The Wild Camping phase of our adevnture is over, infact it actually ended a week ago when we arrived at a holiday cottage for a week but that’s a post all of it’s own.
We spent six weeks living in the van from leaving our last host, that’s 42 nights. Only 9 of them were spent on campsites with electric hook up, showers and toilets. All of the rest were spent parked up wherever we could find each night. This included lay-bys, carparks, roadsides, closed-for-the-season campsites. We parked in woodlands, lochsides, beside the sea, on the side of mountains, in remote places. We have seen stunning sunrises, sunsets, starry skies and moonlit nights. We’ve seen so much wildlife and scenery amd watched late summer turn to autumn and start to turn to winter.
We have been stripped back to the most basic of human needs – food, drink, warmth, shelter, where to go to the toilet and how to keep clean. At no point have we struggled, suffered or been in any danger, but it is the closest I’ve ever been to more basic survival and not knowing where I’d be sleeping each night.
So how was it?
It was fun, it was fulfilling, it was interesting, exciting and challenging. These six weeks have probably embodied the whole year in many ways. We have seen new sights and sounds, had new experiences, found what we want to do next and learnt something new every day. One of my favourite quotes is Jonathan Swift’s ‘May you live every day of your life’. We did that. We lived every day.
Over to the others…
Bad: Stuff I didn’t do. I have not seen the Northern Lights, didn’t have a go at shooting, never caught my own fish and cooked it in the van.
Good: How much we did do! Still wowed at how much we saw on the very first week. We saw an extremely beautiful stag (mostly in sillouette). It was brilliant visiting Skye, it’s certainly the place I want to live. I really liked the house we went to visit.
Learnt: That it is possible to live in a community in this country by living on an island instead of just a remote village in somewhere like Africa, or somewhere like the communities we’ve stayed at where people choose to live together.
Bad: Seeing roadkill – we saw a dead otter and what we think was a dead hare. There is not much space to live in when we’re in the van all the time.
Good: We saw snow! I liked playing games in the van with everyone, that was fun. I also liked the evenings in Willlow, it was really nice all being together. We’ve seen lots and lots and lots and lots of wildlife, like golden eagles, deer, otters, seals.
Learnt: You don’t need TV, consoles or other electronic things to entertain you, you can play really basic games like cards.
Bad: Condensation. The damp and mould that started in the last couple of weeks living in the van. I worry about the impact of it on our health and it was a daily battle trying to keep on top of it.
Good: Loved being parked overnight and waking up to snow capped mountains all around us. I like being with the kids in the evenings. The wild camping experience has been so lovely, eating, talking together and having no outside distractions. I have slept better, eaten better and lived better.
Learnt: Lots about the Scottish property market – totally different to buying and selling houses in England. Also learnt that the remoteness of the highlands means that people are more helpful and able to do things than in the densely populated area in the south where we lived.
Bad: The mouse! Also the needing to curtail things like splashing in puddles and walking in the rain due to lack of places to get warm, dry and clean for us and clothing.
Good: We found where we want to live 🙂 We ticked off loads of things we wanted to see, do and experience on our list. We had some fantastic quality time together chatting, playing games, singing songs, reading books, learning about each other.
Learnt: Precisely how long I can go without washing my hair before I start to feel really skanky, how very little money we can feed ourselves for. Finely honed our lists of what we do and don’t miss about conventional living.