Page 1

Touring

COASTAL TOURS • CAMPSITES REVIEWED • BRITISH SUMMERS NEWDETAIL GEAR SECTION | • SECTION

DISCOVER

CARAVAN, MOTORHOME & CAMPING INSPIRATION

£4.99 SPRING/ SUMMER 2013

High days

INSIDE Win a B aile

y Pegasu s G T 6 5 Verona , s e e page 10 7

and holidays UK & continental destinations

FIND THE RIGHT DEALER A friendly face is waiting

HERITAGE

The iconic camper van comes of age

Yes, you can! Top tips for the best trips

A Roller Team 746 heads to Scotland

UK £4.99 €5.90 US $10.99 CANADA $11.99 AUSTRALIA $10.99 NZ $11.99

Plus

• No hook up? No problem! • Golf, fishing and so much more! • Buying your first motorhome and caravan

Discover Touring

1


SECTION | SECTION DETAIL

So clean, you’ll think you’re at home.

We want our campers to feel right at home on our Club Sites. That’s why we guarantee our washroom facilities will be cleaned to the highest standards. If there’s a problem we can’t resolve within two hours, we’ll give you a free night’s stay.

To join or book a Club campsite call 024 7767 0205 quoting 3735 or visit www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk 2

Discover Touring


Discover simple

pleasures on your seaside escape to Save up

50%

*

and g, early in r p s on d mer an m u s e t la dates n m u t u a

Save u p to

30%

*

on sch oo Bank H l and oliday s

Call:

0871 230 1939

Quote code: TO_DISCOVER

Calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras.

Open 7 days a week 9am - 9pm

Visit: haventouring.com/todiscover Terms and conditions: *Save up to 50% is available on selected spring, early and late summer and autumn dates. Save up to 30% is available on school and Bank Holiday dates. Offers are subject to promotional availability and cannot be combined with any other offer 59035 unless stated. Facilities and entertainment vary by park and some may be subject to a small extra charge. Haven Holidays is a trading name of Bourne Leisure Limited, 1 Park Lane, Hemel Hempstead, HP2 4YL. Registered in England No. 04011660.


DISCOVER TOURING | CONTENTS

Contents INTRODUCTION 07

A big hello from the team.

10

There’s a big part of you that would love to try the touring scene, but where do you start?

16 We look at our long love affair with the VW campervan.

68

76

80

26

Cornwall A peninsula almost completely surrounded by sea. West of England Art-inspired coastlines, a maritime heritage and exploring Exmoor on foot.

32

Southern England Walking the Thames Path and climbing iconic towers for spectacular viewpoints.

39

Touring Tales Our readers put pen to paper.

40

46

52

60

4

Middle England The birthplace of a literary great and the nation’s newest forest and camping. East of England Travelling in the footsteps of Anglo-Saxons and easy cycling. Wales and the Welsh Marches Britain’s greatest literary festival, an Italianate village and wildlife watching. The North Cruising on the iconic Mersey Ferry and exploring Cheshire’s textile heritage. Discover Touring

Freedom! Misty lochs and hardy glens, spooky castles and a warring history. Ireland You don’t generally need extra reasons to visit Ireland, but now you have two.

PRACTICAL 92

Internet access on the move It has never been easier to get internet access whilst away from home.

96

What can I tow with my car? What type of caravan can you safely tow with your car?

TOURING ABROAD

101 Site electrics demystified Tips to ensure you use electricity safely in the UK and abroad.

130 Germany – a curious passion For all its charms, Germany is still not a place that many of us think of as a potential holiday destination. But think again.

103 No hook up? No problem! Caravan or motor home, it makes little difference to your ability to ‘rough it’ in supreme comfort if you give your use of power a little thought first.

138 France – world’s apart The distance between Britain and our nearest neighbour, France, is just 23 miles. No excuse then?

110 Dealers sign up to improved consumer rights Buying a caravan or motorhome is a major purchase decision for most people so it’s important to know that the seller will live up to high standards of honesty, integrity and service.

TOURING UK 23

Scotland Secret city gardens, Neolithic stone circles and cycling in the Scottish Borders.

ACTIVITIES 18

Coast Walking, camping, running and staying by the coast.

57

Fishing Catching a perch or two for the campfire.

73

Golf Sharpen up your swing on tour.

84

Cathedral cities Get into town and enjoy spectacular architecture.

140 Glamping Camping in style.

WIN a Ba

ile Pegasus y GT6 Verona! 5 ( see page 107)

112 Caravanning and the law The law on caravan and motorhome use is sometimes baffling and complex, but the principles are sound – keeping safe on the road. 115 On a need to know basis Top 25 questions answered for those new to touring. 129 Tow be or not tow be Towbars under the spotlight.

PLANNING 122 Home from home Creature comforts on tour. 126 Overseas advice Keeping safe and legal on the Continent.

REVIEWS 86

Innovations and technology Great stuff to buy and try.

108, 120 Reviews and tests What’s hot for 2013?

HISTORY 143 From tow horse to Horsepower The pioneers of motor caravans.


our caravan insurance this spring... together with these great benefits: Extra discounts for approved safety and security devices

New for old for the life of your caravan or market value cover for caravans under 5 years old

Sales and claims handled in-house by our friendly and knowledgeable team

12 months European cover and recovery whilst abroad

Call us now on 0844 346 1348 or visit www.towergateinsurance.co.uk Important information Policy exclusions include liability from the caravan being used for any trade or business. Insurers’ usual underwriting criteria apply. Terms and conditions of 20% offer Offer excludes current customers. Not all discounts available online or in conjunction with any other offer. Discounts will be deducted from the base premium before Insurance Premium Tax and Policy Fee. Offer expires 31/12/2013. Minimum premium of £156.45 applies. Discounts are based upon the ‘Select’, and ‘Choice’ products. Towergate Insurance is trading name of Towergate Underwriting Group Limited. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Registered Address: Towergate House, Eclipse Park, Sittingbourne Road, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 3EN.


:

Welcome

Another year and plans need to be made…

2013 DISCOVER TOURING ISSUE 5 SPRING/SUMMER

homes

DISCOVER TOURING | WELCOME

D

iscover Touring is lovingly crafted by those who have got the touring bug. You can be • NEW GEAR S • SUMMER BRITISH assured that the advice given in the D REVIEWE • ES CAMPSIT COASTAL TOURS VER DISCO following pages comes straight from the heart. our writers understand what a newcomer needs to know for a lifetime CARAVAN, MOTORHOME & CAMPING INSPIRATION INSIDE of successful holidays in a caravan, a High days motorhome, or indeed, a tent. and holidays our sterling authors brave the great ER DEAL T FIND THE RIGH outdoors to explore and write about the Yes, you can! HERITAGE very best bits of the uK – making your decisions so much easier. We travel the coast, visit cathedral cities, laze by a river catching a perch or two and take up golf. We scan the glens of scotland, Plus the wonders of Wales, the delights of cornwall, the colours of ireland, and everything else in between. no stone is left unturned. We travel across the continent unearthing hidden delights and special gems. We provide a spectacular, whistlestop tour of germany on the hunt for a slice of culture and history. The lid is lifted on wonderful France – a perennial favourite for many British holidaymakers. The pages of this magazine are full to bursting with practical advice complied by our technical editor Terry owen of the caravan Writers guild. He and his team dissect, strip back and simplify a wide range of topics ranging from towing, the law, site electrics to internet access on the move, home comforts and how to get started. Discover Touring is published twice a year in spring / summer and autumn /

Touring £4.99 SPRING/ SUMMER 2013

Win a Ba Pegasus iley Verona, GT65 page 10see 7

UK & continental destinations A friendly face is waiting

The iconic camper van comes of age

Top tips for the best trips

A Roller Team 746 heads to Scotland

UK £4.99 €5.90 US $10.99 CANADA $11.99 AUSTRALIA

$10.99 NZ $11.99

• No hook up? No problem! • Golf, fishing and so much more! • Buying your first motorhome and caravan

15:36 11/02/2013 15:34 11/02/2013

CoverOnly_DT05.indd 1

winter – so each issue is designed to get you though the initial trepidation you may feel and to stay close to hand while you find your feet. in no time at all you will wonder why you didn’t take up this pastime earlier! The team at Discover Touring were all newcomers once – but we now consider ourselves a little less green and a bit more adventurous. each issue we arrange our own tours and test a range of vehicles and products. We do this because we feel it is important to keep up to speed with latest developments; a case, if you like, of walking the walk and talking the talk. We work with a wide range of service providers, dealers and manufacturers. You will find their messages scattered throughout this issue. We urge you to pick up the ‘phone and ask for their advice – you will discover so much more and most likely make a new friend on the way. A great place to begin your research is to visit the many national and regional shows throughout the year – there is nothing finer than seeing a motorhome or caravan in the flesh. in that way you can truly come to appreciate the inspiring work of the unsung designers. You will be amazed at the level of luxury and comfort on offer. You will ask yourself many times: ‘how did they do that!’ enough said – enjoy this issue of Discover Touring, enjoy your holidays and tell us how you get on. The next issue of Discover Touring will be published in October 2013.

The Discover Touring Team: discoverus@dmgpublishing.co.uk

Discover Touring

7


DISCOVER TOURING | THE TEAM

Discover us All back issues are available as an App. so you will never MISS OUT!

Editorial Office Discovery Media group Discovery House 63 Dundale road Tring Herts HP23 5BX T: +44 (0) 1296 631 273 e: discoverus@dmgpublishing.co.uk W: www.dmgpublishing.co.uk Advertising Office Discovery Media group, London T: +44 (0) 208 297 9073 e: mark@dmgpublishing.co.uk Technical editor: Terry owen Design: satellite creative T: +44 (0)1442 827768 Advertising: rv sales T: +44 (0) 1793 721 721 Publishers: Mark galbraith, mark@dmgpublishing.co.uk and Ben Lane, ben@dmgpublishing.co.uk With thanks to our authors and reviewers (in order of appearance):

Touring Cool ‘vans • laTesT gear •

DisCover Touring Issue 4 : autumn/ wInter 2013

Your first choice

for Adria Caravans , Bailey Caravans

and Bailey Motorhom es

DisCover

Touring BriTain • praC TiCal

aDviCe

Buying your first ‘van

the right choice

First timers new romantiand cs touring

New friends and new experiences Choosing your perfect site and settling in

over

£3,000

of holidays and prizes to be won

Visit our 2 conve niently located branch es: GREAT PRICES ON THE LATEST 2013 MODELS LARGE SELECTIO N OF PRE-OWNED CARAVANS FULLY STOCKED ACCESSORIES SHOPS PURPOSE BUILT WORKSHOPS FAMILY BUSINES S EST. 1971

Toll House, A5 Watling Street Watford Gap, Daventry Northants, NN6 7UJ

venture-caravan

s.com

8

Call our Daventry

Family Adventures • Cycle Tours Plus ••Nordic Walking • Castles & Keeps

Fancy a nigh under canv t Back to basics camping as?

The Rose Gardens Cambridge Road Hitchin, SG4 0JX

Branch on:

01327 703371

hitchin-caravans

Discover Touring

.com

Call our new Hitchin

UK £4.99 €5.90 US $10.99

Branch on:

01462 452856

Discover Touring is published by Discovery Media group, united Kingdom. All rights in the material belong to Discovery Media group and may not be reproduced, whether in whole or in part, without their prior written consent. Discover Touring – issn 20458088 The publisher makes every effort to ensure the magazine’s contents are correct. All material published in Discover Touring is copyright and unauthorised reproduction is forbidden. The editors and publishers of this publication give no warranties, guarantees or assurances and make no representations regarding any goods or services advertised in this edition.

Caravan, moTorhom e & Camping inspiraTio n

Falling in love with

Contact a member of our team today we’re always on hand to help with your requirements.

To licence or distribute this product, please contact Mark galbraith at the Advertising office (London) at +44 (0) 208 297 9073 or email: mark@dmgpublishing.co.uk

£4.99 autumn/ winter 2013

Insider views on making

issue 1 spring/ summer 2011, issue 2 Autumn/ Winter 2011, issue 3 spring/ summer 2012, issue 4 Autumn/Winter 2012.

Terry owen gentleman Jack Bancroft Tim gibson Ann somerset Miles seth Linder John Wickersham Barry norris clive Mott Alison owen John Parsons sarah Wakely Hettie Zammit roger Moorhouse Angela cox

(Finally, big thanks to the many helpful regional tourist offices around the uK and abroad)

advice

Canada $11.99 aUStralia

$10.99 nZ $11.99

In association with

Back Issues Back issues of Discover Touring are available at £6.99 for one issue, £10.99 for two issues and £14.99 for three issues. Please send your cheque made payable to Discovery Media group Holdings at Discovery Media group, 63 Dundale road, Tring, Herts, HP23 5BX.


Live life … Love Auto-Trail

Explore our model range, find your nearest stockist, download the latest 2013 brochure and much more…

visitwww.auto-trail.co.uk - www.auto-trail.co.uk Explore online for in-depth model information, your nearest dealers, brochure downloads and more!

together we’re going places

+44 (0)1472 571000 sales@auto-trail.co.uk www.auto-trail.co.uk


PRACTICAL | WHERE DO YOU START?

Touring – where do

Author: Terry Owen

There’s a big part of you that would love to try the touring scene, but where do you start? What questions do you ask? Where do you go to get the answers? Fear not, we here at Discover Touring, can help to point you in the right direction. Terry sets the scene.

I

f you have a computer and an internet connection you’re away. Even if you don’t have a computer at home most public libraries will let you use theirs for research purposes. Try searching with phrases such as ‘Motorhomes for beginners’, ‘Caravanning for beginners’ or ‘Camping for beginners’. You’ll find countless websites bursting with information and advice. It is a fact that today’s touring products

10

DISCOVER TOURING

offer more comfort than many hotels so you’ll soon be itching to see some products and talk face to face with others who have the experience and knowledge you seek.

Visit the shows

The UK’s caravan and touring industry is huge with many stakeholders. One of the best places to meet them is at the many shows that are held up and down the country. The largest show by far is the National Motorhome

& Caravan Show held at the NEC in Birmingham each October. Attracting more than 90,000 visitors over the 6 days it is open, this is a show not to be missed. If you can’t make the National Show there are several large regional shows – Manchester (January), Belfast (January), Glasgow (February) and Birmingham (February). There are also many smaller shows dotted all over the country that are well worth a visit. For a full list of UK shows see our information panel. The UK is home to several major manufacturers of motorhomes and touring caravans such as Auto-Trail, Bailey, Coachman, Elddis, Lunar and Swift and a number of smaller ones including AutoSleepers, Bentley, Carlight, Dethleffs, Eterniti, and Vanmaster. There are also quite a few small converters turning panel vans into motorhomes.


PRACTICAL | WHERE DO YOU START?

you start? Today’s touring products offer more comfort than some hotels.

The National Show is the ideal place to compare one manufacturer’s products against another.

The National Show has Expert theatre sessions where you can listen to presentations and ask questions.

At the larger shows you will see scores of very latest examples of touring caravans and motorhomes from all the main UK manufacturers as well as many imported models. You’ll see names like Adria, Burstner, Concorde, Chausson, Hobby, Hymer, Knaus and Laika to mention but a few. Shows really are an unbeatable place to compare one manufacturer’s products with another. At the National Show you will also see many of the major suppliers to the industry so it’s an excellent place to see their products and get to know how they work. Chassis components, cookers, fridges, space heaters, toilets, water heaters, water pumps and even wet central heating systems will all be on display with staff available to answer questions. Regardless of the size of the show there will be no shortage of stalls selling hundreds

of accessories. Everything from awnings to satellite systems, you’ll be amazed at what is on offer for this sector of the market. Large shows can be quite bewildering if you’re visiting for the first time. The answer is to do some planning before you set out. Visit the show’s website and see who is going to be exhibiting and who you might want to see. Write the names down along with their stand numbers so you have a good chance of finding them. Get to the show as early as possible and make a bee-line for your chosen exhibitors. Don’t be distracted by all the exciting things you see on the way or the show may end up closing before you’ve seen what you want. 

The Manchester show is one of the larger regional shows. DISCOVER TOURING

11


PRACTICAL | WHERE DO YOU START?

Top left: The Caravan Club hosts the opening ceremony for a large regional show at ExCeL, London. Right: Rallying – an excellent way to make friends and learn the ropes. Top right: New caravans from Lunar line up for inspection at this Cheshire dealership.

Engage with the big clubs

At the larger shows you will also see the two big clubs – the Camping & Caravanning Club and the Caravan Club. Both clubs were founded in the early 1900’s and have grown steadily since, reaching memberships in excess of 300,000 each today. During that time they have developed extensive networks of sites and services to benefit their members. They are well placed to ease you into the world of touring. Even if you can’t get to a show these clubs have comprehensive websites featuring what they have to offer. Each has mountains of advice for beginners, simply type ‘beginners’ into their search boxes and see what comes up. Membership benefits include access to their sites and storage compounds, ferry bookings at reduced rates, a monthly magazine, rallies and escorted tours. Services include information on getting started, technical advice, towcar matching, insurance, finance and holiday planning including overseas travel. The clubs also run hundreds of rallies up and down the country where you can meet like minded people in a relaxed environment.

Talk to the owners clubs

Owners clubs are another excellent way to meet like minded people and find out what it’s like to own a particular product. All the major brands of touring products have owners clubs where members meet at rallies to socialise and swap information on their touring outfits. If you enjoy socialising then you’ll enjoy rallying. It’s a good leveller where you’ll meet people from all walks of life who share your interest in touring. It’s a great way to learn the ropes as help is always at hand. Whether 12

DISCOVER TOURING

it’s putting up an awning or getting the water system to work, someone will be able to help. Foreign rallies are a sensible way of taking your motorhome or caravan abroad for the first time. You’ll have no shortage of advice and friendly faces at the other end when you get there. The larger clubs may also offer technical help and advice and special offers for members on products or services. Most of the owners clubs have websites and many attend the National Show where they can often be found in a corner of the manufacturer’s stand. Pop along and say hello – you can be sure of a warm reception.

more. Many years ago my wife and I went to our local dealer to buy a new caravan. The dealer was good and the price was fair but we still went 40 miles up the road to a competitor. They too were good and offered a similar price for the same model but then came the offer we could not refuse. We were offered the same layout in the next range up for the same price. It turned out that the manufacturer had some stock to clear at the end of that model year and, as their dealer of the year, they were able to sell the caravan to us for less than they had previously been buying it for from the manufacturer.

Visit dealers

Visit your newsagent

There are over 300 caravan and motorhome dealers in the UK so, unless you live in a remote area, there should be at least one or two within easy reach. Some sell a single brand whilst others have more than one franchise. All will have used stock based on trade-ins so providing a wider range of brands to look at. Most dealers are very helpful with beginners, especially if you visit on a quiet day during the week or outside the main season of Easter to October. Mondays to Thursdays are usually good days if you can make them. Beware those sales persons who appear to know more about what you want than you do. If you’re not happy, walk away and go to another dealer. A good dealer will give you all the time you need without any hassle, a few even have small sites where you may be able to try a used product or spend your first night in a new one you’ve just bought. Even if you’re happy with the first dealer you see, it always pays to visit one or two

You’ve already made an excellent start by picking up Discover Touring but there are other magazines featuring the touring lifestyle. It’s worth a visit to your local newsagent to see what’s on offer.

Motorhome, caravan or canvas?

Each has its advantages and disadvantages but the chances are that you already have an idea one is going to be right for you and your wallet. The most difficult choice is usually between a caravan and motorhome and some people can never make their mind up and so end up switching regularly from one to the other. In general terms, if you like to be on the move, seeing as much as possible, then a motorhome is probably going to be best because there is so little to set up on arrival and take down before departure. On the other hand, if you like to visit an area from a single base then a caravan or tent will be more convenient.


PRACTICAL | WHERE DO YOU START?

Motorhome and touring caravan shows from March 2013 Above: The Approved Dealer sign shows this dealer cares about customer service.

Choosing the right dealer

Choosing the right dealer can be a bit like choosing the right partner. You may not realise you’ve made a mistake until it’s too late. Fortunately there is now a scheme to help. It’s called the Approved Dealer Scheme and it is run by the NCC (National Caravan Council). The idea behind the scheme is that dealers sign up to comply with certain codes of practice in relation to customer care and the fair provision of goods and services. For more details see our article Dealers sign up to improved consumer rights on page 114. Don’t worry if you can’t find an approved dealer in your area because there are many good ones who are not NCC members and therefore cannot apply for approved status. The best way to find out is to visit them and ask other customers for their impressions.

Consider buying a used motorhome or caravan

Buying a used product offers a number of advantages. Firstly if you don’t like it you should be able to sell it on without losing too much money. Secondly any teething problems will almost certainly have been ironed out by the previous owner. Thirdly you won’t be as afraid to explore narrow lanes or other places where access may be a little difficult.

Always rent a motorhome before buying one

For most people a motorhome is a major purchase and one that should not be made lightly. If you haven’t used a motorhome before it makes an awful lot of sense to rent one first to see if you like the lifestyle. If you are considering buying a used motorhome many dealers will let you rent it first and then knock the rental money off the purchase price if you subsequently buy it.

Buying privately

Buying privately may result in what appears to be a good deal but could leave you with little redress if things go wrong after purchase; it’s perhaps best avoided if you’re buying for the first time.

Closing your first deal

Before signing on the dotted line think about the future. How close are you to the dealer if you need to make return visits? What is the likely level of after sales service you will receive? Talk to other customers and see what they say.

o

1 – 3 March

21 – 23 June

8 – 10 March

6 – 7 July

Wales Caravan & Motorhome Show Chepstow Racecourse The Caravan & Motorhome Show Westpoint, Exeter

15 – 17 March

Bath Caravan & Motorhome Show Bath Racecourse

22 – 24 March

UK Spring Motorhome & Caravan Show Newark Showground, Notts

5 – 7 April

South Coast Caravan & Motorhome Show – Broadlands, Romsey

12 – 14 April

The Motorhome Show in Somerset Shepton Mallet

26 – 28 April

The Caravan & Motorhome Show York Racecourse

19 – 21 April

National Motorhome Show National Park & Holiday Homes Show East of England Showground, Peterborough

10 – 12 May The BIGGEST Caravan & Motorhome Show Ever!

Stoneleigh Park, Coventry

10 – 12 May

Caravan & Motorhome Show United Counties Showground, Carmarthen

17 – 19 May

Southern Motorcaravan Show Park & Holiday Homes Show Newbury Showground, Berkshire

25 – 27 May

Caravan and Motorhome Show Nottingham Racecourse

7 – 9 June

Taunton Caravan and Motorhome Show – Taunton Racecourse

14 – 16 June

Midsummer Motorhome and Caravan Event – Westpoint Arena, near Exeter

The Motorhome Show Stratford Racecourse UK Summer Motorhome Show Shropshire & West Midlands Showground, Shrewsbury, Shropshire

19 – 21 July

Cornwall Caravan & Motorhome Show – Royal Cornwall Showground, Wadebridge

9 – 11 August

Fun in the Forest Camping Weekend New Forest, Hants

16 – 18 August

Western Motorhome Show Three Counties Showground, Malvern

7 – 8 September

The Caravan Extravaganza The Lawns, Cottingham, near Hull

1 – 2 September

UK Autumn Motorhome & Caravan Show – Newark Showground

6 – 8 September

Busfest (VW’s Type 2 / Transporter vans) – Three Counties Showground, Malvern, Worcestershire

13 – 15 September

The Motorhome Show Shepton Mallet, Somerset

21 – 23 September

Fun in the Forest – the Big Camping Weekend – New Forest Showground

20 – 22 September

The Motorhome Show, Season Finale Lincoln

4 – 6 October

Malvern Caravan Show Malvern Three Counties Showground, Worcestershire

4 – 6 October

The Westcountry Caravan and Motorhome Show Westpoint Arena, Exeter

15 – 20 October The National Motorhome & Caravan Show – NEC, Birmingham DISCOVER TOURING

13


TOURING | VANTASTIC VEEDUBS

Vantastic We look at our long love affair with the VW campervan. Gentleman Jack Bancroft guides us through the past 60 plus years...

A

query to that mythical occupant seated on the upper deck of a Clapham omnibus, along the lines of …Who makes campervans? will undoubtedly receive the answer, Volkswagen, or VW for short. VW campervans have become inextricably linked with all sorts of trips - from Margate for the weekend with the kids - to solo around-the-world odysseys. Ask the same vertically-advantaged traveller which vehicle he or she associates with surfers, hippies, or even just with ‘peace’, ‘fun’, or ‘being cool’ and the answer will be the same…a VW campervan. This design icon isn’t just famous for what it is, but also for what it has enabled folk to experience and enjoy. They seem to be everywhere and actually they are, because as a percentage of the production run far more VW campers survive than of any other make. Today the after-market offer is the most developed of any vehicle, anywhere in the world, at any time. Everything, but

14

DISCOVER TOURING

everything is available from an obscure replacement van body part for something that first rolled off the production line morethan 50 years ago, to a VW roundel tattoo on another type of body part. The enthusiasm owners show for their VW campervans is infectious, really it’s a global movement in cool, a megaextended family. All are interested in what you’ve got, where you’ve been and where you might be going. Hard to quantify such a force for good in a sentence or two… but here goes... A VW campervan will give you the freedom to go wherever you wish, whenever you wish. VW can’t guarantee weather, mechanical reliability or suggest a perfect destination that will suit everyone... but they can guarantee fun and freedom. We’ve compressed 60 plus years of history in the development of the best loved vehicle of all time into a brief pictorial show-n-tell. Turn the page and enjoy...


£4,500 DE

New VW T5 Campervans from £30,999 SIT PO

9TH £ 2R9 MON E

/ WE K! E

*

P 6 - JUST £

9

M

FROM

FR O

���������������������� ��������� ������������� ������������ ������������������ ����

Current Offer: 1 Year’s free insurance, servicing and road tax on all new campers! For more information visit our website, or call us today to arrange a visit to our Bristol showroom

DanburyMotorcaravans.com Tel: 01454 310000 BUY WITH CONFIDENCE: WE ARE TRADING STANDARDS APPROVED

danburymotorcaravans

Showroom visits by appointment Mon to Fri 9am-5pm and Saturdays 9am – 1pm. Vehicles shown with various cost options. * Plus on the road charges £1250. Finance example: cash price £30999, £9000 deposit, amount borrowed £21999, 120 months @£299 per month total amount payable £44963.37. £145 acceptance fee and £145 option to purchase fee. Finance subject to status. 1 - 10 years term available. 6.35% fixed flat rate, Apr 11.5%. Free insurance offer subject to status. +Free servicing to be carried out at Danbury Motorcaravans premises, current offer not to be used in conjunction with any other promotions. Danbury Motorcaravans, Armstrong Way, Yate, Bristol BS37 5NG.

DISCOVER TOURING

15


TOURING | VANTASTIC VEEDUBS

This basic factory load-lugger was the start of it all. After WWII two Brits, Colonel Charles Radclyffe and Major Ian Hirst of REME were tasked with getting the Volkswagen car factory up and running again. This truck was knocked up from Dr Ferdinand Porsche’s ‘Beetle’ car mechanicals and the next stage in re-launching VW was to make a van or ‘transporter’ out of it...

Typical Splitty interior. For many years the pointy-heads at VW wouldn’t allow converters to cut out the half-height transverse bulkhead which ran behind the cab seats…so no ‘walk-through’… doh! Nevertheless this, the most popular of the early layouts, offered comfy camping for two and ‘friendly’ camping for four. Some converters placed the hob on the inside of a side door so that one could cook inside or alfresco.

The first VW Transporter camper conversions were by Westfalia. It was originally designed for people who were nervous of towing a trailer caravan and/or had nowhere to store one. Back then the most popular UK conversions were by Devon. This period advert shows their Caravette model.

First generation T1 Transporter had an air-cooled engine at the far rear which powered the rear wheels. See doublehinged side doors and split windscreen. The latter is responsible for their affectionate nickname ‘Splitties’.

This luxury conversion has the friendliest face in automotive history. ‘Luxury’ because it has an elevating-roof – usually called a ‘pop-top’ which enabled full standing height inside. Ones not so equipped are known as ‘tin-tops’ for fairly obvious reasons.

Rear three-quarter view of same campervan. See louvered window on offside and luggage (roof) racks at the front and rear. Performance from the ‘boxer’ flat-four engine is…ahem… pedestrian - by modern standards. At least your driving licence won’t be in danger.

16

DISCOVER TOURING

Adding some ‘fun’ colour to your camper is almost compulsory. Lots of people let their imagination run riot, though this guy couldn’t decide whether he wanted it pink or blue. Look carefully, they are two sides of the same `van! These Bays were the first to have a sliding side door.


TOURING | VANTASTIC VEEDUBS

Transporter Timeline Transporter T5 unveiled Peace man! Hippy transport Transporter-style. Hope it’s never involved in a prang, getting a tin of multi-coloured touch-up paint might be a challenge. One of the many myths surrounding VW ownership is that the majority of groovy hippy ‘guys and chicks’ took to the road in the 1960s. In fact most went between 1970 & 1975. Some are still travelling...

The current T5 Transporter is really a sharpened-up T4 body with cleaner Euro 5 engines. Despite competition from the likes of Toyota, Renault and more recently Hyundai, VW remains the market leader.

Transporter T4 (Eurovan front engine, front wheel drive) commences production

1991

All petrol engines now water cooled. Air-cooled engine ends production after powering an amazing 4,400,000 Transporters

1982

Euro banknotes and coins issued

Diesel engine now available (water-cooled)

1980

Heavily revised transporter T3 ‘wedge’ (brick) commences production

1979

Sony Walkman launched

Launch of transporter T2 ‘Bays’ (bay window models)

1967

Dr Christian Barnard performs first heart transplant

First Transporter high-top produced

1962

Transporter production transfers to Hanover

Westfalia campervan gains VW approval

More modern front engine VW’s have a flat full-length floor, so a variety of more exciting and accommodating layouts have appeared. This Bilbo’s Lezan features two single beds a kitchen split either side of the central aisle and even a loo with privacy compartment behind photographer.

2002

VW Transporter Kombi & Microbus launched

VW T1 Transporter

1956

1951

Remmington Rand launches first commercially available computer, the Univac 1

1950

1949

De Haviland becomes the first commercial jet airliner

DISCOVER TOURING

17


ACTIVITIES | CoAST

Coasting along...

The great British coastline offers all manner of activities for the whole family to enjoy. And since we’re an island nation, it’s not hard to holiday near the seaside, as Tim Gibson explains.

O

f all our holiday traditions, a visit to the seaside has got to be one of the most popular. Perhaps it’s because of our unique location, bordered on every side by crashing seas. Whatever the reason, we British like nothing better than a few days of rest and relaxation on the coast. The beauty of touring is that you can pitch up on whatever side of the country you choose. So whether you want to enjoy the big skies of the Norfolk coast, the quaint

18

Discover Touring

fishing ports of Cornwall, the rugged drama of North Yorkshire’s seaside locations or the soaring cliffs of the South East – you simply need to load up your tent or caravan and head in whichever direction suits. Of course, it would be impossible to do justice to the rich variety of activities available on the UK’s coastline. So the best advice is to pack up and head off… wherever you go, you can be sure that a happy holiday awaits.

T

Main image: There are few greater pleasures than a beach at sunset. Credit: Adam Miller Bottom left: Visiting quaint harbours is one of the treats of a coastal holiday. Bottom right: With beaches like this, who needs to go abroad? Credit: Adam Millerr


ACTIVITIES | CoAST

Top right: Hiring a beach hut can be a handy way to make the most of your seaside stay. Middle right: The British coastline is full of pretty villages, like Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire. Credit: Adam Miller Bottom right: The UK’s coastline offers great walking, at any time of year. Credit: Adam Miller

 10 coastal activities to enjoy: Hike around the uK’s beautiful shoreline – there are plenty of coastal paths to choose from. Fish from a boat or dry land, for mackerel and other scaly treats. Explore rock pools and inlets, where weird and wonderful creatures reside. Relax on the beach –the perfect way to unwind. Paint the landscape – the coastal light is perfect for artists. Scoff fish and chips straight from their wrappers, as you stroll along the seafront. Sail on the wide blue sea – boats are available for hire in many coastal locations. Enjoy the fun of the fair, on seafront attractions. Shop for quirky gifts in coastal retailers. Build sandcastles – it’s a British tradition!

Five of the best Club sites near the sea: Haycraft caravan club site, Dorset. st Agnes Beacon caravan club site, cornwall. norfolk Broads caravan club site, norfolk. Penrhos caravan club site, Anglesey. north Yorkshire Moors caravan club site, Yorkshire.

A safe haven for all the family: When it comes to helping families make the most of the British seaside, Haven has been trusted by generations of holidaymakers. Touring is available across its uK network of 23 holiday parks – giving you on-tap entertainment and first-rate facilities. More than that, Haven prides itself on the secure environment it offers for families to enjoy their holiday. Whatever the age group, it provides activities to inspire and excite in equal measure. And thanks to the community spirit fostered on its parks, you can be certain that you’ll feel perfectly at home, wherever you choose to visit. For more information, visit www.haven.com

Discover Touring

19


ACTIVITIES | Coast

Must-have gear for coastal adventurers We like to look good when out and about – and this gear will do just that whether walking the coastline, paddling by the sea or sleeping under the stars in a sandy hidden cove in Cornwall. Snugpack Chrysalis 4 A sleeping bag that has evolved to the next level; putting you in control of temperature and comfort by transforming from a warm, snug sleeping bag, into a cool and spacious one, with a built in LED torch to assist you. The bag boasts all the features of a quality Snugpak mummy-style sleeping bag but the jumbo zip baffle can be opened out to give much more room within the sleeping bag by opening the expander panel. The extra space within the bag allows air to move around, keeping the bag cooler. And if the temperature drops? Just zip the bag tighter and instantly boost the warmth around you. Simples.

Scorpion 2 When you’re spending time outdoors, the last thing you need is for the rain and wind to spoil your fun. Scorpion is an expert in this field. A new addition to the Snugpak range, the Scorpion 2 is a sleek, two person tent, designed and built to fend off those fierce winds that kick up from time to time, and for long term hard use. With its 5000mm PU fly, it can handle large amounts of rain making sure you and your gear stay dry. The Scorpion 2 is also a Fly First pitch type tent so you can quickly set up the fly and shelter to protect you from the elements.

TravelMat 3.8 No camping expedition should be without a sleep mat; designed for extra comfort, you’ll feel like you’re in your bed at home. The TravelMat is selfinflating to a depth of 3.8cm, so there’s no time or effort involved in setting up and you’ll soon be ready to relax for the night. To save space, when the sleeping mat is not in use it can be deflated easily and stored. Comfortable and compact, the Travelmat is a convenient way to get a good night’s sleep when travelling the coast. www.snugpak.com

Keen

For Spring 2013 KEEN present two gender specific multi-sports shoes. For Men, the Tunari CNX weighs in at just 280g. Offering lightweight agility and comfort for light hiking and walking on various terrains, these feet enhancers feature a durable 3D mesh upper with moisture wicking Dri-Lex lining for minimal friction and great breathability in all conditions. Seamless construction gives a streamlined feel and fit, whilst a KEEN.ZORB foam cushioning layer provides superb underfoot cushioning all day long. Twomillimetre static laces guarantee a no-slip secure fit, while multi-directional flex grooves on the non-marking rubber out-sole provide freedom of movement and reliable traction whatever you should encounter underfoot. The women’s specific edition, the Haven CNX, offers the same essential KEEN CNX fit, protection and features as the Tunari, in a super lightweight package weighing just 232g. Combining sporty styling with unbelievable comfort and performance for warm weather adventures, KEEN introduce the Clearwater CNX. This innovative hybrid sandal has been designed to feel like a natural extension of the foot, with a seamless simplified upper construction in fully washable polyester webbing. A light-weight PU midsole with a four-millimetre drop, metatarsal ridge under the toes and arch support in the footbed, provides incredible comfort and fit. A carbon rubber outsole features multi-directional flex grooves for enhanced traction and razor siping that ensures optimum grip whatever you encounter underfoot. With a dynamic bungee lace system for a secure and easy fit, the Clearwater CNX is the perfect partner for all your al fresco adventures this summer. www.keenfootwear.com 20

Discover Touring

Result

Part of RESULT’s contemporary yet classically styled Urban Outdoor wear collection, the R111M&F Urban Fell Jacket is a no nonsense multi-functional jacket, perfect for the spring season and protection from those pesky April showers. Designed to be as lightweight as possible without comprising on its technical benefits and overall protection, the R111M&F features HydraDri technology to offer exceptional waterproof (3000mm), windproof and breathable (3000g) performance, keeping the wearer dry and comfortable while on-the-go. • Fully taped waterproof seams • Quick drying • Integrated waterproof hood with draw cord adjusters • Easy open zip pullers • Full front zip fastening • Adjustable shockcord hem • Tear release inner storm flap with grey colour trim

The R111M&F Urban Fell Jacket is available in sizes S-3XL for men and a more flattering tailored fit in 8-16 for ladies in Black, Navy, Royal and Moss. www.resultclothing.com


! LY

FRI E ND

tt

5063*/(

tt

DO

www.trevornick.co.uk - 0843 453 5531

G

DO

FR I E N D ! LY

G

HOLIDAY PARK

Holywell Bay Nr. Newquay Cornwall TR8 5PW

$".1*/(

tt

&6305&/54

tt

Discover Touring

21


H O L I D AY PA R K camping

touring

holiday homes

Quite simply a five star holiday

01637 875778 www.hendra-holidays.com

Hendra Holidays, Newquay, Cornwall, TR8 4NY

ch! Only 100m from the bea

Porth, Newquay, Cornwall, TR7 3NH

Call: 01637 876531

or book online at www.porthbeach.co.uk

22

Discover Touring


Regional touRing | CoRnwall

Discover Cornwall

Author: Ann Somerset Miles

A beautiful land: a peninsula almost completely surrounded by the sea.

Enjoying a barbecue at Constantine Bay. © VisitBritain / Daniel Bosworth

C

ornwall: a county of mystery and magic – in the sense that it captures your heart, and once you have discovered it, it will never leave you. Once, long ago, it was a separate Celtic kingdom, with its own language; a peninsula with its own stories and legends. It’s perfect for holidays at any time of the year with its mild climate – and plenty of touring parks specifically designed for visitors. With the longest stretch of continuous coastline in Britain, you’ll discover tiny fishing villages, secret coves, spectacular beaches, sweeping bays and dramatic cliffs, plus beautiful moorland and stunning countryside. And it’s not as far away as you may think. What used to take ten hours in a small car from London to Land’s End, fifty years ago, can now be easily accomplished using motorways and dual-carriageway

trunk routes in just over three hours from Birmingham. Travel down its spine – the A30 – and once you cross the Devon border and are through Launceston, you will never be far from anywhere in inland Cornwall, and can branch off north or south towards beaches to die for. Cornwall divides quite naturally into five areas: Bodmin Moor and the Tamar Valley in the east; North Cornwall with its steep cliffs and wide sandy beaches perfect for surfing; the more lush South Cornwall with drowned river valleys and sleepy inlets, and West Cornwall – the tip of the peninsula with the high Lizard plateau, and Land’s End, the westernmost point on the English mainland. And the fifth area? On a clear day, look west from Land’s End and just visible on the skyline are the idyllic Isles of Scilly; until this year easily reached for a day trip by

helicopter from Penzance, but now only by fixed-wing Skybus from Land’s End Airport or Newquay, at a cost. What to do: Cornwall offers so much, it is hard to decide what to do first. So let’s take a virtual tour around the ‘regions’ to introduce you to just a little of what you will find. First, a word of advice; once off the main roads, Cornwall is a county of narrow twisting lanes with high hedgebanks – actually granite stone walls clothed in foliage, ferns and wild flowers. So go carefully.

An Overview, with jewels along the way:

The rugged North Through Launceston on the A30 and you could immediately branch off for the rugged, high coastal cliffs and Tintagel Head with it’s ruined castle dating from 1250  Discover Touring

23


Regional touRing | CoRnwall Top left: Camping almost on the beach, near Newquay. © Cornwall’s Finest Parks Newquay Bottom left left: Tea at Lanhydrock, just South of Bodmin. © National Trust Top right: Action at Pont Pill. © National Trust Bottom right: Old-time square riggers still seaworthy for films. © Ray Quinton

(maintained by English Heritage). Or further down the coast to Port Isaac which will be familiar to aficionados of the TV series, Doc Martin. At any point along the A30 ‘spine’, you can access the north coast beaches, many of which are superb for surfing, particularly around Newquay and Perranporth. Rivers feeding into the sea carve their way down hidden valleys, or limpid estuaries, as at Padstow – where you can enjoy scrumptious food at any of four restaurants owned by chef, Rick Stein, from fish-and-chips to St.Petroc’s Bistro where children are welcome. The mysterious Bodmin Moor Stay on the trunk route and cross the 150 square miles of dramatic, unspoiled moorland; a great place for walking in its fascinating landscape. From the top of Rough Tor and Brown Willy, the two highest peaks in Cornwall, the views are spectacular, while below you ancient buildings, standing stones and medieval farms add to the feeling of a land full of history waiting to be explored. The serene South Should you prefer something more tranquil, 24

Discover Touring

enter the county on the A38 Exeter trunk road (all dual carriageway), cross the Tamar Bridge, and you’ll discover a blooming oasis of eucalyptus trees, ripening strawberries, meandering creeks and picture-postcard fishing villages. Settle yourself into a campsite and go exploring; down country lanes to Looe or Polperro, Polruan or Fowey, Mevagissey or Veryan Bay and Caerhays Castle. Each has it’s own singular identity and heritage and warrant more than a day visit. In a class of its own is Falmouth and Carrick Roads (the wide drowned-river valley of the River Fal), and the gentle, mysterious Helford River with its wooded creeks and lush vegetation. Cornwall’s sea-faring past can be experienced at Charlestown near St.Austell. It’s a Grade II listed 18th Century harbour and one of the few remaining British ports still in private ownership. Originally a tiny fishing village with a population of just nine people, Charlestown Harbour – a Unesco world heritage site – was developed in 1792 as a port to serve the booming china-clay and copper industries of the region. But its attraction now is that it is home to three square-rigged sailing ships used in epics such as Frenchman’s Creek and Treasure Island.

The windswept West Don’t let this description deter you from discovering the farthest extremity of England. At times, you really can feel that there is nothing between you and America, apart from the alluring Isles of Scilly, just the ever-restless Atlantic Ocean. You’ll find smugglers’ coves, blissful tiny beaches, historic tin mining settlements, surf spots, boat trips, the harbour town of Penzance, Newlyn fishing port and art gallery, dramatic coastal scenery, St Ives (Mecca for artists), Minack open-air cliffside theatre, St. Michael’s Mount with its low-tide causeway, Land’s End Airport, and the geologically unique Lizard peninsula (an ANOB – Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). Why not get away from it all on the National Trust campsite at Teneriffe Farm? Located near Predannack Wollas, on the Lizard just south of Mullion, it is surrounded by incredible open countryside, beautiful coves and beaches and an array of wildlife right on its door step. There’s plenty going on inland in Cornwall as well as round the coast. Take Trereife House Easter Food & Craft Fair (near Penzance) who are hosting their fourth Easter Bank Holiday Food and Craft Fair weekend (6th-9th April)


Regional touRing | CoRnwall Top left: Kynance Cove has captivated visitors for decades. © National Trust Images John Millar Middle left: St Michael’s Mount can be reached on foot at low tide. © VisitBritain / Daniel Bosworth Bottom left: Enjoyment a-plenty this Easter. © Trereife Park Middle right: An ‘away from it all’ location. © National Trust Bottom right: Much to enjoy at the Elizabethan manor of Trerice. © National Trust

Ü Discover Where to Stay: Cornwall’s Finest Parks:

www.cornwallfinestparks.co.uk – an association of 23 quality family-holiday touring parks, each independently owned and top star graded offering a huge range of facilities. Teneriffe Farm National Trust campsite: bookings 01326 240293

Ü Discover Extra – Cornwall: Where to park:

at the historic Queen Anne manor house and its spectacular grounds, kicking off with a series of cookery and craft demonstrations, plus a programme of entertainment including a Grand Easter Egg Hunt. The National Trust protects miles of coastline but also offers some amazing family activities – seven houses and gardens spread throughout the county in sheltered locations. Forthcoming events include Mother’s Day Posy Making at Trerice (10th March), Easter Trails (29th March-1st April) at Antony, Godolphin, Trelissick and Trerice, Spring Craft Workshops at Antony (29th to 11th

April), Snail Racing (4th May) at Godolphin, Family Challenge at Glendurgan (4th–6th May, The Beast of Bodmin Moor at Lanhydrock (25th May-2nd June) and Family Fun Days at Cotehele (28th & 29th May ). Download the free NT iPhone/ iPad app. Booking essential for many events.

