Monday, 21 December 2015

Kings Park, Perth WA

First blog post from Perth! Safe to say I NEVER WANT TO LEAVE. Where else can you get 35-degree heat in December?! At the end of my visit to this incredible country, I will type up a general round up of Perth, however, I will write individual posts about particular places/activities that I think you guys will like! :D

To start off, Kings Park, the most popular tourist destination in the city of Perth, was one of the big ones on my list of things to do while here. And it didn't disappoint.






Monday, 14 December 2015

My Ultimate Camping Bucket List

I have always loved having a Bucket List to track and plan my adventures in life. Since I was young, I've always had it posted above my bed. It's been printed and re-printed countless times, through moving house to falling off the wall. I currently have it written out on coloured paper, stuck on the inside of my wardrobe door, so I see it every day. No doubt it'll get all crumpled, ripped or lost again next time I move. But I love re-writing it. It's amazing to see what I've accomplished and I always add more.

That's why I decided to share my Camping Bucket List with you all. I was going to share the whole bucket list I have, but a) Some items are off-topic for this blog, and b) it's a very personal account of what I want out of my life, and many will not relate. I don't want to bore you all!

So this bucket list is something I hope everyone can relate to. Maybe you've done all of these, maybe you've done none. Hopefully it will give you some ideas of different types of camping, and different adventures you can have while camping! If you've done any of these, I would love to hear all about it. Some I have accomplished but have not written about as it was many years ago. However, any I do accomplish in the future, there will be a blog post about it - so please follow by email to keep up to date!


Monday, 7 December 2015

Reader Advice Needed!

So, as of tomorrow, it is ONE WEEK until I head to Australia for a whole 3 and a half week holiday! I am MEGA excited, both to see Australia, as I have never been before, and to see my godfather and his family over Christmas and New Year - it's been a long time :)

Since this is my first trip down-under, I need some reader advice! We are heading to Perth, WA, and have three and a half weeks to explore. I will have access to a car too. Obviously the family we are staying with have lots of recommendations themselves, but I'd love to hear from you guys too!

I want to see as much as possible and do as much as possible!

What sights/attractions/places would you recommend in or around Perth?

Christmas and New Year - anything exciting happening around the festive period?

Any recommended restaurants, bars, clubs?

Any local inside knowledge?

I am interested in possibly camping, though I'm not sure if this will happen, as I cannot take my own camping equipment over and haven't found very much information about camping over there as of yet.

Has anyone been camping in Oz? Any tips?

Can I take part in an organised camping trip for a night? Or hire camping gear from somewhere?

Obviously, I will be looking up safety, animals, laws etc before embarking on a camp in a new country. But any advice re. camping in Australia that anyone has is much appreciated!

Any recommendations of beaches and lessons for surfing? I have only been surfing once before and it was in the cold waters of Tiree, not Oz! But I am very much looking forward to doing it again.

We also may head over to the East for a few days.

Any recommendations for visiting the East?

As we wouldn't have much time on the East, which city/area is best to head for?

The actual trip aside: the travelling.

Any packing tips?

Long-haul flight tips?

Thank you in advance for all your help! Leave me a comment below with any advice. Or, you can always head to the Contact page and drop me a note via social media :)



Monday, 30 November 2015

Group Camping at Loch Tummel

Last Summer, Ryan and I went on a wonderful, albeit brief, camping trip with a group to Loch Tummel. I've spent a lot of time around Tummel Valley holiday park and have been White Water Rafting on River Tummel, but this was my first time camping by Loch Tummel.

This is a very popular area for camping, which surprised me, as the roads leading there are tiny and off-the-beaten-track. We arrived later than the rest of the group on the Friday evening, and we passed many a camping group whilst trying to find ours.




Monday, 23 November 2015

The Birks of Aberfeldy

I have always had this strange fascination with water. Growing up on the River Tay, I've always been used to the views and sunsets over the river. Water, whether it be large lochs, small burns, fast rivers or slow streams, it really doesn't matter. I love it all: the sounds, the views, the wildlife. Any time I'm upset, stressed or angry, I have this...urge. I just NEED to be by the water.

