/ Motorhome parking/camping in Scotland

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Denni 10 Oct 2019

Evening all.

I'm heading to Scotland at the end of the month with a motorhome and looking for recommendations to park at a couple of places. Only looking to stay overnight then move off somewhere for the day then back at night

Heading to Fort Bill first so thats not a issue as I'll just park somewhere in the Glen. Then heading to Arisiaig and I think from memory you can just park near the main campsite on the beach so again I reckon that will be ok? Or can anyone recommend any other locations?

Then it's off to Skye where I've only ever wild camped or stayed in a B and B so does anyone have any recommendations where I'll be fairly inconspicuous?

Any ideas welcomed.

Thanks, Den 

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DaveHK 10 Oct 2019
In reply to Denni:

Sorry, it's full.

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Deleted bagger 10 Oct 2019
In reply to Denni:

Campervan or motorhome? There's a difference. 

There's plenty of small, out of the way, discrete spaces. Look at any 1:50k map and where it shows unfenced roads. Where a road has been upgraded there is often old sections of road which make suitable parking up spot. Don't block access or gateways. Respect other users.

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Cheese Monkey 10 Oct 2019
In reply to Denni:

You will never be inconspicuous in a MH parked up anywhere other than the drive way of at least a 3 bed semi detached house in a nice neighbourhood 

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Jon Greengrass 10 Oct 2019
In reply to Denni:

 caravan club have a list of sites.

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henwardian 10 Oct 2019
In reply to Denni:

> Then it's off to Skye where I've only ever wild camped or stayed in a B and B so does anyone have any recommendations where I'll be fairly inconspicuous?

First thing to note is that Skye, is huge, it takes 90 minutes+ to drive the length of the island so specific advice is going to vary widely depending on where you specifically want to park up.

Having said that, there are loads of places you can pull over for the night. I'm not sure how many of them I would count as "inconspicuous" though. The plague of "no overnight camping" type signs is encroaching but often you can just continue a little further on and find somewhere equally good with no signage (and very possibly with those of a similar bent to yourself). e.g. At Elgol there is no signage in the main car park at the bottom but there is signage 200m before at the carpark opposite the toilet. In broadford the main carpark has signage but a smaller car park literally right next to it doesn't have signage.

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Dave the Rave 10 Oct 2019
In reply to Denni:

If you’re meaning the car park by the golf course at Traigh, they’ve fitted a height barrier. Campervans are welcome on the Silversands site though and you get the same view.

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Heike 10 Oct 2019
In reply to Denni:

Scotland has got absolutely hideously busy the last couple of years and locals are getting very upset about people dossing anywhere imaginable, pooing everywhere and emptying their chemical toilets beside the road or in their pastures and driveways. I would suggest to find a campsite if you can. Sorry, I blame the NC500 ...the films and the low pound.

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Denni 10 Oct 2019
In reply to Heike:

Hi folks,

all good advice to take on board and cheers for the specific advice, much appreciated.

Any more ideas, keep them coming!

Den 

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Heike 10 Oct 2019
In reply to Denni:

Well, the best thing is that you are going in the (very )low season..so you might still be fine to find a place, just be aware of the problems and make sure you use local facilities, there are lovely toilets at the ferry port going over to Raasay on Skye e.g. (on the road from Broadford to Portree)

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Tom Last 10 Oct 2019
In reply to Heike:

I went to the NW for the first time in summer for about 5 years this year and the increase is astounding. Arisaig, Skye (particularly stupid Fairy Pools), Glen Nevis - all really bad. Even Ardnamurchan was rammed! I guess it’s just fashionable for whatever reason currently.

That NC500 is total bllx - talk about Emperor’s new clothes! 

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Heike 10 Oct 2019
In reply to Tom Last:

Tell me about it, I live up here and the HUGE increase year by year because of this new marketing phenomenon is absolutely astounding. Yes, emperors new clothes is a great way to put it. The country, the places and the roads have been there forvever, but now it is a "marketed thing" which one has to do for one's "bucket list" apparently and preferably as quickly as possible. The amount of huge petrol-guzzling racing type vehicles racing up and down to do the NC500 as quickly as possible is mind-blowing. Lots of accidents, too  It is just so sad IMHO. It's "fast tourism", not very sustainable.

