There are still spare campervans if anyone is looking for a last minute October getaway next week?
One of the best things about the nights drawing in, is the feeling of contentment you get when snuggled up in cosy spaces. I think our Danish guests would call it ‘Hygge’.
Lola & Oor Wullie have ‘Propex’ heating for wild camping. All of our campervans come with an electric heater for hook-up in campsites. It’s so cosy being tucked up inside the campers at this time of year. So grab your fairy lights and get packing!
There are some great campsites that have fire pits like the Red Squirrel in Glencoe (no electric hook-up though.) Or camp beside the beach in one of the many great sites dotted around our coastline, in places such as Arisaig or Fortrose. A fire on the beach is one of the best ways to beat the chill.
The sound of the rutting of the stags is another of my favourite things about camping at this time of year. Eerie and majestic those mating calls can be heard easily throughout the countryside now.
Or just enjoy the dark skies & see if you can get a campervan & Northern Lights photo. The Aurora Borealis is often best seen in the Highlands but as Galloway has the UK’s only ‘Dark Sky Park’ you can head in any direction to spot them, so long as you’re away from light pollution.
Campervans are great for chasing the sun, or the Northern Lights. With your holiday home on wheels you can get a taste of vanlife this autumn in Scotland.
Grab a last minute holiday bargain at £99 per night when you book 6 nights now. Price includes fully comprehensive insurance for up to 4 qualifying drivers and all of the camping equipment you could need.
(Which aren’t in Edinburgh or Glasgow, or even on Skye!)
Edinburgh and Glasgow are both amazing cities with great architecture, galleries, history, people to meet and places to go. But what if you have time to spend elsewhere in this beautiful country and you’d like to know where the locals would go?
Most of Scotland’s population live in ‘the central belt’ and since 2013 many of them have been flocking to marvel at the world’s largest equine sculpture: The Kelpies. Designed by sculptor, Andy Scott, the two horses’ heads are built over 30ft high in steel. Situated in Helix Park in Falkirk, a five minute drive from Vintage VW Campers HQ. The nearby Falkirk Wheel is the world’s only rotating boat-lift, which links the Forth & Clyde with the Union Canal and is also a must-see when in the area.
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is on our doorstep, just under an hour’s drive brings you to the bustling town of Callandar. Several lochs are in this area providing fishing by permit or other water sports activities. The walking and wildlife watching opportunities here are also fantastic. The Park has become so popular with locals that a byelaw has been passed preventing wild camping in the area; fortunately, there are plenty great campsites to choose from.
A three hour drive from Falkirk will bring you to another favourite town, Oban. Oban is a fun port town with opportunities to buy seafood from the pier, take a hike up to McCaigs Tower to see the amazing view. Visit the Oban distillery and take a boat trip to watch seals or take a ferry to Mull, which is a great island to camp on. A boat trip from Mull or Oban brings you to the famous sea cave, Fingal’s Cave on Staffa.
Also a three hour drive from Falkirk will take you north to Lochaber and Scotland’s most famous glen, Glencoe. The drive through Rannoch Moor, just before the glen is similarly spectacular. Glaciers and volcanoes formed the breath-taking scenery around here. Glencoe mountain resort is great for thrill-seekers; hiking, climbing, mountain biking and skiing are all popular pastimes here. There is a National Trust for Scotland Visitor Centre to help you discover the history of the Glencoe massacre.
A further two hour drive brings you from Glencoe to Arisaig. Arisaig is a small village at the start of sandy coastline which runs up to the Sands of Morar. Not only are the white sand beaches stunning but the views to the Isles of Eigg and Rum are similarly so. A perfect spot to catch an amazing sunset from the many great campsites along the shoreline.
If you have time to drive the North Coast 500, then do not miss Sango Sands, a mere 259 miles from Vintage VW Campers HQ is this other-worldly beach at Durness. As you are now at the end of the Scottish mainland, you could say you are at the end of the earth in some respects. The beach is surrounded by cliffs and conveniently at the top of those cliffs is a great campsite. Durness is the village where John Lennon spent his childhood holidays and understandably had to bring Yoko for a visit in later life. Also check out nearby Balnakeil Beach and Craft Village. Be sure to have a hot chocolate at Cocoa Mountain.
