Cooking in a campervan

Cooking in a campervan

Top Tips For Cooking In A Campervan

One of the great luxuries of touring Scotland in a Rockin’van is that you can cook on board, so there’s really no excuse for constant junk food whilst on your trip. We are here to prove that you can rustle up some cheap and tasty meals in your camper, without having to go anywhere near a tin of beans.

1.    Make the most of local produce

What food do you think of when you think of Scotland? I’ll take a couple of guesses. Haggis? Deep-fried Mars bars? Lorne sausage?

Well, although you’re right, that’s not all bonnie Scotland has to offer. If you’re travelling around the coastline, some of the world’s best seafood is right at your fingertips. What’s even better is that this delicious seafood can be cooked on your trusty gas stove or even on a BBQ.

So next time you’re thinking about another Pot Noodle, see if you can source some Scottish seafood for a delicious meal – or even fish for your own!

2.    Go foraging

It’s a little daunting at first, but you don’t have to have a degree in botany to give foraging a bash. If you’re unsure about what is safe to eat, it’s worth picking up a handbook (check out Wild Food by Roger Phillips or Food for Free by Richard Mabey) to help you out, but if not, stick to what you know – even if that’s only blackberries.

Top plants to look out for:

  • Marsh samphire
  • Sea lettuce
  • Camomile
  • Chanterelles
  • Elderflower

3.    Always pack cupboard essentials

If you are heading into the Scottish wilderness, miles away from any real civilisation, you will need to pack some basic food items. You can either take what you need with you from home or stop off at a supermarket en-route.

Pasta and rice are obvious choices, but an alternative that many people dismiss is couscous. All you need to knock up a really quick lunch or dinner is hot water, but to give it a little extra punch, make sure you have some vegetable stock, butter and a few herbs and spices. It will marry up beautifully with fresh fish too.

4.    Think ‘quick & easy’

Dishes that take a long time to cook are not really that practical in your campervan, so even though you might fancy a slow-cooked stew or hotpot, it’s best to wait until you’re home. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of recipes that you can try out in your van, but it’s best to stick to those with less an hour’s cooking time.

5.    Create your own hot smoker

Although your Rockin’van comes with a cooker, a portable hot smoker is a definite bonus if you are looking to cook up a storm on your trip. Don’t worry if you haven’t got the time to buy one, because it’s just as easy to create your own. Once you’ve made the effort, you won’t look back as you’ll be cooking just about everything, from mussels to duck. For even more variety, use different wood dusts when cooking.

Scotland’s castles

Scotland’s castles

Campervan Hire: Exploring Scotland’s Castles (Part 2)

This blog follows on from Part 1 of Exploring Scotland’s Castles, where we covered day one and day two of the 4-day Rockinvans campervan hire guide to Scotland’s castles.

Day 3

 After spending the night in Huntly or nearby Kildrummy, the first castle on the itinerary for the day is Huntly Castle. This architectural gem, baronial residence to the Gordons for over 500 years, sits on the rivers Bogie and Deveron. The interior features a number of heraldic sculptured fireplaces and stone friezes.

After a quick exploration you’ll jump back in the van and head 15 miles west to Balvenie Castle, just outside Dufftown. As the seat of the Comyn Earls of Buchan, this castle is one of the oldest stone castles in the country, but later became the home of the Stewart family.

Next, head north on the A941 for around 20 miles until you come to Spynie Palace in Elgin. This early Scottish castle was home to the bishops of Moray for five centuries until 1686 when the last bishop moved to Inverness. One of the biggest features of Spynie Palace (or Spynie Castle) is David’s Tower, which dominates a large part of the building and is the biggest in Scotland.

Three castles and many miles later, you’ll be looking for a place to park up for the evening. Riverside Caravan Park is just 6 miles from the castle and situated on the outskirts of woodland. It’s a peaceful campsite with rates from £13 per night for a camper. Another option is North Alves Caravan Park, which is a few miles further on from Riverside.

Day 4

The next morning you’ll be up bright and early to make the 40 mile trip along the coast to Banff. Here you will find Duff House, which is thought to be one of the finest Georgian houses in the UK. These days the house is a cultural arts centre open to the public.

