130 PAGES FOR YOUR BEST SUMMER EVER! Britain's best-selling caravan mag
23-PAGE CELTIC TRAVEL SPECIAL!
*NOT TECHNICALLY IN BRITAIN…
Skills school Mustread awning advice • Cupboard & table fixes
Tow cars Mitsubishi Tested 2020 vans Outlander • VW T-Cross from Swift, Elddis, • Land Rover Discovery Coachman and Adria
Go further with inspirational tours to Cornwall, Wales, the Isle of Man*, Scotland and more
Contents Issue 418
8 The big picture As part of our special report focusing on the beauties of Celtic Britain, we’ve been touring in glorious Cornwall 10 Letters Readers discuss the very best ways to clean your caravan, and consider the lack of dog-free campsites 12 5 essential events Autumn is a really great time to enjoy
a festival, and Bryony Symes has found five of the best, from comedy to horror! 17 New gear Our round-up of the latest products, plus your chance to win tickets to the 2019 Motorhome and Caravan Show 19 Full-timing family: Party time! This month, Karen and Warren Binedell and their children head to a nursery in central France, to learn all about permaculture – but only after helping their host celebrate his birthday in style
23 Travel news Claudia Dowell reports on the astonishing new bridge at Tintagel 25 Celtic Touring Special With their history written in the land, Celtic regions are fascinating to tour 28 Great escape: Cornwall Peter Baber heads west to Cornwall to explore its extraordinary history and gorgeous landscapes 34 10 sites in spectacular Scotland Bryony Symes selects 10 great sites for exploring wonderful Scots scenery 36 A van, a plan and the Isle of Man Andrew White shows his family the varied delights of this little-visited treasure trove in the Irish Sea 42 Weekender: North Wales Janette Sykes discovered the ideal location for enjoying a short break with family and friends 48 Celtic history comes alive Our pick of the top eight Celtic historical sites for you to explore 50 Local authority: Calderdale Insider information on an area of Yorkshire popular as a film location 52 Road sense: M4 west All you need to know about towing between London and South Wales
Turn the page for more must-reads » www.practicalcaravan.com | OCTOBER 2019 | 5
Contents Issue 418
57 Showroom news 59 2020 new tourers preview pt 2 Continuing our round-up of the latest launches for the new touring season 60 2020 EHG (UK) preview Revamps and some new floorplans 62 First look: Elddis Avanté 454 A fixed rear bed with L-shaped lounge 64 2020 Coachman preview 66 First look: Coachman Acadia 675 New twin-axle tourer at a tempting price 68 First look: Swift Eccles X 850 A wider version of this popular range 70 First look: Bailey Discovery D4-2 Compact entry-level two-berth 72 First look: Adria Altea Dart 622DP Stylish fixed-island-bed four-berth 75 Running reports Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 77 Awning review: Dorema Daytona Air A robust inflatable that’s easy to set up
78 Subscribe and save! Take out a subscription now and receive a free specialist cleaning bundle worth £31! 83 Talking tow cars BMW’s latest 318d should perform very well as a tow car, says David Motton 84 Tow car test: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Britain’s favourite plug-in hybrid has been updated. Can it pull its weight – and more? 88 Quick test: VW T-Cross Does this halfway-house between an SUV and an estate make sense for caravanners? 90 Used tow car: Land Rover Discovery Land Rover’s heavyweight contender is a substantial outlay, but makes a superb tow car and a luxurious solo drive
6 | OCTOBER 2019 | www.practicalcaravan.com
93 Safe and secure Cut-out-and-keep guide to caravan security 97 Spotlight on… Awning care How to prolong the life of your awning 100 DIY Mechanic: Project Update! Nigel Hutson reports on long-term DIY work 102 Tech advice… Circuit breakers These small devices are vital for safety 104 Tony’s tech tips: Crockery and tables Store your crockery and fix a wobbly table 108 Secondhand shootout Immaculate twin-berth Baileys under £9000 112 Used van buyer A Mk2 Bailey Pursuit has a lot to offer 116 Buyer’s Guide 130 Look-back page
TRAVEL GREAT ESCAPE
The Celts have left their mark on our culture and landscapes, giving us much to discover today. Hereâ€™s where to find it!
