Monthly Archives: January 2013

Mountain Biking in Scotland? Hire a VW Camper to get the most from your trip…

Scotland has some of the best trail riding in the world and is fast emerging as the destination of choice for visitors aware of the vast range of marked trail centres and wilderness riding available. Whither you tour in a VW Camper or Beetle, The Tartan Camper Company can provide you with cycle racks that can accommodate 4 adult bikes….. A camper will give you complete flexibility and will ensure that you can experience as many trails without being tied to hotel locations….

Mountain Biking in the Highlands

Fort William is a focal point for all things mountain biking each summer as nearby Nevis Range have hosted the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup for 7 years now, picking up a multitude of awards – not least the riders favourite – for the event.

For the more moderate mountain biker there are off-road opportunities by way of a huge range of forestry tracks, for example. These include the Rothiemurchus Estate, Glenmore and Inshriach forests near Aviemore with miles of safe tracks through the pinewoods, or further south try the Laggan Wolftrax blue trail. Leanachan Forest near Fort William also offers plenty of waymarked routes (one even uses a disused narrow-gauge railway trackbed, winding high into Glen Spean) while further up the Great Glen and west towards Cannich and Glen Affric there are many trails both waymarked and unmarked. The Northern Highlands also has its share of routes including on the Black Isle, Aldie Burn in Easter Ross and at Borgie on the north coast. Escaping to the quiet of Culbin Forest rewards visitors with a range of gentle trails and the option of joining the picturesque coastal paths.

For a longer route of 80 miles/ 128km the Great Glen offers a good option – Sections of fully way-marked Mountain bike Route managed by Forest Enterprise can be linked with some on road sections around Drumnadrochit to form a continuous route between Fort William to Inverness.

For the more serious rider there are equally good options – Leanachan, Laggan Wolftrax, Learnie and Golspie offer red and black standard trails (one described as “well gnarly from the top down – the toughest black in Scotland?” At Nevis Range, the 2 mile / 3km track descending 2000ft/ 610m from the top Gondola station to the car park is Britain’s biggest downhill and only national and international race location. Existing trails are now being developed at Nevis Range and Golspie to offer an even better experience and Learnie has just re-profiled the bottom section of their Fun Park with a series of jumps and drops but don’t worry, chicken runs are available.

The new access legislation that came into force in February 2005 also gives mountain bikers a right of access as long as they act responsibly making planning your own off road route another option. The Scottish outdoor access website gives more advice on responsible access.

Campervan Holidays for the kids…

Ever noticed how you can take children to the finest view in the country and one of them will ask where the nearest swimming pool is? What you want to do might not always coincide with the kids’ idea of a fun afternoon. Below, The Tartan Camper Company have came up with some ideas on how to keep the kids entertained on your touring holiday…..

Train Journeys and Boat Trips

In recent Harry Potter films the spectacular train chase scene features the Hogwarts Express at the Glenfinnan Viaduct. You can experience your own magical train journey on the Jacobite Steam train from Fort William to Mallaig or the Strathspey Steam Railway, between Aviemore and Boat of Garten, who also run Thomas the Tank Engine weekends.

Go Nessie spotting on Loch Ness, try spotting Bottlenose Dolphins in the Moray Firth or take one of the many other cruises available around the Highlands.

Animals are always a great attraction for children. Mallaig Marine World, for example, offers lots of fishy delights, take the ferry across to Skye, and you can visit the Skye Serpentarium at Broadford. Meanwhile, the Highland Wildlife Park at Kincraig displays hardier beasts, many formerly native – children will love the wolf pack. There are also places to see working sheepdogs with their uncanny round-up skills – again at Kincraig, and also on Skye.

Tartan Campervan Hire on the Isle of Mull Image

Tartan Campervan Hire on the Isle of Mull

Swimming Pools and Leisure Centres

Inverness Aquadome is just one of the swimming pools and leisure centres in the area, while other places which help the kids let off steam include Landmark at Carrbridge, which has something for all ages, from treetop trails to spectacular slides. Treasures of the Earth, by Fort William, fascinates children in a different way, drawing them into a world of fabulous gemstones, caverns and mines.

