Living in-between places is rough. I know you folks will be like, “but aren’t you moving into a van?” and you’d be right. But this is a different kind of “living in between.” Just now, we have around 5 different addresses that all serve a different purpose. Some of our everyday belongings are in the van, some are in the caravan and some are at my granny’s house in Inverness. There is no organisation. I HATE a lack of organisation. Like, despise it with all my kidneys. So I am currently swimming against the tide trying to keep things organised. On a plus note, I’ve been sleeping like a dead rock, it’s brilliant.
For all the roughness, bad timing and general chaos that has come with moving up to the Highlands, there have been some absolutely corking highlights. It wouldn’t be me writing this if I wasn’t like, “the glass is feckin half-full, OKAY?!”
The Moment I Flipped
Before I go onto the real fabulousness that has come with being back in the Highlands, I thought it would only be fair to share the bottom of the barrel moment. This picture (and its hilarious contents) went down very well on Instagram because folk love seeing me hanging on by a loose tooth. Before you even think anything, you try this portable bath. It’s an absolute game-changer. I want no judgements at this point thanks. But aye, I think I’m writing this post to remind myself that we will be doing so much more of the following when we can finally go full-time van life and a lot less of the gumpf it’s taking to get there. So, without further adieu, let’s have a look at some of the highlights from being in the Highlands these last cupla’ months.
Emmm… so just wondering if anyone can tell me how I spent 21 years living in the Highlands (and a further 8 dipping back in for adventures) that I managed to never go to Glen Affric? How?! It’s a bit awkward now cause it’s kinda become one of my favourite Scottish glens. I get massive Canadian lake vibes from it. And I’ve never been to Canada.
Glen Affric is still very much a wild glen, there’s very little human interference with it, and for that reason, it’s brilliant. With fast-flowing waterfalls, dramatic hills and mysterious lochs, this is the kinda place you’d see wolves. If we had them in Scotland. With rewilding very much on the cards, maybe one day we will see this.
Dog Friendly Inverness
We managed to completely get away from van converting, work and all the stresses that come with our life (believe me, there are plenty), to get away on a partnership with VisitScotland. We didn’t go far, only into Inverness, but it made all the difference just doing the kinda things that we hope to do a lot more of with van life. You can read all about it (lol) in our dog friendly places to visit in Inverness article. We went to some lovely local pubs including The Clachnaharry Inn and MacGregors Bars, alongside visits to Culloden Battlefield and the mouth of the Beauly Firth.
I’m not taking any of this trip for granted, it was fantastic to get away from everything.
One of the first places we went when we moved back up to the Highlands is one of my absolute favourite swimming spots in the Highlands; Rosemarkie Beach. I’ve been there like 283092 times as a kid but going there as a fully functioning mermaid is a whole other ball game. Unfortunately, it was just a little bit too cold to get my head dooked under. I’d say roll on Summer but with van life, and emm, the world as it is, who even knows where we will be in the Summer? I’d like to get a Rosemarkie snorkel in but like, I might be in Ireland.
Reindeer at The Cairngorms… in May
This was totally unexpected. We headed out from Inverness to take the dogs a wee walk and ended up driving Van Heilan up Cairngorm Mountain. Standard. This is another reason for us doing van life, so we can get lost, and stay there. We headed up the mountain later in the day and caught, not only a whopper of a rainbow ending in Loch Morlich but heaps of reindeer. Random reindeer. In May. Just kicking about being reindeer. The first bit of timing that’s made sense since we moved here.
Ugh, Loch Achility. I have such mixed feelings on this loch. It’s really bonnie, and from a wild swimmers perspective, perfect for parking and entry, albeit a little busy sometimes. But there’s just something about this loch that doesn’t sit well with me. And no, before you say, it’s not the temperature. I just don’t enjoy a swim here as much as in other places. Although in all fairness, I am ecstatic at basically every swim spot in the Highlands, I’m just a little less ecstatic at Achilty. Don’t know what my beef is. But, even I had to simmer when we caught a gorgeous sunset over the loch, whilst I was in it, being frozen like a fish finger.
I’d be telling lies if I didn’t tell you that we headed out to this beautiful village and Glen, to get content. I am a “content creator” after all. And I wouldn’t be very good at creating content if there was no content to create, eh? We took the baby drone out over the top of Loch Cluanie and caught perfect views.But more than that, we spent maybe 12 minutes capturing content and the other hours rolling about in the heather with the dogs. Corrie looks gorgeous with a heather backdrop.
One of my top highlights has been spending some time on the croft that we are living on. It’s been just lovely waking up in the morning to the sounds of the farm. I am such an animal lover too so constantly being surrounded by cows, sheep (and lambs), horses and chickens, has been just ace. Being a crofter is a huge amount of work, but I could see me settling down in the future with some animals, maybe a few chickens, a couple of Highland cows, 14 dogs, and maybe some unicorns… and an alpaca or two, maybe a few donkeys…
Signing in with van dreams, signing out with a croft and 84 animals. Peace.