That's why when a friend told me all about the Birks of Aberfeldy, I just HAD to make a visit while I was visiting on a romantic weekend away in February (yes it was Valentines Day!). Just on the outskirts of Aberfeldy in Perthshire, situated on a dodgy little corner of the road that would be easy to miss (we drove right past it initially), these natural waterfalls are a hidden gem.

It's a pleasant short walking trail leading steep up one side of the waterfalls (you can choose which side to start with) and steep down the other. FYI: in case you were interested, we began on the right hand side of the falls. No particular reason why. 

*If in doubt, wear holey tights I always say*


Monday, 16 November 2015

First Couple's Camping Trip

When a couple first get together everything is all colourful, with butterflies and love birds and songs and blah blah blah. It's great. But at one point or another you'll have to have your first drive together, giving each other directions and what-not. And the true colours come out.

Our first camping trip together was exciting on many levels - for me, it was my first experience wild camping. Yup. And that's what got me hooked. I've been camping for years, since I was a child, but always in campsites, like Blair Atholl. The thought of wild camping was far too much excitement for me - and being a sunny, dry day, I was gleaming whilst heading out of the city into the countryside with my loved one.

*In the car, ready to set off!*

Our aim was Loch of Lintrathen. We wanted to go somewhere neither of us had been before, and after hours of street-viewing as close as possible to the loch, and reading camping forums online, we decided to give it a go.



Monday, 9 November 2015

White Water Rafting on River Tay + Playing with the GoPro

So my Dad has been working abroad for the past while, and when he was back for a short visit this weekend, he decided to book a lodge at Tummel Valley holiday park (Park Dean). We used to have caravan holidays here when I was a kid, so I have many fantastic memories of this place. The main event of the weekend: White Water Rafting!

Last time we were White Water Rafting with Splash, we tackled River Tummel, one of the more difficult rivers. This time, again with Splash, as River Tummel is not open for rafting at this time of year, we rafted the River Tay.





Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Everest Base Camp Trek Kit List

When I was preparing for my trek to Everest Base Camp, I spent a lot of time browsing the internet for kit lists to prepare myself as much as possible. It was great not just reading other peoples experiences of Nepal, but what they brought with them, what they wish they didn't bring and what they wish they did.

I mean, what do you bring to a country you've never been to before? This was an entirely new experience for me, and while it was exciting counting down the days, it was also nerve racking. I didn't even know anyone who had been on a trek even remotely similar to ask for advice! Its quite daunting to not have any clue what-so-ever of what to expect.

I'd be surprised if I am the only one who felt like this before embarking on this challenge, so I thought I'd write a kit list myself for any of you budding EBC trekkers! It is an honest account of what I thought was needed and necessary, (including a god-awful photo of my sunburn, but I feel it's needed to emphasise just how freaking important decent sun cream is!) and I've added a few tips in here I have taken from other trekkers that were with me (down slippers? WHY DIDN'T I THINK TO BRING THOSE BEAUTIES??!!).

Everest Base Camp Kit List


*All my gear, laid out, ready to pack.*




Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Walk along the Fife Coastal Path

Earlier in the year, as part of the training for my Everest Base Camp charity trek (yep, another training walk, but they were needed!), I took my wonderful wee man Jimmy the Labrador for a walk along part of the beautiful Fife Coastal Path, accompanied by my Dad.

For those of you that do not know, the Fife Coastal Path is, unsurprisingly, a coastal walking path that leads from North Queensferry (across the water from Edinburgh) right up to Balmerino (across the water from Dundee). It is a beautiful walk, that takes you through quaint sea-side towns that otherwise an individual may have otherwise not even heard of. It also, however, includes the famous town of Anstruther, known for the best fish and chip shop in Scotland.

The section we travelled took us from St Monans to Crail. It was a very windy day, but still very sunny, which was wonderful for walking along the coastline. Just outside of St Monans we found ourselves at a very hidden little beach - probably one of the most beautiful and tiny beaches I've come across. It looked untouched by man. The peace and quiet was swiftly broken by Jimmy, bounding in and out of the water (I swear he was a fish in another life...).



*Stunning hidden gem of a beach just outside St Monans*

*Jimmy enjoying a paddle*



Monday, 12 October 2015

I WON!

