When we had decided to tour the highlands of Scotland earlier this year, my husbands immediate thought was that we would hire a car and it would all be very civilised with us cruising along those winding roads stopping at luxury Bed and Breakfasts or Motels.
Well, that idea was fleeting…
It was not to be, as my daughter and I quickly high-jacked this component of our holiday turning it into a Motorhome road trip adventure and I am so glad we did.
Here is what I learnt motor homing with my family
Space is all about perspective
Of course I knew the motorhome would be small, but it was really small. So that meant extremely limited space to do anything other than sit. So at times, like when it was pouring rain all afternoon just as we arrived to our campsite, there was nothing to do but sit in that tiny space. If you have active children this will be a test of your fortitude. A good sense of humour is highly recommended. And a bottle of wine purchased that morning is also handy, as well as snacks. Lots of snacks. We let our children just climb up and down the ladder to the bed above the cabin eleven million times.
The glamping minus the glam
Motor-home is just like camping, but you are sleeping in the van. It is not all glamorous and the first time we emptied the, um, you know….sewerage waste is was a full on family affair with all us remembering different versions instructed to us by the rental guy. Perhaps it was that strong Scottish accent that got us all confused. So be prepared for a little unglamorous work, a dash in the middle of the night to the toilet block (because we quickly made the rule that the on board toilet was for extreme emergencies) and having fun with timed 1 minute showers. I now have the deepest respect for Susan from Fam and Van taking the leap caravanning full time.
Bring back the old nostalgia
All being said, there is something about motor-homing that feels like we were in a bit of a 70’s time warp. With very minimal phone reception during our trip (I’m looking at you Isle of Skye) we were thrust back to listening to playlists (ok, let’s pretend they were mixed tapes) and playing Uno at night (can you put a draw four on a draw four?) . We quickly got into a routine of walks in the evening, an attempt to cook something edible from the small kitchen and finishing off with hot chocolates in the evenings. A map was stuck down on our table on the first day and each day we would get a sharpie and track our route. There’s no app that can replace that tactile process, and I even love the weetbix and coffee stains it accumulated.
The people you meet
We were basically welcomed into a club I never knew existed. As we past other motorhomes on the road, a smile and wave of “we’re doing it too” and at each campsite there was a chat in the dishwashing room or on a discussion of where you’ve been and where your going next. At our last stop, we had snapped our key that opened up all the services on the outside of the van. I was walking towards the reception desk to ask if there was a locksmith or keycutter in town when I was intercepted by a motorhome owner and she took sympathy on us, and got her husband to pop into town and get us a new key cut.
Stop and have a coffee
A motorhome gives you freedom. Ok, limited freedom as we couldn’t find a carpark everywhere, but what we did love is driving off in the morning and wondering “where will we stop of coffee?” It was generally somewhere remote, we would turn on the gas, I’d make a pot of coffee and get some provisions out and we would take that moment to marvel in the simplicity of it all.
I’ll be forever grateful for deciding to motorhome around Scotland. I often think of those moments made that would have been missed if we had of chose to hire a car instead.
More to come about our actual journey through the highlands and the destinations and sites we visited.