Fallen in love?

It will take you many visits to discover the ongoing magic of this beautiful county. There is truly nowhere quite like Cornwall; can anyone ever tire of its landscape, hidden valleys, secret coves and stunning beaches?

T

cornish carparks tend to be small and expensive; so download the map and list of coastal and countryside car parks where national Trust members can park for free. go to the nT website (below) and click on visit > Local To You > south West, then from the left-hand sidebar click on Things to see > cornwall.

Ü Discover More: www.visitcornwall.com/destinations/west-cornwall www.nationaltrust.org.uk www.english-heritage.org.uk www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk www.trereifepark.co.uk www.rickstein.com www.isleofscilly-travel.co.uk

Discover Touring

25


Regional touRing | SouthweSt oF englanD

A jewel in the crown Art-inspired coastlines, a maritime heritage and exploring exmoor on foot – you can appreciate the southwest in many ways, and that includes bagging a grandstand seat on the beach to watch the iconic red Arrows.

Contributors: Jennette Baxter, Sheron Crossman, Caroline Mills, Laetitia Redbond, Lex Thornely

T

he British Isles is incredibly fortunate to have the Cornish coastline as a part of its make up; a coastline that is as good as it gets anywhere in the world with its diversity of rugged cliffs, cosy coves, charming fishing villages and vast sandy bays, not to mention some of the finest surf. As an ever-narrowing band stretching out into the Atlantic, inland Cornwall means you’re never far from the sea. Though let’s not forget the coastlines of Devon and Dorset, with ever-popular holiday hotspots such as Ilfracombe and Torquay, Lyme Regis and Weymouth. But what of the far southwest’s largest city, Plymouth? It offers the best of both – a coastal location with a maritime heritage and a cosmopolitan buzz combined with an escape route in minutes to wild Dartmoor high above. 26

Discover Touring

Indeed, the southwest is not just about coastline. Inland, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire provide alternative scenery of their own – pretty villages of honeycoloured Cotswold stone, peaceful country lanes and provincial market towns. Every summer, the news over indulges on the clogged M5 as Britain gravitates towards the southwest, often blaming caravanners for the motorists’ plight. So plan your journey accordingly. Why not drive through the night when the motorway is quieter, then stop off and enjoy breakfast over Exmoor or Dartmoor? Alternatively, avoid the motorway altogether and make the journey a part of the holiday, exploring towns and villages en route. That is what touring is about, after all.


Regional touRing | SouthweSt oF englanD

Main image: Plymouth, Devon. Above top: Fowey, Cornwall. Credit: ©Paul Watts Above bottom: Bournemouth Air Festival.

Family Days Out:

Fowey Festival of Words and Music, Cornwall 2013 sees a fresh look to one of Cornwall’s much-loved festivals in one of the county’s most-loved towns. Formerly The du Maurier Festival, highlighting the author Daphne du Maurier’s strong links with the town, Fowey Festival’s new image reflects the vibrancy and energy of the event that in the past has brought countless internationally renowned writers, performers and entertainers to Cornwall. This year the festival (www.foweyfestival.com) runs from 8th to 18th May and includes talks by leading writers, performances by star names from the worlds of music and comedy, workshops, guided walks, river cruises as well as a range of community events.

During the day motorhomes are permitted to park in Main Car Park, a short (but steep) walk from the town centre. Otherwise camping is available at Penhale Camping and Caravan Park (www.penhale-fowey.co.uk) on the outskirts. At-Bristol Science Centre, Avon In the At-Bristol Science Centre (www.at-bristol.org.uk) you can play with hundreds of hands-on exhibits including making your own animation, walk through a tornado, freeze your shadow and learn all about the night sky in a presenter-led Planetarium show. This March sees a new exhibition launched for under 8s called ‘Build It!’ Set to work on the interactive construction site with giant

building blocks and a scaffold to climb. Where should the windows go? How many tiles will be needed? Who will make sure that everyone is working safely? In this real life setting, children will need to work together in their various roles to negotiate their way through these challenges and more as they complete their very own grand design. Bournemouth Air Festival, Dorset The sixth Bournemouth Air Festival (www.bournemouth.co.uk) takes place from 29th August to 1st September. The Armed Forces will join together to provide this mammoth free event when visitors can enjoy outstanding aeronautical displays, international jets, live music, outdoor films, firework displays and much more.  Discover Touring

27


Regional touRing | SouthweSt oF englanD

Top left: Avebury Stone Circle. Credit: ©David Williams/Visit Wiltshire Bottom left: West Somerset Steam Railway. Middle top: Tewkesbury Battle Re-enactment. Middle bottom: Westbury White Horse, Wiltshire. Credit: (©David Williams/Visit Wiltshire Top right: A lesson with Discovery Surf School. Credit: ©Discovery Surf Devon. Bottom right: Walking along the coast path, North Devon

The Red Arrows, Tornado jets and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight have become firm favourites, and the line-up for 2013 will be just as thrilling. A bigger Night Air programme is planned, allowing visitors to enjoy non-stop flying from 2pm until well into the night. On the ground, free live entertainment will take place at the two piers – Bournemouth and Boscombe. Parking is difficult during the festival so visitors should aim to stay at a nearby campsite and use public transport to reach the town centre.

Cultural Britain – History and Heritage:

Avebury Stone Circle, Wiltshire At the centre of a pre-historic complex in the Marlborough Downs stands Avebury, the largest stone circle in the world. This circle features one of the most impressive henges in Britain as well as remains of a stone avenue. Originally erected about 4,500 years ago, many of the stones were re-erected in the 1930s by Alexander Keiller. In doing so, Keiller uncovered the true wonder of one of the most important megalithic monuments in Europe. Visitors can see his fascinating finds on display in the museum, housed in the stables of Avebury Manor where he lived. Tewkesbury Medieval Festival, Gloucestershire The biggest Medieval Festival (www.tewkesburymedievalfestival. org) in the whole of Europe is set to take place over the weekend of May 12th-14th in Tewkesbury. The last, and probably the bloodiest battle in the War of the Roses on May 4th 1471, Tewkesbury stood at the turning point of English history. The recreated battle takes place on part of the site of the original 28

Discover Touring

battlefield, just outside the town. Around 2,000 re-enactors will take part, many of them living in full medieval style for an entire weekend. As well as being given guided tours through this makeshift village, visitors to the town will also be treated to the sights, sounds and smells of medieval England through a whole range of markets, demonstrations and re-enactments. West Somerset Steam Railway, Somerset The West Somerset Steam Railway (www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk) is a country branch line of the old Great Western Railway and full of fascination whether you are looking for a nostalgic ride back in time through idyllic scenery or to study the railway and industrial heritage that the line preserves. The historic steam locomotives, coaches and wagons, and the buildings of the ten unique stations linked by a twenty-mile scenic journey will repay hours of exploration. Buy a Day Rover ticket and stop off as many times as you like to explore the surrounding countryside, which is as varied as it is beautiful; the gently rolling Quantock hills and distant Exmoor, unspoilt villages, the cliffs and coast of the Bristol Channel, Dunster’s imposing Castle and Minehead’s seaside charm.

The Great Outdoors:

Walking on Water, South Devon Based in the picturesque seaside village of Bigbury-On-Sea and in the shadow of Burgh Island, you’ll be walking on water before you know it thanks to the professional instructors at Discovery Surf School (www.discoverysurf. com). Their family surf lesson is one of the most popular and involves two hour’s worth of action, and at £125 for 4 people

complete with private accredited instructor, will provide a memorable morning. All equipment is included. A lunch visit to the Venus Café is a must or, make your way up the Bantham estuary for a sumptuous seafood lunch at the The Oyster Shack. Bannerdown Gliding Club, Wiltshire Bannerdown Gliding Club (www.bannerdown.co.uk) provides trial lessons for all ages. The club operates from Keevil airfield, situated between Devizes and Westbury, and just north of the Westbury White Horse ridge, allowing for great soaring conditions. Start by flying with an experienced instructor in one of the three dual control two-seat gliders. Once airborne your instructor will demonstrate the basics, and then offer you the controls. With suitable conditions, and if you are feeling particularly adventurous, your instructor may treat you to the unique experience of glider aerobatics! Prices start at £50 for a trial lesson. North Devon and Exmoor Walking Festival The North Devon & Exmoor Walking Festival (www.exmoorwalkingfestival.co.uk), from 27th April to 6th May 2013, is designed to showcase the very best walking available in this beautiful area. Starting with 2 days of walks around Ilfracombe, the festival then moves along the coast to Lynton and Lynmouth and h igh onto the moors of Exmoor National Park before finishing in the attractive medieval village of Dunster. The walks range from a 1-mile walk around villages to a full hike of 11 miles and all walks are graded with something for every ability and interest. 


Discover for Sam:Layout 1

23/1/13

15:02

Page 1

Discover Touring 130208.pdf 1 2/8/2013 9:40:00 AM

“...a green champion” - David Bellamy

TOP 100

SITES

2012 BEST SMALL SITE

2011

Voted BEST SMALL SITE IN UK 2012 TOP 3 SMALL SITES IN EUROPE 2012 - Alan Rogers

C

A multi-award winning site set in a wooded valley, close to sandy beaches cycle routes, walks gardens & historic sites. Also offers camping, touring, Wigwam camping cabins, holiday caravans & cottages.

M

Y

CM

MY

CY

CMY

K

COTTAGES, HOLIDAY CARAVANS, TOURERS & WIGWAM CAMPING CABINS Wareham Forest Tourist Park North Trigon, Wareham, Dorset. BH20 7NZ

01929 551393

www.warehamforest.co.uk ~ ONLINE BOOKING AVAILABLE ~ SPECIAL OFFERS ~ OPEN ALL YEAR ~ LICENCED SHOP

01209 216489

www.tehidy.co.uk holiday@tehidy.co.uk

Tehidy Holiday Park, Harris Mill, Illogan, Redruth, Cornwall. TR16 4JQ Discover Touring

29


Regional touring | Southwest OF ENGLAND

Ü Discover More: www.visitcornwall.com www.visitdevon.co.uk www.visitsomerset.co.uk www.visit-dorset.com www.visitwiltshire.co.uk www.visit-exmoor.co.uk www.dartmoor.co.uk www.cotswolds.com

Towns and villages:

Salcombe, South Devon Salcombe’s (www.salcombeinformation.co.uk) seafaring history is rich with stories of smugglers, pirates, shipbuilders and fast schooners laden with fresh exotic fruits gathered from across the waters in West Indies, Bahamas and the Azorian Islands for the British market in the 1800’s. The town regatta (4th to 10th August) showcases this heritage each year with a mix of sailing events and competitions, sea shanty singing processions and seafood celebrations. Visitors can also experience the town’s unique relationship with the sea thanks to the Maritime Museum and a stroll along the South West Coast Path. From Salcombe Town to Bolt Head for example, you’ll discover the town’s pretty winding streets, venture through AONB territory, experience the sandy coves of North and South Sands and the sub tropical gardens of Overbecks National Trust property before rugged cliffs lead out to Bolt Head and the open ocean, complete with the 1936 wreck of the Hertzogin Cecile in the turquoise blue Starehole Bay. Access to Salcombe and parking can be tricky for large motorhomes. A park and ride service operates during the summer, or stay at one of the many campsites within a few miles of the town. Marlborough, Wiltshire situated in the picturesque rural north east of Wiltshire, Marlborough was once an important staging post on the great road from London to Bristol, and indeed the town’s history goes far back in time – legend has it that Merlin, the magician to King Arthur is buried here. The handsome old staging post has evolved into a stylish and cosmopolitan town with its own chic café culture. Site of a twice-weekly market, the High Street is one of the widest in the UK and lined on both sides with characterful old buildings housing an array of high quality shops. The Merchant’s House, a particularly fine example of a 17th century middle-class home, is also to be found here and contains a wealth of period features, paintings and artefacts. Motorhomes should use the George Lane car park. Alternatively, stay at Postern Hill Caravan and Camping Site (www.campingintheforest.co.uk) in Savernake Forest.

T

30

Discover Touring

Ü Discover Where to Stay: South Lytchett Manor Caravan & Camping Park:

Set in 20 acres of stunning parkland, this five-star site regularly wins industry awards for its attention to detail, facilities, friendly service and overall appearance. Buses stop outside the gates for services to Poole, Swanage and Bournemouth. Dorchester Rd, Lytchett Minster, Poole, BH16 6JB; tel 01202 622577; www.southlytchettmanor.co.uk

Perran Sands Holiday Park:

Right on the beach and popular with surfers, the park has its own surf school. New touring facilities were put in place in 2012 with the camping area right on the sand dunes. But for those that want to experience glamping you can hire a Yurt,

Geo Dome, Safari Tent or Super tent. Look out for the Wildlife Detective Bushcraft activities for children on site too. New for 2013 is the Surf Bay café bar restaurant and The Funky Fish restaurant. Perranporth, Cornwall, TR6 0AQ; Tel 01872 573551; www.haven.com

Watermouth Cove Holiday Park:

An enviable location right next to the sea, just below Watermouth Castle and with a small harbour. The site has its own private beach, access to three private caves and sea fishing from the rocks. Watermouth, Berrynarbor, Ilfracombe, North Devon, EX34 9SJ; Tel 01271 862504; www.watermouthcoveholidays.co.uk

Ü Discover Extra – Plymouth: With a rich maritime heritage and a hand in some of Britain’s most famous events – including defeating the Spanish Armada – Plymouth (www.visitplymouth.co.uk) is worth a visit, either for a city break, part of a longer stay in Devon or Cornwall or a stop en-route to Europe via the city’s Brittany Ferries terminal. Nestling between the sea and rivers on three sides and the dramatic wild expanse of Dartmoor on the fourth you won’t find a better mix of town, coast and country. There are plenty of attractions to entertain you from the National Marine Aquarium to stunning historic houses and river cruises to adrenaline fuelled water sports, plus the largest regional theatre outside of London. Plymouth Hoe is a major landmark in the town – a vast public open space on the seafront, perfect for picnics. Getting about is easy; with a network of passenger ferries and water taxis, you really can explore the city on foot. Go by boat from the Elizabethan Barbican to Royal William Yard – at both ends you’ll find fantastic restaurants, alfresco pavement cafés and bars in stunning historic locations. Visitors with campervans are best to use one of Plymouth’s three park and ride services, operating regular, reliable services straight into the city centre. The Riverside Caravan Park is located just a short walk from the Coypool Park and Ride, just off the A38, meaning you won’t have to drive at all!

Itinerary:

Day 1– Wander the Barbican’s quaint cobbled quayside following in the Pilgrim Father’s footsteps before visiting the National Marine Aquarium with its deepwater fish tanks. Take a boat trip around Plymouth Sound and the Naval Harbour from Mayflower Steps. Enjoy a picnic on the Hoe and climb the iconic Smeaton’s Tower lighthouse. Take the plunge at Tinside Lido, a restored Art Deco swimming pool. Stay: Riverside Caravan Park, Plymouth; www.riversidecaravanpark.com Day 2 – Take a half-day boat trip up the River Tamar, to the picturesque Cornish village of Calstock and Morwellham Quay, or take the ferry across to Mount Edgecumbe Country Park. Have a wander around the Rame Peninsula and visit the historic Mount Edgecumbe House. Lunch at The Orangery, or with a picnic overlooking the sea. In the afternoon, explore the If its entertainment you’re after the City Museum and Art Gallery. Stay: Riverside Caravan Park, Plymouth; www.riversidecaravanpark.com Day 3 – Leave Plymouth on the A386 to visit the National Trust’s Buckland Abbey, before striding out across Dartmoor (www.dartmoor.co.uk) on a circular audio walk from Postbridge to see the views from Hartland Tor. Stay: Langstone Manor Holiday Park, Moortown, Tavistock; www.langstonemanor.co.uk


Discover DiscoverTouring Touring

31


REGIONAL TOURING | SOUTH OF ENGLAND

White cliffs and castles

Contributors: Peter d’Aguilar, Jane Ellis, Caroline Mills, Kim Osborne, Ellie Stokes, Leah Taylor, Esther Worboys

Walking the Thames Path, climbing iconic towers for spectacular viewpoints and traditional seaside holidays on the isle of Wight – the south of england proves itself to be more than suburbia.

M

onday to Friday, much of the south of England is commuter land; business brains cluttering the main arteries into the Capital or hopping onto trains with a cardboard cup of coffee. They leave behind great swathes of rolling countryside for visitors to explore – hill ridges, open downs, gentle river valleys and quaint villages. Surrey, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire might not be the tourist’s immediate thought for a holiday, but the three counties, along with neighbouring Berkshire, Buckinghamshire 32

Discover Touring

and Bedfordshire, provide a vast array of attractions. A veritable playground, the south coast – spanning Hampshire, East and West Sussex and Kent – regularly receives the greatest amount of summer sunshine and the hottest temperatures in the UK. And while you can opt for cosmopolitan Brighton or reach for your bucket and spade in Bognor, there are dozens of other picturesque coastal towns and villages tucked into bays and hanging from cliff tops, all ready to survey. Tourers will not find a problem with most

roads in the region. Some minor roads in Kent and East/West Sussex can be narrow, but these are generally quiet.

Family Days Out:

The Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth (www.spinnakertower.co.uk) is an iconic 170 metre tall viewing tower with a unique position adjacent to Portsmouth Harbour that provides incredible 360º views stretching out for up to 23 miles over the historic harbour, the Solent and the Isle of Wight.


REGIONAL TOURING | SOUTH OF ENGLAND

Main picture: Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight. Top left: Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth Middle left: Gothic Tower at Painshill Landscape Garden. Credit: ©Fred Holmes/Painshill Bottom left: Roald Dahl’s writing hut, the Roald Dahl Museum Top right: Polesden Lacey, Surrey. Top bottom: Kent Life, Maidstone .

Visitors can marvel at the breathtaking views, dare to walk on air across the thrilling glass floor, enjoy free audio guides exploring 1700 years of the city’s history and discover the high spy ship finder, helping guests identify the ships and boats which travel through the port. Painshill Landscape Garden, Surrey A beautiful 18th-century landscape garden, Painshill, (www.painshill.co.uk) near Cobham in Surrey, offers a restful family day out. The 158-acre ‘living work of art’ was originally inspired by visits to Italy on the Grand Tour and Renaissance paintings. Discover the

numerous follies, recently restored alongside the Crystal Grotto, historic, themed plantings with each garden creating a differing mood, and some of Surrey’s wildlife. You can spend a whole day at Painshill or take a short, accessible walk around the idyllic Serpentine Lake, overlooked by vineyards. Bring a picnic or visit Hamilton’s Tea Room and don’t forget to buy Painshill’s own English Sparkling Wine. The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, Buckinghamshire This superb award-winning Museum (www.roalddahlmuseum.org) is aimed at 6 to 12 year olds – although adults will equally enjoy a visit! Situated in Great Missenden, where Roald Dahl lived and wrote for 36 years, the Museum has two fun and fact-packed biographical galleries (one of which now features Roald Dahl’s original Writing Hut) and an interactive Story Centre full of hands-on displays and games. In the school holidays and at weekends, an inspiring range of workshops, events and free storytelling sessions take place. Free craft activities are always on offer, while the Village Trail leads visitors around Great Missenden to see the places that feature in the stories. Many additional activities, often including visits to Dahl’s former home and garden, take place on the annual Roald Dahl Day.

Cultural Britain – History and Heritage:

Polesden Lacey, Surrey (www.nationaltrust.org.uk) is a National

Trust house and gardens, surrounded by breathtaking views of the rolling Surrey Hills and 1,400 acres of countryside. Four miles from Dorking (and close to J9 of the M25), the Edwardian country estate includes an imposing house, with a rich collection of art and sumptuous interiors, once used for entertaining royalty and society at lavish parties. The gardens offer something for every season with geocaching and waymarked walks in the countryside for those keen to stretch their legs further. Oxford Castle – Unlocked, Oxfordshire (www.oxfordcastleunlocked.co.uk) is a 1000-year-old motte-and-bailey castle, which was also used as a place of incarceration for over 800 years. The attraction offers a 40-minute guided tour with a costumed character from the castle’s history, who will provide you with tales of murder, romance, betrayal and execution whilst exploring the Saxon stone-built St. George’s Tower, the atmospheric crypt, the preserved prison wing and the archaic man-made mound, giving breathtaking views across the dreaming spires of the city below. Events take place throughout the year including spine-tingling after-dark castle tours and an annual ghost festival. Kent Life, Maidstone A rural heritage experience set in 28-acre grounds, Kent Life (www.kentlife.org.uk) is home to Britain’s last working coal-fired oast house and a range of period-dressed historic buildings – saved from destruction and perfectly rebuilt piece-bypiece on site. A place to step back in time and discover the vibrant history of the  Discover Touring

33


REGIONAL TOURING | SOUTH OF ENGLAND

Top left: River Thames at Hurley, Berkshire. Credit: ©Caroline Mills Bottom left: Bedgebury Pinetum, Kent. Bottom right: Bill’s Café in Lewes. Top right: Church Green in Witney is ideal for a picnic. Credit: ©Caroline Mills

people who lived and worked in the Garden of England over the past 150 years, the attraction appeals to nostalgia seekers and children of all ages. It’s one of the few places left in Britain where hops are grown, harvested, dried and packed in the magnificent oast house by hand, using traditional techniques – a process that is celebrated every September at the popular Hops ‘n’ Harvest Festival. A real working farm too, Kent Life showcases and breeds traditional farm animals while the farmhouse gardens, apple orchards, paddocks, and a nature trail also occupy this hidden gem.

Thames, sup a pint at a riverside pub in Marlow or feed the royal swans in Windsor. Bedgebury National Pinetum, Kent Open all year, Bedgebury (www.forestry.gov.uk/bedgebury) is perfect for cycling, walking, riding and playing in a spectacular world of trees. The National Pinetum is the world’s best conifer collection and a beautiful place to walk in all seasons. Bedgebury Forest offers family cycling, mountain biking, riding, walking, Go Ape and adventure play for all ages and abilities. For healthy outdoor activity in a magnificent setting, Bedgebury is in a class of its own.

The Great Outdoors:

Lewes, East Sussex Surrounded by the South Downs National Park is the beautiful county town of Lewes (www.enjoysussex.info). A walk through the medieval streets of the town immerses you in its rich and varied architectural history. Among the many highlights are the 1000 year old Norman Castle; the 15th Century timber framed bookshop and striking 18th Century Neo-classical law courts in the heart of the town; with Priory ruins, Anne of Cleves House and Southover Grange gardens located just south of the centre. Discover the Saxon lanes and hidden

River Thames & Thames Path England’s best-known river, the Thames begins life in a quiet Cotswolds setting. Flowing southeast, much of its navigable length crosses the south of England, through silent water meadows, idyllic villages and elegant towns. The Thames Path National Trail (www.nationaltrail.org.uk/ThamesPath) follows its course for 184 miles, providing tremendous opportunities to enjoy either an afternoon’s stroll or a more exhilarating trek. Soak up the tranquillity of a river meadow setting near Goring, watch the rowing at Henley-on34

Discover Touring

Towns and villages:

twittens (an old Sussex dialect word for narrow passageways) and take a riverside walk along the Ouse. The town boasts a huge range of independent boutique and antique shops, fantastic eateries and is home to Harvey’s Brewery. Lewes is a prime location for walking and cycling, shopping and eating, arts and culture. Motorhome parking is tricky in Lewes (height barriers at most car parks) so it is best to stay at a nearby campsite. Witney, Oxfordshire We can blame the rise of the continental duvet and centrally heated houses for the demise of the humble blanket, which fell out of fashion, but Witney (www.oxfordshirecotswolds.com) is synonymous with blankets – once producing the highest quality products anywhere in the world. Sadly, though the mills remain, the textile industry has all gone, but the market town in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds continues to thrive thanks to its charming, warmcoloured Cotswold stone architecture along the bustling High Street and Church Green – the perfect spot for a picnic. Battle, East Sussex The historic Battle of Hastings 1066 battlefield lies quietly behind the ruins of Battle Abbey, which has a prominent position at the top of the High Street in this pretty market town. Yesterday’s World is a fascinating museum of old shops with a royal memorabilia collection and a new Royal Family display for 2013. Guy Fawkes is said to have sourced his gunpowder from the mills in Powdermill Lane and the Museum of Local History houses the world’s oldest (400 years) Guy Fawkes effigy. Saffron Gallery sells art works by internationally renowned artists and awardwinning Nobles’ Restaurant has worked alongside Marco Pierre White. Gordon Ramsey has highly recommended via Twitter the ‘Battle Bangers’ from the 1066 Butchers in the High Street. Independent shops, a busy progamme of annual events (including the annual battle re-enactment in October), cosy tearooms and friendly pubs make this town a wonderful day trip.

T


REGIONAL TOURING | SOUTH OF ENGLAND

 Discover Where to Stay: Hurley Riverside Park:

situated on the banks of the river Thames, with direct access to the river and a riverside picnic site for use by visitors to the park. recent improvements to the park include heating to all shower blocks, a new drive-over motorhome service point and additional hardstanding pitches. Hurley, Berkshire, SL6 5NE; tel 01628 823501; www.hurleyriversidepark.co.uk

Cedar Gables Camping:

A small all-grass site surrounded by trees and with direct access to Bewl Water, ideal for walking, cycling, fishing and sailing. close to Hastings and

Battle, and two miles from Bedgebury national Pinetum. Hastings Road, Flimwell, East Sussex, TN5 7QA; Tel 01892 890566; www. caravanandcampingsites.co.uk

Hardwick Parks:

By the side of a vast lake, the campsite sprawls across acres of carefully mown grass fields, without pitches defined by hedges or fences. Large areas of the lake are cordoned off to allow swimming but numerous watersports are also available on a daily basis for all ages and abilities. Standlake, Witney, Oxon, OX29 7PZ; Tel 01865 300501; www.hardwickparks.co.uk

 Discover Extra – The Isle of Wight crossing The solent is the gate through which all visitors must pass to get to the isle of Wight (www.islandbreaks.co.uk). And that, in turn, is exciting: it’s like going abroad – while staying close to home. The island has been described as a miniature england cast adrift of the channel. With its character-filled pubs, seaside resorts, miles of sandy beaches, rolling hills and glorious countryside (over half of the island is designated an Area of outstanding natural Beauty), quiet country lanes leading to charming villages, thatched cottages, white cliffs, and historic attractions it’s easy to see why – and with prehistoric foundations, it has some of the best fossil-hunting in europe. The walking territory is pretty good too for anyone keen to don a pair of boots. As well as the traditional holiday offering, which shanklin and sandown have become so famous for, there’s also more than just a touch of the “retro” about the place, these days, too. if you don’t fancy taking your own ‘van aboard the ferry, you can tour the island – retro-style – in an old vW campervan from isle of Wight campers (www.isleofwightcampers.co.uk). campsites are plentiful from low-key corner-of-a-field sites to large-scale parks. roads are easy to negotiate, but take it gently through ventnor. Ferries are available from Lymington and Portsmouth using Wightlink (www.wightlink.co.uk) or southampton using red Funnel (www.redfunnel. co.uk). The ferry companies often have ‘ferry plus campsite’ special offers.

36

Discover Touring

Itinerary:

Day 1– explore the interior of the island by visiting carisbrooke castle (its walls imprisoned the ‘exiled’ charles i) before taking a wander over Brighstone Down. Stay: Heathfield Farm camping, Freshwater; www.heathfieldcamping.co.uk Day 2 – Head to the west of the island to look out onto The needles, the island’s iconic splintered rocks. near Alum Bay, climb up to Headon Warren’s flat-topped summit and explore a maze of paths weaving between heathland heather and gorse to find the Bronze Age burial mound. go on a beach hunt at low tide for pre-historic fossils at compton Bay and Brook – where previous finds have included iguanodon and neovenator (a close cousin of the T-rex) bones. Stay: chine Farm, Brighstone; www.chine-farm.co.uk Day 3 – Discover the Hoy Monument and find Britain’s oldest lighthouse, the Pepper Pot above st catherine’s Down. The towers share an other-worldly quality – one looking like a medieval rocket ship and the other like a homing beacon to attract aliens. Buy your stick of rock in shanklin’s old town, and make sandcastles on the beach at sandown. Finally, visit osborne House near east cowes, Queen victoria and Albert’s italianate-style holiday bolthole. Their decision to create a holiday hideaway here made it the place where the victorian vacation was invented. Stay: Adgestone camping & caravanning club site, sandown; www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk

Top: Battle, East Sussex. Credit: ©Chris Parker courtesy 1066 Country Marketing Middle: Isle of Wight. Middle: Chine Farm, Brighstone. Credit: ©Caroline Mills Bottom: Hurley Riverside Park. Credit: ©Caroline Mills

 Discover More: www.visitbedford.co.uk www.visitbuckinghamshire.org www.visitkent.co.uk www.visitsurrey.com www.visitoxfordandoxfordshire.com www.oxfordshirecotswolds.com www.enjoysussex.info www.visit1066country.com www.visit-hampshire.co.uk


Discover Touring

37


Touring today DISCOVER

BRITISH WILDLIFE | ON LOCATION

If you are enjoying issue 5 of Discover Touring – you will want to complete your collection.

Wildlife on the ROAD

Author: Simon King

Discover Touring tracked down Simon King, wildlife expert and film maker, and asked him his thoughts about his life with caravans.

W

Caravanning, children and wildlife; a perfect combination

hat is it that is so compelling, so completely absorbing, about the wonders of the natural world? For me it is a sum of parts; the variety, beauty and surprises that are all about us in animals and plants, the sense of being part of a bigger living community, and the freedom of wild spirits. Watching a peregrine falcon cut the skies with scythe shaped wings, or a dolphin surge across a breaking wave, we can travel in our imaginations with these natural neighbours and briefly share their world. In our journey through life we can often become self-absorbed and lose track of the elemental pleasures that are around us each and every day. We can become bogged down with the worrying details of a life that, by and large, we are the architects. Indulging an interest in other living things, journeying into their world, is one way in which we can find a balance, a harmony for our own existence. One can make that journey metaphorically, by watching the birds in the garden and caring for their wellbeing by helping with food, shelter, nest sites, or more literally by travelling into the wild world. A walk in a park, through a local wood or even on an urban high street will other living things, and the more knowledge always offer the company of you acquire about your natural neighbours the more enriching their company becomes. For the adventurous, spending time in wilder corners of our country or beyond, on a camping trip, undoubtedly can help galvanise this connection. Simplifying life, cutting down on the clutter of our material world and living basically, but with comfort, is hugely enriching and brings us closer to the beauty and hardships of the wild world. But if canvas is just one step too basic for you, then a caravan is a compromise.

BRITISH WILDLIFE | ON LOCATION

Simon King is never more happy than in his caravan, soaking up the landscape activity

Once I started my and rest on long journeys, just using a caravan on a beautiful career as a wildlife film about anywhere in the country, Caravan Club site in the heart maker, I soon identified but I was also able to deal with of the New Forest as a base from caravans as being one of some of the more challenging which to film the annual fallow the best ways of staying elements of life in a van, like deer rut for our new website, close to my subjects whilst clothes washing and sorting out the Wildlife Whisperer. Now, still having the comfort of the chemi-loo! Beyond these with my wife and four year old a home nearby; a personal practical advantages, I discovered a daughter, space that was warm, dry we were able to enjoy world of stunning locations and a the convenience of being on the and practical. I lived in a community of people who shared doorstep of our subjects whilst still simple caravan on and off an interest in the wonders of the having the comfort and downright for a year whilst filming natural world and a simple life. fun of life in the caravan. otters on the Scottish Life in a caravan took a new, I have been using caravans west coast, and again, in the same Savannah, our daughter was profound twist during a difficult as a base from which to watch, beside herself with excitement at spot, whilst making a film about period in my life, when my first photograph and film wild the prospect of living in a caravan, red deer. For this latter project, marriage failed. Where many creatures for nearly 30 years, and once again I was reminded of my van (by now a rather more people would have looked for a flat and before that, as a family we the simple pleasures that emerge modern model with a gas heater in town, or a rented house, I took toured around Europe in a VW from de-cluttering and spending and insulation) was pitched in the my caravan to the heart of a wild campervan (which I so wish I time together in a relatively small heart of the deer’s territory. I spent space on the Somerset levels and still owned!). space. Whilst we were in the forest months habituating the herd to this is where I lived for a year or That early taste of life on the to work, I was reminded too that my presence and a few became so so, whilst I dealt with the difficult road, with my sister, mother we should make the most of the used to me that they would visit emotional journey. It offered me and father and the simple but Club’s fabulous network of sites, in the early morning, sometimes peace, simplicity, comfort and, comprehensive comforts we particularly those that have joined poking their heads over the top of truth be known, a place where I brought along with us, set the tone the biodiversity scheme, to simply the open stable door of the van to could weep or scream unheard for a life of travel for me. Whilst be together and enjoy the natural see if I had any biscuits on offer. by anyone other than the deer, those early forays into campervan pleasures on offer just beyond The van was the perfect base to badgers and birds that were my life were heavily peppered with our door. spend the vigil of waiting for one neighbours. My possessions were table football tournaments and of the hinds to give birth, and I As we continue to explore these few, my life simple, and my view Pez sweet dispensers, with their sites with the Wildlife Whisperer, had the extraordinary privilege of exquisite. Marsh harriers, hobbies, cartoon character heads and we will be celebrating the synergy watching and filming the moment roe deer and otters all shared sugar pellets, they also took us to between a life on the road and the that a new recruit to the herd my neighbourhood, and I woke the coast where I spent endless natural world that we can access so came into the world less than four in the summer to the explosive hours scouring the beaches for easily and in such comfort hundred metres from my home song of a Cetti’s warbler then signs of life or gazing into rock away from home. drifted to sleep with the liquid pools. My memories of these At the same time as having such gold of a nightingale’s refrain. The trips are almost entirely made wild experiences from my caravan, envelope of natural beauty and up of our time spent beyond the I discovered the enormous benefits campervan, but with the warm

!

http://www.wildlifewhisperer.tv/

Issue 1 has sold out but issue 2, 3, and 4 are available to purchase. To order your copies today please send a cheque made payable to Discovery Media Group Holdings for £6.99 for one issue, £10.99 for two issues and £14.99 for three issues (includes P&P).

DisCover Touring Issue 4 : autumn/ wInter 2013

Bailey Caravans

Order back issues of

and Bailey Motorh omes

n-caravans.com

Touring

Cool ‘vans • laTesT gea • r Touring BriTain • pra CTiCal aDviCe

DisCover

Caravan, moTorhome & Camping

£4.99 autumn/ winte r 2013

Buying your first ‘van

Insider views on makin g

the right choice

First timers new romantand ics Fallin g in love with tourin g

inspiraTion

New friends and new experienc es Choosing your perfect site and settling in

over

£3,000

of holidays and prizes to be won Family Adventures • Cycle Plus ••Nordi c Walking • Castles & Tours Keeps

Fancy a nig under can ht Back to basics campin vas?

The Rose Gardens Cambridge Road Hitchin, SG4 0JX

Call our new Hitchin

UK £4.99 €5.90 US $10.99

g advice

Canada $11.99 aUStralia

$10.99 nZ $11.99

The address to send your payment is: Discovery Media Group Discovery House 63 Dundale Road Tring, Herts HP23 5BX

Discov e Tourin r g is also availa on the ble App. s tore

In association with

Branch on:

01462 452856

Any questions? Please call +(0)1296 631 273, or email: discoverus@dmgpublishing.co.uk 38

Discover Touring


DISCOVER TOURING | READER STORIES

Touring Tales in the autumn/ winter issue of Discover Touring we posed a challenge. We asked you to put pen to paper and tell us about your touring tales. As we write the competition is still open, so we will be announcing the winner in the next issue (published in october). in the meantime we plucked out a few entries at random. For now our authors remain anonymous. if you want to enter our next writing competition please turn to page 48 for full details.

“Come on Archie, no more snoozing now, it’s time to get packed up and get those motorhome wheels turning”

“Its Friday, the sun is shining and I have itchy feet so we head off to Cornwall in our motorhome for the weekend”

“Our tickets for the Spring Caravan and Camping show at the Birmingham NEC plopped onto the doormat yesterday”

I don’t seem to get much time for snoozing! At the drop of a hat we’re off for another weekend to a favourite spot, or a trip to somewhere new. The view from my windows could be the birds and wildlife of the forest; the changing light and skies of the coastline; or the grand vista of a stately home through the secret door in the wall. The choice of Caravan Club sites is inspiring, and in whichever direction our travels take us there’s always something new to discover or somewhere else to explore. Places on our doorstep, which previously would never have been considered for a break away, provide just as many surprises as those many miles away. Packing is now down to a fine art, with everything having its particular niche. The dog jostles in front to get on board and make sure his bed is in prime position, taking more luggage than everyone else. Then it’s a final check of the list, and off we go. It takes no time at all to get set up when we arrive, and the kettle is soon on and it feels just like home from home. “Come on then, let’s get going, I can’t wait for our next adventure”.

It is true what they say about the light in Cornwall as we take in the spectacular view from Trewethett Caravan Club site. The pitches are at the cliff edge and we spent the first evening just watching the sea crash against the rocks. The next day we head off to Boscastle on the South West Coast path, which is rather muddy in places. Our dog Molly decides to wash off in a stream but disturbs the sediment in the bottom! They often need a wash off once back at camp as they go about expanding their business of their own brand of perfume, so far they have Peak District, Cornish, Welsh, Somerset and Lincolnshire eau du perfume for the camping canine. Once in the beautiful village of Boscastle we try out the beer in the local hostelry and then the locally produced ice cream. I chose a very tasty lavender and honey flavour but too ferocious a lick led to a big blob of ice cream falling to the floor and the dog eating it, much to the delight of the watching crowds. I am not sure what they then made of a mid forties woman having a toddler tantrum over the loss of her ice cream. Camping/touring seems to bring out the child in me; it must be the adventure of it all.

Since then I have been reflecting on some of the great holidays we have had and looking ahead to the possibility of even greater adventures to come. Until now we have driven to static mobile homes and tents using them as a base to explore from but now we long for more freedom and anticipate 2013 as being the year we buy our first motorhome. We have stayed in some really lovely places at home and abroad, travelling across France, from Brest to Biarritz, into northern Spain and all points in between; we have got to know what to expect from some of the larger campsite chains and have discovered some really special privately owned smaller campsites, which offer the more personal touch. Thoughts of the summer ahead conjure up memories of buying fresh melons at the roadside at Lectoure in the Gers region of France, drinking refreshing Cognac with ice and ginger ale after the Courvoisier distillery tour at Jarnac, desperately seeking shade at the bakingly hot Futuroscope at Poitiers in the middle of August and my 80 year old mother’s blasé reaction when she first encountered nudists on a beach in Aquitaine. For us touring France isn’t a case of ‘been there, done that‘, its more likely to be - well we’ve seen it in the summer what’s it like in spring, and what will we find next! Discover Touring

39


REGIONAL TOURING | THE MIDLANDS

Forest camping and culture

The birthplace of a literary great, the nation’s newest forest and camping where swings and slides were invented – the Midlands proves that it is still the beating heart of england. Contributors: Melissa Gueneau, Tony Merrygold, Caroline Mills, Carol Rowntree-Jones, Mary Rudd, Andrew Turner 40

Discover Touring


REGIONAL TOURING | THE MIDLANDS skywards and potholing ‘down under’. Campsites on the outskirts of the conurbations combined with the use of public transport are your best option for visiting the towns and cities, while the rural playgrounds are littered with a choice of sites from farmer’s fields to large-scale, full-facility holiday parks.

Family Days Out:

Wicksteed Park, Northamptonshire To claim that you’re the ‘inventor of children’s play’ is a bold statement, but that is the proclamation of Wicksteed Park (www.wicksteedpark.co.uk), where Charles Wicksteed invented the swing and slide. The first public park of its kind in the UK, few theme parks can also claim that their parks and gardens are Grade II listed as Wicksteed can, and some of the rides today are unique, dating back to the 1920s. The parkland is open all year round – and free to enter. The fare-paying rides and attractions are open from March to October. Visitors can also stay at the campsite within the grounds.

E

Main picture: The Wyre Forest is considered one of the most ecologically important forests in Britain. Credit: ©Caroline Mills Top: Wicksteed Park. Credit: ©Wicksteed Park Bottom: Haddon Hall

ngland’s industrial heartland, the Midlands plays host to a cocktail of multicultural towns and cities that have developed prolifically since the Industrial Revolution. With them comes an even greater mix of heritage attractions, naturally with a hardened, industrial flavour alongside great houses, built with the wealth of self-made manufacturers and merchants. The whole region has a manmade vibrancy and energy – these towns and cities, such as Birmingham, Leicester and Nottingham, while ‘industrious’ are well worth exploring for both their heritage and modern-day culture. Yet in amongst these hives of industry are rural pockets of restfulness and places to get-awayfrom-it-all and take to the open road. Former hunting grounds like Cannock Chase in Staffordshire, modern-day plantations such as the ambitious National Forest in Leicestershire, and the impressive Malvern Hills in Worcestershire are perfect boltholes for quiet exploration. And in the middle of it all, is the industrialist’s greatest playground – the Peak District. Britain’s first designated National Park, its ridge and furrow of hills and valleys cutting across Derbyshire and Staffordshire provide opportunities for exhilarating hikes and cycle rides, paragliding

Stratford Festival of Motoring, Warwickshire More than 200 classic and special interest vehicles are expected to be on display throughout historic Stratford-upon-Avon during the inaugural two-day Stratford Festival of Motoring (www.shakespeare-country. co.uk). Taking place on 5th/6th May the festival will also feature two “runs” through stunning Warwickshire and Gloucestershire countryside for all entrants. The Test Hills Run will challenge entrants’ driving skills as it snakes for nearly 60 miles throughout some of the steepest Cotswold inclines. Tracing a well-driven route used by Midlands’ motor manufacturers to test vehicle pulling power and braking ability in the days before purpose-built test tracks, the run passes through some of the UK’s most picturesque towns and villages. Monday’s less daunting but scenic drive will see participants motoring through towns and villages to the north of Stratford, searching for clues to complete a light-hearted Treasure Trail.