So now only the sea separates you from the Orkney Islands, the nearest port from Durness is Scrabster, but you can also take ferries here from Aberdeen or Gills Bay. The west Orkney mainland is a magical pre-historic landscape protected by its UNESCO World Heritage Site status. The Ring of Brodgar standing stone circle was built between 2500 and 2000 BC and its unconfirmed purpose adds to the mystery. The nearby Skara Brae was built in 3200 BC and is an amazing Stone Age village.
From Ullapool or Skye you can catch a ferry to the adjoining islands of Lewis & Harris, once again history and beaches are two of the main attractions here for many. The Callanish Standing Stones are as unexplained and magical as the Ring of Brodgar is. The west coast Harris beach of Luskentyre regularly appears in lists of top beaches of the world and it is indeed stunning but do not miss Ardroil Beach in Uig Bay on Lewis. Like Sango Sands it has an ends of the earth feeling and given there’s not much between here and America except ocean, you can understand why.
Back down the country, this time on the east coast is the charming East Neuk of Fife. Just over an hour’s drive from Falkirk brings you to this stretch of coastline, peppered with quaint fishing villages and beaches. Neuk is the Scots word for corner and this is indeed a very special corner of the world.
So most people have now heard of the North Coast 500 but did you know that the West Coast 400 is now a packaged adventure roadtrip you can dip in and out of covering Oban to Campbelltown? We also have a South West 300 roadtrip and this takes in stunning drives like The Devil’s Beeftub and favourite spots like Moffat & Kirkcudbright.
I have a deep, life-long love of Skye, having holidayed here in the 70s and every decade since. It is the most popular location for Vintage VW Campers guests to go but it can get crowded in summer months and I’d recommend going here in Spring or Autumn if you can.
As the days are about to start getting longer again, it’s a great time to reflect on 2016. While at the same time hatching our plans for a fabulous 2017.
Richie and I are now in our fourth year, since we created Vintage VW Campers and every year gets better and better. Thanks to all of you who have participated or shared in our journey along the way.
In 2016 we welcomed more self-drive holiday guests than ever, chauffeured more brides and grooms than before and somehow, we seem to have ended up with an end of year count of nine Volkswagens and a Teardrop Trailer to look after!
Vintage Campervans in the News
Blondie & The Nodpod featured in a major German network TV show: “Once Camping, Always Camping.” Which was shot in 2015 and aired in June this year.
Robin McKelvie, one of Scotland’s foremost travel writers took his family on an adventure with our own Ziggy Starvan in The Scottish Borders. He was then kind enough to share his experiences through his writing on Welcome to Scotland and The Daily Record.
We were chosen as one of only seven Scottish businesses, to represent Small Business Saturday UK 100. Not only was this a great honour but it led to our business being introduced to more people through articles in The Herald, The Scotsman, The Express and an interview on Talk Radio. (We had to turn down our invite to 10 Downing Street but I hear the PM didn’t make it either!)
Our Small Business Saturday Open Day was a great success, lots of fun and we even managed to raise over £150 for Strathcarron Hospice at the same time.
Our Guest Best Photo Competition 2016 has been won by Matt Hay but there really were (as always) some great contenders.
Reliable Campervans & Team of Experts
I’m happy to report that in 2016 we had nothing returned to Vintage VW Campers HQ on a tow-truck and all the extremely hard work that our mechanic, Davie at Solway Campers put in was well worth the time, money and effort.
Richie and Davie are currently expending the same effort, with our winter restoration programme, ensuring 2017 goes just as well.
Meanwhile I’m working on lots of exciting website content updates and the complicated, techy stuff is in the capable hands of Carl at Karbon Designed. Business Gateway and their Digital Boost training and consultancy has been a great support for me also.
If happiness really is a state of mind we can control, then it’s important to set and preferably write down our goals for 2017.
Some of my strongest desires don’t change year on year. In 2017 I’d like to have 100% guest satisfaction. I’d also like to share our beautiful campervans and country with even more customers than before.
Although the domestic market is our strongest, followed by Europe, North America and Australasia, we were delighted to welcome guests from Thailand and Singapore for the first time this year. I wonder what new nationalities we will meet in 2017; wherever you are in the world please visit Scotland and if you fancy seeing the scenery from the slow lane, please check out our family of classic campers.
Best Christmas Gift Ever
I really need to get to the post office now, as I have more of our VW Campervan Gift Experience Vouchers to post. If you or your loved ones are planning a self-catering holiday in Scotland in 2017, then our vouchers could possibly be the best Christmas gift ever. There’s still time to get your order in by calling 0131 344 4146 or emailing [email protected].