Making your way south on the A947, you’ll come to Delgatie Castle in Turiff. This beautiful and historic castle is now serving up delicious baked goods from Laird’s Kitchen. Explore the castle and its incredible painted ceilings, before jumping back in the van and heading further south.

Fyvie Castle, a Scottish castle dating back to 13th century, is thought to be haunted. The interior is full of dramatic features such as the huge sweeping staircase, but it’s worth taking a stroll around the loch too.

Last up are Haddo House and Tolquhon Castle near Methlick, but whether you visit both will depend on how much time you have left in the day. Haddo House is a huge mansion with a luxurious Victorian interior, whereas Tolquhon is a stunning 16th century castle.

As the last day of your campervan, you will need to prepare for the four hour journey back to Kilmarnock.

However, if you’d prefer to see one of Scotland’s most famous castles – Edinburgh Castle – before heading home, Rockinvans can arrange for you to drop off your camper at Edinburgh Airport.

Campervanning on a Budget

Campervanning on a Budget

Campervanning On A Budget: Is It Possible?

Campervanning doesn’t have to cost more

 

It’s February and the most depressing day of the year is behind us, yet so many people are still down in the dumps about their finances.

With more people than ever choosing to go on a ‘staycation’ right here in the UK instead of the annual holiday abroad, Rockinvans are here to prove that you can still enjoy a break on a tight budget. Don’t worry if you can’t afford to jet off for a week away in the sunshine this summer because we’re confident that a campervan trip to Scotland will surpass all expectations.

THE CHALLENGE: to beat the price of a budget summer holiday for four to Spain.

 Conditions:

To make things as fair as possible, both holidays are for seven days from 23rd July 2013. The family of four is made up from two adults and two children (aged 10 and 15 years old). The cost of the holiday starts and ends from the airport or campervan hire base.

 

Spanish resort/beach holiday:

Package holiday – Flights from Glasgow to Malaga with Thomas Cook, transfer from airport to hotel, plus 7 nights, all inclusive in Hotel Onasol Los Dalmatas (Benidorm)

 

 Total: £2053

 

 

We’re assuming that this family of four wouldn’t need to spend any additional cash as transfers, food, drinks and entertainment are all included in the package holiday. The same can’t be said for the campervan trip, so take a look below for a breakdown.

 

Scottish campervan holiday:

Campervan hire: £770

You can choose from 2 berth and 4 berth Rockinvans, but to squeeze all four in, we’d definitely suggest the 4 berth, which has two double beds. It’s £110 per day during the high season, between 7th April and 26th September.

Campsite fees: £66.20

As Scotland allows wild camping, we’re going to assume that campers will spend at least three nights out in the wilderness making the most of their luxury campervan, but we’ve budgeted in for four nights at four random different campsites around Scotland.

Glenesk Caravan Park, Angus: £20

The Walled Garden Caravan & Camping Site, Ayr: £20

Resipole Holiday Park, Highlands: £13

Jedburgh Campsite, Scottish Borders: £23.20

Fuel (for up to 500 miles): £76

500 miles is a lot of ground to cover in a campervan over the course of a week as you’ll probably spend a couple of days here and there. However, it is possible so we’ll leave it at that. This 500 mile road trip is based on achieving 40mpg and fuel costing £1.34 per litre.

Food: £280

When you’re staying in a campervan, you have a couple of choices, you can either dine out at restaurants, cafés and bars or you can cook in the van. It would be impossible for us to estimate what different families would do, but we think an average £10 per person per day is reasonable.

Activities: £250

Touring Scotland in a campervan offers up plenty of opportunities to visit museums and castles, take part in watersports and activities, sit back, relax and take in the scenery or visit the small towns and villages in rural areas. It would be possible to not spend a penny on activities and entertainment, but that’s a little harsh, so we’ll set a £250 budget for the week.

 

Total: £1442.20

 

 

 

 

Why don’t you save over £600 by enjoying a campervan staycation in Scotland instead of travelling abroad this summer?

Exploring Scotland’s Castles pt.1

Exploring Scotland’s Castles pt.1

4-Day Campervan Hire: Exploring Scotland’s Castles (Part 1)

Previous Rockinvans customer exploring Scotland’s castles

 

The Scottish landscape was once dominated by thousands of magnificent castles, many of which are still standing and available to explore today.