Cultural Britain – History and Heritage:

Haddon Hall, Derbyshire Visitors to Haddon Hall (www.haddonhall.co.uk) can step over the threshold and enjoy a look back at life in the Middle Ages as well as discovering an unusual collection and many fascinating treasures held in this historic house. A close look at the small fireplace in the Earl’s apartment will reveal the signatures of members of the Royal Family. Haddon played host to King George V in 1933 and later in 1979 the signatures in the plaster reveal a visit from The Prince of Wales and The Princess Royal. One of the most stunning rooms at Haddon is the Long Gallery with its many  Discover Touring

41


REGIONAL TOURING | THE MIDLANDS Top left: DH Lawrence Museum. Bottom left: The Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne Top right: The National Forest, Leicestershire. Credit: ©National Forest/Jacqui Rock Bottom right: The tranquil, riverside setting of Mill Garden provides one of the finest views of Warwick Castle. Credit: ©Caroline Mills

south-facing windows that give a feeling of light and space throughout the year. Make sure you leave time to visit the small museum full of objects discovered during the restoration of the house. DH Lawrence Birthplace Museum and Heritage Centre, Nottinghamshire The recreation of the birthplace and early home of the writer D.H. Lawrence gives a fascinating glimpse into the cramped realities of a Victorian mining family. Take a guided tour of the D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum (www.nottingham.ac.uk/dhlheritage) to discover more about this famous writer’s working class roots and the community that influenced his life and work. Visitors of all ages can enjoy this journey back in time, with family friendly tours available at weekends and selected school holidays. This multiaward winning visitor attraction includes a museum, heritage centre, art gallery, gift shop and a bistro. Canal Museum, Northamptonshire The Grand Union Canal at Stoke Bruerne is a constantly moving picture of passing boats 42

Discover Touring

and wildlife, a relaxing and lovely place for a day out. Housed on two floors of a historic corn mill in Stoke Bruerne is The Canal Museum (www.stokebruernecanalmuseum.org.uk), which provides an excellent overview of the history of Britain’s canals. You’ll find models of working boats, traditional clothing, canal crafts, a recreation of a boat builder’s workshop, beautiful old signs and plenty more. A relaxing boat trip on the Grand Union Canal is the perfect compliment to your Museum visit. Events take place regularly too.

The Great Outdoors:

The National Forest, Leicestershire In the twenty years since the vision for a new forest became reality, more than eight million trees have been planted in the 200 square miles that now makes up the National Forest (www.visitnationalforest.co.uk). Within it, there are plenty of opportunities for family activities including those at the Conkers Discovery Centre, which are loosely based on woodland. These include the Enchanted Forest play area and a teenage/adult size assault course. Hicks Lodge, the National

Forest Cycle Centre is close by with nine miles of family–friendly off road cycle trails. The National Forest Wood Fair will be held on Bank Holiday Monday 26th August at the Beacon Hill Country Park. This is a fun day out with lumberjack displays, chainsaw carvers, horse logging, wood chip machinery, displays and demonstrations of all things timber-related, with lots of free children’s entertainment. Staffordshire Peak District Much quieter than Derbyshire’s High Peak District, Staffordshire’s southwest corner of the Peak District National Park has a more variable mix of landscape – still some sharp ridges and distinct valleys but flatter ground too, making it easier for cycling. Try the Manifold Valley (the river is just twelve miles long) and with it the Manifold Way, an eightmile disused railway line that has now been paved, making it accessible for wheelchairs as well as cyclists. You can even camp right by the entrance to the track at Bank House Park. There’s superb climbing on the prominent craggy gritstone Roaches too, canoeing on Tittesworth Reservoir and of course, plenty of walking in the beautiful Dovedale.


Spread throughout the Staffordshire Peak District you’ll find pretty market towns and idyllic villages like Ilam, Longnor, and Hartington where you can immerse yourself in village traditions and events or indulge in afternoon tea.

Towns & Villages:

Warwick, Warwickshire As the county seat, there is much more to Warwick than its giant, imposing medieval castle. Other buildings of note include the Lord Leycester Hospital (www.lordleycester. com), a collection of magnificent 14th-century timber-framed buildings at the back of which is the Master’s Garden. The ‘hospital’ houses ex-servicemen but is open to the public. One of the finest views of Warwick Castle is that from Mill Garden, at the bottom of Mill Street. Next to the river, this secluded garden is a riot of colour in summer and shows off the river and castle to best effect. Warwick has a generous selection of independent shops, including a significant number selling antiques and arts. Stroll down picturesque Smith Street and browse its collection of shops, which range from stained glass to ceramics and from books to interior design. Motorhomes are able to park during the day at Myton Fields picnic area or St Mary’s Lands, both within walking distance of the town. Alternatively the Caravan Club has a site at Warwick Racecourse. Bakewell, Derbyshire Close to its eastern edge, Bakewell is a gateway to the Peak District National Park, and yet equally seems very much at the heart of the area. A very popular town, its attraction comes from its location over the River Wye, its architecture, and a generous mix of independent shops and places to eat. One of the must-visit shops – and indeed places to eat – is the Original Bakewell Pudding Shop where you can sample the town’s most famous creation, the Bakewell Tart. The 8th/9th June 2013 sees the first ever Bakewell Baking Festival but also not to be missed is the well-dressing season during the first week of July, when five wells in the town will be ‘dressed’ and decorated, an ancient Derbyshire custom. Motorhomes should park at the Agricultural Business Centre, just off the road from Matlock.

T

Ü Discover More: www.experiencenottinghamshire.com www.visitheartofengland.co.uk www.shakespeare-country.co.uk www.goleicestersire.com www.visitpeakdistrict.com www.enjoystaffordshire.com www.visitworcestershire.org www.visitnorthamptonshire

Ü Discover Where to Stay: Riverside Caravan Park:

Sitting alongside the Avon, it’s the river that transports you into town (otherwise a pleasant one mile walk) via the Park’s own waterbus service. Choose between one of 80 grass pitches either by the river or in a more sheltered enclosure. Tiddington Road, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 7AB, Tel 01789 292312; www. stratfordcaravans.co.uk

Chatsworth Park Caravan Club Site:

Set in an old walled garden on the Chatsworth Estate, you can visit the phenomenal Chatsworth House with a walk direct from the campsite. Perfect for visiting Bakewell and the High Peak area of the Peak District.

All pitches have hardstanding. Baslow, Bakewell, DE45 1PN; Tel 01246 582226; www.caravanclub.co.uk

Bank House Farm Caravan & Camping Park:

In the Staffordshire Peak District, a glorious ‘natural’ site on the banks of the River Manifold with magnificent views of this more gentle rolling countryside than other parts of the Peak District. Perfect for exploring the Manifold and Dove Valleys. There’s a delightful pub just across the road from the campsite serving good food. Hulme End, Hartington, Staffordshire, SK17 0EX; Tel 01298 84441; www. bankhousefarmcamping.co.uk

Ü Discover Extra – Worcestershire: The Wyre Forest and Severn Valley, Worcestershire:

Close to the heartlands of the Industrial Revolution, the ancient Wyre Forest (on the Worcestershire/Shropshire border) was once a major contributor to Britain’s boom, the woods coppiced to make charcoal for the many iron forges, followed by the oak used for the local tanneries to make leather. The 6,500 acres are now pleasure grounds once more, with walking and cycle trails, orienteering courses and bridleways, plus a Go Ape activity centre. With much of the forest now managed by the Forestry Commission (www. forestry.go.uk/wyreforest), there is a Visitor Centre at Callow Hill where you can discover much more about the national importance of the area, both historically and, today, environmentally – the Wyre Forest is rated as one of the top three most ecologically important forests in Britain. Motorhomes can park at Callow Hill and also the Hawkbatch car park. Butting up to the forest is the River Severn, and the section of river valley through Worcestershire is one of its most picturesque. Renowned for its quality fishing the river flows through delightful towns such as Bewdley and Stourport-on-Severn, both worth a visit, before passing through the county town, Worcester. Following the course of the river is the Severn Valley Railway, its steam trains providing a scenic and relaxing trip from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth (in Shropshire), with notable stops in Bewdley and Arley along the way.

Itinerary:

Day 1– Begin with a visit to the Wyre Forest Visitor Centre at Callow Hill and an exhilarating monkey-like swing through the trees at Go Ape. In the afternoon explore the forest further by picking up any of the walking trails. Take a well-earned rest in the evening, with a meal at one of Bewdley’s riverside restaurants. Stay: Hopleys Farm Camping, Bewdley; www.hopleyscamping.co.uk. Day 2 – Go on safari at the renowned West Midlands Safari Park (www.wmsp. co.uk) near Bewdley, before stepping back in time on the Severn Valley Railway (www.svr.co.uk). Why not get on the train at Bewdley, stop off at Arley and then walk back on the riverside Severn Way? Stay: Hopleys Farm Camping, Bewdley; www.hopleyscamping.co.uk. Day 3 – Move on to Stourport-onSevern and visit the canal basin to admire the boats. Take a short, leisurely river cruise aboard the paddle steamer ‘River King’ run by the Stourport Steamer Company (www.riverboathire.co.uk). Then munch a picnic on top of Hartlebury Common where you can admire the views over Stourport and the Wyre Forest. Stay: Lincomb Lock Caravan Park, Stourport-on-Severn; www.hillandale.co.uk

Discover Touring

43


Have you dreamed of being a travel writer? Take yourself back to your school days… What did you always want to become? A fireman? A nurse? A pilot? A teacher? A fashion designer? Towards the top of your list may have been travel writer. Perhaps you never quite realised your dream… Discover Touring wants to hear from caravanners, motorhomers and campers who are aspiring scribes. We’d like to hear about your travel tales, your road trip anecdotes and your homespun or far flung touring experiences – and share them with our readers. Humorous, insightful, reflective: the style and the content are entirely up to you. To enter the Discover Touring travel writing competition all you need to do is send us in your very own touring tale of no more than 250 words. The winner will have their tale published in the next issue of Discover Touring and will be offered a commission to write further touring tales, paid at standard magazine rates. There are two runners up prizes of either men’s or ladies’ sprayway outfits, each comprising top quality jackets, fleeces and pants.

Win a writing commissio n!

COMPETITION RULES: 1: Entries of no more than 250 words in a Word document to be sent as an attachment by email to ben@dmgpublishing.co.uk before 10th September 201. 2: Please include your name, postcode and telephone number in your email. 3: Please do not send photo images at this stage. 4: Judging to be held by Discovery Media Group on 11th September 2013. 5: Competition is not open to the family or partners or employees of Discovery Media Group or competition sponsors. 6: The winner will be notified in writing that they have won the competition (or a runners up prize) on 14th September 2013. 7: All entrants agree to have their accredited touring tale article published in a future edition of Discover Touring. 8: Entrants’ details will only be used by Discovery Media Group to administer the competition winner and runners up, and to make all entrants aware of forthcoming issues of Discover Touring. 9: Entrants’ details will not be passed on to any third party. 44

Discover Touring


Discover Touring

45


regionAL Touring | eAsT oF engLAnD

Big skies Travelling in the footsteps of Anglo-saxons, easy cycling in some of Britain’s flattest countryside and walking the world’s longest pleasure pier. east Anglia has a touch of magic. Contributors: Ray Biggs, Melanie Cook, Danielle Howard, Caroline Mills, Michael Nutt, Pete Waters

Main picture: A panoramic view of the River Yare and Berney Arms Windmill, one of Norfolk’s best and largest extant marsh mills. Credit: ©Visit Britain/Rod Edwards

46

Discover Touring

L

ook at a map of Britain and East Anglia is unmistakable. It’s that giant bulge protruding into the North Sea between the Thames Estuary and The Wash. It’s renowned for being intensely flat, although that’s not strictly correct – there is the odd undulation here and there – and is synonymous with being the bread basket of Britain. And, while the region might appear to bulge on paper, these fertile lands are actually receding, with large lumps of cliff face reclaimed by a ferocious North Sea every year. Yet, the east coast comes alive in summer with traditional seaside resorts such as Great Yarmouth, Southwold and Skegness enjoying a boost to their migratory population. The coastline from Clacton-on-Sea in the South to Grimsby in the north is almost non-stop sandy beach with the exception of a short stretch around Orford Ness in Suffolk, perfect for birdwatching rather than sunbathing. Inland, the Norfolk Broads National Park

offers stunning aquatic scenery, as do the lesser-known Fens, a contrasting area of massive ecological importance that stretches across West Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire. Essex, too, has truly picturesque countryside such as Dedham Vale on the border with Suffolk, and an abundance of pretty vernacular villages. It would be churlish, though, not to mention the great towns and cities of Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire, the county towns offering immense architecture, their neighbouring provincial counterparts such as Ely or Grantham being a great introduction to the region. Tourers will find most areas of the region easily accessible. To access Norwich, Ipswich and Cambridge, motorhomes should use the Park and Ride facilities (London Road Park & Ride for Ipswich, Trumpington or Babraham Road for Cambridge, all but the airport P&R for Norwich). Otherwise, stay at campsites on the periphery and use public transport.


regionAL Touring | eAsT oF engLAnD

Top: Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery. Credit: ©VisitNorwich Middle: Southend Pier, Essex. Credit: ©Visit Britain/Daniel Bosworth/Southend-on-Sea Borough Council Bottom: Wimpole Hall. Credit: ©National Trust

Family Days Out:

Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery: Magic World Delve into the worlds of fantasy and illusion with a spellbinding exhibition exploring how magic has been embraced for hundreds of years. This colourful exhibition, taking place from 27th January to 14th April 2013, will explore the origins and history of magic and show how magical themes have influenced artists and writers in creating fantasy realms over the centuries. The exhibition will feature more than 100 objects from all over the world including costumes, tricks and illusions, childhood tales of fantasy and the imagination, film props and merchandise, puppets, illustrative books and images including paintings. www.visitnorwich.co.uk. Wimpole Estate , Cambridgeshire The Hall, at the heart of the National Trustowned Wimpole Estate (www.nationaltrust. org.uk/wimpole), is evidence of Elsie

Bambridge’s success in creating a home. Intimate rooms contrast with beautiful and unexpected Georgian interiors, including Soane’s breathtaking Yellow Drawing Room and wonderful plunge bath. And the fascinating basement corridor offers a glimpse into life below stairs. Outside you can stroll around the colourful parterre garden and wander through the Pleasure Grounds to the walled garden, abundant with fruit, vegetables and herbaceous borders. Stride out across the landscape park, among the rare-breed cattle, and imagine the previous owners planning their visions of grand avenues and spectacular vistas. A working estate, no trip is complete without a visit to Home Farm, which contrasts the traditional farmyard with the noisy modern piggery and cattle sheds. Southend-on-Sea Pier, Essex Jutting 1.34 miles into the mouth of the Thames Estuary, the pier at Southend

(www.southend.gov.uk/pier) is the longest pleasure pier in the world. A structure has existed here since 1830, and has quite a history. But the pier today is a modern masterpiece, rejuvenated and contemporary. The first encounter ‘off-shore’ is the striking, glass-clad Visitor Information Centre. At the Pier Head is the Cultural Centre, opened in July 2012, hosting concerts and exhibitions including music, theatre, art and photography, and a brand new café. A train operates between the two with the opportunity to walk one way and ride the other.

Cultural Britain – History and Heritage:

Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincolnshire A large quadrangular house with a central courtyard, each section of Grimsthorpe Castle (www.grimsthorpe.co.uk) has a different appearance reflecting the architectural styles that have been  Discover Touring

47


regionAL Touring | eAsT oF engLAnD Top: Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincolnshire. Bottom left: The Gallops at Newmarket Racecourses, Suffolk. Bottom middle: Southwold, Suffolk. Bottom right: Potter Heigham, Norfolk. Credit: ©Caroline Mills

employed since building began there in the 13th century. Inside is a collection of paintings, furniture, tapestries and objects d’art that fill the state rooms. Thrones and furnishings from the House of Lords are some of the more unusual items on view. Gardens surround the Castle on three sides. They include topiary, rose parterres, herbaceous borders, spring bulbs and water features, while a 3,000-acre park can be enjoyed on foot or by bicycle, with miles of traffic-free waymarked trails. West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village, Suffolk Discover what it was like in early AngloSaxon times at this carefully reconstructed village (www.weststow.org) on the site where it was once excavated. Experimental archaeology has provided new ideas on what life was once like at West Stow; explore houses, smell the wood smoke, see wildlife, crops, pigs, hens and absorb yourself in the atmosphere; imagine living in early AngloSaxon times. Work out what objects are and see how each building is different. ‘Anglo-Saxons’ may be living in the village on special event days throughout the year and there is also a museum, cafe and shop. Benjamin Britten Centenary Benjamin Britten, born 100 years ago and the most celebrated British composer of the 20th century, was a giant of the world stage. To celebrate this centenary Familiar Fields (www.familiarfields.org) brings together performances of Britten’s work by scores of 48

Discover Touring

musical organisations – professional and amateur – across Suffolk and Norfolk, the two counties where Britten lived, studied and worked. The events, taking place over the year leading up to Britten’s centenary in November 2013, includes over 200 performances of almost a thousand works composed by Britten. Britten’s roots were firmly in East Anglia, his music inspired by its landscapes and sea. He is particularly associated with the small Norfolk town of Holt, where he attended Gresham’s School and began his compositions, plus his birthplace, Lowestoft, and Aldeburgh, both in Suffolk, where he lived for most of his life. Performances will take place in many venues however across both counties. An events guide can be downloaded from the Familiar Fields website.

The Great Outdoors:

Newmarket Racecourses, Suffolk Newmarket Racecourses (www.newmarketracecourses.co.uk) is the historic ‘Home of world-class Horse Racing’ where the first recorded race took place in 1622. It has a unique, electric atmosphere – encapsulated by the adrenaline and exhilaration of the final furlong. Newmarket Racecourses has 38 race days throughout the year including Ladies Day, Future Champions Day and the popular Guineas Festival. The venue famously comprises two racecourses, the majestic Rowley Mile, which hosts spring and autumn racing, and

the July course, a quintessentially English backdrop to its summer racing programme. The racecourses offer the perfect day out for families, first-timers, enthusiasts, parties, corporate groups and special occasions. Cycling in the Fens If you appreciate wide skies and empty spaces with no hills to disrupt the glorious views, then the Fens are the perfect place for cycling. Stretching across Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Lincolnshire and covering around a million acres, you’ll find an ideal landscape whatever your age or ability. By pedal is also the most relaxing way to enjoy this ‘natural manscape’, which is full of wildlife-friendly waters and an abundance of flowers. Former low-lying marshlands and wetlands that have been drained over the centuries for agriculture, this area has flat, easy routes that take in picturesque villages and market towns. Dedham Vale, Essex/Suffolk Creating the border between two counties Dedham Vale (www. dedhamvalestourvalleyorg) is classed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, as indeed it is. The valley of the River Stour, Dedham Vale was made famous through the paintings of John Constable; some of his most iconic works were inspired by the lowland landscape. Bridge Cottage, featured in his paintings, can be visited with guided tours of Constable’s painting locations. The vale is perfect for walking; the rambles alongside the river are scenic and


regionAL Touring | eAsT oF engLAnD

 Discover where to Stay: Norwich Camping & Caravanning Club Site:

Above: Willowcroft Camping & Caravan Park, Norfolk Broads. Credit: ©Caroline Mills

easy. You can also hire rowing boats from the delightful village of Dedham, in Essex, to explore the river further.

Towns and Villages:

Southwold, Suffolk Southwold and its iconic pier, lighthouse and beach huts make a popular destination for people in search of a good old British seaside holiday. Following extensive renovation Southwold Pier (www.southwoldpier.co.uk) is now one of the finest examples to be found in the British Isles. Don’t miss Tim Hunkin’s amazing collection of weird, wacky and unique slot machines. Take a look at the Water Clock halfway along the Pier as it chimes on the half-hour. Enjoy the blue-flag beach, go in search of amber and tuck into a tasty meal at local hotspot The Crown. Away from the beach, is an array of boutique shops and galleries along the ancient High Street. Motorhomes may park on the seafront in Southwold. Maldon, Essex Maldon (www.visitessex.com/maldon), and its surrounding marshland and estuaries, is renowned worldwide for its high quality salt. Production continues today and exploring the area, you’ll find the industry is reflected in local place names such as Gore Saltings and Saltcote Hall. The town, at the mouth of the River Blackwater, retains much of its original character and water features heavily in its attractions. Take to the sea in one of the town’s famous Thames Sailing Barges, or enjoy a leisurely cruise on the Chelmer and Blackwater Canal. Take a walk along the sea wall or cycle on the old, disused Witham to Maldon railway line, now a waymarked cycleway. And, if you’re staying at a campsite with good, hot showers, why not take part in the madness of the annual Maldon Mud Race, on Sunday 5th May?

T

 Discover More: www.visitsuffolk.com www.visitnorfolk.com www.visitlincolnshire.com www.visitcambridgeshire.org www.visitessex.com

on the banks of a small river (with access for anglers), the site is a pleasant – hour stroll from the centre of norwich. Alternatively a bus stop, close to the site entrance, is on route for the city centre. Martineau Lane, Norwich, NR1 2HX; tel: 01603 620060; www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk

Woodland Waters:

ideal for those who enjoy coarse fishing, the site has five well-stocked lakes, around which the caravan and

motorhome pitches are based. The site covers 72 acres, set in a beautiful wooded valley. Willoughby Rd, Ancaster, Grantham, Lincs, NG32 3RT; tel 01400 230888; www.woodlandwaters.co.uk/camping

The Dower House:

situated in a clearing in the depths of Thetford Forest, this site is perfect for getting close to nature with the opportunity for rambles through the woods. Thetford Forest, East Harling, NR16 2SE; tel 01953 717314; www.dowerhouse.co.uk

 Discover Extra – Norfolk Broads: The norfolk Broads is a national angling hotspot and a haven for some of the uK’s rarest birds and wildlife. This wonderful wilderness of rivers and lakes, reedbeds, marsh and huge skies, can’t help but enchant and enthrall. The environment covers an area of 117 square miles, making it the country’s largest protected wetland (with the status of a national park) and one of the most important in europe. it is made up of a series of seven rivers and 63 lakes, most of which are navigable and less than 13 feet deep. An ideal destination for family fun and adventure, the Broads can offer visitors peaceful paths and gentle cycleways, all linking unspoiled villages and market towns that make up the landscape. To explore the rivers and lakes further, boats (including motor and rowing boats, sailing dinghies and canoes) for day hire are available at Wroxham, Potter Heigham, Loddon, Horning and Brundall. campsites are plentiful throughout the Broads, some with spectacular riverside or lakeside locations. Tourers will find the main routes easy to navigate but you really can’t get close to nature here simply by road alone so discovering the Broads is best done by parking up and getting out and about on foot, bicycle or boat. Look out for a rich and diverse selection of wildlife too such as kingfishers, bittern, otters and the rare swallowtail butterfly.

Itinerary:

Day 1– Begin at Potter Heigham to hire a day boat and explore Hickling Broad, where you may spot ospreys and spoonbills. The Broads are renowned for their ‘windpump’ scenery so visit the national Trust owned Horsey

Windpump, where the Broads meet the sea. in the evening, walk along the banks of the river Thurne to the samenamed village for dinner at The Lion inn. Fishing is free on the Thurne so you could try some angling too. Stay: Willowcroft camping & caravan Park, repps; www.willowcroft.net Day 2 – rise early for a dawn-trip on the silent electric eel through reedbeds at How Hill national nature reserve, near Ludham. There, you can visit Toad Hole cottage and discover the social history of marshmen living in the Broads years ago. carry on to the classic Broadland village of Horning and the ‘capital of the Broads’, Wroxham, where you can go on a guided canoe trail with The canoe Man (www.thecanoeman.com). Head to ranworth to climb the tower of st Helen’s church for spectacular views across the privately-owned ranworth Broad and then take a walk through the norfolk Wildlife Trust’s nature reserve there, where you may be lucky enough to see a swallowtail butterfly. Stay: clippesby Hall, clippesby; www.clippesby.com Day 3 – Hire a bike from clippesby Hall cycle centre and cycle country lanes on a waymarked route to discover the villages nearby. Move on to the remains of Burgh castle, with superb views over Breydon Water. stop for lunch at one of the riverside pubs at reedham then explore the southern Broads and river Waveney on the norfolk/suffolk border with a cruise on Liana, from Beccles. stay: outney Meadow caravan Park, Bungay; www.outneymeadow.co.uk

Discover Touring

49


Discover Touring | The Big Picture

Winter sun: Enjoying the start of a bracing walk in the winter sun at Burnham Overy Staithe, on the stunning north Norfolk Coast.

50

Discover Touring


The UK’s Campervan of the year 2013 The Bilbo’s LWB Celex

The Bilbo’s LWB Celex has been named the Campervan of the Year 2013 by Motorhome Monthly Magazine (MMM) and Which Motorhome, the UK’s number one magazine for motorhome testing, at their prestigious 2013 awards. Experts and experienced judges from the two magazines considered all models new to the UK market or that have undergone significant design changes and upgrades in the past 12 months. To select a winner, the judges considered the functionality of the layout, the build quality and overall usability, as well as how the van performs on the road and on the campsite, right through to whether it offers value for money. “Bilbo’s Celex LWB is a great example of a modern campervan and impressed the judges from MMM and Which Motorhome with its practical design and class-leading build quality. The long-wheelbase version provides generous living and storage space, while Bilbo’s seat/bed system, and elevating roof are amongst the best in the business. Not only that, all Bilbo’s campers now have European Whole Vehicle Type Approval.” MMM and Which Motorhome.

Test drive the award winning Bilbo’s Celex by calling

01342 892499

Building quality Volkswagen campervans for 35 years. All Bilbo’s campervans are Euro 5 compatible, EC Type-Approved (EWVTA), NCC approved and are built by our skilled British craftsman in our purpose built factory with build quality guaranteed through our ISO 9001 accreditation. To find out more about the Bilbo’s range, visit our showsite or visit our website. www.bilbos.com Email: sales@bilbos.com Tel: +44 (0) 1342 892499 (Monday to Saturday) Bilbo’s, Eastbourne Road, South Godstone, Surrey RH9 8JQ.

• Volkswagen Motorhome specialist • Finance available subject to status • Large range of fully prepared pre-owned vehicles • Part exchange of good conditioned vehicles considered • Largest stock of New and Pre-owned VW campervans in UK

Prices and specification may change and so it is the responsibility of the reader to confirm specification with Bilbo’s at the time of enquiry. Part exchange considered. Photograph illustrates a Celex Long wheel base fitted with the award winning low-lie elevating roof, at a on the road price of £46,300 including VAT and inclusive of delivery charge, vehicle registration, number plates and PDI. Model shown with optional Privacy glass, Mud flaps, Natural grey Metallic paint finish, 18” Alloy wheels, Chrome side bars & Front grille kit.

Volkswagen Motorhome Specialist

www.smmt.co.uk


Regional TouRing | Wales and BoRdeRs

Wildlife and wanderlust

I

Britain’s greatest literary festival, an italianate village and wildlife watching in the Atlantic – Wales and england’s border counties are world encompassing. Contributors: Pat Edgar, Duncan Foulkes, Jane Harris, Caroline Mills and Claire Owen 52

Discover Touring

n a modern age where faster travel has the potential to break down regional characteristics and local diversity, the country of Wales and the English border counties of Herefordshire and Shropshire have managed to embrace the pace of change and yet still hold on to their individuality, perhaps more than any other region of the UK. That’s possibly because Shropshire and Herefordshire have, thankfully you could say, been bypassed by tourism on a grand scale, leaving a rural idyll almost from another era. The two counties offer quiet, open roads – perfect for being able to explore at a leisurely pace – vast open spaces, which include some of the most spectacular (and possibly unexpected) scenery that England can offer, and you’re likely to have that scenery to yourself. Still predominantly agricultural, small market towns with farmers’ markets and farm shops selling locally produced food are plentiful.

Wales, while sporting two spectacular coastal cities in Cardiff and Swansea, can also boast having three national parks – Snowdonia, the Brecon Beacons and the Pembrokeshire Coast – and Britain’s smallest city, St David’s, with a population of less than 2,000.

Family Days Out:

Hay Festival, Powys The border town of Hay-on-Wye has established itself as Britain’s ‘town of books’ so it is the ideal setting for a literary festival that now has an international reputation. Hay Festival (www.hayfestival.com) attracts leading writers and poets as well as plenty of celebrities. During the festival, this year taking place from May 23rd to June 2nd, around 100,000 visitors will enjoy literature in all its forms and lots of music too. It’s a great opportunity to indulge your tastes, including reading, debate, comedy, literature, food and music.


Regional TouRing | Wales and BoRdeRs Main picture: A crystal clear view out to the Atlantic Sea from the cliff-tops of Caldey Island on the Pembrokeshire coast. Credit: ©Visit Britain/Britain on View Top Left: Silver Mountain Experience. Top bottom: Hay Festival. Credit: ©Finn Beales Top right: Lake Bala, location of the Bala Challenge Charity Walk. Credit: ©Bala & Penllyn Tourism Association Bottom right: View from the Keep of Goodrich Castle. Credit: ©English Heritage

experience delivers something for everyone, making guests scream and laugh in equal measure, with a good dose of humour thrown in.

Silver Mountain Experience, Aberystwyth The UK’s newest permanent scare attraction, The Silver Mountain Experience (www. silvermountainexperience.co.uk), located high in the Cambrian Mountains, is a multielement visitor attraction featuring The Black Chasm, an underground scare attraction hewn out of the rock. Daytime operations are led by a hoard of hungry Orcs who accompany visitors through the chasm where they encounter a variety of special effects, including localised sounds, strobe lighting, audiovisual effects and static tableaux. When combined together, the 50-minute experience delivers a mixture of light-hearted fun and scarier moments – great for teenagers and adults, but not recommended for those under the age of twelve. The clever combination of immersive storytelling and newly constructed scare attraction environments ensures that the

Royal Welsh Show, Powys The Royal Welsh Show (www.rwas.co.uk/en/ welsh-show) is one of the most prestigious events of its type in Europe, bringing together the farming industry and rural community in a celebration of the best of British agriculture with a unique and very special Welsh flavour. Held at the Royal Welsh Showground from July 22nd to 25th, a vast collection of livestock will be on display along with hundreds of activities and interests, with the event vowing to be the biggest and best event of its kind in Europe.

Cultural Britain – History and Heritage:

Goodrich Castle, Herefordshire Magnificent Goodrich Castle (www.english-heritage.org.uk/Goodrich), standing majestically on a wooded outcrop overlooking the River Wye, boasts one of the most complete sets of medieval domestic buildings surviving in any English castle. During the Civil War it was the scene of a siege by Parliament’s forces, with the Royalists eventually surrendering in 1646 when ‘Roaring Meg’ – a deadly Parliamentarian mortar – ruined the castle. Highlights to enjoy include ‘Roaring Meg’

– the only surviving Civil War mortar, Civil War cannonballs found at Goodrich, a visitor centre with an exhibition and Civil War artefacts, a free audio tour telling the story of the famous Civil War siege, plus a splendid café and shop. Abbeycwmhir Hall, Llandrindod Wells Following ten years of restoration of a 52-roomed Gothic Revival mansion and twelve acres of gardens, Paul and Victoria Humpherston opened their Grade Two listed Hall at Abbey-Cwm-Hir to the public two years ago. The Hall (www.abbeycwmhir.com) is one of life’s truly remarkable experiences – the word “enchantment” best fits the feeling you have on leaving, having seen outstanding Victorian architecture, stunning internal designs, fascinating collections and gardens and grounds in the most beautiful of settings overlooking the ruins of the 12th Century Cistercian “Abbey of The Long Valley”. Says Paul, “Visitors see all 52 rooms guided by a family member in a family atmosphere. We have no private apartments, and people laugh a lot because they never know what is coming next”.

The Great Outdoors:

Bala Challenge Charity Walk, Gwynedd On May 11th you can raise money for your own charity, good cause, or club with a walk around Lake Bala, through forests  Discover Touring

53


Regional TouRing | Wales and BoRdeRs

Top left: Machynlleth. Credit: ©Crown Copyright (2012) Visit Wales Bottom left: Boat trip to Pembrokeshire wildlife islands. Top right: The Italianate village of Portmeirion in Gwynedd. Credit: ©Caroline Mills

and over moorland, with wonderful views and an opportunity to see wildlife. There’s a choice of four walks: a leisurely, guided walk with a local wildlife expert; a lake walk suitable for family groups; a 14-mile circular lake walk and ‘The Bala Challenge’, a strenuous circular walk around Lake Bala and including part of the Aran ridge. Whichever walk you select, this annual event, organised by the Bala & Penllyn Rotary Club, will offer enjoyable walking in a spectacular setting. Brecon Beacons National Park Visitor Centre The Visitor Centre, run by the National Park Authority (www.breconbeacons.org) is consistently the most popular visitor attraction in the National Park. Some 1100ft/335m above sea level its location offers stunning views of Pen Y Fan, the highest mountain in South Wales. An adjacent moorland ridge known as Mynydd Illtyd offers fine, easy to moderately graded walking. Children and families are catered for in a well-tended large field suitable for informal games and many events are organised from the Visitor Centre, including navigation and ‘Safety on the Hills’ courses. The Visitor Centre is located 5 miles south west of Brecon at Libanus. The Brecon Beacons offer incredibly scenic drives and easy parking at the Centre, makes it a great base from which to explore the hills further on foot. Walking on The Long Mynd, Shropshire The Long Mynd, or ‘Long Mountain’ is a part 54

Discover Touring

of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and, north to south, is approximately seven miles long. A wild and rugged heathland plateau, smothered in vibrant heather in the summer months, it is a prominent feature in the Shropshire landscape, a dominating giant that is visible for miles. Likewise, once upon it, the views across neighbouring Shropshire hills and valleys are significant and inspiring. The western side of the Long Mynd appears a sheer face while the eastern side is creased with several valleys, the most well known being Carding Mill, where the National Trust, which owns much of the surrounding land, operates a visitor centre. The Shropshire Way (www.shropshirewalking.co.uk) long distance trail runs right along the ridge’s spine, commanding spectacular views.

Machynlleth, Powys A pretty town full of character and with a colourful High Street, Machynlleth has held a market in its main square for over 700 years; a market that continues to thrive every Wednesday. In the centre is the Owain Glyndwr Centre (www.canolfanglyndwr.org/), which charts the history of the Welsh warrior who led the last military revolt against the English rule of Wales and set up a Welsh Parliament in the town in 1404. Within five miles of Machynlleth is the Centre for Alternative Technology (www.cat.org.uk). CAT is an education and visitor centre, which demonstrates practical solutions for sustainability. It covers all aspects of green living including environmental building, renewable energy and organic growing.

Towns and Villages:

Church Stretton, Shropshire Church Stretton (www.churchstretton.co.uk) is the walking capital of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and became the first ‘Walkers are Welcome’ town in the county in 2008. Walk to the top of Ragleth Hill and see 360-degree views of the Long Mynd, Caer Caradoc, the Lawley, Wenlock Edge and the Clee Hills. Church Stretton has traditional tearooms, restaurants, pubs and inns, as well as a host of independent shops. Discover the unique four storey antiques emporium and the Church Stretton Town Trail. Just south of Church Stretton is Acton Scott Historic Working Farm, providing a

Portmeirion, Gwynedd The brainchild of Welsh architect Clough Williams-Ellis, Portmeirion (www.portmeirion-village.com) is a unique ‘village’ made up of 50 buildings including shops, guest accommodation and places to eat. Set on its own private peninsula in southern Snowdonia, the village is surrounded by 70 acres of sub-tropical woodland and gardens. Far from the expected, prepare to be surprised as this tiny corner of Wales is Italianate in design, with brightly coloured buildings transporting you to the Mediterranean coast. Parking for motorhomes is plentiful.


Regional Touring | Wales and Borders

Ü Discover where to Stay: fascinating insight into rural life at the turn of the 19th century, as farm life unfolds. The Acton Scott estate was the film location for BBC2s hugely popular ‘Victorian Farm and ‘Victorian Farm Christmas’.

T

Ü Discover More: www.visitwales.co.uk www.visitpembrokeshire.com www.shropshiretourism.co.uk www.visitsouthshropshire.co.uk www.shropshirecaravanandcamping.co.uk www.visitherefordshire.co.uk

Broadmeadow Caravan & Camping Park:

A 5-star rated tourist park brimming with first-class facilities and thoughtfully landscaped. Situated very close to the centre of Ross-on-Wye, it is perfect for visiting the Wye Valley and Goodrich Castle. Broadmeadows, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, HR9 7BW; Tel 01989 768076; www.broadmeadow.info

Bwch Yn Uchaf:

Close to the end of Lake Bala (though the lake cannot be seen from the site), this is one of the most peaceful sites at the end of a No Through Road and with

the river that feeds the lake running past. The pretty station for the Lake Bala Steam Railway is right next door. Llanuwychllyn, Bala, Gwynedd, LL23 7DD; Tel 01978 812179; www.bwch-yn-uchaf.co.uk

Frodesley Grange Farm Certificated Site:

A five pitch certificated site (members of the Camping & Caravanning Club only) with views across open farmland to the Shropshire Hills such as the Caradoc, the Long Mynd and the Lyth, together with the Welsh Hills beyond. Dorrington, Shrewsbury, SY5 7HX; Tel: 01694 731382

Ü Discover Extra – Wildlife watchingon Pembrokeshire’s islands: Pembrokeshire, in southwest Wales, is one of the UK’s prime locations to watch sea birds and encounter grey seals as well as a variety of cetaceans including wild dolphins, whales and porpoises. Rare birds can be found throughout Pembrokeshire but there are particularly large populations on the five main islands of Skomer, Skokholm, Grassholm, Ramsey and Caldey all of which are in the Coastal National Park. Several operators run regular trips around the islands from April to October. Dale Sailing operates trips to Skomer, Skokholm and Grassholm to view the huge bird colonies on the islands, (www.pembrokeshire-islands.co.uk). Daily boat trips also run from St Justinians to Ramsey, which is an important RSPB reserve particularly good for spotting razorbills, peregrine falcons and choughs. Thousand Island Expeditions (www.thousandislands.co.uk) sails to Ramsey but both they, and Voyages of Discovery (www.ramseyisland.co.uk) offer round the island trips in either exhilarating jet powered RIBs or conventional vessels. In addition to its teeming seabird colony, Caldey Island (www.caldey-island.co.uk), off Tenby, has a small community of monks living in the Cistercian Monastery. If you prefer not to take a boat to the islands there are plenty of good vantage points on the mainland for bird watching such as Stack Rocks, near Castlemartin, East Angle Bay, the Gann at Dale and the Welsh Wildlife Centre at Cilgerran.

Grey Seals, Dolphins, Whales and Porpoises:

Around a third of the world’s population of grey seals also live on the Pembrokeshire coast – the best time to see them is between September and November when they give birth to pups on isolated beaches. Ramsey Island, which boasts the second largest grey seal colony in Britain, is also famed for its wonderful spring flowers. Pembrokeshire’s north coast is the best place for seal spotting on the mainland while Cardigan Bay has a resident population

of bottlenose dolphins and porpoises, which are frequently seen between St David’s Head and Poppit Sands from April to October. During the summer huge super-pods with hundreds of common dolphin have also been spotted in recent years. Alternatively dolphins, whales and porpoises can be seen from wildlife watching boat trips run by Thousand Islands Expeditions, Voyages of Discovery and Venture Jet. They use high speed RIBs, jet boats and small traditional boats cruising around the islands following a strict code of conduct to ensure that Pembrokeshire’s wildlife is protected.

Itinerary:

Day 1– Take a boat from Tenby and visit the 12th-century priory on Caldey Island. Drive on to the charming seaside village of Manorbier, a popular haunt with George Bernard Shaw and Virginia Woolf, to look at its picturesque medieval castle. In the evening take a walk along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path to St Govan’s Head to see the tiny chapel there. Stay: Freshwater East Caravan Club Site, Freshwater East; www.caravanclub.co.uk Day 2 – Head across the Milford Haven Waterway to Martin’s Haven to go on a Sea Safari around Skomer and Skokholm Islands to view the native and migrating birds. Later, take a 20-minute walk from Dale to Watwick Bay, a tiny cove and sandy beach only accessible along the coast path (or by boat). Stay: Redlands Touring Caravan & Camping Park, Little Haven; www.redlandstouring.co.uk. Day 3 – Drive along the coast around St Bride’s Bay to St David’s, the UK’s smallest city and visit the cathedral. Take the boat to the RSPB reserve on Ramsey Island, where you may see a peregrine falcon or a grey seal. Move on to St David’s Head to spot the bottlenose dolphins and porpoises. Stay: St David’s Camping & Caravanning Club Site, St David’s; www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk

Discover Touring

55


56

Discover Touring


aCTiViTY | FisHing

Get hooked on fishing Main image: Good fishing depends on good casting – but it’s an easy skill to acquire. Credit: Adam Miller Below: You don’t need much kit to get started at fishing. Credit: David Brown

A touring holiday is the perfect opportunity to enjoy a relaxing spot of fishing. Tim gibson casts his net to find the uK’s best fishing destinations.

i

t’s hard to think of a more restful holiday activity than fishing. It gets you out in the fresh air, and provides a welcome distraction from the stresses and strains of everyday life. Even better, if you’re lucky, it will deliver a tasty treat for you to enjoy with your family at end of the day. If you’re a newcomer to the hobby, you may be surprised to learn that a basic set

of fishing gear, consisting of a rod, line and tackle, can cost as little £30. That’s a pretty small investment when you consider the hours of fun it is likely to generate. In addition, anyone over the age of 12 who fishes in UK inland waters is required to hold an Environment Agency rod licence. This costs from as little as £3.75 for a single day’s fishing. Sea fishing is open to everyone and

no licence is required. Subject to local restrictions, you can fish from piers, seafronts, beaches and slipways. There’s no guarantee you’ll get a catch in any of these places, of course – but any angler will tell you that waiting for a tug on your line is half the fun. So, if you’re looking to enjoy a slower pace of life while on holiday, fishing may be just the pastime to explore.

T

Discover Touring

57


aCTiViTY | FisHing

Ü Discover More: Five of the best fishing destinations for touring enthusiasts: South Coast: A sea-fishing mecca, where you can fish from the shore or, if you’re feeling brave, from a boat. You can access many of the top spots from Fairlight Wood caravan club site, near Hastings in sussex. www.caravanclub.co.uk Wryeside Lakes, nr Lancaster: There’s camping on site here, and the fishery even has a dedicated lake for children, with smaller fish that are easier for them to land. www.wrysidelakes.co.uk Furnace Mill, nr Kidderminster: With a choice of four lakes, Furnace Mill is within half an hour of stanmore Hall Touring Park. www.furnacemill.net White Springs, nr Swansea: six lakes are available here – with a touring park on site. www.whitespringsfishery.co.uk Royalty Fishery, Christchurch: Described as the most famous river fishery in the country. stay at the new Forest centenary caravan club site (www.caravanclub.co.uk), and buy your day ticket from Davis Tackle in christchurch. (www.davistackle.co.uk)

Top: Fish are attracted by all sorts of bait – ask the locals what’s best to use where you’re fishing. Credit: David Brown Middle left: It’s very satisfying when you land a decent-sized fish. Credit: David Brown Middle right: It’s rude not to pose for a photo with your catch of the day. Credit: David Brown Bottom left: You can fish off a beach – or head out in a handily-placed fishing boat . Bottom right: Fishing is a chance to chill out in beautiful surroundings. Credit: David Brown

58

Discover Touring


aCTiViTY | FisHing From Only

£

35,318 OTR

Excellence through design

Sports Pack only £999 • • • • •

Omnistore awning Colour reversing camera 230v blown air heating TV aerial Rear sports spoiler & Sport decals

For more information visit: www.tributemotorhomes.co.uk Tribute Motorhomes Trigano House, Genesis Way, Europarc, Grimsby, North East Lincs DN37 9TU. T: +44 (0)1472 571075 E: sales@tributemotorhomes.co.uk Discover Touring

59


regionaL touring | nortHern engLanD

a land of lakes and rivers

cruising on the iconic Mersey Ferry, exploring cheshire’s textile heritage and walking the walls of a border town – the identity of the north shows no boundaries. contributors: Sally airey, tracey errington, anna izza, kathryn malone, caroline mills, heather Sewell, alice Woods

h

Main image: looking towards the Baltic centre for contemporary art on Gateshead Quays through the millennium Bridge over the river tyne. Credit: ©Visit Britain/Rod Edwards/One North East

ills, dales and moors is a simplistic description of northern England, all piled on top of a populous band of urban life from Liverpool in the west to Kingston-upon-Hull in the east. The ridge of Pennine hills is the backbone of the north, running like a central core down – or up – the centre, splitting the Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire conurbations in the south to the Cheviot Hills on the Scottish border. This backbone is divided with the vertebrae of the Yorkshire Dales, Teesdale and, above, the beginnings of the Cheviots. Left and right are the North York Moors and Yorkshire Wolds, and the Lake District, each so characteristic – and charismatic – that it is difficult to choose which to visit first. The Lake District gets undeniably busy, although you can still find places of solitude 60

Discover Touring

to appreciate the astonishing beauty of the landscape. Some of the minor roads here are narrow and not suitable for large motorhomes or caravans; it’s best to leave them at one of the many campsites in the area and explore by other means. For open space and open roads, though, head to Teesdale or the Northumberland National Park, equally attractive in their rugged wildness and where you can really relish the great outdoors.

