Watersports

Scottish Highlands campervan tour creates treasured memories for travel editor and family

Mum and dad, two kids and a silly Labrador puppy for four nights in a Volkswagen motorhome. What could go wrong?

I admit to being a little apprehensive as we embarked on our first motorhome trip. Anyone who knows me knows that I prefer a hotel to any type of camping.

But our “Carrie” van came with all mod cons, including wi-fi and power outlets, so I took the plunge.

Purists would say it’s no camping if you can use your hair dryer, but with two girls aged nine and seven who have a healthy addiction to YouTube, onboard wi-fi was no doubt a must.

We picked up Carrie from Staycation Scotland, conveniently located in Dalmuir, north of Glasgow. It’s a short hop from there to Loch Lomond and then to the Highlands.

The owner Jules gave us a demonstration of how everything worked. From the simple electrical connection to how to raise the roof and transform the seats into a comfortable bed in seconds. The whole route took about 30 minutes and we felt more confident that we could handle this trip.



Gracie in the Murphy bed of the RV

I’m sure charming Jules laughed inwardly at how much I had packed as we transferred it from our car to the van, but it’s surprising what you can fit in a motorhome. In no time we were on the open road to Fort William and our first pre-booked campsite.

Carrie is a joy to drive. It’s no more difficult than driving a car, with excellent power steering and a nice overhead position. The children were strapped into the back with the silly dog ​​and put their tablets down to enjoy the breathtaking views as we drove up the A82 towards Ben Nevis.

With the music on the sound system, hooking up to your phone, and the sun shining, I could feel all the worries melting away.

We arrived at the award winning Glen Nevis campground in the late afternoon and found our electrical hook up location. Carrie and all Staycation Scotland vans are equipped for wild camping with electricity even when not plugged in. But I’m a fan of a shower and toilet, so we went with the simpler option.

Once plugged in, that is to say plugged into the site’s power supply, we were able to take full advantage of the van. The front seats swivel to face the rear seats and there’s also a table you can set up inside. With a deceptively large fridge, our wine was chilled and ready to serve.

Carrie has a two burner gas stove and is equipped with all the dishes, pots and utensils you will need to prepare a meal. With the roof in place, there’s plenty of room to stand while you cook. There is also a sink for dishes and water on board. And the van heater is powerful and essential for camping in Scotland in March. The heater runs on diesel, but the amount it uses is minimal, so you can stay toasty warm without worrying about emptying your tank.



Sally and Scout on the beach

It was easy to set Carrie up for the night. In the roof is a double bed with a mattress and the kids slept there and loved the neon lights. We rolled out our bed by flattening the back seats and it was super comfortable. Scout the Labrador thought so too.

Due to the time of year, we left the heating on for a few hours while we fell asleep and woke up the next day after a good night’s sleep. We cooked breakfast, took a shower and left early to cover the miles. We even thought about lowering the roof before leaving. We were winning at this RV lark.

It was a glorious spring day so we headed to the beaches of Arisaig where we spent a few idyllic hours and Scout had the best day of her eight month life.

We parked the van at Camusdarach beach for lunch before heading to Skye.

The beauty of motorhome is freedom. Stop and make a cup of tea whenever you like, pull out the provided camping chairs and soak up the views.

After a night in Skye at a site near Portree and a tour of this majestic island, we were back on the mainland to drive the Bealach na Bà, aka Applecross Pass.

I was nervous about doing it in a brand new expensive motorhome, but a text to Jules and she reassured us that we absolutely should. We saw four seasons navigate the single lane road, but the scenery was stunning nonetheless.

We didn’t have a site reserved so after leaving beautiful Applecross we opted to take the coastal road and keep an eye out for a place to stop for the night. By chance we came across Shieldaig Camping and Cabins, Strathcarron.



Sally, Sophia, Gracie and Scout at Eilean Donan Castle

This amazing location, overlooking the Isle of Shieldaig, is perfect.

We stopped and on a notice board was a list of free slots where you are welcome to come in and log in.

The toilet and shower block has been recently refurbished and spotless and is a short walk from the Shieldaig Bar & Coastal Kitchen where the langoustines are a real treat.

While we wanted to stay, it was time to head back south. Carrie was to be appreciated by other vacationers and we were sad to say goodbye.

One night in Newtonmore to break up the trip back to Glasgow and our van adventures were over.

We had covered 700 miles and created precious memories.

And, in the end, nothing went wrong.

Sally’s campervan was courtesy of Staycation Scotland staycationscotlandcampers.com

Prices range from £110 to £135 per night, this includes unlimited mileage insurance. You can go anywhere in the UK and overseas.

Sleeps four and there are friendly vans available.

For more information and to book staycationscotlandcampers.com Shieldaig Camping and Cabins shieldaigcampingandcabins.co.uk Glen Nevis Campsite glen-nevis.co.uk/campsite.