“What is a Brit Stopper?” we asked, while chatting to a couple who had parked their camper van in the car park of a pub. We were staying in a nearby campsite at the time and had visited the pub for a meal. “You just buy the annual Brit Stop’s book and all the places you can park are listed, it’s great!” they said.
As soon as I could, I got on the Brit Stops website and ordered our book, £28 I believe it was, which is around what you’d pay for one nights stay at a campsite. Don’t get me wrong, campsites are brilliant with the facilities they offer and security, but sometimes, especially while travelling in a camper van, all you need is a safe parking space, knowing you’re not going to get moved on. That’s exactly what Brit Stops’ is all about. They’re businesses such as pubs, restaurants, shops, farms, vineyards etc offering you the use of a parking space on their land for the evening.
Some Brit Stops offer facilities, such as being able to fill up with water or get rid of grey water, toilet waste or rubbish, but sometimes its just a welcome parking spot. All very helpful and it’s manners to maybe have a few pints of their best beer, or tantalise your tastebuds with what they have on offer from their menus or take a peek in their shop.
With Polly the camper van packed up, the Brit Stops book in hand and route, more or less sorted, we were heading north toward Scotland!
Myself, Jon, Rosie, (our crazy collie) and Millie, (our even crazier pug) had been looking forward to heading up to Scotland for a while and the beginning of November was as good a time as ever. Yes it was probably going to be wet and cold, but we had a cosy fire in the camper and a lot of waterproof clothing and wooly hats. We were leaving the cats and boat knowing they were being looked after by our fab neighbours.
Our first stop was just what we needed. We weren’t in great need of facilities as it was our first evening, so after realising we’d be needing somewhere to stop in the Dumfries area after our initial drive up to Scotland we looked in the book and found the perfect spot. It was a car park with most of the facilities a camper van needs; a rubbish bin, water and even an area for toilet waste. We arrived in the dark, so were unaware what the area looked like, there were already a few campers parked and it was so quiet, but we parked, had a gin and tonic, cooked some food, chilled out and slept. The next morning we were quite surprised that we were in Caerlaverock nature reserve where we enjoyed a beautiful morning dog walk in stunning surroundings. The perfect free parking spot!
Sand, sea, mud and merse
Dramatic coastal scenery and a rich range of wildlife combine to make Caerlaverock an outstanding National Nature Reserve (NNR).
Mudflats and saltmarsh – or merse – provide a winter feast for birds such as barnacle geese, bar-tailed godwit and knot. Stand on the edge of this vast expanse and watch flocks of birds wheeling through the sky. Arrive early in summer to listen to the dawn chorus or, if you’ are very lucky, the distant chorus of natterjack toads.
Whether you want to enjoy birdwatching or a good walk with a stunning soundtrack of birdsong, you’ll find a warm welcome at Caerlaverock.
Normally, visiting Scotland, we’d head straight up north, but this time we both agreed we’d like to ‘tootle’ around the west coast, taking our time around the Dumfries and Galloway area and drive up the coast road to see where it would lead us. It didn’t disappoint – I Love Scotland!
Generally, you’re only supposed to stop in a Brit Stop for one night, so after our walk, we got back in our home on wheels and set off, but this time we were on the look out for a mountain biking trail, which we’d heard about, as well as hopefully another ‘Brit Stop’.
Catch us next time as we head toward the gorgeous Galloway Forest!
– where we’d find one of the most mystical forests I’ve ever seen!
– for more stunning and mountainous views!
– and a brilliant mountain bike trail!
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