Cornwall is one of many regions with a fascinating Celtic history. Find out more on p28
www.practicalcaravan.com | OCTOBER 2019 | 25
TRAVEL GREAT ESCAPE
TRAVEL CELTIC BRITAIN
A quick Celtic run-down All you need to know about Britain’s fascinating – and often brutal – past n The term ‘Briton’ originally applied to the Welsh, Cornish and Bretons, and was only applied to the English, Scots and Northern Irish in 1707, by the Acts of Union in the Kingdom of Great Britain. n If the invading Romans were to be believed, our island tribes were ferocious, bloodthirsty, barbaric headhunters. Roman writings describe blue woadpainted, tattooed, semi-clad male and female warriors bearing mighty swords and unafraid of death. n As invaders, the Romans were bound to paint the people of Britannia in the poorest light, but their story was a little more complicated, and the term ‘Celt’ was not applied to the Iron Age tribes until the 18th century. n Britain’s Iron Age ran from 800 BCE to 100 CE, when it was supplanted by Roman Britain. The Romans eventually left in the fifth century. The earliest known reference to Britain’s inhabitants came from a Greek geographer, Pytheas, in the fourth century BCE. Aside from this, there is little written evidence of the stories of the separate tribes of Britain before the Romans arrived. These people were linked by language, customs, religion and culture, passed down through the generations orally and in their wonderful artifacts. We do know that nature was of paramount importance to them, and they worshipped many gods, some very specific to the local area. n Their renowned fearlessness in war was mainly down to their spiritual beliefs. To die in battle was the highest honour, and they believed the soul would live on in the Otherworld, their paradise. The dead were buried
with supplies of food and wine, and ceremonial weapons to use in the Otherworld, maintaining their status after death. Funerals were held in sacred areas, such as woodland groves and by natural springs, while waterfalls were believed to be an entrance to the Otherworld. Falls were said to have spiritual power, with the ability to heal, and decorated metalwork was thrown in as gifts for the gods. This accounts for some of the spectacular ancient artifacts found in bogs or buried in what is now farmland. n The ‘Celts’ believed that the soul lived in the head, and it was important to collect the heads of the fallen from both factions after battle. Prisoners would be taken and burnt within a wicker effigy of a man. When human sacrifices were necessary to appease the gods, criminals were preferred, but if none was available, innocent people were sent to their death in their stead. These rituals were conducted by the Druids, the high priests and spiritual core of the Celts, who wielded great power among the tribes. It was partly their suppression that enabled the Romans to establish power. n Celtic language, Gaelic, in its modern form lives on in Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Brittany, while Cornwall and the Isle of Man also maintain a Celtic mother tongue. Shreds of the culture are still celebrated in some of our festivals. Halloween is said to have its roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain, when household fires were extinguished and a communal fire was built. Spirits were thought to pass through to mix with the living. Costumes were worn to disguise the living as spirits, to avoid harm themselves.
26 | OCTOBER 2019 | www.practicalcaravan.com
Although warfare was a feature of Iron Age life, Celtic weaponry was always very decorative
n Iron Age Britain was a highly egalitarian society: tribes could be ruled by queens as well as kings. Men had ultimate power, but women did have political freedom and were able to divorce their husbands and own property, while girls were trained in the art of war, and could also become Druids. Queen Boudicca, leader of Norfolk’s Iceni tribe, famously led uprisings against the Romans in London and Colchester. By contrast, Cartimandua, Queen of the Brigantes in northern England – territorially the biggest tribe in Britain – allied herself to the Romans. n Away from war, life revolved around husbandry – cattle, pigs and sheep – and crops such as wheat and barley, which were vital for making bread and beer. Trade was also an important part of the culture. Furs, slaves and metalwork were traded for wine and fruit. The advent of iron brought stronger weapons, ploughs and the development of artistic embellishment. Settlements of roundhouses, made of timber and stone with conical thatched roofs, were established on hill-tops, bound by circles of banks and ditches. These were mainly for defence, but also supported trade, food storage, political gatherings and religious ceremonies. Roman Catholicism played its part in overriding Celtic culture, and many cathedrals were built over pagan sites. When Britain was ransacked by Germanic tribes, the Celts retreated to Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany. n Places considered as Celtic today are Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and the Isle of Man. Tour anywhere there and you will find intriguing clues to a way of life that dates back 2000 years!
