Category Archives: Camping

The Scott Family December Adventure Camping Trip in a VW LT

Let CampervanCulture.com introduce some friends of ours. We became friends with Ringo and H many years ago after meeting at a VW show and hitting it off right way. Over the years our kids have become the best of friends and grown up together over the summer months when we used to hook up for wild camping every now and again before they moved to Poland. After hearing of a trip they did this time last year (2013) in the wilds of Scotland I asked Ringo if he wouldn’t mind doing an article for CVC about the trip. We have been sitting on this one all summer until now when we thought you guys might appreciate it the most. So please get comfortable and read this amazing story of an epic trip made by Ringo, H, Fern and Jules in their amazing VW LT Florida camper van.

Scotland December 2013

It not very often you get sent home from work with six weeks paid leave to do what the hell you like except “not work”. But in late November after resigning from my job to work at a competitor, this happened to me. I won’t say I was wondering what I would do with myself for six weeks – I shook hands with my colleagues and friends and skipped on out of there with some great ideas…

The six weeks turned out to be only three and a half – we had already committed to spend Christmas for two weeks with my family in Miami. No disrespect to my father whose seventieth birthday we were celebrating in Miami, but I couldn’t help feeling a bit cheated of a six week adventure in the van. Of course, I would never tell anyone I was such a selfish self-centred fool like that – so no harm done.
We had over three weeks to live it up. My wife (the lovely H) generally takes any situation by the balls and kicks the arse out of it and this was no exception. Three weeks but what to do?
It was late November. In the UK, that means winter. Short days, wind, rain and possibly some snow in December. As it happens, it’s not that much better in the rest of Europe within VW LT range – so the chance of nipping off in the van for some winter sun was not an option. There was only one thing we really wanted to do and that was take the kids to the French alps for their first skiing holiday (I shall add at this point we snow board very mediocrely but are brilliant at pretending we are seasonaires and love it with a passion). That was until someone had a brilliant idea.

Scotland. Scotland in December.
“WTF? – Are you Insane?” Cried my imaginary friends. No – absolutely not. Let me explain.
If you go camping in summer in the UK and it rains for a week you feel robbed and pissed off (I have felt this many times). If you go camping in the UK for a week in winter and it rains for a week (although it never rains for a whole week solidly that I can remember) you say “it’s winter for God sake – of course it’s raining”. This is why I love winter camping – every day you get that’s not raining is a bonus. It’s a delight. It’s a treat. It’s the day you remember. If it snows – well what’s not to like about snow? In all seriousness if it snowed then we would have headed for the cairngorms and gone snowboarding – result!
Also – and here is the stroke of genius in our minds, winter is probably the only time of year you can go to Scotland. We had always wanted to go – but there was no chance we were going to spend two weeks in summer getting rained on and eaten alive by midges (we feel the same about England except the midges aren’t such a pain). Annual leave from work is far too precious for that…

On the 29th November we left Nottingham and headed north with a very vague plan of going to the West of Scotland, heading up to Oban, maybe over to Mull and then up into the highlands. Fancy free and bursting with enthusiasm. Life is good.
A quick overnight stop at friends up the road in Sheffield and then we were off. Via the lake district. The lovely H had never seen a lake in the lake district so we ticked that off too. Actually – it’s funny how this happens, but we met a guy there who told us about quite a few sleepy spots in Scotland. At the time I thought he was slightly mad – but regardless, this was some of the best advice we got all through the trip. Mainly because we didn’t see anyone else during the trip but hey ho…

Up to Glasgow in no time, we headed past Loch Lomond and towards Inveraray where we learnt our first lesson of the trip. We passed the oyster farm and laughed out loud as we imagined all the fresh seafood we were going to eat over the upcoming weeks. We should have stopped because we didn’t see oysters for sale in Scotland again. If you see something you want stop and get it. You might not get the chance again. Not quite as cool as “The double tap” rule from Zombieland – but definitely in the top three of rules for visiting Scotland in December.

