Elvis Lives

Joined May 2016
  • Day14

    Wester Ross

    July 21 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    We had our first experience of midge camping, and spent about an hour with sellotape around our hands clearing out the van before we could consider sleeping.

    Rather than take the quick roads across the peninsula we always took the costal road, much of which was single track with (lots of) passing places. We were tempted by some of rugged hill hikes along the road, but didn't think the weather would hold so we did a short stroll down the peninsula unsuccessfully otter hunting. Our first smokehouse was shut in Sundays but luckily the famous one wasn't and we stocked up on fresh fish.

    We took 'afternoon tea and cake' in a small walled garden in Applecross, and then a pint down the local as we heard live music. The guys next to us and even the musicians all were (temporarily) living in campervans! Unfortunately we couldn't park in town so after ascending and descending Britain's highest pass (a massive 625m!) we found a pull off overlooking Loch Carron, where we cooked our delicious fresh scallops and smoked salmon dinner.
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  • Day12

    Sandwood Bay to Knockan Crag

    July 19 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    We decided to walk to the most 'remote beach' in Scotland - which actually was only a 4 mile walk from the John Muir Trust maintained car park - with loos and a watertap! It was an easy walk across moorland to a beautiful sandy bay with its very own sea stack. We treated ourselves to a hot shower back in the van (whoever said van life was tough!? This is pure luxury!) Then fish & chips before a windy night on a little spot we found off the road.

    The next day was glorious so we headed up a little peninsular to stunning turquoise sea white sand beaches & a walk along the cliff tops to the Old Man of Stoer.

    Trying to find a place for the night we saw a sign for Knockan Crag to which I said the immortal words, 'let's not stop its just a rocky crag...' Well we then saw a flat car park with views across a loch with mountains silhouetted behind. Not only that but there was a walk and information as it turns out this was the place where geologists first proved that tectonic plates moved the earth's crust and massive pressures forced older rock layers to slide over newer ones! To top it all off we then saw 3 stags with massive antlers!! What a wonderful rocky crag!

    Scotland in Antarctica?!
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  • Day10

    Smoo to You

    July 17 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

    We continued winding our way along the iconic Route 500 (which is a lot less glamorous that 66 but a hell of a lot more beautiful), visiting white sand cove after white sand cove, stopping off for some more puffin spotting before holing up for the night on the Kyle of Tongue (think loch but sea) . More of the same the next day, including a stop off at the famous Smoo Cave (translates to Cave Cave!). The weather got a bit more Scottish so we wimped out to our first camp site, but a what a site perched on the edge of the cliffs. After a quick spruce up we hit the beach, pub, beach before settling down for an evening.Read more

  • Day8

    Top of the World

    July 15 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    We woke to glorious sunshine on the shores of Loch Ness which stayed with us all day as we ambled up the coast line. We found a few beaches, possibly saw an otter (I'm not counting it as I'm not sure..) & visited a hill o' many stones - no-one knows who put them there or why, possibly 3000—4000 bc!
    We made it to John O'Groats feeling pretty pleased with ourselves - I can't imagine what it must feel like to have ridden all the way from Lands End. We actually saw a guy walking pulling a trolley about 40 miles south - we beeped & he gave us a happy wave - I wonder how long he's been walking?
    We were a little disappointed we couldn't book onto the Orkney Isles trip for tomorrow - but they don't allow dogs :( So we decided to go to the true furthest point North on mainland Britain - Dunnets Head. We had stunning views across the sea to Hoy then got the binocs out to spot nesting puffins on the cliffs below. We topped off the evening with a bbq & watched the sunset & moon rise - it is still light as I write this at 10:30!
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  • Day7

    Loch Nessie

    July 14 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

    After visiting the impressive Culloden Battlefield, sight of the last big battle on British shores we went in hunt of Nessie. Although we weren't successful we did find a lovely place to watch the Wimbledon final in the afternoon sun, and ended up with a table crowded around my phone watching England win the Cricket World Cup!!! (seemingly we only win things when we are in Scotland, as we were here on that momentus day in 2003.Read more

  • Day6

    Beaten Back by the Cairngorms

    July 13 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    We picked our mate Sam (a fellow Nicaragua trekking guide) up from Edinburgh Airport and drove a couple of hours north to the Cairngorms National Park. We paid our 2 quid and had a nice night in a quiet night in a car park ready for an early start the next day. Unfortunately we set off in drizzle which got progressively worse
    the higher up we climbed (on the 3rd highest peak in Scotland) . Apparently its one of the most spectacular walks in the UK but after nearing the top we baled from the horrible 45° rain and headed down again. The lower we got the nicer it was and we ended up walking nearly as far as planned but in the opposite direction. After grabbing a shower and a beer we dropped Sam off at Aviemore Station and headed back to the 'car park' that rivalled some of the best camp spots in the US.
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  • Day4

    Night in the Dales

    July 11 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    After a day busy working we finally set off on our holiday! We were on our way to a nice sounding brewery that let's you park up for the night, but on our way we found a lovely little spot nestled in a small valley with a bubbling brook and couldn't help but stop.

