THE CALIFORNIA EXPERIENCE…IN SCOTLAND
LEIGHTON VANS SCOTTISH ROADTRIP
Words by Robert Johnston | Photos by Adam Lievesley
It’s safe to say the last 18 months have impacted travel in an extreme manner and encouraged people to explore a little closer to home for their well-deserved breaks from work – enter the boom of the “staycation”. Campervans offer one of the best methods for making the most out of holidaying in your own country, allowing you to go from spot to spot efficiently and avoid shelling out for costly accommodation that leaves you feeling guilty for not spending enough time in bed.
The Volkswagen California is as iconic as they come in the (European) world of compact campervans, powering millions of adventures since the original Westfalia version of the Transporter T25 in 1988. One of the UK’s leading Volkswagen specialists, Leighton Vans, has an extensive fleet of hire vehicles including the California to let you get your fix of that Californian road trip culture a little closer to home. Leighton Vans and our camera wielding maestro Adam Lievesley had been in discussion about a road trip photo epic for a long time, and of course I was interested in getting my fix of the California experience, so we set about plans to get on the road together and put one to the test.
When we had first started planning the trip, I had a relaxed week floating up and down the Scottish West coast in the summer sun in mind, with beach-side barbeques and nothing but chilled vibes in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. But as Summer passed and covid restrictions and busy schedules had pressed pause on our trip, we ended up squeezing the trip into a condensed week in the middle of September – a week that would leave us at the total mercy of the unpredictable Scottish Autumn weather. By the time we had factored in the travel time from the Midlands of England up to the middle-West coast of Scotland, the timeframe remaining had us effectively limited to two full days, during which we had to shoot photos of the Van itself, two bikes for their respective reviews, plus a whole host of kit. No pressure.
We began by meeting at the Southern point of Loch Lomond, after Adam had pulled a good shift driving 5 hours up from the Midlands. When it comes to a roadtrip, I get serious anxieties about what to pack as you just never know what could come in handy. So I had optimistically prepared nearly a week’s worth of clothes, gear and spares for our mini adventure, expecting that I’d need to cull my supplies to squeeze into what I’d envisioned being a pretty compact luggage store. Much to my surprise, the California swallowed it all up with only a small amount of Jenga skills employed, and after loading the bikes onto the rear rack we were good to hit the road north.