Inveraray turned out to look like a tired seaside town. Mostly due to grey December weather I guess. Anyway, a quick ice cream for the kids and we headed off to the coast on the lookout for a sleepy spot. We had been tipped off about a known spot on the coast below Oban, but there was no rush (don’t you just love saying that).
Anyway, west Scotland is basically full of peninsula’s with roads up them. Small roads. We choose one that looked nice because it clearly followed the coastline. It was dark, but we found a small lay-by right next to the sea. Unfortunately it was too wet to get the mighty florida all the way on it – but we were off the road and it wasn’t exactly busy.

The lovely H and I faffed around for a bit ensuring we didn’t get stranded in mud (waffle boards are essential) and then I set about getting a fire going on the beach.

Bizarrely it was still 6 degrees C and felt positively barmy. The whole family enjoyed the fire. I chopped wood, even the Fernster ate some roasted welks and cockles we had picked from the beach. The hairs on the back of my neck stick up now just thinking about it. This was my utopia. This was why we had come to Scotland. This was the dream.
To top it off the next day the lobster pot produced three crabs which was great fun. Too small to eat but a delight to hear the kids giggles. Hee hee.

Then we made a mistake. We left. I kick myself now because there was no rush but the allure of adventure moved us on. It was a while before we found a spot like that again.

Life caught us up and we headed to Oban to deal with it. Why people still insist on getting sent a fax is beyond me. Also we found a campsite and charged up the batteries.

In between printing documents and faxing signed versions back, we headed south again to a sleepy spot we had been told was the best in the world.
After a 5 mile drive up a track we ended up in a car park on the end of a peninsula. Lovely sheltered spot with some small hills that the Fernster loved practicing her rock climbing on. There was no beach but a pier which we fished off. I say fished but basically I just ensured Fern didn’t fall/jump in. I really wished we had packed her life jacket but nevertheless Fern enjoyed casting and reeling back in whilst I held on to her coat hood. She is only five and I am immensely proud of her. One day she might actually catch something but considering she hasn’t yet her enthusiasm for my favourite pastime is staggering.
It was clear the kind people who said this was the best sleepy spot in the world didn’t have any children due to the lack of beach and us being scared witless of the kids drowning – but it was a nice one. As a bonus we caught two crabs, two gurnard and a codling in the lobster pot. Get in!

More faxing moronic estate agents and we headed north to Glencoe. The lovely H laughed at my tales of being battered in a tent by the relentless gales in the red squirrel campsite many years ago. It was uncanny how you could hear the wind coming down the valley five minutes before it pummelled your tent and smacked you in the side of the face. Oh how we laughed. We drank beer in the Clachaig Inn and swiftly got reminded of the change in life since my last visit. No kids in the walkers bar.

We drove up the valley and parked in a viewing spot for the night. There had been bad weather warnings but it was too warm to snow in the petrol pump attendants opinion. He must have lived in a brick house because he didn’t mention anything about wind.
We ate dinner, chilled in front of a film and had an early night.

I woke up at 02:00 to find the van rocking violently. It didn’t seem to bother my girls though who were all snoring soundly. At 05:00 I was very worried. The wind was incredible and the van was being battered. Our thermal screen got ripped off and was hanging on precariously so I made the decision to open the sliding door and retrieve it.
Now I’ve ridden a motorbike in excess of 100mph a few times (on private roads of course) but nothing could of prepared me for what was about to happen. I stepped out of the van and was very nearly blown off my feet. I clung to the van and very quickly grabbed the thermal blind. The strangest thing was it felt like I was in a vacuum as I was find it impossible to breathe. The wind just blew away any air out of my mouth. I got back into the van shocked. God knows how we didn’t lose half the contents of the van to the wind but we didn’t. I got the girls up and drove down the valley to find shelter.

We found a car park which was still windy but very sheltered in comparison. Through the glare of the headlights through the rain we saw a robin red breast clinging to a branch for dear life a foot from our windscreen. “Poor thing” and “cool” came to mind.
Turns out we were in the windiest part of the country and it had caused all forms of havoc. 120mph winds apparently. More like 160 we declared.
It calmed down after that and we spent a couple of days chilling and walking around Glencoe. It is nice there.

For some reason I still find myself thinking quite a lot of that night and how windy it was. I wonder if I had known then how dangerous it felt outside the van would I have still gone and retrieved the thermal screen. Probably as I’m a bit tight and it was quite expensive!