  • Day2

    Richmond Audit

    July 9 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

    Jo had a couple of days of audit to do in the gorgeous little town of Richmond, North Yorkshire. We found a great dog friendly hotel and explored the town, castles, waterfall and even a ruined monastery I found on my run. With work out of the way so we could start our holiday properly!

  • Day1

    Off to the Pub

    July 8 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

    We set off from Os(westry) late afternoon and drove for a couple hours of hours until we reached the Yorkshire moors. Our favourite iOverlander app found us a great pub where we could stop for the night and have a hearty home cooked meal.

  • Day789

    San-hatten

    July 14, 2018 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    We spent two days charging up the boring Ruta 5 highway - fortunately mostly on our argentinan petrol tanks at half the price of the Chilean gas.

    We spent a couple of nights outside a lovely Airbnb place despite the fact we were staying in our van. Claudia and Patricio are wannabe overlanders and they couldn't have been more accommodating. We hung out with them for a couple of days, watching the footy on his massive TV, and chatting away into the small hours. They didn't charge us anything and you couldn't have met nicer folks.

    We checked into our Airbnb nice and early so we could enjoy the England v Croatia semi final. We hit an Irish bar which had a whole floor devoted to England fans - rather bizarrely I got stuck next to a yank from NY who spent the entire game trying to convince me of his englishness, and Jo had a Danish guy who wouldn't shut up either. On top of that Fox Sports were there shining a camera and bright light right into our faces, but fortunately they didn't try to interview us in Spanish. We managed to ignore all the distractions as much as we could to enjoy the game, as England inevitably succumbed to beatable opponents.

    That night I had the weirdest experience: I took Maya out for her nighttime widdle and saw a load of fire engines at the end of our road. I paid little attention to them but jumped into the van to grab a few things before heading back upstairs. Then there was a knock at the door and a lovely, English speaking, volunteer fireman explained that a gas leak had been reported, we were parked right outside the French embassy - hence the big emergency vehicle response! They had found the leak was from our van and repaired it. If I hadn't had gone to the van we would have no idea of the drama we caused! That serves us right for filling the gas for the new owner - they somehow managed to squeeze in way more than ever before, but at least we got it fixed for free :)

    The drama didn't end there when a drunk crazy woman accosted me. She was blathering all sorts of stuff and trying to get into the van. Fortunately a security guy who was driving the streets (not police, so I don't know who was paying him?) calmed it down. A few minutes later she was back and shouting at me to lie down on the street like she was, but I love the security dude for sticking around and whilst she was offloading onto him I snuck out the back. The whole thing was probably the strangest experience we've had on the whole way down!

    Santiago is so westernised and different from the rest of our trip, that when I learnt they called it San-hatten I could totally understand it. It probably was a good readjustment back to the real world, but it was kinda hard to get used to not being on the road.

    We spent a couple of weeks in a nice little apartment really close to the centre. We had a lot to do to get ourselves sorted.

    I went to the airport to visit customs and sign over the van, but the guy there flat out refused and said we had to drive to the border over 3 hours and 3,000m altitude gain away! The next day we thought it worth popping back in to the airport before the long drive and low and behold they stamped the paperwork within 5 minutes :)

    The rest of the week was spent sorting ourselves out, getting Maya's paperwork ready and a little bit of time enjoying the city. This new sedentary lifestyle took some getting used to, for Maya particularly, and we ended both ended up running a lot just to blow through some excess energy.

    Eventually Patricio took us to the airport and Jo & Maya got home safely, albeit by a horrible circuitous route via Madrid & Frankfurt before her parents picked them up and saw them safely home.

    I left a few days later, as contingency against problems with the van or Maya, but with the luxury of a direct flight home. My heart fell when I saw 60+ school kids waiting to board the plane, and with all the commotion it wasn't until I was queuing to board that I realised I'd been upgraded :) What a great way to finish off the trip!
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