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Caravan Cruise

IRELAND’S ONLY MOBILE LEISURE & HOLIDAY MAGAZINE

Volume 7. Number 1. Summer 2016

Ireland www.caravancruise.ie

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TESTED: Lunar Landstar • Airst ream 684 • Mitsubishi L200 TECH NICAL: Internet Access • Heating Systems PA RK REVIEWS: Quirky Nights Glamping • Moat Farm Caravan & Camping Park REGULA RS: News • A dvice • Mobile Diner • Tow Car Review • Waterways

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Caravan Cruise Ireland

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www.caravancr uise.ie 5 Fáilte

27 Factory Visit We watch Volkswagen’s California being made

6 News • Positive outlook for 2016 from Tourism Ireland • TyreSafe keeps caravan tyres correctly inflated • Volkswagen support for Vantastival • Colton Motors becomes Wellhouse camper van dealer • German focus for Irish Caravan & Camping Council • Report fires reports Irish Wildlife Trust • Focus on disabled travellers from Titanic Belfast • Awning manufacturer launches new products • Smartphone reversing camera from Dometic • Air suspension for Volkswagen T6 • Stay level with E&P Hydraulics • Bailey launches new Parts Direct operation

28 Technical 1 Going online when on the move 32 Park Preview Ambitious plans for Quirky Nights Glamping Park in Enniscrone 34 Technical 2 Caravan and motorhome heating systems reviewed 38 Waterways Ferry options to UK and Europe for 2016 42 Park Review Moat Farm Camping & Caravan Park, County Wicklow 44 Tow Car 2 Mitsubishi L200 trialled

12 Mobile Homing Camp in comfort with SIP Pods

46 Museum Volkswagen’s Oldtimers Museum at treasure trove of nostalgia

13 Product 1 Thetford’s Summer 2016 launches

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14 Caravanning Airstream 684 International put to the test

48 Product 2 Westfalia’s new cycle carrier. plus safe towing tips

16 Tow Car 1 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack

50 Diary Dates What’s coming up in 2016

19 Smart Cooking on the Move Tasty recipes when camping 24 Motorhoming Lunar’s Landstar RLS reviewed Caravan Cruise Ireland, Fleet Publications, D’Alton Street, Claremorris, Co. Mayo, Ireland. Tel: +353 (0)94 9372826/ 9372827 Fax: +353 (0)94 9373571 Email: info@caravancruise.ie Managing Editor: Jarlath Sweeney - jarlath@fleet.ie Editor: Cathal Doyle - cathal@fleet.ie Contributors: Howard Knott, Marita McGeady, , Terry Owen, Johanna Parsons, Geraldine Herbert, Leonard Allison Photography: Cathal Doyle, Jarlath Sweeney, Howard Knott, Terry Owen, Marita McGeady, Tourism Ireland, Genesisskywalkerdesign Administration: Orla Sweeney, Denise Vahey, Paula Mullarkey Marketing/Advertising: Leonard Allison - caravancruise@fleet.ie Design: Eamon Wynne

Caravan Cruise Ireland is published by JJDS Publications Ltd. Registered Office: D’Alton Street, Claremorris, Co. Mayo. Co. Reg. 368767 Directors: Jarlath Sweeney, Sean Murtagh.

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Post Code: Tel: Fax: 2 ways to pay:Cheque made payable to Caravan Cruise Ireland Please charge my debit/credit card to the amount of € ………… • Laser • Mastercard • Visa • Electron • Maestro – please tick Card No: ………………………………………… Expiry Date: …………… CVV No: ………… Signature: ………………………………………………. Date: …………… Rates: Ireland €6 (includes post/packaging) UK/EU €8 (includes post/packaging) US/Asia €12 (includes post/packaging) Send completed form to Caravan Cruise Ireland, c/o Fleet Publications, D’Alton Street, Claremorris, Co. Mayo, Ireland. Fax: +353 94 9373571 CCI1.16 Disclaimer: Caravan Cruise Ireland management can accept no responsibility for the accuracy of contributed articles or statements appearing in this magazine and any views or opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Caravan Cruise Ireland management, save where otherwise indicated. No responsibility for loss or distress occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of the material in this publication can be accepted by the authors, contributors, Editors or publishers. The Editorial team reserves the right to make publishing decisions on any advertisements or editorial article submitted to the magazine and to refuse publication or to edit any editorial material as seems appropriate to him. Professional legal advice should always be sought in relation to any specific matter.

CARAVAN CRUISE IRELAND | SUMMER 2016

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Fรกilte!

T

hanks to 'The Gathering' and 'The Wild Atlantic Way', the resurgence of tourism in Ireland is continuing to gain traction. And with the emergence of 'Ireland's Ancient East' the Eastern part of the country will gain from this momentum. For the caravan and campervan community the potential that exists in these areas has yet to be exploited in full.

What's needed is a stop-off system like the Aires de Service in every village and small town along these scenic routes, where tourers can plug-in and park overnight and enjoy the local ambience etc. Also on the list are better stop off locations with plenty of room for the length required for cars and caravans, plus in preparation for the additional traffic along these rural roads, hedgerows need to be trimmed. When mooting these suggestions at a meeting with the then Tourism Minister along with a senior official at Bord Fรกilte, the joint answer given was that it was a job for the County Council or Local Authority. Does this mean that any developments in these areas will necessarily have to come from trade bodies or local Chambers? Bottom up initiatives instead of top down is not the way to go on this. Huge opportunity missed here. On the positive side best wishes to two new projects opening up soon in the West, namely 'Quirky Nights Glamping Village' in Enniscrone, County Sligo (see pages 32-33) and Mayo Glamping at Ballyvary, near Castlebar, County Mayo. The former sees a Russian airliner as the centre of attraction, alongside disused rail carriages, dry-dock boats and London Black Cabs, while in Mayo, there is a chance to go back in time and cook in a Neolithic Barbecue hut or dip in the outdoor hot tub! Both new facilities will offer a unique experience in their approach to the leisure business and to the great outdoors. We applauded their endeavour, commitment, confidence and investment in the industry. In this edition check out our featured articles on luxury caravanning with Airstream, we test a Lunar campervan, and Volkswagen and Mitsubishi tow cars, while valuable advice is offered on internet connections and heating systems for motorhomes. Also, we had an exclusive look inside the Volkswagen California factory in Hannover, Gemany and we called to the Oldtimers Museum while we were there also. With the summer upon us, our popular Mobile Dining column returns. Enjoy your adventures and safe travelling. Jarlath Sweeney Managing Editor

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Tourism Ireland positive for 2016

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here is optimism that 2016 is shaping up to be a very strong year for overseas tourism to Ireland, according to Tourism Ireland’s most recent SOAR (Situation & Outlook Analysis Report). It follows data released from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) indicating that the first two months of the year were the best January and February on record, with overseas visitors exceeding the one million mark for the first time. In the three month period December to February there was a 17% increase in overseas visitors year on year, with growth seen from all market areas.

To meet anticipated demand, air seat capacity is expected to increase by 9% when compared to 2014, though ferry

capacity is down slightly due to the withdrawal of P+O’s seasonal fast ferry on routes from Troon and Cairnryan to Larne. Hotel capacity in popular tourist hotspots remains a concern with research by Tourism Ireland showing that two thirds of overseas tour operators consider that room availability in Dublin is their ‘biggest challenge’ to growth. With Britain remaining our biggest market for overseas visitors, there is concern that a vote in favour of Brexit could have a negative impact, with economists predicting a fall in the value of sterling, thereby increasing the cost of visiting Ireland. According to

CSO estimates, GB visitors to Ireland for 2015 were up 12% compared to 2014.

Maintain correct caravan tyre pressure with TyreSafe online calculator

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ith summer on the way, caravaners will be busy dusting down and preparing their vehicles in anticipation of a glorious season of camping. One part of the caravan that often tends to get overlooked when getting ready for the new season is the humble tyre. Yet tyres are one of the most vital parts of a caravan to have in correct working order. Having incorrectly inflated tyres can lead to dramatic increases in fuel consumption, while the risks of an accident due to tyre failure are also increased. While a caravan owner’s first point of reference for tyre pressures should be the owner’s manual, often this might not be available, leaving owners in the dark as to what pressure to inflate their tyres to.

That’s where a useful tool from TyreSafe, a UK not-for-profit tyre safety awareness organisation can help. It has released an online tyre pressure calculator for caravan owners. The unique web form tool provides a valuable resource to ensure tyres are properly inflated for the journeys ahead. The simple to use TyreSafe Caravan Tyre Pressure Calculator requires just three pieces of information to be entered before generating a recommended pressure: • Maximum Technically Permitted Load Mass • Number of road wheels • Tyre size and load index Readily available on the move, it can be accessed via tyresafe.org on mobile devices, allowing owners to refer to

6 CARAVAN CRUISE IRELAND | SUMMER 2016

the results while they are adjusting pressures. TyreSafe has also released an informative animation for caravan owners to guide them through the essential tyre safety checks and maintenance they need to carry out before making their first trip of the season. Ensuring wheel bolts are at the correct tension, every tyre has more than 1.6mm of tread with no lumps, bumps or cuts in them and, of course, that they are at the right pressure, is equally important for the caravan as it is for the vehicle towing them. The short animation can be found in the caravan tyre safety section at tyresafe.org and in the film and animation library. Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe chairman, said: “A caravan’s tyres are a fundamental part of its suspension system and they also need to be able to deal with a range of issues relating to loading, making them a crucial element of the vehicle. It is essential to safety when towing a caravan that its tyres are roadworthy, at the correct pressure and have at least the minimum legal tread depth.”


Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles sponsors Vantastival

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ver the past number of years, Vantastival, the music festival aimed especially for campervan owners, has grown to become one of Ireland’s most prestigious annual events. It’s fitting therefore that the 2016 edition, which takes place on Friday 3 June and Saturday 4 June at Beaulieu House in Drogheda, County Louth, has secured a very appropriate sponsor in the shape of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

With a heritage dating back to the 1950s, as well as manufacturer of the modern-day California, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is synonymous with campervans the world over, and the German manufacturer sees a

opportunity to invest in the partnership we have with so many of our Campervan owners.”

natural partnership with Vantastival. With hundreds of Volkswagen campervans travelling to County Louth each year for the Music and Campervan Festival, Alan Bateson, Director of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Ireland commented “Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has a long history of supporting events that bring together its customer base and the sponsorship of Vantastival gives us a unique

Among the extensive range of performers featuring at Vantastival’s new home, Beaulieu House & Gardens headline acts will be Badly Drawn Boy, King Kong Company, and The Hot Sprockets. The full line up can be found at vantastival.com/lineup-2016/. Other attractions will include The Volkswagen Campervan Cook-off, an open mic stage, art installations, storytelling, festival traders, a host of children’s activities and much more. Weekend tickets are on sale now at €75 + booking fee for two nights camping. See www.vantastival.com for further information.

Wellhouse appoints Irish Dealer

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ne of the UK’s fast growing camper-van converters has now opened a dealership in the Republic of Ireland. Colton Motors, with showrooms in Tullamore, County Offaly and Mullingar, County Westmeath will market the Wellhouse Terrier, a conversion of the Ford Transit Custom built by Huddersfield based Wellhouse Leisure. The first example of the Ford Terrier was recently delivered to Colton’s Tullamore dealership, and already Keith Colton, Managing Director of Colton Motors is reporting serious interest in the campervan. “The Wellhouse Ford Terrier has been attracting a lot of attention at our Ford showroom in Tullamore since it

arrived two weeks ago, and we already have two people seriously interested in buying one.” “We’d like to thank Colton Motors for all their enthusiasm about the Wellhouse Ford Terrier, and are sure they will have much success,” added David Elliott, Managing Director of Wellhouse Leisure. Keith is waiting for Wellhouse Leisure to obtain Type Approval for the Terrier before finalising Irish prices but is confident that even with the vagaries of VRT it will cost

no more than €65,000. Launched in 2014, the Wellhouse Terrier has been one of the company’s most successful products, with production of over 250 units a year.

ICC and Tourism Ireland target German visitors

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he Irish Caravan and Camping Council (ICC) has partnered with Tourism Ireland to showcase motorhome holidays in approved Irish caravan and camping parks, with a focus on attracting additional visitors from Germany.

The German Caravanning Industry Association has teamed up with the world famous Kerrygold brand to offer a special ‘on pack’ promotion in the German marketplace. This promotion will see 20 million Kerrygold cheese and butter packages carrying the promotion over the next couple of months, with prizes

season in Germany, which has seen strong growth year on year for park operators.

of 10 motorhome trips for two people travelling to Ireland with Irish Ferries to be won. The lucky winners will overnight in Roscrea, Doolin, Tralee, Caherdaniel, Dungarvan and Wicklow at Fáilte Ireland registered Irish Caravan and Camping Council member parks for two nights. The promotion will give the Irish Tourism Industry a massive boost for the 2016/17

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To promote the event in Germany, Carola Birkholz, a freelance travel journalist arrived to Ireland over Easter to drive the route and overnight in each of the participating parks. Ms Birkholz is the project lead with Caravanning Informations GmbH (CIG) and will highlight the Ireland promotion in the German media. Carola was very complimentary of the welcome she and her partner Martin received as they travelled through the Irish countryside.


Irish Wildlife Trust urges people to log wildfires

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he Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT), the national conservation charity, has in recent years highlighted the devastating effects that illegal wildfires have on our countryside and wildlife. This year the IWT intends to establish a database to monitor the extent and duration of wildfires in order to monitor these trends in future years, and is urging people to make contact with details of where, and when, wildfires are occurring.

IWT Campaign Officer Pádraic Fogarty explains: “2015 seemed like a particularly bad year for wildfires with many of our upland areas and national parks badly

damaged. However, we don’t have the figures to say how bad it really was. This year, so far, there seem to have been fewer, perhaps due to the weather. Collecting data on when and where fires are occurring will help us to monitor the impact of fires into the future.”

Illegal, wild fires, especially during the bird nesting season, destroy local wildlife habitats, cause pollution to air and water, release tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, and are driving species to extinction. They are also a threat to human life and property. Over 17,000 people have signed a petition against extending the burning and hedge cutting season, showing that people want this practice to stop. People are urged to email the IWT on irishwildlife@iwt.ie with the date and location of fires with a photo or video if possible.

Titanic Belfast launches Year of Access

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itanic Belfast has kickstarted its Year of Access with Autism NI’s ‘Wear It Blue’ Day. The aim of the Year of Access is to highlight the issue of disability access in its many forms, and encourage industry improvements when dealing with disabled travellers.

as industry leaders on a local, national and international level for our accessibility standards. As recognised ambassadors, we have designated 2016/17 as our Year of Access. Each month, we aim to look at different disabilities and ensure that we are fully accessible for all our differing customers’ needs.”