Brides & Grooms, or anyone celebrating life’s milestones can also use our gift vouchers towards chauffeur driven experiences in our 1965 VW splitscreen microbus, Meg.
Volkswagen campervan hire in Scotland really is a unique adventure of a lifetime. Where will your 2017 journey take you?
(Our featured images above are kindly supplied by Nathan Green from SoonlyWeds.)
As lots of you were wondering what the VW Campervan experience is actually like. We thought we’d delve into the travel journals, which are kept in our campers’ gloveboxes and spill the beans. These have previously only been shared with people hiring our kombis, so for the first time ever we open up to the public excerpts from the secret diaries of Lola, Blondie, Ziggy & Oor Wullie.
After all, our previous customers are best placed to inform you what to expect when touring Scotland in a Vintage VW Camper.
At the same time we’ve identified ten points that many of our customers ask before they come or comment on after their trip.
How long does it take to drive the North Coast 500?
We recommend minimum 1 week to enjoy this in a T2 Volkswagen.
We’ll kick off with Lola’s most recent NC500 tour, earlier this month. And a summary of how our customers found the experience.
“Lola was cosy, comfortable, lovely to drive and extremely popular with fellow travellers. We couldn’t ask for a better holiday companion.”
Why does everyone wave & tell you their own VW story?
Because by getting behind the wheel, you have just joined an international VW club. You will be like a magnet wherever you go in your T2 and it’s Volkswagen law that you wave at any other VW Campervan you pass on the road.
“A lovely lady talked to us in the ferry queue- she has her own Lola on Colonsay!”
“We had admiring waves everywhere we went and Oor Wullie made lots of friends”
What’s the weather like in Scotland?
There’s a good chance you may experience 4 seasons in one day. We live in a country where it’s possible to get hurt by hailstones and sunburn in one day.
“Barra here we come! Bumpy ferry ride with no visibility but stunning sunshine when we arrived at Castlebay and found the beachfront campsite at Borve- highly recommended.”
Where should I go on a tour of Scotland?
Skye is by far the most popular destination for our guests but Scotland has plenty other exciting places to go as well. We offer as much or as little help as our guests want in planning itineraries and routes. To make up your bespoke itinerary we need some pointers on your interests, or where you’ve been before. We love beach and lochsides and will always try to direct you to locations that are amongst the most stunning in the world.
“We spent the day on the west of Harris, enjoying fabulous beaches”
“We could see the sea while sitting inside Ziggy enjoying a warm soup and good book.”
“At Arisaig we found white beaches and turquoise water.”
Where should I camp & can I camp anywhere?
Scotland has a vast selection of varied campsites and our list of recommended campsites grows daily. You can camp anywhere in Scotland (except the east side of Loch Lomond between March and October) but you must follow the Outdoor Access Code and be responsible.
“We travelled up north to Durness, where we spent the night wild camping on the shores of Balnakeil Beach”
“…before taking Lola east to the haven of Lickisto Blackhouse Campsite- an idyllic spot”
What is it like inside a VW Camper?
The driving experience is more challenging, modern cars drive you, you drive a T2. There usually isn’t as much storage space as in a larger motorhome, so everything packs away very neatly. Such as our hidden tabletops, tripods for al fresco dining table and the well for your indoor table.
“We’ve really enjoyed the fun of camping with Lola, meeting lots of other campers, testing our tidying skills, working out how to organise ourselves, taking our time on single track roads and learning to drive properly again!”
Can we cook inside the campervan?
All of our campers have gas cookers, sinks and fridges or coolboxes.
“We used the BBQ you supplied most nights and cooked meatballs & spaghetti inside one night. The campervan cookbook you gave us was inspiring.”
Is there an ipod connection?
Our stereos all have ipod/phone connections (cable supplied) and all gloveboxes have at least one CD in them.
“Driving along the country roads in Blondie, listening to Blondie was perfect, we wish she was ours.”
“I dreamt a long time about driving up the steepest road in GB. Driving Ziggy up the pass to Applecross while listening to David Bowie was a dream come true”
We include optional extras but beware of the awning, unless you are staying in the same campsite for at least 2 nights.
“The Awning! It took us 3 hours to put up!!! Lots of “debating” went on 1st about how to do it. LOL. We got there! 1 hour to get down and packed away. Worth doing if you’re not moving around for all the extra space, it’s massive!”