For information on family adventure in the Highlands see the Visit Scotland website.

Tartan Camper Company Camping Tips

One of the great things about hiring a Tartan Campervan is that you get to explore the great outdoors, as well as having some home comforts wherever you are in Scotland.

With the luxury of being able to step outside straight into fields and onto beaches comes the small downside that there is lots of muck you and the kids might bring into the camper. The benefit of having a small campervan so you can easily get around anywhere you like, without having to worry about turning circles, height or weight restrictions, will mean that there is limited kitchen space for the preparation of fresh food. With the privilege of having running water in your own vehicle comes the need to utilise less water than you may be used to, in order to save supplies in between water tank fills ups. These few worries will easily be wiped away with a few tips from The Tartan Camper Company.

VW Camper Water Tanks

We have lots of different sizes of water tanks in our VW campervans but you will need to get used to using a lot less water than you do at home- used sensibly, a full tank should last you a week…

Happy Campers…..

Its best to use hot water and antibacterial washing up liquid when cleaning up after food preparation and meal times but if the rest of your campervan gets mucky, you don’t necessarily need much water to keep it clean- you just need a few good antibacterial products.

Have packs of antibacterial wipes like Dettol or similar around so you can wipe down sides, cabinets, floors and any spillages.

Keep a few bottles of drinking water as it is not recommended drinking from the tap..

Make sure that you have chemical loo cleaner, available from most camp shops, rather than just ordinary toilet cleaner.

A clean camper is a happy camper………..

Tartan Campervan Hire

Tartan Campervan Hire

Beautiful Places To Visit Your Campervan

Explore the Isle of Harris

One of my favourite places to visit is the amazing Isle of Harris, situated in the Outer Hebrides chain of Islands, off the West coast.

There is an incredible diversity in the landscape, from the mountains in the North, to the numerous, unspoilt beaches in the South, the dramatic, rocky west coast and all of the glorious cliffs, moorlands, lochs and meadows. The spectacular scenery in this tranquil, idyllic getaway will really take your breath away.

Magnificent Beaches

Make sure you visit the magnificent beaches of Scarista and Luskentyre, and explore the Harris Hills to discover the castles nestled in lonely bays. Get involved with some salmon and trout fishing, and a game of tennis or golf. Take a cruise to St Kilda, and the other remote islands of the Hebrides, which has been recognised as a wildlife and marine life habitat of world importance, with many different animals and plants including puffins, gannets and guillemots. Whilst sailing the ocean you are also likely to see whales, sharks, dolphins and grey seals. All of the Hebrides itself are great for many activities like sailing, sea kayaking, windsurfing and kite surfing and with the most consistent surf in Europe, the islands are a great spot for surf enthusiasts. Divers can explore a paradise of reefs, caves and forest kelps, all in beautifully clean and clear waters. The Hebrides have a wonderful, unique and spiritual civilised culture with vibrant and lively festivals, the friendly locals will make your stay all the more enjoyable.

Campervan Friendly Campsites

Travel up through the city of Glasgow, cross the Skye Bridge onto the Isle of Skye and take a Calmac ferry from Uig to Tarbert. I would recommend visiting in June or July as they are the hottest months, with the longest days of sun and lowest average rainfall. There are two main campsites on the adjoining Island of Lewis that would be perfect for a trip in your campervan; Laxdale Holiday Park and Eilean Fraoich Camp Site with all that you would need from electric hook ups to clean, hot showers.

Embark on an adventure to the Isle of Harris in the Hebrides for an experience that you will never forget!

Make your holiday how you want it – that is what’s great about hiring a Tartan Campervan- you can tailor make it to what you want!

Scottish Campervan Holiday Ideas

Hill Walkers

For keen walkers, the ideal way to see the best of Scotland is to escape to the hills in a VW Camper and experience some exhilarating mountain walks. With its rugged scenery, clean, crisp fresh air and friendly people Scotland will provide you with an unrivalled hiking experience and our classic VW Campers will give you complete flexibility……..

