On top of the world

We’re in Braemar for the weekend but were unable to get any accommodation because the Braemar Gathering is on and so we decided to book a 1974 VW campervan and take our own accommodation.




It has been a bit of a disaster so far. I had a lot of problems shifting gears. I learnt to drive a manual and my first car was a manual and some of the car club cars are manuals but nevertheless, I’m finding the 1974 VW very tricky. Several times I’ve been stopped in the middle of the road unable to get it into first to start again and then I start to panic. The car has a top speed of 45 miles/hour but I’ve barely gone above 35 miles/hour.

I slept poorly last night. We couldn’t get the heating to work and I spent most of the night worrying that the children would freeze to death. When I wasn’t worrying about that I was worried about how I would drive the thing home again. The walk to the toilet is about 200m which doesn’t seem like much but it is when you have two small children needing to go several times before bed and then again at 6am in the morning … and it’s freezing. Add to that we keep banging our heads on the roof. Obviously I’m a princess now and should stick to glamping going forward.

It hasn’t been all bad. We went up the chair lift at Glenshee yesterday and for a walk along the ridge. The views are magnificent. I told Elizabeth that we’re on top of the world and the little know-it-all said, “No, we’re not, Mount Everest is the top of the world”.








12 thoughts on “On top of the world”

  1. Some friends of ours bought a VW camper to go to Glastonbury – you really don’t want to know how much they have spent fixing it. On their first trip out the gear stick actually broke off completely. I think it’s had a new engine, a new gearbox, new brakes… you name it – and it still breaks down every few hundred miles. They rave about how wonderful it is though lol.

  2. You could look at it like “adversity builds character”, or you could look at it like I now see all of the bumps in the road–“that’ll make a good blog post.”
    Awesome pictures. Whatever it took to get there, was worth it.

  3. Back in the 70s a housemate had a VW camper, purchased brand new; we used go to festivals and weekend trips in it (we were all in college at the time). After awhile I thought it was an awful vehicle, difficult to drive with an underpowered engine—in the mountains we’d chug up the highway while other annoyed drivers passed us, glaring. One trucker yelled out his window at us, “Hippies!” In time the clutch started to stick and my housemate had to have the transmission fixed, which cost him a fortune. But its most glaring defect was its usefulness as a camper. It had a pop-up roof, but it was still too small for the four people sleeping in it. The heater was like “an old lady breathing on your leg” according to another housemate. We also had to take everything out of the van before we could pull out the bed; this meant our stuff had to be left outdoors, leaving it open to bears and other hungry critters, and on occasion thieves who knew an expensive piece of camping equipment when they saw it. I am amazed that there are still VW campers of that vintage rolling about, and am sorry you and your family had to deal with one. At least the area was lovely to be outdoors in!

    1. This was so funny to read. Thank you for sharing this. After our weekend away I can totally sympathise and I have no idea why people buy those things especially with the glaring deficiency as a camper. It was so difficult to set the beds up and not very comfortable overnight. It was also a bit cramped for four of us. But it was fun to try and learn this for ourselves. We won’t book one again.

  4. You all look like you’re making the most of it – but like you I would be terrified of being stranded. Bet Daniel’s glad he’s got his coat.

    1. I’m an anxious driver at the best of times but I was a nervous wreck in this. Although it did get a bit better the second day so probably if I’d driven it everyday for a week I’d feel ok.

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