Family days out:

River Explorer Cruise, Liverpool Mersey Ferries River Explorer Cruise (www.merseyferries.co.uk) is a must do North West attraction, and one of the best ways to see and enjoy Merseyside and Liverpool’s iconic waterfront and UNESCO


regionaL touring | nortHern engLanD

Top: a cruise on a mersey ferry is a fine way to see liverpool’s waterfront.

encounters and play areas (indoors and out) for children to burn off excess energy. It’s a great opportunity to meet some of our most endangered species.

Middle: handloom weaving at paradise mill, macclesfield.

Cultural britain – history and heritage:

The Textile Triangle, Cheshire The towns of Congleton and Macclesfield, together with Leek in Staffordshire, make up the Textile Triangle (www.textilefestival.com), an area with a significant textile heritage borne out of a booming industry. You can explore this amazing region and discover its many textile treasures, choosing from a superb selection of museums and galleries, canal boat rides and ancient mills, hands on creative workshops, historic town walks, antique hunting and fabric factory shops and visits to stately homes built on the fortunes of the textile industry. Places such as the Silk Museum in Macclesfield, The Heritage Centre in Knutsford, home to the Millennium Tapestry, or the Discovery Centre at Bollington, housed in a spectacular canalside mill.

bottom: pendle heritage centre.

World Heritage Site. From the decks of the legendary Mersey Ferry visitors on the 50-minute cruise will discover the well-loved legacy of Liverpool and the River Mersey, with its musical and maritime past. Visitors can ‘Hop On & Hop Off ’ at each terminal and combine their trip with attractions and hidden gems on both sides of the river. Wray Scarecrow Festival and Fair, Lancashire The charming Lancashire village of Wray (www.wrayvillage.co.uk/scarecrows.htm), near Lancaster, becomes the home of countless scarecrows every year – peeping through doorways, starring in large themed tableaux and surprising around every corner. A scarecrow parade, markets and exhibitions

all add to the fun, which has a new theme each year. This not-to-be missed annual festival and fair, traditionally takes place at the end of April and is a delight for visitors of any age.

Pendle Heritage Centre, Lancashire Pendle Heritage Centre is housed in a beautifully restored Grade II listed farmhouse in Barrowford, close to Pendle Hill, Lancashire. The Bannister family built Park Hill, the original 15th Century house and Sir Roger Bannister, who ran the first four-minute mile, is probably their most famous descendant. An exhibition at the centre gives background to the Bannister family as well as life in Park Hill and Pendle through the ages, including the events surrounding one of the country’s most notorious witch hunts which resulted in the hanging of ten locals following their trial at Lancaster Castle in 1612. The centre is also home to a gallery and craft shop with displays by local artists, a tourist information centre and a light and airy cafe overlooking the delightful walled garden, stocked with authentic 18th century plants and herbs. It’s the perfect starting point for several walks in the area and for embarking on the Witches Car Trail, through the Forest of Bowland to Lancaster. You can download walks and trails from www.visitlancashire.com

Lake District Wildlife Park, Cumbria Set in breathtaking Lake District scenery close to Keswick, with plenty of wide open spaces and an A to Z of animals from every corner of the world, there’s a lot to see and do at this wildlife park (www.lakedistrictwildlifepark.com). You’ll meet over 100 species from Anaconda to Zebra, cheeky Mandrills and Meerkats to endangered species like Gibbons and Asian Fishing Cats. There are Bird of Prey Flying displays, excellent Keeper Talks, reptile

Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre, Bolton, Greater Manchester As one of Bolton’s best-loved sons, it’s fitting that the memory of this steeplejack, engineer and TV personality is marked with a heritage centre in his home town. Situated in Fred’s former home and worksite (www.freddibnahheritagecentre.co.uk), you’ll get a guided tour of the grounds, workshops and machinery collected by Fred over his working life. You can then sit and relax in the garden, the snug or the lounge and take in  Discover Touring

61


regionaL touring | nortHern engLanD Top right: Queen of the lake, Windermere lake cruises. Credit: ©Windermere Lake Cruises below left: looking across to masham church. Credit: ©Caroline Mills below middle: a view north at Brimham rocks to Brimham house. Credit: ©National Trust Images/ Joe Cornish bottom right: Berwick-upon-tweed. Credit: ©Caroline Mills

the atmosphere of this unique piece of English history. Prior booking is essential.

the great outdoors:

Cruising on Lake Windermere, Cumbria Visitors to England’s largest natural lake can enjoy a range of cruises around the lake’s islands and between its many piers with Windermere Lake Cruises (www. windermere-lakecruises.co.uk), or passengers can enjoy a full day on and around the lake with a ‘Freedom of the Lake’ pass. In addition to stopping off at Windermere, Ambleside and Lakeside (at the southern end of the lake), you can get combined boat tickets for family attractions such as: The World of Beatrix Potter, Lakeland Motor Museum, Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway and the Lakes Aquarium. From Easter, there will be a new ‘bike boat’ running from the National Park Visitor Centre at Brockhole, so people can more readily tie together cycling and walking activities in and around the lake. Brimham Rocks, North Yorkshire Let your imagination run wild as you explore the labyrinth of paths through this unique landscape. Keep an eye out for some fantastically shaped rocks, formed more than 320 million years ago. Spot the Dancing Bear, The Eagle and The Gorilla, crawl through The Smartie Tube and balance on the Rocking Stones. Walk over heather moorland or through beautiful woodland, and take in the fresh air and Yorkshire countryside. Brimham Rocks

62

Discover Touring

(www.nationaltrust.org.uk/brimhamrocks) is a great day out for families, climbers and those wanting to enjoy the simple pleasures of fresh air and magnificent views over the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The car park is suitable for motorhomes.

towns and villages:

Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland Standing right at the most northern tip of Northumberland – and England – Berwickupon-Tweed (www.visitberwick.com) has some stories to tell. A border town, it was captured and passed between the Scots and English several times before it finally became a part of England in 1482. The formidable town walls were built in Elizabethan times to keep invading Scots away; from these walls are spectacular views of the coastal town, the estuary and the River Tweed, over which spans Robert Stephenson’s famous viaduct bridge. The town centre is a thriving Georgian market town, with great museums, a good arts and culture scene and an eclectic mix of shops. Berwick Food Festival, held every

September, is a must. Motorhomes that fit into standard-size car park bays may use the Castlegate car park. We recommend staying overnight at Ord House Country Park (www.ordhouse.co.uk). Masham, North Yorkshire A delightful, classic Yorkshire Dales town, Masham is based around a large market square and lines the hillside overlooking the River Ure. Sit and soak up the atmosphere of Yorkshire life by watching a weekend cricket match alongside the river, or by supping a pint in the square, surrounded by traditional Yorkshire stone houses. The tourist information centre in the square can provide you with a series of self-guided walks through the town and the surrounding countryside. Or make an essential visit to one/both of Masham’s famous breweries, the Black Sheep Brewery and Theakstons, owned by two brothers. Motorhomes can park next to the cricket pitch. Or stay at the Old Station Caravan & Camping Park (www.oldstation-masham.co.uk), just outside the town.

T


regionaL touring | nortHern engLanD

 discover More:

 discover Where to stay:

www.visitnorthumberland.com

Wirral Country Park Caravan Club site:

www.visitcheshire.com www.thisisdurham.com www.visitcumbria.com www.visitlancashire.com www.yorkshire.com www.visitmanchester.com www.visitliverpool.com

close to the tip of the wirral peninsula with stunning views across the Dee estuary towards the welsh hills. good public transport connections into liverpool. Station road, thurstaston, Wirral, ch61 0hn; tel 01516 485228; www.caravanclub.co.uk

Fallbarrow Park:

right on the shores of lake windermere, a holiday park with its own jetty and boat launching facilities.

all touring pitches are hardstanding and privately screened. rayrigg road, Windermere, cumbria, la23 3dl; tel 01539 444422; www.slholidays.co.uk

river Laver holiday Park:

caravan park with both static caravans and touring pitches. walking distance to ripon town centre and a useful base from which to explore north Yorkshire and the Yorkshire Dales. Studley rd, ripon, hG4 2Qr; tel 01765 690508; www.riverlaver.co.uk

 discover extra – Festival of the north east:

Top: fallbarrow park has its own marina and jetty on lake Winderemere. Credit: ©Caroline Mills Middle: finchale abbey caravan park. Credit: ©Caroline Mills bottom: nose’s point, dawdon on durham’s heritage coast. Credit: ©Mike Smith

Festival of the north east (www.Festivalne.com) is a month long celebration of the region’s creativity and innovation, invention and discovery taking place throughout the north east of england – from Tyne & wear to Teesside and county Durham to northumberland – throughout the whole of June 2013. it will be one of the uk’s largest festivals, with a jam packed programme of over 200 free and ticketed projects and events to watch, enjoy and join in with – embracing arts and science, heritage and history, industry and technology, provocation and debate. it will help the people of the north east know their own region better and open visitors’ eyes, ears and minds to a region with a uniquely characterful sense of place and its own identity. Festival of the north east is backed by its four artistic advisers – northumbrian piper and composer kathryn Tickell, writer lee Hall, artist antony gormley and musician paul smith from Maximo park – all of whom have links or come from the north east region and will contribute to the festival. The full festival programme can be found on the festival website with some exciting new commissions from major cultural organisations as well as individual artists and local communities.

itinerary:

day 1– begin in the beautiful city of Durham to visit the iconic castle and cathedral world Heritage site. relax

in the secret walled gardens of the stunning, medieval crook Hall. visit the english Heritage ruins of Finchale abbey, situated in a picturesque location on the banks of the river wear. as part of the Festival, enjoy a unique, one-off musical event at one of the pubs in the locality. Stay: Finchale abbey, Durham; www.finchaleabbey.co.uk day 2 – explore Durham’s dramatic heritage coastline and take a walk to nose’s point, near seaham, a site of special scientific interest. The rock stacks here are impressive along the rugged coastline. continue on to sunderland where you can see the premiere of grayson perry’s tapestry series, The vanity of small Differences, at the Museum and winter gardens as part of the Festival. Stay: Finchale abbey, Durham; www.finchaleabbey.co.uk day 3 – Travel to gateshead to visit the balTic centre for contemporary art (www.balticmill.com) or the balTic 39 in newcastle to see what’s on during the Festival. and don’t forget to visit the iconic Tyne bridge. For an extended stay, stretch your legs out in the countryside to the west either at Derwent reservoir, or by following one of the Tyne rivers – north and south – into northumberland. Stay: Fallowfield Dene caravan & camping park, acomb, Hexham; www.fallowfielddene.co.uk

Discover Touring

63


NEW LEIS 2013 CATA URE L OUT OGUE N OW! *SEE B ELOW

SATELLITE TV EQUIPMENT TO SUIT ANY BUDGET & VEHICLE.

WATCH UK TV CHANNELS WHILE TOURING THE UK & INTO EUROPE.

A great day out! Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre 121 Radcliffe Road, Bolton BL2 1NU

Tel: 01204 531303 Mob: 0797 6812596 www.freddibnahheritagecentre.co.uk

na e or ri th ld t f Ma n fie ou rd n o ich 3 ok ha tio r L 201 Lo Orc ruc nea er s st al m ng on n m Ki r c ca su de try ing un ven en o op C

Grove Lock Mari n a Thhhee ffri riieeennndddly ri ly M ly Maaarrriin innaa” “T A

picture is worth rrth a thousand words - as this image at Grove Lock Marina on the Grand Union Canal south of Leighton Buzzard, clearly shows.

Opened in December 2009, this fabulous new marina is the newest owned and managed by Pridewater Estates Ltd - a company dedicated to developing the finest leisure boat marinas on the canal system.

Unsure of what you need to get TV on the move? Don’t despair, either speak to our friendly customer services on 01553 811000, or come & visit us at one of the many motorhome/ caravan shows we will be supporting. Check online for show dates on our website www.maxview.co.uk Alternatively check out our buying guide which is featured in our catalogue! Order yours today, see below.

Picture shows Grove Lock Marina on the offi of cial Opening Day celebration June 2010

• High level of security • Caretaker on site • Bollards supplying metered electricity and water to every mooring • T Top quality toilets and showers • Four Gold Service berths each with a private bathroom • Free WI-FI • Pump out, Elsan, gas and diesel sales

• Ample free parking • 6 acres of attractive landscaped meadows • Peace P ful and tranquil atmosphere in a beautiful location • Five pitches each with water and electricity connections exclusively for Caravan Club members

For more rre information visit To discuss pricing and availability of moorings and caravan pitches call our T Caretaker, r Paul Catling, on the number below, r, w, any day except Wednesday. w y y.

MLB19408•1032•G•DI (2)

64

Discover Touring

Grove Lock Marina, Grove, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire LU7 OQU. T: 01525 377 444 email: mail@grovelockmarina.co.uk

The UK’s only manufacturer of both satellite and terrestrial touring products. Why choose Maxview... > All of our systems carry full, no quibble, guarantees with UK/European customer support. > Nationwide network of professional installers. > Products from our in house research, design & testing facilities. > Established company (1964) with a wealth of product knowledge & experience.

*ORDER OUR FREE NEW 2013 LEISURE CATALOGUE

‘Like us’ for new product Email: marketing@maxview.co.uk (quote DT). updates, offers, competitions Or join us on Facebook & request a copy with a message (quote DT1). Find ‘Maxview Limited’. & much more.


Directory | Touring Parks

touring services Somerset accessories

awnings

Finance

Gas

Hire

Insurance

repairs

Sales

Servicing

Storage

Workshop/approved workshop based workshop/Mobile

West Country Motorhomes Ltd Bristol Road, Brent Knoll, Highbridge, TA9 4HG ✆ 01278 761200  info@westcountrymotorhomes.co.uk  www.westcountrymotorhomes.co.uk

West Midlands Chichester Caravans 309 Hagley Road West, Birmingham, B32 2AN ✆ 0121 429 2004  birmingham@chichester-caravans.co.uk  www.chichester-caravans.co.uk

Worcestershire

Chichester Caravans Vale Road, Stourport, DY13 8YJ ✆ 01299 827441  stourport@chichester-caravans.co.uk  www.chichester-caravans.co.uk

Wiltshire Berkshire Wokingham Caravan Services Treetops, Heath Ride, Finchampstead, Wokingham, RG40 3QL ✆ 0118 973 2047  info@wokinghamcaravanservices.co.uk  www.wokinghamcaravanservices.co.uk

Devon Ian Gibbons Caravans Lakefield, Rexon Cross, Broadwoodwidger, Lifton, PL16 0JJ ✆ 07887 512107  ian@iangibbonscaravans.co.uk  www.iangibbonscaravans.co.uk

WALES

Chichester Caravans Worcester Road, Upton Warren, Bromsgrove, B61 7EX ✆ 01527 831515  bromsgrove@chichester-caravans.co.uk  www.chichester-caravans.co.uk

Flintshire Flintshire Caravans 76 Station Road, Queensferry, Deeside, CH5 2TE ✆ 01244 830438  sales@flintshirecaravansales.co.uk  www.flintshirecaravans.co.uk

Gwynedd Hamdden Caravans Madog Street, Porthmadog, LL49 9DB ✆ 01766 513589  info@hamddencaravans.co.uk  www.hamddencaravans.co.uk

Pickwick Caravans Ltd East Lane Business Park, East Lane, Holt, Trowbridge, BA14 6QU ✆ 01225 782825  sales@pickwickcaravans.co.uk  www.pickwickcaravans.co.uk West Country Motorhomes Ltd Turnpike Road, Blunsdon, Swindon, SN26 7EA ✆ 01793 726666  swindon@westcountrymotorhomes.co.uk  www.westcountrymotorhomes.co.uk

Scan here to find out more information

DEALers

TOURING PARKS

Dorset Autovan Services Ltd 32 Canford Bottom, Wimborne Minster, BH21 2HD ✆ 01202 848414  sales@autovan.co.uk  www.autovan.co.uk

Gloucestershire Golden Castle Caravans Cheltenham Road East, Churchdown, Gloucester, GL2 9QL ✆ 01452 713311  salesgc@goldencastle.co.uk  www.goldencastle.co.uk

Hampshire Mitchell & James Caravans Ltd Unit 4, 6 Larchwood Avenue, Havant, PO9 3BE ✆ 023 9245 4422  mandjcaravans@btconnect.com  www.mitchellandjamescaravansltd.co.uk

Oxfordshire Cross Country Caravans Ltd Shillingford Hill, Wallingford, OX10 8LN ✆ 01865 858899  crosscountrycaravans@yahoo.co.uk  www.crosscountrycaravans.co.uk

Somerset Taunton Caravan Services Ltd Gravelands Lane, Henlade, Taunton, TA3 5DL ✆ 01823 443491  johntcsltd@aol.com  www.tauntoncaravanservices.co.uk

Discover Touring

65


Directory | touring Parks

touring ParKs directorY TenT piTcHes

caravan piTcHes

MoTorHoMe piTcHes

HoliDaY HoMes

aDulTs onlY

babY cHanging

beacHes

caFe/resTauranT

cHilDren’s plaY area

DisableD FaciliTies

elecTric Hook ups

FisHing

gaMes rooM

HarDsTanDing

inTerneT access

launDereTTe

licenseD bar

Mini golF

peTs welcoMe

pool

QuieT

sHowers

siTe sHop

ToileTs

BerkShire hurLey riverside Park Hurley riverside park, Hurley, sl6 5ne ✆ 01628 824493  info@hurleyriversidepark.co.uk  www.hurleyriversidepark.co.uk open: 1 March-31 october

cheShire daLeFord Manor Caravan Park Daleford lane, sandiway, northwich, cw8 2bT ✆ 01606 889545  stay@dalefordmanorcaravanpark.co.uk  www.dalefordmanorcaravanpark.co.uk open: 1 March-1 January 2014

cornWall bone vaLLey hoLiday Park Heamoor, penzance, Tr20 8uJ ✆ 01736 360313  holidays@bonevalleyholidaypark.co.uk  www.bonevalleyholidaypark.co.uk open: open all year

CarLyon bay CaMPing Park cypress avenue, carlyon bay, st austell, pl25 3re ✆ 01726 812735  holidays@carlyonbay.net  www.carlyonbay.net open: 28 March-28 september

FranChis hoLiday Park cury cross lanes, near Mullion, Helston, Tr12 7aZ ✆ 01326 240201  enquiries@franchis.co.uk  www.franchis.co.uk open: open all year

hendra hoLiday Park newquay, Tr8 4nY ✆ 01637 875778  enquiries@hendra-holidays.com  www.hendra-holidays.com open: 25 March-4 november

innis inn CaMPsite innis Moor, penwithick, st austell, pl26 8YH ✆ 01726 851162  info@innisinn.com  www.innisinn.com open: open all year

66

derByShire

Discover Touring

cornWall MeadoW Lakes hoLiday Park Hewas water, st austell, pl26 7Jg ✆ 01726 882540  info@meadow-lakes.co.uk  www.meadow-lakes.co.uk open: 15 March-4 november

Mother ivey’s bay hoLiday Park Trevose Head, near padstow, pl28 8sl ✆ 01841 520990  info@motheriveysbay.com  www.motheriveysbay.com open: 29 March-25 october

neWPerran hoLiday Park rejerrah, newquay, Tr8 5QJ ✆ 01872 572407  holidays@newperran.co.uk  www.newperran.co.uk open: 23 March-2 november

Pentire haven hoLiday Park kilkhampton, bude, eX23 9QY ✆ 01288 321601  holidays@pentirehaven.co.uk  www.pentirehaven.co.uk open: 23 March-2 november

Penvose FarM hoLidays st Mawgan, newquay, Tr8 4ae ✆ 01637 860277  info@penvose-farm.co.uk  www.cornwall-online.co.uk/penvose-farm open: please call

Porth beaCh tourist Park newquay, Tr7 3nH ✆ 01637 876531  info@porthbeach.co.uk  www.porthbeach.co.uk open: 2 March-1 november

QuarryFieLd hoLiday Park crantock, newquay, Tr8 5rJ ✆ 01637 830338/872792  info@quarryfield.co.uk  www.quarryfield.co.uk open: 16 March-2 november

cornWall tehidy hoLiday Park Harris Mill, illogan, Tr16 4JQ ✆ 01209 216489  holiday@tehidy.co.uk  www.tehidy.co.uk open: 23 March-2 november

toWer Park Caravans & CaMPing st buryan, penzance, Tr19 6bZ ✆ 01736 810286  enquiries@towerparkcamping.co.uk  www.towerparkcamping.co.uk open: 7 March-2 november

trethiggey hoLiday Park Quintrell Downs, newquay, Tr8 4Qr ✆ 01637 877672  enquiries@trethiggey.co.uk  www.trethiggey.co.uk open: 2 March-2 January 2014

trevorniCk hoLiday Park Holywell bay, Tr8 5pw ✆ 0843 4535531  info@trevornick.co.uk  www.trevornick.co.uk open: 23 March-14 september

beeCh CroFt FarM Caravan Park blackwell in The peak, Taddington, near buxton, sk17 9TQ ✆ 01298 85330  mail@beechcroftfarm.co.uk  www.beechcroftfarm.co.uk open: open all year

ringstones Caravan Park Yeardsley lane, Furness vale, High peak, sk23 7eb ✆ 01663 735248  info@ringstonescaravanpark.co.uk  www.ringstonescaravanpark.co.uk open: open all year

devon aLston FarM CaMPing & Caravan site Malborough, kingsbridge, TQ7 3bJ ✆ 01548 561260  info@alstoncampsite.co.uk  www.alstoncampsite.co.uk open: Mid-March to end october

andreWshayes hoLiday Park Dalwood, axminster, eX13 7DY ✆ 01404 808522  info@andrewshayes.co.uk  www.andrewshayes.co.uk open: 22 March-2 november

eXMoor Coast hoLidays caffyns Farm, lynton, eX35 6Jw ✆ 01598 753967  stay@exmoorcoastholidays.co.uk  www.exmoorcoastholidays.co.uk open: open all year

harFord bridge hoLiday Park peter Tavy, Tavistock, pl19 9ls ✆ 01822 810349  stay@harfordbridge.co.uk  www.harfordbridge.co.uk open: 15 March-15 november

cumBria CastLerigg haLL Caravan & CaMPing Park castlerigg Hall, keswick, ca12 4Te ✆ 01768 774499  info@castlerigg.co.uk  www.castlerigg.co.uk open: 6 March-10 november

FLusCo Wood Flusco, penrith, ca11 0Jb ✆ 01768 480020  info@fluscowoodtouringpark.co.uk  www.fluscowoodtouringpark.co.uk open: 25 March-4 november

Waters edge Caravan Park crooklands, kendal, la7 7nn ✆ 015395 67708  info@watersedgecaravanpark.co.uk  www.watersedgecaravanpark.co.uk open: 1 March-14 november

heLe vaLLey hoLiday Park Hele bay, ilfracombe, eX34 9rD ✆ 01271 862460  holidays@helevalley.co.uk  www.helevalley.co.uk open: 28 March-31 october

hoburne torbay grange court, grange road, goodrington, paignton, TQ4 7Jp ✆ 0844 288 1935  enquiries@hoburne.com  www.hoburne.com open: 2 March-2 november

LeaCroFt touring Park colyton Hill, colyton, eX24 6HY ✆ 01297 552823  info@leacrofttouringpark.co.uk  www.leacrofttouringpark.co.uk open: 28 March-13 october


Directory | Touring Parks Devon Little Meadow Caravan & Camping Site Lydford Farm, Watermouth, Ilfracombe, EX34 9SJ ✆ 01271 866862  info@littlemeadow.co.uk  www.littlemeadow.co.uk Open: Open all year

North Morte Farm Caravan & Camping Park North Morte Road, Mortehoe, Woolacombe, EX34 7EG ✆ 01271 870381  info@northmortefarm.co.uk  www.northmortefarm.co.uk Open: 22 March-2 November

Riverside Caravan Park Leigham Manor Drive, Marsh Mills, Plymouth, PL6 8LL ✆ 01752 344122  office@riversidecaravanpark.com  www.riversidecaravanpark.com/ Open: Open all year

Hampshire Hoburne Bashley Sway Road, New Milton, BH25 5QR ✆ 0844 288 1915  enquiries@hoburne.com  www.hoburne.com Open: 15 February-4 November

Riverside Holidays Satchell Lane, Hamble, SO31 4HR ✆ 02380 453220  enquiries@riversideholidays.co.uk  www.riversideholidays.co.uk Open: 1 March-31 October

Shamba Holidays Ringwood Road, St. Leonards, Ringwood, BH24 2SB ✆ 01202 873302  enquiries@shambaholidays.co.uk  www.shambaholidays.co.uk Open: 1 March-31 October

Lincolnshire Grange Park Golf & Tennis Butterwick Road, Messingham, Scunthorpe, DN17 3PP ✆ 01724 762945  info@grangepark.com  www.grangepark.com Open: Open All Year

Tattershall Lakes Country Park Tattershall, Lincoln, LN4 4LR ✆ 0843 659 8803  tattershall.holidays@away-resorts.com  www.awayresorts.co.uk Open: 1 March-4 January 2014

Norfolk Highgate Farm Caravan Park Swim Road, Runham, Great Yarmouth, NR29 3EH ✆ 01493 368133  h.gatecaravanpark@btinternet.com  www.highgatefarm-caravanpark.co.uk Open: Open all year

Dorset Inside Park Fairmile Road, Blandford, DT11 9AD ✆ 01258 453719  mail@theinsidepark.co.uk  www.theinsidepark.co.uk Open: 28 March-3 November

East Sussex Fairfields Farm Caravan & Camping Park Eastbourne Road, Westham, Pevensey, BN24 5NG ✆ 01323 763165  enquiries@fairfieldsfarm.com  www.fairfieldsfarm.com Open: 28 March-31 October

Eastnor Castle Deer Park, Ledbury, HR8 1RL ✆ 01531 633160  enquiries@eastnorcastle.com  www.eastnorcastle.com Open: 28 March-30 September

North Yorkshire Usha Gap Muker, Richmond, DL11 6DW ✆ 01748 886214  ushagap@btinternet.com  www.ushagap.btinternet.co.uk Open: Open All Year

Isle of Wight Whitecliff Bay Holiday Park Hillway Road, Bembridge, PO35 5PL ✆ 0843 659 8764  holiday.sales@away-resorts.com  www.awayresorts.co.uk Open: 1 March-14 January 2014

Kent Gate House Wood Touring Park Ford Lane, Wrotham Heath, Sevenoaks, TN15 7SD ✆ 01732 843062  contact@gatehousewoodtouringpark.com  www.gatehousewoodtouringpark.com Open: 1 March-31 October

Thorney Lakes & Caravan Park Muchelney, Langport, Yeovil, TA10 0DW ✆ 01458 250811  enquiries@thorneylakes.co.uk  www.thorneylakes.co.uk Open: Easter to October

Wells Holiday Park Heybridge, Wells, BA5 1AJ ✆ 01749 676869  info@wellsholidaypark.co.uk  www.wellsholidaypark.co.uk Open: Open all year

SCOTLAND East Lothian

Herefordshire Upton Manor Farm Camp Site St Marys Road, Brixham, TQ5 9QH ✆ 01803 882384  UptonCamp@aol.com  www.uptonmanorfarm.co.uk Open: 29 March-29 September

Somerset Moorhouse Farm Campsite Holford, Bridgwater, TA5 1SP ✆ 01278 741295  moorhousecampsite@yahoo.com  www.moorhousecampsite.co.uk Open: 8 March-10 November

Station Park Caravan Site East Fortune Farm, East Fortune, North Berwick, EH39 5JU ✆ 01620 880231  jane@brandleisure.co.uk  www.brandleisure.co.uk Open: Open all year

Edinburgh Yorkshire Hussar Inn Holiday Caravan Park Markington, Harrogate, HG3 3NR ✆ 01765 677327/677715  yorkshirehussar@yahoo.co.uk  www.yorkshire-hussar-inn.co.uk Open: Easter-October

Linwater Caravan Park West Clifton, East Calder, EH53 0HT ✆ 0131 333 3326  queries@linwater.co.uk  www.linwater.co.uk Open: 15 March-3 November

Highlands Northumberland Border Forest Caravan Park Cottonshopeburnfoot, Otterburn, NE19 1TF ✆ 01830 520259  info@borderforest.com  www.borderforest.com Open: Open all year

Gruinard Bay Caravan Park Laide, Gairloch, IV22 2ND ✆ 01445 731225  gruinard@ecosse.net  www.gruinardbay.co.uk Open: 1 April-31 October

WALES Essex Fen Farm Caravan Site Moore Lane, East Mersea, Colchester, CO5 8FE ✆ 01206 383275  fenfarm@talk21.com  www.fenfarm.co.uk Open: 15 March-31 October

Lancashire Eastham Hall Caravan Park Saltcotes Road, Lytham St Annes, FY8 4LS ✆ 01253 737907  info@easthamhall.co.uk  www.easthamhall.co.uk Open: 1 March-1 December

Oxfordshire Barnstones Caravan Site Barnstones, Great Bourton, Banbury, OX17 1QU ✆ 01295 750289  barnstones@hotmail.co.uk Open: Open all year

Pembrokeshire Pantglas Farm Caravan Park Tavernspite, Amroth, SA34 0NS ✆ 01834 831618  pantglasfarm@btinternet.com  www.pantglasfarm.co.uk Open: 22 March-20 October

Somerset Gloucestershire Hoburne Cotswold Broadway Lane, South Cerney, Cirencester, GL7 5UQ ✆ 0844 288 1930  enquiries@hoburne.com  www.hoburne.com Open: 8 March-2 November

Morecambe Lodge Caravan Park Shore Lane, Bolton Le Sands, Carnforth, LA5 8JP ✆ 01524 824361  andrew@morecambe-lodge.co.uk  www.morecambe-lodge.co.uk Open: 1 March-31 October

Hoburne Blue Anchor Blue Anchor Bay, Minehead, TA24 6JT ✆ 0844 288 1940  enquiries@hoburne.com  www.hoburne.com Open: 1 March-2 November

Powys Carmel Caravan Park Cefn Coch, Welshpool, SY21 0AJ ✆ 01938 810542  carmelcaravanpk@aol.com  www.carmelcaravanpark.com Open: March-end October

Discover Touring

67


REGIONAL TOURING | SCOTLAND

Where the mist rolls in secret city gardens, neolithic stone circles and cycling in the scottish Borders – 2013 is the Year of natural scotland. Contributors: Yvonne Bruce, Caroline Mills, Libby Reynolds and Visit Scotland

S

ustainable tourism is essential for the prosperity of both the environment and tourism providers, and the Scottish tourism industry is committed to making Scotland such a destination. 2013 is The Year of Natural Scotland, which aims to raise awareness of Scotland as a place of outstanding natural beauty and to encourage visitors to enjoy the landscape responsibly for example by choosing accommodation providers with green policies, exploring the landscape by foot or by bike, and making the most of resources in local communities. 68

Discover Touring

This vision sits perfectly with camping and caravanning and the opportunities that living in the great outdoors provides. The ideal destination to begin touring, the country is renowned for its incredible scenery with vast open spaces to explore, quiet roads and campsites in spectacular locations where you can pitch up and then traverse the landscape under your own steam.

Family Days Out:

Wild Spring Festival, Dumfries & Galloway Dumfries and Galloway’s 10th annual Wild

Spring Festival (www.wildseasons.co.uk) is planned to be the biggest and best yet, with over 100 wildlife events, many free and most hosted by local wildlife guides and experts. Set amidst beautiful unspoilt countryside, the festival is perfect for families and wildlife fans alike to discover this most surprising and naturally inspiring part of Scotland. From frogs and fishtails to badgers and buzzards, and from red deer and reptiles to bats, moths and the charismatic red squirrel, Dumfries and Galloway is teeming with wildlife. Taking place from 29th March to 18th April,


REGIONAL TOURING | SCOTLAND

Main picture: Dusk across Loch Ness from the beach at Dores, Highlands. Credit: ©www.scottishviewpoint.com Top left: Secret gardens can be found on a Hidden Gardens tour around Edinburgh. Credit: ©Jean Bareham Top right: Red Kite spanned in flight during a Wild Spring Festival event. Credit: ©Ian Saunders Bottom: Glamis Castle, Angus.

and with events ranging from foraging to cookery demonstrations, and farmers markets to festivals, there will be plenty of opportunities to sample great Scottish food and produce. With events taking place across the country from 7th to 22nd September, participants include independent delicatessens and farm shops, food festivals, farmers’ markets, food groups, visitor attractions and restaurants. You can search online for events taking place within a particular area of Scotland using the festival website.

the festival is just one part of a much bigger year-long seasonal initiative encouraging wildlife tourism within the area. Events include Red deer tours, treks to Red Kite rearing and feeding stations, a frog trail, treasure hunts on horseback and many more family activities. Scotland Food & Drink Fortnight Food lovers all over Scotland will be busy celebrating the country’s natural larder at this year’s Scotland Food and Drink Fortnight (www.scottishfoodanddrinkfortnight.co.uk),

Edinburgh’s Hidden Gardens Visitors to Scotland’s capital will often know about the castle, the festivals and Arthur’s Seat before they’ve even arrived but not many will know that lying behind the historic buildings of the Royal Mile lie a surprising number of gardens and green ‘nooks and crannies’, all with a story to tell. Green Yonder Tours (www.greenyondertours.com) offer the Hidden Gardens of the Royal Mile tour, on which visitors can experience and hear about grand gardens of the past, enjoy productive community gardens created by today’s residents, and take a breather in a beautiful space laid out and planted as a 17th century Scots town garden. Their Green Shoots tour explores green space – past and present – in unexpected places and includes access to the, normally locked, Johnston Terrace Wildlife Garden, a herb project.

Cultural Britain – History and Heritage:

Glamis Castle, Angus Glamis Castle (www.glamis-castle.co.uk), with its many turrets and spires, and its links with history, royalty and legends is one of Scotland’s most impressive visitor attractions. This is the ancient seat of the Earls of Strathmore, the childhood home of HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, the birthplace of HRH The Princess Margaret and the legendary setting for Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’. Like most castles, the history of Glamis’ infrastructure has been one of additions, alterations and reconstructions to satisfy the needs and aspirations of its owners and the architectural fashions of the day. Today, it remains a welcoming home lived in by Michael, 18th Earl of Strathmore and his family. The Gardens and Grounds at Glamis, like the Castle, have centuries of history behind them and have been added to and altered by generations of the Strathmore family. Walks have been created to take in a mixture of habitats and native flowers such as foxgloves, thistles and teasel have been planted as part of the on-going programme to preserve the natural habitat of the wildlife at Glamis and to actively encourage this ‘return to nature’. The Ring of Brodgar, Orkney The Ring of Brodgar (www.visitorkney.com) consists of thirty-six original stones surviving from prehistoric Scotland. The Scottish  Discover Touring

69


REGIONAL TOURING | SCOTLAND

Top left: The tranquil shores of Loch Lomond. Credit: ©Visit Britain/Britain on View Top right: The picturesque fishing village of Anstruther, Fife. Credit: ©VisitScotland/ScottishViewpoint Bottom: Walkers take in the view, walking on a forest track above Loch Lochy through the Great Glen. Credit: ©www.scottishviewpoint.com

geologist, Hugh Miller, visiting in 1846, wrote of these stones that: ‘they look like an assemblage of ancient druids, mysteriously stern and invincibly silent and shaggy’. A near-perfect circle, the Ring of Brodgar is one of the largest of all Neolithic henge monuments, measuring 130m in diameter overall (the ring of stones itself is 104m in diameter). Two causeways cross the rock-cut ditch. In the absence of scientific dates, a best guess is that the Ring was constructed between 4,500 and 4,000 years ago. This would make it slightly later than the Ring of Stenness, another Neolithic stone circle in Orkney. Both were granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1999. Both circles are on the Mainland, approximately five miles from Stromness. Day trips by boat are available with sailings from Scrabster to Stromness using Northlink Ferries (www.northlinkferries.co.uk).

The Great Outdoors:

Scottish Six Days Orienteering, Moray The Scottish Six Days Orienteering (www.scottish6days.com/2013) event (“the 6-Days”) is a biennial event, first held in 1977, and taking place in a different area of Scotland each time. As the largest orienteering event in the UK, each 6-Days event typically attracts over 3500 competitors plus additional families and friends. The competition is designed to provide the highest quality orienteering over the week, in a relaxed atmosphere, and aims to appeal to 70

Discover Touring

all ages and skill levels, from elite athletes to newcomers. Age classes range from 10 years and under to 80 years and above! This year the event takes place in Moray from 28th July to 3rd August. There will be a campsite specifically for the event based in the beautiful grounds of Brodie Castle, with many additional family-based activities. Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park (www.lochlomond-trossachs.org) falls into four distinct parts: Loch Lomond, The Trossachs, and Breadalbane & Argyll Forest. Immortalised in song, Loch Lomond is the largest freshwater expanse in mainland Britain. Mountains loom to the north, while a scattering of islands can be found at the south end of the loch. Pretty villages such as Luss line the loch’s western shores. The Trossachs is ‘Rob Roy Country’ where the famous outlaw hid from his pursuers in the dense forests. The area was much loved by Scottish writer and poet Sir Walter Scott whose famous poem The Lady of the Lake was inspired by Loch Katrine, which you can cruise on the steamship SS Sir Walter Scott. Breadalbane marks the beginning of the Highlands at the northern tip of the National Park. The enchanting Falls of Dochart run through the picturesque village of Killin. At the western edge of the National Park is Argyll Forest Park. Also within the park is Ben Arthur, affectionately known as ‘the Cobbler’ and one of Scotland’s most popular climbs.

Cycling in the Scottish Borders The Scottish Borders is a cycle touring paradise with stunning scenery and hundreds of miles of quiet roads to explore. The region boasts dozens of short cycles routes (www. cyclescottishborders.com) and several longer way-marked trails including the 4 Abbeys cycle route, a 55-mile circuit perfect to tackle during a weekend break and passing by four of the area’s most famous historic Abbeys – Melrose, Kelso, Dryburgh and Jedburgh. Other waymarked routes include the impressive 250-mile Borderloop that will take around a week to complete (or can be completed in smaller circular stages – the BorderLoop 4), the Coast and Castles (Sustrans) route and the Tweed Cycle Way, a 95-mile linear route from Biggar to Berwick-upon-Tweed through the heart of the Scottish Borders following the course of the River Tweed.

Towns and villages:

Ayr, Ayrshire A popular seaside resort in southwest Scotland, Ayr lies 36 miles south of Glasgow on the Firth of Clyde. As well as its sea front, leafy suburbs and large selection of places to stay, one of the draws to the town is the Ayr Racecourse. Dating back to the 16th century, the racecourse runs many Flat and National Hunt meetings throughout the year and is particularly famous as the venue of the Scottish Grand National, the Ayrshire Handicap and the Ayr Gold Cup.


REGIONAL TOURING | SCOTLAND Robert Burns, Scotland’s national bard, was born in Alloway, on the outskirts of the town, Popular with visitors is his birthplace, Burns Cottage, and the new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum is nearby. Ullapool, Wester Ross The fishing port of Ullapool in Wester Ross becomes a thriving resort in summer when it receives a large influx of holidaymakers. As a port with ferries running to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, many visitors stay on briefly. But with a stunning setting jutting out into Loch Broom, it’s an ideal base for exploring the surrounding area. To the west discover Inverpolly National Nature Reserve, a home to an abundance of wildlife including pine martens, wildcats, buzzards and golden eagles. To the south lies Leckmelm Shrubbery and Arboretum, Lael Forest Garden, and the plunging depths of Corrieshalloch Gorge and the Falls of Measach. Along the road to Poolewe are great views out to sea over golden beaches and green, rocky islands, and famous Inverewe Garden. Anstruther, Fife Anstruther is the largest in a string of pretty, old-fashioned fishing villages along the stretch of Fife coast known as the East Neuk. A place to enjoy being by the sea, perhaps the top attraction is to simply tuck into a quality fish supper from a renowned establishment on the front, tossing chips to the seagulls and watching the fishing boats come in with their catch. Boat trips to the Isle of May, several miles offshore in the Firth of Forth, run from May to September, for seeing puffins, seals and other wildlife. Silverdyke Park (www.silverdykepark.co.uk) is a brand new (opened October 2012) family run caravan park situated next to the picturesque fishing village of Anstruther with stunning views over the Firth of Forth to the Isle of May.

T

Above: Dunnet Bay Caravan Club Site.

 Discover More:

 Discover Where to Stay: Dunnet Bay Caravan Club Site: in a stunning location

overlooking Dunnet Bay, with its wideopen sandy beach, and Dunnet Head, the northernmost point of mainland Britain. The site is a good base for those wishing to catch a ferry to orkney. Dunnet, Thurso, KW14 8XD; Tel 01847 821319; www.caravanclub.co.uk

Ardlui Holiday Park:

on the northern-most shore of Loch Lomond with direct access to the

water’s edge (the Park also has a marina). All the hardstanding pitches overlook the loch. Ardlui, Loch Lomond, G83 7EB; Tel 01301 704243; www.ardluiholidayhomepark.co.uk

Heads of Ayr Caravan Park:

Five miles south of Ayr, a family run park 15 minutes walk from the beach and in the heart of Burns country. Dunure Rd, Ayr, Ayrshire, KA7 4LD; Tel 01292 442269; www.headsofayr.com

 Discover Extra – Loch Ness and walking the Great Glen Way: The great glen is a natural, geological fault line dividing scotland on a northeast-southwest slant. it encompasses a narrow valley with steeply rising hills and mountains either side, and incorporates some of scotland’s best-known landmarks including Loch ness, the caledonian canal and Ben nevis. Driving through the great glen, you will encounter some of the most dramatic scenery in Britain. But staying in the area a while and walking, cycling or boating is a sustainable alternative to enjoying the magnificent surroundings. The route of the great glen Way long distance trail (www.greatglenway.com) spans 79 miles between inverness and Fort William and passes alongside the glen’s famous landmarks. it is ideal for all levels of walker as much of the trail is on flat terrain, following either canal towpaths or forest tracks. Walking the entire route takes approximately five to six days, although an alternative is to break up the route by cycling some sections, taking a leisurely boat ride on Loch ness, or paddling in a canoe (www.greatglencanoetrail.info).

Itinerary:

Day 1– Begin with a wander around the tiny Fort William and a look at the ruined inverlochy castle, one of scotland’s earliest stone castles. enjoy the sights of the soaring Ben nevis.

