Ledaig Caravan Park, Scotland and Pod Powwow here we come ! This has been in the planning for the past few months and for those uninitiated followers it’s the first ever get together of Go-Pods. Started as a conversation between ourselves and one other Podder in which we discovered we were both at the same site and the same time, from there we decided to open it up to other Podders and as the invitation was shared on our Facebook anyone who followed us was invited too, we didn’t want to be deemed Caravanist..
Soon we had expressions of interest and as time went on there were quite a few maybes and 3 other confirmed attendees. Perfect for a first event and all baby steps as we didn’t want to be too pushy and had to bare in mind the possibility we wouldn’t get on, God forbid. For ease the format decided upon was for all to meet up, be as sociable as you wanted, no pressure, at all.
Two days before leaving cup cakes were designed and made and the finished articles were both good to look at and palatable, good way to break the ice we thought. They were packed up for the journey up and once everything else was loaded into the car they took pride of place on the back seat of the car.
Now, as we drove onto the forecourt of the park a feeling of trepidation hit and all those thoughts and feeling came to the top, lots of nervousness and ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’ such as, what if we don’t get along, what if they’re a bunch of weirdos and maybe we’re expecting too much or maybe they are ? All expected motions and decided others may feel the same way.
We were shown to our pitch, perfect for us, first row along the front with a fantastic view of the bay. As we drove along we had our eyes peeled for other Pods and clocked one to our left four pitches along from us and one to our right further down the bank and on the edge of the beach.
Pod was set up as usual and as we finished we saw the third Pod role in and set up slightly to our right but behind us. Waves were exchanged and after a brief greeting we left them to set up. First meeting and all that, we didn’t want to encroach on their time away.
This also allowed us to play with our new wifi system which we had purchased from the Caravan and Motorhome Show and MB had fitted inside Pod. The unit consisted of a router fitted behind the TV and on this occasion took a ‘3’ data 12 month sim and an ariel which sat in the lining of the pop up roof. All is revealed on YouTube https://youtu.be/M7Eksj6pNaQ
Within an hour our last Podder arrived, very strange to see a car the same as ours pulling a Pod not dissimilar to ours down the road past us and pull up onto a pitch three down from us.
Visits to all were tentatively completed with cup cakes in hand and they seemed to go down well and achieved their aim, between all it was decided to meet at our Pod for drinks, nibbles and a good old chin-wag. This was it now, time to find out what we were all like.
Steak and stir-fry for dinner and preparations were made for our visitors as we made room in the awning for 8 people and 2 very cute dogs.
One by one they arrived with alcohol and nibbles in hand, all were wrapped up as the temperature had dropped but with a little planning and all sitting closer than anyone would normally on an initial visit we sat very comfortably around the inside of awning.
All our worries fell by the wayside as conversation, laughs and discussions around Go-Pods took place and carried on through the next few hours. With a bit of torch sharing to get to the loos and back and an introduction to the Scottish tongue the four hours flew by, we learnt ‘wheesht’ went down ok but add ‘woman’ on the end and you’d better learn to run and there was Oor Wullie, in lots of different forms.
The evening was going so well a tentative decision was made to arrange a meal out the following evening and one by one people drifted back to their Pods, all in the hope they made it back to the right one. The whole evening went extremely well, it couldn’t of gone better and with happy hearts we fell into bed and a well deserved good deep sleep.
We woke to the sun coming up over the hills and clear blue sky above, we weren’t in a rush to go anywhere so tv was put on to catch up on the news as we lazed in bed with a cup of tea and reflected on the previous evenings event.
We eventually got our selves up and out of bed, breakfast was eaten with the awing open looking out over the beautiful bay of Ardmucknish and as people emerged from their Pods we did a bit of a head count as some when leaving the previous night were shall we say.. very happy and relaxed ;).
The weather forecast looked good for the day so we decided that we would get the kayak out and head up the coast towards Benderloch, but before that we spoke with each Pod owner about a fair well dinner, strange to be thinking of it as such as we’d only just met but time was of the essence and we wanted to make sure we could find somewhere suitable at such short notice. Not everywhere would welcome 8 people and 2 dogs.