That storm affected us in a minor way (homes and life’s were lost so let me be clear, I know we were lucky and I’m being a selfish prat just saying this). It ruined every beach on the west coast. Every bit of litter those filthy trawler men chuck overboard ended up on land. Oil drums, crates, vinyl rope, netting was on every beach we visited from then on. There was no foraging to be had either – all signs of shell fish had gone. Gutted.
Anyway – we didn’t know this at the time fortunately and headed of up north for more adventure.

While in the Lake District the very nice hippy told us about a sleepy spot right next to the beach near Arisaig. After a bit of asking locals we found it and spent a lovely two nights there.

Highlights were:
1) Being caught sawing up some fallen wood red handed by a local. He squinted as he looked at what I was doing, realised I was processing wood and then gave me a cheery wave and wished me a good day. Awesome. None of this “get off my land” which I expect. Perhaps he normally finds English fools burying bodies in his wood – I have no idea.
2) Finding a dead seal. It was the only seal we saw during the trip and was fascinating. Fern poked its eye socket with a stick which I thought was very brave.
3) Cooking a leg of lamb in a hole on the beach. I have always wanted to do this after eating traditional Māori food cooked in a “hangi” oven in NZ many years ago. So I dug a hole in the beach, made a big fire. Around the fire I put in a load of rocks and a couple of hours later when the rocks were very hot and the fire was just hot embers, I placed a layer of seaweed over the hot rocks, and lay the leg of lamb wrapped in tinfoil (yes I cheated) on top. Another layer of seaweed and then I covered it fully with sand. I left the buried lamb for a few hours and then dug it up and ate it. Next time I’ll do it for four hours but the result was amazing. I had realised a dream and the lovely H, as always, fully supported my madness by bringing me Irish coffees (we debated if the scots actually call it Irish coffee) and preparing the food. She even raved about how delicious it was. Hee hee again. Awesome indeed.

During all of this time, our children just played in the open air. When it rained they sat in the van, and when it stopped they got out. They didn’t care that it was winter and neither did we.

It was now time for some physics. There were very few campsites open that we could use to charge batteries . We didn’t want to stay in them but the vans heater (the mighty eberspacher) needs battery power. A lot. We were struggling to stay warm and that wouldn’t do.
So I hatched a plan. We found an open campsite (someone’s garden effectively) at Kilchoan on the Ardnamurchan peninsula. After chatting to the lovely owners who agreed that I could get things delivered to the campsite, I ordered two massive golf cart batteries (Trojan T105’s to be exact) which would in theory give us ten days continuous heat without charging. They took two days to be delivered so we headed off on the ferry to Mull for two nights.
As a side note. We spent three nights in total on the Ardnamurchan peninsula and we were afraid that we wouldn’t get off it before being assimilated. Everyone we met was English. Everyone we met worked in the post office. Everyone was effectively retired but was trying desperately to justify their existence. Weird.

The ferry to Mull was ace. We didn’t see anything in terms of wildlife but we met someone Scottish. He rocked. I think he said “What the hell are you doing here in December” and then talked about ferry times. He liked his ferries.

We landed in Tobermory and it all clicked together. There is a children’s TV program in the UK called “What’s the Story Ballamory” where everyone is happy all the time and make boring stuff sound great. Tobermory is where it is filmed.

Anyway, after ice creams, a fill up of fuel (the fuel in Kilchoan is ridiculously expensive for some reason) and a stock up on food supplies we headed off to Calgary Bay for more adventures.
Calgary Bay is gorgeous if you ignore all the litter washed up on the beach. As usual, there weren’t many people around and there were zero people wild camping. We took our time deciding where to park up for the night and ended up on the northern car park in a lovely spot overlooking the bay and the special moor land which had a hole so big in that Fern disappeared for a while. We walked on the beach, dug holes looking for razor clams (no such luck), built sand castles and generally had a lovely time.