Castles were first built in the 12th century, although these are a far cry from the huge stone structures we typically associate with a castle, these were largely made from an earthen mound and timber frame. In the 13th century, masonry castles were built for the nobility, but many of these were subsequently destroyed in the wars with England. However, that wasn’t the end for castles as there was a revival of castle building in the late 1300s.

Today, the vast majority of these castles are now just crumbling ruins, but many are still standing tall and able to tell their own story. There are castles all around Scotland, from the Borders, right up to the Highlands and islands, but Aberdeenshire (often referred to as Castle Country) has its very own designated Castle Trail – perfect for exploring in your campervan.

 

 Day 1:

Exploring Scotland’s Castles from Rockinvans campervan hire in Kilmarnock, you’ll make the 150 mile drive to Stonehaven, where your first castle awaits. The ruins of Dunnottar Castle sit atop a steep cliff over 100ft above the North Sea and were once home to the Earls Marischal.

From here you’ll visit Crathes Castle, which is just over 15 miles from Stonehaven. It is still very impressive and looks like something from a fairytale. It’s a popular stop on the castle trail as it is a ‘bat hotspot’ and home to the treetop adventure Go Ape.

Just a couple of miles down the road is Drum Castle, which features the oldest tower in Scotland. There is a children’s playground to entertain the kids and some spectacular views across the countryside.

Back in the van and 15 miles north you’ll find Castle Fraser, a baronial tower house. This grand castle has a whopping Great Hall and gorgeous gardens and woodlands to explore.

After a long drive and a tour of four castles, you’ll be able to get your head down at Feughside Caravan Park or Greenpark Leisure.

 

Day 2:

After a good night’s rest, you’ll be up early and back in the camper heading west into the Cairngorms National Park just past Ballater to Balmoral Castle. This is one of the most famous Scottish castles because of its connections to the Royal Family.

Next, drive another 10 miles into the National Park to find Braemar Castle, the seat of Clan Farquharson, which is famous for its star-shaped wall.

After another short 40-minute trip in the campervan, back towards Aberdeen, you’ll come across Craigievar Castle. This iconic castle is thought to have been an inspiration to Walt Disney because of its unique appearance.

Less than half an hour from Craigievar is Kildrummy Castle, a fine example of a 13th century castle, as despite being in ruins it has managed to retain many of its original features.

If you’d prefer to stay close to Kildrummy for the night, check out Haughton House Holiday Park in Alford. Alternatively, drive the 15 miles north to Huntly ready for the trail the next day and stop over at Huntly Castle Caravan Park.

In two days, you will have visited eight spectacular castles with plenty more to come over days three and four in Part 2 of Explore Scotland’s Castles.

Campervanning in the City

London to Scotland in a VW Camper Van

Campervanning in the City (Part 1)

Glasgow from the Clyde. Campervanning in the City

 

The benefits of hiring a campervan and jaunting around Scotland have been well-documented. The spectacular coastlines, the rolling countryside, jaw-dropping mountains and deserted islands are just a few of the main attractions.

However, if the thought of trudging through wet fields, climbing steep mountains, squishing your toes in the sand bores you to tears, campervanning doesn’t have to be completely dismissed. Campervan hire has some obvious benefits for city camping – the ability to park- unless you fancy trying to pitch a tent in Glasgow’s George Square!

So, the next time you go campervanning, think of it as a city break with a twist.

 

Edinburgh

Scotland’s capital city really is a ‘must-see’, packed with history, culture, attractions and shopping, it’s a great day out. The most obvious first stop would be the infamous Edinburgh Castle – but be warned, it gets incredibly busy so it’s best to swing by earning in the morning.  Other places to visit include the National Museum of Scotland, the Scottish Parliament and Edinburgh Zoo, but there are literally hundreds to choose from. Those set on a day of retail therapy, won’t be disappointed. Edinburgh caters for everyone, from designer fashion down George Street to the Farmer’s Market on Shandwick Place.