The world-class visitor attraction With one in five potential customers has already been listed by SAGA having a disability, Titanic Belfast, and the Rough Guide to Accessibility which was named in the top 20 “most accessible attractions” named by Titanic Belfast’s staff are pictured with Autism NI’s Sarah-Jayne Britain as one of the most accessible attractions in the UK. It was noted Tourist Boards in England, Scotland, Cassells, kick-starting its Year of Access for its fully accessible galleries, Wales and Northern Ireland, will integrated hearing loops, free carer Titanic Belfast’s Deputy Chief Executive focus each month on a different disability, entrance and contrasting floor surfaces and Director of Operations, Judith Owens, and ensure Titanic Belfast’s services and for visually impaired. commented, “At Titanic Belfast, we are facilities develop to meet the needs and very proud to be consistently recognised expectations of its guests.

New awnings help outdoor van workers

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otorhomes and caravaners know all about the benefits of awnings, but for workmen that have to spend time outdoors, awnings can be an essential accessory in offering protection from the elements.

UK manufacturer The Awning Company, has expanded its product range to include two new awnings that have been designed with the fleet industry in mind. The RVA (Rear Van Awning) and SVA (Side Van Awning) are easy to erect, durable and practical, and take under 5 minutes to build. Gary Harthern, Founder and Managing

Director of The Awning Company says: “Improving the amount of time your fleet vehicles are tending to a customer by only a small amount can have a dramatic effect on the productivity and efficiency of a fleet and with that in mind, we designed the RVA and SVA which are extremely quick to

erect, thus improving productivity and leaving technicians with more time to rectify the matters at hand. The added bonus is that they look great and we can print the side sheets with any style of artwork to create brand recognition and improve your reputation.” The Awning Company has a heritage based on 30 years of experience providing allweather solutions. All products manufactured by The Awning Company are designed and made in its Lancashirebased factories to ensure full control over the production process and to guarantee the quality of their products.

www.caravancruise.ie

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Dometic launches new Smartphone reversing camera

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ometic, through its own specialists brand WAECO, has came up with an intelligent and practical solution for caravan and motorhome drivers with the new PerfectView VT100 WiFi. This app–based transmitter converts your smartphone into a reversing monitor via a WAECO camera fitted to the rear of the vehicle. Because it’s wireless it therefore eradicates the need for wiring and labour costs to get up and running.

PerfectView is suitable for all Android and IOS operated devices and can be mated

T6 gets VB Air option…

V

B Air Suspension has developed a new air suspension system for the latest generation Volkswagen Transporter, the T6 as well as for the Mercedes-Benz V-Class. Compared to its predecessor, it features a modified compressor box, while the system comes as standard with an air tank, thereby allowing the vehicle to raise or lower more quickly. Height sensors constantly monitor ride height and make adjustments if necessary. The Volkswagen approved system can be ordered as a 2 Corner or 4 Corner option with prices costing from £2,099 for the 2C system, and £3,735 for the 4C system which include fitting.

with all WAECO cameras. The system is waterproof and adheres to EMC standard. With an impressive range of up to 60 metres, this device is not only suitable for the largest motorhomes or caravans, but is also suitable for large commercial vehicles. Images from the PerfectView can also be transmitted to more than one device at a time. The app required for this hardware is available through www. dometic.co.uk/vt100, and also through the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store, by searching for VT 100.

panel. This gives you full control of the hydraulic caravan stabilising process. The existing corner steadies can then be wound down as normal and you can use jockey wheel to aid with the front to back levelling. The inbuilt spirit level indicator means you no longer need to carry a real spirit level with you.

... While E&P levels the caravan playing field Meanwhile E&P Hydraulics has introduced its Compact LevelSystem for caravans. It uses two hydraulic caravan jacks, both of which can either be automatically or manually deployed using a remote control or control

New Parts Facilities operation for Bailey of Bristol

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ailey of Bristol is expanding its Parts Direct operation to provide caravan and motorhome owners with a new level in customer service. The company’s existing operation is to be re-located to much larger and more conveniently located premises. The new 1,200m² facility is four times the size of the present building and is situated nearer to the major transport links on the M4/M5 motorway interchange. The extra space will allow Bailey to offer customers an expanded range of 13,000+ parts and accessories, 85% of which can be delivered to their door in 24 hours. Currently the Parts Direct centre can satisfy on average 1,800 orders per week and following this re-location that will rise to 2,400 orders per week. The re-location of the existing Parts Direct operation off-site is part of a

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larger scheme to enable the future redevelopment of Bailey’s South Liberty Lane production facility. It is also one of a series of new customer service initiatives the company is currently undertaking to enhance owner satisfaction levels. These include a new 8-bay Service Centre staffed by a team of dedicated technicians to handle more complex vehicle repairs at the factory; a fully-equipped Rapid Response van out on the road to carry out repairs in the field and a national Retailer Workshop Training Programme, including a ‘How-to’ on-line video library, hosted in a dedicated new in-house Training Centre. To coincide with this move Bailey has also taken the opportunity to upgrade its Parts Direct www.bailey-parts. co.uk web site, with new page layouts, improved navigation and upgraded search facilities.


When is a wood cabin not a wood cabin? When it's a SIP Pod

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new player is set to shake up the glamping market using its own new production process to create timber pods which it reckons are unrivalled for insulation and durability. Athenry based SIP Energy takes its name from the structural insulated panels that form the basis of its business. It was set up in 2005 by MD Micheál Quinn, and Director Shéamus Quinn who come from backgrounds in production engineering and civil engineering. John Moylan joined in 2006 and his past in mechanical engineering, along with the Quinns' experience, has been a key in the foundation of new business SIP Pod. Moylan says they were approached by an existing client to come up with a solution for year-round camping in the toughest Irish coastal conditions. “He came back and said 'Look, I really can't buy a timber pod, in terms of where I'm putting it and the use I want for it... we need something

"Mechanised production is obviously much faster than a hand crafted alternative, but it also offers a higher finish," says Moylan. “Instead of relying on a simple timber manufacture and trying to insulate it, then trying to make it airtight and comfortable and then putting materials on it to make it weather proof, this is completely different. We've made special machinery specifically to make the curved pod profile in one piece.” SIP's programmable vacuum press machinery produces each Pod panel from high quality birch plywood, and with the same properties as its standard panels, they bypass the deficiencies of a traditional timber construction.

better... something fundamentally warm and comfortable all year round that won't cost a fortune to run’." Undaunted, the SIP team felt that the technology behind its cornerstone product presented the ideal way to meet the challenge. The firm's panels are made with a core of structural-grade XPS insulation sandwiched between outer layers of timber, which are themselves laminated with glass re-inforced plastic to create individual, insulated, airtight panels. SIP panels are typically used for walls and roofs in the construction of houses, schools, hospitals and the like. As sealed units they can't be cut to size, they are made to fit the build-design. The engineering expertise within the firm enabled them to experiment and reinvest in their machinery to the point that the panels can essentially come out Pod-shaped.

“The wall/roof section comes out of the machine in one piece... and that structure at that level is insulated, it's airtight, and it's weatherproof.” Cladding is essentially an optional extra, but the choices are wide open. From vinyl siding to solid timbers, shingle, corrugated metal or cement board which in itself is usually certified for 60 years, and can of course be painted any colour and will take any amount of wear with no need for upkeep. Regarding lifespan, SIP Pods come with a 25 year structural guarantee, and Moylan says they are flexible as well as longlasting. They can be picked up and moved, re-purposed or re-sold, and so don't represent a sunk cost. SIP Pods come in three sizes from the Piccolo model's small sleep space to the Grande option which has space for a single and a double bed and includes a shower room with toilet and handbasin. Prices begin at €12,500. The company plans to market the SiP Pods in the UK as well as Ireland, and exhibited examples at the recent Caravan, Camping & Motorhome Show in the NEC, Birmingham where it reported enthusiastic feedback. Moylan says the principle of the SIP Pod is to make glamping a truly year-round proposition as well as being more secure and economical to run. As such they're primarily marketing the Pods to site operators like that initial client who set the brief. Happily the first Pods have been shipped to him and will be up and running at their coastal location very soon.

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Text: Johanna Parsons


Thetford launches new products Thetford unveils four new products to the European press this April NEW FRESH-UP SETS

The original fresh-up sets offered a replacement cassette and toilet seat plus cover for those wishing to refresh their toilets to nearly new condition. Thetford has now gone a stage further by adding wheels and a handle to those cassettes that never had them in the first place. Now all owners have the option of being able to roll their cassette tanks. The modification has been achieved with minimal loss of tank capacity. A fresh-up set has also been made available for C260 models. The new sets are available from dealers now.

C220 TOILET

The C220 has been designed to replace the highly successful C200 swivel bowl toilet, which was launched as long ago as 1993. It has a bigger and deeper bowl with an improved geometry for a better flush. The seat height has been increased to 492mm, for a more comfortable seating position. The C220 will be available in the three models, with or without a flush-water tank. For the time being at least the flush tank version comes with a simple manual flush and a mechanical indicator for the cassette tank. This means no 12 volt power is needed so there is less to go wrong. The versions without a flush tank are powered from the vehicle's water system via a solenoid valve. This can be operated from an inbuilt or remote console.

T1090 VAN FRIDGE

The T1090 is Thetford BV's first compressor fridge. It is designed for panel van conversions by following the shape of the side of the van. It has a volume of 90 litres and measures 975x481x485mm (HxWxD) but needs no external ventilation.

420 OVEN

The fridge is extremely efficient using just 0.45 KwH per 24 hours in standard mode or 0.35 KwH in night mode. Thetford says this means you can go for 2.5-3.5 days without charging a 95Ah battery.

The door is side hinged and can easily be changed from one side to the other, as can the fridge. Top and bottom ventilation holes help to cool naturally without the need for fans and the 420 comes with an anti-rattle solution as standard.

The fridge is also very quiet with sound levels of 32 db(A) in standard mode and 29 db(A) in night mode.

Designed to fit on top of the slim Thetford N3140 series fridges, the gas powered oven is just 420mm wide but has a capacity of 23 litres. The oven can also be fitted under a countertop.

Text: Terry Owen

www.caravancruise.ie

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Don’t like camping? Try Airstreaming!

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otoring journalist Geraldine Herbert checks out an Airstream Caravan, so luxurious it promises to coax even the ardent urbanite into the great outdoors. Camping and caravan holidays are still a favourite choice for many, and for families who love the great outdoors they have been providing cheap and accessible accommodation for decades. But the attraction is lost on me; it’s probably fair to say I hate camping; my idea of roughing it, is staying in a hotel without room service.

I go on holidays to get away from the world, not to use communal toilet blocks, cook on a stove or be tormented by a colony of biting or stinging insects. Many years ago, a week spent on a sweltering Greek campsite cured me of any desire to sleep out under the stars and these days I regularly enjoy the splendour of the natural world in much more cosseted surroundings.

all resplendent luxury, with those silver curves and sumptuous interior undermining those resolutions made all those years ago to never voluntarily rough it again.

So when an invitation popped into my inbox to try out an Airstream Caravan in the Lake District my first reaction was one of horror. But that was before I saw the Airstream 684 international,

My two young sons were captivated by the thoughts of living in the great outdoors, and their pester power crumbled any residual resistance. I just had to convince my other half who was still traumatised by the Greece experience.

Who knew camping could be this cool and it was news to me that Airstream has been making lavish “travel trailers” with iconic styling for decades.

Some weeks and much persuasion later, in mid autumn we were zipping up the M6 toward Penrith in the new Range Rover Sport to our campsite overlooking Lake Ullswater. On first sight, against the backdrop of a rugged Cumbrian sun-set, the Airstream was a truly breath-taking object of beauty, its shimmering exterior and curved structure evoking a dream of the open road where you could be at one with nature, but enjoy all the creature comforts in an elegant, if expensive, package. The stunning interior and ingenious use of space in the Airstream International 684 Series 2 builds on the acclaim of 14 CARAVAN CRUISE IRELAND | SUMMER 2016


the series one which won Best Caravan in the Caravan Club Awards for three consecutive years. It is beautiful and the very epitome of laid-back chic with two TV screens with satellite TV, a full size double bed and a conventional oven. As well as a spacious fridge freezer the Airstream is also equipped with a kitchen sink having corian worktops, a leather upholstered seating area and more than enough storage. Our chemical toilet was tucked away inside a tiny but perfectly formed bathroom with a china toilet, heated stainless steel towel rack and a powerful shower, but even more importantly for a cool autumn night, the effective central heating was enhanced by excellent thermal insulation. Designed to sleep four, my two boys had a wonderful night's sleep on the double bed, we however pulled the short straw and had to make up the sofa bed. Overall it was adequate, but by the third night the level of discomfort experienced did chip away at the glamping illusion. On the road the distinctive airstream shape contributes a 20% towing advantage in towing efficiency over a conventional 'box' caravan. The enhanced aerodynamics provide less sensitivity to head and side winds, which along with the lower centre of gravity provides a very stable towing experience. We spent a wonderful couple of days driving through the heart of the Lake District, the Range Rover Sport proving the ideal choice of car on the windy climbs past Windermere and then west towards the infamous Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant, to Muncaster Castle, the ancient seat of the Pennington Family since 1282 where we met the engaging Lord Pennington, who runs a large rare bird sanctuary. My seven year old Paul was particularly enamoured with a Grey Owl called 'Ashe' but it was a pair of vultures that the staff were keen to promote as greatly misunderstood creatures that won the heart of my youngest, Jamie. Our Range Rover Sport was put to the test on more than one occasion over the few days but no more so than on the Hardknott to Wrynose Pass. The route described as the most challenging road in the UK, is a very narrow and twisting road and at some points has a severe gradient of 30% but it is worth driving if only to see what remains of the Roman walls and the Fort built by Emperor Hadrian to defend against the Scots. Text: Geraldine Herbert

The Airstream is an amazing vehicle; in gleaming aluminium it is a dazzling object of iconic beauty with great charm, character and luxury. Equally dazzling is its price tag, starting at â‚Ź85,000. While I thoroughly enjoyed our Lake District adventure I still remain convinced that the definition of the 'ideal break' is a soothing bath, room to stretch out and a comfortable bed. For further information on an Airstream, contact Adventure Leisure Vehicles at www.adventurelv.com We drove a Range Rover Sport Autobiography Dynamic kindly provided by Land Rover UK. The Quiet Site (www. thequietsite.co.uk) in the Lake District is open all year round and is well located for exploring the area. www.caravancruise.ie