I think it’s worth talking about the warning a friend (Jed) gave us about going to Scotland in winter as he had done it several years earlier with his lovely family: You might get “Cabin fever”. Its dark all the time (basically from 15:30 till 08:30) and you end up spending a lot of time in the van. This is very true. However, we didn’t ever feel like that. I guess with the kids being so young and 16:00 being their dinner time, evening’s kind of fell into place. We would get them to bed around 19:00 and then prepare our meal for the evening. Yes we had some early nights but it was more to do with falling asleep while reading a book in bed than anything. Heaven! One other way around the dark is to play while its daylight and then travel during the early evening hours. This meant it was dark when we arrived at sleepy spots but our torches ensured we didn’t get into any bother. I like to think we were mentally prepared for the short days (thanks for the heads up Jed) but in reality seven hours of playing around in the fresh air with the kids was enough for us all!

After Calgary Bay we headed south and enjoyed the stunning scenery. We stopped and looked at a waterfall and then drove a bit further south where we parked up a bit further along from a couple of twitchers on Loch Na Keal. This was a stunning spot and we enjoyed climbing on the rocks and investigating the bare rock pools.

The weather started turning so after one final game of hide and seek, we retreated into the van for an Irish coffee and discussed the rest of the days plans. We were incredibly exposed on this spot and the wind was heading straight at us off the Atlantic. I was feeling a little nervous about spending the night here so we agreed that while we still had some daylight, we would hop over to the East of Mull and find a sheltered spot for the night. We ended up in a car park that was well set back from the road just south of Fishnish. It was a car park for one of the woodland walks setup for us tourists and was perfect. We played in a stream next to the van, had a small fire until the rain put it out and then retreated to the safety of the mighty Florida for the night. So after a good sleep and a quick woodland walk we headed back to Tobermory for some supplies. The ferry back to Kilchoan was calm and two huge batteries were waiting for us. Without further ado, we hot footed out of there before we were asked to work in the post office.
Conscious of the date and the lack of progress towards Applecross where I was feeling a real draw to for some reason, we got on another ferry at Mallaig to the Isle of Skye (after fish and chips and a two hour wait in Mallaig). We docked into the south of Skye at around 18:00 and were put onto a sleepy spot moments earlier (have technology – will use it) near Tokavaig. It was an exciting drive over the hills in the dark and fog on a single track road but I am extremely glad we did it. We expertly manoeuvred the florida over wet grass onto our mats into a lovely spot next to the sea. Within minutes dinner was being cooked and a fire was being built. Bizarrely it was very mild (6 to 10 degrees C) so we had a lovely evening outside enjoying the unspoilt skyline. This was what it was all about! We quickly agreed that we would stay here for at least two nights while supplies allowed.

Bright and early Fern and I went off and investigated the beach. I found an amazing bit of drift wood and started making things out of it while Fern prodded the fire and generally learnt about hot things. We cooked sausages on the fire and then went fishing (blank not surprisingly). I set the lobster pot at low tide with great hopes. The lovely H and Jules went off on their own adventure and trekked around the coast to a ruined building.

It felt like we had spent an age there when a local man (from England) came over to talk to us. It was bad news – the weather was turning for the worst again and we were right in its path. The nice man pointed to the house down the way that was missing a roof and suggested it was going to be that bad. We were more than welcome to move our van near to his house to get shelter but he highly recommended we moved our van. With wind and rain coming in I was also a bit worried if we would actually get the van off the wet grass we were parked on – so we immediately tried it while we had a nice man to help us should we get stuck. We didn’t get stuck and drove off over to the other side of the Isle.
Bollocks. The rain came down and we hunted for another place to sleep. I won’t bore you with the details, but we ended up in a dismal layby that seemed to offer us some protection from the increasing wind just up the road from the Sligachan Hotel (which was shut). It was another extremely windy night. The radio reported flooding in lots of places and there was a severe weather warning for the west of Scotland around the highlands. While I’m in this dark place remembering this particularly scary time, I’ll tell you that we were stuck on Skye for two nights (all ferries and the bridge were closed) and the next day involved us doing 50 miles looking for a sheltered spot. That was some of the hardest driving I have ever done. The florida is like a huge waddling kite on a single track road in extreme winds and I had to concentrate a 100% to ensure we didn’t get blown off the road by an unexpected gust (there were many). With winds up to 120mph and driving rains Skye didn’t look too appealing. Anyway, enough of that…

The next day we got up and hatched a plan. I’d been to Talisker brewery before in the late 90’s and remembered it fondly. As we were nearby and it was raining, the distillery tour seemed a good thing to do. The car park was empty and it was raining heavily. We ran around to the doors only to find them shut. Bugger. The website said it was open all year round – clearly not. At that point a rather jovial looking man popped his head out of a side door and shouted us in. They were shut to the public but his boss wasn’t around so he would give us a quick tour. He talked fondly about the olden days and moaned about the new fangled computers that did his job for him. That’s progress for you. Anyway, we had a good chat about VW’s and eberspachers and then went on our way.