Where to stay:

Edinburgh Caravan Club Site

35-37 Marine Drive, Edinburgh, EH4 5EN

0131 3126874

£5.30-£9.20 per pitch & £5.30-£7.20 per adult

Mortonhall Caravan & Camping Park

38 MortonhallGate, Frogston Road, Edinburgh, EH16 6TJ

0131 6641533

£14.00-£30.00 per night

Charlotte Square: you can park up here overnight, but be prepared to leave early in the morning to avoid a parking ticket.

 

Glasgow

Scotland’s biggest city is jam-packed with museums and art galleries, plus many other fantastic attractions.  The shopping experience in Glasgow is second-only to London, so be prepared to splash the cash up and down the Style Mile. If you’d prefer to experience a little culture, visit the House for an Art Lover, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, or pop into one of the many museums, from the Museum of Transport and Travel to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery.

Where to stay:

Craigendmuir Caravan & Camping

Clay House Road, Stepps, Glasgow, G33 6AF

0141 7794159

£18-£20.50 per night (1 person included)

Bankell Farm Camping & Caravan Site

Strathblane Road, Milngavie, Glasgow, G62 8LE

0141 9561733

£12 per night

There are a few car parks in the city that allow overnight parking for a friendly £1.50 per night (6pm-8am): Burnside Street, Cathedral Precinct, Newton Street, Centre Street and the High Street.

 

Aberdeen

Although Glasgow and Edinburgh are the most popular destinations, the other five cities are great places to visit for a mini-break. Aberdeen, known as ‘granite city’, is on the north east coast and has a rich culture to explore. The art galleries and museums will likely be the highlight – particularly Aberdeen Art Gallery and Tolbooth Museum – but there is also a vibrant shopping scene and many restaurants and bars to keep you entertained.

Where to stay:

Deeside Holiday Park

Maryculter, Aberdeen, AB12 5FX

01224 733860

£18-20 per night

Clinterty People’s Site

Kings Meaburn, Aberdeen, AB21 0TN

01224 790770

Aberdeenshire Council operates a number of car parks that do allow overnight parking, but all of them have height restrictions, from 1.91m to 2.82m so it’s best to check in advance.

Check back for Campervanning in the City Part 2, to find out about mini-breaks to Inverness, Dundee, Stirling and Perth.

Scottish Island Hopping

Scottish Island Hopping

Scottish Island Hopping 

Fairy pools on Isle of Skye

 

Waking up to a view of glistening turquoise sea, sandy beaches and a backdrop of jaw-dropping mountains are just a few reasons that the Scottish isles are such a popular campervan destination and perfect for Scottish Island Hopping.

Forget mini-breaks to the city, thousands of campers crave the remote islands off the coast of Scotland every single year. What better way to escape the strain of everyday life than ‘bagging’ an island? While you’re there, you might even bag a Munro or two as well.

It might surprise you to note that there are close to 800 islands off the coast of Scotland, some more famous ones, including Arran in the Firth of the Clyde, to lesser known ones such as Swona, one of the Orkney Islands.

The islands are categorised into four main groups: Shetland, Orkney, Inner Hebrides and Outer Hebrides (western isles).  It’s not really possible to bag all 790 islands as only around 100 of them are populated and/or have the transport to get you there.

Shetland Islands in a Campervan

 

Shetland Islands

There are over 100 isles in Shetland spanning 100 miles of sea, from Fair Isle, which lies in the south, to the most northern island in Britain, Out Stack, which is closer to Norway than the Scottish capital. Just 15 of the Shetland Islands are populated, yet the attract thousands of tourists every single year.

The main draw is the abundant wildlife, beaches, hiking in the vast countryside and the culture, which is a delightful mix of Scottish and Scandinavian.

Getting there: You and your camper will need to make your way to Aberdeen and from there, catch the 12-13 hour overnight crossing with Northlink Ferries.

Skeld Caravan Site

Harbour View, Westerskeld, Skeld, Shetlands, ZE2 9NL

01595 860287

Open all year – £14 per night

Braewick Caravan Park

Eshaness, Shetlands, ZE2 9RS

01806 503345

Open all year – £14.50-£16 per night

Orkney Island, great Campervan location

 

Orkney Islands

Just off the north coast of Scotland is a group of around 70 islands, known as the Orkney Islands. There is a large population of over 20,000 people inhabiting Orkney, although most of them live on the ‘mainland’.