15


Volkswagen’s Alltrack All-rounder

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efiningwhatmakestheperfect tow car involves rather a lot of criteria. Obviously it has to be able to pull. But not just on open roads, a good tow car should also be capable of a degree of manoeuvrability off tarmac when trying to negotiate a caravan into an obscure corner of a campsite or field. So all-wheel drive and decent ground clearance are considerations. Add in comfort for travelling long distances, decent fuel consumption, and practicality and spaciousness to accommodate a family’s belongings on holidays, and the list of cars meeting all these requirement rapidly shrinks. And then there’s the style factor. If we’re looking at the ultimate tow car it’s important that it looks the part, not just when it’s hooked up to a caravan, but as something you wouldn’t be ashamed to turn up to a dinner party in. A combi style van might be practical, but doesn’t cut it

in the style stakes; equally a two seater coupé or convertible would look rather silly pulling a caravan. All of which is a lengthy preamble to a review of what is, arguably, one of the finest tow cars on sale today, namely the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. The Passat, both in saloon and estate form, is a familiar sight on our roads. The Alltrack version is less so. It belongs to that slightly rare collection of cars that include the likes of the Volvo XC70, Subaru Outback, and Volkswagen’s in-house rivals, the Audi A4 and A6 Allroad, Skoda Octavia Scout and Seat Leon X-Perience. What they have in common is that all are estates featuring four wheel drive and having slightly raised suspensions. They might not be as fashionable as the Crossovers that the world and its mother are buying nowadays, but these cars offer respectable off-road performance combined with all the load carrying capabilities you associate with estates. Unlike many Crossovers,

16 CARAVAN CRUISE IRELAND | SUMMER 2016

they’re lifestyle vehicles that don’t just look the part, they act it too. Which is why it’s a little surprising that they’re generally overlooked by the buying public. Volkswagen offers two versions of the Passat Alltrack, starting with a 150 bhp model that comes with a six-speed manual version. Our test car boasted the most powerful version of Volkswagen’s 2.0 TDI unit with 190 bhp and 400Nm of torque, and fitted with a six-speed DSG auto gearbox. It can tow up to 2.2 tonnes, and offers a payload of 585kg via a boot area that holds 639 litres with rear seats up, and up to a maximum of 1769 litres with seats folded flat. Visually the Alltrack is quite distinctive from the regular Passat estate. For starters it rides a little higher with an extra 32mm ground clearance. More obvious are black plastic clad wheel arch covers and chrome coloured side protectors and skid plates, which give the Alltrack a chunky goanywhere appearance without losing the


understated style of the regular car. Not that the distinctive Habanero Orange paint job as featured on our test car could claim to be subtle. It proved to be one of those real love it or hate it colours. Personally I was quite taken with it. That extra 32mm of ground clearance won’t see you negotiating rocky river beds Land Rover Defender style, but does allow peace of mind negotiating a muddy field or a country track that you might not have with a regular car. Driving on terra firma you notice that there is a tad more body roll than with a regular Passat, but it still grips and corners well, and on the upside it handles undulating surfaces with aplomb. Compared to even the best of the current breed of Crossovers it’s still a more driver focused ride. The interior is largely the same as other Passats though you get Alltrack embroidered seats which proved comfy and supportive over long distances. Overall this is a a high quality cabin, well insulated and quiet on the move - though the engine can sound a little buzzy when pushed hard. It comes with various driving modes including Sport, Eco and Off-Road. Hooked up to our Bailey Orion 440-4, that 190 bhp makes short work of hauling the caravan along. Unsurprisingly really, considering it could pull all but the biggest double axle units. The DSG gearbox is a boon here, providing for seamless acceleration. It’s quite high geared - even with the caravan hooked up the Passat would often pull away from a standing start in second gear, but this means it is well up to tackling even the sharpest inclines. Putting it to a reversing test up a hill and around a sharp corner, there is minimal drama, where in other cars doing the same test the driven wheels would be

scrabbling for grip, and you quickly smell a burning clutch if you weren’t careful.

Volkswagen’s Trailer Assist eases the pain of reversing

A note about the factory fitted tow bar which is one of the neatest units we’ve come across. It folds out of the way when not in use. To release you simply flick a switch inside the boot whereupon it drops down and you just push it straight to lock into place. Flick the switch again and push back to move out of the way. The 13 pin electrics connector is incorporated into the side of the hitch, protecting it from damage if you don’t line up correctly. Because it’s a factory fit, items like the car’s reversing sensors are deactivated when a trailer is attached, while the car’s ESP system also recognises when there is something behind and reacts accordingly.

Does reversing a trailer bring you out in cold sweats? Many people go through their entire motoring life without ever hooking up to a trailer, so it’s unsurprising that panic can ensue the first time they have to try. Reversing in particular is an alien exercise if you’re not used to it, therefore, a new feature from Volkswagen is likely to be welcomed..

Passengers are well catered for - this current generation Passat offers the most rear legroom to date, and with the spacious boot, packing for a few weeks away should not be a problem. You can have a Passat Alltrack from €42,120, but this more powerful version retails from €49,130, and with extras included is yours for €51,192. Spec wise it wants for little - niceties like LED headlights, adaptive cruise control and leather heated seats are included. In fact the only surprise was that it came with manual air conditioning rather than full climate control. Over €50k might seem to be a lot to pay for a Volkswagen - you could have a nicely specced BMW or Audi for that money - but the Passat Alltrack offers a tempting package of a car that can tow your caravan on holidays or your horse box to the local gymkhana, is capable of exploring remote off-road trails, and can still look the part for a night at the opera. A complete all-rounder!

Text & Photos: Cathal Doyle - cathal@ eet.ie

Similar to Park Assist, now starting to appear on many cars, you set the angle that you want the caravan or trailer to reverse to via the wing mirror adjustment knob on the driver’s door, select reverse, and take your hands off the steering wheel. The car automatically steers to the angle selected, with the driver controlling the accelerator and brake. Does it work? Well yes, in a fashion. Provided you know exactly what angle you want to reverse to, it works a treat. The problem is knowing what that angle is in the first place. You can adjust on the fly - the screen between the speedometer and rev counter tells you what angle you’re at, but it’s debatable where’s the benefit when you start doing this. We’d imagine that future generations will use combinations of sensors and cameras to provide a more interactive reversing tool, but if you’re waiting for reversing technology before going to buy your first caravan, this probably isn't the perfect solution.

www.caravancruise.ie

17


Smart Cooking and Shopping on Tour

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mart eating nowadays is all about natural products and home cooking. The 'kitchens' in modern motorhomes and cruisers are so perfectly complete they just beg to be used. I know I just love preparing yummy meals for my hungry crew. For me it's like nesting or playing house all over again. I just love it.

a packet then don’t eat it”. However this can’t be taken literally especially while on holiday so just keep a 'balance'. No we don’t have to become food neurotics either, but we should try to control what we eat most of the time and look for the best option available at any one time. Much of what you prepare yourself will be cleaner, cheaper and better for you.

The manufacturers and mass production food businesses pay millions into advertising as they want us to believe that their products are the very best quality and ‘full or natural goodness’. They do not advertise the lists of unacceptable food processing agents added in order to keep a huge food production line running. Behind the scenes of modern food technology, production lines routinely employ undisclosed ‘processing aids’ or technical solutions for processing problems, industrial additives to keep things ‘dry and free-flowing’, ‘wet and shiny’, emulsifiers, bulking agents, firming agents, propellants and flavour carriers to name but a few. Many of the new food preparation technologies are inadequately tested and compromise the integrity of natural foods. The lucrative food industry uses complex, multi-ingredient products which take full advantage of weak regulation. We wonder, with good reason, what it is all doing to our health.

Consider all the very good canned goods we can buy e.g. canned tomatoes in tomato juice, tinned Alaskan salmon, beans in brine (water and salt) and even vacuum packed sweet corn to name just a few. What would we do without packets of dried beans, rolled oats and good organic wholemeal flour? The freezer cabinets also are filled with excellent unadulterated fish, meats, vegetables and fruits. Now here is the difficulty, one has to read the labels and avoid foods that have anything added! Say 'no' to commercial marinades, sauces, jars, pies, bakes etc. unless it is just a 'once in a while' purchase.

If you are fretting about E numbers you are way behind the curve…the food manufacturers are always a step ahead of us. Forget the buzz words ‘high in', 'lower in', 'less of’; everything mass produced has additives we really don’t want to put into our bodies on a daily basis. You have heard it said ‘if it comes in

Crudités

Crudités are finger food for kids - and adults too. They are bite sized pieces of fresh vegetables often served with a dip. Keep children supplied with raw vegetables like carrots, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumber and baby sweetcorn when on the move. Then there is less chance of them overdosing on sweet unhealthy snacks. Adults love them with dips like guacamole, hummus or tzatziki. It's a great way to keep people happy, while the food is cooking and everyone will be eating fresh vegetables without fuss. Keep crudités in zip-lock bags, if they are not needed they can be used again next day.

Instead choose quick and simple recipes and don't be afraid to vary them by adding interesting whole food ingredients. Add nut butters, lentils or beans to your soups, stews, casseroles and bakes. Add nuts and seeds to breads and cakes. And salads are simply made to absorb sweet corn, chia seeds, goji berries, fruits and chopped nuts as well, so keep a supply handy for use while cruising on the river or touring in a motorhome. Divide out the jobs and call in the little troops to help... you'll discover they’ll be proud of their creations even if you do most of the work!!

Ingredients: Choose colour ful vegetables - carrot, celer y, cucumber, p epp er, bro ccoli, cauliflower, radish etc. Method: 1. W a s h each vegetable carefully. Peel carrots. 2. Cut carrot, celery, cucumber, peppers into 8cm julienne strips (see diagram) 3. Cut cauliflower and broccoli into small bite sized florets. 4. Trim radishes and cut in half only if they are very big. 5. Serve on plates with a dip. Keep fresh in zip-lock bags in a fridge. Use any uneaten crudités by popping them into stir-fries or cutting them again into dice and adding them to a chilli, bolognaise or stir-fry. Prepare a dip or two e.g. Guacamole (see next page), hummus or just flavour some good quality yoghurt, crème fraiche or mayonnaise with garlic, snipped chives and / or tomato puree. www.caravancruise.ie

19


Guacamole

Pinch chilli powder 2 -3 teaspoons lime or lemon juice 1 tablespoon mayonnaise or 75g cream cheese or Greek yoghurt A pinch of salt, pepper and sugar to taste. A few drops of Tabasco if you like it hot! Method: Peel and crush the garlic. Wash and dice the tomato very finely. Put into a medium sized bowl. Halve the avocado and remove stone. Place each half cut side down with the skin towards you on a board. Make 2 shallow cuts into the skin from top to bottom of each, then peel the skin away from the flesh. Chop it up then mash the flesh on the board then place in the bowl. Immediately drizzle it with the lime or lemon juice and mix all together to stop discolouration.

Serves 2 - 3 Ingredients: 1 ripe avocado 1 ripe tomato, 1/2 clove garlic

Chilli Con Carne

Use a teaspoon to scrape away the nice green flesh from the inside of the skin and add this to the bowl with the chilli, salt, pepper, sugar and mayonnaise yoghurt or cream cheese. Beat until fairly smooth. Serve with crudités, nachos, or corn / tortilla chips or with chilli con carne and chilli wraps or Tacos.

1 pepper red or green 1 carton/tin chopped tomatoes 1 level teaspoon sugar Salt and pepper 1 – 2 teaspoons chilli powder according to taste or 1 fresh chilli 2 teaspoons tomato purée (optional) 1 tin kidney beans or baked beans Method: 1. Peel and dice onion and garlic. Heat oil in deep frying pan/ skillet and sauté (fry gently) the onion and garlic for 2 minutes. 2. Wash de-seed and thinly slice the pepper and add to pan. Sauté 2 minutes. 3. Add the meat and fry until no pink is seen. 4. Add the chilli, chopped tomatoes, sugar, salt, pepper, tomato purée and beans. Bring to the boil then lower heat to lowest setting, stir then cover tightly and simmer very gently for 15 minutes.

Chilli can also be served with rice, wraps, tacos or tortilla chips. The accompaniment is grated cheese, plain yoghurt, guacamole and a salad. Cooking time 30 mins Serves 3 to 4 Ingredients: 400g minced beef 1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil 1 medium onion 2 cloves garlic 20 CARAVAN CRUISE IRELAND | SUMMER 2016

Vegetarian Chilli: Omit the beef and add a can of green lentils (drained) when adding the beans.


Rice Cold water method

Cooking rice by this method is useful while camping as cold water is used. It is very useful too when you have only one cooking ring or camping gaz. Useful measurements for rice: 1 tea cup = 180g enough for 3 servings Ingredients: 200g Basmati rice 1 tablespoon oil ½ teaspoon salt to taste

Method: 1. Heat the oil gently in a saucepan. Add rice give it one stir to coat the rice in the oil then shake the pot so the rice lies evenly at the bottom. Add cold water to cover rice by 1.5cm. Bring to the boil, stir once then cover very tightly and simmer gently for 5 minutes. 2. Switch off heat, do not open pot as it will go on cooking in its own heat for another 20 minutes. When the time is up or when you are ready, check to see it is just soft or 'al dente', fork it up and serve.

Spiralizing is a winner for speed Spiralizing and Stir- frying – is simple, speedy and smart! In the picture are two spiralizers the large one at the back is best suited for home use while the little black one with the courgette is great for cooking on the move. The large version can handle courgette, squash, raw beets, potato, apples and pear. The small one is best suited to courgette alone and nice and small for a mobile kitchen. The vegetable is washed and then it is turned in the spiralizer to produce lovely spaghetti like strands which can be eaten in a salad or briefly steamed or stir-fried to heat and soften a little. More than a minute cooking and it will be overdone. It can take the place of pasta in many dishes so it is very welcome in gluten free diet. When one combines this with stir-frying we are into high speed cooking. Stir- frying means cooking food in a small amount of oil while moving it about. Meats are generally cut into thin strips so it cooks quickly and can be eaten with chop sticks! Vegetables are cut into different shapes - fingers, circles, spirals or lozenges to give interest and noodles give bulk and introduces starch. Make the sauce in the recipe below or use ‘stir in’ sauce only if you must! Always prepare all the vegetables first and begin with stir frying the meat then adding the vegetables one type at a time, beginning with the ones which take the longest to cook. Never ‘over cook’ as the vegetables should have a ‘bite’ in the finished dish. Vary a stir fry to suit your needs and to use up any uneaten vegetables and crudités. Add tofu, nuts and/or beans in place of meat for a vegetarian. Here is a basic one to try.

