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"World tour of Scotland" at www.nigelandkathyinscotland.blogspot.com

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Our New Van

We have just returned from a short trip in our new Swift Basecamp caravan.

We first noticed the small (5m x 3m) Basecamp caravan appearing on the campsite last year. Whilst we love tent camping - the simplicity of it and the sense of being at one with nature- inclement weather can bring a camping trip to a premature end. It was the description of the Basecamp as a ‘camping crossover vehicle’ which roused our interest and tempted us with the thought that it could enable us to survive bad weather for longer. But would we lose the simplicity of life in a tent?

Our two night trial trip was to the friendly and well managed Machrihanish Holiday Park on nearby Kintyre, travelling via the Lochranza-Claonaig ferry. Our first impression of our new van was that it is something of a Tardis. Perhaps it’s the panoramic front window that makes the indoor space embrace the outdoors. Two comfortable benches fold away easily to accommodate large outdoor gear items when on the move. At night the benches convert into a wide double bed. I was taken with the practical design of the storage baskets that lift out for packing and slide in for the journey. The LED lighting was economical and the solar panel meant we didn’t need a hook-up. The Basecamp also comes with a sizeable and sturdy Vango awning which will be useful for longer trips with more outdoor gear - and if we’re hankering after tent camping we can always sleep in it! After two days, we were impressed with the caravan’s combination of sophisticated technology, simplicity and ease of management. We can’t wait for our next trip!

At this time of year the Kintyre peninsula’s verges are a carnival of wildflowers: bluebells, thrift, bird’s foot trefoil and wild garlic. Peaceful, lush pastures are grazed by Friesian and Ayrshire dairy cattle, Atlantic rollers unfurl onto long sandy beaches and sea birds on missions pause before launching off to Northern Ireland or Ailsa Craig. We walked up to the Mull of Kintyre at sunset (414m) and surveyed the gilt sea lapping the lands of the ancient kingdom of Dalriada. The following day we walked at low tide on the causeway to Davaar Island from Campbeltown where paintings can be found in a sea-hollowed cave. There is a three hour window at each side of low tide for a safe crossing.