Post edited at 21:55
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philipivan 10 Oct 2019
In reply to Heike:

Weird! I've never heard of the nc500 and I've been going to Scotland ( have family there) for 43 years. Looking at the route I essentially did it as driving practice with my dad over 3/4 days when I was about 20 staying in pubs along the way. It was brilliant and the roads were empty (really empty! ) in midsummer. 

Went back to visit this summer with the children and was surprised by the state of car parks and number of camper vans. We had a great time but one day I managed to fill about 3 carrier bags with rubbish at the bracklin falls car park. Pretty shocking! Strangely in the same time period I don't feel north Wales has become noticeably busier. 

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rif 10 Oct 2019
In reply to Heike:

I completely agree. Have you responded to the tourism levy consultation? Not sure it's been advertised outside Highland Region, but I think it's open to anyone with an interest

https://www.highland.gov.uk/TVL

Rob F

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Robert Durran 10 Oct 2019
In reply to Denni:

> Does anyone have any recommendations where I'll be fairly inconspicuous?

Surrey?

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tom_in_edinburgh 11 Oct 2019
In reply to rif:

> I completely agree. Have you responded to the tourism levy consultation? Not sure it's been advertised outside Highland Region, but I think it's open to anyone with an interest

It is a pity they are thinking of this at the regional level rather than the national level.

It would be more sensible to have a national scheme enforced at the border with England.  Say £100 for a sticker which lets you enter Scotland in a camper van.  There's only a few roads you'd need to watch if you focus on the border with England.

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Dr.S at work 11 Oct 2019
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Infrastructure at the border? Surely you need a ‘Trusted Tramper’ scheme which folk can purchase before setting off?

You could even have a ‘considerate crapper’ carnet to go along with it.

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Dr.S at work 11 Oct 2019
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

In more seriousness  - if camper vans are a serious issue, why not increase the road tax on them and spend the money raised on mitigation?

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In reply to Denni:

The worst offenders seem to be the hired campers. Many are marketed specifically at the nc500 (or mc500 - midlife crisis in honour of the bikers and sports car owners of a certain age). The roads are still busy with them approaching November. Another near death experience on the way to work last week. A levy on hire vans perhaps, some folk are making a lot of money from it and it's certainly not being spent on clearing up the litter and sh+t lining the roads. I've heard the organisation being the "route" are struggling but the genie is out of the bottle.

The media don't help, two examples

A race sponsored by a Scottish newspaper last year 

And a nice contribution to marketing by the beeb who refer to Glen etive as the sky fall Glen 

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In reply to Denni:

Sorry Den, you ask an innocent question and you start a huge thread on the evil of badly thought out marketing. If it helps I for one am a massive hypocrite having just git a little van of my own. To be used responsibly of course.

You'll be able to play it by ear, which is the beauty of campers of course and you'll find a good few spots out if the way. Hope you have a cracking time. 

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Tringa 11 Oct 2019
In reply to Heike:

> Tell me about it, I live up here and the HUGE increase year by year because of this new marketing phenomenon is absolutely astounding. Yes, emperors new clothes is a great way to put it. The country, the places and the roads have been there forvever, but now it is a "marketed thing" which one has to do for one's "bucket list" apparently and preferably as quickly as possible. The amount of huge petrol-guzzling racing type vehicles racing up and down to do the NC500 as quickly as possible is mind-blowing. Lots of accidents, too  It is just so sad IMHO. It's "fast tourism", not very sustainable.

Excellent post that sums up the NC500 well.

There will be some who have developed an interest/liking for NW Scotland because of the NC500 but it is encouraging some/many who have no interest in the area. As you say the roads, along with the stunning scenery, have been there for years but some who would never have dreamt of going there, must go now so they can say,"I've done the NC500".

I'm lucky enough to spend about 15% of the year in NW Scotland and don't go around asking people what they think of the NC500 but I have yet to hear anyone say anything positive about it.

Interesting that last year there was a move to encourage slow tourism in the Highlands - wonder why?

Dave

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peppermill 11 Oct 2019
In reply to Denni:

The NC500 is dead easy for camper spots. Even though the roads are tiny there's laybys everywhere with these funny white diamond signs in them. Never bothered to read what's written on them mind.

