“Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off To Work We Go……….”

Sunday 27th April

The ‘Lionel Richie‘ moment of the previous night had thankfully not returned for an encore, so we had a relatively peaceful nights sleep. We awoke to a mainly blue sky with just the odd brilliant white fluffy cloud and glorious sunshine, it had the makings of another hot and sunny day, and just how were we going to make the most of this our last day in this wonderful location ? by going in to Fort William and shopping, that’s how, deep joy !! But we were not going anywhere before the morning Cuppa under the duvet followed by the walk to the shower block. Now I think it would be fair to say that I have walked to a lot of shower blocks over the last seven months, but truly, none can compare to this one, for I am surrounded by forested hills on one side and Mountains on the other with the Atlantic Ocean almost lapping at my heels, there cannot be many more spectacular walks to ones morning ablutions to rival this one. Worthy of note at this point, i have not seen one tiger with curlers and no teeth, no penguins smoking cigarettes, no Pandas or any other animal, there is certainly a distinct lack of parading ‘Onesies’ on this site, morning or evening !! By the time I was on my way back, looking a bit more human and certainly less bedraggled, there was already a mass exodus from the site, some I presumed returning to their more permanent homes whilst others were continuing with journeys to alternative locations, their vacant pitches soon to be re-occupied by the ‘noon’ arrivals.

And so it was that we set off to do yet another major re-stock of ‘Big Mommas’ food cupboards, fridge and freezer and the all important wine cellar. We had lost track of what days were what some time ago, the only reminder being my iPad Calender on which I had plotted our travel itinerary so that we knew when we were arriving and departing each location. Today was Sunday but you wouldn’t have known it by the amount of traffic on the road to Fort William and the number of people strolling around the ‘Loch’ front. The supermarket car parks were very busy, although we had no problem finding a space for ‘Wuxly’ in either the ‘Lidl’ or ‘Morrison’s’ parking areas. We had started the first phase of the ‘great shop’ in Lidl, Shazza knew what she wanted from that store, mainly because she knew it was cheaper, however, she couldn’t get everything she needed from their, hence the second phase of the ‘great shop’ in Morrison’s. I generally find grocery shopping pretty dull and boring and today was no different, I coped well enough with the ‘first phase’ but lost interest pretty quickly, before we were even half way around ‘Phase two‘, although my interest perked up briefly when Shazza gave me permission to go and select the wine and beer supplies. ‘Wuxly’s’ boot was already full to overflowing with the contents of the ‘Phase One’ session and so all the bags from ‘Phase two’ had to be piled up on the back seat, god only knows where ‘we’ (Shazza) was going to put all of this ‘stuff’ when we got back to ‘Big Momma’ !! My beloved had a plan and when she spoke those immortal words “Don’t worry we will be alright” I knew straight away that I really didn’t want to know, at least then if we got pulled over for the van being grossly overweight I could try to claim ignorance !!

Once back at ‘Big Momma’ one of the first things we noticed was how quickly the mornings vacated pitches had been re-populated. However, once I had been utilised for all the heavy lifting jobs, shopping bags into van, I then became surplus to requirements and made to feel like an errant child who was getting under ‘mothers’ feet, I was provided with a sandwich and a drink for my lunch then basically told to go away and do some socialising with the new neighbours !! As you may imagine, I was stricken with grief at being cast aside in such a shoddy uncaring manner, not being permitted to assist ones beloved with the mind numbing task of finding spaces to fit bottles, jars, tins and packets of all shapes and sizes but instead, having to wander the campsite aimlessly and socialising and passing pleasantries with total strangers !!

When I was permitted to put a foot back inside ‘Big Momma’ Shazza had packed away what she could, but there were four bags of un-perishables in ‘Wuxlys’ boot and a further three bags stashed by the bed, by my reckoning we shouldn’t need to shop for food for the next four months let alone the two weeks we were supposed to be shopping for !! Now you would have thought that after the ‘Marathon’ shop, followed by the huge logistical task of finding places to stow it all, that my beloved would have wanted to go and have a lay down, but no, she proceeded to bake a Walnut, Cherry & Raisin cake and prepared a home-made Steak & Kidney Pie for this evenings meal !!