Drive to gairlochy and pick up the great glen Way for a peaceful walk on the western shores of Loch Lochy, with views of giant mountains. Stay: Faichemard Farm campsite, invergarry; www.faichemard-caravancamping.co.uk. (NB. this is an adults-only site) Day 2 – Wander along the eastern shores of the secluded Loch oich through wildlife-rich woodland, followed by a scenic towpath walk at Fort Augustus, where you can visit the caledonian canal visitor centre for the history on Thomas Telford’s masterpiece. Drive to grotaig to witness a crafting community and their land first hand. Stay: Loch ness Holiday Park, invermoriston; www.lochnessholidaypark.co.uk Day 3 – Drive on, along the shores of Loch ness, to Drumnadrocht, the centre of the nessie industry for tales of monsters. visit urquhart castle, sitting scenically above the loch. continue on to inverness where you can hire a canoe (www.boots-n-paddles.co.uk) or take a leisurely cruise (www.jacobite.co.uk) and experience Loch ness from the water. Stay: Macdonalds Bught caravan Park, inverness; www.invernesscaravanpark.com

www.visitscotland.com

Discover Touring

71


Find your next adventure…

The NATIONAL SHOW at the NEC, where you’ll see the NEW 2014 SEASON caravan and motorhome models from all the leading manufacturers.

SUPPORTERS:

The ONLY SHOW in the spring where the leading caravan and motorhome manufacturers will be displaying their NEW 2014 SEASON MODELS.

…or come and be inspired.

SUPPORTERS:

WWW.SPRINGCARAVANANDCAMPINGSHOW.CO.UK ORGANISED BY:

72

Discover Touring


ACTIVITY | GOLF

In the swing... Main image: A round of golf is the perfect way to relax with friends. Credit: Pearl Lake Below: Thanks to its leisurely pace, golf is a tranquil sport to enjoy. Credit: Pearl Lake

Whether you’re a golfing beginner or an old hand, a touring holiday provides the perfect chance to fit in a few rounds, as Tim Gibson explains.

T

he UK is blessed with some of the world’s finest golf courses. That’s hardly a surprise, when you consider how closely our national history is bound up with the sport. The game was first played on these shores around 1400 AD, and the famous course at St Andrews in Scotland is where it all began. Golf hasn’t always been universally popular, however. In the 15th century, James II tried to ban it on the grounds that it was a distraction to his subjects. And, more recently, the American writer Mark Twain is said to have

described it as a ‘good walk spoiled’. Despite its detractors, golf is one of the most popular pastimes in this country – loved by people of every age. Touring is the perfect way to sample different golf courses throughout the country. Simply load up your clubs and you can head in any direction. Indeed, you could plan a golf-themed holiday, where you tour the country in search of new courses on which to test your mettle. Even if you’re new to golf, there’s plenty of opportunity to try your hand at the sport

during a touring holiday. Many courses offer lessons and club-hire for beginners. If you want to invest in some kit, you can buy a starter set of clubs, with a bag, for around £150. The advice of the golf pros we spoke to, though, was to wait and see whether you take to the game… and if you do, they’ll advise on the best gear to buy. Whatever your skill level, golf provides a perfect touring holiday pastime. If nothing else, it’s a good excuse to take some fresh air, and you can look forward to a celebratory tipple when you reach the 19th green.

T

Discover Touring

73


ACTIVITY | GOLF

 Discover More: Stay and play – touring sites with golf available nearby: Pearl Lake, Herefordshire: A nine-hole course, suitable for beginners and experienced golfers – with touring available on site. www.pearllake.co.uk Manor Farm Leisure, Evesham: one 18-hole and one nine-hole pay-and-play course, with limited touring on site. www.manorfarmleisure.co.uk Riverside Caravan Park, Yorkshire: stay here and get a discount voucher for the nearby 18-hole Bentham Park golf club. www.riversidecaravanpark.co.uk Treamble Valley Caravan Club Site, Cornwall: one of the prettiest sites in the country, within easy reach of cornwall’s many golf courses. That includes newquay, where guests can play if they belong to a club elsewhere in the country (ww.newquaygolfclub.co.uk). www.caravanclub.co.uk Brighton Caravan Club Site, Sussex: if you’ve never played golf before, try a round at the nearby rottingdean pitch and putt (tel: 01273 302 127) – clubs provided. www.caravanclub.co.uk

Top: Most golf courses have bunkers to challenge players… but not many have an ocean crashing alongside the fairway. Credit: Newquay Golf Club Middle left: A round of golf provides great exercise, as well as a test of skill. Credit: Newquay Golf Club Middle right: Pearl Lake – an idyllic spot to play golf and stay in your caravan or tent. Credit: Pearl Lake Bottom right: Fresh air and sporting activity – what more could you want for your holiday? Credit: Pearl Lake 74

Discover Touring


Come & hang out with us! Monkey Talks Activities, Gardens Play area Shop & Café

Buy 1 adult ticket online & enter the code DT when paying to get your FREE child’s ticket www.shop.wildfutures.org/monkeysanctuary The Monkey Sanctuary, Looe, Cornwall PL13 1NZ PCT_advert_safe&happy_discovertouring188x136:Layout 1 13/09/2012 13:46 Page 1 T & C apply

Registered charity no. 1102532

PCT Automotive Towbars

safe & happy towing from one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of towbars and towing electrics connect with us on

Holbrook Industrial Estate Sheffield S20 3GH UK

www.pctautomotive.com

Discover Touring

75


REGIONAL TOURING | SCOTLAND

Freedom!

Misty lochs and hardy glens, spooky castles and a warring history: scotland’s cold and mystical charm is best experienced from the comfort of a motorhome. Author: Mark Galbraith 76

Discover Touring

T

here is something about Scotland that stirs the brave heart within many of us. William Wallace famously spoke of freedom being the “most fine”, and his family proverb reverberates as much today as in the 15th century, with a referendum on Scottish independence lined up for autumn 2014. Politics aside, the Scotland of the touring trail offers all that freedom – in bucketloads. We set ourselves an autumn agenda of a few short days to take in three main centres of particular interest: St Andrews, Stirling, and the Highlands.

St Andrews: In one sense at least, St

Andrews is a place of many “firsts” so is an apt starting point for our tour. Approaching the town through rugged open fields the first sighting is of the cathedral ruins, standing defiantly hard up to the cold North Sea. (pic 2 cathedral MG). The skeleton of the cathedral now stands as testimony to centuries of religious wars and changing beliefs. Parking up near the town, even in our sixberth Roller Team 746, was easy, with several open air car parks dotted around the perimeter of the town.


REGIONAL TOURING | SCOTLAND

Main picture (opposite page): William Wallace might have enjoyed the freedom a motorhome brings – not to mention the modern comforts! Top left: St Andrews’ imposing ruins dominate the skyline. Left bottom: Out to sea from St Andrew’s Castle. centre top: St Andrews Market Street – an odd place to find a vintage caravan! centre bottom: St Andrews from the tower. right top: Roller Team on top of the world at Stirling Castle. right bottom: Bag of wind – bagpipers breeze through the arch.

From the viewing tower of the cathedral (not recommended for the infirm or fainthearted due to very narrow, very steep steps) visitors can see right across the town, the sea and the world famous and iconic golf course. The town is vibrant – buzzing with youth and life. A university town that has been the Alma Mater of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge and many notable non-royals, you will find several great seafood restaurants amongst its stone cobbled streets. A walk down to the small harbour area evidences the small scale fishing industry still alive in the town. For those with a smidgeon of Scots ancestry (or indeed those that don’t!) it is worth checking out your clan tartan – if not as a kilt, perhaps as a scarf or travel rug. After one of the best (but by no means cheapest) fish and chip lunches a trip to the castle ruins reveals more of this town’s turbulent past in often gruesome detail, for example the Mine and Counter-mine – these unique underground passages give visitors a palpable sense of the horrific nature of medieval siege warfare. And the Bottle Dungeon – one of the most infamous castle prisons in medieval Britain, cut out of the solid rock. John Knox and George Wishart may have been imprisoned

in this dank and airless hole, and Cardinal Beaton’s body was kept here. (pic 4 the St Andrews Castle MG Camera) Being sheltered on the east coast, Saint Andrews claims to enjoy more sunshine than any other part of Scotland. This has been good news for golfers over the past 600 years – and St Andrews Links now hosts seven courses, including the Old Course, making it not only the oldest but also the largest public golf complex in Europe. For motorhomers and caravanners, only the keenest golfers among you should come anywhere near the area when the golf circus comes to town, unless you park up well outside the town and travel in by bus.

Stirling: The next leg of the journey took

us to Stirling castle, proudly surveying the countryside for miles around, and on the cusp of the Highlands and the lowlands. Approached via narrow and steep cobbled streets, it is unbelievably accessible to motorhomes. Indeed the six-berth Roller Team took it all in its stride, and we were welcomed within the castle grounds at the top of the hill where you can park up on the parade area for a £4 charge. From here you can see two of Scotland’s great battlefields: Stirling Bridge, the site of William Wallace’s victory

over the English in 1297, and Bannockburn, where Robert the Bruce defeated the same foe in 1314. Despite our Englishness, we were afforded the warmest of Scots welcomes. Stirling Castle is breathtaking. Developed over centuries by James IV, V and VI, it boasts the largest banqueting hall in Scotland. In one particular show of wealth and power, a ship overflowing with seafood was rolled into the Great Hall to gasps from the guests. There are activities for all the family at the castle, and a fun but educational theme runs through the place. Of particular interest is the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum, housed in the Kings Old Museum, and which paints a detailed picture of the regiment’s rich, noble and illustrious history. Stirling Castle is a true day trip – don’t set aside just two or three hours as you won’t see it all.

The Highlands: The Highlands consist of

six regions: Skye and Lochalsh, Fort William and Lochaber, Aviemore and the Cairngorms, Moray, Inverness, Loch ness and Nairn, and the Northern Highlands. On this tour we dip into the southernmost highland region – Fort William and Lochaber.  Discover Touring

77


REGIONAL TOURING | SCOTLAND

 Discover More: Fort William is very much a working town under the shadow of mighty Ben Nevis – Britain’s highest mountain. Popular with back packers due to its fabulous lochside location and numerous mountain walks, the town is the starting point for the Road to the Isles – the A830 connecting Fort William to the coastal town of Mallaig. The area also boasts some of the best mountain biking terrain in the British Isles. Glencoe lies just to the south of Fort William, and is often considered one of the most beautiful and spectacular places in Scotland. The narrow (10 miles long and half a mile wide) glen is approached on the A82 and is surrounded by wild and precipitous mountains. The very name Glen Coe means “glen of weeping” – echoing the infamous massacre that took place here in 1692 when 80 men, women and children were killed in the name of King William – to collect the Cess tax) or died of homelessness in the highland winter, but its true place name origins have explanations that predate the massacre. Glencoe is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland, who have placed a fabulous visitor centre near the Glen, and are responsible for maintaining the wild nature of the land. For walkers, the West Highland Way is a key stopover from Rannoch Moor to the Devils Staircase, a steep cut which was formerly the old military road heading north. Just outside Glencoe is the Glencoe ski centre, whose car park (including motorhomes and caravans) is below the snowline, and about half a mile from the main A82 road.

Tour Summary:

• Vehicle: Roller Team 746 six-berth motorhome • Driver and passengers: 5 • St Andrews to Stirling 52 miles • Stirling to Fort William 98 miles • Fort William to Glencoe 17 miles • Total tour: 167 miles

Two very popular caravan club sites we stayed at were Balbirnie Park (for st Andrews, but also glenrothes and Kirkcaldy) – and Bunree for Fort William, glencoe and the Highlands.

Bunree – Lochside luxury. The Roller Team 746: if you are looking for style, comfort and reliability in a large motorhome, but without having to pay the earth, the roller Team 746 deserves a closer look. First off – it looks the business. Built on a Fiat Ducato chassis it is 7.43 metres long and 3.3 metres high to the apex of the overcab. The driving experience is unrushed, with responsive, sturdy and safe handling. As with most large motorhomes the power to weight ratio is quite low, which lends itself to gentle gear changes and some loss of speed on long uphill climbs. conversely, that is one of the real beauties of this machine – it eats up the miles on the motorway at a steady 65 mph. Around the twists and turns of the scottish Highlands the 746 was surefooted with great visibility (no wide pillars blocking the view of the next bend.) The reversing camera (available with the standard media kit) is a must have for a vehicle of this length.

T

78

Discover Touring

Roller team 746. it’s great for outdoors types, boasting as it does a modest garage for all your outdoor gear and the model we tested had a bicycle rack, too (fixing bracket as standard). A roof rack and ladder help make best use of the extra load carrying space up top – great for canoes and other large outdoor or sporting equipment. With 70mm of underfloor insulation and 30mm insulation in walls and roof, a Truma 3kw heater and blown air heating, the family can stay warm during all year round touring. The washroom is plush with bi-fold shower doors and makes use of the space very well, with yet more additional storage above the toilet. The great indoors – the spacious 746.

Above and beyond: Why not

continue your tour of historic Scotland with a trip to Dunstaffnage castle? Located 3 miles north of Oban (and 32 miles from Glencoe), Dunstaffnage, built in 1240, was a stronghold for the MacDougall clan, and provides a tangible link to the struggle with Norway for control of the West coast and its islands. Since then the castle has been embroiled in successive conflicts as Scottish monarchs struggled to control the unruly west. Or why not go further still, on to Inverness and Loch Ness, for a boat trip and some monster spotting (81 miles from Glencoe). Along the way look out for the Whisky distilleries so you can bring a taste of Scotland home with you.

bed is a great place for storing sheets, pillows and duvets for all three double beds during the day. The dinette seats six comfortably with the addition of the table extension. A continuous run of stylish overhead lockers to both the lounge and dinette areas means even more storage for clothes, gadgets and games. At night the layout is transformed to three double beds, the dinette (1835mm x 1250mm), the rear double bed for mum and dad (2160mm x 1700mm), and the overcab bed, (2160mm x 1500mm).

Roller team 746. on the daytime layout the large rear lounge gives ample room for the whole family, whilst retaining excellent storage capacity beneath the u shaped seating. When travelling to a full complement of 6 this extra storage space is most valuable. Being well built and ergonomic, changing from daytime to night-time layout is pretty effortless, and the overcab

This family favourite roller Team 746 will set you back £43,995 (at time of going to press), and is a serious challenger to any six-berth motorhome out there, in terms of value for money. easy to drive, three double beds and tons of space make it a great starter machine for any family for whom safe, versatile touring and intelligent use of space are the most important considerations.


Feel

at home

in Ireland for less.

Sail to Ireland with Irish Ferries from only ÂŁ109 one way for you and your motorhome. Then you can stay where you like, with the best of fully serviced, five star motorhome holiday spots to choose from throughout the four green provinces of Ireland. Travel is a holiday with Irish Ferries.

H878

Call The Caravan Club now on 01342 316 101 or book online at

From ÂŁ109 online fare for you and your motorhome (up to 8m long) is valid for midweek travel (Tues & Wed) on early morning cruise ferry departures up to 26.06.13 and from 03.09.13 to 18.12.13. Discover Touring Must be booked a min. of 41 days in advance of travel date. Subject to availability. Credit / Debit card charges apply. Terms and conditions apply. See irishferries.com.

79


REGIONAL TOURING | IRELAND

Ireland culture You don’t generally need extra reasons to visit Ireland, but now you have two that will surely make 2013 the year to go. Contributors: Seth Linder, Caroline Mills

T

here’s a saying that the world is composed of those who are Irish and those who would like to be. It isn’t true of course. We all have a bit of Irish in us! It’s just that you don’t discover it until you’re in the country itself, where even the frostiest façade will melt with the non-stop conviviality, easy warmth and engaging culture of the locals. This year is certainly the best time to put that theory to the test. Why? Firstly, because Ireland is throwing the biggest party in its history and it’s open to all, whether your roots are green are not. Secondly, there’s a mega celebration in the historic walled city of Derry~Londonderry where you can immerse yourself in an unbelievable variety of cultural happenings. The first event is the Gathering, a year-long celebration of all things Irish, with thousands of events, great and small, taking place 80

DISCOVER TOURING

right around the country. The second is the inaugural UK City of Culture, taking place in Derry-Londonderry throughout 2013. Situated at the westerly edge of Northern Ireland, Derry~Londonderry is right on the border with the Republic of Ireland, just a short drive from the stunningly beautiful county of Donegal. It’s also within easy access of the dramatic Causeway Coast, along the northern coast of Northern Ireland, one of the world’s most beautiful drives. Touring in Ireland is entirely pleasurable. With the exception of rush-hour around Dublin and Belfast – easily negotiable – roads are generally quiet and traffic-free. New roads make getting to the west coast quick and easy – if you have to be quick that is, as you’ll miss so much. Take your time and relish the scenery.

Family Days Out:

The Causeway Coast Drive A perfect family day out is the Causeway Coast Drive (www.causewaycoastandglens.com). After a day or two soaking up the unique cultural delights of Derry, head out past Limavady towards Mussenden Temple, a romantic folly perched high above the sea. If it’s a sunny day take a slight detour to nearby Benone Beach, a long, golden stretch of sand with a spectacular mountain backdrop. Along the coast you can choose from traditional seaside resorts like Castlerock, Portrush and Portstewart, as well as two of the island’s most famous attractions. One of the world’s most remarkable places to visit, the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, now boasts a £17 million new visitor centre. Try and take the charming little steam train from nearby Bushmills to it if you can. And


REGIONAL TOURING | IRELAND

if you’ve any energy left, drive a little further to test your nerve crossing the Carrick-ARede Rope Bridge, swinging high above the ground. Ulster American Folk Park and the history of emigration, Omagh A slightly longer drive from Derry– Londonderry takes you to one of the most fascinating outdoor museums in Europe. Just before you get to Omagh, you’ll find the Ulster American Folk Park (www. nmni.com/uafp) where you can follow the emigration trail from the thatched cottages of Ulster, board a (static) emigration ship and then find yourself in the log cabins and wood houses of frontier America. All the buildings are authentic, some shipped in pieces from the US. Along the way you’ll meet costumed living history characters, maybe cooking up some local fare. Highly recommended. Marble Arch Caves, Fermanagh Also within a couple of hours drive of DerryLondonderry are the magical Marble Arch Caves (www.marblearchcavesgeopark.com), part of a spectacular Geopark. You can take an electrically powered boat journey on a subterranean river deep underground, gliding through some of Europe’s finest showcaves. While there, find out about other nearby attractions, like Cuilcagh Mountain Park, Burren Forest and the source of the might Shannon River, the Shannon Pot.

Cultural Britain – History and Heritage:

The Cattle Raid of Cooley re-enactment, Ardee Irish mythology is among the most renowned in the world and the most famous mythological saga of all is the Cattle Raid of Cooley, thought to be Europe’s oldest vernacular tale. As part of The Gathering, you can take part in a thrilling re-enactment (www.tainmarch.com) of the raid in the very area the tale was set. Join the army of Queen Maeve of Connaught at Ardee on Thursday June 7th and watch the fatal battle of the mighty warriors and friends, Ferdia and Cuchulainn, before a feast in Ardee Castle. Then march towards Carlingford with more re-enactments on the way before participating in the Cuchulainn banquet on June 10th. Limerick Festival – An Irish July 4th Thanks to The Gathering, July 4th isn’t just a big day in America. Make your way to the medieval heart of Limerick, in the southwest of Ireland, and you’ll find yourself in the middle of Limerick Festival (www.4thjulylimerick.com), a feast of music, entertainment and fun with an American slant. There’s so much to explore while you’re there. Start with King John’s Castle on King’s Island, whose unique history is chronicled at its multi-million pound new visitor centre. Also look out for the superbly restored 18th century Bishop’s Palace, St Mary’s Cathedral, the Limerick Museum and the Hunt Museum. Within an hour’s drive of the ancient city you’ll find great lakes, stone-age homesteads and magnificent castles too. The greatest stories ever told, West Cork If you can hang around for a few days at summer’s end you can enjoy the finest festival dedicated to one of Ireland’s 

Main picture: Derry-Londonderry. Above: The Giant’s Causeway. Right: March to Carlingford as part of the re-enactment of the Cattle Raid of Cooley. DISCOVER TOURING

81


REGIONAL TOURING | IRELAND

Top left: Surfing in Ireland. Top right: The Torc Waterfall along the Kerry Way. Bottom right: The Killarney Lakes along the Kerry Way.

oldest art forms, the Cape Clear Island International Storytelling Festival (www.capeclearstorytelling.com) from September 6th to 8th, on Ireland’s most southerly inhabited island in West Cork. The festival, also part of The Gathering, brings the best of Irish and international storytellers together for three days of wonder, mirth and magic. Why not take a day out while touring the beautiful Cork countryside, with boats taking you to the island (which also has a campsite) from Balitmore and Schull. It’s a taste of traditional Ireland you’ll never forget.

The Great Outdoors:

Surf Safari, Co Kerry Ireland’s west coast is not just famed for its beauty these days. Over the last few years a thriving surf industry has developed with excellent surf schools established to take advantage of some of Europe’s best waves. As part of The Gathering, you are invited to a ‘surf safari’ (www.surfsafari.ie) from August 15th to 23rd, at Castlegregory in Co Kerry. It’s open to everyone who loves surfing and should be a spectacular affair. In recent times Kerry has become the food capital of Ireland, and you’re a scenic drive away from its most famous foodie haven, the town of Kenmare. Make sure you burn the calories off on those boards! Walking the Kerry Way In between Castlegregory and Kenmare you’ll find one of the most beautiful walks Ireland has to offer, The Kerry Way, which at a mere 215 kilometres is the country’s longest walking trail. However, with 21 sections of half-day walks included, don’t let the length put you off. It begins in the lovely town of Killarney and loops by lake and mountain around the Iveragh Peninsula and back again. The entire route is a Waymarked Way, meaning it is amply signposted with directions and details. 82

DISCOVER TOURING

Golfing with a view No other country of Ireland’s size has contributed quite so many top contemporary golfers. It’s little wonder when you see where they get to learn their trade. Around the coast you’ll find breathtaking links courses of high quality and there’s many a five star parkland course inland too. In Sligo, for instance, you could spend an entire holiday playing different world-class courses every day from Strandhill and Enniscrone to beautiful County Sligo (Rosses Point) beneath Ben Bulben mountain. It’s an experience every keen golfer should try at least once (www.golf.discoverireland.ie).

Towns and Villages:

Ramelton and Rathmullan, Donegal If you do base yourself near Derry during UK City of Culture, you’re spoiled for choice for fascinating towns and villages to explore. Nearby Donegal has plenty to offer, including the lovely villages of Ramelton (www.ramelton.net) and Rathmullan, about seven miles apart on the Fanad Peninsula. Its elegant Georgian buildings and warehouses, leading down to the quay, and its charming traditional pubs make Ramelton a must when travelling this part of Donegal. Rathmullan, home of the Flight of the Earls Heritage Centre, on the site where the departure of the Gaelic earls changed Irish history forever, is equally beautiful.

Limavady – home of Danny Boy, Londonderry What could be more Irish than ‘Danny Boy’? Just a short drive from Derry is the town of Limavady, where Jane Ross collected the ‘Londonderry Air’, the tune of Danny Boy, from a local fiddler. The Danny Boy Festival is celebrated here each June. The Limavady Union Workhouse is one of the best remaining examples of an original workhouse in Ireland. Best of all you’re within a few minutes drive of stunning scenery, such as Roe Valley Country Park, just three miles outside town. Discover the history of the O’Cahan clan who once ruled here and trace the story of Ireland’s first electricity and the local linen industry. Bellaghy, County Derry Ireland’s most famous living poet, Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, grew up in the area around Bellaghy in County Derry. You can see a fascinating exhibition of his work at Bellaghy Bawn, a 400-year-old fortified house in the village. Also to see is a life-size bronze figure called The Turf Man, which is a stunning representation of his best-known poem, Digging. The beautiful wider area around Bellaghy, known as ‘Heaney Country’, is littered with references from his poems. You can get the information for a driving tour at Bellaghy Bawn.

T


REGIONAL TOURING | IRELAND

 Discover Extra – Derry-Londonderry, UK City of Culture 2013: There were wild celebrations in the atmospheric walled city of Derry-Londonderry (www.derryvisitor.com) when the news came through they had won the first UK City of Culture. Now the year is well underway and the city, recently voted the 4th best small city in the world to visit by Lonely Planet, is buzzing with a range of events and activities. There’s much to see here in ordinary years so make sure you leave plenty of time to explore. The most complete set of walls in Ireland, the last built in Europe, will be heaving with living history re-enactments and all kinds of cultural happenings, as will the cobbled streets of the old town that lies within them. Among the major celebrations will be the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, the world’s biggest celebration of Irish culture (also part of The Gathering), which will attract 300,000 visitors between August 12th and 18th for the finest Irish dance and music, performed throughout the city. St Colmcille founded the city in the 6th century and his achievement is celebrated in a spectacular river-based performance over three days in June, devised by the man who wrote the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony. There’ll be special festivals of jazz, electronic, pop and classical music, an appearance by the London Symphony Orchestra in July, as well as a Walled City Tattoo, wonderful drama, poetry and dance and so much more. That, really, is just a small taste of what is on offer, so for detailed up-to-date information check the City of Culture website (www.cityofculture2013.com).

Itinerary:

Day 1– Begin with a walking heritage trail within the walled city to gather your bearings. Visiting the City Gates and the Guildhall, with its highly ornate façade, is a must. Then view the architecture from the River Foyle, taking a leisurely boat trip through the city centre. Stay: Elaghvale Camping Park, Derry; www.elaghvalecampingpark.co.uk Day 2 – Explore the Inishowen Peninsula, taking the picturesque coastal road to Greencastle where you can view the Martello Tower across Lough Foyle, sunbathe on the blue-flag beach at Culdaff and visit Malin Head, Ireland’s most northerly point. On your return to the city, stop off at Grianan Ailigh, Burt, an ancient stone ring fort. Stay: Elaghvale Camping Park, Derry; www.elaghvalecampingpark.co.uk Day 3 – Take the Causeway Coast Drive and see the spectacular views from the Mussenden Temple. Visit The Coastal Zone countryside centre at Portrush and take the Bushmills Railway to the Giant’s Causeway. Stay: Ballyness Caravan Park, Bushmills; www.ballynesscaravanpark.com.

 Discover Where to Stay:

 Discover More:

Adare Camping and Caravan Park: On the outskirts of Adare,

Getting There by Car Ferry

considered one of the prettiest villages in Ireland, the park is surrounded by farmland through which to wander and enjoy the countryside. Washroom facilities include those for the disabled. Perfect for visiting Limerick’s 4th July celebrations. Adare, Co. Limerick; Tel +353 61 395376; www.adarecamping.com

The Hideaway Camping and Caravan Park: A quiet, rural

family-run park, ten minutes walk from the market town of Skibbereen on the southwest coast. The park caters for caravans and motorhomes, all pitches with hardstanding, with a separate area for tents. Skibbereen, Co. Cork; Tel +353 28 22254

Anchor Caravan Park:

A sheltered park with direct access to a beautiful sandy beach. An ideal base for touring the Ring of Kerry, Killarney and the Dingle Peninsula, as well as walking the Kerry Way. Castlegregory. Co. Kerry; Tel +353 66 7139157; www.anchorcaravanpark.com

Northern Ireland: Stena Line operates between Cairnryan and Belfast and Liverpool (Birkenhead) and Belfast. P&O Ferries sail between Cairnryan and Larne and Troon and Larne. Republic of Ireland: Stena Line has sailings between Fishguard and Rosslare, Holyhead and Dun Laoghaire, and Holyhead and Dublin. Irish Ferries operates between Holyhead and Dublin and Pembroke and Rosslare. P&O Irish Sea sail between Liverpool and Dublin, while the Fastnet Line sail operate between Swansea and Cork. www.stenaline.co.uk www.poferries.com www.irishferries.com www.fastnetline.com For a full list visit: www.discoverireland.com/gb/irelandplan-your-visit/getting-there/by-sea

Above: Adare Camping & Caravan Park. Right: The Hideaway Camping & Caravan Park.

Other Contacts: www.discovernorthernireland.com www.discoverireland.com www.thegatheringireland.com www.campingireland.ie

DISCOVER TOURING

83


ACTIVITIES | HISTORIC TOWNS AND CITIES

Dreaming spires Wherever your next touring holiday takes you, there’s bound to be a quaint cathedral city or magnificent market town within easy reach. Tim Gibson identifies how to make the most of them.

T

ake a drive along more or less any road in the UK, and sooner or later you’ll see the mighty spire of a cathedral reaching towards the heavens. Stop for a breather en route to your next location, and you’ll probably be within spitting distance of the cobbled square of an ancient market town.

84

DISCOVER TOURING

That’s the beauty of this country: every nook and cranny is steeped in history, meaning you can take a stroll through the ages wherever you happen to be. In cathedral cities, the biggest draw is often the cathedral itself. But the UK’s cities are about so much more than grand

places of worship. Whatever the size of the settlement, there will be hidden-away gems that live long in the memory. By far the best way to explore the UK’s historic towns and cities is to get out in the fresh air. Ditch the car and strike out on foot to get up close and personal with the narrow


ACTIVITIES | HISTORIC TOWNS AND CITIES

 Discover More: Five great Caravan Club sites for visiting the UK’s historic towns and cities: Salisbury Hillside, Wiltshire: Salisbury is home to the country’s tallest cathedral spire – and the cathedral green here is one of the most beautiful in the land. This site is also near to Winchester and Chichester – two more great cathedral cities. York Beechwood Grange, Yorkshire: It’s said that people have lived in York since 6,000 BC, so a trip there puts you in touch with thousands of years of history. St David’s Lleithyr Meadow, Pembrokeshire: St David’s is the UK’s smallest cathedral city, and its pretty streets are a tonic from the hustle and bustle of most urban settlements. From here, you’re also well-placed to enjoy the stunning Pembrokeshire coastline. Stover Country Park, Devon: This site is located on the edge of Dartmoor, making it the ideal base for visits to historic market towns like Widecombe-in-the-Moor, and nearby Exeter. Black Horse Farm, Kent: Think great cathedrals and Canterbury will soon come to mind. Black Horse Farm puts you within easy reach of this pretty city.

Top left: If you’re visiting a cathedral when a service is going on, why not go and listen to the choir in full voice? Credit: Richard Lappas Middle left: Exeter’s stunning West front, at the very heart of the city. Credit: Ron Turner Bottom left: York Minster provides an architectural treat, from the inside… Credit: York Minster Main image: …and from the outside. Credit: York Minster Bottom right: A cathedral tour provides interest for the whole family. Credit: York Minster

streets and characterful buildings. That way, you can pop in and out of the independent shops that thrive in such places, and stop in for a cuppa at any café that takes your fancy. If you really want to get to know your location, look out for a guided tour. These

are on offer in many places, and provide the perfect way of appreciating every inch of their distinctive geography. Guide or no guide, you’re sure to find that spending time in one of our nation’s great towns or cities is extremely rewarding. One of the great delights of cathedrals is,

ultimately, the peace and quiet to be found within. No need to make small talk, no need to think too hard about much - just take some time to gather your thoughts and ponder. There’s treasure in those streets – and the good news is that you don’t have to search too hard to unearth it.

T

DISCOVER TOURING

85


touring | rEViEWS

Innovation & Technology The team at Discover Touring see many great products while on tour – here they select the best of the bunch. GM Wizard HD Class

The golden Media HD class is a fully featured HD satellite receiver that is no larger than a packet of cigarettes. Manufactured in germany it works from a 12-volt supply making it ideal for caravan and motorhome use. current consumption is a meagre 0.6 amps when running and less than 0.1 amps in standby. The unit is designed to be attached to the back of a Tv receiver (velcro would be a good way of doing this) and plugged in to an HDMi port via its short captive lead. it has something like 46 satellites stored in its memory with the capability to add new or delete old ones as required. The Wizard will work with both fixed and steerable dishes and has a conditional access slot that will accept conax viewing cards. it even has an ethernet port allowing connection to the internet for viewing YouTube videos and news feeds. With the receiver hidden away behind the Tv, remote control is via a small ‘magic eye’ infra red receiver that can be positioned next to the Tv or even stuck to the front of it. When we tried the Wizard HD on the Astra 2 satellite cluster at 28.5 degrees east it detected no less than 676 channels of which 298 were free to air. The HD ones were simply stunning when viewed on a large screen Tv. coping with all these channels is made easy by the ability to designate favourites and just display those in the menu system. in addition to receiving satellite signals the gM Wizard can also record programmes on to a usB stick for later playback. The playback facility extends to a range of media formats turning the device onto a media player. We found we were able to play back mpeg2, avi, flv, mkv and mov files but surprisingly, the mp4’s we tried rendered in sound only. You can also view a range of picture file formats and play music files. The gM Wizard class was supplied by Jacksons satellites of Wakefield to whom enquiries should be addressed www.jacksonsuk.com

Maxview VuQube

The Maxview vuQube is a portable satellite dish housed in a tough weatherproof box shaped a bit like a cube. inside is a high gain 37cm dish fitted with twin LnB’s that can be used to feed two receivers or a twin tuner Pvr. The dish, which is equivalent to a 54cm offset dish, is motorised and is steered by a remote control handset onto the satellite of your choice. The power for this is derived from the receiver’s LnB lead, making set up a simple affair. The vuQube needs to be positioned where it has a good view of the southern sky with its handle pointing north. A compass is provided to assist with this. it doesn’t matter if the surface is a bit uneven as the dish will self-level. once connected via one of the two 10 metre cables supplied you can retire to the comfort of your caravan or motorhome and use the remote control to steer the dish onto the satellite. This is not as difficult as it may sound and, with a bit of practice, we found we could get our Tv’s free to air receiver working within 2 minutes every time. The trick is to realise that, when moved to a new location, the vuQube needs very little further adjustment, as long as the handle points north and as long as the new location is not hundreds of miles from the previous one. sky boxes can be a bit slow to respond so, when testing ours, we found it best to use the box’s inbuilt signal strength meters, which can be accessed via the menu system. To be fair Maxview suggest this method whatever the receiver but we didn’t always find it necessary. With any desirable object theft is a concern so Maxview has provided a bracket to which a security cable can be attached. The bracket is not that strong but it would deter the casual thief and, of course, the vuQube is no use without its remote control. Although the vuQube weighs in at just 4.5kg it is fairly bulky to carry around. We were therefore delighted to discover that we could squeeze it into the storage area underneath the fixed bed in our test caravan. conclusion – The simple set up makes the vuQube ideal for technophobes. it’s also ideal for those who don’t want the expense a roof mounted dish, or the inconvenience of having such a dish obscured by a tree. The vuQube is widely available from Maxview stockists or contact Maxview for more details at: www.maxview.co.uk

86

Discover Touring


touring | REVIEWS Truma LevelCheck Finding out how exactly much gas is left in a metal gas cylinder has never been an easy task. For years the standard method was to weigh the cylinder and compare the result to that of the cylinder when empty. Now Truma has produced a hand held device that uses ultrasound to detect the level of liquid gas within the cylinder. All you have to do is to hold the device horizontally against the cylinder and push gently to operate the button sensor on the end. If liquid gas is detected a green light and double beep confirms its presence. If not there is a red light and single beep. With a little bit of practice it’s very easy to determine the exact level of gas within the cylinder. The LevelCheck is suitable for steel or aluminium gas cylinders with diameters between 200 and 350 mm. The device works equally well with propane and butane but does not work on plastic cylinders and might not work on metal cylinders fitted with level gauges. It may see pointless to use the device on the latter but, in

our experience, such gauges are not always accurate. Truma’s new level check won the coveted caravanning design award at the 2012 Dusseldorf show. The LevelCheck is available from caravan accessory shops and also online.

60 years of Aquaroll It is hard to believe that a simple invention developed 60 years ago in the heart of the Black Country has become an everyday part of life for caravaners throughout the UK and further afield. The Aquaroll is a water collection and storage unit, which has changed little over the past six decades, slowly building up a cult following in the caravan community. Enthusiasts Sue and Alan Cooper, of Bridgnorth in Shropshire, who own a limited edition Elite Compact Kit are typical Aquaroll addicts. “We simply couldn’t do without it – we love it. It is absolutely wonderful. Everything packs neatly into the bag, including pipes, connections and even a mains power cable. We take some of our young grandchildren with us and they greatly enjoy the fun and responsibility of using our Aquaroll.” The first Aquaroll was designed by Frank Hitchman at his engineering company in Lower Tindall Street, Birmingham, in 1953. His son Bob explained that Frank was a keen caravanner and saw a gap in the market as he watched people struggle with heavy jerry cans and metal buckets. “The first Aquaroll consisted of an aluminium barrel with rubber wheels and a tubular towing handle,” said Bob, who joined the family firm in 1968. In 1996 he oversaw the move to new factory premises at Ditton Priors, in Shropshire, in the mid 90s, together with his sister Janet. In 1996, a new plastic tank was introduced. Offering a larger 40 litre capacity to customers, together with changes to the wheels, handle and filling system, making the product lighter, easier to manoeuvre and far more hygienic. Bob then developed the range to include the Wastemaster container for taking away nontoilet waste. He recalls: “ My father told me about caravanners having to lug converted jerry cans

or heavy metal buckets of water around after the war and that is why he came up with the Aquaroll design. Aged seven, I featured on some of the partnership’s first advertising literature.” “Over the years we invested in specialist machinery and developed the production system to ensure quality control. This resulted in the Aquaroll and Wastemaster being manufactured on site.” “We have been lucky to have a dedicated workforce who know the product well and most have been with us for many years. Production Operator, Steve Brown has trimmed the vast majority of Aquarolls that have rolled off the production line over the past 25 years.” On reaching a certain age, Bob started looking into the possibility of selling the business. In 2011 a young Birmingham accountant James Griffin was so impressed with the business that he bought the company. During the past 12 months James has invested in both the factory and product range, with Bob still having an active role in the company. Marketing specialist Kathryn Holloway has been appointed to develop the company branding and export market. James commented: “I was so impressed with the product and the loyalty of its customers that I saw an opportunity for the firm to expand and with Bob’s guidance, we are currently working hard to reach a wider customer base.” “To celebrate this Diamond milestone in the company’s history we are producing a limited edition of Silver Aquarolls.” “We are looking at possible overseas markets, however, our main focus is concentrating on producing the same high standard of water carriers and accessories for customers in the UK, and we look forward to the next 60 years!” www.aquaroll.com

Discover Touring

87


Touring | REVIEWS

Dometic

Dometic

For 2013 the popular Dometic 3-way absorption coolbox range offers ultimate independence. The new RC 1205 GC model is the only coolbox on the market to integrate a holding bracket for 220g butane gas cartridges. Thus equipped, the box can be supplied with energy anytime and anywhere, without the need to lug heavy gas bottles around. The Dometic CombiCool RC 1205 GC still provides all the wellknown benefits of the absorption CombiCool series. It runs absolutely silently and operates on gas as well as on 12 volts DC or on a 230-volt mains hook-up. Its 40-litre capacity is sufficient for short trips or for use in the awning. The CombiCool RC 1205 RC offers reliable cooling up to 25°C below the ambient temperature and will even make ice cubes for a cool drink if required. Each unit is supplied with an ice cube tray, which fits neatly in the dedicated storage space on the evaporator of the box. www.my-caravanning.com

Climate control specialist Dometic has extended its range of ultra-compact, high-performance roof air conditioners for recreational vehicles. With the FreshJet 1700, the manufacturer now introduces a second air conditioner, lighter and smaller than any comparable unit of its class. Following in the footsteps of the FreshJet 1100, which was designed for vehicles up to five metres long, the 1700-watt sister model provides travelling climate as desired for motorhomes and caravans with a vehicle length up to six metres. A new four-zone diffuser system with convenient controls provides fresh air for all situations. The dimmable ambience lighting integrated in the frame creates a cosy atmosphere – conveniently by remote control. www.my-caravanning.com

Dometic Mobile cooling specialist WAECO has set another milestone with its new CoolFreeze CFX series of portable compressor coolers. The new CFX range has a deep-freezing capability down to -22 degrees centigrade, anytime and anywhere in the world and has achieved top ratings in energy efficiency class A++. This has been accomplished by means of a purpose-designed, high-performance compressor and an extra-strong insulation layer that has achieved considerable energy savings on the predecessor series. The coolest mobile compressor coolers of all time are available in four sizes, with 35, 40, 50 and 65 litres capacity. www.my-caravanning.com

88

Discover Touring


Check our website for details of annual shows and events... there’ll be one near you soon!

Technology that moves you

z

love sleep z love duvalay z z

Towbars and Wiring kits

z

z

z

z

z z

The ultimate in quality, safety and reliability

A success on

dr agons’ den Our award winning products include: • Lightweight luxury products with innovative Duvalite™ memory fibre technology • Fixed bed memory foam toppers & mattresses • Toppers that roll & store from £69.95 • The Duvalay memory foam sleeping bag

Towbar Mounted Load Carrier System

Shop online at

The ultimate in versatility & flexibility

01274 877 200

www.duvalay.co.uk Or call our order hotline

For more information about our full range of Towbars, Wiring Kits and Load Carriers visit our new website at

www.westfalia-automotive.co.uk Westfalia UK Ltd, St Albans House, St Albans Road, Stafford, ST16 3DP. Tel: 01785 226888 Discover Touring

89


Touring | REVIEWS

90

Isabella

Danbury

For the 2013 season, Isabella has launched an extensive range of stable but lightweight camping furniture. All furniture in the range can be folded to take up a minimum of space. Ideal for camping trips and furnishing the awning. This comprehensive selection includes, chairs, tables and storage cupboards, providing opportunities to suit all requirements. To finish the range Isabella has three models of folding cupboard. These cupboards have a smart folding method, which means that the cupboard can be closed like a suitcase. The four legs are ‘snapped’ in the fitting and folded into the cupboard for compact storage. www.isabella.net

Save up to £5,000 off ex display VW T2, VW Caddy and VW T5 camper van models at Danbury Motorcaravans. With over 100 camnpervans in stock Danbury are the UK’s largest VW camper specialist and also an official VW motorhome supplier. Over 10 interior layout designs to choose from ranging from two to eight seater camper van models, fixed low roof, raising roof or high top are all on offer. Low rate finance is available (subject to status) and part exchange on any make / model car, bike, caravan or boat. Recent customers include singer Jay Kay from Jamiroquai, Britains got Talent presenter Amanda Holden, Rolf Harris, Nick Park (creator of Wallace and Gromit ) and Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, to name but a few. New for 2013 are the VW T5 short and long wheel base models with a choice of single or double beds as well as new VW Caddy and Fiat Doblo models for Danbury’s small and easy to drive range. Check out the all new Danbury VW T5 model with electric rear slide out pod at www.doubleback.co.uk. This stunning new model allows a massive amount of internal living space all in an easy to drive, every day vehicle. Up to five travelling seats are available in this new model so it makes a great drive-every-day option. Both short and long wheel base models are available. www.danburymotorcaravans.com or Facebook page www.facebook.com/danburymotorcaravans

Discover Touring


Your awning is only the beginning... At Isabella we believe that your awning is your home from home. For the 2013 season, we offer an extensive range of accessories to enhance your caravanning experience. From annexes, to windscreens, to furniture and much, much, more. Feel at home with Isabella Your Outdoor Living Room. Visit www.isabella.net for further details.

Isabella International Camping Limited For more details, 2013 brochure and news all our accessories, & your nearest stockist: info@isabella.co.uk or tel. 01844 202099

www.isabella.net

Follow us Twitter: IsabellaAwnings Facebook: Isabella Awnings United Kingdom Discover Touring

91


rEViEWS | WAYS to ConnECt

Internet access on the move According to the office for national statistics 77% of uK households have internet access. For some getting away from it all means leaving the internet behind but the fact is that many of us want to stay in touch when we’re touring. it’s not just emails that are driving this but the meteoric rise of social networking sites such as Facebook along with video calls to friends and family using applications such as Apple’s FaceTime.

Public WiFi

Fortunately it’s never been easier to get internet access whilst away from home. Here Terry owen looks at some of the options.

