I have been very excited for about a week or so. Why? Because we have just acquired this dream machine . . .

You may remember the insane enthusiasm such vehicles inspired in me when we went away in one last year. The comfort! The convenience! The ability to drink tea from a teapot! When a friend of Tom’s recently announced that he was selling his, we, as they say, jumped at the chance. Tent camping is still difficult for me as I a) can’t really carry anything, and b) live with the damocles sword of post-stroke fatigue. But the van means that we can get out and about pretty much however I am feeling. Last year my recovery rather put paid to our usual outdoors activities, but this year there shall be walking! And camping! And hills! More tea! This weekend was a very good time for new beginnings, and we took our van (our van!) out on its maiden voyage. It really is brilliant. How can you argue when this is the first thing you see when you open the curtains (curtains!) in the morning?

Bruce, of course, heartily approved—both of the van, and of its location by the bonnie banks and braes . . .

We had gone to Loch Lomond with a purpose—some friends were getting married, and we were looking forward to helping them celebrate. The day’s festivities began with a 10k race. Bruce and I watched while HBT’s brown-clad hordes snaked their way around the loch’s Western shores.

Yes, that is the groom sporting the lurid and stylishly deconstructed shelly. . .

Post-race, the sun came out, and we all went to get our glad rags on.

Because I know that you would like to see how we scrub up on such occasions, here am I, sporting a fascinator for the first time in my life.

I found it on ebay for a snip!

And here is Tom . . .


Get your teeth away from that sporran, Bruce!

The wedding took place in Auchendennan House, a mid-nineteenth century mansion full of typical gothic excesses, and commanding fine views of the loch and surrounding landscape. Built for Glasgow merchant, George Martin, on what is claimed to be the site of Robert the Bruce’s hunting lodge, it is now home to what—in terms of both architecture and setting—is possibly the most spectacular youth hostel in the world.

With the sort of lovely weather that is (ahem) entirely characteristic of April in Scotland, it turned out to be a glorious day for new beginnings. The wedding was elegant, unpretentious, and full of genuine love and warmth.


A perfect reflection of the bride and groom, then.

Sláinte, Dan and Sula!

67 thoughts on “new beginnings

  1. Seeing your lovely new van brings back so many wonderful – and wacky! -memories of camping when the kids were little and we all fit wonderfully well in our VW camper!

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  2. I am so happy for you reguarding the campervan, it looks wonderful! (We have just bought one … Fiat Ducati … this weekend too and I have been squeeling with excitement at all the exciting travells we will have!)
    Lovely wedding photos, the fascinator is perfect!

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  3. wow i ve been spammed out – anyway, so i make it short: i like your blog and your van and i am not going to bother with links of artists drawing vans….

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  4. What a lovely, glorious weekend!! Having attended a wedding in Scotland in April, I know exactly the weather you mention. Thank you for sharing it. That van looks like it’s going to get a lot of use. I’m really happy for you. :-)

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  5. I love the last photo. You’ve managed to capture the happy couple & the happy camper in one shot….
    Congrats on the new camper – looks like the three of you had a fantastic time!

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  6. Very glam indeed Kate! I love reading of your authentic life well lived and of those who share it with you. Totally blown away by the YHA reference, where we had once the place to ourselves several Novembers ago. Thanks for taking me back there. May your new van take you on many new paths and adventures.

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  7. We sold our VW camper last summer after 10 years of wonderful trips, including a 3-month one through all the western US in the spring of 2009. SO happy to see that you have gotten a van yourselves; it’s the perfect way to travel and explore. Many, many happy journeys to you and yours!

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  8. You all looked fabulous! And congratulations on the camper. We owned one when we lived in Germany and it was great, especially when traveling with my British aunts and uncles who wanted to stop for a pot of tea every couple of hours. Of course, this drove my U.S. born father a bit crazy as he was always trying to get us to the next destination…never mind enjoying the journey. May you enjoy many a journey in your new van. So happy for you.

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  9. Congrats! Hope you and yours and the van have an excellent summer, and thanks for the nudge- it’s time for me to start planning my summer….