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21


Stir-fry with Noodles

Serves 3-4 Ingredients: 2 fillets chicken or some other lean meat or tofu. I dessert spoon organic Coconut oil or a good glug of organic rape seed oil. 1 red pepper 4-5 scallions or 1 onion 100g mange tout peas 100g button mushrooms 1-2 clove garlic 2 cm fresh ginger (optional) 1 medium courgette 2 tablespoons Sesame seed (optional) 200g -300g Noodles

Chocolate and Chilli

Sauce: 3-4 tablespoons soy sauce ½ teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon corn flour 3 tablespoons water Method: 1. Boil water for the noodles and follow the directions on the packet to cook. 2. If making the sauce mix the ingredients in a cup and set aside. 3. Wash and dry vegetables, spiralize the courgette and cut the remaining according to shape as follows – cut scallions and mange tout peas across at a sharp angle to make long lozenges. Cut mushrooms in half. Cut peppers in two, remove stalk and seeds and slice into julienne strips. Peel garlic and cut into fine dice. Scrape the skin from the ginger and chop into tiny dice if using. 4. Cut meat into very thin strips. 5. Heat oil on pan, add meat, stir fry for 1 minute then add the pepper, garlic and ginger. Stir-fry again for 1 minute before adding the mushrooms. Finally add all other vegetables and sesame seeds and stir fry for a further minute. 6. Now drain the noodles and add to the pan with the sauce mixture. Stir for 1 minute to cook the sauce and to re heat the noodles. Serve immediately with some more soy sauce to taste as required. For hungry people: Bulk out this dish with some fresh bean sprouts or a small tin of sweet corn (drained) added at the end with the sauce. For a nice change you may omit the noodles and serve with rice or quinoa. Ingredients: 200g Toblerone 25g butter or a large knob of butter 100ml whipping cream Method: Cut the Toblerone into small pieces. Melt in a heatproof bowl sitting on a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat. Add the butter and allow to melt then stir in the cream. Cover until needed.

In Mexico where coco and chilli grow side by side they will often combine them in dishes as the flavours complement each other, but I like to serve a little chocolate after the chilli to cool the palette. Here is a cheeky little number that's an easy winner every time. You can use any good quality chocolate, dark or milk. Pour it over frozen yoghurt ice cream or thick Greek style yoghurt and some fresh orange, pear or banana ...yum! Toblerone Sauce 22 CARAVAN CRUISE IRELAND | SUMMER 2016

To serve: Serve this sauce poured over ice cream or frozen yoghurt or stir gently into thick Greek style yoghurt. Add fresh orange segments, diced pear or banana slices. Top with some crushed nut and seed sprinkles. Now that’s a real holiday treat! Chef's Tip! Overheating or leaving the chocolate near the heat too long makes it granular and the chocolate loses all its gloss. To rescue overheated chocolate, add 1 dessertspoon milk, beat well until smooth again. Chocolate can be melted in a microwave on MEDIUM for 1-1 1/2 minutes but watch it carefully as it is very easy to overheat and spoil it.


Smart Standbys

7. 8.

A 'standby' for filling in the gaps in the days when fresh air really makes everyone hungry is just smart planning. I find that baking before I go touring is a must. This Irish brack is easy and keeps well. Keeping the 'variation theme' in mind feel free to toss in a handful of mixed nuts and sunflower seeds with the fruit when steeping. I do that all the time just for fun and extra protein. The recipe is both dairy and fat free for those on special diets, but it is great eaten in slices spread with butter.

find what is just right for your oven. Remove from oven and leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes. Then turn out onto a wire tray to cool. Do not remove paper parchment. When completely cold, wrap it again with foil over the parchment and place in a tin in a cool place ready for your holiday. Remove the paper before serving.

Have fun cooking on the move!

Irish Tea Brack Cooking time 1- 1.5 hours

Ingredients: 200ml strong tea 375g packet dried mixed fruit 100g brown sugar 1 large egg 200g plain flour ½ to 1 teaspoon mixed spice 1 level teaspoon bread soda Method steps: 1. Steep fruit with the sugar in the tea overnight. 2. Preheat oven to 180C/ Fan 165C Gas 4-5 3. Grease a 1 kilo loaf tin and line with butter paper or baking parchment. 4. Beat the egg and then mix it into the fruit. 5. Sieve in the flour, spice and bread soda. Mix well. 6. Turn into the tin. Bake for 1- 1.5 hours or until a skewer comes out clean. Check the top after 40 minutes, if getting too brown cover with some foil and reduce the heat to 170C until it is cooked through. As ovens vary you will have to

Caravan & Camping Park Main Street, Knock, Co. Mayo Tel: (094) 93 88223 www.knockshrine.ie/caravanpark Open March to October

Touring Caravans, Motorhomes & Campers welcome I.C.C. Approved***, AA Recommended****, Caravan Club Site Recommended by the Alan Rogers Good Camps Guide Member of the Touring Club de Belgique

Captures the compelling story of the Knock Apparition of 1879. Open daily 10am - 6pm. Tel: 094 (93) 75034 e-mail: museum@knock-shrine.ie Text & Photos: Marita McGeady - contributor@ eet.ie

CAFE LE CHEILE At Knock Museum, Great food all day. Groups welcome. Open daily 9am - 6pm Tel: 094 (93) 75350 e-mail: cafelecheile@knock-shrine.ie www.caravancruise.ie

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Lunar Landstar RLS - spacious yet compact

adds features such as air conditioning, electric operation of the sliding door, parking sensors and adjustable heated mirrors. Kitchen

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erhaps best known for its caravan products, Lunar has been making significant inroads in recent years with a selection of van conversion products. Terry Owen takes a look at the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter based Landstar RLS. The Landstar RLS is the new upmarket version of Lunar's popular RL model, which was launched in October 2014. It retains the same spacious rear lounge layout, but adds numerous detailed enhancements compared to the base model. On the road

Extension flaps provide useful extra work surface

For a van conversion the kitchen has a lot to offer. The work surface is surprisingly large, particularly when the glass lids for the cooker and sink are down. Further work area is provided by extension flaps at each end and one at the rear, although the sliding door does have to be open to use it. A four burner dual fuel hob with separate oven and grill replaces the three burner combi unit found on the base model. Also exclusive to the RLS is a Dometic hob extractor fan with inbuilt spotlights. Above the fan is a microwave oven and, on the opposite side of the aisle is a 95 litre Dometic fridge with removable freezer compartment. The sink is a good size and is set off by a stylish mixer tap. Kitchen storage is amply taken care of by an overhead locker with plate rack, two drawers, a large lower cupboard and a drop down flap for pans underneath the cooker. A floor cupboard on the right of the units is designed for two 6kg gas cylinders. It is accessed from outside with the sliding door open.

The cab of the RLS is a nice place to be

Although we only had a short test drive the quality of the Mercedes-Benz underpinnings shone through. It was a joy to drive. The ride was refined with good road holding and little in the way of noise from the habitation area. At just under two metres wide (excluding the door mirrors) the vehicle was easy to thread through narrow gaps and straightforward to park in most parking slots although, at seven metres long, there could be some overhang at the front or rear. The base model's kit list is impressive and includes cruise control, ESP, ABS and traction control, Bluetooth and MP3 connectivity, driver and passenger airbags and daytime running lights. The RLS comes with the more powerful 160PS engine as standard and 24 CARAVAN CRUISE IRELAND | SUMMER 2016

Washroom At launch the Landstar set itself apart from other van conversions by offering a separate shower cubicle. This continues in the RLS, but thankfully the previous wall board sides have now been replaced by a plastic enclosure. Outside the shower there is a swivel cassette toilet and a small hand basin with a cupboard underneath. Above the sink is a useful shelf and large mirror. Lounge/dining This is where the Landstar really excels. The two long bench settees can accommodate six with ease or allow two to stretch out full length. A captain's swivel table locates in a floor mount and stows away in a cupboard when not required. Compared to the launch model the side windows are larger and the rear ones smaller to produce a more uniform, up-market look. Together with a Heki roof light these ensure the lounge is bright


The settees make up into two single beds or pull together to make a large double. We didn't spend a night in the Landstar but the bed arrangement seemed quite comfortable. Storage For a two berth motorhome the overall amount of storage is really good. The lounge area with its overhead lockers and easily accessible under bunk storage can swallow quite a bit of kit. Access to the nearside under bunk space is particularly good with folding flaps to the side and rear plus the ability to raise the settee on a gas strut.

Washroom with separate shower

The offside under bunk space houses the consumer unit, leisure battery, water pump and Truma Combi heater. These eat significantly into the space available, but for just two people this should not be a problem.

Seating for up to six in the spacious lounge

and airy. Night illumination is provided by four LED spotlights and dimmable lighting above the gloss finished upper lockers. The RLS comes not just with a TV point but with an Avtex HDTV with built in DVD player and chrome power sockets. Up front the driver and passenger seats swivel towards a small occasional table that can be attached to a bracket. A TV point above the folding shelf on the end of the kitchen unit allows two TV's to be in operation at the same time if needed. Sleeping

The rear lounge has six overhead lockers plus under bunk storage

A half height wardrobe above the fridge is complemented by two narrow cupboards to the left with the lower one accommodating the table. Heating and insulation A 4kW Truma Combi unit provides warm air through a series of vents around the motorhome and heats the water. Control is via a programmable panel that is ready to take Truma's iNet system, which allows remote programming from a smartphone app. A crash sensing gas regulator allows the heating to be used when travelling. In the event of a bump the gas is automatically shut off. The insulation level is Grade 3, which means the motorhome is suitable for use all year round.

A large double or two long single beds - the choice is yours www.caravancruise.ie

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Vehicle at a glance

A Thule four metre canopy is standard on the RLS

Exterior The dark paintwork and subdued graphics make for a smart appearance. This is enhanced by double spoke alloy wheels, standard on the 'S' version. Also standard is a Thule four metre roll out canopy on the nearside of the vehicle. All the service points are on the offside so these can be attended to without encroaching on those relaxing under the canopy. Security Over and above the base vehicle the RLS comes with an anti-theft package and the well-regarded Phantom tracking system. This has 24 hour control room backup and comes with a 12 month subscription. It's a feature well worth having on a vehicle as desirable as this. Verdict The Landstar RLS offers quite a bit of extra kit and luxury over the base RL model. As ever, if you were able to specify the upgrades separately, they would cost far more than the £8k premium Lunar charges. For many this will be enough to opt for the RLS, but if the budget won't stretch that far the RL still has lots to commend it. The extra length of the Mercedes-Benz chassis allows for coachbuilt levels of accommodation in a van conversion. Putting the washroom opposite the kitchen can make you feel like you're living in a corridor but it's more than made up for by the spacious rear lounge and the 'go anywhere' nature of the Sprinter. The Landstar is perfect for exploring winding country roads and, if you need to call at the shops, parking should not be a problem. The icing on the cake though has to be that Mercedes-Benz three pointed star, coupled with rear wheel drive for better traction in tricky conditions.

Model

Lunar Landstar RLS

Price (UK)

£61,490 including delivery and on road charges

Base vehicle

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 316 CDI

Engine

2143cc, 160bhp, diesel

Gearbox

6 speed manual (7 speed auto, add £2,200)

Length

6.95 m (22’10”)

Width

1.99 m (6'6”) excluding door mirrors

Height

2.82 m (9’3”)

MTPLM

3500 kg

Payload

420 kg

Berths

2

Belted Seats

2

Fresh Water Tank

70 litres

Waste Water Tank

35 litres

Towbars and wiring kits from the European market leader Developed in conjunction with the world’s leading motor vehicle manufacturers Precision engineered for quality, safety and reliability

www.westfalia-automotive.com Westfalia UK Ltd, Units 5 & 6 Days Road Commercial Centre, George Jones Road, St Philips, Bristol BS2 0QS. Tel: 0117 9551011 / 1022

26 CARAVAN CRUISE IRELAND | SUMMER 2016

Text & Photos: Terry Owen


Building dreams at Volkswagen California factory in Hannover

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here is a direct link between the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Oldtimer Museum and workshop and the VW California factory. Both facilities are located in Hannover (Germany) and while the old Californias on display at Oldtimers (see story on pages 46-47) have many tales to tell, the new Californias, based on the sixth generation Transporter recently launched, are set to build dreams for many years to come. Caravan Cruise got an exclusive factory tour. Upon entering the gates at the Limmer based factory, lines and lines of Volkswagen Transporter Multi-vans/Caravelles coming from the production line nearby are parked in the compound ready for transformation into adventure pods. To the keen eyed, the white plastic roof which protects the inside of the van is noticeable straight away and with closer inspection all that’s needed to be done is installing the internal fittings as the swivel seats, wheel tyres, upholstering seat runners are already in place. The biggest job is of course the fitting of the pre-painted pop-up roof. According to customer requirements, additional items such as extra seats, side awning, roof racks, etc., can be applied. Due to the high demand, 190 assembly workers undertake to turn out more than 50 units a day over three shifts. The factory is divided into three sections in order that efficiencies are maximised – warehouse, pre-assembly and assembly. Last year alone, over 10,000 units were produced and sold with demand coming from across the EU with RHD models bought from eager UK, Irish, South African and New Zealand

customers. Surprisingly, Australia, with its vast landscape, is not a direct market for the California as its ADR regulations are stricter than other countries. Interestingly, the Beach spec (not offered in Ireland) tops the three trim levels offered with 50% demand, with the Coast and Ocean equally dividing the remaining marketshare. The entry level Beach with its 7 seat design and manual pop-up roof can sleep up to 5 people, but does not have the fitted kitchen. The Coast does have this latter facility turning it into a true camper, while the Ocean has a longer list of stranded features. Moving from the T5 to T6 saw the unit enhanced with improved LED lighting, and fully integrated blinds built into the pillars. The only disadvantage of the RHD conversion from the other side is that the sliding door is on the opposite (off-side) side, which is not ideal in terms of road safety and especially with children. VWCV is considering including twin-sliding doors on the Beach option. The slotting in the pre prepared kitchen/ wardrobe unit is done with the help of a robot and two operatives. Such is the pinpoint measurement that each and everyone fits like a glove. While the base shell is outsourced, all the other fittings and electrics are completed in the preassembly area. Double skinned aluminium is used instead of timber, as it is lighter, more durable and lasts longer, bearing in mind the long lifespan of the California. Two panel colours are offered, dark and bright grey.

Text & Photos: Jarlath Sweeney - editor@ eet.ie

Reinforcement bars are placed around the edge of the roof before the pop-up is placed, making it actually stronger from here-to-fore. Obviously, quality control is paramount for an intricate leisure machine like this. Water and gas installations are thoroughly checked, as is the paintwork, followed by a test drive. California is then ready for adventure. Let the dreams begin! www.caravancruise.ie

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Internet access on the move

Security issues Public Wi-Fi networks are insecure, making it possible for others to capture the information transmitted. It may even be possible for them to gain access to your PC. You can prevent the latter on a Windows PC by selecting the 'public network' option when you connect. Mac users can turn on their firewall (system preferences/ security/firewall) to achieve the same end.