Can I hire a VW Camper for my Wedding?
Although Meg, our splitscreen microbus is chauffeur driven for weddings, our bay window campervans are perfect for self drive weddings & honeymoon. It’s also worth noting that if you use Meg for your Wedding, you can have 20% of a self-drive bay holiday anytime up to your first Wedding Anniversary, as a wee gift from us. As we offer campervan gift vouchers you can even put them on your Wedding Gift List.
“We whizzed Ziggy off to Dunoon to hand in our marriage certificate and then went round Loch Fyne”
If you have ever wondered anything we haven’t covered in this post, about the Vintage VW Campers experience, then please email your questions to [email protected]
If you’ve heard enough and you’re ready to choose your campervan then start your journey here.
Why do Vintage VW Campers have such an enduring appeal?
Buckle up and get ready for the ride, speed is not of the essence: making memories, adventure, chilling out and freedom, that’s what it’s all about.
Back in the 1960s and 1970s these ready-made holiday homes on wheels met the leisure needs of three generations. Family holidays could consist of granny, parents and children all bunked up together inside a campervan.
Those who were the youngest generation in the 60s and 70s campervanning heydays are now the grandparents or at least the parents choosing their family holiday destinations. There’s no doubt these people look back fondly on their long and sunny family holidays and want to recreate them.
There are also those who always envied their pals in campervans, while they roughed it under canvass in a tent and have nursed a desire to go on a campervan holiday ever since.
These VW Type 2’s, both the older T1 Split Screen, available from 1950 and the T2 Bay Window, which took over in 1967 are incredibly cute and stylish to many people.
“They are just so well designed and I think they have such friendly ‘faces’.” One member of the Lothians’ Volkswagen Club confided.
So the interpretation of the front of campervans appearing to have eyes and a nose (represented by the headlights and spare wheel) is what strikes a chord with some people. Undoubtedly the essential practice of giving a name to your campervan helps make them one of the family too.
It could be this which causes people as young as five years old to fall in love with VW Campers as well. A few Vintage VW Campers guests booked because of a child’s obsession with the vehicles. Their parents often didn’t know where the love had come from.
But why explore Scotland in a Vintage VW Camper?
The flexibility and practicality of, like a tortoise, having your home with you as you travel is also part of the appeal. Like the view? Park up and stick the kettle on for a brew, no reason not to linger. Wherever you park up can be your home for the night and that is one reason why this mode of transport is so good for travelling in Scotland.
Wild camping is allowed in most of Scotland, provided that campers follow the ‘Outdoor Access Code.’ Besides that Scotland has hundreds of really good campsites so there’s no reason not to experience the best of both worlds: in a camper with both electric hook-up (for campsites) and leisure battery (for wild camping.)
The idea of chasing the sun in a campervan is also of particular resonance in Scotland, a country famous for sometimes giving us ‘four seasons in one day’. Don’t like the weather in one spot? No hassle of packing up a tent wet and pitching again at another location, just follow the weather forecast to a sunnier area, park up, pop the roof up and stick that kettle on again.
As most of Scotland’s relatively small population lives in the central belt, that leaves a lot of wild land to be explored. It also means a big responsibility to all who enjoy Scotland’s wild places; we are all responsible for the future of plants, animals and biodiversity. Enjoying the countryside with the ‘leave no trace’ challenge at the forefront of our activities is imperative for sustainable tourism. Thus allowing generations to come, the same pleasure we can have now.
Whether you get your outdoor kicks from surfing, hillwalking, climbing, golfing, beach-combing, star-gazing, aurora chasing or even just from chilling next to nature you could do far worse than enjoy it from the retro charm of a Vintage VW Camper.
Why do it Now?
Car manufacture was very different in the 60’s and ‘70’s unlike today’s built- in- obsolescence vehicles, cars back then were built to last. VW T2 production halted in Germany in 1979 but VW Brazil ended their production of the T2c in 2013. Therefore you can now only ever buy a T2 second hand and this is a minefield for the uninitiated. Vintage VW Campers tried (by hiring in Cornwall) before they bought and still made plenty school boy errors. So learn as much as possible about them first and hire one to check you actually like driving them. It is a work-out for your shoulders, with no power steering and a braking system very different from those in modern cars. You also need to take an expert with you, if you are in the market for a second hand vehicle, to minimise those errors.
