Spontaneous Wild Camping Mull of kintyre

There are few experiences in life that can overrule the excitment and the freedom of sleeping in the wild. Sleeping outside, whether the experience is good or bad will undoubtably set the scene to be one of those unfogettable moments in your life. Camping in a campsite is fun too, but it doesn’t give the same buzz of being totally alone miles away from anyone the way wild camping does.

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Views of the Kilbranan Sound – looking across to Arran

Wild camping can be a bit of hassle if you’re not prepared, and this is exactly what happened when Emily and I jumped in the car for an adventure at the start of the week.

Shall we just go find somewhere to camp?

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We were pretty unprepared, and we ended up taking a TON of stuff we didn’t really need. You know when you panic pack and end up with a million bags and ten outfits you don’t need? We had ALL the kit in the world, for every kind of adventure and we were only planning to be away for 24 hours. I would also just like to say that this is not a female thing; all my male friends and family members are just as guilty of the panic pack.

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5 star bedroom views

So what was the plan? 

There wasn’t much of a plan. I made a kit list just to be sure I didn’t forget vital items, stuffed it all into the car and we hit the road. I had a rough idea of where we could camp so that made things a little easier. I grew up in a tiny village called Skipness on the Mull of Kintyre which is very remote and quiet – so I thought it would be cool spot to revisit and explore again.

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Basic Kit list 

  • Tent & sleeping bag & mat
  • Camping stove & gas
  • Torch & lighter
  • Sharp Knife & sporks
  • Pan & mug/bowl
  • FOOD & water
  • Small first aid kit

Extras (if your not walking far)

  • Fire wood
  • Bluetooth Speaker
  • Book & playing cards
  • Sketchbook & pen
  • GoPro/camera/tri-pod
  • Wetsuit & snorkelling kit
  • Quick dry Towel
  • Wine
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We didn’t have far to walk since we camped by the beach – so we took quite a lot of food & wine

Is it allowed? 

The beauty of Scotland is, you can almost camp wherever you like as long as you’re not causing any harm to the environment or people who live nearby. Wild camping is legal; however elsewhere in the UK you are supposed to ask landowners permission first.

The Scottish Outdoor Access Code says this: 

Access rights extend to wild camping. This type of camping is lightweight, done in small numbers and only for two or three nights in any one place. You can camp in this way wherever access rights apply, but help to avoid causing problems for local people and land managers by not camping in enclosed fields of crops or farm animals and by keeping well away from buildings, roads or historic structures. Take extra care to avoid disturbing deer stalking or grouse shooting. If you wish to camp close to a house or building, seek the owner’s permission. Leave no trace by:

  • taking away all your litter
  • removing all traces of your tent pitch and of any open fire (follow the guidance for lighting fires)
  • not causing any pollution.

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Side note – it is really important when lighting a fire in the wild that you do it somewhere that isn’t going to kill surrounding vegetation – and all your wood should be burnt to a fine ash to leave no trace. 

What else did we do? 

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We walked around Skipness, and visited the castle which has beautiful views of Arran from the top.

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We took lots of photos!

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We drank beers in the sunshine

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…and wine round the fire

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We also wrote a few bad poems

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…and took some really pretty selfies

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Then, on our way home we detoured for a swim at Westport Beach.

Thanks for a fun night away Emily –

R x @ronamcmillan

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Two Bare Feet review – snorkelling kit

Snorkelling is an awesome way to explore the blue shallows – most people have given it a go in warmer waters abroad, but there are some incredible snorkelling spots on our door step if we are willing to face the cold. Kit wise… not much is required and what you do need; doesn’t come at too much of a cost. I think most of my Scottish snorkelling experiences have been fairly unplanned – I carry my kit bag around in the back of my car everywhere I go just on the off chance I stumble upon a a beautiful stretch of water.

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So – I got some new snorkelling kit from Two Bare Feet last week and after taking it out for a spin I am going to write up my first impressions. I also have a few tips for buying new kit that could be helpful if you are looking to get in the water.

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Hood

I went for this 5mm hood in size M – I found the sizing pretty hard to work out/took a total guess and luckily it fits perfectly. The hood is snug around my whole head and neck – so much so I don’t think any water got in, my hair even stayed dry under the hood. The water temp was sitting at 8° on the surface, and quite a bit cooler as I dived down – the 5mm of neoprene kept me very toasty – so a big thumbs up from me.

