Man converts New York school bus to offer Highland tours

Angus Luff converted the bus into a holiday home, with beds, seating areas, and a kitchen, and can host up to six people.

New York school bus tours launch in the Highlands after Angus Luff converts vehicle into holiday home SWNS via SWNS

A business graduate is taking tourists on adventure holidays in the Highlands in a New York school bus.

Angus Luff, 24, came up with the idea for The Bonnie Camper after watching Netflix film Expedition Happiness, which saw a couple travel across North America in a refurbished school bus.

Mr Luff, who graduated in 2019, quit his job as a management consultant in Leicester to live out his dream of creating the hostel on wheels.

The bus has been converted into a luxurious holiday home, with beds, seating areas, and a kitchen, and can host up to six people.

 The bus has been converted into a luxurious holiday home.

He hosts road trips across the Highlands – from Glencoe to the Cairngorms – exploring outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and wild swimming along the way.

Mr Luff serves as a tour guide as well as doing all the driving, cooking and cleaning, before pitching up a tent outside to give guests full use of the bus.

Built in 1999, the Bonnie Camper is an International 3800 originally used to take children to and from school in New York.

The business graduate came up with the idea after watching Netflix film Expedition Happiness.SWNS via SWNS

Mr Luff bought it in late 2019, and it took around six weeks to be shipped over from the US.

He used lockdown to refurbish the bus, stripping it and furnishing it with the help of his dad, making sure it met UK regulations.

Mr Luff took a five-day intensive course to get his HGV driving licence and tried his tour out on friends before setting out on his first real trip in June last year.

Mr Luff, from Edinburgh, said: “The buses are so iconic.

“I think it’s the novelty of the school bus, it’s very rare you see them in real life.

“Everyone’s always beeping and waving at us. You feel like a celebrity.

“I trialled it out twice before I started with friends and it was great fun, everyone loved it.

“The first trip was in June 2021 – I was just waiting for everything to open so I could get started.

“It was amazing, I had a group of four women from London come up and hired it out privately.

Mr Luff serves as a tour guide as well as doing all the driving, cooking and cleaning.

“I love seeing people’s reaction to the bus, they get so excited.”

The five-day tour costs £595pp and includes all the activities Mr Luff puts on, such as whisky tasting, and the food he cooks.

It starts out from Edinburgh, where he keeps the bus, before driving to the Cairngorms, then onto Glencoe and come back through Stirling to Edinburgh.

Mr Luff said: “I graduated in 2019 and was lucky enough to do some travelling.

“I managed about two to three months in my job and thought ‘I don’t want to do this’.

“I had just finished Expedition Happiness on Netflix and the idea just came to me.

“I bought the bus from an agency in New York who sell secondhand school ones and had it shipped over.

“I have learned so much.

“I knew nothing about mechanics.

“It’s a lot of the unknown, there’s no other company that does something similar in the UK.

“I do the driving and cook all the meals, and then I sleep outside in a tent to give the guests the privacy of the bus.

“I host the whole week and organise whisky tasting tours, hiking, mountain biking, water sports and stop off at local bars and pubs.

“This year I am trying out individual bookings, where people can just book themselves a spot and take part in the activates.”

With its high vantage point and large windows, the school bus is a unique way to experience some of Scotland’s most rugged and beautiful scenery.

Mr Luff added: “It’s a completely different viewpoint of everything.

“You are quite engrossed in all the landscapes.

“I basically go on holiday every week, I’m very fortunate to be able to do this.

“It’s really exciting this year will be the first full summer I have on the road.”