We ended up in the most sheltered space we could find which was not very glamorous. However, the kids showed no interest in going outdoors due to the weather so we just played games and ate food. I’ve had worse days that’s for sure.
Early the next day it was calm again and we found out the bridge was open so we got off the isle. It was a real shame that we drove as fast as we could to get off Skye. We had great plans and even thoughts of seeing the northern lights. Ah well, we drove over the bridge, turned into the car park overlooking Skye and the lights of the houses in Kyleakin and had a bacon sandwich with a cup of tea. It was at that point that we felt the familiar rocking of the florida and the wind speed raised yet again. One minute we were thinking of driving to Applecross and the next our plans had changed to somewhere sheltered and safe.

We always knew this could happen so we pointed to somewhere on the map and set off in our awesome campervan. We were heading to Aviemore via Loch Ness. Fingers crossed it would snow.
We stopped off at the Loch Ness museum and immediately stopped believing in the Loch Ness monster. It was a nice break of a day’s travelling and I would recommend it. The whole route from Skye to Inverness was a fantastic drive. I kept eyeing up places for potential sleepy spots with day dreams of returning in better weather. Scotland really is a fantastic country. We got to Aviemore and stopped off in the town for a walk around. We soon felt the cool vibe of the place and started to pretend we were hip parents here for the ski season. Everyone was friendly and even though we were feeling a relatively new sensation of being around people, we felt very comfortable. It was a no brainer to head off up the mountain road to find a sleepy spot – of which there were plenty. We found some cracking spots mainly in the forest commission car parks. It didn’t actually say we couldn’t park overnight in them. The forest warden chap didn’t seem too put out when I ran out in my pyjamas to quiz him on the legality of our stay. He said at this time of year no one is bothered and wished us a lovely stay. Hee hee.
We had four lovely peaceful days and nights in Aviemore and enjoyed it a lot. I missed the sea and our camp fires, but I loved the walks, the company and the vibe of Aviemore. It didn’t snow unfortunately but we did get to spend a few hours with reindeers (at the reindeer centre of course) which was very cool. They had a BBQ shed. Yes – you read that right. A shed with a BBQ in it. I definitely want one of those. We spent a day at a wildlife park which is full of cold weather animals (polar bears and the like). You have to take your hat off to the Scottish. They know their weather is generally shit so they capitalise on it. Genius.

Nothing spectacular happened that I feel I need to write about – it was just nice.

I could have happily spent a few more days there but alas we were running out of time. One last breakfast next to Loch Morlich and we headed off to Edinburgh to stay in a full blown camp site. Showers and everything.
I had never been to Edinburgh before and thoroughly enjoyed our day there. We walked a lot and went into the “Camera obscura & world of illusion” which was great. We had lunch which cost a small fortune and the kids threw a paddy. Hee hee, we are good at the city thing. We hadn’t lost it.

Shaun Bowden Big Weekender

Eight weeks on from when we did this epic 1800 km weekend rally and I think the hang over has just worn off…

What was this weekend all about? well let our good friend Bobby Willis explain,

“My good friend and business partner Shaun Bowden died last March while we were walking in Scotland, leaving behind a young family. The Glencoe Mountain Rescue team was fundamental in his search and recovery and they risk their lives in awful conditions for 100′s of people each year.
I went back up to Glencoe a few months ago to revisit the area where the accident occurred and as we were driving along a very beautiful Glen, we saw a battered old Land Rover that was Glencoe Mountain Rescue’s vehicle. That’s when I first thought how nice it would be if there was a Bowden Land Rover roaming around the area saving lives. Since then my friends and I have made it our mission to raise money for GMR to have a bespoke 4×4 rescue vehicle.”