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  10. What a delight! I’m camping now but have none of the gorgeous views you had. I’m glad you can get away; it helps one’s mental attitude so much.

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  11. i’ve thought often of how hiking/camping is deeply part of you (at least in your online presence), and am so glad you now have this device to make it happen.

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  12. You look lovely! I had to google “fascinator”, because I thought they were veils and you’re wearing what I would think of as a headpiece …. but Wikipedia tells me that I’ve simply not kept pace with evolving definitions. At any rate, it’s the perfect accessory for that dress.

    I am intrigued by your van, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the like. Is it quite tight inside? Where do you sleep?

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  13. Looks like a wonderful time was had by all, including Bruce. What a brave group of guests, going for that run, and it looks quite cool at that stage, weatherwise.
    Tom’s outfit with the kilt and sporran is really smart. Bruce must have wondered about the sporran. (Good place to keep doggy treats, he may have thought)

    The angels in the stonework are lovely, and the whole setting is beautiful, the bride and groom do look lovely.
    You also look lovely Kate, your outfit is very pretty, and I think ballet flats?
    The scenery in Scotland is divine.

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  14. I love your stripey dress with the red belt. And fascinator!

    The van is great, too. My Dad had a VW van once that I almost drove from Alaska to New York (a very long drive). Of course it broke down before the first day was out and I ended up flying home. Then he sold the van, and I never got to drive it anywhere. That’s the whole sad story. :)

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  15. Hi kate I am so happy for you about the van it’s going to make such a difference for you and will help reduce the frustration you feel with your ‘new’needs (rest, less energy, more need to look after self) so consequently enable you to experience things that would be not wise without it. Just imagine lovely walk/climb and come back to hot drink food and a lay down if you need it (not to mention being off the ground) I am so excited that this opportunity has come into your lives (and as summer is approching lots of great trips happening (and lots of room for the knitting or whatever!) have a great time.

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  16. Oh Kate, I am so pleased you have a camper van (and just a tiny bit jealous – ok, mega jealous). You and Tom will have such great times in it. Come to Kelso.

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  17. Great for the van ! It’s a brilliant idea ! How i wish i could do the same …but money as a single teacher with 3 kids is always a problem…nevertheless i ‘m very happy for you !
    Kisses from France ,

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  18. My husband and I have long been talking about a VW van for camping. Our wagon would do in a pinch but there’s always so much stuff hanging around in the back it would require quite a bit of planning and rearranging. Besides, there aren’t any curtains in the wagon. No fun!
    We’re certainly envious of your camping weekend. We’re dying to get out camping but the snow has only just left us and most provincial parks are not open until next month. Generally our first outing of the year is the May long weekend (May two-four in common canuck slang).
    The wedding looks like it was a lot of fun and both you and Tom look quite snazzy in your fancy clothes.
    I’m looking forward to reading about your adventures in the van this coming season. Enjoy!

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  19. I love the fascinator– it makes you looks so, well, posh!

    When I was a kid we had a full camper on the back of my parent’s truck. It was great- always loaded. I remember my parents would pack up some toys and books for me and throw me in the back and we would head off for a week or so. The cat travelled in it too– but i have never seen a camper van– it is pretty nifty!

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  20. Kate – what exciting news!!! I do love campervans and have a soft spot for them so you are one lucky girl indeed. Thank you for the great photos. The wedding sounds wonderful and so lovely to see everyone looking beautiful and handsome…

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  21. What a wonderful way to travel! Ideal!
    I parrot the others, you and Tom look beautiful and handsome. And not to leave Bruce out, he’s as gorgeous as always. At least he’s got a fur coat – I went paddling in Lock Lomond once (after climbing up and down the Ben). It was freezing!

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  22. Nice van! What a great purchase.
    You and Tom really do scrub up well, I love your outfit, the fascinator is perfect!
    And I have stayed in that youth hostel – we couldn’t believe it when we drove up to it and saw it, and then went inside! Amazing. What a lovely place for a couple to start their married life together.