A

ccording to the Central Statistics Office, 82% of Irish households now have internet access. No wonder, when touring, most of us want to get online. Terry Owen shows how.

Public WiFi The proliferation of public networks, including those on many campsites, makes Wi-Fi an easy way to get online when touring. However, buildings and trees can affect reception, making it quite normal to have to walk around to pick up a good signal when outside. This is not ideal if you're pitched on a campsite, but one way around it is to invest in a Wi-Fi booster.

The only way to protect transmitted information is to use an encrypted connection. Websites with addresses beginning 'HTTPS' (such as banks and Google) use encryption technology. If connected to one of these, you're relatively safe. Look for the padlock symbol in the browser's address bar to confirm it's a secure connection. It isn't always displayed, but you can be sure the connection is secure when it is.

Selecting ‘Public Network’ when connecting in Windows will help to prevent others gaining access to your PC.

Try to ensure that you only log on to authentic networks. Beware of sites identifying themselves as ‘Free public Wi-Fi’ or with a name similar to but not identical to your intended network. They may have been set up with the sole purpose of stealing information. 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. Many campsites now have Wi-Fi

At their simplest these take the form of an aerial that plugs into the USB port on your laptop. The next step up the ladder is to go for an aerial that re-radiates the signal so you can pick it up on a tablet or mobile phone. This may enable you to overcome any restriction that permits just one device to connect at a time. Alpha's Wi-Fi Booster connects via a USB port

A standalone Wi-Fi booster from Motorhome Wi-Fi

The cell phone network The cell phone network is an increasingly popular way to connect to the internet. However you really need a 3G signal or better if the experience is not to feel like 'stirring glue'. However, small emails should come through quite well where GPRS or Edge signals are available. The Republic of Ireland is now quite well served by 3G coverage with 4G growing fast. The situation is similar north of the Border but, if it's 4G you're after, EE has just about the best coverage. If you have a smartphone you'll be able to access the internet directly and you may also be able to use it to create a Wi-Fi hotspot to serve other devices such as tablets and laptops. As an alternative to a smartphone you could try a MiFi dongle. These log on to a phone network and create a local hotspot for the connection of five or more devices. If you choose one on a different network to your smartphone you can improve your chances of getting a connection at any given location.

28 CARAVAN CRUISE IRELAND | SUMMER 2016


Huawei's 4G Mi-Fi dongle. Its performance can be boosted by connecting to this suction mount aerial

Just as with a smartphone, MiFi dongles need a reasonable phone signal. It's therefore worth considering one that can be boosted by an external aerial. For a more permanent arrangement you could have a roof-mounted aerial connected to a Wi-Fi router.

Broadband (formerly Astra 2 Connect) and IPcopter. Both now use the Astra 3 satellite at 23.5 degrees east of south. This covers most of Western Europe although Northern Scotland and southern parts of Spain and Portugal may be a little tricky depending on the provider and modem. Simultaneous internet and TV are possible The kit required for from this dish satellite broadband is perhaps best suited to installation in a motorhome where a large, self seeking, dish can be mounted on the roof. Astra 3 internet coverage

Huawei's 4G roof-mount aerial and Wi-Fi router can deliver good broadband in weaker signal areas

Data allowances and charges Using the cell phone network to access the internet uses data, maybe lots of it, depending on what you're doing. Without the luxury of unlimited data usage, the apps you love can bust your data cap like there’s no tomorrow. Fortunately networks send warnings when you're approaching the limit. Android users wanting an earlier warning can ask to be notified when a chosen limit is reached. iPhone owners can download a free app (My Data Manager) to do the same job.

Data usage app for the iPhone

Data charges when roaming outside your home country have fallen quite a bit in the last couple of years. What's more, roaming charges are set to be abolished within the European Union by June 2017. The ban is being preceded by a 14 month interim period, in which companies can still add surcharges - but at a reduced rate.

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 signals direct from a satellite. You'll also need a suitable modem. There are various providers offering satellite broadband, but many resell the services of a couple of existing operators – SES Text: Terry Owen

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 costs will be extra and depend on the package chosen. Conclusion Getting online has never been easier but in remote locations satellite technology will need to be used for the foreseeable future.

Sending and receiving emails If emails are important to you when roaming make sure you go for a provider that allows you to access them via a web browser. Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo are some of the best known but many ISP's also offer website access. The beauty of web based accounts is that they can be accessed from any PC, tablet or smartphone, provided you have an internet connection. It's also easy to configure any auto responders. If you prefer to have your emails stored on your mobile device then you will need to use an email client such as Windows Live Mail or Outlook. The problem then is obtaining the right outgoing server settings for the internet connection you have at any given time. Without these you won't be able to send emails (but you should be able to receive them). You'll see an error message such as ‘Error 550 – Relay Denied’. www.caravancruise.ie

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Planning a first time Caravanning or Camping Trip? Check out the Bell Tents for hire at Westport House.

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estport House is now offering gorgeous Bell Tent rental to anyone looking for a hassle-free camping experience. The 5m Bell Tents are ideally suited to folks who are camping for the first time, or are not quite ready to commit to the investment in the equipment. Or simply can’t be bothered putting up a tent themselves. So if you fancy taking a short break with newbie campers, you can be confident in bringing them to Westport House. They will get a beautiful ready-made tent with a capacity for up to 4 adults, or 2 adults and up to 4 kids, as well as a kitchen box, bin, interior light and air mattresses. All you have to bring is your bedding and towels. Set in the stunning heritage setting of Westport House’s extensive farmyard buildings and orchard, the camping facilities are second to none. You’ll be spoiled for choice with things to do from the beautiful historic home and grounds, the new sight-seeing Westport Train Tour, the Pirate Adventure Park with rides, slides, boats and trains for kids under 12, as well as the Adventure Activity Centre with everything from archery to zorbing.

30 CARAVAN CRUISE IRELAND | SUMMER 2016

For sustenance, you can be assured of a meal in either the Old Kitchen Café in the basement of Westport House (featuring home bakes, soups, sandwiches, paninis, pizzas and the best coffee in town), as well as Gracy’s Bar & Café in the farmyard with a full bar, extensive menu and wood-fired pizza oven. Bell Tents are available for rental from June 1st to September 11th. Check out www.WestportHouse.ie for details. Consider camping at Westport House for one of the following upcoming events in Westport: • • • • • •

Darkness Into Light in Aid of Pieta House, May 7th FREE Open Day in aid of Western Care, May 29th The Hooley at the House with MidWest Radio on June 12th The Grainne Ale Festival on June Bank Holiday Weekend Reek Sunday – Pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick, July 31st Gaelforce West, August 20th


SLIGO CARAVAN & CAMPING PARKS Strandhill County Sligo. Open to September 25th Tel: 071 9168111 Email: strandhillcvp@eircom.net

Rosses Point County Sligo. Open to September 25th Tel: 071 9177113 Fax: 071 9160496 Email: rossespointcvp@eircom.net

Set in the magnificent setting of Westport House this Caravan & Camping Park offers something for all ages - from the stunning historic home, to the child-friendly Pirate Adventure Park, sight-seeing Train Tour of Westport and the adrenaline-fuelled Adventure Activity Centre. Create memories you’ll all cherish with a stay in Westport House. e.

Bo Onlionk e at

Westp to sec ortHouse.i ure yo e u rp and g et gre itch deals! at

(098) 27766 | www.westporthouse.ie rthou use ie

THE APPLE FARM Camping & Caravan Park Moorstown, Cahir, County, Tipperary

A campsite that’s different. We all like a change, and it’s no different when camping. At our campsite, you will be located on a fruit-farm, where, depending on the time of year, you can get strawberries, raspberries, plums, cherries and apples, as well as seeing how they grow. And to welcome you, a bottle of our famous apple juice (Best in Ireland, 2016: McKenna’s Guides), made on the farm. Facilities are always clean, tidy and well-managed. We look forward to welcoming you.

Tel. 052 744 1459 e-mail: con@theapplefarm.com

www.theapplefarm.com


Planes, Trains & Automobiles that’s Quirky Nights Glamping

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y the time you read this, one of the most audacious and innovative exercises in the history of camping will have hopefully been successfully completed. If it happens it's all down to a Mayo/ Sligo business man making a reality of his dream to create a unique transport themed glamping park.

David McGowan (pictured), a Ballina, County Mayo based funeral undertaker, has come up with a hugely ambitious plan to create a campsite with a difference in the nearby seaside town of Enniscrone, County Sligo. Instead of the traditional tents, caravans and motorhomes normally seen on campsites, or even the yurts and tree houses that offer more glamorous camping (or glamping), Quirky Nights Glamping is a park where vehicles from the world of transport are the star attractions.

We’re talking boats, London taxis, doubledecker buses and a train converted into glamorous camping accommodation. And for good measure, a Boeing 767 passenger jet, which, as Caravan Cruise Ireland goes to print, is being shipped along the west coast from Shannon to Enniscrone. “The concept of Quirky Nights Glamping is to turn all types of transportation into accommodation,” explains David, “but that concept will end up very badly if it’s not properly designed. I decided the theme would be an airport setting – so if I succeed in bringing the plane to Enniscrone then I’ll surround the whole site around that.” Transporting plane to site a major undertaking With the airplane central to the future of the project, a lot depends on the successful transportation of the jet this first week in May. Having purchased a decommissioned full sized wide-bodied Russian passenger airliner residing in Shannon Airport, moving it to Enniscrone is no simple task.

quite disappointing because after 8 to 9 months of engineering the possibility just vanished off the radar. There were a couple of bridges we just couldn’t get under and the local authorities wouldn’t allow us put a crane on the bridge to lift it over. We looked at loads of other options, one being a blimp that is being built in England that would have lifted 55 tonnes - the plane is 50 tonnes - but that’s not certified until next year.” Under pressure from Shannon Airport to move the plane, other possibilities looked at and discarded included hovercrafts and helicopters before deciding on the water route. The logistics involved are mind-boggling, with David estimating that he has thirty eight different teams in place to execute the transfer.

Shipping it up along Ireland’s West Coast has come about because the original idea to move the airplane by road had to be abandoned, as David explains:-

“The sea runs right in to the heart of Shannon Airport. It will require a large barge coming in from England that will be pulled by a tug. We’ll bring the plane down to the road, so I will have to block off Shannon International Airport for 2 hours. It took a fair bit of convincing Shannon Airport Authority to allow me close down an International airport. There are no flights between 2am and 4am in the morning so that’s the window that I’m being given.”

“We looked at (and engineered) an awful lot of different types of moves. Road obviously was the first one, and that was

“We will then take it to the port, and there we will have a 500 tonne crane to lift it onto the barge. Before we do that we have

32 CARAVAN CRUISE IRELAND | SUMMER 2016


to make a cradle, because you just cannot lift a jumbo jet, you would collapse the two sides of it. It will be the only cradle in the world made for a Boeing.” Depending on sea and weather conditions, the plan is to beach the barge in Enniscrone, where a new temporary road, using the same mats used to transport the plane from the airport to the sea at Shannon will be used. Timing is crucial as it’s all planned to coincide with the monthly high tide. Get it wrong and David could be stuck with a costly barge until the next high tide. Creating a tourist draw to the West of Ireland Getting the airplane on site is one thing, but what is David going to do with it once there? He has his eye firmly on the bigger picture. “People are all asking me why and how did I come up with the idea. Well, if you stand back and look at what the Wild Atlantic Way is doing, we are creating our own Ring of Kerry. You can criticise the Government all you want, but for people living in the West of Ireland, they’ve actually created a tourist passage for us. It’s now up to us along that route to get up and do something. I’ve noticed in the last two years more foreign number plates during the summer than ever before, so the Wild Atlantic Way is being used. The problem is the small towns – they’re coming, looking and then going, because people are eating and drinking where they are sleeping. So I want to put something on that route that will draw and hold tourists, basically use it as a magnet.” “Fáilte Ireland expect 8 million people to visit this island this year. All we want in the West of Ireland is to attract 1 million of

Text: Cathal Doyle - cathal@ eet.ie

that 8 million and we’ll all be happy, but in saying that, those 8 million people aren’t stupid either, they’ll only come and see something that’s unusual. That’s where I’m going from. The Wild Atlantic Way was put in place, it’s now up to us to get up off our behinds and do something.” Airport Themed Park If all goes to plan, Quirky Glamping will be a re-creation of all the transportation options available at an airport - all laid out as you might expect at a real airport. David explains: “Across the road from the plane, what do you normally see at an airport? Buses – so I‘ll put 10 double-decker buses across from the airport. Then I have a train, but I don’t just place it anywhere, it’s going in the direction of the airport. Then what do you see outside the train station? Taxis - so I’m going to place them across the road from the train station. Then I’m going to have what looks like a marina down at the other end with 4 or 5 boats, I’m going to bury them about 2 feet in the ground, and bring water up around the bottom of them to create a marina effect. While most of the airplane will be converted in living accommodation, David has other ideas to make Quirky Nights Glamping a year round attraction, conscious that camping is a very seasonal

affair. “The first thing that came into my mind was education. For instance, if I take 3 bedrooms out of that plane, and turn it into a sort of museum or a tour area for kids and adults alike, to give them the history of the plane, show them what a cockpit is like. How many people sit on a plane and they don’t know what’s around them? I have all the oxygen masks, I have all the life jackets underneath the seats. What I’d like to do is get the kids in, give them a tour of the cockpit, show them all the bits and pieces of the plane, then make them put on their life jackets, and then let them slide down the emergency slide. What I’m doing is utilising what I have and I’m trying to extend the season by turning it into an education.” With unprecedented media and public interest in the venture, David regrets that it is likely to be 2017 before Quirky Nights Glamping opens to the public. “Because of all the planning regulations I’m going to miss this summer, which is a big disappointment, but the way I look at is, there will be plenty more summers and hopefully I’ll live long enough to see it.” The full interview with David McGowan can be viewed on: www.caravancruise.ie

www.caravancruise.ie

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Camping in Comfort - Caravan and

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n the early days of caravans and motorhomes there was little by way of heating as standard. Now all models come well equipped. Terry Owen gives the lowdown.

In the 1980's and 90's Carver heaters dominated the UK market but the Carver units were replaced by similar Truma models in 2000, when Truma acquired Carver's heating business.

Space and water heaters may be single function devices or they may combine the two roles into one unit.