So the enduring appeal just seems to grow and grow and the VW hire companies in Scotland and elsewhere allow everyone to experience the joy of campervan living.
The Tourism Thought Leaders Say:
VisitScotland have identified that our domestic tourists continue to embrace ‘staycations’ and both domestic and international travellers are lapping up ‘glamping’ a more comfortable version of camping which can relate to campervans, tipis, pods, gypsy caravans and more.
‘Modstalgia’ is another trend which is here to stay, whereby people choose to have a nostalgic holiday with more modern comfort than they did in the past. So it could be going to the seaside they went to when younger and staying in a plush hotel instead of a B+B, or it could be choosing to upgrade from a tent to a campervan. Vintage VW Campers offer vintage style with modern comfort, allowing a great modstalgic holiday in Scotland throughout the year.
Chris Greenwood, Senior Tourism Insight Manager for VisitScotland leads the team who came up with the portmanteau and he says: “…nostalgia is an emotional association to the past, so almost recreating or remembering past times and the emotional feelings those generate. Whereas modern nostalgia is more connected to these emotions, having a more modern experience but based around those feelings you had in the past or maybe even passing them onto the next generation.”
So What are you Waiting for?
Travelling in a Vintage VW Camper is unlike no other experience; in that everywhere you go people smile and wave at you. By getting behind the wheel of a T2, either hired or your own, you become part of a club. A very happy smiley club that likes to wave at each other. So why don’t you buckle up and start making memories you will want to hold onto forever?
VW Camper Adventures in Scotland
As we reflect on what feels like a very quick year at Vintage VW Campers HQ, we are delighted by looking back over our guests’ photos and sharing them with you. Hope they delight you too!
We actually could do with your help please in choosing an overall winner from the top twenty featured here. Not only will you be in with a chance of winning a £50 voucher to put towards your own Vintage VW Campers adventure, simply by voting for the winner; you will also be helping our winning guest get a fabulous goodie bag.
Lola at possibly the best picnic bench in the world by Andrew Webster
Lola in Glencoe3 by Jonny Danks
Oor Wullie with Ava by Alison Peden
Ziggy in sunshine by Gareth Walker
Thanks for looking, now please cast your vote on Facebook or email the title of your favourite to [email protected] If you vote for the winning photo, you will be put in a draw to win £50 voucher towards a trip with us, what a great way to start 2016!
Our ‘New’ Teardrop Trailer: The Nodpod T2
What is a Teardrop Trailer?
Teardrop Trailers are mini caravans, which became popular in the US in the 1930s. Their popularity has never waned but recently they have crossed into mainstream popularity thanks to the glamping phenomenon and modstalgia.
We became custodians of The Nodpod when we bought Lola, our orange 1972 VW T2. ” Don’t ask me to sell them separately” said Paul, whom I’d recently become acquainted with through his ebay advert for Lola. “I wouldn’t dream of spliting them up”, replied I.
My reasons were: I believe VW T2 heritage should be maintained wherever possible, I would no more split the vehicles up than change their names, asthetically they looked amazing together and I loved the practicality of having a seperate vehicle towed behind your VW Camper, creating two unique living areas, bedrooms and kitchens.
We have recently rebuilt our Teardrop Trailer A.K.A The Nodpod, by using our old one as a template. It had become necessary as the wood was rotting and we wanted an improved and watertight version. Luckily we had a very talented carpenter on hand, Steven Clark. Stevie hadn’t build a teardrop before but he had built campervan interiors. His skills and up for it can do attitude, merged well with those of Mr Vintage VW Campers and together over several days and nights they took the old trailer apart and used it as a template to build the new one in marine ply timber.
Stevie introduced us to dibond, a composite material used in sign-making and also the talented Paul Connelly of Connelly Design, who after the marine ply had been wrapped in dibond, was able to vinyl wrap the ‘Pod. This along with the hurricane hinge sourced from a US Teardrop firm make the Nodpod as watertight as we hoped.
The End Result
We have a fantastic pair in Lola and the Nodpod, they are perfect for a family or group of friends holiday, for those who don’t want to spend the entire holiday in each others pockets. We have also found The Nodpod is popular with couples who want extra storage space, when going away in Lola. If Lola is booked without the Nodpod, then you can hire the Nodpod to tow behind your own vehicle, if you have a tow bar with single electrics and a seven pin point.
The Nodpod is great for events and festivals, the kitchen area can be used as a bar, with the living/sleeping area providing great storage potential.