Breakfast near Golspie
Lunch at Helmsdale
Dinner at Dunnet Head
and are currently parked up for the night at Gills Bay. Oh yes, we get around!
So today saw us hitting the most northern part of the UK mainland, a bit of a landmark for us, coming from the south coast all those months ago.
We’ve also taken in Badbea, the Flow Country and miles of gorgeous landscapes including coasts, lochs and highlands. We spent ages looking in our bird book identifying the large birds of prey we knew were not buzzards or golden eagles and decided they were ospreys. We spotted a deer and were all very excited by Ady noticing a dark shadow run across the road looking like it might have been a wildcat – that will have to remain unconfirmed however!
|we found this cartoon illustration amusing!|
|another cautionary sign – poor Willow!|
|reading about life in the 1800s at Badbea|
|wind farm on the Flow Country, I always find them slightly eerie and rather beautiful|
|pretty harbour at Lybster|
Today we managed to stick to budget on food and have also bought dinner for tomorrow. We are finding it tough to do much in the way of hunting, fishing or foraging just yet so have been relying on shopping at the end of the day and getting reduced to clear bargains! We do have a very good stock of tinned and packet food in the van too but are reserving that for days when we fail to find a supermarket or have run out of funds! As warned petrol is likely to be our biggest expense – fuel is not cheap, petrol stations are few and far between and the hilly roads mean our consumption is high. We were prepared for this though and having already finished the east coast section of our week despite only being on day three we are anticipating a few days when we do very little mileage which will help.
Water is proving a potential issue. We are carrying 3 x 5 litre bottles and some in the water tank of Willow, but only about half full as the extra weight will mean using more petrol so isn’t cost effective. We are getting through a good 5 litres a day just in washing teeth, drinking, cooking and washing up – the trouble with cheap foods like rice and pasta is that they require a fair amount of water! Today we managed to use a public toilets to empty our portaloo and fill up our water bottles though which means we are empty and full in the right places again! We had anticipated using a campsite once a week to have showers, charge things up and fill and empty. We are now hoping to avoid that if possible and planning to try hair washing and body washing using hot water in a plastic trug – that would save at least £15 – a day and a half’s budget!
We invested in various charging solutions along the way and have two freeloader solar chargers, which are reasonable in very good sunny days and can charge a mobile phone / games console but are most useful for storing charge from the mains when charged using a USB off a computer. We also bought an invertor charger to plug into a cigarette lighter and give power to either a 3 pin plug or a USB which takes care of all our charging needs. We have been really pleased with it’s performance and today charged up both our mobiles and my netbook from it while driving along. We also have a power pack jump starter which can be used to charge things and then recharged from the mains for days when we don’t do enough driving to use the cigarette lighter option.
It’s early days for this part of the adventure but so far we keep pinching ourselves for how lucky we are to wake each morning in such gorgeous locations with the freedom to travel as far or near as we wish in search of yet more adventures and fantastic places to park up and enjoy the view.