2. Underfloor - Whale In 2010 Whale introduced a revolutionary space heater that mounted under the floor. Not only did it save space, it was easy for manufacturers to fit, as no flue was needed at roof level. Heat is distributed around the vehicle by warm air ducting and an integral 12 volt fan. This can take up to 1.7 amps - something to bear in

1. Space heaters Traditional - Carver, Truma The simplest space heaters are effectively gas powered radiators pulling in combustion air through the floor and expelling flue gases through a cowl on the roof. This closed combustion arrangement prevents any flue gases from getting inside the caravan so the heaters can be safely left on for extended periods. Whilst such heaters can produce copious amounts of heat it's common to get stuffy air at nose level and cold spots elsewhere. That's why most come with a 12 volt fan that pushes the hot air through ducting running at floor level. This puts the warmth where you need it - low down and into corners that would otherwise be cold.

Carver's 5500 Fanmaster combines 3.5kW of gas and 2.0kW of electric heating with convection and blown air

Gas heating is all very well but, if you've got an electric hook up, it's good to use it to save gas. That's why the gas radiator type of heater is nearly always fitted with an electric element that can be used instead of, and often with, the gas. The beauty of this type of heater is that you can use them without the fan so they're very quiet and perfect for night time. In this mode there is no 12 volt power requirement, making them ideal if you're 'off grid'.

Carver's Cascade water heater and its flue cowl

A cut-away shows Whale's underfloor mounted heater

mind if you spend a lot of time 'off grid’. The first heaters were rated at just 2Kw and couldn't use gas and electricity at the same time. A more powerful 4Kw model soon followed that solved this problem.

The Henry water heater and flue cowl

3. Water heaters Carver Cascade The Carver Cascade water heater ruled the UK market for many years until it was withdrawn in summer of 2000, following Truma's take over.

Truma Ultrastore When Truma bought Carver's business it substituted its Ultrastore water heater for the Cascade. It's a very different design to the Cascade but it too has a dual fuel capability.

With its nine-litre capacity and dual fuel capability the Cascade proved very reliable. Thermostats can go faulty and inlet valves get stuck but that's about it, apart from any damage caused by frost. Truma supplied spares for five years but after that, some became very hard to get. With so many Cascades still in use the market needed a replacement. Enter Swansea Imports Ltd who commissioned the Chinese to make a copy. The result was the 'Henry' heater. It's a direct replacement but the original control wiring has to be replaced too as it's not compatible with the Henry and can cause damage.

34 CARAVAN CRUISE IRELAND | SUMMER 2016

Truma's Ultrastore water heater and flue cowl

The flue cowl has a cover to keep the weather out when gas is not being used. This must be removed before gas operation. If you don't the heater won't work, or worse, the cover may be blown off!


d Motorhome Heating Systems A nice feature is that, on gas, you can lower the water temperature, potentially saving fuel. The electric element is set to 70 deg C, which is designed to see off any bugs that might lurk. Most Ultrastore heaters have a water capacity of 10 litres although a 14 litre version is available. Early models had an electric element of just 450 watts and took 70 minutes to heat up on electricity only. From the 2004 model year this was raised to 850 watts, reducing the time to 45 minutes. A further upgrade took place for the 2012 model year when the user was able to select 850 or 1300 watts. Whale Introduced in 2009 Whale's first water heater was a re-engineered version of the Propex Malaga, to which Whale had bought the rights. Interestingly the Malaga started life as a Belling product and appeared in some Fleetwood and Bailey caravans before being bought by Propex. Whale's first version had a 13 litre water tank, enabling two showers in quick succession. Heat is provided by an electric element with 600 and 1200 watt settings and a powerful gas burner. The beauty of this heater is that, if you have an electric hook up, you can simply leave it on the 600 watt setting and know you'll always have plenty of hot water.

Whale's Expanse underfloor water heater as fitted in some Elddis products

The design ensures maximum heat transfer and is faster than other Whale models. The Expanse delivers enough hot water for a 14 litre shower in 11 minutes and can then reheat sufficiently for a second shower in 8 minutes. A high level of thermal insulation keeps the water hot for extended periods. 4. Combined heaters Blown air - the Truma Combi Combined heaters usually weigh less than two discrete units and they are often cheaper to purchase and install. In 1994 Truma introduced the Trumatic C the first ever combi boiler for recreational vehicles. It provided blown air heating and hot water from a single device but its size, weight and cost meant that was it really restricted to larger motorhomes. In 2006 this model was subject to a recall after it was found it could overheat when in hot water only (summer) mode.

Truma's Combi heater, launched in 2007

manufactured caravans. 12 volt power is required when the unit is operating but at just 0.4 amps for hot water, and an average of 1.2 amps for heating and hot water, it’s quite manageable off grid. Intelligent programming allows the Combi to prioritise electricity over gas when a hook up is available. Gas is then only used if the heat demand requires it. These heaters are best not left on all the time just for heating water. It's better to put them on just when needed. That way they use much less energy. Truma Combi boilers can operate safely without any water in the boiler, for example when drained down for winter. Hydronic - Alde Hydronic systems use a liquid such as water or glycol to move heat around. Currently there’s only one contender and it’s the increasingly popular Alde system from Sweden.

An 8 litre version followed in 2011 but with a more powerful electric element of 750/1500 watts. It's smaller and lighter and gives a very fast warm up time.

The Trumatic 'C' combi heater Whale's 8 litre rapid water heater and cowl

In 2014 Whale launched the first ever underfloor water heater - the Expanse. It has a high efficiency pre-mixed burner and direct heat exchanger, both located inside the water tank.

In 2007 a smaller, lighter and more efficient version was launched. Although intended for motorhomes it eventually caught on in touring caravans. It comes in three basic models, the Combi 2, 4 & 6, according to the power of the gas burner in kilowatts. Each has a 10 litre water tank. A 1.8kw electric element is also fitted to most versions used in UK

The controls of Alde's 2920 boiler, which appeared in some caravans and narrow boats in the 1980's www.caravancruise.ie

35


Alde heating first appeared in caravans in the 1980's. The heater used at the time resembled a tall rectangular box with a flue through the roof. Its size and weight restricted take up, although it did become very popular on narrow boats.

Using a liquid to circulate the heat is quieter and more efficient than using blown air. Alde’s circulation pump uses just 0.2 amps at 12 volts. Add to this the fact that the pump is thermostatically controlled and the average consumption is even less.

In 1993 a compact version, the 3000, was launched. It is these compact boilers, now up to version 3020, that have propelled Alde to the prominent market position it has in the industry today.

The Alde boiler is very powerful with around 6kw available on gas and up to 3kw on electricity. The fluid in the system is maintained via a head tank, usually located in a wardrobe. The circulation pump can often be found on top of this tank with its body attached to the screw cap. This makes the pump very easy to change in the event of failure but mounting it in this position gives only a slow circulation which can take weeks to get all the air out of the pipework after refilling with glycol. Alde head tank and pump with top cover removed

Alde's Compact boiler and finned radiators

Once you’ve experienced this type of heating you may wish for nothing less. It’s a miniature version of what many of us have at home with a combi boiler and liquid filled radiators to distribute the heat evenly.

The tank pump is slowly being superseded by an inline pump mounted on the side of the boiler. It is virtually silent in normal operation and has a high speed setting to help force the air out of the system.

Heater controls

O

ne area of huge advancement in recent years has been in the control of heating appliances and the information they can provide. Knobs, sliders and switches have given way to digital panels offering the sort of control and information we could only have dreamt of.

tracking systems could also serve the same purpose. This was really handy if you were heading back from a day out and wanted a toasty warm vehicle to return to, but you could only switch the heating on or off, no other control was possible.

The 2013 model year saw a minor explosion of new control panels. First up was Alde's new colour touchscreen panel. It was light years ahead of the old LCD unit and simplicity itself to use. Swift had a UK exclusive on it for one year so it wasn't until the 2014 model year that it appeared in other makes.

Alde was arguably the first to come up with a programmable controller, as long ago as 2000. It had a small LCD screen that allowed you to set on and off times and to control the temperature.

Alde programmable timer from 2000

Lots of functions including lower temperatures at night, but not very user fr iendly

In 2007 Alde launched a new panel, packed full of options and information. You could even programme a different temperature setting for night time, but it wasn't really user friendly. There was also the option of adding a device to switch the heating on and off using text messages. Some GPS

Alde's new panel is a model of simplicity

A SIM card in this device allows remote switching of Alde heating- or anything else for that matter

36 CARAVAN CRUISE IRELAND | SUMMER 2016

2013 also saw the launch of Whale's innovative i Van system in Bailey's Pegasus GT65 caravans. This too uses a colour touchscreen but sets itself apart


by using wireless to control the space and water heaters, along with the water pump. Another interesting feature is the ability for the software to be upgraded, a process that is so easy the user can do it. Whale's i Van control panel is a cinch to use

At the same time Truma launched a programmable touchscreen panel for its Combi heaters. This time it was Coachman's turn to get an exclusive, for a year, as they were the first manufacturer to fit the Combi into a caravan. The panel was a big step forward for the Combi, but two years later Truma launched an updated version that could also control air conditioning.

The next logical step was to develop smartphone apps that could allow you to control the heating from anywhere, just as though you were Truma's first Combi panel (top) was soon followed stood in front of the by an updated version (bottom) panel itself. Alde was perhaps the first to do this in 2014, with Truma's iNet system following a year later.

Remote control apps from Alde and Truma

These apps point the way to the future, one that is already beginning to see the increased use of multi-function panels and smartphone apps to go with them.

Text: Terry Owen

www.caravancruise.ie

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More welcomes for cars and motorhomes on ferries The big picture During the long years of the economic downturn, the major ferry companies serving Ireland have struggled to maintain operations and keep up schedules that enable them to compete not only for freight traffic, but also for the passenger business, whether in car, motorhome, caravan or on foot. As Ireland and the other European countries pull out of the trough, new challenges have emerged. Freight traffic on the rise…. Recently, the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) published a new edition of its annual Maritime Transport economic review. This shows a growth in 2015 of freight traffic on the ferries of over one thousand units a week, with the annual total topping one million units. This figure does not include traffic moving through Northern Ireland ports. The vast majority of the freight, more than 800,000 of the million units, moved through Dublin Port, with Rosslare accounting for most of the balance. All of this growth is a reflection of the strong growth in exports to Great Britain and elsewhere, but also recognises a significant growth of import traffic as people in Ireland begin to increase spending again.

to Ireland, but to do so with their own car or motorhome. This development is particularly important in helping to support the operation of ferry services through Rosslare, Cork and the Northern Ireland ports. It might also present the ferry companies with something of a dilemma in looking at replacement of ferries operating on these ‘tourist” routes. Do they take the opportunity to build passenger revenue through the provision of better facilities for those passengers, rather than going down the route that might have appeared to be inevitable a couple of years ago of concentrating exclusively on economy class RoPax vessels? Such vessels are very much intended for the carriage of freight, with passenger and car traffic as being an ‘add-on’. Port managers will also have to take heed of the increased numbers and provide better facilities in terms of parking, shopping etc.

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S ena St enna Suupe p rrffas a st X ast

…..As is passenger traffic While the freight growth might have been expected, the growth of car and passenger traffic on the ferries has perhaps been more surprising. The IMDO document notes; “More than 4.4 million passengers travelled through Dublin, Rosslare and Cork in 2015, availing of the many excellent ferry services that connect Irish ports to ports in Great Britain and France. A further 450,000 tourists experienced Ireland through port calls made by 246 cruise liners that called to Irish ports in 2015, an increase of 3% over the previous year.” Clearly, the work that Tourism Ireland has been doing in European markets in promoting Ireland as a destination, and in particular, such initiatives as the development of the Wild Atlantic Way as a driving route along the West Coast, has been a huge success. Further similar initiatives through the Midlands and the East will continue to encourage potential visitors to not just come 38 CARAVAN CRUISE IRELAND | SUMMER 2016

Farewell Stena Explorer Had this piece been written even a few weeks ago we might have said that the most significant event for the passenger, car and motorhome sector of the ferry business would have been the demise of the high-speed ferry. Within the last year Stena withdrew the last of its HSS fleet, the Stena Explorer. She had been running on the Dun Laoghaire / Holyhead route for almost twenty years, but fuel and repair costs caught up with her. If you ever travelled aboard her and saw the huge car deck, you might not be too surprised to see that she has finished up being a floating workshop for an engineering company in Turkey. Separately P&O Ferries also withdrew its Express craft from the Larne to Troon seasonal route and this boat is now operating in Scandinavian waters. Both Dun Laoghaire and Troon are now without any ferry services with the operators shifting their focus to the nearby ports of Dublin and Cairnryan respectively. This has left Irish Ferries with its Jonathan Swift as the only representative of the high speed ferry sector, and many people thought that she would not be operating for much longer. However, Irish Ferries' owner the Irish Continental Group surprised everyone by announcing the purchase of a vessel very similar to, but slightly larger than the Jonathan Swift. This $13 million purchase from the US is already operating under a long term charter and may not be seen on the Irish Sea for quite some time. The purchase does, however, show that the company has faith in the high speed ferry concept.


FERRY OPTIONS FOR 2016 - THE MAIN PLAYERS Irish Ferries Following the charter of the RoPax ferry Epsilon a couple of years ago, the Irish Ferries fleet and its deployment has remained very stable, running the following routes are: • Dublin/Holyhead: Twice daily sailings with each of the three vessels on the route, namely the cruise ferry Ulysses, the RoPax Epsilon and the fast ferry Jonathan Swift. Cars can be carried on all three vessels and, while motorhomes are carried on the two larger ferries, headroom in the car deck on the fast ferry is very limited and this should be checked out carefully using the company’s website before making any booking. Foot passengers cannot be accommodated aboard the Epsilon. • Rosslare/Pembroke: This is operated with the cruise ferry Isle of Inishmore. There is substantial capacity for all kinds of vehicles on board. Like the other vessels in the Irish Ferries fleet there is Wi-Fi on board. • Rosslare/Cherbourg and Rosslare/Roscoff: These services are operated by the cruise ferry Oscar Wilde. The Roscoff service is one that runs at high-summer only while the Cherbourg service runs all year except for the period from late December to end-February. • Dublin/Cherbourg: Irish Ferries run this once weekly service, leaving Dublin on Saturday afternoon and arriving back in Dublin on Monday morning using the RoPax Epsilon. Thought passenger facilities on board are limited, this is an extremely popular service and very early booking is required. Irish Ferries sets out very clearly on its website details of parking facilities at or close to the terminals through which they operate. This could be well worth checking out in advance particularly as there are large variations in the levels of vehicle security at different sites. Plug-in facilities are available for electric vehicles on board the Ulysses and the Oscar Wilde.