Wi-Fi on campsites

one of the easiest ways to connect to the internet is via the thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots that can be found all over the uK and abroad. campsites, cafés, hotels, restaurants, public libraries, inter-city trains, airports etc. often have public Wi-Fi networks. in addition customers of BT’s home broadband package are automatically enrolled into BT Fon – a Wi-Fi service based on home users sharing access with others worldwide. The way it works is that a small portion of the Wi-Fi signal on the home router is dedicated to the BT Fon network and accessible to other Fon subscribers. The effect has been to create tens of thousands of public Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the uK. similar arrangements exist abroad so that members can log on for free anywhere they see the Fon Wi-Fi signal. BT broadband customers also get access to the BT Wi-Fi network (formerly known as ‘The cloud’) which gives access to 4.5 million hotspots in the uK and a further 3 million abroad.

Finding Wi-Fi hotspots

A steadily increasing number of campsites have Wi-Fi networks as owners can see the benefits in attracting customers. The caravan club has Wi-Fi on around 130 if its sites and the camping & caravanning club around 90 sites. Wi-Fi signals can be affected by buildings and trees so it’s not uncommon to have to walk around a campsite to pick up a good signal. one way round this is to invest in a Wi-Fi adapter with a high gain aerial. These just plug into a usB port on your computer and usually mean you can surf away from the comfort of your motorhome or caravan.

one of the easiest ways to find out what’s around in your area is to use one of the many phone apps designed for the purpose.

Many campsites now have Wi-Fi. This one in Norfolk has the Wi-Fi aerial on top of the reception building.

All these apps will help you to locate a public Wi-Fi network. These particular one are for the iPhone but similar version exist for Android phones.

92

Discover Touring


rEViEWS | WAYS to ConnECt Security issues

Public Wi-Fi networks are by their very nature insecure, meaning that it is possible for others to capture information you send and receive or even gain access to your Pc. You can limit the latter on a Windows Pc by selecting the public network option when you connect but the only way to fully protect the transmitted informat ion is to use an encrypted connection – something that is beyond the scope of this article. Mac users can turn on their firewall (system preferences/security/firewall) to limit incoming connections. Try to ensure that you only log on to authentic networks. Beware sites identifying themselves as ‘Free public Wi-Fi’ since they may have been set up with the sole purpose of stealing information.

Beware data charges

using the cell phone network to access the internet uses data, maybe lots of it depending on what you are doing. it can be easy to go over your limit and incur extra charges. Data charges when roaming abroad can be positively prohibitive. one solution is to unlock your device before going abroad (see panel) and then to purchase a local siM card.

International Sim cards

An alternative to buying a local sim card when abroad is to use an international one. They work with any uK network and with data services in 150 other countries. They can offer huge savings when compared to using a uK sim in europe although the savings are less in Asia, where it may be more cost effective to purchase a local sim card. Many counties will allow free incoming calls and top ups don’t always expire. Another advantage of global sim-cards is that the customer support will always be in english. Prices start at about £10 without credit.

Selecting ‘Public Network’ when connecting in Windows will help to prevent others seeing what is on your PC. It will not prevent them from seeing the information you transmit.

Speed issues

Public Wi-Fi networks tend to be slow. speeds may be limited artificially to prevent abuse but they also depend on the number of people using the service at any one time. The more users online the slower it will be as they all have to share the bandwidth available.

Via the cell phone network

The cell phone network can be good way to connect to the internet depending on the signal available (see panel). ideally a 3g signal is needed but it may be possible to manage with a slower signal. The networks with the best 3g coverage in the uK are currently orange, T-Mobile and 3. smartphones usually have email and surfing capabilities so, if you can put up with the screen size you may want for little more. it’s also usually possible to use a phone as a modem by plugging it in to the usB port on your Pc or Mac. Alternatively it may be possible to connect via Bluetooth. The next step along the line is to use a cell phone dongle. These come with their own siM cards and plug into a usB port on a Pc. The software needed to make them work is usually loaded onto the dongle and will install onto the Pc automatically once plugged in. it’s a good idea to choose a different network to that of your phone so extending the possibilities of getting a connection.

The large LNB on the end of this arm can transmit as well as receive.

A relatively new device that has appeared over the last two years is the MiFi dongle. This is a phone dongle that sets up a Wi-Fi network that computers and other devices can connect to. There is no software to worry about and it’s possible to connect up to 5 devices at once.

Left: A garden cell phone mast. Middle: 3’s Mi-Fi dongle. right: Cell phone dongle plugged into a laptop.

Discover Touring

93


rEViEWS | WAYS to ConnECt

saTellITe baseD sysTeMs if you simply have to have internet access wherever your touring takes you then a satellite based system could be the answer. You’ll need a fairly large dish (around 85cm) equipped with a two way LnB capable of both transmitting and receiving signal direct form a satellite and a suitable modem. in Western europe there are two providers – ses Broadband (formerly Astra 2 connect) and iPcopter. Both now use the Astra 3 satellite at 23.5 degrees east of south. Most of Western europe is covered although northern scotland and southern parts of spain and Portugal may be a little tricky depending on the provider and modem. The kit required is perhaps best suited for installation in a motorhome where a large self seeking dish may be mounted on the roof. needless to say satellite based systems don’t come cheap but they do offer the ultimate in connectivity. expect to pay £3,500 – £4,000 for a fully automatic system with installation. usage cost will be extra and very much dependent on the package chosen.

A selection of world Sims available via the internet and from some phone shops.

senDInG anD reCeIVInG eMaIls if you want to keep in touch by email whilst on the move the easiest solution is to use a web based service such as Hotmail, gmail or Yahoo. As the emails are stored remotely on the host’s servers all you need to access them is a web browser and your log in details. if you prefer to have your emails stored on your own Pc or mobile device then you will need to use an email client programme such as Windows Live Mail or outlook. This means settings up at least one email account by entering information such as incoming and outgoing mail servers. Anti-spam measures taken by most isP’s mean that unless you use their outgoing servers to send your mail they will block it. This can be quite a problem if using public Wi-Fi hotspots as the isP may be different in each case and it’s not always easy to find the right outgoing server settings. The tell tale sign of emails being blocked in this way is to see the message ‘Error 550 – Relay Denied’.

PUBLIC WI-FI SERVICES BT Wi-Fi

BT Wi-Fi is the new name for the service previously known as BT openzone. it is commonly found in public places such as airports, restaurants and bars. Access is free to BT broadband customers.

BT Wi-Fi with Fon

BT Wi-Fi with Fon is the new name for BT Fon. All BT home hubs are automatically opted in to this service so creating tens of thousands of hot spots all over the uK. Access is free to BT broadband customers.

The Cloud

The cloud is now a BskyB company and cloud Wi-Fi is free to sky customers. others can register to use the service for free.

94

Discover Touring

If the outgoing server setting is wrong for the network you are using you won’t be able to send emails. Browser based services such as Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo avoid this problem.

cloud Wi-Fi is available in thousands of public places such as café nero, giraffe, network rail, odeon cinemas, Wagamama and JD Wetherspoon.

Skype Wi-Fi

skype Wi-Fi (previously called skype Access) allows users to access the internet at commercial hotspots worldwide using skype credit. There are more than 100 participating networks. it is available as an app for Pc’s, tablets and smartphones.


rEViEWS | WAYS to ConnECt

unloCKInG a PHone or DonGle

U

nlocking your device means it can be used with any compatible Sim card on any network. This could improve your chances of getting a good signal and give to access to cheaper tariffs especially if you use a local Sim card abroad. Also Sim only contacts tend to be much cheaper than those where a phone is included and an unlocked phone is worth more on the open market than a locked one. Contrary to what some believe it is not illegal to unlock a phone but it may invalidate the warranty. There are several ways in which a phone or dongle may be unlocked: 1. Ask your current provider to do it for you (recommended) if you’re still in contract there may be a charge for this (typically £20) but, if not, it could well be free. You will be asked for your iMei number which is a unique number assigned to you phone. You can access it by typing *#06# into your handset. You may be sent an unlocking code or the unlocking may be done remotely but can take 72 hours or longer for the unlocking to work. 2. Obtain the unlocking code from an online provider You give them your iMei number (see above) and they send you an unlock code to enter into your phone.

3. Go to a high street unlocker Try phone shops, markets, key-cutters and even some newsagents. if they can’t unlock your phone you won’t be charged. 4. DIY using a clip and cable This involves using a data cable and software specific to your phone. Available online, prices vary from a tenner up to about £60. This method works with most sony ericsson, Motorola, nokia, Panasonic, siemens and samsung gsM cell phones. 5. Flashing with new firmware from the device manufacturer This wipes out network branding and removes restrictions. only attempt this method if you are 100% certain you know what you are doing as mistakes could render your device unusable. 6. Unlocking an iPhone Apple holds a central register of all its phones and whether they are unlocked or not. You provider needs to tell Apple to register your phone as unlocked. The unlocking is then done via iTunes. This can take 7 – 10 working days.

neeD To KnoW ... JarGon busTer... GSM

gsM (global system for Mobile communications) is the standard by which the majority of mobile phones within europe work. gsM phones are primarily used for voice communication but may be used for internet access via gPrs (see below).

GPRS

sometimes known as 2g, gPrs is was the first cell phone technology for delivering internet data. it is slow with speeds ranging from 20-40kbps.

EDGE

HSDPA sometimes referred to as 3.5g HsDPA is an evolution of the 3g uMTs network. coverage is limited when compared to the standard 3g network but speeds of 500kbps are common.

4G roll out of 4g began in the uK on 30th october 2012 when mobile operator everything everywhere (operating under the orange and T-Mobile brands) switched on its service in 11 cities across the uK. other operators are due to follow in the spring of 2013. 4g is much faster than 3g with typical speeds of 8-12Mbps.

commonly termed 2.5g, eDge is much faster than gPrs with typical speeds of around 200kbps. officially it’s part of the 3g network, but at the slower end

3G 3g or third generation is much faster than 2g. it covers a variety of technologies including eDge, uMTs and HsDPA. A phone displaying 3g is usually connected to a uMTs signal. Typical speeds are in the range 300-400kbps.

Discover Touring

95


PRACTICAL | TOWING

What can I tow with my car? John Wickersham, author of The caravanning Handbook, steers you in the right direction.

“I wonder what type of caravan I could safely tow with my car?” That’s a question many people ask; and sometimes the answer is, “Nothing!”

I

f, by chance, you own a recent Aston Martin, a Porsche sports model, an MGF, or an early Ford Ka, you’re out of luck where towing’s concerned. These particular vehicles were not designed to tow anything at all, and experts explain this using esoteric gobbledygook like ‘homologation issues’. But don’t be too concerned. Thousands of cars can be used to tow a caravan, provided the pairing is sound. You just need compatible partners.

96

Discover Touring

Finding the perfect match

In January 2011, The Caravan Club introduced a service which offers its members an ‘Outfit Matching Service’. Today, it now proposes more than 750,000 safe car and caravan combinations. To provide this advice, there’s a huge data store which includes details on 11,057 caravans and 58,276 cars. However, by the time you read this, information on 2013 models will have also been added as well.

For the last few years, several agencies have operated similar services to whom enquirers pay a fee for information about their proposed towing partnerships. However, members of The Caravan Club can spend hours on its website mixing and matching car’s and ‘vans without paying a penny. Alternatively, they can telephone the Technical Team between 9.00am and 5.30pm, Monday to Fridays (Public holidays excepted) on Tel: 01342 336611.


PRACTICAL | TOWING

The caravan club’s ‘outfit matching service’ has been running for more than two years.

if you don’t use a computer, car/caravan matches can be discussed over the ‘phone.

some potential caravanners use the car they already own and search for caravans that it could easily and safely tow.

This is one of several attractions about Club membership. However, to promote safe caravanning, the Manager of Technical Services reports that non-members can usually receive help by telephone, too, although pairing proposals might have to be brief. A notable feature about The Club’s service is the fact that it adopts a ‘two prong’ strategy. Some potential caravanners already own a reliable car and want to establish what caravans it would be able to tow in safety. Other potential owners work the other way round. They fall in love with a caravan first and then search for cars that could tow it. When you seek matching advice by internet, information needed about your car includes: make/range/model/year/body type/fuel/transmission, etc. Caravan information needed includes: make/range/model/min berth/max berth/ min age/max age, etc.

After you’ve provided information, a ‘Results list’ appears which includes ticks (where matching elements are good), exclamation marks (to denote a possible pairing but with reservations) and a cross (to indicate unsuitability for reasons explained). Then you select a section marked ‘Details’ which gives percentage ratings and comments about: • Kerbweight ratios (relative weights of car and caravan) • Towing limitations (based on a vehicle manufacturer’s data) • Combined weight (which mustn’t exceed the car’s GTW limit) • Noseweight recommendation (Discussed later in this account) • BHP per ton (engine power capability). Finally, a list of ‘Frequently Asked

other potential owners fall in love with a caravan first – then search for cars that would be capable of towing it.

Questions’ (FAQs), rounds-up this remarkable service. Now let’s explore some issues at stake, starting with the matter of weights.  Discover Touring

97


PRACTICAL | TOWING

Top left: Matching services need to know if a tow car has a manual gearbox or an automatic transmission. Middle top: When The caravan club evaluates outfit suitability, a caravan’s bed provision details are needed. Middle: As the label on this ‘van makes quite clear, it must never be loaded up to weigh in excess of 1184kg. Middle bottom: coupling head stabilizers don’t cure ill-matched outfits but help reduce instability caused by external influences. Top right: Both national caravanning clubs run annual towcar competitions and fully comply with issues of weight. Bottom right: This class-winning vW Passat has key items of data expressed on a panel compiled by the organisers.

Weight relationships

Participants attending The Caravan Club’s towing courses are issued with The Essential Guide to Caravanning and Motorcaravanning. This points out that a car’s weight is usually more significant than the size of its engine. That might seem surprising – although there’s no suggestion that engine power doesn’t matter. It does! And that’s explained later. But why this concern about vehicles’ weights? The issue is mainly related to safety. For example, the total weight of a laden caravan should not be greater than the weight of its towcar. Ideally, it should weigh a lot less. If that’s ignored, any instability arising when a car is towing can become a serious hazard. In fact it is often pictorially stated that the ‘tail’ might start wagging the ‘dog’. I learnt what that means in a moment of madness. Some years ago I was a passenger in a car proceeding along a fast dual carriageway. Ahead was a large glider trailer being towed by a small Ford Escort. Suddenly, a brief gust of wind caused the trailer to swing and its pendulum actions got worse. It was the trailer which turned over first and the coupled car dutifully rolled over next. Thankfully, the driver/pilot was unhurt; but his car, trailer and glider were left in a terrible mess. The facts were clear: car too light and too small for the job, huge long trailer, poor loading, disproportionate weights, driving too fast, and (probably) inadequate noseweight. Incidents like this are rare but let’s face facts. External forces such as: gusts of wind, 98

Discover Touring

suction effects from overtaking high-sided vehicles, and badly damaged road surfaces, are unavoidable. However, there are precautionary measures to cope with these threats. For example, the lighter a laden caravan compared with its towcar the better. In consequence, the UK caravanning clubs strongly recommend that it’s best if the total laden weight of a caravan doesn’t exceed 85% of its towing vehicle’s ‘Mass in running order’. (MRO and often called ‘kerbweight’.) To calculate this % ratio, you need to know the total weight of your caravan when fully loaded for a holiday trip. [Pic DT (9)] This is called its Actual Laden Weight (ALW) and this should never exceed the manufacturer’s stated Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass (MTPLM). Note: The MTPLM is often shown on a plate affixed to the caravan itself. You also need to know your loaded towcar’s MRO (kerbweight) to complete the formula as follows: Caravan ALW ÷ Towcar MRO x 100 = % ratio. Don’t forget that the 85% weight ratio between a car and caravan is a recommended relationship. It is neither a legal requirement nor a ‘Rule’. Club technical advisers also add that knowledgeable, experienced drivers who tow regularly might work with a higher weight ratio – as long as the weight of the caravan is less than the weight of the car. Not surprisingly, both caravanning clubs strictly follow weight-related recommendations when conducting their annual towing award competitions.

Finding out your car’s MRO (‘kerbweight’)

An irritating issue that confronts newcomers to caravanning is the remarkable number of abbreviations like MAM, MPW, GVW, GTW, MRO, MTW, MTPLM, MTPM, ALW and so on. Welcome to the crazy world of motoring! But don’t be deterred. One of the best ways to find what these important terms mean is to get your free copy of The Caravan Towing Guide (Details appended). Some of these terms also receive mention in the accompanying report Caravanning and the Law by John Parsons. However, pertinent comments need adding in respect of a towing vehicle’s MRO or ‘kerb weight’. This all-important figure should be given in your car’s Owner’s Manual and, as The Caravan Towing Guide points out, this is ‘the weight of the car as defined by the car manufacturer’. But there’s a problem. The Towing Guide warns that some manufacturers include the weight of a driver in their calculations (but ignore the weight of passengers). Others, however, choose NOT to include the weight of the driver. There’s also the fact that a manufacturer’s quoted MRO won’t take into account later additions like your towbar, towball, and towing ‘electrics’. The NCC advises that these towing elements typically add 25kg to the quoted MRO. [Pic DT (14)] Don’t forget either that you need your car’s MRO when working out what type of caravan it might be able to tow. Frankly,


PRACTICAL | TOWING

Top left: very useful information is presented in The caravan Towing guide which is a free publication from the ncc. Middle: As a guide, the ncc advises that towing equipment adds around 25kg to a car manufacturer’s quoted Mro. Middle bottom: various devices measure caravans’ noseweights and alterations are made by re-positioning equipment inside. Top right: The label on this towbar shows that a trailer or small caravan’s noseweight must not exceed 50kg. Middle right: one test in The caravan club’s Towcar of the Year award investigates how much gear a car can carry. Bottom right: Putting a loaded car and holiday-packed caravan on a weighbridge establishes an outfit’s ‘gross train weight.

the best way to get accurate information is to check your car on a weighbridge. Then, one by one, get your clothed passengers and good self on some scales back at home to find what you would add to the car.

Power to weight ratio

After paying attention to stability factors, let’s now consider the matter of power. Most car manufacturers also state a maximum trailer weight (MTW) for each of their models and that’s based on factors such as: • an engine’s performance characteristics, • the structural strength of a vehicle, • the transmission type, • type of brakes, • the strength and suitability of its suspension system. In effect the manufacturer’s trailer weight limit is another constraint that is wholly different from the weight ratio considerations that affect safety through stability. Moreover, you sometimes find that compliance with a car manufacturer’s limits is even more restricting on caravan choices than your efforts to achieve an 85% car/caravan weight ratio. Naturally, you have to keep within the lower of the two figures, and if you were to exceed a car manufacturer’s trailer limit, this could have legal implications and might invalidate your insurance cover.

Gross Train Weight (GTW)

Equally important is yet another towing limit that car manufacturers impose. Known

as a vehicle’s GTW, this maximum permitted weight, (often stated on a plate mounted in the engine compartment) refers to the total allowable weight of a fully laden car together with its fully laden caravan. This is sometimes called the ‘combined weight’ of an outfit.

Caravan noseweight and towbar load limits

Now for noseweight and the need to load a caravan so its coupling hitch exerts a downforce on the towball. Within reason, the greater the noseweight the better. However, a tow bar has a limit to what it can support – and so does a car’s rear suspension. Some cars cope well with large loads at the back whereas others sink down with the mildest of weight.Assistance devices are on sale, but advice should be sought before altering a towcar’s suspension. To achieve acceptable stability, The Caravan Club recommends a minimum noseweight between 5 and 7% of the weight of a laden caravan. So a caravan needs weighing to calculate this figure. Then, you check what the towbar designed for your car can support, and adjust the noseweight to suit. Note: Contrary to common belief, 7% is not the ‘ideal’ or ‘optimum’ noseweight. It’s an adequate downforce which most cars are able to accept. If you have a rugged off-road 4x4 vehicle with a towbar which can take even more noseweight than the 7% figure, increasing it can improve stability even more.

Conclusion

Once you’ve established a good partnership, get a reputable specialist to install a good quality tow bar and electrical supply system. Then check your outfit on a weighbridge – which far too many owners persistently ignore. Detailed guidance on finding and using caravan-friendly weighbridge operators is given in The Caravanning Handbook, described below. Once these safety precautions have been followed, it is time to discover the pleasures ahead.

o

Purchasing a caravan, putting it into operation and holiday advice are included in the caravanning Handbook.

Acknowledgement: Thank you to The caravan club for providing three photographs from Towcar of the Year events. Discover Touring

99


PRACTICAL | TOWBARS

CONFIDENCE AND CONTROL

THE CONFIDENCE TO DEAL WITH WHAT YOU CAN SEE,THE TECHNOLOGY TO CONTROL WHAT YOU CAN’T. The AL-KO ATC anti-snake system is proven to improve the stability of the towing outfit, providing Comeconfidence and see us and at stand 2060, Hall 20 to your experience theIfaward winning ATC you with the maximum control throughout journey. you are buying a new system, and book your Retro-fit Retro-fitting your new ATC anti-snake caravan, AL-KO ATC is now offered by most of thetoday. leading caravan manufacturers. If you are couldn’tyour be easier. contactATC us tocan book yourbeRetro-fit at our Factory, looking to protect device and upgrade currentSimply investment, easily retrofitted through on your own driveway by or ourmobile approved mobile fitment agent, CMI. our UK network oforPremium Fitment Centres fitting service.

Factory Retro-fit bookings and further information - 01926 818500 Mobile fitment bookings - 0800 389 4648 | www.al-koatc.co.uk QUALITY FOR LIFE

100 Discover Touring


PRACTICAL | SITE ELECTRICS

Site electrics

ATC - PROVEN SAFETY

AL-KO ATC is more than just a caravan accessory - it is proven to improve safety and stability, and is the essential investment for you and your caravan.

demystified

AL-KO ATC is the only caravan braking system proven to sensitively take control of dangerous and frightening driving scenarios that can occur when towing vehicles.

ATC Trailer Control supports responsible towing ensuring that in any critical situation you may encounter, you have the maximum chance of a safe recovery.

Even in less extreme situations, such as inclement weather Author: Barry Norris or being caught in the air stream around HGV’s, vans and Since the launch in 2007, AL-KO ATC has received coaches, ATC gives you the confidence to deal with what you can the highest recommendations from the caravan industry. Although caravans and motorhomes can easily be used see, and the technology to control what you can’t. AL-KO continue to test the system, in a range of driving

without the benefit of mains electricity it is a fact that many environments with the world’s most renowned automotive The majority of caravan manufacturers in the UK offer ATC testing organisations. owners like to enjoy the benefits of hairdryers, microwaves Trailer Control as standard or as an option on their vehicle other appliances cannot beretrofitted powered from the ranges. that ATC can easily be to many older caravans If you don’t have AL-KO ATC fitted to yourand caravan, or are built on an AL-KO Chassis, through our network of Premium considering a new caravan this year, take a look at the strong vehicle’s battery. Fitment Centres and mobile fitting service covering the UK. evidence that proves ATC is more than just an accessory - it is

L

the essential investment for you and your caravan.

uckily most site pitches include an 12 volt equipment, usually in conjunction electrical hook up point where you can with an on board leisure battery. plug in your vehicle and enjoy similar For many years new caravans and comforts to those at home. motorhomes have been supplied with a 25m e following guide isto designed to help length of cable sufficient to “hook up” to the It may sound dramatic, but it’s noThunderstatement say that ATC could save you understand the constraints of a site hook nearest electrical supply bollard, which in your life – even if it’s only called upon in your of a caravan. up and giveonce you some tips toownership ensure you use the UK should not be more than 20m from electricity safely in the UK and abroad. your pitch. This sturdy flexible cable ensures Who could possibly pick fault with that? a safe weather-proof electrical connection The Campsite and Caravan systems between the campsite supply bollard and A campsite mains supply can be used to Winds &caravan. Buffeting = Increased Chance of Lateral Movement power 230 volt electrical equipment tted Bollards come difflarge erent shapes High side winds or thefidisplacement of air around HGV’s andin other road vehiclesand can cause severe buffeting and increase lateral movement ofhook the car up and cable caravan. your unit and portable equipment sizes. On some sites the plug is G THE SN AKinto N I I NG T EF add, like toasters and kettles. In EN you may simply a push fi t into the socket, but you will V FE E R addition the mains supply is used indirectly fi nd other sockets that require the plug to be C P T via the caravan power supply unit to operate pushed in and then rotated to connect.  Pitching

Snaking effect

ATC provides instant braking, ‘pulling’ the caravan back in line with the towing vehicle and suppressing the ‘snaking’ effect

Car decelerates - delay as caravan decelerates

PITCH & PIVOT

PRESSURE

Speed of car and caravan is no longer uniform ATC brakes the caravan/trailer helping to bring the ‘snaking’ under control. This will happen before even an experienced driver begins to apply the A L U brakes and slow down. O T OM

ATI C

O TR AILER C

N

TR

Deceleration = Increased Chance of Snaking When decelerating from higher speeds, the momentum of the trailer can cause a build up of lateral movement by pushing against the tow car and pivoting on the towball.

Left: uK campsites are required to maintain their electrical supply bollards and have a current safety inspection certificate. Top left: This consumer unit is in a motorhome. The bank of fuses on the left protect the 12 volt circuits. The McB’s and rcD on the right protect the 230 volt mains circuits.

Top right: A plug in mains tester – the three lights show all is oK. To see in full detail the extent of the testing, and learn more about ATC, see the new brochure at www.al-koatc.co.uk Discover Touring 101


PRACTICAL | SITE ELECTRICS

Top right: Typical connection point for hook up cable to the motorhome or caravan. Top right: The silver domestic kettle at the rear uses 10 amps more than the smaller white camping kettle in the foreground.

Disconnection of these is by a push button release mechanism. The site electrical supply system will incorporate a miniature circuit breaker (MCB) and Residual Current Device (RCD). The MCB is a device to protect the site cabling from overloading and the RCD is a safety device designed to cut off the supply in the event of a fault occurring in your connecting lead or caravan. To maximise your safety and protect your electrical system, all NCC (National Caravan Council) approved caravans and motorhomes have the campsite’s electrical supply connecting to the caravan’s system via a mains unit (sometimes called a consumer unit or fuse box). This unit contains more MCB’s covering individual circuits within the caravan and an RCD to protect against faults occurring within the vehicle.

Connecting Up

Make sure the isolating switch on your mains unit is in the off position and then connect your cable to the caravan mains inlet and then to the site bollard socket. It is good practice before switching on your appliances to check the operation of the safety RCD device – switch on the mains unit isolating switch and press the RCD test button. If it fails to operate then the system will need to be checked by a suitably qualified person.

Disconnecting

When you are ready to go, switch off all appliances and the mains unit isolating switch. Disconnect the cable from the supply bollard

How to avoid tripping

On UK sites your electricity supply will be much more limited than at home with a maximum of 16 amps and sometimes less. Hence, when caravanning you need to be very careful about what appliances you use and how many you use at any one time to ensure you do not exceed the site limit. If you do exceed the limit your mains supply will be cut when the site’s MCB operates, known as tripping out. This may mean getting the site manager to reset the MCB. Sometimes it’s possible to reset MCB’s yourself after disconnecting the offending appliance. Details of the capacity of your caravan circuits can be found in your caravan handbook. 102 Discover Touring

Electrical appliances are rated in terms of their power consumption measured in watts and this can be found printed somewhere on the appliance. Power in watts = voltage x current. Thus the current (amps) used by a kettle rated at 2100 watts (this may be shown as 2.1 kw) designed for use on 230 volts mains will be 2100 divided by 230 = 9.13 amps. So if you are on a 10 amp supply using such a kettle puts you very close to the limit. Special low wattage kettles and other appliances are available from caravan dealers that help the situation. Microwaves can present problems. Even though they may be advertised as say, 700 watts cooking power, the input power may be half as much again. Don’t forget the fixed appliances working in the background like the fridge and battery charger, which may only consume about 0.5amp each, but it all adds up. Check the handbook or ask your dealer for details of current consumption of your fixed appliances.

Using a Mains tester

All UK campsites should hold a current electrical safety inspection certificate, meaning that the installation meets the appropriate standards. However for peace of mind it is well worth buying an inexpensive mains tester which can be plugged into a socket within the van. This will also test the connection lead you are using. The tester will show up various problems including any with the earth connection. If you have an indication of an earth problem do not use the hook up supply. If possible plug the connecting lead into another socket and see if that is any better.

is readily available in caravan accessory shops. Whichever style of connection is provided, there is always the real possibility that a continental electrical supply will come with reversed polarity. The significance of this is that when equipment is switched off, even at the socket, it may not be electrically isolated. It is essential you use a mains tester before using your hook up to check for this condition. It is possible to make up a short adapter lead to deal with reverse polarity if you are sufficiently competent. However, most caravanners take a safety first approach, checking their RCD still functions by pressing the test button and remembering with reverse polarity the only way to be sure equipment is electrically dead and safe is to unplug it.

o

Safety do’s and dont’s: Do have your caravan or motorhome electrical system inspected and tested every three years by qualified personnel. Do test your rcD breaker before using the power supply and use a mains tester especially when on continental sites. Do seek advice if unsure about your electrical system or supply. The two big clubs can offer general advice, otherwise contact an Approved Workshop or a qualified electrician. Don’t use anything other than a suitable proprietary hook up lead Don’t leave your hook up cable connected to the site bollard as a marker for an occupied pitch when you are offsite with your motorhome. Don’t leave your hook up cable coiled up as this can cause overheating of the cable.

Left: Motorhomers should not leave a connected supply cable as a pitch marker as it could pose a danger, especially to children.

Caravanning in Europe

Modern UK appliances will work in Europe even though the voltage can be a little less than the nominal European standard 230 volts. What can be a problem with the electrical supply at continental campsites is the limited current available, often as little as 5 or 6 amps. Even though the blue plug and hook up sockets we use in the UK are to a European standard (EN 60309), you will still find some continental sites with old style two pin hook ups or a mixture of modern and old types. Connecting to these old style sockets is easy with the use of a continental adapter lead that

Above: A coiled up supply cable like this one may overheat and melt.


PRACTICAL | NO hOOk-uP?

No Hook-up? No Problem! nowadays most of us aspire to all the comforts of home and frequently more, but at a place and time to suit us. caravan or motor home, it makes little difference to your ability to ‘rough it’ in supreme comfort if you give your use of power a little thought first. clive explains how it can be done.

Author: Clive Mott

W

here you wish to travel should influence your initial purchase decision as away from centres of habitation in Africa or India for example the only fuel that can be reliably available will be diesel.

you will find in Europe. Rugged they surely are and it will take a beefy 4x4 to haul them. Back in Europe the conditions are seldom as demanding and gas is widely available in various forms giving more choice.

Choosing an outfit

Energy considerations

Where you wish to travel should influence your initial purchase decision as away from centres of habitation in Africa or India for example the only fuel that can be reliably available will be diesel. For crossing Africa a purpose designed motorhome is more appropriate. Any water or space heating must be diesel as will the towing vehicle (if using a caravan). Australia is well equipped with LPG filling stations and they even use lots of caravans, but these are distinctly different to anything

Without any mains hook-up one needs to look at anything that requires power quite critically. The vehicle will have a large tank of fuel to drive it along the road and if this fuel is diesel it can be used for other purposes such as heating and cooking. Modern caravans and motorhomes increasingly rely on a 12 volt battery to power auxiliary equipment. This includes items such as the water pump, lighting, cooker ignition along with control of the heating systems, and the refrigerator.

Then there is entertainment, the radio and the television. Do you require a self-seeking automatic satellite system? No problem, there are plenty of choices of these as well. So, plenty of energy in the form of gas or diesel can be carried. Just one 6KG Propane cylinder will contain as much energy as 63 fully charged 110 amp-hour batteries, (about 83 kilowatt hours). The governing factor therefore is the robustness of your 12 volt leisure battery system, and how economically you use it. If you know from experience that your existing leisure battery will last for a threenight weekend then the easiest, and most economical way to double this is to buy a second battery. Additional weight and space requirements need to be considered but most vehicles manage to accommodate two 100 AH (amp-hour) batteries.  Discover Touring 103


PRACTICAL | No hook-up?

Rough-terrain armour plated (almost) caravans and rough-terrain tow trucks or converted buses are the ‘boys’ toys for the outback.

Top left: Alde’s boiler is a bit like to one you may have at home. It powers radiators and produces hot water whilst using only a small amount of 12 volt electricity. Bottom left: Blown air heaters use a small amount of 12 volt power when operated on gas. Top right: Truma’s Combi heater produces warm air and water. It will run on gas using a small amount of 12 volt power.

LED lamp replacements for standard bulbs use only 10% of the power for the same light output.

A 6kg gas cylinder contains as much energy as 63 full charged 110 amp-hour batteries.

Bottom right: Convector heaters like this one can run on gas alone, saving battery power.

The power supply units employed in many older caravans and motorhomes compromise by only charging batteries to about 80% of their rated ampere hour capacity. This is to avoid gassing of the battery and the need for subsequent maintenance. Modern power supplies incorporate an intelligent multi-stage battery charger and have the ability to achieve a near full charge. A typical leisure battery will be about 100 ampere hours. This suggests that it can produce 100 amps for one hour or 1 amp (1A) for one hundred hours. However it is not good practice to fully discharge your leisure battery as it will reduce its service life. So, only expect to use just 60-70% of a battery’s rated capacity. This figure is based on you discharging the battery over a five, eight, or even a twenty hour period. Discharge it fast and its effective capacity decreases so if you discharge it slowly you will get a little more. If you have more than one leisure battery you can connect them together so they share the load.

Powering equipment

Absorption fridges use heat to get cool. The heat can come from electricity or gas.

104 Discover Touring

Lighting: Economy is very important. Fluorescent lights are much more economical than halogen lamps but even these are now outperformed by modern LEDs, which take less than 10% of the battery amps of an equivalent halogen lamp. The UK motorhome caravan manufacturers are progressively taking advantage of the flexibility provided by the many types of LED lighting now available. For those of us with ‘mature’ caravans

and motor homes LED bulb replacements can be found to allow us to enjoy similar economy.

Refrigerators

There are two basic types, these being compressor and absorption; they all look the same from the front! The compressor fridge is more efficient but will draw about four amps from the battery when running. The thermostat will turn the compressor on periodically to maintain the set temperature. The lower you set the thermostat the more frequently the compressor will run. In summer the fridge will work harder and you are likely to put in more warm beer! The absorption fridge is not quite as efficient as the compressor fridge but can be powered from your gas supply. They use very little gas so will operate for several weeks from one 6KG gas bottle and, dependent on the model, will take a small fraction of one amp or even zero amps from the battery when used on gas. These fridges normally run directly from mains when hooked up and from the tow/host vehicle starter battery when travelling.

Heating systems

There are separate and combined heaters for space and water. The simplest space heater is the convector type powered by gas and once lit, these can consume no battery amps at all. Many have the optional electric fan built into the back so that some of the heat can be blown through ducting to be distributed to remote parts of your ‘tardis’


PRACTICAL | NO hOOk-uP?

Top left: Mobile Tv’s usually run on 12 volt power and can be quite economical; especially those with LeD powered screens. Middle: satellite receivers such as this one take about 1 amp of 12 volt current. Middle bottom: The Kipor sinemaster 2000 generator is heavy (22kg) but will power a microwave oven or hairdryer. Top right: This large inverter is rated at 1000 watts but will take about 100 amps out of your battery at full power. Bottom right: These are the waveforms produced by the two principal types of inverter.

Gas fired blown-air systems are also popular as these can be tucked away in remote places so as not to intrude into the habitation area (as required by convector types). They have a small solenoid valve to control the gas and electric fans to provide combustion air for the burner and to circulate warm air through the habitation area. These components rely on the 12 volt battery to operate and will consume about 1.7A when operating on gas and 0.01A on standby. Gas fired water heaters have a solenoid operated gas valve and an ignition system. The Whale water heater for example will consume about 0.36A when running and 0.01A on standby. Popular in motorhomes is the combination gas fired water and space heater made by Truma. This will operate without water as a space heater but when the water system is charged will provide both blown warm air for the habitation and hot water all from one boiler, battery consumption being similar to that for blown air space heaters. The ALDE heating system is a gas fired boiler within a water jacket within another water jacket. The inner water jacket is plumbed to radiators positioned around the habitation area and is filled with an anti-freeze solution and the outer water jacket provides hot water to the taps. Unlike blown air systems it is almost silent in operation and generates no draughts. The habitation thermostat controls the small 12v water pump that drives water through the radiators. Battery consumption is 1 amp max on start up and typically 0.4A for water heating only and 0.6A with combined space and water heating.

Diesel fired heaters are also available. Eberspächer and Webasto both offer a range of blown air space and water heaters. Truma and Webasto make a diesel combined space and water heater. If your destinations are places off the beaten track then these may be your only option. Diesel is not an easy fuel to light so the starting sequence uses a ‘glow plug’ which is a small electrical element that becomes red hot when lots of amps pass through it. Once the plug is hot a pump squirts diesel through a small jet at it which causes the fuel to ignite, it is then self sustaining. However all heating systems cycle because they are controlled by a thermostat and every time the units start up some fifteen amps can be drawn from the battery to heat the glow plug. Diesel heaters should not be the first choice if battery economy is important to your style of camping.

Cooking

Cooking is simple with gas, and battery consumption can be considered to be zero as ignition systems take a small fraction of one amp and last for a second at most. Diesel cookers are available and operate the same way as diesel heaters.

Water pumps

Water pumps can take a few amps when operating but as the time they are running is relatively short are not significant contributions to battery discharge.

TV systems

These can vary greatly. The most economical are LED based flat screen systems made

specifically for the mobile leisure market but most modern flat screen TVs are reasonably economical and many are specified to operate from 12 volts. Current draw is about three amps for the best depending on screen size, brightness and sound volume settings.

Satellite systems

A 12-volt decoder will take about 1 amp. A self-seeking system can take up to 10 amps until it has locked onto the satellite. If you want a Sky system then virtually all decoders are mains only units so you will need an inverter (see below).

Inverters

These devices derive their supply from your leisure battery and produce mains power using electronics. They come in all sizes and easily span from 50 watts to several kilowatts. There are two types – modified sine wave and pure sine wave. The pure sine wave inverter replicates accurately the mains from the national grid. The modified sine wave inverter is usually cheaper but produces rectangular waves. These will power most things but sensitive electronic equipment may malfunction or even be damaged.

Ways to keep your battery charged Generators: You can produce your own mains using a petrol, diesel or gas enginedriven generator. Various types of various sizes for widely varying amounts of money are available. One of these connected to your hook-up point will keep the leisure battery charged via the van’s built in charger. 

Discover Touring 105


PRACTICAL | NO hOOk-uP?

Top left: solar panels come in all shapes and sizes and can make an important contribution to electrical independence. Middle bottom: if space on your roof is limited then you could consider the option of a solar panel fixed to a sun-following base similar to that used for satellite Tv. Top right: This eFoY fuel cell quietly converts methanol into electricity for battery charging.

The downside is that they all make noise, some more than others. You are bound to offend someone! Solar Photo-Voltaic Panels: You can Like batteries, are comprised of several seriesconnected cells and produce electrical energy when sunlight falls upon them. Although at their best facing the sun these large, expensive and fragile items may be fixed horizontally on the roof of the vehicle for simplicity and security. Choose the largest you can afford and have space for, as they provide a lot of electrical independence, especially in the summer months. Solar panels will also keep the batteries topped up all year round as they still produce a small current during winter layup. The power rating of solar panels is based on being on the equator, in full midsummer sun with the panel facing the sun. However on a good day in the UK a current of at least 3.5 amps from a panel rated at 80 watts is to be expected. This would be the minimum sized panel recommended to maintain an economical van in the summer. Glass faced aluminium framed panels produce most output per square metre or 106 Discover Touring

per pound spent. Thinner, lighter flexible panels will provide less output per square metre but have less fall off in performance than glass based panels in subdued light. Most important for any solar panel installation is a regulator to prevent overcharging and damage to the battery. MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) regulators are the best as they actually convert excessive panel volts into an increase in charging amps during the summer. Solar panels are a must have for quiet electrical independence. Fuel Cells: These are chemical ‘engines’ without any major moving parts that convert fossil fuels into electrical energy to charge your battery. You can spend a couple of thousand pounds or more on methanol powered briefcase-sized unit. Various models will provide charging currents up to around seven amps, 24/7 if necessary. They are quite light (7kg) and make no more noise than a laptop computer. If you are a winter caravanner then these require careful consideration as they tick lots of boxes. If you aspire to a large fifth-wheeler caravan or a big coach built motorhome then you could consider the Truma VeGa fuel cell. This

runs from your existing gas supply and will charge your battery at up to 20 amps. It is a beast to hide weighing in at 40 kg and will fill the under seat locker in most vans. The cost is around £6500 plus fitting. It’s your money! Use whatever reasoning was applied to justify purchasing the caravan or motorhome in the first place and one could be yours!

o

In summary and in order: 1. 1 reduce your loads with LeD lighting. 2. use gas for heating, cooking and powering the fridge. 3. Double up the size of your battery bank. 4. Fit a solar panel and regulator. 5. Dig deep and consider a fuel cell.


Celebrations!

at Swindon, Reading & Oxford Caravan Centres

A New Bailey Pegasus GT65 Verona Theill be w wndon DraS i at w vans a r Ca day

r Satu July 27th2pm at

il a t e R e Valu 00! ,0 ÂŁ18

Entry is Free!

Simply complete the questionnaire either online at www.swindoncaravans.com/win-caravan or in store for the opportunity to win this brand new caravan. To Bristol

Water Parks

Lechlade

OXFORD

oad

eR

Spin

96 B46 Ashton Keynes

A34

Brinkworth

Three Mile Cross

3

6

Thame

A4142

A3

69

Leigh

A329

Ryelsh Green

Royal Wootton Bassett

Benson

The Swindon Caravan Centre Ltd Greatfield, Royal Wootton Bassett Swindon SN4 8EQ 01793 772096 Fax: 01793 772341 Web site: www.swindoncaravans.com E-mail: sales@swindoncaravans.com

10%

The Oxford Caravan Centre Ltd Oxford Rd (A418), Tiddington Nr Thame OX9 2LH

01844 339566 Fax: 01844 338567 Web site: www.oxfordcaravans.com E-mail: sales@oxfordcaravans.com

OFF EVERYTHING

A33

Abingdon Bristol

Shinfield Road

A327

B3270

A418

B4

Minety

READING B3033

To London

Fairford

A33

A417

Cirencester

Hollow Lane

A327 Shinfield

Spencers Wood B3349

The Reading Caravan Centre Ltd Church Lane, Three Mile Cross Reading, Berks RG7 1HB Tel: 0118 9888111Fax: 0118 9884969 Web site: www.readingcaravans.com E-mail: sales@readingcaravans.com

in the accessory shops at all 3 sites on production of this magazine (Offer excludes caravans, movers, gas, TV’s, awnings and specialist orders - cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer) Discover Touring 107


DECISION TIME | REVIEWS

Under the SPOTLIGHT Author: Ben Lane

Discover Touring spent a few enjoyable hours knee-deep in January snow exploring the new Broadway EL Duo and FB from Auto-Sleepers and a fine example from the Swift inspired Lifestyle range of caravans; the 4FB.

