in survival mode thinking about jobs, their health and family. But with lockdown easing in the UK and media highlighting the possibility of holidays, it got me thinking about the potential for time away. Some people always travel abroad for their summertime break, and they’ve never considered that the UK could be exciting and adventurous. As a family, we have had two one-week trips to Scotland in a motorhome with one heading up the west coast, as far north as Applecross, and the other touring up the east coast and completing the Scottish 500 via John O’Groats and Durness. We combined wild camping with campsite stays. So what can you expect and is it for you and your family?
Yes, this is definitely for you….
We have a dog: it’s ideal, although campsites often require a dog to be on a lead.
Changeable weather doesn’t bother you: you can often have four seasons in one day, particularly in Scotland, with hail, rain, sunshine, fog and wind. No such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes!
We love wild places: you can access remote places even in a motorhome which can be considerably larger than a campervan. In Scotland, the further north you venture the more wild the scenery. Wild camping is permitted, so you can pull up almost anywhere (check there are no signs prohibiting overnight camping.) We camped overnight at the back of the Cuillin Hills, Skye; famously busy, we arrived at teatime, squeezing into the car park, but by 9pm everyone had disappeared. After an evening hike up the paths beside the Fairy Pools we noticed the storm clouds gathering and spent a noisy, wind-battered, rain-lashed night before emerging to find the pools swollen and too dangerous for swimming. It was certainly a wild experience.
We’re on a budget: our first holiday cost £1300 for 3 people in the kids’ summer holidays and that included motorhome hire, petrol, food and eating out. Prices have gone up a bit over the last 3 years, but it’s still very affordable.
Like driving and discovering new places: you can drive as much or as little as you want. We usually moved every day and found new places to wild camp overnight. If you’re staying in camp sites then these would need to be booked in busier periods. With many people opting to stay in the UK, this summer, beauty spots are likely to be more crowded, so think ahead.
We want adventure in the UK: what does adventure mean to you? Often it’s about going to new places or trying new things. The UK has lots to delight everyone from high octane outdoor sports through to roaming the hills or strolling along a deserted beach.
The kids need to get off their devices! Depending upon your chosen travel plans you can get off-grid and away from wifi, the devices will be redundant. It might be a time to encourage outdoor photo ops which they can post on the gram when back online. Or, if you’re brave and optimistic, pack a board game and some playing cards!
No, this isn’t your thing……
We love shopping: hmmm, have you ever tried to park a large motorhome in a city centre car park? No? There’s a reason for that. Tourist hotspots often have shops selling arts and crafts such as the BalnaKeil Craft Village in Durness, but serious clothes shopping isn’t an activity on the agenda for this type of holiday.
We eat out loads: depending upon where you go there can be some wonderful high end restaurants – think Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant in Padstow, Cornwall – but these are not plentiful. Often, there are small, artisan restaurants using local produce such as the Applecross Walled Garden, but the more remote you wander the less fine dining there will be.
We want wall to wall sunshine and heat: see changeable weather doesn’t bother you, above…..
Wifi is everything: if being contactable, and online, 24/7 is important then this probably isn’t your type of holiday. The more isolated you travel the less chance of connectivity. In some parts of Scotland, we didn’t even have a phone signal let alone wifi. But, if you do need to electronically check in, you can often find a coffee shop with free wifi or the reception area of a campsite/ caravan park will have a signal.
Getting dressed up is all part of the holiday: if your definition means high heels, designer handbag and full face of make-up then you’ll be disappointed. On the other hand, if you’re talking walking boots, waterproofs and rucksack you’re in for a treat!
If you have answered yes, this is definitely for you and your family, then checkout Part II of my blogpost which I’ll release later on this week. It will be full of top tips. In the meantime, keep an eye on the media. England opened campsites and caravan parks on 4th July, and Wales and Scotland are expected to open in mid-July. If you have decided to bite the bullet and travel abroad, good luck and stay safe.