Another eight nights in Bessie

This trip was originally planned to be just a few days away for the two of us to help out at the Tay Fitness, Swim Loch Tay event on Sunday the 15th of September but turned into another eight nights in Bessie for me and four for The Navigator.

Before we left on the Saturday however, and because the Friday proved to be unseasonally dry, sunny and warm, I decided to carry out some much needed maintenance on Bessie. Since buying Bessie I have kept it clean on the outside and The Navigator has kept the inside spick and span but the one area that has been neglected has been the roof.

Eighteen months of grime and bird’s poop had has left the roof of the van in a mess, not helped by the fact that when in storage there are trees overhanging it.

So, this was the job in hand…

This above picture shows twigs, leaves and other material under the rim of the front skylight which was a surprise to me as I imagined that it would impossible for anything to get under the edge of the rooflight and the roof of the van, but on reflection we have, on days and nights of strong winds, heard all the skylights rattle and on occasion we thought they might lift off – now I see why!

After a couple of hours on my hands and knees scrubbing and jet washing the roof, I had it sparkling again. A word to the wise if you are going to clean your caravan or motorhome roof, it is very slippy once it is cleaned and still wet.

The Navigator had a work’s ‘doo’ on the Friday night so we left on the Saturday morning for a caravan park a few hundred yards from where the event was going to take place. Cruachan Farm is a few miles out of Killin on the A827 which runs the length of Loch Tay towards Aberfeldy and the A9.

After I took this picture of Bessie, the field opposite us filled up with a lot of people staying in tents who had arrived for the swimming event the next day. The Navigator had brought the car as she was going home after the event as she had to work the following week and I was not returning home until the following Friday.

On Sunday morning we were up bright and early and off to the Loch Tay Highland Lodges, Milton Morenish Estate which is one of four sites owned by Largo Leisure Holidays, all within easy reach of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Stirling. The facilities seemed to be top notch and their website is worth a look if you are into glamping in comfort.

Thankfully for me the weather was dry which meant I could fly the drone to capture some aerial shots of the event for the Tay Fitness Events new website and Facebook page.

This was the first swimming event for Iona and Pete to organise, and as ever, they, and their team of helpers and volunteers did a fantastic job.

The swimmers could choose to swim 250m, 750m, 1500m, 3K or 5K depending on their ability, but as it turned out the weather conditions in the previous few days had lowered the water temperature to 12.5 degrees and the rules for events such as this meant that the 5K was cancelled and those swimmers had to be content with swimming 3K.

Acclimatising to the water temperature before the off…
One of the finishers being cheered home…

This is a highlights video of the event to give you a flavour of the day…

When I was off flying the drone The Navigator multi-tasked by looking after one of her great-nieces for a while, then handed out free samples of ACTIVE ROOT, a natural ginger sports drink which was supposed to give the swimmers more energy for the race ahead, and then pulling the BELHAVEN free pints for the competitors after their swim.

After the event and lunch was over, we went back to Bessie and The Navigator headed home and I stayed another night to take advantage of mains power to edit the video I had taken.

Next morning I headed off and my first stop was in Callander where I stopped and had lunch. Again, if you have never been here it is well worth a stop if you are heading towards the west coast and Oban, Glencoe, Fort William, or the islands.

That night I stayed in Alva as I had things to do and people to see in Alloa the next day.

The usual view at Alva…

From there it was back to another favourite wild camping spot at Duck Bay, next to Loch Lomond where quite a few vans were parked up as well.

I had a few days here relaxing in the sunshine and enjoyed the fantastic views across to Ben Lomond and it was good to see the summit as invariably it is covered in mist or clouds. And, speaking of mist, on Friday morning it was a bit of a pea-souper early on …

…but within ten minutes driving, the mist had gone and it was glorious sunshine again!

I drove home and quickly serviced the van and waited for The Navigator to return from working in Inveraray, had lunch and we set off for a couple of nights away at one of my other favourite wild camping spots, between the Calmac ferry slipway at Claonaig and Skipness. I’ve mentioned this spot before in previous blog posts and made a video a few years ago which features our previous van, Louis the McLouis, and, if you have never seen it, here is a LINK to the YouTube video…

Friday afternoon tea with a view…

And then pre barbecue drinks, nibbles with lashings of suncream.

This spot is exactly twenty two miles from our house and the views here are amazing with views up and down the Mull of Kintyre and across the Kilbrannan Sound to Arran. Friday evening was lovely and warm and we had a barbecue without being pestered by midges, which unfortunately can happen here, especially in the summer months.

Saturday was good too and we walked towards Skipness and while I took a rest, The Navigator walked on a little bit further.

Where Friday evening and Saturday were warm and sunny with blue skies…

…it poured down throughout Saturday night, and although dry on Sunday morning, the skies were grey and it was slightly chilly.

And that was it…
After a lie in and a stout and hearty breakfast we headed home and emptied Bessie and had her back in storage within an hour of returning as we have the process down to a fine art now!

The route…

We are making a flying visit to Belfast in late October, then hoping to get away for two or three weeks in November in Bessie, and will probably head down to England somewhere. This next trip will be a unique event as there are no repairs to be done under warranty on Bessie this time!

Then, it’s Christmas in Belfast and two days after our return, Bessie will be heading south on New Years Eve towards Portsmouth and the ferry to Spain…

The previous blog, The Killin 5K & 10K Weekend can be found HERE

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