Broadway EL Duo

My first encounter with the Broadway EL Duo was good, very good. Its scratch and impact resistant platinum sides looked stunning bathed as they were in an abundance of wintry sunlight on the forecourt of a Marquis dealership in Northampton. The interior is made up of the ‘classic’ rear lounge so favoured by British tourers. This space transforms into two single beds or a double. The double is a good size at 6’11” x 6’3” – allowing for plenty of stretching and flexing. Opposite the entrance is the well-appointed washroom with the now familiar transparent bowl-shaped washbasin. The shower is adequate in size. The whole space is well lit courtesy of a well sized, ‘misted’ side window. The star of this luxury motorhome is undoubtedly the kitchen area, a chef ’s dream in fact. It consists of a long run of gadgets and gizmos (much like you would find at home) and plenty of surface area for cutting, chopping and placing glasses of wine! As I often say, the best parties end up in the kitchen and this is certainly an area that will attract more than its fair share of attention. During the day the rear lounge provides a great space to chillax and watch the world 108 DISCOVER TOURING

Technical Data

Broadway Broadway EL Duo FB

Berths

2

4

Seats belts – driver and passenger only

Profile type

Low

Low

Overall length

23' 6"

23’6

Overall width, mirrors folded

7' 7"

7’7

Overall width, mirrors extended

8' 10"

8’10”

Overall height, with TV aerial

9' 7''

9’7”

Maximum Technically Permissable Laden Mass (MTPLM) (a) 130bhp

3,500kg

3,500kg

Mass in Running Order (MIRO) (b) 130bhp

3,220kg

3,195kg

User Payload (=a-b) 130bhp

280kg

305kg

Essential Habitation Equipment 130bhp

15kg

15kg

outside pass by. One delight is the solid build of the fixture and fittings – door handles are firm and doors shut tight. I won’t mention names but I have been in some motorhomes where doors did not close and handles were all but coming off (and this on a brand new vehicle!). It is amazing how these subtle points can alter your mood and enhance the experience; after all, who wants to think about DIY when touring the glens of Scotland? Other great touches include the wind-up front

Skyview window and wide Heki rooflight. In short this is a very well considered and good-looking motorhome. It has been put together with luxury in mind and I dare you to find an ugly thing either inside or out. You won’t, I promise. Ideally suited to a retired couple, you do pay for what you get but you do get everything your heart could desire. Priced at £52995.00 OTR plus £2500.00 for the Premium pack. More information can be found at: www.auto-sleepers.com

T


DECISION TIME | REVIEWS

Broadway FB

With all the same high specs that can be found on the EL Duo, the FB sleeps four and includes a fixed French bed. Auto-Sleepers has once again noted customer’s comments and reacted accordingly. The result is the FB – which is almost perfect in my mind. My only reservation is the narrow entrance to the washroom. I admit I am a little larger than most (but not a lot) however I found I had to turn – and almost adopt a crab style walk to enter the room. It’s not a big problem – only a minor niggle. Once in, the shower room is well proportioned but feels just a tad on the small size. The remaining living space is well thought through – and the colour schemes and little touches such as cloth pockets for your magazines and paper work, are really well considered. The kitchen area is compact and bijou – but everything is close to hand. The full size fridge is positioned cleverly near the bed for late night feasters, but also close enough for all you kitchen master chefs out there. There is a good feeling of space between the kitchen and front lounge area and, as with the EL Duo, the interior natural light creates an ambience of peace and quiet. The front lounge turns into a fine sized double bed for guests or friends and measures a sleep-inducing 6’11” by 4’0”. The fixed French bed has an extra 6” of width. As with the EL Duo only the finest products are used; Dometic and Hartal windows, a Thule Omnistor awning, Truma central heating and water heater, and so the list goes on. This model is ideal for a retired couple picking up friends, grandchildren and guests en-route. Priced at £52995.00 OTR plus £2500.00 for the Premium pack. More information can be found at: www.auto-sleepers.com

T

Lifestyle 4FB

With a choice of five different layouts, from the two-berth Lifestyle 2 up to the range topping twin axle six-berth Lifestyle 6 FB, this is a great starting point when considering a new caravan. Features across the Lifestyle Range include an exterior aerodynamic body shell with strong bonded roof, a panoramic sunroof and eye-catching graphics. Now I confess I am fairly new to touring caravans – as I usually favour the jump-in-and-go method of a motorhome. However, these things can change and as I stood staring at the line up of Lifestyle Caravans (manufactured by Swift exclusively for Marquis – the UK’s Largest Dealer Network), I was sorely tempted by the idea of hooking up and heading out. I focussed my attention on the 4FB – as this seemed to me a good starting point for a young family just starting on a touring way of life. There is really clever use of space throughout. The rear double bed (189cm x 132cm) has the shower / toilet to one side in a neat but well-spaced cubicle. Opposite this is the kind of basin you would find at home; a big huge grin of a basin to welcome you to a new day. This rear space feels very much like being at home and is what manufacturers are constantly striving to achieve – for me this hits the nail on the head. The central kitchen area is decked out with a Thetford 3 burner hob and a new generation fridge. The open hatch through to the sleeping area opens the space up pleasingly. The kitchen sink is an excellent size and there is plenty of storage throughout. The front lounge is airy and bright and turns into a well-proportioned double bed (202cm x 128cm). On that snowy cold day in January I became a convert and in my mind’s eye was on the road pulling our home from home to that faraway place we all dream about. Priced at £14595.00 OTR. More information can be found at: www.marquiscaravans.co.uk.

Key features new for 2013: Panoramic Sunroof LED Awning Light Thetford 113ltr Fridge Truma dual fuel combi boiler Thatcham Approved Tracker

DISCOVER TOURING 109


PRACTICAL | APPROVED DEALERS

Dealers sign up to improved consumer rights

Author: Alison Owen

Buying a caravan or motorhome is a major purchase decision for most people so it’s important to know that the seller will live up to high standards of honesty, integrity and service. Nowhere is this more important than with those new to touring that may not have the experience and knowledge to ask the right questions. Or, indeed, know what to look for.

T

he vast majority of purchases are made from dealers because of the protection offered by law and because dealers should be able to give support from the early stages of the buying process right through to after sales care. Dubbed the Approved Dealership Scheme it establishes new standards for the ways in which dealerships handle their customer relations. At the scheme’s heart are two new Consumer Codes of Practice for Tourer and Motorhome Sales respectively. These use similar criteria to those employed by the Office of Fair Trading, to monitor those taking part. High standards are required in all areas. These include advertising, marketing, advice given on the suitability of a caravan or motorhome, sales procedures, delivery and handover, after sales service and the handling 110 DISCOVER TOURING

of customer complaints. Safeguards will ensure that consumers enjoy better levels of protection than the minimum required by law. To gain approval under the scheme a dealership must undergo a rigorous independent assessment that reviews their operations against the Code. Any elements of the business that do not comply must be rectified and evidenced to the assessor before Code approval can be granted. Once approved, dealers are able to display the ‘NCC Approved Tick’ logo at their premises and to use it in marketing material. Thereafter, the NCC regularly carries out checks on Approved businesses to ensure that they comply with the Code. These checks can take the form of mystery shopping, customer satisfaction surveys and regular desktop and on-site compliance audits.

Consumers benefit from knowing that the dealer has made a clear and open commitment to give high standards of customer service and that, should any problem arise there are procedures in place to handle them. If a consumer believes a dealership business has not met the Code’s standards: • Initially all complaints will be considered by the business concerned • If a mutually agreeable resolution can’t be found, The NCC offers its own Informal Dispute Resolution services • If Informal Dispute Resolution is unsuccessful, the unresolved compliant can be escalated to an Independent Case Examiner (ICE) who will normally make an adjudication • The business is bound to comply with the ICE’s findings Customers can be assured that the scheme


Need Caravan Finance? ● Buy your caravan from any dealer ● No deposit required ● All finance considered regardless of your credit history ● Competitive rates Apply now online at

www.whatcarcredit.com or call

01622 200 150 during our office hours 9-5:30 Monday to Friday or 10-4 on Saturdays. benefits from transparent and independent control. The Code is managed day-to-day by the NCC and an independent assessor team but are accountable to, and overseen by, an independent Policy Board with consumer interest representation. The Policy Board is responsible for ensuring compliance standards are maintained and for applying sanctions if needed. Launched at the NEC show in October with 30 dealers already signed up the scheme is now being rolled out right across the UK. To participate, dealers must be NCC members and of course many are not. That does not mean that they are bad dealers it simply means that it is harder for the consumer to tell what standard of care they will receive. For more information visit: www.approveddealerships.co.uk

YOUR CREDIT HISTORY Excellent Fair

✔ ✔

Good Poor

✔ ✔

WE CAN SAY YES!

© 2013 WhatCarCredit Ltd. Company Registration Number: 7088857

o

DISCOVER TOURING 111


PRACTICAL | THe LAW

Caravanning and the law Author: John Parsons

The law on caravan and motor caravan (motorhome) use is sometimes baffling and complex, but the principles are sound — keeping safe on the road.

112 Discover Touring

T

his is a complex and much misunderstood part of the law and many changes have been made over the last few years, the latest being effective from 19 January 2013, though DVLA states that anyone with an existing entitlement to drive vehicles or tow trailers will see no change after that date, and can continue as before.

Driving licences

If you are a new or recently qualified driver, first look at your licence and check the category letters it shows. Everyone who has ever taken a car test will have at least a category B — the ordinary car licence. Since January this year this now covers most car and caravan outfits which together have a combined legally allowable maximum weight of under 3500 kgs, and many, but not all, conventional motorhomes. If new drivers

wish to tow trailers or drive motorhomes above this weight they must take an extra driving test. For example, assume you are a new driver (of any age) who has just taken the driving test. If your car’s maximum allowable weight is 2000 kg (a typical figure for a family car) you can only legally tow a caravan of maximum weight of 1500kg, because 2000+1500 = 3500). If the caravan’s maximum was 1800kg instead, then the combined weight would be 3,800kg and your B licence would not be valid. You would need to take an extra test to cover the higher weight category. Equally a motorhome whose maximum weight is 3800 kg would not be covered by your simple B licence. Using vehicles outside the 3500kg limit depends on just when you took your original


PRACTICAL | THe LAW

driving test. If this was before 1 January 1997, you have so-called ‘grandfather rights’ to drive a vehicle up to 7.5 tonnes maximum allowed weight or to drive a car and towed caravan up to 8.25 tonnes maximum combined weight. This will be shown on your licence as category C1 or C1E (8.25 tonnes). On any licence check the expiry date in section 4b, as it seems many people never bother. Remember too that the old green paper licences expire when you reach the age of 70. Renewal at age 70 can mean that you lose those precious ‘grandfather rights’ as your renewal is effectively a new licence and you may be treated as a new driver. This has happened to some who have renewed online. Make sure you keep a copy of your old licence as proof of your previous entitlements.

Towing Weights

Here we have the law, but we also have some advice aimed at keeping you safe from problems. First, it is illegal to tow a trailer with a weight higher than that stipulated by the car manufacturer. It is also against the law to use a vehicle where the combined weight of car and caravan exceeds the ‘train weight’ set by the manufacturer. Similarly you must not exceed the axle weights specified, nor the weight that the caravan places on the car’s towball (the noseweight). All this information should be in the vehicle handbook. Much of it will also appear on the vehicle’s rating plate which may be found under the bonnet or on a door pillar. However, industry advice strongly suggests that for best safety you should not tow a caravan with a maximum permitted 

Top: section 4b of this sample licence shows that it expires on 23rd september 2020, ten years after it was issued. The entitlements held can be seen in section 9. Middle: The rating plate on this Mercedes based motorhome shows that it has a maximum weight of 3800kg and therefore could not be driven on a simple ‘B’ licence. The second line (train weight) is blank as Mercedes would not know what effect the conversion to a motorhome would have. This information should be found in the motorhome’s handbook. The other figures are the maximum permissible loads on the front and rear axles. Bottom: The rating plate on this citroen car shows is has a maximum weight of 1539kg and a maximum train weight of 2439kg.

Discover Touring 113


PRACTICAL | THe LAW weight that exceeds 85% of the ‘kerb’ weight of the car. If you are experienced at towing and have a modern car and caravan (which often come with various extra stability aids) this may seem a little on the conservative side. Nevertheless the fact remains that if you stick to this advice you would be very unlucky indeed to ever encounter any problems when towing, even in adverse weather conditions. Research also shows that keeping the noseweight close to the maximum permitted for your outfit will improve stability. Loading the caravan carefully so that most of the weight is low down and over the axle will help retain stability as will not overloading the caravan. The law can still catch you out if it is deemed that you created a situation ‘likely to cause danger’.

Speed limits

A car towing a caravan or any trailer is subject to lower speed limits than a car alone. For motorhomes it depends on the weight and size of the vehicle. The table (on the right) summarises the main UK rules at the time of going to press. These limits apply where no lower limit is imposed (e.g. in built up areas).

Mirrors

This issue has caused much confusion over the years and a few court cases too. Essentially anyone towing a caravan must have a specifically defined view to the rear and in almost every case this will require additional towing mirrors. Even when you have the right mirrors there are other rules to follow. Any exterior mirrors fitted less than 2 metres from ground level must not project more than 200mm (8ins) beyond the overall width of the vehicle (or trailer if wider). The driver’s side mirror must be capable of being adjusted by the driver when in the driving position and each mirror must remain steady under normal driving conditions. Always buy a reputable product from your accessory shop and fit them in accordance with the instructions supplied. Try attaching them and checking the rearwards view before your first trip out as it may need some practice!

Breakaway cable

This legally required item does what it says: if the car and caravan should break away from each other, then this cable will automatically apply the brakes to the caravan bringing it safely to a halt. To do this the cable must be firmly attached to the towing vehicle in such a way that it will not slip off and prevent the system from operating. Sometimes there is a purpose built attachment point for this on the car, but not always. Ensure you follow the advice given by the caravan manufacturer. Detachment is a very rare event and normally caused by incorrect hitching up procedures. Your local dealer will give advice if you are not sure. 114 Discover Touring

Vehicle type

Single carriageway

Dual carriageway

Motorways

Passenger car or small motorhome towing a trailer or caravan

50mph

60mph

60mph

small motorhome (up to 3050 kg unladen weight)

60mph

70mph

70mph

Large motorhome (over 3050kg unladen weight), but less than 12 metres overall length

50mph

60mph

50mph

60mph

As above but over 12 metres overall length

70mph

60mph

Note: On motorways, a vehicle towing a trailer of any type is not allowed in the outside lane of a three or more lane motorway, unless the other lanes are blocked. There are two issues here – legal and personal choice. Legally, you do not have to have additional insurance to use a caravan on the road. The legal risks are usually covered by the towcar insurance, but it would be wise to check with your insurers to be certain. Whether to insure damage to a caravan is your own choice as it is with the contents. A motorhome of course is a road vehicle and has to be fully insured. Research the market for suitable insurance and make sure the small print covers your expectations. There are many good products in this sector so it pays to shop around. Look for a ‘Defaqto’ star rating for a reliable policy guide.

Passengers

It is illegal to carry a passenger in a towed caravan. In a motorhome any seat belt provided must be used by passengers. Though it is not strictly illegal to carry passengers without a belt if one is not available, it is just not safe to do so, and you could be held to have contributed to any injury that occurred.

And finally...

Caravanning is a very safe activity. Accident rates for caravans make up less than half of one percent of all reportable events. However, police and other enforcement authorities do carry our random checks on the safety and legal state of your outfit, especially during holiday periods. If you follow the rules you will have nothing to worry about. Just get out there and enjoy it!

o

Top left: Towing mirrors are designed to let you see down the sides of the caravan where a cyclist or other hazard may be lurking. Bottom left: Most breakaway cables are designed to be looped back on themselves. Where the towbar has no specific point for this they may be looped around the tow hitch as here. Below: A 5 star Defaqto rating like this means that the product has a comprehensive range of features, options and benefits for the year shown.


PRACTICAL | 25 QuesTIons

Top 25 questions for those new to touring Author: Terry Owen

Automatic gearboxes make hill starts like this one a doddle.

1. Do automatics make good towcars?

Cars fitted with automatic transmission can make superb towcars. The torque multiplying effect of the torque converter helps to give smooth takeoffs especially when starting on hills or in muddy conditions. Also automatic gear changes reduce the stress on both the driver and the towcar. One point to bear in mind though is that you may need an oil cooler for the gearbox. However many vehicles, particularly 4x4’s, have them fitted as standard. Cars fitted with CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) gearboxes may not be suitable for towing as their drive belts may not be rated for the extra load.

2. Can I tow a small car behind a motorhome?

Possibly, depending on the towing limits of the motorhome. To be legal in Europe the car needs to be on a trailer.

3. Do I need a special licence to drive a motorhome?

Probably not, especially if you passed your test before 1st January 1997. For more information see the article ‘Caravanning and the Law’ on page 116 of this magazine.

4. Is there any way we can try a motorhome out before we buy?

Motorhomes are widely available for hire so there is plenty of choice. Some dealers will allow you to hire one and then knock the hire cost off the purchase price if you buy it.

5. Are there any courses on towing? Yes, the Camping and Caravanning Club runs manoeuvring courses for both caravans and motorhomes throughout the country from March to September. The Caravan Club runs similar courses for members and non-members at centres across the country.

6. I can’t keep my caravan or motorhome at home – what are the other options?

Some farmers will allow you to use their land for storage in return for an annual fee. However security can be a major problem so consider using a dedicated storage site with good protection. To find out more visit the website of the Caravan Storage Site Owners’ Association (www.cassoa.co.uk). Some campsites also offer long term storage.

7. Do I need a stabiliser when towing a caravan?

Stabilisers are not strictly necessary if a caravan is well loaded and matched to the towcar. They do however give an extra margin of safety and for that reason virtually all modern caravans come with a hitch head stabiliser.

8. What is the difference between a leisure battery and a car battery?

Leisure batteries are designed to provide low currents for long periods between charges. Car batteries are designed to provide high currents (to start the car) for short periods and then be immediately recharged by the car’s alternator. A car battery will not give good performance if used as a leisure battery.

9. How often should caravan tyres be changed?

Caravan tyres do not wear out but they do perish and should be changed at about 5 years old. This is particularly important in the case of heavy single axle caravans, especially if used on the continent during the summer.

10. How often does my caravan or motorhome need servicing?

An annual service is highly recommended and is usually a requirement of any warranty. The driving components of a motorhome  Discover Touring 115


PRACTICAL | 25 Questions should be serviced at the intervals specified by the manufacturer of the base vehicle.

a case of personal preference, some fluids are a jolly sight more pleasant than others.

11. What is noseweight?

18. Are solar panels any good?

Noseweight is the down force exerted by the caravan on the towball. For stable towing a minimum noseweight of 5-7% of the caravan’s weight is recommended, provided this does not exceed the limit of the car, tow bracket or tow hitch.

12. Which type of LPG gas should I use? If you only use your outfit in the main season of Easter to October then butane (blue bottles) should work out best. If you plan to caravan outside this period then go for propane (red bottles) as it will work at low temperatures where liquid butane struggles to turn into a gas.

13. How can I protect my caravan or motorhome from theft? The simple answer is to invest in and use security products that have passed independent tests by reputable testing agencies such as Sold Secure or Thatcham. Wheel locking devices, alarm and tracking systems and detachable steering wheels can all help to protect you precious investment.

14. Will my TV work abroad?

If you buy a TV specifically designed for use with a caravan or motorhome then it will probably be ‘multi standard’ meaning that it will work In Europe. TV’s designed just for use within the UK are unlikely to work properly abroad as transmission protocols vary from country to country.

15. Is it worth buying a satellite system for my outfit?

Maybe, depending where you will be travelling to. In remote areas terrestrial TV signals can be weak whereas a satellite dish might work perfectly. A satellite system may also enable you to pick up UK programs whilst abroad. One advantage of a satellite system is that you do not have to keep retuning your TV. A disadvantage it that the dish will need ‘line of sight’ to the satellite and can be tricky to set up.

16. Do I need a TV licence for my caravan or motorhome?

If you have a TV licence for your main residence then you will be covered for use with your caravan or motorhome. If your caravan or motorhome is your main residence then you will need a licence. This can be assigned to a registration number and a designated site.

17. Does it matter which toilet fluid I use?

Some chemical loo disposal points stipulate that only ‘green’ fluids must be used as these biodegrade easily in septic tanks and sewage treatment plants. Other than that it’s really 116 Discover Touring

If you plan to use your outfit without a mains hook up then a solar panel can provide a welcome boost to your leisure battery. Ideally choose a panel rated at a minimum of 50 watts for free standing use or 80 watts if permanently fixed to the roof of your vehicle.

19. What is the best way to use two leisure batteries?

If the batteries are of the same age and type then it’s probably more convenient to connect them together (positive to positive, negative to negative with suitable fuses). If not then it’s best to use them independently, replacing the first with the second when the first is begins to go flat. Another advantage of doing this is that if you accidentally leave something switched on you will only flatten one battery and not two.

20. Can I run my fridge on a ferry crossing?

No, ferry companies forbid this on safety grounds. One way of keeping the fridge cool for extended periods without power is to put in some frozen freezer blocks just before you travel. Alternatively, buy fresh food at your destination.

Q11. Noseweight is easy to check with a couple if bits of wood and as set of bathroom scales.

Q12. Propane gas (red cylinders) is best for year round touring.

21. How long should a leisure battery last before it needs replacing? It really depends on how well you look after it. If you never let it go flat and top up the fluid as necessary then 3-5 years is possible.

22. Can I use a pressure washer to clean my caravan or motorhome?

Q13. These wheel locking lozenges have Sold Secure’s highest rating – Diamond.

Most caravans and motorhomes rely on soft mastics to seal joints. These mastics can easily be displaced by the force of a pressure washer so the best advice is not to use one or, if you must, keep the nozzle at least 2 metres away from any joints or seals.

23. Are caravan covers worth investing in?

If you lay your caravan up for long periods or regularly store it under a tree then a cover could be a good investment. Make sure you get one that breathes or it could do more harm than good.

Q14. This Avtex TV will work throughout Europe and play DVD’s.

24. Are towing mirrors a legal requirement when towing a caravan? In almost all instances, yes. For more information see the article ‘Caravanning and the Law’ on page 116 of this magazine.

25. How can I remove scratches from my van’s plastic windows?

If the scratches are very shallow try a metal cleaning polish such as Brasso. Deeper scratches may respond to toothpaste.

o

Q15. Heavily wooded sites such as this one can be a problem if you rely on satellite TV.


Discover Touring 117


118 Discover Touring


Discover Touring 119


reVIewS | bAILeY PeGASuS ANNIVerSArY

Above: ergonomically designed kitchens feature Dometic fridges and the Thetford’s caprice cooker with dual fuel hob.

The brand new

Bailey Pegasus GT65 Author: Terry Owen

Bailey launches an exciting new range of caravans to mark the 65th year since it started production.

W

hen Bailey launched the Pegasus range of caravans back in 2009 it caused quite a stir because the new vans were made like none that had gone before. Conventional construction was ditched for a groundbreaking design which it called Alu-Tech. An interlocking aluminium framework held the body panels together with internal clamps and bolts. The new system dispensed with 90% of the external screws used in conventional construction, reducing the chance of water ingress. Apart from the floor there was no wood in the bodyshell so there was nothing to rot and the new caravans proved immensely strong – strong enough to have the towcar on the roof in one promotional shot. The Pegasus proved a winner and over the next two years Bailey moved all its production over to the Alu-Tech platform.

120 Discover Touring

Since then the Pegasus has been revamped twice in response to customer feedback and the latest version, the GT65, is the most luxurious to date. Taking many styling cues from the top of the range Unicorn II models the Pegasus GT65 looks set to steal sales in this highly competitive mid range sector of the market. The most striking feature is the new vertical opening skylight. It may look a little odd from the outside but it’s positively jaw dropping when viewed from the inside. If you like an unhindered view out there’s nothing to beat this arrangement. Another nice touch borrowed from the Unicorn II is the recessed front chest of drawers which partly occupies the area formerly taken the gas bottle locker. This allows much better access to the front bench seats which can then be made up into a king sized bed. To provide the necessary space

the gas locker has moved to the middle of the van, close to the axle, where heavy weights travel best. The kitchen too benefits from some Unicorn DNA, inheriting a similar ergonomic design with semi- island sinks, microwaves at user friendly heights and the Thetford Caprice cooker with dual fuel hob. Other features include impact and stone resistant GRP body shells, additional switched mains sockets, Michelin tyres, wheel security locking bolts and a winch operated spare wheel carrier. This latter item is operated from inside the van and really makes it easy to get at the spare wheel. Heating and hot water is provided by Whale’s innovative ‘I Van’ system, the first time it has been used in a volume production caravan. The space and water heaters together with the water pump are controlled wirelessly from a colour touch screen panel. It’s fully programmable and intuitive to use, a bit like an iPhone or iPad. The space heater is mounted under the floor to save room and runs on electricity or gas or both together for an extra boost. The water heater is small at just 8 litres but extremely powerful being capable of heating up from 15˚C to 70˚C in just 12 minutes using gas and electricity together. The front and rear of the vans are protected by stylish new bumpers made from Barex, a very tough and flexible plastic. It’s what JCB use for the bodywork of their diggers so it should resist most knocks and bumps, but replacement is easy if it becomes necessary. In keeping with the trend towards lighter tow vehicles and licence restrictions on newer drivers, weights are down by around 50 kg compared to the Pegasus II. This is


reVIewS | bAILeY PeGASuS ANNIVerSArY quite an achievement when considering the increased level of specification. The Pegasus GT65 range comprises 5 popular layouts carried over from the Pegasus II. The Genoa is a compact two berth with a full sized end washroom making it ideal for couples wanting a smaller van. The Verona adds a fixed double bed to this whilst the Rimini adds twin fixed beds, perfect for grandparents who occasionally want to take their grandchildren with them. The 6 berth Ancona has twin fixed bunks that can be shut off and a side dinette that will make up into two more. This makes it a great layout for families. The top of the range Bologna is basically a stretched Verona, the extra space providing a larger kitchen and making way for a fridge freezer. Catria patterned soft furnishings are standard with an Amaro option providing a more upmarket feel for those who want an extra touch of luxury. Groundbreaking as the original Pegasus was, it lacked the style of some of its competitors. Two generations later the Pegasus has evolved into a highly desirable, easy to tow caravan that will appeal to a wide range of customers.

Top: The recessed chest makes for a spacious front lounge and generous window shelf. Top right: smart washrooms include water saving shower heads. Bottom left: corner bunks make this Ancona a perfect family van.

o

Bailey sponsors Sir Ranulph Fiennes in quest to complete The Coldest Journey On Earth

S

ir Ranulph Fiennes takes on one of the last remaining polar challenges by attempting to cross Antarctica in winter for the first time. On 21st March 2013 six team members, including Sir Ranulph, will begin a six month journey across the continent – something which has never been attempted before at this time of year. During this period the expedition team will travel nearly 4,000 kilometres, mostly in complete darkness in temperatures as low as -90°C. The team will have to be entirely self-sufficient on this crossing as there will be no search and rescue facility available, because aircraft cannot penetrate inland during winter, due to darkness and risk of fuel freezing. Of the Antarctic traverse Sir Ranulph Fiennes said, “This will be my greatest challenge to date and one which will stretch the limits of human endurance. Britain and the Commonwealth has a strong heritage of

exploration, from Captain Cook 300 years ago to the present day. As such, it is fitting that a Commonwealth team should be the first to fulfil this last great polar expedition.” In addition to conquering this final frontier of exploration the specified aim of this venture is to raise $ 10 million for Seeing is Believing, a global charitable initiative to fight avoidable blindness. Members of the Bailey team met Sir Ranulph at the Millbrook Proving Ground recently through their joint participation in The Caravan Club Towcar of the Year Competition – where Bailey supplies the caravans used for the testing and Sir Ranulph was this years’ guest presenter. Bailey Managing Director Nick Howard said “The Coldest Journey was something we really wanted to be involved in and we are consequently very proud to become one of the sponsors of this attempt to complete one of last great polar challenges”.

You can follow the progress of The Coldest Journey expedition, as well as making a donation to Seeing is Believing, on the dedicated www.thecoldestjourney.org web site.

Discover Touring 121


PLANNING | home from home

Your home

away from home

Author: Sarah Wakely

Does going on tour in your caravan or motorhome mean forgoing your usual home comforts? It needn’t – these days there’s a wide range of equipment available to help make your time away as relaxing as being at home. And, best of all, there’s something on offer for every budget. The L216DRS is a fantastic new product from Avtex – it has built-in HD Freeview and an HD satellite decoder, as well as a built-in DVD/CD Player. You’ll never need to miss your favourite programmes again!

G

one are the days when going away meant missing your favourite TV programme. The most practical television for use in a caravan or motorhome is one that runs via a 12-volt socket; this will allow you to use it even when your van isn’t hooked-up to mains electrics. There’s a great selection available in a range of prices from specialist retailers, and many include a DVD player. You can connect your laptop or tablet computer to your TV, too: if there’s Wi-Fi available onsite, you’ll be able to watch ‘catch-up’ television. If the site signal is poor, then a Wi-Fi antenna – either fixed to the side of your van, or via a small box inside your unit – will really help. If you’re touring in the UK, you’ll need a TV with Freeview built in, or a separate, digital box; an alternative is a satellite dish. The latter is handy if you’re planning to travel on the Continent, as it should help you pick up UK channels. A TV signal finder is a handy (and cheap) piece of kit that will allow you to quickly locate the best signal. If you enjoy listening to the radio, take a DAB unit with you on tour; preferably one that operates via batteries for the ultimate in practicality. Finally, most people enjoy reading, but books are heavy and will eat up your payload. Consider an e-reader – it’ll allow you

122 Discover Touring

You can enjoy satellite TV with a system such as this CA Clase Tracvision R4SL dome, which is fitted to your van’s roof.

to take a vast amount of reading material with you, and battery life is usually excellent.

Cooking up a storm: You could use

‘regular’ cooking kit in your motorhome, but bear in mind that the high power consumption could well trip your electric supply. So keep an eye out for low-wattage gadgets, or those that run via 12-volt. You might like to consider a microwave, a slow cooker or even a sandwich toaster: all of these are available in 12-volt versions. You can buy low-wattage toasters and electric kettles; a great place to look for these is the major supermarkets, and their ‘value’ ranges of household equipment in particular. Whatever kit you select, keep a dedicated set of kitchen equipment in your van: that way you won’t need to carry everything in and out of the house each time you go away.

Keeping warm – and staying cool:

Modern vans tend to have excellent heating systems, but during the coldest months you may appreciate an extra heating source. Oilfilled radiators are a great option, and can be left on overnight: be sure to choose a lowwattage version. Fan heaters are cheaper, but the heat dissipates more quickly once the unit is turned off.

Save weight and hassle by carrying an e-Reader, such as Amazon’s popular Kindle, rather than a stack of books with you on tour.

The handsome Elan II digital radio from Pure will allow you to listen to DAB radio with ease; it runs on mains or batteries.


PLANNING | home from home You’ll be able to keep the interior of your van comfortable all summer with this Sea Breeze air-cooler, air washer and humidifier from Meaco; it also stops the air becoming too dry in winter.

Ditch your deckchairs for the incredibly comfortable and ultralight Helinox Chair One – it folds down into a tiny package for storage, too.

Cadac produces a great range of portable barbecues, including the gas-powered and versatile 6550F, which offers a range of cooking surfaces..

The all-over, all-singing, all-dancing campsites will likely appeal to families with younger children.

Awnings come in a variety of types, from a traditional style that fixes to the side of your caravan, to stand-alone motorhome awnings or these Fiamma examples, which fix to a wind-out awning.

For the ultimate in cooling luxury, consider a roof-mounted air-conditioning unit. They are pricey, though; a cheaper, but much less effective option is a 12-volt fan.

for a really quick set-up on site, caravanners could think about a caravan mover; these work by remote control, and allow you to quickly pitch up your van, stress-free.

Sleep more easily: If you have a fixed bed and find it a little firm, or a make-up bed and have noticed that the cushions don’t fit together perfectly, then a memory-foam mattress is a luxurious and ideal solution. Specialist companies even make them to fit fixed beds with a cut-out corner, allowing for extra comfort. Specially designed sheets and a decent quilt will increase your warmth, and you can even purchase a 12-volt electric blanket.

Keep it clean: How about a handheld vacuum cleaner or a rechargeable floor sweeper, neither of which will take up much room inside your van? To help stay organised, you might like to get hold of a freestanding rotary washing line, or a foldaway laundry bin. It’s even possible to purchase a small portable camping washing machine! No matter what equipment you choose to take on tour, you’ll need to ensure that your insurance covers everything you carry – it’s amazing how quickly values add up. Draw up a spreadsheet with an approximate cost of how much each item would cost to replace, and check that your policy offers sufficient cover; don’t forget to check whether highvalue items such as laptops or electric bikes need to be individually covered. And make sure to keep an eye on how much each item in your van weighs, so that you don’t exceed your payload. That way you can relax, and enjoy your home from home comforts safe in the knowledge that your caravan or motorhome is safely and legally loaded.

Luxury on the outside: Ditch

uncomfortable deckchairs for a well-designed camping seat, and choose a portable outdoor table to match. There are lots of lightweight barbecues available (gas or charcoal); ensure that you have room to store yours in your van or car when you’re not using it. An awning, meanwhile, is a great way of adding extra living space to your unit; ‘drive-away’ awnings (which remain in place when you leave the site for the day) are available to those with a motorhome. If you enjoy cycling, electric bikes can take the pain out of pedaling. And

Electric bikes come in a variety of styles and prices – from a few hundred pounds, up to this fantastic Scott E-Sportster, which retails for a few thousand!

Dyson produces an amazing range of incredibly powerful handheld vacuum cleaners: this model is the DC34, which offers up to 15 minutes’ use on each charge.

T

Discover Touring 123


Enjoy your FREEDOM in style PROTECTION AT THE TOUCH OF A BUTTON - PREMIUM AWNINGS NOW WITH AN ENERGY-EFFICIENT 12-VOLT MOTOR • NO LEGS required - Easy set up

NEW

• Electric or manual versions • New 12 volt version now available • Includes remote control and wind sensor (electric version)

An extra room for your motorhom e

• 3 year warranty when fitted by a Dometic Motorhome Centre

ALSO AVAILABLE - MY ROOM • Perfectly tailored to fit the Dometic Premium awnings • Available in two heights and three lengths • Easy Assembly

NwEwW ith an

No ient y effic energ motor lt 12 vo

Dometic’s network of specialist dealers can offer you all the advice, knowledge and expertise. For an extensive list of products and where to buy them please visit:

www.my-caravanning.com

124 Discover Touring


NEW Products for 2013 THE COOLEST OF ALL TIME!

THE LATEST GENERATION OF POWERFUL COOLERS AND FREEZERS • Suitable for deep freezing down to –22°C • 12/24 volts DC and 100 – 240 volts AC

Energy Class

• Excellent cooling performance even at extremely high outside temperatures

WHEREVER YOU NEED IT! THE TRIED AND TESTED 3 WAY ABSORPTION COOLBOX NOW COMES WITH A GAS CANISTER CRADLE • For gas, 12 volts & 230 volts • Designed with cradle to fit gas canister

• 3 stage battery protection • CFX special electronics with digital temperature display • Extremely efficient and superbly quiet operation

POWER

CFX 50C

RC 1205GC

• Cooling up to 33°C below ambient temperature • Cools up to eight 2-litre bottles • 41 litre capacity

• USB charging port

• Silent operation

• High performance - low consumption

THE MOST COMPACT ROOF AIR CONDITIONER AVAILABLE FOR VEHICLES 5M, 6M AND 7M IN LENGTH

• Extremely compact design, low weight and quiet operation • FreshJet 1700 / 2200, with an additional heating function • Very low starting current, FreshJet 2200 with soft start function

NOW

Available in performa 3 nce levels Dometic FreshJet 1100 Dometic FreshJet 1700 Dometic FreshJet 2200

• Remote control • Integrated LED ambient lighting • 3 year warranty when fitted by a Dometic Motorhome Centre

Motorhome Centre

Camping CoolCentre

Caravan Centre

Installation specialists for motorhome products

Specialists in portable refrigeration & camping products

Installation specialists Discover Touring for caravan products

125


PLANNING | tourING IN euroPe

Preparing for a tour

through the Continent With over three million* Brits expected to cross the channel this season, the touring retailer Halfords has put together some handy travel tips on how to prepare for your journey to europe.

Snapshot of driving laws on the continent

Germany

From 1st July 2012, it’s compulsory for drivers to carry two NF approved breathalysers in their car

Wheel clamps are not used in Germany, if your car is causing an obstruction it will be towed away

France Italy Cars have right of way. If a pedestrian wants to cross a zebra crossing, they have to wait

The horn is prohibited in built up areas when it’s dark, unless it’s an emergency

It’s illegal to use a sat nav which detects speed

Cars can’t enter the historic centre of many Italian cities without an official pass It’s illegal to carry bicycles on the back of a car

Portugal

Spain

In Spain, if you wear glasses, by law you must carry a spare pair with you

“Don’t get caught out by confusing regulations as you travel across the continent”

126 Discover Touring

Don’t run out of petrol on the Autobahn – it’s against the law

To reduce pollution in Rome, occasionally the authorities introduce traffic restrictions, allowing you to only drive your car on alternate days


PLANNING | touring in Europe

“Roof Boxes and Cycle Carriers are a handy way of keeping more space inside the car”

T

en minutes planning could save hours wasted on the hard shoulder and ensures your holiday gets off to the best start. A recent Halfords survey found 1 in 10 drivers skip routine vehicle checks. Not only does this put your vehicle at jeopardy, failing to carry out these checks is also a false economy and could cost you more in repairs later on. Such checks include testing the tyre pressure, the tread on the tyres, and ensuring vehicle fluids have been topped up to the vehicles recommended level.

Get kitted up

Now it’s time to check your kit. Most people know that you need a GB sticker and headlight converters when travelling anywhere in Europe, but new tougher laws have set standards that some motorists may not be aware of. In France for instance drivers must carry ‘NF’** approved

breathalysers in their vehicles at all times. Another is to ensure that the speed warning setting is turned off on your Sat Nav or local authorities could issue a hefty fine. These laws do vary from country to country so it’s always an idea to check which rules apply in advance of your trip. Check out our handy grid across the page for a breakdown on the varying laws and compulsory kit checklist. Finding room in your vehicle for equipment can be an issue; maximise on space by investing in handy equipment like roofboxes, roof racks or trailers. Roofboxes in particular are a great way to stow your luggage, not only do they provide your passengers with more room, it also means that your luggage will be securely locked without the risk of your worldly belongings spilling across a French highway. Styles of roofboxes do vary, for one that is economically efficient, try an aerodynamic

model specifically designed to reduce wind resistance and noise. Choose the right roofbox for you by speaking to the experts and take advantage of fitting services available at retailers. Remember if you are packing any of your belongings inside the vehicle; ensure that all windows are clearly visible with nothing obstructing your vision. Thinking of taking your bike with you? Different options for carrying bikes include rear mounted, roof mounted or tow bar mounted. If you have a tow ball, and aren’t towing already, this is the easiest option. If you don’t have a tow ball, rear mounted carriers can be used instead and can be easily fitted, though you may need to purchase a carrier lighting board and extra number plate if hidden by any of the equipment or bike. Rear high mounted carriers usually avoid the need for this; designed to hold the bike securely above the number plate u Discover Touring 127


PLANNING | touring in Europe and car lights. Roof mounted is also a cheap alternative but don’t forget the bike is on there when driving under low bridges! Bear in mind that if you are planning on towing make sure that you don’t exceed your nose weight, for more information see product manufacturers guidelines.

What to do in the event of a car breakdown abroad?

Vehicle breakdowns can never be anticipated but you can be pre-emptive in your preparation when packing your vehicle. Places like France, Spain and Italy have now made high visibility waistcoats compulsory equipment. These must be stowed in an accessible area of your vehicle and in the event of a breakdown, must be worn at all times. If needed, a warning triangle should be placed 45 metres behind the vehicle informing other motorists of your predicament. Another useful breakdown accessory is an AA emergency beacon, which includes a torch, seatbelt cutter and emergency hammer. Remember if your car or motorhome does breakdown ensure that you and your passengers move to a safe distance away from the vehicle and road, preferably behind a safety barrier or up on a verge/ embankment.

Camping tips

Gone are the days of ‘roughing it’, you’ll be spoilt for choice with all the touring accessories to choose from. We’d recommend a tent with a sewn in ground sheet, which will reduce draughts and help to prevent any creepy crawlies from making an unwanted appearance. Mosquito repellent and a First Aid Kit is a touring essential and it may also be worth considering a lighter weight sleeping bag for warmer climes. Most campsites will already be equipped with electrical hook-ups, a triple mains kit will allow you to bring along all your electrical home comforts. It may also be worth investing in some clever storage savers such as collapsible kettles, washing up bowls and even collapsible BBQ’s. Not only do these handy devices look good, they can also be stored easily taking up minimal space. Eating al fresco is one best parts of a camping trip but it is necessary to heed certain safety warnings: • When barbecuing always ensure that the BBQ is lit in an open and well-ventilated area. • Never be tempted to take a smouldering BBQ inside your tent, the carbon monoxide fumes that emit from this are deadly. Cooking on a gas stove should follow

the same considerations and ensure that nothing combustible is stored near heat. • You can’t take full gas cylinders on ferry crossings. Empty cylinders can be purchased in the UK and then exchanged for a full cylinder at the campsite your planning on staying at.

Seasonal considerations

Finally, don’t forget to check the weather prior to your journey. It may be worth ensuring that your tyres are appropriate for your journey and the types of weather conditions you are likely to experience during your travels that may impact on the road surface. Also, always carry plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Whilst on holiday it’s great to immerse yourself in the culture by sampling the local cuisine, however, don’t get carried away and be tempted to drink drive. But above all enjoy your trip! For further information and products mentioned in this article visit wwww.halfords.co.uk

T

*Based on figures 2011/2012 Government Annual Travel Survey ** ‘NF’ stands for “Norm Françoise”, which translates roughly to French Standard.

“Compact gadgets like this kettle maximise your packing space”

“Don’t get caught out in France - Carry an AlcoSense Single Use NF Approved Breathalyser”

“Motoring kits take the hassle out of staying legal on the European roads” 128 Discover Touring


PLANNING | towbar

Choosing the right towbar Author: Jim Bedford

When travelling at home or abroad it is important to choose the correct towbar for your individual needs. A towbar is a safety critical item and it is important to take the following into account when choosing the correct towbar.

R

esearch the towing specifics of your make and model of vehicle. Ensure that your towing vehicle is approved for towing and capable of pulling the towing unit. Your vehicle’s towing capacity will determine what you can tow. You can check the towing capacity of your vehicle in the vehicle handbook. A towbar is designed to tow the maximum towing capacity stated by the vehicle manufacturer What do you want to tow or carry with the towbar? Consider how often you plan to tow. Different styles of towbars are available – fixed (swan neck, flange), detachable and retractable. Assess the pros and cons of each before deciding which is the most suited to your requirements. The style of towbar will determine the type of electrics required. The type of electrical hook up is one of the most importance things to consider when having a towbar fitted to ensure safety and peace of mind. If your vehicle has active safety systems when towing such as TSP you will almost certainly need a vehicle specific wiring kit. In addition your vehicle may require additional coding to activate the towing safety systems.

Other considerations

Do not be tempted to buy a second hand towbar. The originating source of the towbar may well have been a scrap yard and the towbar may have structural damage that is not obvious to the untrained eye. If you have a second hand vehicle with a towbar already attached, make sure the towbar is suitable for whatever you plan to tow. A towbar and wiring loom should always be fitted by a competent installer. If you have any questions or concerns contact your local fitting specialist and they will be pleased to offer advice.

