Into the Scottish Wild

I realise I have been radio silent for the last couple of weeks and that just won’t do!

Right now, I am busy finishing up my law conversion course, which is undoubtedly the bane of my life. I will, however, be free of it in around two weeks, at which point I will hopefully have more time to write, and more time to do things which deserve writing about.

That leads me onto my plan for the next month. In mid-August I have sketched out a vague plan to travel the NC-500 with one of my best mates, Andy.

We’ll be hopping in my Suzuki Grand Vitara 4 x 4 and then driving from Brighton to Ben Nevis. With no prior training, although we are both semi-fit, we the plan to scale Scotland’s highest peak… Fingers crossed we make it.

Then we will forge on towards Inverness to start the NC-500, not to be confused with the Indy 500. For those of you who haven’t heard of the NC-500, and I’m sure that’s many of you, if the raised eyebrows of my friends at it’s very mention are anything to go by, it is THE road trip if you want to see the Scottish highlands and Northern Scottish coastline in all their rugged glory.

Across 520 miles, which circumnavigate the outer reaches of Northern Scotland, the route will be sure to test our driving skills and self-sufficiency. As we are still just about in the midst of the current pandemic, even the basic task of planning our supplies for our two-week road trip is, in itself, of significant importance and an exercise in prudence.

Usually, on my past road trips, I could rely on supermarkets and petrol stations being open and rammed with resources. Now, I just can’t bank on that fact. Of course that is a pain; however, the uncertainty has led me to question whether there is there a much more interesting time to travel the UK than right now? I’d wager that there hasn’t been over the past decade or so, and, thus, I can’t wait for the forthcoming challenge!

Just to get some opinions and recommendations, here is my list of items that I’ll be taking with me for the trip:

  • A four-person tent. Andy and I are big lads and we’re going to be wild camping for two weeks. We need a tent and it has to be big enough.
  • An inflatable mattress and accompanying foot pump. I’m going to sleep in comfort and we bought an inflatable mattress a few years back from Decathlon which is currently gathering dust. It now has a use.
  • For the sake of my sleep, I’m chucking in ear plugs for Andy’s snoring as well!
  • A sleeping bag. This will round off the whole sleeping situation.
  • Food. Mostly canned, a loaf of bread, some vegetables and fruit that will keep.
  • A cool box. This is incase we can pick up ice and any cold food. With this, we can store it from the moment we get it, and thus take advantage.
  • My portable barbecue and a bag of coals. If we can get hold of meat, or catch us some fish, then I’ll definitely need these.
  • A fishing rod. To catch us some dinner if I can!
  • A stack of clothes. T-shirts, trousers, boxers, socks and the rest of the basics.
  • My trusty cap. I never go anywhere without it in the car!
  • Walking boots. Some proper shoes are definitely going to be necessary.
  • Waterproofs. We’re climbing Ben Nevis so I won’t be messing around in a t-shirt and shorts the whole time.
  • My knife. This is useful for a whole host of reasons. I might take my Swiss army knife as well, for it’s multi-purpose as a tool.
  • My Zippo Lighter. The quintessential fire starter in my opinion.
  • Sunglasses. When I’m driving at certain times, these will be reaaaally important.
  • Insect repellent. Mosquitos are ten a penny in Scotland right now and, as much as I don’t like it putting it on, a non-deet repellent will be in the bag.
  • My trusty dumbbell. I want to keep exercising as best I can, especially if I’m up at sunrise when the light pierces the tent.
  • Toiletries. Toothbrush, soap and all the rest. A razor for shaving also isn’t too bad an idea because my beard does not look good at all. What do you think of blonde hair and a ginger beard? Personally, I don’t think it’s a pretty picture.
  • My wallet, complete with cash and cards. This is obvious so I won’t elabourate.
  • A road map. My phone won’t get signal everywhere in signal so google maps might have to sit back and relax while my brain fumbles around with my map.
  • My Lonely Planet Guide on Scotland. I love to have a book to read and this one will help me bore Andy with fact after Scottish fact.
  • My phone. I wish I didn’t need it but better safe than sorry.
  • My car charger and T25 Bluetooth hookup. To keep the phone on, and be able to blast music and podcasts through my speakers.
  • A killer playlist. Everything from the Proclaimers, particularly as we’re in Scotland driving for around 500 miles, to Juice Wrld. Just to reiterate though, It would be frankly obscene if the Proclaimers didn’t make the list!
  • Oil. I definitely don’t want my car to breakdown because I didn’t bring it.
  • A pen, pad of paper, and my laptop. All to keep you guys updated from the road.

If you think of anything else I should take, that would be much appreciated. This list isn’t exhaustive but it’s been flitting around the back of my mind in advance of the forthcoming trip so it feels good to get it down on paper.

The NC-500 promises to be stunning. I’ll post my own photos as we go, or when we get back, but if you’re interested in advance, check out some of the best and most beatiful landmarks to visit on the route right here.

I can’t wait to get back to you guys with stories from the NC-500. I’ll endeavour to write a couple more articles before I leave on the trip; however, with exams in full flow, I can’t promise anything! Ciao for now…


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