It had been a gorgeously hot and sunny day and it remained so well into the evening, on my way back from the shower block I witnessed the first proper sunset since being here, I of course couldn’t miss such a photo opportunity so rushed back to the van to get my camera. I am not sure which of the following photographs was my favourite so I am going to include them all so that ‘you’ can pick your own………

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 Monday 28th April – Bunree to Morvich (69 miles)

We awoke to yet another beautiful sunny day and enjoyed our usual morning cuppa in bed, however, today our mood was slightly different to normal ‘moving on’ days. It felt a bit like when we used to be in our ‘Old’ lives and went in ‘Big Momma’ on our month-long summer tours and this was the last day of our holiday. Although we didn’t actually start work until Saturday, today we were travelling to what will be our ‘work site’ and so there was a sense of the end of holiday blues tinged with a bit of nervousness and excitement, today we would meet our ‘Wardens’, Terry & Ennyd, these would be our bosses and work colleagues for the next eighteen weeks !! Terry & Ennyd were on a weeks holiday so the site had ‘temporary’ wardens in charge and they would be occupying our ‘Assistants Warden Compound’ until Tuesday morning, when they left and Terry & Ennyd returned to work. So our first night would be spent on a normal ‘pitch’.

First things first though, once we had got ‘Big Momma’ sorted into ‘on the road’ mode we went to say farewell to Bill & Lynda, the site Wardens here at Bunree, they had been so friendly, helpful and had shared lots of useful information with us, so when we handed in our ‘Barrier Fob’ Shazza also gave them half of the cake she had baked to have with their elevenses ! Mike & Pauline, the Assistant Wardens, were on a day off and ‘off site’ so we didn’t get chance to say a personal thank you and goodbye to them, although we would be seeing them again when they drop in to ‘our’ site on their way to sort out the selling of their house on the Isle of Skye.

Although we have previously travelled all the way up the East Coast of Scotland to John O’Groats we have never travelled further North than the ‘Corran Ferry’, a few minutes away from the Bunree site, on the Western Coast so today would be another first for us. We had planned two short stops, as we went through Fort William Shazza would stop at the Morrison’s fuel service station to top up ‘Wuxly’, she had got a fuel voucher when we did the shopping which gave a discount of £0.06p a Litre but it was only valid for one week so we decided to use it even though ‘Wuxly’ didn’t really need re-fuelling. Whilst she did that I carried on to the BP service station just outside the town to top up with LPG, again I didn’t really need any as we had filled up 25 days ago just before arriving at ‘Barnard Castle’. We hadn’t used that much with being on EHU, however, it would be interesting to see how much we had used in that time. For anyone else looking for LPG in that area, do not use the first service station on the right as you leave Fort William on the A82 heading North, they were charing £0.84p per litre !! Carry on, go past the ‘Esso’ service station, again on the right hand side of the road, to the Roundabout, the BP service station is just on that Roundabout on the Left hand side and they charge £0.73p per litre, the access to the LPG pump is easy to get on to !! My gas cylinder only took 4.92 Litres, not bad for 25 days, by the time I had filled and paid, Shazza was waiting so we set off on what was scheduled to be a journey of just under two hours.

It was a lovely drive, the road, although single carriageway all the way, is very good and the views !! Well we raved about the scenery in Spain and Portugal and that was truly spectacular but today’s drive was equally as breathtaking and spectacular, so much so that I had to stop on a couple of occasions to take some photographs, there were quite literally views around every bend in the road, the sun was shining, the sky was blue…………… Sorry, I almost burst into song there !!

Tree lined roads with snow topped mountains

Tree lined roads with snow topped mountains

And even more mountains !

And even more mountains !

Trees, Lochs and Mountains !

Trees, Lochs and Mountains !

I had seen a fantastic view of a Loch and it was just calling out for someone to take a Photograph of it so I indicated to let Shazza, who was following behind, know that I would be pulling in to a lay-by. We had ‘climbed’ up quite a few hills but I didn’t think it was high enough to get altitude sickness !! When I got out of the van I could hear music, Scottish music, bagpipe sort of music, had I come too far North too quickly that I was now hearing things…………..? I was mighty relieved when I went to investigate to discover a lone piper, in full regalia, playing with his pipes………!! You can hold that thought right there !!!

Shazza never could resist a man in Uniform !! Thank goodness I had my Elf Outfit and small fishing rod !!!!!!!

Shazza never could resist a man in Uniform !!  I could have been in trouble but Thank goodness I had been issued with my Elf Outfit and small fishing rod to entice her away !!!!!!!!!

We were soon on our way again, but before departing I did offer him a piece of Shazza’s freshly baked home-made fruit cake but he said something about being on a diet so we gave him a few coins instead !!

Another ascent, still blue sky and sunshine and even more snow topped mountains.

Another ascent, still blue sky and sunshine and even more snow topped mountains.