So much choice! There are three main types of towbar: Detachable, Fixed and Retractable. Detachable towbar systems have grown increasingly popular as they have the added benefit of not being on the vehicle when not required, thus maintaining the aesthetic look of the vehicle. Reasons why you might choose a detachable towbar: • Each towbar is vehicle specific and precision engineered • Westfalia towbars are tested to OEM standards • Westfalia towbars are manufactured in an OEM approved quality environment • Compatible with ALKO and BPW stabilisers • Maintains the aesthetic look of the car when not in use • Ideal for use when park distance control sensors are fitted Different types of fixed towbars are available – Swan Neck and Flange Ball. As well as being functional and easy to fit, fixed towbars offer excellent value for money. Reasons why you might choose a fixed towbar: • Each towbar is vehicle specific and precision engineered • Westfalia towbars are tested to OEM standards • Westfalia towbars are manufactured in an OEM approved quality environment • Compatible with ALKO and BPW stabilisers

• Looks professional and discreet when installed

• Competitively priced, and our best value for money towbar

The retractable towbar system is one of the latest innovations by Westfalia and offers the ultimate in convenience and ease of use. A retractable towbar works either electrically or via a conveniently positioned release mechanism. The towbar automatically swivels out from below the bumper in seconds and can be used immediately. When the towbar is not in use, neither the towbar or the electrical sockets can be seen therefore maintaining the clean, aesthetic look of the vehicle. Reasons why you might choose a retractable towbar: • Each towbar is vehicle specific and precision engineered • Westfalia towbars are tested to OEM standards • Westfalia towbars are manufactured in an OEM approved quality environment • Compatible with ALKO and BPW stabilisers • Maintains the aesthetic look of the car when not in use • Ideal for use when park distance control sensors are fitted • Exceptionally easy to use With thanks to www.westfalia-automotive.co.uk or www.westfalia-loadcarrier.co.uk.

Discover Touring 129


TOURING | GERMANY

A curious passion

Author: Roger Moorhouse

For all its charms, germany is still not a place that many of us think of as a potential holiday destination. it simply has too many dark periods in its history – too many skeletons in too many closets – for most of us to consider it as a contender for our hard-earned free time. Main image: The Statue of Hercules at Wilhelmshöhe, Kassel Top right: One of the ancient gates into Aachen’s city centre Bottom right: The old ducal palace at Schwerin

roger Moorhouse is author of “Berlin at War” and “Killing Hitler” and leads history tours to germany with www.historicaltrips.com

130 Discover Touring

A

s someone who has made a living from writing about that ‘dark history’, I am one of those that find the country endlessly fascinating. A generation ago, Basil Fawlty famously warned us not to “mention the war”, but it can sometimes be hard to miss and anyway a new generation of Germans are much more comfortable with their thorny history than ever before. So, in the spirit of enquiry and reconciliation, I set out to make a more or less random motorhome journey across Germany, in the hope that you might come to share my curious passion. I began my journey in the city of Aachen, Germany’s westernmost city and one of its oldest. A riot of narrow medieval streets at its

heart, it’s not the ideal location for a 7-metre motorhome, but it is still well worth the effort. Centring on the stunning medieval cathedral, last resting place of Aachen’s most famous resident, the Emperor Charlemagne, the city has much to recommend a short stay, not least a beautiful gothic Town Hall and the famous ‘Carolus’ spa, where the brave (or shameless) can venture into the ‘textile free’ sauna. Suitably refreshed, we head north-east, via Düsseldorf and – by-passing the Ruhrgebiet; the byword for urban sprawl - we emerge into a pleasing region of rolling hills, forests and lakes. One of these lakes – the Möhne – will certainly resonate with British readers, as it is one of the three reservoirs targeted in the famed


TOURING | GERMANY

Dambusters Raid of May 1943. A stroll across the impressive rebuilt dam, with the calm waters lapping below, is a very pleasant way to break the journey, whilst the nerdy amongst us try to spot the bits that were repaired. At the risk of “mentioning the war”, overnighting outside the city of Kassel, it is hard not to cast a thought to Germany’s disastrous experience of the 20th Century. Once a quaint place with a medieval city centre, Kassel was all but destroyed, courtesy of the RAF, in October 1943, and now has little to detain the visitor except for a strange but charming collection of architectural follies that survived at Wilhelmshöhe in the outskirts to the west. Well worth a visit, the curiosities of the ‘Bergpark’ include an elegant palace, a faux-gothic castle, a fountain and a ruined aqueduct, all topped by an 8m high bronze statue of Hercules at the summit of the hill. This elaborate complex was once the summer residence of the German Emperor, Wilhelm II. Continuing north, we come across a

town that shows what Kassel might once have looked like before running foul of Bomber Command. Hannoversch Münden is comprised of a quite stunning collection of timber-framed houses and looks for all the world as it is had just jumped off a chocolate box lid. It is the perfect place to stroll and enjoy the German institution of “Kaffee und Kuchen” – coffee and cake. Stopping for lunch in the city of Hannover, we are struck by the understated sense of calm of this regional capital. It is also not without its highlights, such as the glorious New Town Hall, a neo-gothic pile set amongst lakes and manicured gardens, whose dome offers splendid views across the city. If young legs are in need of a run, Hannover Zoo is one of the best in Europe, with several themed areas in which to lose yourself – or your children. Heading north-east from Hannover, we come off the beaten track somewhat to cross the famous Lüneburg Heath, via the towns of Celle and Uelzen. Bleakly beautiful, the heath

can be a stunning place to walk and soak up the atmosphere, particularly on a bright, latesummer day when the heather is in bloom. It also has a profound historical significance. It was here, in May 1945, that German forces surrendered to the British under Field Marshal Montgomery. Also, a certain Heinrich Himmler is buried in an unmarked grave, somewhere on its wide expanse. Crossing the river Elbe, we continue north-east across what was once the border into the former East Germany (GDR). At one time, this crossing would have marked a vast cultural and political chasm, yet nowadays – a generation after German reunification – the most one might notice is merely a slight difference in the road surface. After a short drive, we reach the regional capital, Schwerin, nestling in a network of lakes and waterways. Though this is a city which scarcely features on the standard tourist itinerary, it is well-worth a stop. The undoubted highlight is the city’s Palace, a former ducal residence in the French chateau style, which is sited on a small island in the lake and appears to sprout turrets and towers at every corner. Much abused over its lifetime – not least by the GDR, which used it as a teacher-training college – the Palace has now been restored to its former glory. The landscape of this northern region – Mecklenburg – makes a curious change from the gently rolling hills of central Germany. Here, it is very flat and studded with lakes and wetlands. It has a strangely primeval feel to it – as if you might expect to see a woolly mammoth stomping out of the morning mist – but it is nonetheless very attractive, and crucially, almost entirely free of other tourists. The area is also home to some spectacular architecture. North of Schwerin, the port town of Wismar has a rich Hansa history behind it, displayed in its medieval, timberframed houses and the soaring brick-gothic of its churches. Along the coast, Rostock is similarly appealing architecturally, despite the combined attentions of the RAF, the Red Army and two generations of communist town planners. Though it is known predominantly as a port and a ship-building centre, Rostock is graced with a number of splendid buildings, including the university, a couple of surviving medieval towers and St Mary’s Church, which contains a wonderfully elaborate, 500-year old, astronomical clock that still humiliates Judas Iscariot on the hour, every hour. For those with more contemporary interests, Rostock also has a chilling museum to the ‘Stasi’ – the GDR’s secret police – located in that benighted organisation’s former prison block. Continuing eastwards, we approach the end of tour arriving at the city of Stralsund, another riot of timber gables and spires with over 800 listed buildings in its old town alone. But, for us, Stralsund is just the gateway to our final destination; the famed island of Rügen, which lies just off the city’s eastern shore, linked by a bridge.  Discover Touring 131


TOURING | GERMANY

Main image: Hannover’s neo-gothic New Town Hall Top right: The Prora resort on Rügen: a monument to megalomania Bottom left: Rügen’s famous chalk cliffs Bottom right: The Möhne Dam: target for 617 Squadron

Rügen is perhaps Germany’s best-kept holiday secret. A sprawling landscape of sandbars, peninsulas and long, sandy beaches, Rügen has long been popular with German holidaymakers, but is all but unknown to the world beyond. It was here, for instance, that the artist Caspar David Friedrich was inspired to paint one of his most stunning works, reflecting the natural beauty of the island’s chalk cliffs. Vacationers still come to Rügen in their droves, drawn by its scenery, its numerous spa resorts and its bracing maritime climate. It does not disappoint. Indeed, it is not so long ago that Rügen was planned as a laboratory for the way in which all future holidays were foreseen. At Prora, on the island’s east coast, the Third 132 Discover Touring

Reich established an all-inclusive resort to provide package holidays for Germany’s working men and women – a sort of Nazi version of Butlin’s. This being Nazi Germany, of course, Prora was conceived on a vast scale: the main building alone stretched for 4.5km along the beachfront, with room for as many as 20,000 holidaymakers, as well as swimming pools, theatres, restaurants and a ‘festival hall’ that was designed to hold all the resort’s residents at once. The main building at Prora was completed in 1939, but was overtaken by events and never welcomed a single Nazi ‘Redcoat’, being used instead as a barracks and sometime home for wartime refugees. It is still there, a monument to megalomania, and to the very birth of mass

tourism: a place of pilgrimage, perhaps, to all of us who wholeheartedly reject such horrors. As we turn the ‘van around to chase the sunset west once again, I am struck by the rather unconventional route that I have followed – from Germany’s westernmost city, to its watery north-eastern fringe, with Poland just across the estuary. I have passed through quite a few places that rarely feature on the standard tourist trail, but I hope I have done this fascinating country justice, highlighting its diversity, its modernity and its history. That history – and the ‘dark history’ as well – is one that is never far from the surface in Germany, both in what is present and what is missing, but it is no less enthralling for that. “Don’t mention the war”? Don’t be silly.

T


SECTION | SECTION DETAIL

Free glossy monthly magazine

Club Together our online community chat, interact, ask, review

Only £11 per night sites plus many more site discounts

The Caravan Club

There’s no better value in touring Save £10 a night on pitch fees

Enjoy access to over 200 UK sites and 2,500 certificated locations

FREE technical help & advice

Enjoy the wildlife with many sites on or near RSPB reserves

Great Days Out discounts, 2-for-1s and more Fantastic ferry fares

Discover an unrivalled choice of sites and thousands of exclusive destinations, huge savings on everything from new cars and great days out to restaurant meals and show tickets plus a whole host of exclusive services and tailored insurance products. At only £43* The Caravan Club takes you and your money further.

What are you waiting for? Join today www.caravanclub.co.uk/join or call 01342 318 813 may be recorded. 134Calls Discover Touring*Price valid until 13 Dec 2013. A joining fee of £10 applies – this fee is waived if you choose to pay by Direct Debit.


SECTION | SECTION DETAIL

Freedom

one?

Pack your car and take anything you need. Choose from any of our routes and sailings. Relax any way you choose with our superb onboard facilities. And when you get there, you’re free to enjoy the holiday you’ve been looking forward to.

Visit brittanyferries.com or call 0871 244 1469

Discover Touring 135


DISCOVER| TOURING TOURING GERMANY| THE BIG PICTURE

Waiting to board…

136 Discover Touring


TRAVEL

EUROPE IN A

MOTORHOME Motorhome Bookers is your Online Expert for Motorhome Holidays around the globe and offers attractive prices for travel in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Southern Africa and Europe. Enjoy the freedom of having your own home on wheels and discover the most beautiful parts of Europe by hiring from one of our valued partners in 12 European countries. Our experts answer your questions phone: +44 207 193 2873 info@motorhomebookers.com facebook.com/motorhomebookers

Book through our website!

www.motorhomebookers.com/Europe

Discover Touring 137


TOURING | FRANCE

Worlds apart?

Author: Mark Galbraith

The distance between Britain and our nearest neighbour, France, is just 23 miles. That’s just less than the distance Felix Baumgartner fell in his supersonic journey back to earth. Yes – a man has fallen further than the channel is wide.

S

o we are very close to our neighbours, right? Hmm - comme-ci, comme ca. The English and the French have certainly not always seen eye to eye– Hastings, Crecy, Agincourt, Flodden –not to mention the blockades of livestock at Calais. But we set our differences aside once again, and we partnered up in the two world wars and again in the last few years under a banner of modern European imperialism. If you ever thought that the French and the English had finally buried the hatchet, you only need watch them battle it out anew on the turf at Twickenham. But watch carefully on the final whistle and you will always see the sincerest and most respectful of handshakes. Whatever the French think of us – and let’s suppress the jokes and clichés here, we admire their differences to our own idiosyncrasies (who remembers ’68?) and, on the whole, we love their country. A short holiday in France is often not enough: we

138 Discover Touring

settle there in numbers, in the countryside, British outposts claimed from abandoned villages, funded by a strong pound and driven by a sound exit strategy from working life into a happy retirement. The locals don’t like the cultural erosion one bit, but the French way is to shrug the shoulders and philosophise – “if the English hadn’t come, this village would be a ghost town by now”. And for those of us who can’t yet make the move, but may do in time, two or three weeks every year is just the tonic. One of the beauties of France, especially in a caravan or motorhome, is there is little need to plan the route. The old style of touring (keep driving til you want to stop, take it easy, stretch the legs, stay a night – maybe stay three nights – we’ll see…) that is the real beauty of France. The France of the VW Camper in 1968 or the Elddis Mistral in the mid-70’s, I am told. To do it right you won’t be in a hurry to get

anywhere. You’ll avoid autoroutes if you can (you’re not in the rat race now) and you’ll take in the sounds, smells, and sights of one of the most (if not the most) diverse countries on the planet. And it’s all on your doorstep. Here are a few of my personal favourite places in France that you might head to or, preferably, stumble upon: A Head for Heights: Courchevel 1850 You can park up at the lower ski stations of 1350, 1650 and get the lift up to the most glorious ski-ing area Europe has to offer. Great for winter sports of course, or walking and mountain biking in Summer. Bring your thermos and your sarnies – this one is a budget buster. Don’t forget: your Russian Phrase Book. Gin Palace Fortress: Antibes The little fortress town of Antibes is a favourite with the boating crowd and is a charming port. Great for chilling on the ramparts with


TOURING | FRANCE Main image: Imperial beauty: Pierrefonds. Top: Antibes in the sunlight. Middle: Lourdes – the Basilica. Bottom: Polar bears at zoo de la Palmyre.

a pastis. Don’t forget: your espadrilles and Ray-Bans. Medieval Midi Carcassonne O One of the most beautiful fortified cities, steeped in religious history and mystery. For the macabre among you – a Museum of Torture (I didn’t go). Don’t forget: Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code and Kate Mosse’s Labyrinth. Fairy Tales and Peace: Pierrefonds and Compiegne W Wow! If you haven’t been, go. The chateau at Pierrefonds was a birthday gift from Napoleon I for his daughter Louise and later was completely remodeled in 1850 by Napoleon III. A visit to nearby Compiegne and the adjoining forest brings your history lesson more up to date, being the place of Armistice for both the first and second world wars. Don’t forget: to plan a long lunch in one of the fabulous traditional restaurants in the square. Boulevard of Dreams: Paris Yes it can be done, and it’s not too much Y hassle, actually, in a motorhome. If you go in August as a day trip you can usually park up within walking distance of the very centre, on the roads that spar off the Rive Droite (northern bank). Once parked up on a meter (yes, the spaces allow for longer vehicles on many city roads) you can hail a bateau mouche or wander the banks of the Seine.

August is much quieter in Paris and weekends throughout the summer are often very quiet too. Don’t forget: water bottles in summer. Spiritual Healing: Lourdes Religious or not, this place certainly has something special about it. With five million tourists every year and more hotels per square metre than everywhere but Paris. Don’t forget: park and ride. Atlantic Rollers: Cote Sauvage Long sandy beaches and pounding waves backed by towering forests of pine – the Côte Sauvage on the Atlantic coast in the CharenteMaritime is one of the most spectacular parts of the Poitou-Charentes. If you want a feeling of space and untamed beauty, this is definitely where to head to. Surfers should also haul their boards into the waves that are known for their size and power. The coastline starts at around La Palymre, north of Royan, and stretches north-west around the point La Tremblade. As well as beaches, the Côte Sauvage is dominated by la Forêt de la Coubre, a huge pine and green oak forest that was first planted in the 19th century to stop erosion in the sea. Today it’s protected and a lovely place to go walking, cycling or even horse-riding. Fancy a scenic drive? Then take the D25 between La Palmyre and Ronceles-Bains, about 20km long and taking you from the coast through the forest.

T

 Discover More: The Cote Sauvage / ”Wild coast” Beaches: those facing the Atlantic are great for surfing, although you do need to be aware of the strong rips. if you want to learn to surf, there are plenty of schools where you can hire the equipment and arrange lessons. With 30km to choose from, this is where you’re most likely to find a peaceful spot to lay your towel. The roads leading to the côte sauvage do get busy during summer, especially weekends and August. La Tremblade also boasts a naturist beach. if you have young children, head for the beach of Bonne Anse bay, where there is an excellent water park with slides, and other fun things to do.

Forêt de la Coubre: a beautiful and atmospheric place to get away from it all and get close to nature. With the majority of the trees pines and green oaks, the forest is light and airy. if you feel like it, you can break up your walking or cycling with regular dips in the sea as the wellmarked paths lead you through the forest as well as down to the beach. serious hikers will like the long-distance footpath, gr4, which links royan to ronce-les Bains to the north, via the Forêt de la coubre. similarly, long-distance cyclists can choose the 30km trail between saint-Palaissur-Mer via La Palmyre and ronce-les-Bains, or

shorterroutes though the forest. There are also specific routes for mountain bikes, plus bridle paths. To go riding choose one of the many riding schools nearby.

La Tremblade: a picturesque village where oyster farming and mussels are major industries. You can taste oysters freshly caught from the local producers or wait to have ameal in a restaurant, where you can also tuck into mussels baked under pineneedles, a delicious local speciality. if you choose a restaurant in the harbour area of La grève, you’ll see the coloured cabins lit up in the evening which makes for a pretty sight.

La Coubre: with its red and white colouring and height of 60m, this lighthouse built in 1905, was originally two kilometres inland from the shore but coastal erosion means that it is now just a few hundred metres away from the sea. one of France’s most powerful lighthouses with a range of 50km, if you have the stamina you can climb the 300 steps of the spiral staircase to the top for a fantastic viewover the gironde estuary, the cordouan Lighthouse, the Pointe de grave headland, The

gironde coast, the côte sauvage, the Arvert peninsula and, further north, the ile d’oléron.

Zoo de la Palmyre: one of the best zoos in europe that’s set in 14 hectares in the Forêt de la coubre. it has more than 1,600 types of animal from all five continents including polar bears, snow leopards, siberian tigers, elephants, monkeys and apes. L’île d’Oléron: France’s largest island after corsica is just off the côte sauvage coast, connected to the mainland by a bridge near Marennes on the other side of the seudre river. explore the island and see its varied landscape, from pine forests and sand dunes to marshland and salt beds, soaring cliffs and long,sandy beaches. in the summer months the scents of mimosa and oleander are carried on the sea breeze, wafting over the many holidaymakers (the island is a French favourite). cycling is a popular way to see the island (it is almostentirely flat), and it is possible to rent bicycles and go off on your own or join an organised tour. Don’t forget: to visit the incredible food market at Saint-Denis, and a tasting of the fresh oysters and moule found all along this coast.

Discover Touring 139


ACTIVITY | GLAMPING

A touch of glamour...

140 DISCOVER TOURING


ACTIVITY | GLAMPING

Glamping provides a unique holiday experience, combining many of the best elements of camping with a hint of luxury. Tim Gibson explores what’s available. Main: Life in a dome – luxurious, eh? Credit: Cosy Under Canvas Top: The Hideaway at Baxby Manor provides a restful glamping location. Credit: Baxby Manor Bottom: Glamping offers a refined holiday experience. Credit: Natalie Mayer DISCOVER TOURING 141


ACTIVITY | GLAMPING

Top left: Rustic charm at The Soul Camp in Sussex. Credit: The Soul Camp Top right: Proper beds make for a comfy night’s sleep. Credit: Natalie Mayer Bottom left: This looks like our idea of holiday bliss. Credit: The Soul Camp Bottom right: Glamping provides a great adventure for the kids. Credit: Natalie Mayer

I

f you’re into touring, the chances are that hotel holidays aren’t really your cup of tea. Even so, it can occasionally be nice to leave the tent or caravan at home and head somewhere for a bit of pampering. Thanks to the rising popularity of glamping, it’s now possible to enjoy a holiday that mixes the freedom of camping or caravanning with the luxury of staying in a hotel or holiday cottage. Okay, so kipping in a yurt isn’t quite the same as a night in the Ritz, but it’s a whole lot more interesting for the children. What’s more, it’ll give you plenty to talk about when comparing holiday notes with your friends. Even better, glamping is extremely kind to the environment. So you can enjoy a memorable time away without worrying about the impact of your activities on the planet. So far, you might say, so is camping and caravanning. But what makes glamping such a distinctive experience is the range of accommodation options. You can stay in anything from a wooden hut to a tepee, and in every case you’ll be assured of a comfy night’s sleep courtesy of proper beds and cosy furnishings. Glamping is unlikely to replace camping or caravanning in your affections. But, as a unique way to spend your time away, it’s definitely worth experiencing.

T

142 DISCOVER TOURING

 Discover More: Five great UK glamping sites: Cosy Under Canvas, Powys: Set in four acres of woodland, Cosy Under Canvas is close to the literary town of Hay on Wye. Accommodation is in tepees or domes, with comfy beds and sheepskin rugs to keep things cosy inside. Prices range from £150 to £895, depending on time and length of stay. www.cosyundercanvas.co.uk Durrell Wildlife Camp, Jersey: Camp in a luxury pod, in the heart of this Channel Islands wildlife park. Every pod is equipped with a log-burning stove, as well as its own shower and WC and a kitchenette with two-ring hob. Prices start at £395 for a four-night stay. www.durrell.org/camp The Hideaway at Baxby Manor, North Yorkshire: Bell tents and eco-pods are the order the day at this idyllic site on a family farm. Low season prices start at £40 per night; expect to pay up to £65 per night at busier times. www.thehideawayatbaxbymanor.co.uk Lakeland Yurts, Essex: The clue is in the name for this site, which offers camping in a 21ft Mongolian yurt beside a beautiful lake, with fishing available. A minimum two-night stay for two people costs £130-£150, depending on the season. http://lakeland-yurts.co.uk/lakeland-yurts/ The Soul Camp, Sussex: The Soul Camp specialises in large groups, accommodating up to a few hundred people in yurts, tepees and bell tents. Smaller groups are also welcome, and The Soul Camp provides a communal picnic area, with a campfire circled by recycled wooden benches. Prices depend on group size. www.thesoulcamp.com


HISTORY | LAST WORDS

FROM TOW HORSE TO HORSEPOWER The earliest days of The Caravan Club often conjure up idyllic scenes of horse-drawn caravans, exploring the countryside at a slow and quiet pace. Yet a handful of members went against the convention and predicted that the hobby’s future lay with motorised technology. Here we celebrate the few pioneer motor caravanners of the early twentieth century. Author: Angela Cox

T

he caravan holiday first became popular with the Victorians after a somewhat eccentric author and retired Naval Surgeon, Dr William Gordon Stables, commissioned the world’s first leisure touring caravan. Stables named this luxurious horsedrawn-van The Wanderer, first taking to the road in 1885. Others soon followed Stables’ lead and took a caravan tour discovering the perfect way to leave behind bustling towns and cities to enjoy a more simple and healthy lifestyle. By the turn of the century the hobby had become fashionable among the rich, including professionals and women of wealth.

So popular was horse-drawn caravanning by 1907 that a group of eleven enthusiasts gathered together to form The Caravan Club which represented and brought together those interested in the pursuit. Yet a few rejected the slow paced traditional form of caravanning, opting for a speedier way to travel offered by new developments in automobile technology. This group were the motor caravanners, men and women who traded in the tow-horse for mechanically-propelled vehicles with a self contained living space. Incredibly, the concept of a motorised caravan is nearly as old as the horse-drawn  DISCOVER TOURING 143


HISTORY | LAST WORDS

Top left: Albert Fletcher’s 1913 Daimler chassis motor caravan. Caravan Club founder J Harris Stone is pictured second from left with Fletcher to the right of him. Credit: Courtesy of The Caravan Club Top right: A motor caravan joins the throng of caravanners in the Scottish Highlands in this 1908 Punch cartoon. Credit: Reproduced by kind permission of Punch Limited Below right: Interior of Albert Fletcher’s 1913 Daimler chassis motor caravan. Credit: Courtesy of The Caravan Club

leisure caravan, with roots stretching back to late 19th Century France. The first vehicle to resemble a ‘motor caravan’ was not powered by fuel, but by steam. Reported in The Autocar journal in 1897, ‘The Steam House’, was made by Parisian carriage builder Monsieur Jeantaund. It was a luxurious home on wheels propelled by a steam tractor built by French automobile manufacturer De Dion-Bouton. Designed very much like a railway carriage, it had rooms running off a side corridor including a kitchen area, dining room, a bathroom with lavatory and sleeping area. Space was even designed for the owner’s pet dogs who were housed in a cage fitted to the undercarriage. This unique ‘caravan’ was commissioned for use at an event in France to showcase new vehicle designs and technologies. Unfortunately, so grand was the project to build The Steam House that Monsieur Jeantaund was not able to finish it in time for the event. With no further use for it, the owner immediately offered the vehicle up for sale with a price tag of £1,200 – the equivalent spending power of over £72,000 today. We do not know the fate of The Steam House, but the 144 DISCOVER TOURING

concept was transferred to petrol-engined vehicles in France around the turn of the twentieth century. Yet this was a time when such technologies were in their infancy, and many roads were still in such a poor condition that they were often impassable for large vehicles. The motor caravan appeared to be little threat to the nimble horse-drawn caravan. Sometime between 1901 and 1908 the first motor caravan deemed ‘practical’ by Caravan Club founder and Honorary Secretary J Harris Stone, appeared on the roads of Britain. By ‘practical’, Stone probably meant that main roads were just about passable in it, as this caravan was still very sizeable. Owned by Mr. J.W. Mallalieu of Wavertree in Liverpool, this 40 horsepower van built by Belsize Motors Ltd weighed in at three tonnes. This motor caravan became the means of family holidays to Scotland and Wales among other destinations, and was designed to sleep six. However, there was no room for the family’s maid who was put up in local hotels at night. This caravan was quite a novelty, and is very likely to have been the lone motor caravan of similar appearance satirised in

1908 by popular Punch cartoon illustrator George Morrow. The caricature poked fun at the growing craze for the caravan holiday as means to ‘get away from it all’, depicting a scene in the Scottish Highlands bursting with caravans and holidaymakers. Whether Mr Mallalieu was at one point a Caravan Club member, no record can be found in The Club’s archives, but his van paved the way for others to try out motorised caravanning. Before the First World War there are only three known Caravan Club members who owned motor caravans, although there may have been more forgotten by time. J Harris Stone, despite welcoming their owners into the Club, appears to have openly disliked the invention. Stone, a great supporter of traditional caravanning, saw lots of evidence that motor vans were ‘contradictory to the true spirit of the pastime’. The horse-drawn caravan, more lightweight and compact design than the motorised version, enabled their owners to explore the countryside at their leisure and set up camp in places no others could reach. Stone wrote in 1913 that caravanners ‘are a set of people who positively dislike the main thoroughfares and highways, and


HISTORY | LAST WORDS

much prefer the byways’. He witnessed many occasions where the sheer size and weight of motor caravans prohibited exploring off the beaten track. The speediness of the motor caravan also stood against the leisurely pace which traditional caravanners enjoyed. Stone observed the incredible differences in speed between the two types of vehicle commenting that one motor caravanner ‘the previous night... had slept at a place some eighty miles distant, and on the morrow he would sleep at a spot in the south, which it would have taken me in my van seven or eight days to reach’. Mrs Madge Paton of Dundee was one of The Caravan Club members who owned a sizeable motor caravan, a 16-20 horsepower van built in 1912 which she named The Tortoise. The top of the van was designed to transport luggage, and inside was a dining room with stove and a compartment with two bunk beds. It also contained drawers and wardrobes for handily storing clothes and other items when on tour. A more lightweight design that offered a glimpse of things to come was the 35 horsepower Bristol van named Aeroplane owned by Club member Mr William Appleton of Weston-super-Mare. This compact caravan was more practically designed to travel to the open road than some of its larger counterparts. It also had the ingenious feature of a fixed sun canopy which pulled out around the vehicle when parked. Appleton attended The Caravan Club’s 1910 Meet at Coulsdon, and attracted a great deal of media attention including photographs appearing in the Daily Graphic and The Autocar. Yet one of the main pioneers of motor caravanning in the UK was Caravan Club member Albert Fletcher (1858 – 1925), a wealthy mill owner of Ashton-under-Lyne. Fletcher was a horse-drawn caravanner before being lured by the speed of motoring. Having

handed over the running of his business to a trusted relative, this bachelor had the freedom and fortune to travel when and where he wished. His first motor caravan was built around Spring 1906, strikingly constructed of a polished American teak body on a Ryknield chassis. In Summer 1907 he is said to have covered 4,000 miles and could average sixty to seventy miles a day, quite a speed compared to The Wanderer which had a pace of two miles per hour. The van was built to contain sleeping compartments as well as kitchen space with a stove and sink. Perhaps most striking in design was the seating on top of the caravan, accessible by a stepladder, from which passengers could enjoy the view while travelling on the open road. This seating area was a design feature that Fletcher also included in his second motor caravan, built around 1913, it resulted from Fletcher’s experiences travelling in his first van. With a body built by Burton-on-Trent based Orton and Sons on a 10 horsepower Daimler chassis, similar to that used by furniture-removal vans of the time, it weighed five tons and could travel at 12 miles per hour. Albert Fletcher was keen to share his passion of motor caravanning and the outdoors to those less fortunate by taking nurses from the local District Infirmary and the residents of a children’s home on frequent trips around Cheshire. He was also a regular feature at Caravan Club Meets, including the very first held in 1908 at Ockham in Surrey, despite the problems that came with driving a five tonne motor vehicle into a farmer’s field, particularly after wet weather. In 1913 J Harris Stone commented on an incident when ‘A large expensive motor caravan came to one of the Meets of the Caravan Club, but was unable to draw in through the entrance gates owing to its length. Had it achieved its

Top left: Mrs Madge Paton’s 1912 Tortoise, complete with a party of travellers and a coachman. Credit: Courtesy of The Caravan Club Top right: Mr William Appleton’s lightweight motor caravan named Aeroplane. Credit: Courtesy of The Caravan Club Below right: Article reporting on The Caravan Club’s 1910 Meet at Coulsdon, featuring Mr Appleton’s Aeroplane. Credit: Courtesy of The Caravan Club

entrance I was afraid it would have sunk into the field’. With so few motor caravans at the time, especially of this grand size, it is very possible that this comment was made about Fletcher’s van. Remarkably, letters written by Albert Fletcher to Daimler soon after the motor caravan was built have recently led to the original chassis being traced. This is all thanks to the unique chassis number being noted in the letters and the survival of the chassis number plate. Sadly, only the bare framework remains as the original body was broken up in the 1960s. During the First World War many strides were made forward in the development of motoring technology. After the conflict ended the production of motor caravans continued to grow, but The Caravan Club focused on providing services to horsedrawn and later trailer caravan owners. It wasn’t until over 50 years after the pioneer motor caravanners were part of the Club that owners of motor caravans were admitted to the membership once more. To find out more about the history of The Caravan Club and its Collection of memorabilia visit www.ca ravanclub.co.uk and www.nationalmotormuseum.org.uk

T

DISCOVER TOURING 145


Touring DISCOVER

Pre order

today

The next issue of Discover Touring will be available at all good newsagents, major national and regional shows and on the App. store from October 2013 If you would like to pre-order your next issue, please send a cheque for £6.99 (includes P&P) made payable to Discovery Media Group Holdings at: Discovery Media Group, Discovery House, 63 Dundale Road, Tring, Herts HP23 5BX.

t Geantdodu o

ing! h t e m o s

Now available on iPad, iPhone & online

The most fun you will have this year!

Regional TouRing | iReland Regional TouRing | iReland

Ireland culture

if you’ve any energy left, drive a little further to test your nerve crossing the Carrick-ARede Rope Bridge, swinging high above the ground.

You don’t generally need extra reasons to visit ireland, but now you have two that will surely make 2013 the year to go. Contributors: Seth Linder, Caroline

Ulster American Folk Park and the history of emigration, Omagh A slightly longer drive from Derry– Londonderry takes you to one of the most fascinating outdoor museums in Europe. Just before you get to Omagh, you’ll find the Ulster American Folk Park (www. nmni.com/uafp) where you can follow the emigration trail from the thatched cottages of Ulster, board a (static) emigration ship and then find yourself in the log cabins and wood houses of frontier America. All the buildings are authentic, some shipped in pieces from the US. Along the way you’ll meet costumed living history characters, maybe cooking up some local fare. Highly recommended.

Mills

Marble Arch Caves, Fermanagh Also within a couple of hours drive of DerryLondonderry are the magical Marble Arch Caves (www.marblearchcavesgeopark.com), part of a spectacular Geopark. You can take an electrically powered boat journey on a subterranean river deep underground, gliding through some of Europe’s finest showcaves. While there, find out about other nearby attractions, like Cuilcagh Mountain Park, Burren Forest and the source of the might Shannon River, the Shannon Pot.

T

here’s a saying that the world is composed of those who are Irish and those who would like to be. It isn’t true of course. We all have a bit of Irish in us! It’s just that you don’t discover it until you’re in the country itself, where even the frostiest façade will melt with the non-stop conviviality, easy warmth and engaging culture of the locals. This year is certainly the best time to put that theory to the test. Why? Firstly, because Ireland is throwing the biggest party in its history and it’s open to all, whether your roots are green are not. Secondly, there’s a mega celebration in the historic walled city of Derry~Londonderry where you can immerse yourself in an unbelievable variety of cultural happenings. The first event is the Gathering, a year-long celebration of all things Irish, with thousands of events, great and small, taking place 80

Discover Touring

right around the country. The second is the Family Days Out: inaugural UK City of Culture, taking place in The Causeway Coast Drive Derry-Londonderry throughout 2013. A perfect family day out is the Causeway Situated at the westerly edge of Northern Coast Drive (www.causewaycoastandglens.com). Ireland, Derry~Londonderry is right After on the a day or two soaking up the unique border with the Republic of Ireland, cultural just a delights of Derry, head out past Limavady short drive from the stunningly beautiful towards Mussenden Temple, a romantic county of Donegal. It’s also within folly easy perched high above the sea. If it’s access of the dramatic Causeway a sunny Coast, day take a slight detour to nearby along the northern coast of Northern Benone Beach, a long, golden stretch of sand Ireland, one of the world’s most with beautiful a spectacular mountain backdrop. drives. Along the coast you can choose from traditional Touring in Ireland is entirely pleasurable. seaside resorts like Castlerock, Portrush With the exception of rush-hour and around Portstewart, as well as two of the island’s Dublin and Belfast – easily negotiable – most famous attractions. One of the roads are generally quiet and traffic-free. world’s most remarkable places to visit, the New roads make getting to the west Giant’s coast Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage quick and easy – if you have to be Site, quick that now boasts a £17 million new visitor centre. is, as you’ll miss so much. Take your time Try and take the charming little steam and relish the scenery. train from nearby Bushmills to it if you can. And

Cultural Britain – History and Heritage:

The Cattle Raid of Cooley re-enactment, Ardee Irish mythology is among the most renowned in the world and the most famous mythological saga of all is the Cattle Raid of Cooley, thought to be Europe’s oldest vernacular tale. As part of The Gathering, you can take part in a thrilling re-enactment (www.tainmarch.com) of the raid in the very area the tale was set. Join the army of Queen Maeve of Connaught at Ardee on Thursday June 7th and watch the fatal battle of the mighty warriors and friends, Ferdia and Cuchulainn, before a feast in Ardee Castle. Then march towards Carlingford with more re-enactments on the way before participating in the Cuchulainn banquet on June 10th. Limerick Festival – An Irish July 4th Thanks to The Gathering, July 4th isn’t just a big day in America. Make your way to the medieval heart of Limerick, in the southwest of Ireland, and you’ll find yourself in the middle of Limerick Festival (www.4thjulylimerick.com), a feast of music, entertainment and fun with an American slant. There’s so much to explore while you’re there. Start with King John’s Castle on King’s Island, whose unique history is chronicled at its multi-million pound new visitor centre. Also look out for the superbly restored 18th century Bishop’s Palace, St Mary’s Cathedral, the Limerick Museum and the Hunt Museum. Within an hour’s drive of the ancient city you’ll find great lakes, stone-age homesteads and magnificent castles too.

PRACTICAL | TowIng

PRACTICAL | TowIng

What can I tow with my car?

Main picture: Derry-Londonderry.

Discover Touring

81

Preparing for a tour

through the Continent With over three million* Brits expected to cross the channel this season, the touring retailer Halfords has put together some handy travel tips on how to prepare for your journey to europe.

Snapshot of driving laws on the continent

Germany

From 1st July 2012, it’s compulsory for drivers to carry two NF approved breathalysers in their car

Italy

has been

Cars have right of way. If a pedestrian wants to cross a zebra crossing, they have to wait

The horn is prohibited in built up areas when it’s dark, unless it’s an emergency

It’s illegal to carry bicycles on the back of a car

Portugal

Spain

Don’t run out of petrol on the Autobahn – it’s against the law

Wheel clamps are not used in Germany, if your car is causing an obstruction it will be towed away

In Spain, if you wear glasses, by law you must carry a spare pair with you

To reduce pollution in Rome, occasionally the authorities introduce traffic restrictions, allowing you to only drive your car on alternate days

“Roof Boxes and Cycle Carriers are a handy way of keeping more space inside the car”

T

It’s illegal to use a sat nav which detects speed

Cars can’t enter the historic centre of many Italian cities without an official pass

en minutes planning could save hours wasted on the hard shoulder and ensures your holiday gets off to the best start. A recent Halfords survey found 1 in 10 drivers skip routine vehicle checks. Not only does this put your vehicle at jeopardy, failing to carry out these checks is also a false economy and could cost you more in repairs later on. Such checks include testing the tyre pressure, the tread on the tyres, and ensuring vehicle fluids have been topped up to the vehicles recommended level.

Get kitted up computer, car/caravan if you don’t use a ‘phone. discussed over the

matches can be

“Don’t get caught out by confusing regulations as you travel across the continent”

126 Discover Touring

John Wickersham, ing author of The caravann you in Handbook, steers . the right direction

Above: The Giant’s Causeway.

PLANNING | tourING IN EuroPE

France

‘outfit matching service’ The caravan club’s than two years. running for more

The greatest stories ever told, West Cork If you can hang around for a few days at summer’s end you can enjoy the finest festival dedicated to one of Ireland’s u

right: March to Carlingford as part of the re-enactment of the Cattle Raid of Cooley.

PLANNING | tourING IN EuroPE

own use the car they already some potential caravanners it could easily and safely tow. that and search for caravans

tow with caravan I could safely “I wonder what type of people ask; That’s a question many r is, “Nothing!” and sometimes the answe match

Finding the perfect a recent Aston The Caravan Club f, by chance, you own model, an MGF, In January 2011, which offers its sports introduced a service Martin, a Porsche Today, Matching Service’. you’re out of luck members an ‘Outfit or an early Ford Ka, than 750,000 safe These particular it now proposes more where towing’s concerned. to tow anything To provide car and caravan combinations. vehicles were not designedthis using esoteric a huge data store which explain this advice, there’s at all, and experts . 11,057 caravans and ‘homologation issues’ includes details on gobbledygook like Thousands by the time you read 58,276 cars. However, But don’t be too concerned. caravan, 2013 models will have a tow to this, information on of cars can be used need well. is sound. You just also been added as provided the pairing compatible partners.

I

96

Discover Touring

my car?”

several agencies For the last few years, services to whom have operated similar for information about enquirers pay a fee partnerships. their proposed towing of The Caravan Club However, members and its website mixing can spend hours on a ‘vans without paying matching car’s and the they can telephone penny. Alternatively, 9.00am and 5.30pm, Technical Team between holidays excepted) (Public Monday to Fridays on Tel: 01342 336611.

information, After you’ve provided which includes attractions about a ‘Results list’ appears This is one of several elements are However, to promote ticks (where matching Club membership. marks (to denote Manager of Technical safe caravanning, the usually good), exclamation but with non-members can a possible pairing Services reports that cross (to indicate too, although reservations) and a receive help by telephone, explained). have to be brief. unsuitability for reasons pairing proposals might The Club’s service marked Then you select a section A notable feature about a ‘two prong’ gives percentage ratings is the fact that it adopts caravanners already ‘Details’ which and comments about: strategy. Some potential what weights establish to (relative and want • Kerbweight ratios own a reliable car be able to tow in safety. of car and caravan) caravans it would (based on work the other way • Towing limitations Other potential owners with a caravan first ’s data) love a vehicle manufacturer mustn’t exceed round. They fall in it. (which cars that could tow • Combined weight and then search for by advice matching the car’s When you seek needed about your GTW limit) internet, information ion odel/year/body • Noseweight recommendat car includes: make/range/m account) this etc. (Discussed later in type/fuel/transmission, needed includes: power capability). • BHP per ton (engine Caravan information Asked berth/max berth/ Finally, a list of ‘Frequently make/range/model/min etc. min age/max age,

caravan fall in love with a other potential owners that would be capable for cars first – then search of towing it.

Questions’ (FAQs), remarkable service.

rounds-up this

issues at stake, Now let’s explore some weights. u of starting with the matter Discover Touring

97

Now it’s time to check your kit. Most people know that you need a GB sticker and headlight converters when travelling anywhere in Europe, but new tougher laws have set standards that some motorists may not be aware of. In France for instance drivers must carry ‘NF’** approved

breathalysers in their vehicles at all times. Another is to ensure that the speed warning setting is turned off on your Sat Nav or local authorities could issue a hefty fine. These laws do vary from country to country so it’s always an idea to check which rules apply in advance of your trip. Check out our handy grid across the page for a breakdown on the varying laws and compulsory kit checklist. Finding room in your vehicle for equipment can be an issue; maximise on space by investing in handy equipment like roofboxes, roof racks or trailers. Roofboxes in particular are a great way to stow your luggage, not only do they provide your passengers with more room, it also means that your luggage will be securely locked without the risk of your worldly belongings spilling across a French highway. Styles of roofboxes do vary, for one that is economically efficient, try an aerodynamic

model specifically designed to reduce wind resistance and noise. Choose the right roofbox for you by speaking to the experts and take advantage of fitting services available at retailers. Remember if you are packing any of your belongings inside the vehicle; ensure that all windows are clearly visible with nothing obstructing your vision. Thinking of taking your bike with you? Different options for carrying bikes include rear mounted, roof mounted or tow bar mounted. If you have a tow ball, and aren’t towing already, this is the easiest option. If you don’t have a tow ball, rear mounted carriers can be used instead and can be easily fitted, though you may need to purchase a carrier lighting board and extra number plate if hidden by any of the equipment or bike. Rear high mounted carriers usually avoid the need for this; designed to hold the bike securely above the number plate u Discover Touring 127


Your first choice for Adria Caravans, Bailey Caravans and Bailey Motorhomes

Visit our 2 conveniently located branches: GREAT PRICES ON THE LATEST 2013 MODELS PRE-OWNED CARAVANS & MOTORHOMES FULLY STOCKED ACCESSORIES SHOPS PURPOSE BUILT WORKSHOPS FAMILY BUSINESS EST. 1971 Contact a member of our team today we’re always on hand to help with your requirements.

venture-caravans.com

Toll House, A5 Watling Street Watford Gap, Daventry Northants, NN6 7UJ

The Rose Gardens Cambridge Road Hitchin, SG4 0JX

Call our Daventry Branch on:

Call our new Hitchin Branch on:

01327 703371

01462 452856

Discover Touring  

Discover Touring issue 5