Month: July 2015

Summer trips

After the maiden voyage I was fairly pleased with everything. I made some cupboard fronts out of plywood and vinyl tablecloth material, trying every type of glue to get them to stick, but that was about it, apart from turning her into a hippy van by sticking some flowers on the back. She also went into the garage to have a leaking steering rack sorted.

After that, some more trips. A few odd nights places, a weekend in North Devon, a week in France and a long weekend in Cornwall.

Things to fix before next trip – lack of leisure battery charging, a still leaking steering rack.



Id had a couple of trips to the New Forest but my first big trip was to Scotland for 12 days. The aim was to end up on Skye but apart from that, I didn’t have a plan.

Me and Bertha did some serious bonding. I found her limits on hills, she tested my limits on finding suitable places to park up. I only came close to scraping her once, a very narrow swing bridge over the Crinan Canal, she survived unscathed more by luck than judgement.

The first afternoon on Skye was the toughest, she almost didn’t make it up a couple of hills and after she had, I rewarded her with a long rest to cool down and treated myself to a creme egg which I’d been keeping for Easter.

The rest of the week was brilliant, I found a mixture of campsites and wild spots to sleep in. Campsites were the easy option but wild spots were the ones which made having a van worthwhile. I stayed in a waterside carpark of an eco campsite where the owner invited me into her wooden hut house, a clearing on a waters edge seeing the pinkest sunset I’ve ever seen and Staffin harbour where just as I was taking a photo of the grey sky, 5 porpoises came swimming and leaping past.

Skye was beautiful, probably the most remote place I’ve been to, walking for miles and miles and not seeing another soul is both magical and slightly scary. Temperature wise it wasn’t too bad, I didn’t need any heating on and was lucky not to be caught out in any rain all week.

I took a couple of days getting to Glasgow, scaring myself on beautiful hilly roads and even feeling brave enough to go on the Nevis range cable car to play in the snow. Getting to Fort William it felt strange to be back in a busy place, the town is now starting to feel like an old familiar friend. The night to the south of there was the coldest of the trip and it was the only night I really could have done with a heater on, but at -7 I think its OK to feel a bit chilly, it would have been a lot colder in a tent.

Ikea van

The worst thing about camping, especially in the cold and wet, is needing the toilet in the night. I had decided I needed a proper toilet, a bog in a bag or a pee bottle just didn’t appeal so I bought a proper chemical one.

Its not an attractive thing so it needed to be hidden, and wandering round IKEA I saw a wooden box which would fit over it. A couple of modifications and the toilet was secure and hidde, never to be mentioned again!
IKEA also had some smaller boxes and I’d seen a van which had a pull out kitchen at the back which I really liked – being able to cook inside in bad weather but outside in good weather. The smaller box would be perfect for that and I found some drawer runners to mount kit on.

Now I was pretty much set up and ready to go, I made a little shelf for a plug in coolbox to sit on, you never know, it could be a hot Easter in Scotland.

The bed

After a driveway sleepover and a weekend trip to the New Forest I realised the sofa bed cushions I’d got weren’t great and I needed to sort a proper bed out.

Having seen a layout online that I really liked which used an IKEA futon, a trip to the home of dimebar cake was in order. The futon was really comfy but I thought it might be a bit long, this would need some more thought. After measuring a few times, sitting in the cold and pondering, I found one of the futons on eBay and thought it was worth a try.

It needed to be raised to fit over the wheel arch so I took the legs off and made a wooden frame to attach it to. The wood all came from the Southampton Wood Recycling project, if I ever win the lottery, that’s the type of place I’d like to spend my days.

It took hours to build, not helped by the spring mechanism clattering me a few times. A bit of help from Grandad and it was done!