Names and places were banded about and one owner took the bull by the horns and decided to take on the challenge of finding somewhere not too far away that would cater for us all, with that in very capable hands we began the process of setting up the kayak.
Others went off to spend the day exploring or pottering around the site and we were off to paddle along the coastline, with one of us at each end of the kayak we were soon trotting down the dozen or so steps to the waters edge.
Soon had our usual technique pushing us along the coast, in unison, in and out of the water as we reached Benderloch beach. We carried on round to a small estuary, this was a little choppy and took a little more effort to get through but we made it into the very calm waters of the inlet.
The kayak bounced along as we pushed through the turbulent waters that surrounded us, this wasn’t helped by a sea kayak coming up behind as it cut through the waves like a hot knife through butter. We now new the virtues and benefits of a ridged kayak but we persevered, not that we had any choice and made it back to the caravan park having discovered muscles in places we’d both forgotten.
After a bite of lunch plans were firmed up for the evening, designated drivers were bribed and arrangements were made to meet at the Oyster Inn in Connel.
We all arrived shortly after 7pm and we were shown to our table which turned out to be one of a good size so we all settled down and began the festivities by ordering drinks. The menu was soon opened and the variety was excellent, lots of local produce and at very reasonable prices.
Conversation flowed round the table and continued in much the same vain as the previous evening, no awkward silences and lots of laughs and interesting conversation, it did stray to politics on one occasion.. Brexit ! but that was soon dismissed and it returned to Podding.. what else.
The evening eventually came to a close and it was hard to believe the following day we would be saying goodbye to 3 of our band of 5. Bonds had been formed between like minded people and their company and conversation was going to be missed.
The following morning soon arrived, another dry day ahead but tinged with a hint of sadness as we prepared to say goodbye, but not before ‘Podfather’ corralled us all together for a group photo. Those in the know.. you know who we mean.. those who don’t, you don’t know what you’ve missed.
All were hitched to the back of their cars for the last time and during this process MrB discovered that some had been shown the wrong way to connect the break-away cable. It is a legal requirement and other than causing Pods breaks not to work it could invalidate insurance. The type of cable fitted to Pod didn’t have a carabiner, if it had it could be connected to the tow bar mounting on the car, as they didn’t, the correct way was shown; by wrapping the cable around the tow bar and clipping it back onto the wire itself, forming a large loop, in an emergency the wire would then tighten on itself and apply Pods breaks. Also on YouTube https://youtu.be/Lrr-d03G3kE
One by one we waved them off, leaving ourselves and Podfather to reminisce but also to await the arrival of another Podder, one who was fortunate enough to own a Go-Pod II which had a split screen and still had its original fittings inside, this belonged to a local who we’d had the pleasure of meeting last year and we couldn’t wait to introduce him to Podfather, as we knew he would love as we did a good old mooch around an original.
Evening plans were made and after a stroll along the beach Podfather joined us for dinner, he had been warned it was quorn chilli but he was willing to give it ago and we were grateful for his company, over a relaxed meal and a few beers we chatted and discussed life, its many quandaries, the success of the Powwow and of course the mutual fascination with Pods. PF eventually left us and after hot showers we crawled into our snug cozy bed inside Pod.
Woke to another glorious morning, considering the time of year we took each day as it came and so far each day had arrived with a sunrise over land which cast its rays down along the beach and out across the sea to Tralee Bay.
MB had gone to wash the breakfast dishes and a short time later a droning noise could be heard slowly rolling over the bay towards the site. In the seconds it took for the noise to register as a plane with LB the bellowing sound of MB shouting her name was also heard from the other side of the site as she looked up and out of the window, above was a Hercules C130 skimming the tops of the caravans and below it MB running across the field with washing bowl and dishes in hand.
As is usual in these circumstances, when speed and coordination are required to work in unison, neither are apparent, but with a few screeches and fumbling fingers photos of not one but two Hercules was recorded as they roared overhead and in the direction of the airport.
