Heading north to John o’ Groats via Northumberland the Scottish Borders, the Island of Skye and the Highlands.

It’s been a long time since we have been travelling in our van, corvid 19 has kept us isolated at home. But we’ve been busy overhauling our van over the last year, the tyres have been wearing out on one side especially the near side front of the van which was making the offside front and near side back run out of track also. Trying to find a company in Hull to fix it was impossible. So I asked around at some commercial garages and they said it’s so expensive to buy the equipment so they subcontract all the wheel tracking out to mobile tracking expert. So I give him a ring and he came to my house and fixed the tracking, he said the near side track rod end had been replaced wrong it was about 1 inch to short which was making the van crab as it was being driven down the road so he lengthen the track rod and checked it out with his laser beam equipment. A job well done saving a fortune in tyres.

Next job decorating the interior of the van, it was getting a bit old fashioned all the cupboards were dark brown the upholstery was getting a bit worn out. So we decided to paint the cupboards two shades of gray, it was a big job painting cupboards inside and out taking doors and shelves off, thought I would never finish, a very awkward job. We got all the upholstery replaced put sheepskin covers on the two front seats and did some tiling around the kitchen sink and new pink curtain to match. We are very pleased with the result of making our van look more contemporary.

Next up upgrading our solar power system. We have 600 watts of solar panels on the roof of the van which works very well. But our solar controllers need replacing so I bought two new mppt controllers which are much more efficient each controlling 300 watts of power from the panels. We have 4 AGM Victron batteries 110 ah each, giving 440 ah storing us plenty of electricity making us self-sufficient. So we cook mostly on electricity we have an air fryer, a Gorge Forman grill, electric kettle, and a toaster. We don’t use much propane gas but we use it to heat hot water for the shower and the heating when needed. For Internet we have an omnidirectional wifi Arial on the roof which supplies our router with broadband for use in the van for internet and streaming Netflix and other TV channels.

Our plans for going on our travels last year had to be cancelled. We were going to Norway but covid 19 put a stop to that idea. So this year were staying in the UK. We have decided to go to Scotland via Northumberland the Scottish borders the Island of Skye and the Highlands. So on the 2nd of June we set off for the east coast of Northumberland. We parked up on a small but beautiful site, in a village called Budle right next to the beach and settled in. the weather was excellent so we made a meal and eat outside and watched the sunset over the sea a lovely end to our first day on holiday. The sun was shining brightly next mourning so we decided to go for a two-mile walk on the beach around the headland to Bamburgh Castle. The village of Bamburgh is lovely and the Castle is spectacular. Time for a pint and a meal so we found a nice pub and relaxed. Walking back on the beach the tide goes out for miles and we could see Holy Island and Lindisfarne Castle we could have walked to holy Island but we had done enough walking for the day, so we went back to the site.

We have never been to this part of the Northumberland coast before, we would come again it’s a great place to visit. Time to move on to Scottish borders. We went just over the Scottish border to the Market town of Kelso. Kelso is on the river Tweed renowned for its Salmon fishing, and its two famous golf courses. Kelso is a good Centre for visiting the Scottish borders and the town is worth visiting. Just out of Kelso is the Statue of William Wallace a gigantic statue standing 31 feet high erected in 1814. William Wallace is one of Scotlands great heroes he took on the might of England to win independence for Scotland, but he was betrayed by his enemies and failed. The statue stands looking over the river tweed and the beautiful borders countryside, on the edge of a forest. A great place for us to park for the night.

That’s all for now hope you enjoyed our blog we’ll be putting a blog up every Monday. Next, moving on to Loch Lomond. derekandpat.com xx

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