Lotte’s Maiden Voyage

We have made our first trip in Lotte Trollope (for that is her name). Preparations started the day before with the charging of her batteries and chilling the fridge. It took us the best part of a morning to get her ready for the off (packing, loading, weight distribution for travel, filling the water tank, chemicals in the flush tank, removing wheel clamp, fitting the ‘Suck it and See’ mirrors to the car). Dee has become really adept at using the motor mover, manoeuvring her out from her nest squeezed tightly between the hut and the rowan tree at the front and hitching her onto the car like a pro from the Golden Shot. Chocks away shortly after 12 and we were on the road. To me as passenger, towing her felt like the car was pulling on a large treacle toffee. To Dee as driver every bend, junction and especially roundabout was pretty nerve-wracking and the constant attention to mirrors and road placement was tiring.
After a slight detour to the caravan shop in Elgin, which necessitated a 23-point turn on the forecourt and resulted in the purchase of a 1.2kW kettle and some silicon sealant, we arrived at our chosen destination for Lotte’s first night out – Findochty Caravan Park. I spent some long summer holidays in Finechty (local pronunciation) in the 1960s, I’m no longer sure when or how many times we stayed there, it’s all merged into one set of happy memories. Dad up at the Church in the evening smoking his pipe with the old salts in their fisherman’s sweaters and woolly hats, admiring the sunset and promising ‘fine weather the morrow’, the interminable rain, the bookshop in Buckie where I was bought a new Enid Blyton book every few days, climbing the Priesties (rock formations on the East shore), hunting for crabs in the rock pools, the gullies (geos) on the path westwards. I wonder who still remembers Katie Flett from Siller Street, or Kathleen haring down the hill in her polio calipers.
We had a pitch right on the shoreline so enjoyed a grandstand view of the tide gushing and sucking over the rocks, and the sound of the waves through the night.
Our first meal took a bit longer to prepare than we had anticipated (Dee did not stint on the vegetable chopping) and we may be rethinking our food preparation and cooking arrangements. There was another spectacular Finechty sunset for us, really good music on Radio Scotland all evening (big fabulous women singers, then great jazz), and a sunny morning for us to play on the rocks.
The campsite facilities were fine for us (nothing fancy, but the showers and loos were clean, the hook-up point was accessible, fresh water was available and waste water disposal was ok).
We bought a dressed crab for lunch from the Eat Mair Fish shop in Buckie (in keeping with our ‘change of life’ objective to eat local food) and brought a load of smoked haddock back in Lotte’s fridge.
Dee found the journey back a whole lot less taxing than the way out – no complacency setting in, but she is getting used to towing the van. Me, I just get huge enjoyment seeing Lotte rolling along behind us with her kettle and coffee machine on the front shelf.
On our way through Inverness we took her onto the public weighbridge which is at Baird Maltings – I always wondered what a public weighbridge was for and now I know. We also know we can afford to pack quite a bit more in the van and that the car is well within its towing limitations – all good news and we have the certificate to prove it.

Here are some more pictures of Lotte’s trip to the seaside including some of her interior (because we think she’s lovely).


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