July and the Socially Distanced Camping Experiment

During lockdown we’ve been very good and done our best to follow the rules, use our common sense and keep ourselves, our family and others safe.

3 out of 4 of us stayed home all the time. KB soldiered on at the NHS and I homeschooled the anklebiterz and set and marked work for my own students. We took our daily walk, kept our distance from family and friends and shopped online. We zoomed and whatsapped, did PE with Joe and made our own fun.

We packed up and moved house in June, after a long, drawn out and stressful 6 month-long process and for most of the time the van hardly moved.

The turn of the New Year, when we were excited for another 12 months of van based adventures and Corona virus still seemed like something in a far-off place, was the last time we camped out, near the East Coast, and at the time we were looking forward to another great vanlife year.

The Hollies, or is it The Willows?

Since then, the most action the van has seen was the almost 3 weeks that KB had to live in there parked on the drive, isolating himself from the rest of us, when the virus reached his patients and colleagues. Miserable.

It’s now the end of July. Pubs have been open a while, although we haven’t visited any. Hairdressers are back open, although I’m still on the waiting list for a chop, shops which have been open a while with the one way system social distancing, which recently has fallen by the wayside, are now only to be visited with a face mask in place.

The kids have had 4 days back in school before the summer holidays, and only then as I had to go in to work myself. Small group bubbles, Madame was her own bubble with a teacher for 2 days. The boy was an absolute star getting straight in, despite playing the full Mummy’s boy role for months.

As campsites have been officially allowed to open recently, and its now allegedly the 6 week break, we decided to do a cheeky overnighter to test the waters, so to speak.

The planned wanderings for this year have had to be amended, obviously according to circumstance. This summer should have been the big Spanish North Coast Road Trip, but the ferries were cancelled, and eventually refunded, so rebooked for next year.

The alternative plans we made at the height of lockdown misery were to explore the Outer Hebrides, CalMac permitting, or else Plan C was to do the #NorthCoast500.

Following the resolution of the Spanish scenario and an exploration of the CalMac website, island hopping is reserved – look out for #OperationHebrides2020 coming soon!

Dreaming of escaping lockdown and getting closer than 2m

It took 4 tries to find somewhere for a Saturday nighter, we ended up at the very much enjoyed previously Sealwood Vineyard. When I spoke to the mester by phone he said 20 nicker, but no facilities except water and EHU. Done.

We were confident that the John situation wouldn’t be a problem with the Popaloo and improved tent, and should the need arise, the 4L platypus water carrier with shower head attachment was in the cupboard. A bit of warm water in the bag and job’s a good un.

We left home just after lunch, and for the first time were met at the gate by the mester. Funds were parted with, reminders dispensed about padlocked dunnies and we headed over to poggy number 2. The little mester said they were trying to space folk out – there was only us and 2 caravans, who had clearly arrived together, so we had the whole end of the field at the vineyard side to enjoy.

Peace, quiet and an al fresco cuppa

The smalls got straight down to business – nerfing, hooning about and wrestling, and we enjoyed a cuppa and a brace of Yorkshire Curd tarts. After an hour or so of enjoying the scenery thoughts turned to teatown and the planned BBQ chook, spuds and corn cobbettes, whereupon KB enquired where I had packed the bag with the legs and etc for the Cadac.


Of course, the correct answer is somewhere in the trailer, on me Dad’s drive, where they have been all along!


Luckily for us, a man of KB’s calibre is not to be put off by a lack of barbecuing hardware, and we were fed handsomely.


The weather took a turn. We had rolled out the canopy, which saved us from sporadic episodes of mizzle, but the forecast thundershowers arrived, so we adjourned indoors for movie night.

On emerging this morning from the pitch black interior, it was wall to wall sunshine:

Sunny morning skies

Evidently an al fresco bacon and egg was a requirement, with runny yolks aplenty:


We had arranged to meet R&K at Barton Marina for a socially distanced coffee and catch up, so after enlisting a small helper with the washing up…

Tiger boy with tea towel

We packed away quick smart and made like shepherds.

Chocks away

So, on reflection, it was nice to get away and felt like a normal trip. We both said that the way we camp normally is not really much different considering the restrictions at the moment and we won’t be put off.

#OperationHebrides2020 is coming up shortly, hopefully with the addition of the Colapz shower pump, to enable slightly fancier al fresco showering arrangements and some whole new islands and big stones to discover, looking forward to #showmethemenhir and another road trip. Not so much looking forward to the midges, need to come up with a solution πŸ€”


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