Then we drove alongside another Loch, this was an awesome drive !!

Then we drove alongside another Loch, this was an awesome drive !!

The roads, although wonderful to drive on with utterly stunning scenery, they just seemed to go on and on............

The roads, although wonderful to drive on with utterly stunning scenery, they just seemed to go on and on…………

Absolutely fantastic !! More Lochs and mountains and just how busy are these roads ?

Absolutely fantastic !! More Lochs and mountains and just how busy are these roads ?

And then the sign that indicated that our drive was almost at its conclusion.......

And then the sign that indicated that our drive was almost at its conclusion…….’Welcome To Skye & Lochalsh’

I have probably committed an injustice to ‘Snoopy’ over the last few weeks, barely mentioning that she had delivered us to the front door of all our locations and we would certainly be reliant on her today. Our site was off the main road and once you get off the main roads they can soon become just tracks !! Today I was totally reliant on ‘Snoopy’s’ and so I was hoping that her route guidance would be as accurate as it has been for the majority of our trip to date.

Good old 'Snoopy', right to the front gate once again !!

Good old ‘Snoopy’, right to the front gate once again !!

Our first day was spent on a normal ‘pitch’ as their were ‘relief wardens’ on site and they were occupying the ‘Assistant Wardens Compound’ that we will be sited on from tomorrow when they leave. It was quite interesting really as a lot of our fellow campers who were also at Bunree are now here !! Once we had got settled on our ‘temporary’ pitch we were invited by Terry and Ennyd, who are our Wardens, Bosses and work colleagues around to their ‘Compound’ for a welcome drink which gave us a chance to get to know each other, they are really nice and I think we will get on very well together.

The river that runs right behind the site. Unfortunately it is too shallow and rocky to launch the Kayak from here but we are only a short drive to the tidal sea loch so we will do a recce for suitable places to launch !!

The river that runs right behind the site. Unfortunately it is too shallow and rocky to launch the Kayak from here but we are only a short drive to the tidal sea loch so we will do a recce for suitable places to launch !!

Views from my Office !!

Views from my Office !!

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Our site is full of wonderfull bluebells !!

Our site is full of wonderful bluebells !!

I can think of a few worse jobs than sitting on a ‘ride on’ mower cutting grass with views like this !! Okay, so One and a half hours a day will be spent on cleaning the ‘Facilities Block’ but even that isn’t every day. Then of course there is other general gardening and groundwork, cutting hedges and the like and of course some socialising with the ‘customers’, somehow I don’t think that will cause me any heartaches !!

Tuesday morning arrived and we went to say farewell to ‘Mike and Francis’ the relief wardens and once they had left we spent the day getting settled into our new ‘Compound’. We have a building within our compound that houses our own Shower, WC and Washbasin and a shed that houses a full size domestic Fridge & Freezer. We have two EHU  points, a direct connection from ‘Big Momma’ to a grey drain and a fresh water tap, so a right little home from home. There is enough space within our fenced compound to accommodate ‘Big Momma’ with the awning out, complete with the ‘Wind Blocker’ attached and also space to park ‘Wuxly’ and we have got a perfect signal on the TV satellite system, a bonus considering that we are literally surrounded by mountains !! Parked up right next to the main office we also have an excellent WiFi signal but there is one negative aspect, the mobile phone signal is either very very weak, at best, or ‘No Service’ so phone calls and texts can only be conducted when we are off site in a better signal coverage area. This will not present any problems for Shazza keeping in touch with her Mum and other relatives as they can all use ‘Skype’. However, my parents, although having an iPad have not yet really got to grips with using Skype and so I have relied on the mobile phone and texts to keep in touch.

The view from our front gate !!

The view from our front gate !! The building on the Left of ‘Big Momma’ houses our bathroom, Shower, WC, Washbasin & Washing Machine. The shed to the right houses our Fridge & Freezer and gives us lots of storage space !!

The view from the side shows the awning and 'Wind Blocker' and still space for 'Wuxly'

The view from the side shows the awning and ‘Wind Blocker’ and still space for ‘Wuxly’

The compound from the rear !

The compound from the rear !

Just one of our views !!

Just one of our views !!

The view from our windows and front gate !!

The view from our front gate !!

And over our side and back fence !!

And over our side and back fence !!

So, we are now well and truly settled and will spend our last three days of our ‘holiday’ on exploring our local area before donning our ‘Elf & Elfette’ uniforms …………………….

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25 Responses to “Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off To Work We Go……….”