;p

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peppermill 11 Oct 2019
In reply to Denni:

In all seriousness though, other than people recommending commercial sites the thread may not bear much fruit. The roads can be depressingly busy with campers/motorhomes up here so don't be surprised if people keep the best spots to themselves. I have a teeny tiny transit connect and once it dies I'll probably just revert to staying in hostels, the whole campervan thing seems to just be a victim of instagram.

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In reply to Tringa:

I live in Gairloch and before that in Poolewe right on the road, personally I dispise the nc500 even saying it turns my stomach

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Denni 11 Oct 2019
In reply to JJ Krammerhead III:

No worries mate! I'm all for healthy discussion either way and some good point. I figured I'd just get an OS map and have a look every day. Not on a schedule so really flexible.

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Deleted bagger 11 Oct 2019
In reply to Denni:

The Caravan & Camping Club have a big list of Certificated Sites. You have to join, about £40 a year. They are basic, tap, toilet and shower and have very limited numbers allowed at the site at any time. There's one near me in Holmfirth, The Rising Sun Farm. I'd definitely stay there. Great views. 

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Denni 11 Oct 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Surrey?

I'll camouflage it with pine needles :0)

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graeme jackson 11 Oct 2019
In reply to Denni:

> Heading to Fort Bill first

Call it fort Bill to a local and you'll not need anywhere to park your motorhome.  The beds in the Belford are quite comfortable I believe. 

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skog 11 Oct 2019
In reply to graeme jackson:

> Call it fort Bill to a local and you'll not need anywhere to park your motorhome.

Heh, aye, it does grate a bit.

"The Fort" is quite acceptable, though.

Since this is now more or less a thread on the evils of sudden increases in campervan tourism - yeah, it really is depressing how quickly the NW and the Isles (and to a lesser extent the Southern Highlands too) have become so busy.

Of course, it's selfish to think that way - I've been enjoying these places all my life and it's good that more people are getting to do so now - but the infrastructure can't really cope. It's hard to get in to accommodation or campsites without planning far in advance, there's a lot more litter and crap, it can take ages to get from A to B, and (the selfish bit, right enough), once peaceful places are now usually busy when the weather's at leas t passable.

OK, with a little local knowledge it's still possible to get quiet places to yourself, but it's a lot harder and things like the zipwire at the once-'remote' Traigh Allt Chailgeag (Ceannabheinne beach) sadden me greatly.

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tom_in_edinburgh 11 Oct 2019
In reply to Dr.S at work:

> In more seriousness  - if camper vans are a serious issue, why not increase the road tax on them and spend the money raised on mitigation?

Because road tax and fuel duties are a UK tax, the point would be to have a tax collected and spent in Scotland.  The problem with caravans is that the owners spend a bunch of money on their holiday just like people staying in a hotel but it goes into the economy of the region they live in rather than the economy of the place they want to visit.

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Denni 11 Oct 2019
In reply to graeme jackson and Skog:

> Call it fort Bill to a local and you'll not need anywhere to park your motorhome.  The beds in the Belford are quite comfortable I believe. 

Heh, aye, it does grate a bit.

"The Fort" is quite acceptable, though.

I'm guessing you're both locals so what is so unacceptable about calling it Fort Bill?

Post edited at 11:08
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skog 11 Oct 2019
In reply to Denni:

I'm not a local, but I did go to primary school there.

"Fort Bill" simply isn't its name, Dennis. ;-)

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graeme jackson 11 Oct 2019
In reply to Denni:

> Heh, aye, it does grate a bit.

> "The Fort" is quite acceptable, though.

> I'm guessing you're both locals so what is so unacceptable about calling it Fort Bill?


I'm not local but visit regularly and I'm well aware of the derision targeted at anyone who calls it FB.  Gets a mention on UKC maybe once a month or so.  

My guess is that the locals just don't like anyone not giving the place the 'respect' they feel it deserves. Could be wrong though. 

edit.  It's the same as the peak district. - Don't, whatever you do, call it the Peaks for much the same reason.

Post edited at 11:45
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Siward 11 Oct 2019
In reply to graeme jackson:

It's Fat Bill isn't it? 

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graeme jackson 11 Oct 2019
In reply to Siward:

> It's Fat Bill isn't it? 

Fat Jacko to my mates

Post edited at 11:53
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Denni 11 Oct 2019
In reply to skog:

> I'm not a local, but I did go to primary school there.