I am OVER THE MOON to say that I won a competition hosted by AMG Group, through their company Vango, to win a GoPro Hero 4! I have had a massive grin on my face all week - and to make it even better, they've posted my blog post regarding my Everest Base Camp trek on their website! Check out the link!

http://www.vango.co.uk/gb/blog/33_gopro-winner-august-iona-nelson.html

It is a slightly modified version of the original EBC post on Tents, Trees and Bumble Bees, but I am so so incredibly happy my writing has been chosen :D

I'll no doubt be getting out and about to put the GoPro in action as soon as I can - should make for some great photos and videos! Especially taking it to Australia at Christmas!



PS: Here's a photo of me when my GoPro arrived in the post! You can feel my excitement there.




Friday, 2 October 2015

Wildlife Spotting and Camping in Perthshire

This weekend past, my boyfriend, Ryan, and I took a wild camping trip with Ryan's Dad up to a secret wee location in Perthshire.

Leaving on Friday evening started the trip off on a stressful tone, as we only ended up leaving Edinburgh around 19:20, due to work commitments and problems at a local petrol station. We eventually hit the road, just as it was getting dark, thinking we probably should have waited until the following morning to set off, given the stress and rush we were in. However, me being optimistic as always, just tried to remember that at least the roads would be quieter and we'd hopefully make it up there a little quicker.

*The stunning moonlight peeping through the cloudy sky


Thursday, 17 September 2015

Tackling Schiehallion

Well I haven't been up to much recently, mainly because I'm saving for... AUSTRALIA...which is happening in December! So instead I thought I'd do a throwback blog post to my walk up Schiehallion with my Dad in February,

This was actually part of my training for my Everest Base Camp trek, and a munro is definitely a good place to do just that. What we didn't really consider however, was that though it may have been a beautiful day, we sort of...forgot...that the weather isn't like that once you hit altitude.

*View from the road, not long before reaching the car park*


Friday, 4 September 2015

A Malta Holiday & Wedding

I travelled to Malta for my boyfriend's Mum's wedding this month and it was a beautiful week. A group of 23 of us flew from Edinburgh airport, many of whom had never met each other. It could have gone either way, but by the end of the week, I felt sad to say goodbye to all these new and wonderful people I met and shared time with.






Thursday, 6 August 2015

Just a few photos

Well, as I haven't been up to too much recently that's worth posting about, I thought I'd share a few photos of where I grew up. Right on the South banks of the River Tay, directly opposite the city of Dundee, is somewhere I feel extremely lucky to call home. Though I moved a fair bit when I was younger, I have spent the majority of my life in the towns of Newport-on-Tay and Wormit, with my mother now living in Tayport. These three towns make up this stunning riverside area of Tayside.

Some people here in Edinburgh have asked me before "Did you not get bored, living in a town?!". And the truth is, never! The towns are small enough to be cosy, and know your neighbours, but large enough that there's shops, local bars and even the odd festival. With St Andrews only 20 minutes away, and Dundee less than 5 minutes away, with plenty of buses, even as a teenager, when I wanted to hit up the pubs and clubs, it was never an issue.

This area is well worth a visit if you're ever popping through. There's a couple of fantastic restaurants and cafes, and some nice beaches to chill out on. It it is often peaceful, as in these photos, which make it perfect for kayaking. Please enjoy the photos below - a view I feel very lucky to have grown up seeing every day.

(Photos taken by myself, earlier this Summer 15, from the Newport Hotel Pub & Restaurant)








Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Kayaking on the River Tay

Last weekend, I had a wee trip home to visit my parents, and spent a large portion of Sunday afternoon kayaking with my dad on the River Tay! *apologies that some of the photos are blurred, they look fine on my Dad's phone, just didn't transfer well to mine!*



Was a beautiful day, not too sunny but thankfully we missed the rain (which is a BEAUTIFUL day, here in Scotland). The river was a tad wavy for kayaking, but was definitely a great way for me to get back into it - has been a while! 





Hopefully I'll be getting a roof rack for my car soon, so I will ideally have some kayaking photos/posts for you in different places!

Let me know about your kayaking adventures - and if you've done any in Scotland, any recommendations of where to kayak next would be ideal!