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  23. I’ve been in Scotland only once (for now…) and it was so hot we all cut our jeans up and turned them into shorts!!

    Glorious location… congratulations to your friends (and to you two for that splendid camper van!!!)

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  24. So…captured the newlyweds AND the van in that shot. Clever! Bruce looked resplendent and you guys looked petty fine too. Congrats on the camper. You are very lucky to acquire one.

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  25. I am so excited for you about the camper van! Can’t wait to hear about all of the wonderful walking, camping, and hills you’ll be experiencing thanks to the van.

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  26. Congratulations on the acquisition of the fabulous van of dreams! May it bring you many days’ joyful camping in sunny Scotland.

    You and Tom both look most glam in your finery.

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  27. What fun on every account. I am so happy that you got a camping van with curtains, have a lovely sporran wearing man and have great friends where a fascinator can be achieved! And so well, indeed.

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  28. You are going to love that van! We got one (same model I think, or the U.S. version) and we tool around every summer (myself as copilot, knitting). One of my daughter’s fondest memories is opening that curtain on the pop-up to the Pacific at Baya de Los Angeles, Mexico.

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  29. Ooh, camper van envy! What a great new beginning. We borrowed my parents’ van a couple of years ago with our baby and had the BEST time, but with another human addition to the family since then I think we’d need something a little more coach sized.

    And congratulations to the happy couple!

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  30. There is nothing like a man in his kilt – with his dog – perfecct! You also look pretty darned spectacular in that “fascinator”. (Do we have Camilla to thank for the revival of these little hats I wonder?) I am envious of all of the amazing places you will be able to travel to in style now! Enjoy!

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  31. Congratulations on acquiring your brilliant dream machine. I am so envious.
    You and Tom do scrub up well. Seems like a lovely time was had by all in an idyllic setting.
    Hope you have lots of good times travelling in the dream machine.

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  32. Fantastic! All good news. What fun to travel around in a campervan. A wedding of good friends, a new dream machine, and Bruce excited, too. What a nice way to begin Spring.

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  33. Thank you for the visit home to the bonnie banks. Wedding looks relaxed, enjoyable and stress free and the weather…well! Head gear amazing. Love the van and miss ours- Mike was its name- kids loved it and so did I. Great memories of garden plants and pots loaded in, double strollers – no problem. We had the video and Baby Einstein DVD’s saved our lives on long drives. I bet Bruce loves it with all the extra room. Can’t wait to hear of your adventures. Another great blog. How do you do it?

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  34. I Love your camper!! I love camping but at the 40ish mark like a bit more comfort so am thinking of ways my new (second hand diesel) white berlingo van may help… great fun :-)
    What an incredible youth hostel and such a brilliant spot for a wedding!

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  35. The van is a great idea for you. Real freedom and no need to do all that wearying planning ahead for journeys.. years ago we bought a boat for similar reasons and still enjoy it. I love the wedding photos. And you’re just lovely in the red and white.

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  36. Firstly, you look lovely! :D Secondly, I’m envious of the van! If I could drive I’d rent one of those like a shot! New beginnings really are rather exhilarating :) Best wishes to you both x

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  37. Green with envy, Kate, regarding the campervan. I’ve been hoping for a small lottery win so that I can invest in one to take me around the country to various shows. Stock it up with yarn while travelling, and then once I’m there I’ve got an instant b&b! Enjoy it. Will you be coming up to Assynt?

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  38. You look absolutely fantastic with your fascinator and Tom is equally stunning in his kilt. And what a sunny day, I can not believe that this is the same Scotland that I visited under continuous rain a few years ago!

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  39. Love that your sweet new ride is in the background in the photo of the happy couple! (It fits in well with the wedding-white attire, not to mention the general air of happiness & elegance!)

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  40. Waaaaaaaaao, It sounds that you were in the middle of lots of very exciting activities. Congratulations for the dream van. It seems to be perfect. And congratulations for your friends’ wedding. You look wonderful. Best of luck in your future outdoor activities.

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