We didn’t personally know Shaun but we did know some of his friends so friends and friends of Shaun’s friends all became friends together on the Bowden Big Weekender 8 weeks ago. We had the amazing voice and guitar playing of Tom Dibb join us in Jed’s van then we all met up at The Heritage Motor Centre then on to The Lake District and after a few hours at a place via Muddy Porn at Drumclog it was then onto Glencoe. Over £18,000 was raised and Bobby has donated his own grey Discovery that you see in this video to Glencoe Mountain Rescue to be converted into a rescue vehicle with the money raised. Chris at Quickfist UK has since donated a quick fist pack to Glencoe Mountain Rescue through us as we are one of his main stockists and as soon as the new rescue vehicle is built CVC will be sending up one of our Trasharoos to store wet ropes and other kit.

Here is the Bowden Big Weekender web site for you all to have a look at http://bowdenbigweekender.co.uk/about/ Although this was supposed to be a one off event it was so good that it made us think if it could maybe be an annual event with more activities included over a few more days. I would think a lot of our CampervanCulture.com brethren would be very interested next year especially those from Europe to get the genuine UK experience!

It was great for the CVC team to get out and let our hair down and have a random encounter with a fellow Syncro owner who joined in for a while.

Shaun Bowden Big Weekender from London to Glencoe in Scotland. from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.

Morocco Overland Episode 7 – Atlantic

After a good few weeks driving across mountains, deserts and gorges we finally hit the coast. It was the first time since we left Spain that we saw huge numbers of Europeans. lots were in huge motorhomes and camper vans and has a less well traveled look about them. We soon left them behind when we drove along the coast off road across the Sous-Massa National Park and we were alone again. It was Jed’s 40th when we were caught up in a flash flood at the surf town of Taghazout and spent time recovering the crazy Swiss. The recovery kit we stock was put to good use once again and we helped recover stuck vehicles that were directly in the path of the flash flood. With a second wave expected due to the weather forecast it got us thinking how many people do go away without even a simple tow strap or recovery kit like the ones we sell on our web shop. We seriously recommend carrying one now, even just for weekend camping as you simply never know.

All along the coast was a pretty relaxing time with lots of wild camping cooking on the Bushpig, sand driving and good times. Get comfortable and check out part 7. The Atlantic,

Morocco Overland Episode 7 – Atlantic from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.

Morocco Overland in a T3/T25/Vanagon Syncro. (Part 2, entry to Africa)

We finally made it to Africa.

First stop was the amazing town of Chefchaouen. We were blown away with just how amazing this place was and how cool the people the people were that we met there. It was our first stay at a campsite so far and we stayed at the only campsite just up the hill from Chefchaouen town. It’s a pretty basic campsite by European standards with cracked sinks and dodgy looking plumbing but they do have hot showers and that makes it a good campsite by Moroccan standards. There is free camping to be had across the road at the football field next to the hotel, it looked like a popular spot for fellow overlanders.

Here is a link for www.campingchefchaouen.com

Having acclimatised in Chefchaouen we ventured south and onto Fez. The drive was a learning experience and we soon realised that the donkey was still a main means of travel for lots of Moroccans and road miles took double the time by European standards. You have to adapt your driving style a fair bit because if you drive correctly you would probably cause an accident.
We opted to stay at www.diamantvert.ma while in Fez, it was a really nice campsite that has just had a whole load of money spent on it and has good wifi. We opted to take a guide from Diamante Vert and we had a great day wandering around the city. This is the first time any of us had ever employed someone to show us around a place and it has to be said it was really worth while. We got taken through tiny doorways and into court yards that we would have definitely missed had we ventured out solo.

With Chefchaouen and Fez done and dusted it was time to head out into the wilds and off road but you will have to wait for part three so stay tuned and keep following.

Morocco Overland – Entry to Africa from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.

Morocco Overland in a T3/T25/Vanagon Syncro. (Part one UK and Spain)

Well here we go.

