Exactly 24 hours to the minute after leaving the Tesco car park in Milton Keynes, I was parked up and chilled out in the Outer Hebrides enjoying this view:
I spoke with Frank, the owner of the land where I was pitched up, who happily shared his space in exchange for some hints and tips on marketing his holiday home in the islands.
The feeling of relief, calm, and peacefulness was almost overwhelming.
Next day, the wind had dropped and the midges were out in force. I was almost held prisoner in the Airstream by the marauding millions. I'd never experienced that before, but thereagain this was my first visit in August.
Still, I consoled myself with a nice lunch. And the view wasn't too shabby:
I spent the next couple of days walking and enjoying the food in the local pub. Soon it was time to move on, and en route I stopped off at the Kildonan Museum on South Uist:
It made for a fascinating visit. I love learning about the history of the islands, and how the islanders lived in relatively recent times. Well worth a visit. Topped off, of course, with a trip to the brilliant cafe and afternoon tea.
My destination from here remains a bit of a secret. Why? Because it's my favourite camping spot IN THE WORLD and I'm a bit wary about sharing it.
What makes it so special? Well, take a look at the snaps:
Ah yes, the kitesurfing. Imagine having three miles of white sandy beach and clear turquoise sea all to yourself, bar for the occasional walker enjoying the light, space, and clean air. The wind picked up and I had a couple of stonking sessions. These were interspersed with lunch and cake at the Kirkibost Centre and evenings flaked out enjoying the sunsets as the fire flickered away in the fire basket. Perfect, perfect, perfect.
Here I spent three nights, the maximum tolerable when wild camping, so off I toddled to another island, where I spent nights at different spots, each again simply beautiful.
All too soon it was time to head to Lochmaddy and the ferry home.
As I collected my ticket at the port, the friendly agent mentioned that he'd seen me a few days previous while he was doing beach patrol. He even remembered that I'd visited the previous year and had gone on to Barra. I love this place, I really do.
Waiting for the ferry, I went to have lunch in the local arts centre and bought myself a CD of Ceilidh music for the journey home.
All too soon, the mv Hebrides appeared over the horizon:
After a smooth and enjoyable crossing to Skye, off I headed along the A87 towards Fort William.
Now, if you have never driven the A87, then you must stop reading this immediately, drop everything, and GO drive it. It remains my favourite road trip, again IN THE WORLD. The scenery is stunning. Absolutely stunning. As the mountains towered moodily either side of the road, the Ceilidh music played in the car, the Airstream followed obligingly, and the sun set casting a golden glow over the dramatic scenery, it was hard to see to drive through the tears that kept welling up in my eyes. Utterly, utterly beautiful.
However, all good things come to an end and darkness robbed me of the fantastic views. At this precise point, Bunree Caravan Club Site appeared with its welcoming Late Night Arrival Area. I could pull over and spend a restful night plugged into the mains, in total security, and sleep well. Which is exactly what I did. Thank goodness for the Caravan Club and its culture of providing the weary caravanner with somewhere to stop even after hours. And, as if to sweeten the bitter pill of the holiday coming to an end, look at the view that I woke up to the following morning:
You know, life really doesn't get much better than this, does it?
Naturally, there is a video of the trip for you to enjoy:
Airstream Hebrides 2011