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Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Camping at Blair Atholl Campsite

Apologies for the delay in getting this written up, has been a hectic couple of weeks! Time for me to give you my views on camping at the campsite in the lovely town of Blair Atholl.



First some basic info: Blair Atholl is a tiny, wee town at the very South of the Cairngorms National Park, just North of Pitlochry. Small, yet has everything you need. Beautiful fast-flowing river, campsite, woods, shops, local pub and even a chippy! The local pub is filled with locals and tourists alike, all very friendly of course. It is a very central location, within perfect driving distances from many cities and towns.

The campsite itself is like a beautiful park, with plenty of space for caravans, RVs and tents. There's a large grass area that the pitches surround, perfect for ball games and a place for the dogs to run riot. There is a shop on site too, with everything from bacon to sleeping bags. Though this is obviously handy, do bring your own food and supplied as much as possible, as it is only a small shop, so the food sells fast and the supplies are a bit pricier (we almost missed out on bacon rolls!).




With very fair prices, dogs allowed and a central area that's quiet yet with plenty to do, I highly recommend this campsite for families and adults alike.

Have you visited Blair Atholl before? What are your thoughts? Drop me a comment below!

PS: Sorry for the lack of photos - in all honesty, I was too busy enjoying myself! Check out my post regarding the White Water Rafting we did that weekend!

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Wednesday, 22 July 2015

White Water Rafting on River Tummel

This past weekend I had a great family trip with my brother, my Dad and my boyfriend up to the campsite in Blair Atholl, a lovely, small town at the foot of the Cairngorms. On top of the standard, chill-out camping trip, we had an incredible day trip with Splash! White Water Rafting on the River Tummel! Here's a bit on White Water Rafting, and I've written about the camping part of the trip in another post.

White Water Rafting

One minute you're enjoying the stunning views of the forests while slowly gliding down a pool in the middle of the River Tummel. A moment later, your guide is barking orders "LEFT! RIGHT! HOLD ON! OVER LEFT!", and you're making your way down white rapids, clinging on the ropes in the hope they'll save you from falling out. That's White Water Rafting.



*That's me in the blue helmet. Dry, at the start.*




Monday, 6 July 2015

Basic Camping Kit List

Okay, I may be someone who camps a lot, but...there is ALWAYS something we forget. So recently, I've written a Basic Camping List, and taped it to the back of my wardrobe door to make sure nothing is forgotten. Here is the list I have created. This is not a full-blown, long long list of everything you could take camping with you. This is the personal camping list of myself and my partner - we manage to fill the car with this plus groceries, and we camp fairly basic (hence "Basic Camping List") but not Bear Grylls/Lost style. Please feel free to comment with ideas and musings!

NOTE: I have not included much in the way of clothing here, except for the obvious, as the clothing you take camping will depend on where you are camping and the activities you will be doing. This is also mainly aimed at wild camping but in general, camping is camping regardless.

*Large group camping at Loch Tummel*



Thursday, 2 July 2015

Everest Base Camp 2015

Most incredible, hard-going, rewarding camping and trekking I have ever done in my life. Trek to Everest Base Camp for the British Heart Foundation, Mar/Apr 2015.
We all know of the horrific occurrences recently in Nepal. Some of our sherpas from my trek have lost their lives, others have lost their homes. It's important, however, to understand the Nepalese. Through everything, they are the most positive, happy and kind people I have met. And they will push through and overcome these battles, because that's the kind of people they are. I believe the world can learn a lot from them.
With this, it's also important not to be put off visiting Nepal - my goodness you'd be missing out! A breathtakingly stunning part of the world, tourism attracts a lot of the revenue for Nepal. And a trek to Everest Base Camp? Definitely a good choice!




Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Welcome!!!

Well...very first blog post...exciting stuff! Not sure where to start...! I'm Iona, and this blog is a camping, adventure and nature blog! Based in Scotland, camping in the West Highlands will be the main topic here! Howeve, I am an avid fan of kayaking and trying any and all sports going. With a love of travelling too, there will also be some posts relating to adventure abroad (where the pennies let me go!). Hopefully will be updating at least once a week! Camping tips and lists will definitely follow, as well as many photos and stories! My first "proper" post I'm going to explain the incredible journey to Everest Base Camp I had this year, so watch this space! :D


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