This is the first video in a series of videos we will be making of our recent trip from the UK to The Sahara Desert. We set off Friday 13th of December 2013 (Yeah I know but we are not superstitious! (yet)) after a busy year at CampervanCulture.com looking for adventure. We were invited by CampervanCulture.com subscriber Dave (AKA Orcecaveman or Dave L Orcecaveman) to call in on him in the south of Spain on the way down to North Africa. Dave told us he lived in a cave house in a place called Orce and he owned a VW Syncro like us and was keen to meet us. Orce was a couple of hours off route and after Alan and Jed spoke for a while about who would actually choose to live in a cave it has to be said we did have our reservations. I can’t remember who said it but one of us said, “When will we actually get an offer like this again?” so we agreed to go, after all we were looking for adventure right!

So we set off to Poole and got the LD Lines ferry to Santander on what turned out to be a vomit comet. It was 28 hours of the roughest seas any of the crew had ever sailed in with plates being smashed and what ever wasn’t screwed or stuck down developing a mind of its own and moving around the ship like it was possessed. To be fair to the LD lines staff and the actual ship they were both very nice with really clean cabins and at £267 each way it is a total bargain, its just the ship is too small for the rough as hell Bay Of Biscay in January. Saying that a few weeks later we met an English couple who were on the Brittany Ferries super dooper cruise liner style ferry with stabilizers that left 4 days after us and they got dropped off in Brest, France and left to make their own way down to Spain as the big ferry thought it was too dangerous after hitting “The Horn Of France”. Anyway… with that little mission out of the way we hit sunny Spain and after an amazing over night wild camp near Madrid we found the crazy guy who lives in a cave.

We would like to dedicate this first video to Dave and Carole, two of the most genuinely nice people you could ever meet. It’s refreshing to meet people this cool and after spending some time with them you know they deserve the amazing life style they chose because they are just so bloody nice… We left Orce with three new good friends, Dave Carol & Chuck (the dog). We are now the sort of people who would want to live in a cave house, they are amazing.

Hopefully this should get your foot tapping…

Morocco part 1 from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.

Wiltshire weekender vehicle shake down.

Having had a really busy few months at CampervanCulture.com setting up the web shop selling our cool clothing range and all the other stuff that followed, and trading at The Adventure Overland Show the time has now come to get the vehicles ready for our planned North Africa trip starting in December.

We met up with some fellow Syncro owners from Club 80-90 at a camp site on Salisbury Plain to put the vehicles through their paces to flag up any problems as well as try out some new camping gear we bought for the trip.

As usual feel free to leave any comments and we will do our best to answer any questions you guys have.

Wiltshire Weekend in a T3 Syncro, Vanagon, Westfalia. from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.

Dungeness to Dover, A CampervanCulture camp out in the UK’s only desert.

Dungeness is one of the largest expanses of shingle in the world and is classified as Britain’s only desert by the met office. There have been five lighthouses at Dungeness, at first only a beacon was used to warn sailors, but this was replaced by a proper lighthouse in 1615. As the sea retreated, this had to be replaced in 1635 by a new lighthouse nearer to the water’s edge known as Lamplough’s Tower. There are two nuclear power stations at Dungeness, the first built in 1965 and the second in 1983. They are within a wildlife sanctuary deemed a Site of Special Scientific Interest and birds flourish in the warmer water created by the station’s outflow.

It seems an unlikely area to head off to for a weekend in any camper van but the area is in fact really interesting and feels like your in Arizona in one of those places that mad people go and live when they want to be alone.

We really liked it, what do you guys think?

North Devon and Exmoor

After slaving away in a field for 3 weeks working for Glastonbury Festival a well needed break was in order. So Alan and Harriet headed off for a bit of wild camping and wholesome camp fire cooking by the coast as a mini get away from it all. In true CampervanCulture style they just headed off in the general direction of Exmoor and after talking to the locals in a random pub they got the heads up on some great wild camping spots. Our usual rule of thumb of supporting the local economy in the places we wild camp was applied and all in all another great get away was had.

Ah well back to more summer festival work for Alan and Harriet now for the rest of the season to save for the CampervanCulture.com Africa trip later in the year.