Here you can sample some of the best hiking and trekking in Europe, and the beauty of the Scottish Highlands combined with their fascinating and colourful history is an opportunity every walker should experience. The mountains of the Highlands can be found in the north and west of the country, where you can lose yourself among mists and legends, hills and lochs, and a unique mixture of tranquillity and scenic splendour. The classic VW T25 campervan is perfect for using as your base and will provide you with cooking, washing and sleeping facilities…….

The network of trails, markings, facilities on the mountains, parking places to access the mountains, overnight parking and campsites are all excellent….. The Tartan Camper Company will be happy to provide you with as much information as you need on campervan friendly campsites with easy access to the hills and glens….

Cycling

There are many opportunities in Scotland to enjoy the great outdoors with excellent facilities for cycling. From the Highlands to South Ayrshire you can experience lochs, woodland and coastal cycle rotes with breathtaking views, some peace and quiet, and clean fresh air.

Cycling is an excellent way to experience the real Scotland up close and personal. As you cycle through the inspiring Scottish landscape you have time to meet the locals, discover our history and hopefully enjoy our food and drink.

Cycle racks can be hired from the Tartan Camper Company which can accommodate up to 4 adult bikes. Cycling holidays use quiet roads and traffic free cycle ways and the cycling in the Scottish Highlands and Islands is simply some of the best in the world. Cycling holidays in Scotland get you up close and personal with the real Scotland and using a Tartan camper as your base will give you the freedom to explore the many cycle routes throughout our country…

Tartan Campervan Hire on Arran Image

Tartan Campervan Hire on Arran

Tartan Campervan Hire Safety Tips

Take a Break, Relax and Enjoy the View…

The freedom to explore the Scottish Highlands in just a few days is often too tempting and it’s not uncommon to hear of incidents where Campervan drivers have become overtired and distracted at the wheel. Though it’s great that you are able to drive seemingly limitlessly through our breath taking scenery in your Tartan Camper, it is really important on long trips to factor in breaks for your own safety and to also give your classic VW Camper a well earned rest……

Scotland Welcomes Safe Driving…..

It’s not wise to drive for much more than eight hours a day and you definitely shouldn’t drive over three hours without a break. Though it can be tempting to push on, especially if you’re close to your destination, it really is better to be safe rather than sorry. Besides, the Scottish Highlands should be enjoyed at a more relaxed pace….

Share the Driving…..

It’s common for our customers to share the driving. This is a great idea, but you still need to make sure that you are well rested and comfortable. Driving on two or three hours sleep is still unwise and you’ll almost certainly need a long day’s rest when you arrive. It’s often better to do longer stints with lots of breaks than to keep swapping drivers intermittently.

When you’re feeling tired you need to give in and pull safely into somewhere you can stop and rest. Don’t push anything further than you need to and don’t forget that the beauty of a Tartan Camper is that it allows you to sleep anywhere! Be safe and enjoy the countryside relaxed and stress free…..

Tartan Campervan Hire Glencoe Image

Tartan Campervan Hire Glencoe

Campervan Hire Cost Saving Tips

Campervan holidays have long been considered an affordable holiday option, particularly for families. The self contained nature of a Tartan Camper means that you can avoid constant eating out and spend more on your favourite travel activities.

That being said, there are many ways you can squeeze more value from your trip. The Tartan Camper Company is able to share a number of insider campervan hire tips. We hope these cost saving ideas will help you stretch your Scottish touring budget even further.

Consider hiring a GPS.

Initially, this may seem like an additional expense. How will spending money on GPS hire save money? However, when you consider one of the biggest expenses when hiring a campervan is fuel, it makes perfect sense.

Losing your way in the Scottish Highlands can quickly eat up your fuel budget. Keeping a traditional road atlas on hand is a great idea, particularly in remote areas where GPS signals can be compromised. However, constant road works, particularly in the City, mean paper maps can quickly become out of date.

The stress of driving around an unfamiliar Town can be daunting. Your GPS can both alleviate the stress and eliminate any additional expense associated with taking the long way to your destination.

In any case, we’ve all experienced the ordeal of a classic navigation argument. If your directions come from an electronic device, you will avoid much debate about which route to take.

The Tartan Camper Company offer GPS rentals at an affordable daily rental rate.

Tartan Campervan Hire Loch Ness Image

Tartan Campervan Hire Loch Ness

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