If you’re interested in Scottish history and archaeology, a trip to these islands is definitely for you, as over 1000 prehistoric sites have been identified, including a house dating from 3700BC and a number of shipwrecks from the war.

Getting there: Drive your camper up to one of the ferry ports: Aberdeen (6 hours), Scrabster (90 minutes), Gills Bay (1 hour) or Caitness (40 minutes).

John O’Groats Ferries Ltd 01955 611353

NorthLink Ferries 0845 6000449

Pentland Ferries 01856 831 226

Eviedale Cottages And Campsite           

Evie, Orkney Islands, KW17 2PJ

01856 751270

Open April to September – £POA

Pickaquoy Caravan And Camping Site

Pickaquoy Road, Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, KW15 1LR

01856 879900

Open April to October – £15.90-£20.50 per night

Inner Hebrides

 

Inner Hebrides

From the Isle of Islay right up to the Isle of Skye, the Inner Hebrides are off the west coast of Scotland. There are over 70 islands in the group, 36 of which are inhabited, but the most famous are Skye, Mull, Islay and Jura.

The Inner Hebrides offer visitors a rugged landscape filled with mystery and legends, but also a taste of Scotland, from Scotch whisky to oysters; you’ll find all sorts of delights here.

Getting there: Jump in your camper and head over to Oban, known as the ‘gateway to the isles’, before catching a ferry to either Mull, Tiree, Coll, Colonsay or Islay with Caledonian MacIntyre ferries.

 Crannich Holiday Caravans & Touring Site

Crannich Farm, Aros, Isle of Mull, PA72 6JP

01680 300495

Open May to November- £20 per night

Staffin Campsite

Staffin, Isle of Skye, IV51 9JX

01470 562213

Open April to October – £12 per night

The Outer Hebrides

 

Outer Hebrides

A large cluster of smaller islands off the west coast of Scotland makes up the Outer Hebrides. The landscape is very flat aside from Harris, which is well known for its mountains. You will that these isles are less touristy than the Inner Hebrides, and as such the inhabitants are very traditional with Gaelic widely spoken throughout.

Getting there: CalMac is the main operator for ferries over to the Outer Hebrides, which are accessed from Oban on the mainland. Alternatively, campers may wish to do a spot of ‘island hopping’ with a Hopscotch ticket.

Balranald Hebridean Holidays

Hougharry, Isle Of North Uist, Hebrides, HS6 5DL

01876 510304

Open April to October – £8-10 + £3 hookup

Lickisto Blackhouse Camping

1 Lickisto, Isle Of Harris, Hebrides, HS3 3EL

01859 530 485

Open March to October – £12pppn

Explore the highlands with Camper Hire Scotland

Explore the highlands with Camper Hire Scotland

Explore the Other Side of the Highlands with Camper Hire Scotland

Exploring Scottish highlands

 

 

We literally cannot think of a better way to explore the Scottish Highlands than over the course of a few days in a campervan. Camper hire Scotland gives you the freedom to go wherever you like, so you don’t have to stick to the usual tourist trail.

 

Many of the roads up north and towards the west are long and winding, but don’t actually have much to show you. We know you want to spend time in your camper hire Scotland, but we think the more time you can spend sight-seeing rather than driving, the better.

Rockin’vans camper hire Scotland is based in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, just a few minutes’ drive from Prestwick Airport. From Kilmarnock, it’s a three hour drive up to the Cairngorms, but you could make the most of your camper hire Scotland by stopping off in Glasgow, Stirling and Perth along the way.

Glenmore Caravan and Camping Site

There’s a great campsite, Glenmore Caravan & Camping Site, located right on the sandy banks of Loch Morich, which is ideal for spending your first night. The views are pretty spectacular and because of the natural surroundings, don’t be surprised to spot some wildlife.

Cairngorm Mountains

Climbing to the Cairngorm summit is achievable for most people within one day, but make sure you have the appropriate gear with you. If you want to avoid the trek, head up on the mountain railway instead. There’s a couple of wild camping spots too if you want to spend a night in the wilderness.

Dulsie Bridge

This 18th century bridge crosses the River Findhorn, linking Braemar to Fort George. The bridge stands 60 feet above the water and is a very impressive sight. There are plenty of picnic spots if you fancy parking up for a bite to eat or even climb down to the river to take in the view.