Business meeting, CampervanCulture style…

Given the weather has been so good, we decided to take the opportunity to meet up and discuss our new range of clothing that should be with us on Thursday this week as well as sorting some new designs to follow right after. Amongst many others the new reversing light option we are due to take delivery of next week was also discussed, the new cool sticker range available next week, totally amazing Westfalia Joker roof bed pillow/kiddy guards in grey and brown, all the cargo docking systems that Al has been working on so hard plus lots more. I think we might have a summer trip planned to visit Jake@ CampervanCulture.com in Cornwall so that will be an epic video to share.

Oh and we spoke a bit about the North Africa trip later this year….

In CampervanCulture.com style we whipped out the cameras around the board room table and had serious talks about spread sheets and sales margins while filming it all…

Enjoy!

Amazing weekend in Surrey with birthday celebrations and Heathrow Campervan Hire.

This time we stayed quite near London and hooked up with good friends H, Ringo, Rob and youngsters Fern and Jules. Jed Louise and Isaac were in their Westfalia Syncro and Ringo and H were in their usual ride, the mighty VW LT Westfalia Florida. Rob left his Westfalia Syncro behind on this trip and turned up in the new high roof rental campervan that his company www.HeathrowCampervanHire.com have just got ready for you to hire and have an amazing time in. I have to say being a Westfalia nerd I was a bit taken back and slightly envious of the massive fridge, grill and this van even has an oven as well as Propex heating, extractor fan and get this…

It’s only done 60,000 miles!

As you can guess by the name Heathrow Campervan Hire is based right next to the UK’s main international airport and when you rent from them you have the option of picking up your fully kitted out campervan from the airport arrivals lounge. This is a great chance for all you guys in the USA, Canada, Australia, and the rest of the world to visit the places we like to go in the UK without the hassles and expense of importing your own vehicle. It’s also handy for all you guys in the UK and Ireland to just grab a cheap flight, pick the camper up and be off on your adventure.

Our first night was spent in a very nice country pub then a short but very steep drive up a gravel track in the VW LT to one of our favorite wild camping spots. After a really nice nights sleep it was off for a quick walk then off to find a random campsite we booked into from the internet. Osney Lodge Farm Campsite was only £45 per night for the eight of us in three campervans and it is a great place to camp with kids. Off the ground open fires are allowed and they have a basic toilet block and a place you can empty your chemical toilet if required. They have a farm shop that does loads of local produce and BBQ items as well as beers and veg. We all had a great time and celebrated H’s birthday in style.

Surrey camping weekend with www.HeathrowCampervanHire.com from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.

South Wales Camp out.

After a very cold start to this year we were finally blessed with some sun shine, although it is still quite windy and cold at night. It was time to hook up with some good friends we had not seen for a while for our second Gower camp out in South Wales.

The first night was a wild camp and after an early morning walk we were in for quite a treat due to the unusual cold weather for this time of year. What am I on about? Check out the video to find out….

Gower2013 from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.

Pre Morocco trip first get together (through the eyes of Isaac aged 7)

I dont even remember how it came about or even who mentioned it first or why but somehow during last year we all agreed the three of us with our families are going to explore North Africa in our Syncros from December 2013 onward. We had lots of planing to do but one thing was hanging over us and that us and all the people coming on the trip had never been all together at the same time in one place before and Harriet (Al’s partner) and Louise (Jed’s partner) had never even met before.
We decided to meet up and do a spot of camping for the weekend at www.wowo.co.uk and as luck would have it we picked the only time this year so far that had a generous amount of snow fall. We all got on great and had a great time but it was also time to test out some new equipment and even at this early stage we found a few faults with the things we need to trust. The cold weather killed Jake’s leisure batteries so they had no heating in the sub zero temperatures the first night (not so good when you have a baby only a few months old) and we tried to video the weekend and found cheap none brand memory cards hate the cold and stop working. Jake popped out on the Saturday morning and fitted new batteries that saw them through the rest of the weekend in comfort and I put the camera away due to the cheap memory cards and carried on enjoying the weekend planning and talking about what was going to follow over the next few months.

When we got home and back to work and school the following week Isaac (Jeds son aged 7) pulled his own small camera out of his pocket and after sitting down with him and popping a couple of photos in from the adults we made his first video together of the weekend we didn’t video.

So here goes, Isaac’s first Campervanculture video.

Pre Morocco trip first get together (through the eyes of Isaac aged 7) from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.