IN CELTIC CROSS COUNTRY Peter Baber headed west to glorious Cornwall, to explore the extraordinary ancient history of this popular touring destination
any of us have done the annual jaunt down to Cornwall. We’ve joined the throngs driving steadily down the M5; we’ve inwardly gasped at how long it takes to get to Watergate Bay; and we have reassured the kids that yes, we will spend one day at the Eden Project. But do we notice anything else? Like the villages you see signs for, named after saints you have never heard of? Or the occasional Celtic cross you might whizz past on the road? Or the
strange formations you can occasionally see in the distance as you finally cross Bodmin Moor? All these should be a sign that there is another side to Cornwall – more mysterious, and more ethereal. The people we have grown to call the Celts attached great religious importance to the region, partly because they felt that seashores and river estuaries were important borders between this world and the afterlife. Such beliefs were not entirely crushed when Christianity took over, because, for a while at least, this area kept its own rather unique religious identity – one where, among other things, women were treated as equal in the eyes of the lord. It was only
CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE Minions is the highest village in Cornwall, set on Bodmin Moor. Peter stretches his legs on a walk to Rocky Valley, near Trewethett Farm Caravan & Motorhome Club site. The historic village of Altarnun
28 | OCTOBER 2019 | www.practicalcaravan.com
TRAVEL GREAT ESCAPE
www.practicalcaravan.com | OCTOBER 2019 | 29
A Man for all seasons Whenever you go, the Isle of Man offers a beguiling blend of historical intrigue and exhilarating activity, as Andrew White and his family discovered
36 | OCTOBER 2019 | www.practicalcaravan.com
sk any of your well travelled caravan-owning friends where they have been with their van in the British Isles, and one place you’re unlikely to hear mentioned is the Isle of Man. And with good reason. There’s a long-standing myth that caravans are banned from the island. But that’s not true – they are just restricted, as on the fellow island of Jersey. Nevertheless, the need to obtain a permit – and to apply for it in writing – before your caravan is allowed onto the ferry can be a touch too much planning for those who prefer the more-spontaneous ‘just-pack-up-and-go’ approach that owning a caravan allows. But that would be to overlook one of the best places for a holiday in the British Isles. So, first of all, where exactly is the Isle of Man? Well, it’s the island in the middle of the Irish Sea, and seemingly has been
placed strategically between England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Of course, if you believe the legend, the island wasn’t so much placed, but thrown – by the Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill – as part of his feud with a red-haired Scottish giant. I’ve been to the Isle of Man several times before on my own for work, but this holiday was to be the rest of the family’s first time there. I can only conclude that, by singing the island praises so much in the past, I instilled a desire in them to see for themselves just what all the fuss was about.
Getting there I applied for the necessary permit in good time (see panel on p41), so we were all set to head across the Pennines on the M62 to the ferry port at Heysham. The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has two ferries that make the journey across the Irish Sea: the faster Manannan, which docks at Liverpool, and the more sedate
Ben-My-Chree, which docks at Heysham. This second is the one caravan owners need to use. Boarding with the caravan was a relatively painless affair, not least because we avoided having to do any reversing (not my strong point). There are two daily departures from Heysham – at 02:15 and 14:15. We chose the more family-friendly afternoon trip, which arrives on the Isle of Man at 18:00. The journey across was troublefree, and there’s enough to do on board to help pass the time, from having a tasty meal in the café to relaxing in the lounge area. One of the benefits of being on the conventional Ben-My-Chree is that, for an additional charge, you can book a four-berth cabin, which has a TV and tea/coffee-making facilities. Whether or not you want that, a great tip if you’ve got young people travelling with you is to download their favourite TV programmes to their devices in advance
‘If you believe the legend, the island wasn’t placed, but thrown – by the Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill’
Celtic crosses are a common sight on the Isle of Man, which has its own special brand of rugged, natural beauty
www.practicalcaravan.com | OCTOBER 2019 | 37
A WELCOME IN THE HILLSIDES North Wales proved the ideal location for a short break with family and friends, Janette Sykes found PICKING THE PERFECT campsite and holiday destination for a group of family and friends aged from two to 74 could be fraught with pitfalls. There are so many things to think about, ranging from suitable leisure facilities and interesting activities to keep the youngsters happy, to gentle strolls and sightseeing for the seniors â€“ not to mention the needs of two very lively dogs. When we plan a half-term break with our wider family group, we tend to head off to trusted and loved destinations such as the Lake District, but this time we fancied a change. North Wales was always a favourite
choice for holidays during my childhood, and is only a couple of hoursâ€™ comfortable drive from our home in the Peak District, so the ideal spot for a long weekend away.