Depending on how old you are, maybe we went to the same school.

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Rob Parsons 11 Oct 2019
In reply to Heike:

> ... NC500 ...

Who are the incompetent/greedy/stupid councillors (or others) who decided to promote this thing in the first place?

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Robert Durran 11 Oct 2019
In reply to Denni:

> "The Fort" is quite acceptable, though.

I hate that. Along with "The Ben". There are multiple "Forts" in the area. Several "Bens" too.

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skog 11 Oct 2019
In reply to Denni:

Banavie Primary for me (OK, not technically part of Fort William, more the leafy suburbs...)

I'm in my early(ish) forties.

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skog 11 Oct 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

Yeah, but if you're in Fort William you know what's meant by either, much as "The Ben" means Ben Wyvis if you're anywhere near Garve or Dingwall.

Place names are generally local anyway, with e.g Ben More just meaning big hill.

It's a lot like people saying "The Queen" - they rarely go on to qualify which one they mean, in these parts.

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Robert Durran 11 Oct 2019
In reply to skog:

> Yeah, but if you're in Fort William you know what's meant by either, much as "The Ben" means Ben Wyvis if you're anywhere near Garve or Dingwall.

Fair enough, but it ought to be frowned upon outside Lochaber say. 

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Denni 11 Oct 2019
In reply to skog:

In my 50's and went to Inverlochy. I remember my grandparents driving me there in their Vauxhall Viva mk2 from Corpach.

Happy days :0)

Post edited at 12:35
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Denni 11 Oct 2019
In reply to graeme jackson:

The beds in the Belford are quite comfortable I believe. 

They are, although my memory could be wrong as I've only been there once, when my mother gave birth :0)

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skog 11 Oct 2019
In reply to Denni:

I, too, have a lot of fond memories of growing up there. The town was always pretty bleak, but the surroundings are quite wonderful.

> The beds in the Belford are quite comfortable I believe. 

I spent a bit longer there recovering from having my intussusception sorted and appendix removed (I'm not entirely sure why they did the latter, as there was nothing wrong with it. Perhaps they just wanted the practise...)

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Denni 11 Oct 2019
In reply to skog:

I do miss the Highlands. All my GG parents, grand parents, parents were all born in or around Corpach and I lived opposite the pulp mill for a long time. 

I do agree it was quite bleak at times although loved the smell of the mill, the coal fires and vividly remember getting milk in plastic bags! Spent many a day doing things I shouldn't up the Glen.

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Wanderer100 11 Oct 2019
In reply to Heike:

Blame Outlander! The Highlands and islands are all the rage!!

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skog 11 Oct 2019
In reply to Wanderer100:

It isn't just the Highlands, Outlander has done for Finnich Glen too - perhaps the most magical spot in the Lowlands.

They're even talking of making a visitor centre and cafe, and building paths and bridges...

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/outlander-beauty-spot-set-2million-20315659

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Heike 11 Oct 2019
In reply to skog:

Yup, Finnich Glen is awful now, I have been there with my son for a spot of canyoneering - a lovely we nature spot, couple years later, it is a scene of destruction. We went on a nice warm summer's day last year. There were fire pits with debris, clothes, bottles strewn everywhere, there was rubbish in the river every where and there were massive parties going on with people chucking Wkd and lager bottles and cans in the river. Horrible. It is a real shame.

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Dr.S at work 11 Oct 2019
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

But camper van excess is not just a Scottish problem - it affects all the nice bits of the U.K. so why not have a national levy and spend the cash on the affected regions? With a bigger pool of cash to draw on it may be possible to do a better job than by just targeting tourists crossing into Scotland.

If you want to make it an Indy question, then post that no reason to not do the same with Scottish vehicle tax, and some form of tourist levy.

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tom_in_edinburgh 11 Oct 2019
In reply to Dr.S at work:

I think it is absolutely counter productive to let the UK government raise tax for this because it will also mean they decide how it is spent. 

Especially the current lot: we will get complete bullsh*t schemes we don't want with massive union jacks painted on every available surface.   They'll also account for the tax as being raised in England and spent in Scotland to make the GERS numbers look worse so they can argue Scotland is being subsidised. 

