#3 The Wintry Weekend

So, first to business…

We only got to see one of the two vans this weekend, the other had been sent off for a body work polish. Apparently the previous owner was a painter/decorator and there were remnants of his work around the handles – we assume this had put others off and the garage was subsequently doing something about it. Having inquired about viewing the van and being told to just pop in, with no warning that it might not be there, this was a little frustrating but heyho, life is too short to allow these things to annoy.

The other was a very smart looking vehicle, only a few small signs of wear and tear and was immaculate on the inside – unfortunately we couldn’t test drive as there was only one guy working but it was exactly what we were after. So we have planned to head up again this week when both vans will be available to test drive. We have already decided we would be happy with the first so even if the second is a no go we are pretty much ready to buy.

This means, unless they sell in the meantime, one of them will end up our beloved camper. This is both exciting and daunting, buying cars etc. always carries an element of risk and you just have to hope luck is on your side, however by this time next week our big project could be well underway!

Now to pleasure…

As to be expected, Scotland offered weather from either end of the spectrum in the couple of days we were there. We arrived in the dark to a cool calm evening, clouds were rolling in the dark sky with little intent, and we found a spot and set up the car for the evening. We decided to err on the side of convenience and sleep in the car this weekend – one last little adventure before we sell it! It is truly amazing how cosy a car can become when you apply a 5cm air mattress, two sleeping bags, a woollen blanket and an aged dog sleeping at your feet.

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Our evening was spent reminiscing about our previous trips. During this time, the clouds made way for the moon, illuminating everything around us, accompanied by the stars twinkling against their navy backdrop. I kept the door open, tucked up and falling asleep watching the stars through the silhouetted trees. Only when I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer, did I relent and close the door.

The morning was just as beautiful; one of the great things about being out in the winter is that you get a full eight hours before the first glimmer of sunrise, and what a glimmer it was! As soon as I awoke I opened the door again. There is something wonderful about feeling the cold air on your face whilst remaining lovely and warm in your sleeping bag. The stars were still out, glowing less obvious as the sky brightened and I could hear an owl hooting deeper in the valley as the horizon was outlined with a vibrant orange glow. I climbed up to a higher vantage point in time to watch the sun creeping over the edge, drowning the snow-capped peaks in pink, the surrounding brash was glowing orange and the sky, bright blue.

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Later in the morning, after porridge for breakfast, Callum and I were sat in the sunshine discussing how lucky we were to have such a beautiful morning when a raven landed two metres from us, evidently interested in what we were up to (despite that not being much!). For five to ten minutes it sat there sizing us up, all the while exchanging that recognisable throaty call with its mate far off in the trees, and occasionally cleaning its beak. It’s sleek black plumage was glinting purple and blue in the morning light, it is easy to forget just how big they are until one perches in front of you. Eventually it grew tired of us and headed down the valley. The corvidae are by far my favourite birds – this made my day!

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We spent the day walking in the forests around Aberfoyle, lush green moss, blue skies and perfectly reflective Lochs were the backdrop of our visit. We rarely get a day so perfect and made the most of it – right up until the clouds rolled in, the sun went down and the air grew cold. We continued to walk under threatening skies, growing darker every minute and eventually decided to quit while we were ahead. By the time we were back in the car and night had come, so had the rain. We could hear it bouncing off the roof of the car while we read our books; it is one of life’s great pleasures to fall asleep to the sound of rain – especially when sleeping in something almost certain not to leak!

The next morning was as wet as the night before; we went to see the vans and then ambled in a homeward direction, discovering some new valleys along the way, the wind and the rain were ferocious whenever we got out the car – in true Scottish fashion. The journey home was spent discussing where to go when we return – and return we most definitely will!

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