Once composure was recovered we eventually drove the short distance into Oban and a bottle of Bowmore was bought. After a potter around the shops we sat ourselves down on the sea front and tucked into fish, chips and battered haggis, delish!
We didn’t hang round too long as we were eager to see if Robin had landed at the site and were keen to introduce him to PF. As we drove back onto the site we kept our eyes peeled but Robin was not to be found, no sooner had we put the kettle on we spotted him rolling onto the site with his Pod in tow and driving to a pitch not too far from PF.
Kettle was forgotten as we walked over to welcome him to what was left of our little get together. PF was collected on the way and after introductions were made we all began to tour the Go-Pod, discovering and discussing the differences between Mark II and III.
Most were minor differences, alloy wheels, fitted corner rear lights and the internal layout was entirely on the opposite side. Different vents and no drain ridges along the top. The most significant change for us was the loss of the split screen as it added so much character.
The following day brought another dry day but the next few did not look so promising, the day also brought the departure of PF, another of the founding Powwow members.
By lunchtime he was packed and preparing to say his goodbyes but not before the obligatory Pod picture of new and old was taken. With as much enthusiasm as he has shown throughout our joint endeavour his Pod was drawn up besides Robins and the image was captured by all on their various mobile devises and with slightly heavy hearts PF was eventually waved off, leaving ourselves and Robin.
Robin had plans for the day which involved a bike ride up the coast and we made the decision to enjoy the remainder of the day on the site. The sun was hanging in there so a leisurely afternoon was enjoyed along the beach and preparations were made to batten down the hatches for the predicted high winds the following day and possibly the preceding night. This involved checking the awning guy lines and adding a few more to keep it grounded, we had heard of the high winds but as yet had not experienced them on the Scottish coast. Whilst doing this our confidence in our little structure wasn’t strengthened by the fact caravans were leaving the site in large numbers, we were soon one of only three others pitched on the front row, nearest the beach.
Dinner was eaten as the wind began to pick up, we had done all we could, the evening soon turned into night and an early night beckoned as we cuddled up inside Pod whilst falling asleep listening to the sea crashing against the beach and the wind buffering against Pod.
Through the night we were woken as the rain made an appearance, the sound of the sea has also grown in strength but had gained a rhythm that sounded akin to a giant breathing as it lay asleep in the surrounding hills. Perhaps it was a relative of Benandonner, leastways the thought of such a magical being soon had one of us back in the land of nod to be woken only by daylight peeping through the small gap left by the partially closed blinds, of course the rain and wind had turned into strong gusts that always sounded worse whilst sat in the awning.
Today was our last full day and we were yet again saying goodbye to a fellow Podder, Robin. Once breakfast was out of the way we walked up to Robin to see how he had faired through the night and also to help with the awing, the gusts were not conducive to a lone Podder attempting to dismantle a piece of canvas on stilts, which once airborne could have the tendency to cause more problems than was necessary.
Robin had faired well through the night with no issues at all, between the three of us we soon had the awning down and packed away and without further ado Robin pulled his Pod to our pitch for the now required picture.
This would be the third time of doing it and you could say as a group effort we had the positioning and hitching/unhitching down to a fine art. With a wave from us both Robin went on his way and then there was one. One Pod on the site and one lonely caravan centre position of the entire empty front row.
The weather was very changeable and moved from wet and windy to dry and still in a very irregular pattern. It didn’t spoil our fun though and it was fabulous to see the other side of the Scottish weather as all our previous trips had been blessed with warm temperatures and blue skies.
Once we had our wooly jumpers and boots on we set off up the beach to explore and take in the sights, sounds and smells for the last time because the following morning we would be heading home.
All looked promising so with heads full of wonderful memories we lay in bed recalling the pat weeks activities, new friendships and an ever growing fondness for a beautiful part of our country.
We woke as daylight broke to a dry day and went about our set tasks in an automatic state of mind, within a few hours we were on the road and homeward bound and thankful for this great holiday experience, with a promise to do it all again, after all.. isn’t that what Podding is all about….