Posted by: christinelaennec | July 24, 2014

A big, wet, adventure!

The Dafter and I recently went on an amazing adventure – we went camping! This is amazing for a few different reasons: firstly, she was in a wheelchair until not so long ago, and this would have been impossible; secondly, this was her idea; thirdly, we are not particularly experienced campers and anyone who knows us might be a bit surprised. However, it was a great success!

We drove up out of Glasgow and into the mist. The Dafter really enjoyed being out in the countryside.  She hasn’t been on such a long car trip in a very long time and it was just wonderful that she was having fun.  We drove over a place that is well-named, a mountain pass called the Rest and Be Thankful:

Rest and Be Thankful, Scotland.  July 2014.

Just beyond the highest point of the Rest and Be Thankful, Scotland. July 2014.

We stopped for a break, and I very much enjoyed my coffee:

Coffee break!

Coffee break!

We hit the rain just before Tarbert, Argyll, and drove on through some very narrow and winding roads with passing places.  It took us 50 minutes to drive 13 miles, with a few stomping-on-brakes and squeaking-past-very-carefully moments.  I was glad that I’ve had quite a lot of experience on such roads, as the heavy rain didn’t make it any easier.  Finally we reached our destination, Port Bàn campsite.

Cafe at Port Ban campsite, Argyllshire.

Café at Port Bàn campsite, Argyllshire.

We waited for a few hours to see if the rain would clear, but eventually, there was nothing for it but to put the tent up in the pouring rain.  The Dafter was an excellent helper and encourager, and we managed to keep most of our things dry – though we ourselves got soaked.  There is no photographic evidence of this part of the camping trip!  I kept thinking of my great-granny May, for whom camping was not a holiday choice but often an unavoidable living condition.

Later on in the evening it did clear just a little bit, and I had a wee walk on the beach, just a few yards away from our tent.  I knew that Jura lay beyond the water, but it was completely invisible.  The water itself was remarkably clear:

Clear water - the edge of the water is where the green seaweed is.  Sound of Jura, Argyllshire.

Clear water – the edge of the water is where the green seaweed is. Sound of Jura, Argyllshire.

I always love hunting for shells:

Shells and stones on the beach at Port Ban.

Shells and stones on the beach at Port Ban.

The pink flowers of the sea thrift had almost all faded, but if you look closely at the photo below you can see a few late bloomers:

Moss and sea thrift amongst the rocks.

Moss and sea thrift amongst the rocks.

The rain started up again well before bedtime, but we ourselves were dry as we fell asleep under the pelting of raindrops on the tent.  The morning dawned dry, which was a great relief as I don’t know how I would have made breakfast otherwise.  Other campers had shelters and much larger tents, and even tvs and fairy lights!  But I was able to make a little kitchen right outside, and I did enjoy my cup of tea.

Morning walk on the beach.  Sound of Jura, Argyllshire.

Morning walk on the beach. Sound of Jura, Argyllshire.

The Dafter went for a walk on the beach while I made pancakes:

Making pancakes:  Mama

Making pancakes: Mama

Everything was pretty wet, but I congratulated myself on having packed the matches inside two plastic bags!

Making pancakes:  The Dafter

Making pancakes: The Dafter

The Dafter was in very good spirits, and not too tired after her night sleeping on the ground.

Happy Camper!

Happy Camper!

The weather cleared up just about the time we left, and at last the Paps of Jura emerged from the clouds.

The Isle of Jura, seen from north of Kilberry, Argyllshire.

The Isle of Jura, seen from north of Kilberry, Argyllshire.

I have been to Jura a few times, as some friends used to have a holiday house there.  Very few people live there, but there’s a distillery and a small village around it.  As I looked across, I remembered staying in our friends’ house when I was pregnant with the Dafter.  I was certain that this pregnancy wouldn’t last, like the others, but I let everyone else look after Our Son, while I rested for a week in bed.  And yet my worst fears didn’t come true – as proved by the teenage Dafter bouncing around next to me.  Life is truly remarkable!

We returned home midge-bitten, tired and happy.  The Dafter was fairly whacked for a few days after our trip, but I think that is to be expected.  She has only stayed at home all day once since we returned, which is pretty good going.  She is still hugely enjoying working at the charity shop, which is great.

And as you may know, there is nothing like camping to make you LOVE getting into your bed when you get back home!



  1. Wonderful! I`m so glad that the Dafter`s health has improved so that you could make this trip.

  2. what a great memory to make with your daughter. I have a friend who often goes down to Port Ban and I almost don’t want to say this but I think she stays in a caravan. I am impressed with your bravery, especially when it’s drizzling outside. I haven’t camped much in the past few years … well, let’s be honest, quite a few years. lovely pictures of you both. by the way, I was able to pick up a copy of July’s Prima magazine and I enjoyed your article in there. It was a very nice picture of you. 🙂

  3. How marvelous!

  4. Ahhhhh rainy camping trips…I have been on quite a few…one girl scout outing we even had tornado warnings in the middle of the night! I am so pleased that Dafter is so much better and that you got to camp near the ocean. Lovely!!! xx

  5. That is amazing, such great news that Dafter was fit enough and some lovely memories made. The views are truly spectacular.

  6. Just brilliant! Very impressed that you persevered through the “delightful” Scottish weather and it’s lovely to see ‘the Dafter’ looking so free!

  7. I’m so impressed you actually made pancakes!

  8. I would say the Dafter is recovered if she was able to camp. She looks wonderful and the picture of you two together should be framed. Happy times, happy memories.

    Wendy in NH

  9. Oh this is so exciting. I probably get a bit over-excited about these posts because I know something of what it is like to think you will never do these things again. Don’t you wish you could have read this post to yourself 18 months ago? I know it was your every hope back then but also no way to know if it might be a possibility. I love that name “Rest and Be Thankful” — I should look up the history of its naming. Now I am feeling a bit jealous about your camping. 🙂 James is so eager to go camping for his birthday and I am beginning to explore how to make this work….Also excited that the Dafter is working at a charity shop. Please tell her hello for me and that I am so happy for her. We are off in an hour for a week at church camp. I am looking forward to seeing friends I only get to see at camp. Rachel will come back early to start high school — hard to believe. Have a wonderful weekend!

  10. Looks like you had great fun but what a shame about the weather given what a great summer it’s been so far!! I’ll be honest – I hate camping! I fully understand that you loved getting home to your own bed lol.

  11. how utterly delightful, I had a week in a cottge there a short time ago, but further sooth at Campbeltown
    . Dafter, you are looking amazing girl friend.

  12. This post makes me smile from ear to ear. So glad for your adventure!

  13. What a trip for so many reasons! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Good morning, Christine. I don’t know why my comments don’t post sometimes! I tried the other day to say what an amazing mother-daughter adventure! I love the pics. And the dafter looks fantastic and healthy!

    • Hi Dianne, I’m sorry you had problems posting – thanks for not giving up!

  15. Oh even in the wet, it looks like such fun. I am so happy for your daughter being better.

  16. Your girl looks amazing! So happy for all of you.

  17. Oh, goodness, yes, there is nothing like camping to make you appreciate your own soft bed! What a beautiful setting for a camp-out – such pristine scenery and I’ll bet the air was so fresh! It’s too bad about the rain, but it looks like you both made the very best of things. To see the smiles on your sweet girl’s face makes it all worth while, I’m sure. A wonderful adventure with lovely memories. xo

  18. Thank you very much, everyone! It was a great achievement and success – lovely memories.

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