Landmark Forrest Park

Landmark Aventure Park

In Carrbridge, you’ll find Landmark Adventure Park, which is a fantastic place to visit in the Highlands. From rollercoasters to exhibitions and climbing towers to wildlife, you’ll find something to entertain the whole family here. It’s great fun, but often overlooked by Scotland’s main theme park, M&Ds.

If you’re looking for somewhere to park up your Rockin’van camper hire Scotland, head north towards Nairn, where there is a campsite situated amongst the forest and nearby the sandy beach.

Cawdor Castle

 

Cawdor Castle

Cawdor Castle was made famous by Shakespeare’s MacBeth, but that’s not the only reason to visit, it’s also has beautiful gardens, a ‘Big Wood’ and a pitch and putt golf course.

 Randolph’s Leap

Whilst you’re in the area, head up towards Randolph’s Leap, where you can take the popular walk towards Logie Steading. If you don’t have too much time to explore, you can always enjoy the same trail in your camper.

Glenfiddich Distillery

Although a very popular tourist spot, it would be a real shame to miss out on a trip to Glenfiddich Distillery whilst up in the Highlands. Visits to the distillery are free, but to really make the most of your visit, book onto one of the many tours.

The Scottish Highlands is vast, not just limited to Fort William and John O’Groats, there are loads of places to visit. We can only imagine how many people miss out on these fantastic spots because they’re too afraid to steer their camper hire Scotland away from the usual

Go Green with Rockinvans

Go Green with Rockinvans

Go Green With Rockinvans

The pollution caused by air travel

 

Is a campervan trip eco-friendly? Well, compared to a week in a tent, a campervan trip looks like the evil almighty, but up against a European city break or week in Spain, it’s an eco-gem.

A return flight from Glasgow to Malaga produces approximately 470kg CO2 per person, whereas you could travel from Kilmarnock to Fort William, to Inverness, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and back to Kilmarnock in one of our Rockinvans and only produce around 100kg CO2, regardless of the number of people travelling.

Doesn’t sound so bad now does it?

However, if you’re still conscious about your impact on the environment, there are plenty of ways that you can make your camper trip ever greener.

Carbon Offsetting

If you can’t reduce your carbon emissions any further, you can donate to one of the many carbon offsetting schemes, such as CarbonFund.org. This scheme invests in renewable energy, reforestation and environmental clean-up using donations. By paying just $20, you could offset a couple of tonnes of CO2.

Stay Local

Scotland is a beautiful country and perfect for exploring in a campervan, but you don’t have to travel far to see what it has to offer. Rockinvans is situated in Kilmarnock, just a few miles from the spectacular west coast, so it’s easy to spend a week in a 20 mile radius of our base.

If you’re looking for a camper-friendly site near Kilmarnock, take a look at Catrine House in Mauchline and St. Meddans in Troon.

 Used Gear

Carbon emissions aren’t limited to vehicles, absolutely everything you do produces emissions, from cooking dinner to watching television. It’s easy to get carried away when planning your trip, but take used camping gear on your trip instead of buying brand new stuff all the time.

Leave Gadgets Behind

It might be a struggle, but try to leave any unnecessary gadgets at home, apart from a mobile phone. Forget about portable DVD players, radios, computers and the like as they will likely have to be hooked up to an electrical supply or eat their way through batteries.

Campfires

If you’re wild camping in Scotland, the Outdoor Access Code does allow campfires, as do certain campsites. To prevent any unnecessary harm to the environment, there are a few ground rules for a ‘green’ campfire:

  • Don’t use chemicals or petrol
  • Always use old dry wood
  • Do not chop down trees or branches
  • Use a match to light the kindling
  • Make sure you’re campfire is completely extinguished before leaving.

 

Park Appropriately

If you’re wild camping, be sure to park up in an appropriate place. Grassy woodlands, fields and river banks can easily be destroyed by your camper. For minimum environmental impact, try parking up on gravel, rock or packed dirt instead.

So, whilst road-tripping for hundreds of miles around the country might not initially sound like the ‘greenest’ holiday, there are things you can do to reduce your impact on the environment.

Book your Rockinvan in confidence here.