THEY are real showstoppers, the kind of retro vehicles that turn heads. I’m talking, of course, of the classic VW Campervan, you know those super cute wee bubble campervans you see easing around Scotland’s roads.
I’ve long been a fan of camping and campervans, indeed I’m the author of Cool Camping: Scotland. There really is something special about these air-cooled classics, which hark back to the 1960s and 1970s.
We hired our VW campervan from Vintage VW Campers in Falkirk. The lovely owners, Richie and Ishbel, have a real passion for their little fleet of vans and had my wife and I, plus our two wee girls, enthused before we headed off on our weekend adventure with ‘Ziggy’. Here are 7 reasons you too should take a vintage VW campervan for a tour around Scotland.
1. Great base for an escape
Vintage VW campervans pale in size, of course compared to some of today’s motorhome monstrosities, but they are actually ideal for a cosy getaway. We had everything we needed with a decent size double bed downstairs and a wee bed upstairs in the pop up roof for our wee girls. There was a simple two-burner gas cooker, little cool box, water supply and a few wee tables and extra outdoor seating. Ziggy proved a little Tardis with everything we needed for the weekend. She was very easy to park too. I would think twice about embarking in our van on an epic adventure to the Outer Hebrides when you are driving long distances most days, but Ziggy proved perfect for our trip.
2. VW Campervans are Super Cute
We didn’t need a nickname for our wee lady as her ‘official’ name Ziggy stuck. We could feel the passion and love put into her straight away with her smooth leather seats and cosy touches, like VW campervan cereal bowls. The tyre strapped to the front had a natty wee logo too, making her even more photogenic. Other people were keen to snap her too as we drove around. I loved that our hire company also use their vans for wedding transport. It may be a bit niche, but to me that is definitely romantic.
3. Kids Love them
My girls, eight-year-old Tara and five-year-old Emma, absolutely loved Ziggy. They settled in really quickly. I had worried they’d be frustrated we didn’t have acres of space for toys and teddies, but they took to her straight away. It helped that we had a great campsite to stay at. The Caravan and Caravanning Club site we chose, just north of Lauder, was ideal. Run by the super friendly Brian and Helen it was an ideal home for Ziggy. There was plenty of space too for the girls to play and a wee burn for stick races.
4. Sharing the Love
Other drivers loved Ziggy too with lots of people flashing lights and waving at us. In a good way. You don’t often see that on the roads these days! Even though we were toddling around no one angrily honked their horn or was aggressive, such is the feel good factor that these wee campervans generate. You feel part of a little club too as we saw another couple of VW campervans over the weekend and greeted each other warmly.
5. Drive back in time
VW Campervans are a great way to enjoy a piece of real nostalgia. You are literally driving back to the 1960s and 1970s with these old vehicles. Ziggy was born just a year after me in 1973, but she is in far better condition! The girls loved the idea that we were about the same age, which is remarkable really when you think this through – Ziggy has been around for four decades! Ziggy took us back to a far simpler, less rushed time as we pottered around in a cosy fug of nostalgia.
6. Slowing down
Touching on that feeling of driving back in time Ziggy forced us to take life more in the slow lane. Literally, as our maximum speed was a modest 55mph! We didn’t threaten to overtake another vehicle once over the weekend and felt no need to risk cutting people up or honk our horn. This enforced slowdown took a little getting used to on Edinburgh’s City Bypass, but by the time we had eased south into the Borders we were all in the VW Campervan chill zone.
7. Try Before you Buy
Many people harbour a lifelong dream of owning a vintage VW Campervan. Taking one out for a holiday gives you a real taste of what that actually means. We really enjoyed our trip and there was no downside. Nothing went wrong at all and if it did help would have been instantly on hand from Richie and Ishbel. Take one out, talk to them about what is actually involved in running and maintaining one and you can save yourself from a potentially expensive mistake of buying one blind based on an understandable sense of nostalgia and romance. We arrived back in Falkirk after our weekend dreaming of owning one ourselves. Watch this space…