My only negative for this product (other than the size guess) is that the neck panel was too bulky to go under my wetsuit. I thought this would be a bit of an issue for water leakage – but since the hood was so snug, I didn’t seem to have any problems.

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Fins

I’d usually opt for a longer fin (more of a free diving style) – however I thought a short pair would be really useful for wild swimming if I wanted to do any distance swims this summer – and they’re also a bit easier to manoeuvre!

These guys have an adjustable back which meant my feet didn’t slide back and forward while kicking and there is enough room to wear a very small boot with these if your prone to cold feet. I wore a neoprene sock and it worked perfectly with those too. No section of the fin rubbed on my ankle (which usually happens for me). So I’m pretty delighted with these – no negatives.

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Mask

I choose this silicone mask with tempered glass – reason being… silicone trumps PVC in colder waters. PVC masks look as good as silicone, and are usually cheaper; however they loose their flexibility in cold water which effectively ruins the fit of the mask around the face. Choosing a mask with tempered glass is also a good idea – tempered glass has a better resistance to scratches and is also better suited to changes in water pressure when diving down.

My only negative here (which is actually a fault of my own) was that I had some trouble clearing my mask when I first went in – I did the old saliva in the lens, then rinse with water etc and it continued to fog up. My mum gave it a good scrub with a soft piece of fabric and that seemed to do the job. Since then i’ve read that putting a small amount of toothpaste on your finger and rubbing it into the lense and washing it also helps prevent a foggy mask – so i’ll give that a go next time.

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Snorkel 

LOVE this snorkel – it’s the first time i’ve ever had a proper dry top snorkel and it makes such a difference when diving. FYI – a dry snorkel is a snorkel that has a mechanism on the top that prevents water from entering the snorkel as the snorkeler dives underwater. Very handy, and this one works very well. This snorkel also features a splash guard, and purge valve and the mouth piece is made from silicone (also good for cold water). No negatives here!

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Hood & Mask

Side note – usually I’d wear my mask seal under the lining of my hood… but as mentioned previously my 5mm hood is super snug and the width of the mask is greater than the width of the hood, so that didn’t really work when I tried. Instead, I wore the mask seal on the outside of my hood and I was really surprised that my mask stayed sealed.

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Gloves 

I was a bit stumped over getting 3mm or 5mm gloves – and given I always have frozen hands 5mm would have probably been wise. BUT I feel like I can’t move wearing such thick neoprene, turing a GoPro on and off is a bit of a struggle with thick gloves – so I went for the thinner ones and i’m really happy with them. I got a size S and the fit is great – they also have a velcro wrist fastening which stops water creeping in.

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Croc says 8

Why choose Two Bare Feet? 

– British company – based in Devon 

– Extremely helpful customer service – always happy to answer questions and give recommendations 

– Fast delivery – and easy returns

– As a returning customer (my SUP board is from this company, and have also bought a few different paddles and accessories in the last year) I have always had a fantastic experience, and have recommended to many friends. 

– Very reasonably priced – with incredible sale prices too

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A little bit from Two Bare Feet...

'In an age where everything is available at your fingertips, we thank you for shopping with us and for your continued support of Two Bare Feet.

We pride ourselves on delivering the best possible experience whilst shopping on our site and exceeding expectations from there on in. We moved from our retail shops to online e-commerce in 2008 and have continued to evolve, enhance and expand our product offerings whilst ensuring your shopping experience with us remains hassle and fuss free.

We appreciate all feedback as they help us to keep focused and on top of our game and of course exceed your expectations.'

With thanks to Two Bare Feet for supporting this post – all opinions are my own.

Thanks for reading 

R x @ronamcmillan

How to spend more time doing what you love with the people you love

Plan your days and weeks ahead – there’s nothing more exciting than having a calendar full of things to look forward to.

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Tiree Ultra Marathon – Vivian

Check the weather – getting organised to make the best use of good weather is a million times better than being stuck twiddling your thumbs on a sunny day because everyone else is already off up hills, on the water or in a beer garden… FOMO really starts to kick in.

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Surf wake improvisation – Callum

Stick to your word – there’s nothing worse than really needing an adventure, and plans get cancelled. Doh! Sometimes we really rely on other people to get us going, so a cancelled plan can be a real downer.

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Firewood mission – Ewan & Angus

Don’t be afraid to contact people… even when you’ve not seen them in a long time – more often than not they’re going to be delighted to get that message. Better still, give them a call.