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Cheese Monkey 11 Oct 2019
In reply to Denni:

It would be great if the UK could follow the attitude taken in a lot of countries on the continent. Aires with fresh water, grey and black disposal and overnight parking-usually for a nominal fee. Water etc is usually around 2€, parking rates are variable. Just a car park with a tap and drain essentially. 

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peppermill 11 Oct 2019
In reply to rif:

Thanks for that. Though frankly the fees suggested would barely be noticed by most visitors. Then again I guess it's not really proposed as a deterrent.

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Le Sapeur 12 Oct 2019
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

>   The problem with caravans is that the owners spend a bunch of money on their holiday just like people staying in a hotel but it goes into the economy of the region they live in rather than the economy of the place they want to visit.

Almost everything about that is incorrect. Take for example the Bespoke Hotel group who own 3 hotels between Kyle of Lochalsh and Broadford. The coaches drop off guests, who eat, drink and sleep in the hotel. The coach then picks them up and off to the next destination. The average hotel guest has spent very little money outside of the hotel. Profits go the the hotel group.

Now compare the motorhomes, most do stay in campsites. Many campsites are close to pubs. Take the Slig for example. Full of camper van types spending money in the pub. They stock up in the local shops. Fill up in the local petrol stations. They probably spend more money in the area than climbers. 

I don't have a motorhome but I do have friends who visit the Highland every year in one. They are really into their food and will visit as many restaurants as they can. Generally around 10 dinners and a few lunches. That alone is £2000 on food, every year. All spent in the Highlands and going back into local businesses. They have been travelling to the Highlands for over 20 years. That's a lot of money for people who supposedly don't spend money.

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Robert Durran 12 Oct 2019
In reply to Le Sapeur:

> I don't have a motorhome but I do have friends who visit the Highland every year in one. They are really into their food and will visit as many restaurants as they can. Generally around 10 dinners and a few lunches. That alone is £2000 on food, every year. All spent in the Highlands and going back into local businesses. They have been travelling to the Highlands for over 20 years. That's a lot of money for people who supposedly don't spend money.

I think you'll find that motorhome owners who regularly eat out (let alone spend nearly £100 pp per meal) are very much the exception! I think that generally the idea of investing in a motorhome is to have the freedom to stop where you feel like and be self sufficient without incurring more further costs than is necessary.

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tom_in_edinburgh 13 Oct 2019
In reply to Le Sapeur:

> I don't have a motorhome but I do have friends who visit the Highland every year in one. They are really into their food and will visit as many restaurants as they can. Generally around 10 dinners and a few lunches. That alone is £2000 on food, every year.

Bloody hell that's a lot of food.   Those guys should be issued with a Tourism Scotland Platinum card and get free entry to Scotland and a dozen free craps in laybys of their choice.

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profitofdoom 13 Oct 2019
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> Bloody hell that's a lot of food.   Those guys should be issued with a Tourism Scotland Platinum card....

A lot of expensive food! 2000 quid on a few meals, what the heck are they eating?!?! I've probably spent 2000 quid on all my food since 2008 ha-ha

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AJH 13 Oct 2019
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

>   The problem with caravans is that the owners spend a bunch of money on their holiday just like people staying in a hotel but it goes into the economy of the region they live in rather than the economy of the place they want to visit.

The problem with climbers/walkers/anybody doing something I don't do is that they spend a bunch of money on their holiday just like people staying in a hotel/climbers van (which of course is very different to a van owned by anybody else)/tent etc but it goes into the economy of the region they live in rather than the economy of the place they want to visit.

When we spent a couple of weeks in Scotland (in a van) this summer we ate in pubs, bought fuel and food locally, stayed sometimes in a campsite, sometimes not, never once shat by the side of the road, we acted considerately towards other road users, never diced with death overtaking like  a lunatic sports car driver,... much like virtually everybody else who visited.

By all means call out specific instances of people behaving antisocially but do not generalise about, and demonise one sector (or create a group that does not exist just to demonise them) based on that one instance.

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Raskye 13 Oct 2019

> I think you'll find that motorhome owners who regularly eat out (let alone spend nearly £100 pp per meal) are very much the exception! 

Not as exceptional as you might think Robert. There's a large number of MH owners who think the hob is only for making morning coffee!, the loo is only for that pee in the night and would never ever go anywhere except a 'safe' campsite.

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