  1. alan says:

    thought you would have brought enough wine to last several months from spain. never mind you will know for next time. also lots of beer as well.

  2. anteater says:

    What a lovely place to work guys – it won’t seem like work at all!! All the best when you start in 3 days! My other half has an uncle living in the Hebrides – maybe we’ll get up there one day..!!

    • Yes, I think we have been blessed with a fantastic location for our first site :0) we don’t view it as a ‘job’, just getting paid for enjoying a hobby !! and with some additional perks thrown in :0) well you have seen the Photo’s, they should entice you up here now :0)

  3. John Strange says:

    Wishing you both the very best Eric. See you soon.

  4. Wandering star says:

    Amazing sunrises and a beautiful part of Scotland! Had to chuckle when I saw one of my overnight spots in one of your pictures! ‘Laybys R us’.
    Have a fantastic time at your camping site.
    And say hello if you see Hamish and ‘wee jock’

    • Loads of ‘Overnight’ spots up this neck of the woods as you well know :0) I was going to ask how I would recognise ‘Hamish’ but of course he will have ‘Wee Jock’ with him :0)

  5. Steve & Lys says:

    Tried to call last night. I now understand why you didn’t pick up !!
    Hope all goes well over the next few months , loving the pics of the local area , but we are both worried about that white stuff on the top of the hills ???
    S&L xx

    • That white stuff just adds to the scenery !! It is actually very sunny and warm and I even have a sun tan :0) Will keep in touch, will Email you my Skype address ;0) you two enjoy your amble back through France and say Hi to Nick & Cathy from us xx

  6. Paul says:

    Well, its going to be a bit of a shock to the system to be back at ‘work’ for you two. Your site looks absolutely great and such views.

    Don’t forget to give us regular blog updates so that we know how you are getting on, I’m sure the Caravan Club will give you a few hours off every week so you can give us the latest news!

    Hope you soon settle in to your new home, don’t work too hard.

    Paul

    • You bet it is, the shock will be having to get out of our beds at an anti-social hour in the morning, how can anyone justify being at work at 9am !! We are usually just about waking up ready for our ‘Duvet’ coffees at that time ;0) I will keep the blog updates going the best I can ;0)

  7. Thomas Hope says:

    Lovely pictures and the site looks nice too, i will need to put it on my list! Enjoy your time there and dont work to hard please! 🙂

    • Hi Tom, the area is spectacular, the site is 15 miles from Kyle of Lochalsh which has all the shops, restaurants, cafés, take-always, banks, cash points, largish supermarket that you could need and the Skye Bridge is just one mile from Kyle. Fort Augustas is very nice too with beautiful Canal leading into Loch Ness, Well worth a visit up here :0)

  8. DebsK says:

    Fantastic views and you look very comfortable in your compound. Enjoy the remaining few days of holiday before you start your working hobby, hopefully you will be able to get out in the kayak. What a beautiful area for your first assignment.

    • Thanks Debs, yes we are now all settled :0) Went to Fort Augustas today, shortish drive from the site, beautiful canal and locks that lead into Loch Ness. Mind you, after weeks of glorious sunshine the weather changed today, lot cooler and I am now sat in the van listening to the rain on the roof :0( however, even in this weather the views are still tremendous :0)

  9. coolasluck says:

    Superb pictures those views are to die for and have to be better than the streets i go down in my work, lol Good luck to you both.

  10. Debs says:

    Wow what a fab place to work. gorgeous….. i did text you Monday morning to wish you both luck as thats when i thought you started…. So good luck to you both cant wait to hear more 🙂

    • Thanks Debs, yes I did get your text thanks, meant to text you back and shouldn’t have waited as you probably now know we have no mobile signal :0( I shouldn’t have kept showing photographs of sunshine and blue skies, it’s been raining since lunchtime and I think its in for the night !! Mind you, it will make the grass grow so that I can get out on my ‘ride on’ mower :0)

  11. Ste T says:

    “Won’t seem like job, just getting paid for a hobby!” You won’t be writing that type of bollocks by the time your contract finishes Eric my lad! It’s not digging coal for a living obviously, but you’ll soon realise it is a job not a hobby! Let me know as soon as you get asked one of the questions I sent you!

    • That was a bit strong Ste, but I did like the bit where you refer to me as a lad, for a moment there I felt quite youthful again :0) I am comparing this job with our previous very demanding jobs, now they were demanding and could be quite stressful. If you compare this ‘job’ with our previous lives you may see why I am not too worried about this ‘type of bollocks’ as you put it :0)

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