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The outdoor beauty – Emily

Go the distance – what a bummer when one of your best friends or family members moves across the country… but how appreciated is it when they make the effort to visit?

My mum is a 5 hour drive from Glasgow – the trip is pretty tiresome, but always worth it because I love her company, and I know we will always get up to something fun together.

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Red Point – Mum

Do things, that aren’t ‘ya thang’ – what if someone suggests meeting up to do something that you don’t really fancy doing? If not for any other reason, do it because they’re going to enjoy it.

My family was really keen to go and explore caves last weekend; I totally didn’t see the appeal of climbing into dark, damp smelly caves… but I went with them and actually really enjoyed it.

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Old mining caves – Kishorn

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And we found a cute newt!

Being present – how often do you turn into a tech zombie and realise you’ve been staring at a screen for an hour. I do, all the time – but having no signal up north is helping this problem!

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Tiree – Emily and I

Silence is ok – this is something my mum and I were chatting about recently. We are both relatively quiet people and find it pretty tricky when it comes to small talk… not because we aren’t friendly and interested in other people… we are just fairly shy. But once we decided we didn’t need to try and make conversation ALL the time – silence didn’t feel awkward, it was actually pretty nice.

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Sunny Applecross – Ewan

Encourage other people in things they do – going along to be a support for someone is hopefully going to be helpful for them, and also inspiring for you.

Last weekend my brother ran up the Bealach; my mum and I drove half the way up to give him water, I took some snaps and we met him at the top when he finished. It was really great watching him achieve something – even though the run was no bother at all for him, it would be something I would find difficult and now I feel pretty egged on to do the same run.

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Running up the Bealach – Angus

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Tiree Ultra – Angus and Gary

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Ultra running super Mum

And after all that – time alone seems to feel different. My itching restlessness is gone and I’m feeling content and pretty chilled. Being around other people who love doing what I love doing generally makes me a more productive and happier person.

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Beers, poems, hammock!

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Just a couple dudes I love – The Bros

Thanks for reading

R x @ronamcmillan

City Cramming – Tuesday Treats

For the last few months I have been spending most of my time up north, it’s been pretty sweet – lots of outdoor adventures, home cooked food, lack of make up and practical clothing only. I laugh, because my life in the highlands is SO different from my life in Glasgow. Both lifestyles make me.. me; so I try not to stress about being salty and un-showered when I’m living out a van on a northern island… just as much as I try not to stress about treating myself to a few girly girl treats when I’m back in the city.

I’m not home in Glasgow for long, so today was a bit of a beauty cram – I also took a trip down to Greengallery in Buchlyvie to pick up some beautiful pieces I put on hold from my last visit – and topped off the day with my fav coffee from Bramble.

First on the hit list, my scraggly salty gross mop! Thank you to Johnny Urquhart Hair for sorting that out –

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Nail therapy – much-needed. I have REALLY weak nails, I bit them up until about a year ago and after making a solid decision to break the habit I get gel nails every now and again to keep them strong.

I got these done at NailCo in the city centre – I’ve been twice now and both times my nails have been fab – last time my gels lasted 3 and a half weeks without chipping. (I know boring colour, but I wanted something natural) –

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Then… off to Greengallery to pick up some goodies I had on hold!

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And, how amazing is this little VVA bag – (which has just been rebranded as Sarah Haran)

The Lily Mini has a removable chain to wear as a shoulder bag, or to carry as a clutch – I think its such a lovely colour and is such a high quality product. The bag comes with a handy little dust bag, and I got a Sarah Haran pom-pom… because why not!

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Also from Greengallery – I got this beautiful handmade ring by Hannah Grace Ryan. My snaps don’t even do it justice, so I highly recommend checking out her website. Wearing a unique piece like this feels so much better than some mass-produced product from ASOS – I really like the idea that the designer put individual thought and process into this ring! It’s so pretty – thank you Hannah!

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FREE lipstick – yaaaaap. Did you know that you get a free MAC lippy every time you bring six empty products back to a store? I chose Taupe – it’s a lovely warm brown/red ^ pictured up top in my hair selfie.

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Andddd, rounding off my delightful day with a coffee and some nibbles from Bramble – it’s in Giffnock so a wee bit of a drive for me, but there is plenty of parking and totally worth the distance. Such a lovely relaxed atmosphere, and the food is super fresh and tasty.

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Busy but lovely day – tomorrow I’m catching up with all the girls in Glasgow, then I’m making a dash for the hills again while this irregular weather lasts. Excited to put these gel nails to the real test, if they last this weekend I’ll be NailCo’s best customer forever after.

