Musings about wanderings

Month: April 2012

Castle Campbell and King’s Seat Hill 22APR12

Something that’s been on the plan for a while is taking day trips to see some of the things in the surrounding area. So first up is Castle Campbell, a Historic Scotland property near Dollar. Another aim for this trip was to try out some of the hill walking gear that I’ve purchased recently. 

So early on a Sunday morning I find myself on the road heading for Dollar. Reasonably simple journey on paper (and according to both the Sat Nav and Google maps). But there is always the traditional getting lost. In this case, the tram works. With Haymarket blocked off, I ended up on Gorgie Road then on the M9 trying to get to the Forth Road Bridge. Of course there are road works and the fun of 40mph average speed cameras. Cleared them with the minimum of fuss, crossed the bridge and straight back into road works on the M90.

From the M90, in theory it as along the A977 then on to the A91 via Yetts ‘o’ Muckhart. Except there a two roads,signposted for there and the on I got was a single track road. Joy.

The journey over, I parked up at the lower of the two car parks at Castle Campbell, put my walking shoes on and headed into Dollar glen. The walk up was through a wooded area by a fast flowing stream with a number of waterfalls.

Dollar Glen

Dollar Glen

Dollar Glen

Dollar Glen

The castle itself is a ruin with really on the tower house still mostly intact. It greets you as quite an imposing structure in the area.

Castle Campbell

Castle Campbell

Looking round, you got the sense of what life would have been like all those years ago, the silent ruins a testament to the lives that have gone before in this part of the world. Historic Scotland have done a fantastic job looking after the place.

Castle Campbell

Castle Campbell

After the castle it was on to the second reason for today’s trip, a climb up King’s Seat hill. The map marked a path so it looked fairly easy. Of course then comes my famed navigation skills. I climbed a steep part of the path thinking I’d got to the top (in my defence, there was a cairn at the top) only to find it was a smaller hill with the main challenge still ahead. Still there were plenty of views on the way up.

Glen of Sorrow

Glen of Sorrow

On The Way Up

On The Way Up

Close to the top there is a memorial to three spitfires that crashed during the war.



After much climbing, I got to the top. The cairn was fairly impressive and there was a small shelter. Met a few other walkers at the top and watched the fell runners go by before heading down.



The trip back to the van was uneventful and free of entertaining navigation. I also thought that I knew the way home and would be back in no time. Nah. Traffic was stationary on the M90 at the roadworks and even when it as moving, it was crawling along in second gear. No problems with the 40mph average speed cameras here. Clearing the bridge it was back along the A90 to Edinburgh. Then the fun really started. I got lost in the diversions for the tram work. Round and round the west end of Princes st I went and got so badly I had to stop and ask a policeman for directions. All in all what should have been a hour journey was ninety minutes.

But return I did and I had had a good day. Saw a nice castle, climbed a hill and more importantly made sure that all the equipment worked.

I’m looking forward to the next adventure. That’s after I get everything clean again.

More photos here.

New Equipment

Something I want to combine with my travels in the Motorhome is landscape photography. There is breathtaking scenery all around.

Of course the main problem is getting to the scenery. To this end I’m making more of an effort to go hill walking. This of course needs gear. And the latest addition to the manifest is a new day pack

My new Osprey Kestrel 28l day pack

I went of an Osprey Kestrel 28l day sack. I found it the most comfortable in the shop when I tried a few on and it has all the space and more for what I require.

Also picked up a couple of walking poles to see if that makes a difference.

Next stop, the hills.

Ignition Fixed

Been having a few problems with Harmony’s ignition recently. I’d turn the key and the lights on the dashboard would either come on very dim or not at all. Turning the key back and forth would sort the problem, with the lights coming on and the engine turning over (and catching) when the key is turned to start.

During the habitation check, some investigation was done. There were a couple of possibilities. The first was a relay was sticking somewhere. I’ve not been able too find a wiring diagram so I wasn’t sure about that. The second option was that the ignition switch was going. Some fiddling with the existing switch suggested that this was a good place to start.

So, in the spirit of self reliance, I ordered up the part from Arnold Clark. A swift purchase of some screwdrivers later, I got the cowling apart and replaced the switch.

And now everything seems to be all right. I’m not terribly mechanically minded, normally checking the oil level and the tyre pressure is what I do but it feels pretty good to have done even a small repair. There doesn’t seem to be a Haynes manual for the Boxer which is a pity but I’ll keep working on those little fixes.

Something I should order is a set of spare bulbs and fuses. And carry a small toolkit in the van.

Ready for Adventure

This weekend has been spent doing all the start of season tasks.

One of the main yearly tasks for a motorhome is the Habitation Check. This goes through the living area of the van and ensures that all the “life support” systems are working. The water system is checked to see that nothing was damaged over the winter and that the water heater is ok. The gas system is checked for leaks and the electrics are checked to see that they work correctly and that the leisure battery is in good condition and gets charged.

As with last year, I got Gem Caravan Care to do the checks. All went well and the only thing that is required is a new Smoke and CO detector as the current ones did not survive the winter.

Other than that the main tasks are cleaning. The carpet has been washed and vacuumed. The fridge, countertops, sink and cooker have been cleaned and the waste water system flushed through with tank freshener.

The main task remaining is to put puriclean through the main water system. I’m not so bothered about this as I usually only use the water system for flushing the loo.

But adventure awaits.


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