About Me

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Hi! I'm Eunice and I live in Bolton, Lancashire, with my two dogs Sophie and Sugar and an assortment of cats - well it used to be Sophie and Sugar, now it's Sophie and Poppie. I first began camping back in 1997 when my then partner took me to Anglesey for my birthday weekend. We slept in the back of the car - a hatchback - using the cushions off the settee at home as a mattress, and cooked and brewed up on a single burner camping stove. The site was good, the views were great, the weather fantastic and I was completely hooked. Following that weekend we got a two-man tent and some proper accessories and returned to Anglesey two weeks later, then over time we progressed to a three-man tent followed by an old trailer tent, then a new trailer tent, a campervan and finally a caravan. When my partner decided that the grass was greener on the other side of the street - literally - in April 2009 and I suddenly found myself alone after fifteen years, I decided there was no way I was going to give up camping and caravanning if I could cope on my own. This blog is the story of my travels, trials and tribulations since becoming a solo camper - I hope you like it

Monday June 10th 2013 - Homeward bound

I woke early that morning looking forward to my trip to Balmaha but guess what? - the weather gods had decided to ruin my final plans and replace the lovely sunshine of the last week-and-a-bit with a blanket of grey cloud and a mist over the loch. Hoping that it might soon clear up I took the dogs for a walk, sorted out some breakfast then started on the packing up process but as time went on it became obvious that the sun wouldn't be making an appearance any time soon. With everything packed away in the van for the second time in less than twenty four hours, and with my Balmaha trip abandoned, I took the dogs for a walk into the village and back before finally setting out on the second leg of my journey home.

The cloud lasted until I was several miles south of Glasgow then the sky started brightening up, and by the time I'd reached the turn-off for Moffat the sun was out; that was just typical! Maybe I should have stuck to my original plan and stayed at the Moffat site as intended; that way I would have seen another different place and probably got some more photos, but there was no point regretting what I had or hadn't done - Moffat wasn't going to disappear so I could always go there another time. By the time I'd reached Annandale Water I was ready for a brew and a snack so I pulled in, parked up, and rather than buy something in the cafe I dragged the suitcase stove out from the back of the van and made my own brew and a sandwich. A dog walk round the lake followed then I went to have a quick look round the shop, where I got an unexpected bargain - a new blue camping chair for only £8.99! After I'd straightened the frame of my original one it had lasted all week without collapsing and would probably still be usable for some time to come, but it would be handy to have a new one just in case and I wasn't going to pass up a bargain like that!

Back on the road again I headed south at a steady pace, then as I left Scotland behind and came back into England I had another spur-of-the-moment change of plan - my camping friends Colin and Joan lived not far from the motorway on the outskirts of Carlisle so I would pay them a surprise visit. It was a bit of a mad idea as I had no way of knowing if they would be in - it was a weekday and they could be at work - but it was worth a try. I had to get there first though - I'd never been to their house before so I was relying on what I remembered from having looked it up on Google Earth several months previously. Fortunately I remembered which A road I needed when I came off the motorway and as I drove along there were several things which looked familiar; when I saw the Morrisons supermarket I knew I was getting close and just a couple of minutes later I was turning into their avenue. It was a good sign when I saw their car parked on the drive and as I approached the front door I heard voices coming from round the side of the house - they were both in, and needless to say were very surprised to see me. Joan got me a drink and we spent a very pleasant hour or so sitting chatting while the dogs played in the back garden; it was good to see them but all too soon it was time for me to leave and continue my journey south.

It was early evening by the time I finally arrived home and after taking the essentials out of the van I was glad to be able to relax for a while. As I downloaded my photos onto the pc I thought back over the last ten days; I'd been to some nice places, met some friendly people, had some brilliant weather and got loads of good photos, but best of all was Invercaimbe - it must be one of the most beautiful locations in the UK and I'd well and truly fallen in love with it. It really was a very peaceful and special place, and as I'd driven away from there for the last time I felt like I'd left a little bit of my heart behind. So who knows, maybe next year I'll return - in fact as I write this I'm already making plans!

Sunday June 9th 2013 - Goodbye to Invercaimbe

I woke early that morning to yet more blue sky and sunshine and the realisation that my holiday was coming to an end - as soon as I'd had breakfast I had to pack up and set off on the first leg of my long journey back home. First though was a walk on the beach with the dogs, and although I'd taken heaven knows how many photos down there during the course of the week it was such a beautiful place that I just couldn't resist taking a few more.

The tide was well in and the water lapped the sand in barely discernable ripples; in front of me the islands were tinged with pink from the sun and looked slightly blurred from the remains of an early morning sea mist, and over to my left a small dinghy slipped silently through the water, leaving barely a ripple in its wake. All around me birds were singing, lambs were bleating in the fields behind me, and from somewhere across the estuary came the distinctive sound of the cuckoo. This place was absolute heaven and I just wished that time could stand still and I would never have to leave.

Back at the tent I put Sophie and Sugar on their line out on the grass then set about making coffee and toast, which I lingered over while looking at the view. Unfortunately though I couldn't keep putting off the inevitable so reluctantly I cleared the breakfast things away and started on the packing up process, though this was hampered somewhat by various other campers who stopped to chat as they were passing. Eventually everything was in the van except the dogs, and judging by the look on Sophie's face they didn't want to go home any more than I did. Once I'd put them in the van though they settled down in their bed, and after taking a final few shots of the site in general from the small hillock behind my pitch I said a silent goodbye to Invercaimbe and drove along the track for the last time.

When I reached Fort William I stopped off at Morrisons to top the tank up again - a completely full tank would be more than enough to get me all the way home - then I settled in for the drive down to the C & CC site at Moffat, which would be my stopping-off place for the night. I managed to get all the way through Glen Coe and past the Green Welly without stopping for photos and when I finally did make a stop it was at Tarbet near the top end of Loch Lomond. There was a car park just off the main road through the village and from there a large and very pleasant area of well mown grass sloped down to the lochside where the Loch Lomond cruise boats took visitors out on the loch. I wandered round for about half an hour before putting the dogs back in the van and setting off once more.

It was when I was almost at Luss that I suddenly had a spur-of-the-moment and totally mad idea - it's surprising how quickly the human brain can process several different thoughts in the space of a couple of seconds - and swinging the van off the road I turned into the entrance of the C & CC site I'd stayed at the previous weekend. With the weather being so good I thought that if I could transfer my one-night booking from the Moffat site to Luss - providing there was a pitch available of course - I could do the boat trip across to Balmaha the following day before continuing on the second leg of my journey; also it was still a long way to Moffat and I didn't really feel like driving much further. So with fingers crossed that I wouldn't be quizzed again about the van being a motorhome I parked up and went across to reception, and I have to say that this time the warden was very helpful. He phoned the Moffat site, transferred my booking, and led me to an available pitch; it was on the same part of the site as before, and though it wasn't by the lochside it wasn't too far away.

By the time I'd put the tent up I was really beginning to feel tired; for the sake of just one night there was no point in setting it up completely so I left out the second bedroom and the larder unit and instead of making the bed up properly I just put the two self-inflating mats and the mattress on the floor - sleeping at ground level wouldn't matter for once. With all that done, and realising that I hadn't had anything to eat since breakfast, I made a brew and a sandwich and spent a couple of hours relaxing and reading my book before taking the dogs for their last walk of the day. It wasn't late but if I wanted to be on the 10am boat the following morning I needed to get packed up again early, and with a long drive ahead of me after the boat trip I didn't want to be tired so it made sense for once to have an early night.