“While Wendy was busy with work and Lola and Harris were off school, I decided to pack up the Autoquest (with the kids and the dog) and head for the Hebrides. I grew up in Tobermory on the Isle of Mull so to head back there always feels like a homecoming.
“Mull is truly a wonderful place and that not just bias (though there is a lot of that). Thousands of people flock there every year to enjoy its wildlife, scenery and food. I loved my upbringing there. The island and its people have in every way shaped me as a person and my whole worldview. Had I not grown up in Tobermory I would not be doing the job that I love. I am eternally grateful to the island for all that has given me.
“On this last visit we had just four days, but we packed a lot in. The freedom that the Autoquest has given us has meant that we can be so much more flexible and it seems use our time so much better. Even on holiday I like to keep busy, make and change plans, simply do stuff. Structured relaxation if you will!
“Just being out on the road in the motorhome feels like we are already doing stuff. It’s easier for me to properly chill out. The journey, the roads (single track and dual carriageway) are part of the holiday. It’s never just a case of A to B.
“The weather forecast looked pretty wet for each of the four days so wellies and waterproof were slung into the storage area of the Autoquest. The store (or garage as it is called in motorhome parlance) is possibly my favourite feature. Wet suits, kayaks, firewood, folding chairs and table, footballs, frisbees, an archery set, a BBQ, cuddly toy and so much more can be housed in there without crowding the living space.
“We did a whistle stop tour of many of my favourite places but also squeezed in a couple of new ones. The Whisky cave, Glengorm, Calgary Bay, Café Fish and of course Tobermory are all paths well-trodden for me but I fulfilled an ambition, not of a lifetime but of the last 15 years.
“My good friends Joe and Dawn Reade own and run the hugely successful Island Bakery. If you haven’t tried their Lemon Melts Shortbread, you are not living life to the full.
Since Joe and Dawn set up the company I’ve wanted to have a nose around Island Bakery HQ, just out of curiosity… Joe gave us a tour of their hi-tech factory and it was fascinating. But best bit of all were the vast quantities of shortbread that Joe gave us to stock the motorhome cupboards! Some had to go in the garage! It was it a particularly memorable visit for Lola and Harris. They rarely seem that impressed by my job but having a dad with friends that own a biscuit factory is very cool indeed!
“Every day we planned a walk, a family visit (most of my family still live in Tobermory) and a new wild place to park up at night. On each and every walk it rained (mostly heavily) but all four days we loved. Of course, we were prepared with waterproofs, flasks of hot tea and the refuge of the Autoquest never too far away, but it is being in a truly special place with life’s most special people (and dog) that makes the best memories.
“Mull is in places rugged and beautifully wild but as a ‘native’ there is another side to love. The people. These are folk that I grew up with or watched me grow up. They too are what makes every visit to the island magical. People who are warm, welcoming, interesting and interested and most importantly, always happy to see me back home.
“It was my first ‘homecoming’ in a motorhome, but hopefully not the last!”