– and have had their hotel facilities upgraded to match the standards of those on the Cairnryan service vessels. Dublin/Holyhead: This is a three hour fifteen-minute crossing with the two cruise ferries, Stena Adventurer and Stena Superfast X, between the two giving four departures daily from Dublin Port. Both vessels can accommodate any vehicle and offer the full range of on-board services. Cabins are available on board the Stena Adventurer. Rosslare/Fishguard: This is, perhaps, the longest running Irish sea ferry route, having just celebrated 110 years in operation. There has been a continuous evolution of the service with various operators having run the service over time, but the ports at either end remain under the same ownership, that of the Fishguard and Rosslare Railway Company. Stena Line operates the cruise ferry Stena Europe with twice daily sailings ex-Rosslare. Sailing time is three and a half hours. Rosslare/Cherbourg: Stena sails the RoPax, Stena Horizon, three times weekly from Rosslare. This is a year round service and, though passenger facilities and accommodation are more limited than that found on the cruise ferries, there is plenty of accommodation for all kinds of vehicles. Cabins are available and there is passenger accommodation for up to 900.

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P&O Ferries P&O Ferries is probably best known for its wide range of crosschannel and North Sea routes, but it's also a substantial player on the Irish Sea. It operates the following: • Larne/Cairnryan: This is the shortest Irish Sea route with a crossing time by cruise ferry of two hours. There are up to seven sailings ex-Larne each day with good facilities on board and accommodation for all types of vehicles. • Dublin/Liverpool: Three RoPax vessels each undertake a daily round-trip on this eight-hour central corridor route. These vessels carry substantial freight volumes, but do have good passenger facilities.

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Stena Line Though Stena Line operates ferries throughout the North Sea, Scandinavia and even the Black Sea, the Irish Sea remains a major theatre of activity for the company. Its routes out of Ireland are: • Belfast/Cairnryan: This two-and-a-half-hour crossing is made up to six times daily ex-Belfast aboard the cruise ferries, Superfast VII and Superfast VIII. This is a year round service with good accommodation and facilities for all kinds of vehicles. • Belfast/Liverpool: This is an eight-hour crossing with sailings ex-Belfast twice daily. The vessels, Stena Lagan and Stena Mersey can accommodate all kinds of vehicles – regular cargo is aircraft fuselages and wings carried for Bombardier

P&O Ferries does offer very good landbridge options and rates using its Cross Channel and North Sea services.

SStten tena enna No Norrbban ank www.caravancruise.ie

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Brittany Ferries Brittany Ferries continue to operate a weekly cruise ferry sailing from the Ringaskiddy terminal in Cork Harbour to Roscoff, with sailings every Saturday from 16 April to 5 November. The Pont Aven is the company’s flagship vessel, and while the company had plans to build a replacement vessel that would have been fuelled by LNG and entered service for the 2017 season, these plans have yet to materialise. In the absence of a direct Ireland to Spain ferry service such as that offered for the 2014 season by LD Lines, Brittany Ferries does perhaps remain the best option for cars and motorhomes heading there. The most practical routes are those through South Wales and then to pick up the Brittany Ferries service at Poole or Portsmouth. From there the line offers a choice of sailing aboard one of its fleet of cruise ferries, or on one of its economie RoPax ferries operating out of Portsmouth to Bilbao or Santander. The vessels, Etretat and Baie de Seine have proven to be very successful since their introduction, but they do offer limited car and passenger facilities.

Services to the continent from Dover There are three operators providing Cross-Channel services, P&O Ferries, DFDS and Eurotunnel. While P&O and Eurotunnel continue to offer the range of services that they have done over the last number of years, DFDS has, following the departure of MyFerryLink, moved its Dover Straits operation up several gears. DFDS has taken over two of the MyFerryLink vessels (note, the third was purchased by Stena Line and is now Superfast X sailing the Dublin/Holyhead route), and with these and a third vessel, operates a shuttle of thirty sailings a day between the Ports of Dover and Calais. A further three DFDS vessels sail between Dover and Dunkirk, bringing the crossings total on the Dover Straits to fifty-four.

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Br ittany Fer Br e ri r ess' B Baarfl fluerr

Isle of Man Steam Packet Company While there are reasonably frequent sailings from Belfast to the Isle of Man, the company only operate a June to August service from Dublin, and even then with irregular frequencies. The vessel used is a fast ferry and has low vehicle headroom. The company does operate sailings to the island from Heysham and Liverpool using a RoPax vessel, and larger vehicles can be taken there using this route. Seatruck One of the more romantic dreams that people can have is to undertake an ocean voyage aboard a cargo ship away from the hurly burly of the large passenger vessel. Kim Swan, Commercial General Manager at Seatruck Ferries thinks that they could make this dream come true for some travellers with cars or motorhomes. Seatruck operates up to three ferries a day out of Dublin to Liverpool, once daily from there to Heysham and twice daily out of Warrenpoint to Heysham. The sailing time on each route is about eight hours. The ferries are almost brand new and by far the bulk of their traffic is unaccompanied trailers, but they do have accommodation on board for up to twelve drivers/ passengers and up to five motorhomes or cars. As they are not ‘drive through’ ferries they cannot take caravans on board and generally the overnight sailings are fully committed with freight traffic. However it is worth enquiring with Seatruck about possible space over weekend nights. Seatruck cannot carry children under the age of twelve; each passenger will get a berth either in a single occupancy cabin or a shared cabin. If two people are travelling, they will have a pre-allocated cabin and the ticket includes two meals and other refreshments on board. 40 CARAVAN CRUISE IRELAND | SUMMER 2016

Wi-Fi aboard ferries Most of the ferry services mentioned above now include onboard Wi-Fi facilities for customers. However, a paragraph quoted from the Irish Ferries website could apply to all vessels: “We are delighted to offer a Wi-Fi service for free in designated locations on-board. Check your mail, book your next trip, or even connect to your company network while you sail. Although this is a state-of-the-art satellite system, it is worth remembering that it will never be as fast as you might enjoy at home or in the office. Remember we are moving across the sea, with variable atmospheric and weather conditions, all of which will affect the link to the satellite at least 35,000km away.” In other words, don’t expect lighting fast connectivity. Whatever the limitations though, isn’t it astonishing how fast the ‘on-line’ world is developing, and the way in which it can be used to overcome some of the worries and uncertainties of a holiday abroad? Domestic Irish ferry services

Sppir i it of Fr Fran ance ce ce

Many of the services connecting the Irish mainland to the islands are undergoing quite substantial improvement, with the building and purchasing of ferries with greatly improved car and other vehicle carrying capability. This improved access for motorhomes to the islands will be the subject of a further piece in Caravan Cruise.

Text: Howard Knott - howard@ eet.ie


PAT HORAN M O T O R S

L T D

THE CAMPER CENTRE OF IRELAND Quality New And Used Campers Aglish, Borrisokane, Co. Tipperary

PHONE: +353 (0)67 - 21123 MOB: +353 (0)87 - 2557348 pathoranmotors@gmail.com

Award Winning Campers in Stock! CORAL 670SU

G

AWARD WINNIN

National wild trout shing as well as course shing available

TWIN SF G

AWARD WINNIN

At Lough Ennell Caravan Park, there is space for touring caravans, tents, hikers and bikers. There is also a limited number of mobile homes to rent when available. ON-SITE FACILITIES • Full service block • TV Room / Games Room • On-site Restaurant & Coffee Dock • Take Away & Mini Mart

OPEN 17th March – 30th September Early booking is recommended to avoid disappointment!!

3JNPS 1

3JNPS 1

GPS COORDINATES: 53° 27- 57 North, 7° 22-29 West

MATRIX AXESS

Lough Ennell Caravan & Camping Park Tudenham Shore, Carrickwood, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. OUR ANNUAL OPEN DAYS ARE ON 27TH & 28TH DECEMBER FROM 10.00AM - 4.00PM

5)*/,*/(0'#6:*/("$".1&3$)&$,065

www.pathoranmotors.com for more details

TEL: 044 93 48 101 FAX: 044 93 42676 EMAIL: eamon@caravanparksireland.com WEB: www.caravanparksireland.com

PAT KEOGH MOTORHOMES LAIKA MOTORHOME AGENTS

‘FOR THOSE WHO SEEK QUALITY AND STYLE’

web: www.ballybrittasmotors.ie

e-mail: patkeoghcarsales@eircom.net

Tel: 057 8626479


Moat Farm majors on relaxation

Moat Farm Camping & Caravan Park Address: Donard County Wicklow Tel: +353 (0)45 404727 M: +353 (0)87 2483345 Email: moatfarmdonard@gmail.com Where to find: From Dublin follow the N81. 15km south of Blessington turn left at The Old Toll House Pub into Donard village. In Donard follow the road around to the right, then turn right immediately again where the Park is signposted.

W

e might not be the most populated country in the world, but plenty of us still live in crowded urban environments. Thankfully, getting away from it all need not be a major undertaking - one of the joys of Ireland is that you don’t have to travel huge distances to experience very different environments. A visit to Moat Farm Caravan & Camping Park in County Wicklow will quickly revive any jaded spirits seeking revival amongst the fresh air and beautiful countryside. Located in the pretty village of Donard, just off the N81, an hour’s journey will see

G.P.S.: N53º 01.288’ W006º 36.886’

42 CARAVAN CRUISE IRELAND | SUMMER 2016

you in the heart of Dublin, yet the tranquil and peaceful location is a world away from the hustle and bustle of city life. For any visitor to Moat Farm, they can be certain of one thing - they’ll get a warm welcome from proprietress Nuala Allen and her husband Edward. The couple have been meeting and greeting customers from Ireland, the UK, Europe and beyond to their little oasis of calm for over twenty years. With many customers coming back year after year, it’s clear that they have a winning formula. One of the appealing features of Moat Farm is that it is situated a mere stone’s


throw from the centre of Donard, yet it feels as quiet and remote as if the nearest civilisation was twenty kilometres away. Donard is a pretty little village rich in history nestling in the West Wicklow Mountains, the ideal place to wander into for a coffee or pint, or a bite to eat. Moat Farm itself takes its name from the Ball Moat, a prominent hillock that once housed a motte-and-bailey - a fortification dating back to Norman times in the 12th or 13th century that linked via line of sight with other similar structures. Nearby are the remains of an ancient church from the period which closed in 1835. The campsite itself is a spacious and fairly open area with scenic views on all sides. It caters for 20 caravan / motorhome pitches as well as a similar number of tent pitches. Such is the size of the facility that it could easily cater for a lot more, but Nuala says this is a conscious decision and that visitors value the space afforded them. Indeed the caravan / motorhome pitches are of exceptionally generous

size - you can have no complaints about being on top of your neighbours This is a campsite that values peace and tranquility as its key attribute. Therefore, if you’re after somewhere that offers lots of activity or a party atmosphere, you might need to look elsewhere. Which isn’t to say that Moat Farm isn’t family friendly - many families return year after year, and as Nuala observes, children will happily amuse themselves regardless. Just don’t arrive expecting large bouncy castles or waterslides! When we visited mid-week in early April, the site was unsurprisingly quiet, but nonetheless all the facilities had been freshly cleaned and were spotless. Showers, kitchen and washroom and lounge / sitting room are all generously proportioned. There is no extra cost for use of the showers - something that regularly irks visitors on an increasing number of other campsites. There’s also a communal barbecue area which was getting a makeover during our visit.

Text & Photos: Cathal Doyle - cathal@ eet.ie

With the rolling Wicklow Hills in the background, and the sounds of the birds and animals of the countryside the only noise intrusion, this is the perfect place to just chill out and take it easy. Though if you’re of a more active disposition you’ll find more than enough to be getting on with. Moat Farm is an ideal base for exploring the many walking, hiking and cycling trails nearby, while it’s also a popular base for photographers and painters looking to be inspired by the beautiful countryside. There are also many attractions within easy driving distance, with Russborough House near Blessington, the Irish National Stud's Japanese Gardens in Tully, Punchestown Race Course, and historic Glendalough, to name just a few. Try out a visit to Moat Farm Caravan & Camping Park this summer as the perfect antidote to life’s toils and stresses. You’ll surely find no better way to unwind.

www.caravancruise.ie

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Take your home on holidays with the Mitsubishi L200

I

f you’re the kind of person or family that likes to bring the kitchen sink on holiday, you’re probably going to be challenged to find a suitable vehicle to fit everything in. That can be twice as onerous if you’re taking a caravan on holidays. With manufacturers focussed on keeping weights to a minimum, there tends to be very little available payload on board, meaning more or less everything (or at least everything heavy) has to be packed into the tow car. Which is where a Pick-up comes into its own. A modern Double-Cab version will seat five in comfort, yet, with a tonneau cover on the back, can take all a family could possible need for an extended vacation. We put Mitsubishi’s new L200 to the test, hooking it up to our Bailey Orion four-berth caravan to check out its capabilities as a towing vehicle. Launched towards the end of last year, the latest L200 retains the familiar J-Line styling of its predecessor behind the rear doors giving it a familiar profile, though there’s a fresh yet purposeful and eye-catching look about the new vehicle. Clamber inside and the quality of the interior impresses - Mitsubishi has worked hard to make its cabins more refined in recent times. The seats offer decent better side support, and you sit in a more SUV-like position than the flatter driving stance of before. Also noticeable is that noise levels are pleasantly muted thanks to improved sound proofing, while the longest cabin length in the class - 20mm longer than before - means rear seat passengers will be

comfortable even on longer journeys. Useful equipment includes a rearview camera. This is a very useful addition when reversing up to attach a caravan as it includes a view of the tow bar allowing you to accurately judge where you are going. It’s equally beneficial when manoeuvring such a large vehicle in carparks and tight spaces. There’s a new 2.4 litre MIVEC diesel engine that pushes out 181bhp and 430Nm of torque, while emitting 173g/km of CO2 (with manual gearbox). Fuel consumption for such a big vehicle is impressively frugal - driving it unladen I was easily achieving around 7.0 - 7.2 l/100km (39-40mpg). With a towing capacity of 3.1 tonnes, you’d expect the L200 to make light work of a relatively lightweight caravan like the Bailey Orion, and indeed the combination felt very stable in all conditions. Thanks to its size, it wasn’t necessary to attach rear view mirror extenders, and the ease in which it accelerated and braked with caravan behind made for a relaxing drive. Fuel consumption increased to about 9.5l/100 km (29.7mpg) when towing, which is only about a 34% increase compared to empty. Most cars we’ve tested reflect a higher fuel consumption figure of greater than 50% when towing, reflecting the L200’s competence in pulling the caravan. Naturally the L200 comes with proper 2WD and AWD modes as well as a low range diff-locked option, all controlled via a rotary dial, so no concerns if you have to venture off the beaten path.