Thanks for reading guys

R x @ronamcmillan

The Skin Diary – Zaynah SkinPRO

 

I found gold!

Don’t you love finding somewhere really great to treat yourself from time to time. I have been up north for a week, climbing hills, camping, jumping in the sea… and my face is a MESS.  You’d think all that fresh air and lack of make up would do my skin good, but it always becomes really dry from the salt and oily around my hair-line from wearing wooly hats. Delightful! So, back to the city – and in urgent need of some skin TLC I booked a Head2Toe facial with Zaynah Skin Pro. I’d seen a video of her facials using hot towels, and it looked unbelievably relaxing – so I thought I would give it a go and document the process.

What was different about Zaynah's treatment?
  • Zaynah was trained in a specialist skin clinic while living in Canada – it was reassuring to know how much of an expert she was and her passion about facial and skin care was really refreshing.
  • I received a full skin analysis – Zaynah took her time to map out my skin, she obviously asked me what my concerns were – and I told her, but I don’t really know what I’m talking about. She fully cleansed my face, then scanned my skin in detail and explained her own concerns as she went along. This was actually really informative, I learnt a lot about my own skin!
  • Zaynah used methods I’d never come across before – for example instead of using disposable sponges to cleanse my face she uses hot towels, which were as I expected SO RELAXING!
  • Totally customised to my skin, Zaynah was extremely specific when it came to product use on my skin – she even went as far as mixing two products together to ensure the ingredients were perfectly targeting my problem areas.
  • Massage too! Every single facial I’ve ever had, means being left for 20 mins at a time while the facial masque does its work… Zaynah gave me muscle melting massage from head to toe both times she applied a masque during my facial. If I’m paying for a facial that lasts 1 hour 15mins, it’s really nice to receive treatment for that whole time!

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As always, I was asking a million questions during my facial – I needed to get the insider scoop for my skin diary! Here’s what I found out…

How often do you REALLY need a facial?

So I’ve heard through the grape-vine that if your going to get facial treatments, you should be getting them once a month… for 3/4 months. I took this question to Zaynah, and she explained that, yes – if you want true results from a facial it is best to book three or four at a time, with about 3/4 weeks between each one. There are two reasons for this, the first is it takes time for the skin to get used to the chemicals used in peels… so if you book three sessions, your therapists can begin with something gentle and work your skin towards the use of stronger chemicals that will give you incredible results. The second reason is that it takes 3/4 weeks for the skin cells to move through a full life cycle of cell growth to make their way from the dermis to the surface – it is important to let your skin do its thang in-between facials!

Zaynah's tips on how to get the most from your facial
  • Avoid applying make up for the rest of the day – all your pores are open and clean, so applying make up will probably clog them and lead to breakouts.
  • Avoid steam, sauna and gym – exposing freshly treated skin skin to excessive heat in a shower/sauna or working up a sweat can cause irritation, redness and breakouts (good excuse to chill with a green tea for the rest of the day)!
  • Avoid over cleansing and exfoliation – your skin is delicate after a facial, the use of harsh creams, toners and soaps could cause irritation. Leave the skin be for as long as possible to prolong the facial benefits.
Why is she trying to sell me products?

Haha, this always gets me. You’ve just had a really relaxing time getting pampered, and once it’s over you get bombarded with a sales pitch. THANKFULLY, Zaynah didn’t do this to me. I was actually the one asking about all the products being used throughout the treatment, and I got really informative answers back. At the end of the treatment I asked for some recommendations as well as ways to keep my skin glowing without having to buy lots of product, and Zaynah was really happy to advise me. So what I learnt was, good therapists aren’t trying to sell you products; they’re trying to help you get the skin you want! Try before you buy? Asking for some product samples before you spend all your ££ is a great way to test out a product before making the splash! 

How's my skin looking now?

This is my skin today (one day after treatment) and it feels incredibly smooth. It is hydrated and it has a lovely healthy glow. I am not wearing any skin makeup in this picture, so – no concealer or foundation and my skin looks really natural, plump and fresh!

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Zaynah is based in a Salon on Kilmarnock Rd called Beauty in the Basement, I could not recommend her more. I’ve already booked in for another two facial treatments to keep my skin glowing for summer!

The products used on my skin for this facial were Dermalogica –

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Any skin questions, send me a message on Instagram or drop me an email!

Thanks for reading

R x 
@ronamcmillan