44 CARAVAN CRUISE IRELAND | SUMMER 2016

Driving wise, ride quality is perfectly acceptable on good roads, but like all these Pick-ups with rear leaf suspensions, it can get quite bumpy on lesser quality roads. It’s one of the more manoeuvrable Pick-ups though - the turning circle of 5.9m remains best in class. The cargo bed is marginally longer and deeper (both by 15mm) than before, giving an overall capacity of 1.1 cubic metres, though with a locking tonneau cover attached as tested, that figure is much greater and will comfortably hold all a family can possibly want on holidays. It features useful inner grips for securing smaller loads. Maximum payload is 1,045kg, so no problems transporting the extra bottles of wine back from France! All in all, the new Mitsubishi L200 is a worthy update on its predecessor and a fine tow car to boot.

Text & Photos: Cathal Doyle - cathal@ eet.ie


Keel Sandybanks

Carra

Caravan & Camping Park

Caravan & Camping Park

Keel, Achill Island, Co. Mayo. Ideal base for a relaxing break. Located on a 3 mile blue flag beach. Pubs, shops, restaurants all within walking distance.

Belcarra, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. Mobile Homes - Apartments Season Pitches - Caravan Storage

www.belleekpark.com

Tel: 098 43211 Web: www.achillcamping.com Email: info@achillcamping.com Open 24 March to 25 September

Carrowkeel

Camping & Caravan Park

Ballyvary Castlebar Co. Mayo

www.carrowkeelpark.ie mail@carrowkeelpark.ie Tel: 094-9031 264

Faranoo, Ballina, Co. Mayo T. 096 71533 E. stay@belleekpark.com

• GPS N53o 47.965’ W9o12.957’

Tel: +353 (0) 94 9032054 Web: www.CarraCaravanPark.com

CREVEEN LODGE Campsite Healy Pass Rd, Lauragh, Co. Kerry. Self catering Cottages and Caravans to let.

For a relaxing holiday in the heart of Co. Mayo. Ideally located for touring, walking, cycling & fishing Clubhouse with regular music sessions (in high season)

• Secluded / Hard Stands • Shops / Pubs (200m) • Regular Sessions “Flukies” Weekends • Castlebar (8km) • Motorhomes €16

Props. Michael and Mary Moriarty Tel. 064 6683131 e-mail: info@creveenlodge.com www.creveenlodge.com

Nestled in the heart of the 774 acre Curraghchase Forest Park our Caravan & Camping Park is a beautiful and unique place to relax while touring the west of Ireland. Easily accessible on the N69 Tour Road.

T: +353 (0) 61 396349 M: + 353 (0) 87 9165458 W: www.curraghchasecaravanpark.ie E: info@curraghchasecaravanpark.ie

Lavelle’s

DERRYLAHAN HOSTEL/CAMPSITE Derrylahan, Kilcar,Co. Donegal.

Caravan & Camping Park

Tel: 074 97 38079

Golden Strand, Dugort, Achill, Co.Mayo Phone: 086 231 4596

E-mail: derrylahan@eircom.net Web: http://homepage.eircom.net~derrylahan/ GPS: N 540 38’ 07” W 080 37’ 29”

Open April – October • Beside Mayo’s Finest Blue Flag Beach • Scenic Walks, Fishing & Restaurant • Family Friendly • Childrens Play Area

Mountain Climbing, Hill Walking, Beaches and much more for your enjoyment.

Pre bookings advised to avoid disappointment

MOAT FARM Caravan & Camping Park Clonagh, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland. • Sales and Service • Insurance approved workshop • Motorhome/Caravan bodywork repair specialists. • Approved Repair Agents Motor home equipment. • Habitation checks carried out and certificate supplied.

• Gas system leak/pressure testing service provided. • Leisure Shop • DOE testing also available. • Agents in Ireland for Polyplastic Seitz, Dometic, Plastafoam Windows, Whale, Propex & Reimo.

We carry a large selection of Exterior lights for all makes and models.

Gerard Percival - Mobile 086 834 4328 Patrick Smullen - Mobile 087 241 9532 Tel: 01 627 5740 Fax: 01 627 2014

www.maynoothmotorhomes.ie

Donard, D Do onard naard, n rd, County rd Co C oun nty ty W Wicklow. icckl k ow ow. ICC/Fáilte Ireland Award 2009 Best Maintained Park Tel. 045 404727 e-mail: moatfarmdonard@gmail.com • TRANQUIL RURAL SETTING • ONE MINUTE STROLL FROM VILLAGE • IDEAL FOR RELAXING OR BASE FOR TOURING • WELCOMING AND UNSPOILED BY INTRUSIVE COMMERCIALISATION • EASY REACH OF DUBLIN & ROSSLARE Little Gem for the discerning Caravaner & Camper


Presentation of the past for the future at Vo heritage with pride and passion. The main work here is in-house factory restoration of any variant of the T-Transporter family, beautifully and enthusiastically undertaken by former assembly workers at the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Hannover factory nearby.

90 Vintage and Classic Volkswagen Transporters from 1950-2013 are exhibited at Oldtimers, Hannover.

W

hen Mark Knopfler headlined the launch of the new Transporter T6, the former Dire Straits frontman, a Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles ambassador, sang one of the band’s greatest hits 'Walk of Life.' A recent trip to Hannover with a tour of the Oldtimers Museum and workshop brought it all back as we went on the “Walk of the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle Life.” Thanks to ‘tour guide’ Christian Schlueter, who heads up the communications department in this area, we stepped back to the 1940s and moved with each generation of the new iconic Bulli, the affectionate nickname given to the original bus and delivery van bearing the Volkswagen badge. The Oldtimer facility now maintains and preserves this automotive world cultural

But that’s not all, as the other services provided include Oldtimer rentals for commercial purposes from track events to movie sets. The facility here can also be hired for a nostalgic backdrop to any function, private or public. Vehicles restored at the workshop participate in vintage rallies all over Germany as they are all in perfect working order. Lines and lines of Transporters await further exploration with 90 vehicles dating from 1950 to 2013 on display. Even more interestingly was the 1967 T1 which has not been restored, as the company is proud to demonstrate the quality of the bodywork all those years ago. This particular vehicle was submerged in a swamp for decades – see picture. Another T1 from 1956 was a former Red Cross ambulance, which went on to house hens, very comfortably! Obviously campervan version of the Transporter features prominently, right from the early days with the initial coachbuilding relationship with Westfalia. As the Transporter lineage dates back to 1947 to when Dutchman Ben Pon drew the first sketch, suitable parts availability comes into question. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ off-shoot, Volkswagen Classic Parts comes to the rescue with instant availability, and for those intricate little items required, they are manufactured in-house at the fully equipped workshop. Even the

Unrestored T1 from 1967 46 CARAVAN CRUISE IRELAND | SUMMER 2016

Special Edition T2 – Silverfi sh with blue upholstery and sunroof.

original drivetrain can be brought back to life, with engines totally rebuilt, with some extra power added if required! Once the work is completed, which can take up to two years and depending on the extent of the work carried out to the tune of €100,000, a Certification of Authenticity is presented. Indeed whether it’s a full-blown restoration or rebuild, or minor cosmetic repair, a seven phase process is implicated. It begins with the diagnosis of the original state of the vehicle to the initial evaluation and calculation of cost. Once agreed, the project enters complete disassembly, where everything is turned inside out, literally. The bare body shell, with all of its bumps and scratches ironed out, gets an anti-corrosion dipping before refresh paint is applied. In the meantime, repairs and maintenance of the other parts such as the engine and gearbox are

Last T2 ever made from VW’s Brazilian factory in 2013. The legendary Camper lived on in South America, retaining its old shape and modern heart: a 1.4 litre 78 hp petrol engine watercooled.


Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Oldtimer

Hip p y B u s – Showing friendly and evil sides.

undertaken. Refurbishment of the interior to its original state or even better, is based on the customer’s wishes ….and budget of course! Mod cons such as refrigerators and more efficient hobs can be installed. Collection and delivery of said vehicle can be arranged, but before the final handover of the beautifully born again pride ‘n’ joy, a thorough quality control

Porsche engined T2 from 1985! Yes, a 3.2 litre drivetrain from the Carrera was installed in this unique T2 as a Porsche R&D support vehicle. It was once also driven by then company boss Dr. Helmuth Bott .

inspection is also part of the deal. At www.vw-classicparts.de, you will find repair manuals for the various generations of Transporters plus access to around five million Volkswagen spare parts, right down to the original key, which can be made on-site. “To us here, its more than a job,” explained

Gerolf Thienel who heads up the division. “Over the years we have gained priceless experience and have acquired in-depth knowledge. We are enthusiasts and to us, every single Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Oldtimer, is a matter of heart.” Gerolf was standing near the Bulli for Becks display based around the 1963 T1 for the Becks & Company brewery surrounded by vintage memorabilia.

Specially adapted versions from the late 1980s included fire tenders, ambulances and military support vehicles.

From 1988 onwards, the California made its name. Firstly, co-designed and developed with campervan sector experts, Westfalia before going it alone in 2003, when the T5 came in.

Sláinte! On arrival, a visit to the Becks Bulli Bar is a must!

This luxurious edition from 1989 called the Atlantic boasted 4x4 traction, and either a high roof or pop-up roof option. It competed against the Westfalia Joker at the high-end of the market.

Text & Photos: Jarlath Sweeney - editor@ eet.ie

www.caravancruise.ie 47


New Cycle Carrier from Westfalia

T

he surge in popularity of cycling has seen a correlated increase in demand for bicycle carriers. Yet finding the right one for your car and equipment can often be a challenge, with a selection of models ranging from very flimsy to very expensive.

If you have a car fitted with a tow-bar that isn’t being otherwise used, option worth considering is a new product from Westfalia. The leading automotive specialist has recently launched the BC 70 Cycle Carrier. Evolved from the award winning BC 60, it’s an easy to fit unit that requires no tools or assembly of individual parts to attach the carrier to the vehicle, as it automatically clamps onto the tower ball head. The rear mounting means cycles can be loaded and unloaded quickly, while quick locking cycle fasteners allow for easy handling. A further advantage is that the BC 70 doesn’t significantly increase

fuel consumption as it sits in the slipstream of the vehicle. The BC 70 will carry 2 cycles with an optional extension rail available for a third cycle. With a payload of 60kg, it’s also suitable for heavy electric cycles as well as ordinary cycles. It can carry bikes with frames up to 8cm diameter, tyre widths up to 6cm and a wheelbase of up to 130cm, the BC 70 comes pre-assembled and ready to use. One of the disadvantages of many tow-bar mounted bicycle carriers is an inability to open the boot of the car when attached. Wistaria’s BC 70 addresses this with an innovative swivel-down mechanism that ensures full access to the vehicle’s boot even when the BC 70 is loaded. When not in use the BC 70 folds down to 58x22x69cm (WxHxD) making it small enough to fit into a car boot.

Westfalia’s Checklist for Safe Towing

S

afety is the most important aspect when towing, not only for the vehicle towing but also for other road users. It is important to be confident in your towing skills and if you are new to towing consider enrolling on a towing course. These are readily available either from private training providers or from the major caravan and camping clubs. Prior to setting off make sure you go through a safety ‘checklist’ which includes the following key points; • If you are using a friction stabiliser, ensure that the towball is clean and free from grease. Any paint should be removed from it prior to use. • Take care when hitching up. Ensure that the coupling head is correctly located and locked on the towball and that the breakaway cable is attached. • Check that all of the trailer lights are functioning correctly and ensure that electrical cables do not drag on the ground. • If towing something wider than your car ensure you have extended mirrors fitted on both sides of your vehicle to ensure you have a clear view down both sides. • Ensure loads are securely tied down and also that the 48 CARAVAN CRUISE IRELAND | SUMMER 2016

• • •

weight is evenly distributed across the load area. Ensure that the tyre pressures on both the towing vehicle and trailer are correct. The vehicle should be capable of towing the trailer – check the vehicle handbook or VIN plate. Do not exceed the vehicle manufacturer’s stated noseload.


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Suppliers of campervan conversion parts to the public and to the trade All our campervans are built in Dublin by trained and skilled professionals with your safety and comfort in mind, and every element of our camper builds surpass all EU safety guidelines. We produce campervans based on the Volkswagen Transporter which provide both practical daily transport and a fully equipped campervan for travelling the continent. Please speak with one of our team about the range of interior layouts and options available.

Unit 1, Block 642, Greenogue Business Park, Rathcoole, Dublin. Tel: 01-4016055 E-mail: cosycampersireland @ gmail.com www.cosycampers.ie 50 CARAVAN CRUISE IRELAND | SUMMER 2016

Date

Show

Location

3-4 June

Vantastival

Beaulieu House, outside Drogheda

3-6 June

Bikefest Ireland 2016

Killarney, County Kerry

4-5 June

UK Summer Motorhome & Caravan Show

Kent Event Centre, Detling, Maidstone, Kent

17-19 June

Body and Soul 2016

Ballinlough Castle, County Westmeath

1-3 July

South West Caravan & Motorhome Show

Royal Cornwall Showground, Wadebridge, UK

2-3 July

Groove Festival 2016

Kilruddery House, County Wicklow

22-24 July

The Norfolk Motorhome Show

Norfolk Showground, Norwich, UK

13-21 August

Eireball Run

Around Ireland

12-14 August

The Western Motorhome Show

Three Counties Showground, Malvern, Worcestershire

25-28 August

Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival

Dunmore East, County Waterford

27 Aug- 04 Sep

Caravan Salon

Messe Dusseldorf, Germany

2-4 September

Electric Picnic

Stradbally Hall, County Laois

3-4 September

UK Autumn Motorhome & Caravan Show

Newark Showground, Nottinghamshire, UK

3-4 September

The Caravan Extravaganza Weekend

Cottingham, East Yorkshire, UK

13-18 October

The Motorhome & Caravan Show

NEC Birmingham, UK


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Our motorhomes are transported not driven!

GREAT SAVINGS ON FAMILY MOTORHOMES As a family owned and run business we greatly appreciate our customers both old and new. We are the largest motorhome dealer in Ireland, due to great aftersales service and great prices. We have over 100 motorhomes in stock at any time. We are the only Hymer fully accredited franchise in Ireland. We are agents for Swift, also franchise holders for Dethleffs, TEC and Carado. We use motorhomes ourselves every weekend as we love the lifestyle. Come talk to the experts. Fully trained staff in our 12 bay workshop. All accessories available.

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OPENING HOURS:

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Caravan Cruise Summer Edition  
Caravan Cruise Summer Edition