Campsite choices My brother, my nephew, his friend and their families did some research and settled on Bron Derw Touring Caravan Park for families and Parc Derwen Touring Caravan Park, exclusively for adults, near the ancient market town of Llanrwst. Nestling between the North Wales Coast and the Snowdonia National Park, off the A470 in the picturesque Vale of Conwy,
MAIN Glorious views of Capel Curig, in the heart of Snowdonia LEFT Pitched up at beautiful Bron Derw Touring Caravan Park
42 | OCTOBER 2019 | www.practicalcaravan.com
‘Although we were surrounded by mountains, we sensibly stuck to the lower pastures and woodland’
www.practicalcaravan.com | OCTOBER 2019 | 43
SHOWROOM FIRST LOOK
Get ready for the season ahead! Continuing our look at the latest, 2020 models from the UK’s biggest manufacturers, this month we focus on Erwin Hymer Group (UK) and Coachman, and review five brilliant new vans
60 EHG (UK)
The latest company news
62 Elddis Avanté 454 64 Coachman Roomy two-berth tested
68 Swift Eccles X
Our verdict on the 850
All the 2020 updates
66 Coachman Acadia New 675 reviewed
70 Bailey Discovery 72 Adria Altea D4-2 reviewed and rated
New Dart 622DP tested
www.practicalcaravan.com | OCTOBER 2019 | 59
New Tow car test See our online reviews www.youtube.com/practicalcaravan
Travel in the Outlander is quiet on battery power alone, but the
Follow us on Twitter @Tow_Car_Awards
Photography: Phil Russell
petrol engine can sound harsh
Mitsubishi Outlander Model tested PHEV 4hs Price £42,020 Kerbweight 1955kg*
*Including 75kg for the driver not included in Mitsubishi’s published kerbweight
What’s new? The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is still Britain’s favourite plug-in hybrid vehicle, but Mitsubishi hasn’t been resting on its laurels. The latest model has an uprated petrol engine, greater battery capacity and a more powerful electric motor at the rear. The changes contribute to an all-electric range of 28 miles (tested to the WLTP standard), which is enough for many drivers to complete a daily commute without using petrol power at all.
What are we looking for? We know that the Mitsubishi is a tax-efficient choice for a company car driver and promises low running costs. But towing places heavy demands on the car’s engine, motors and transmission. How well does the PHEV cope?
Towing ability The electric motors and battery contribute to a high kerbweight: the Outlander weighs 1955kg.* However, the legal towing limit of 1500kg is relatively low for a car of this size and weight, and rules out towing a caravan weighing 85% of the Outlander’s kerbweight. We matched the PHEV to a Swift Fairway Platinum with a Mass in Running Order of 1444kg. We set off with a fully charged battery, and for the first few miles, driven at low speeds, the car towed using battery power alone. Accelerating up to A-road speeds woke the petrol engine up, and the harsh sound under full acceleration was an unwelcome contrast to the quiet of driving with electric power alone. The Outlander had no trouble reaching 60mph, but it doesn’t have as much punch as a Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4.
84 | OCTOBER 2019 | www.practicalcaravan.com
As our test drive went on, the battery levels gradually depleted. The car partially recharges when coasting or braking, and can even use the petrol engine as a generator to top up the battery. For most of our test drive, though, the display showing the battery-powered range indicated zero or one mile. After several miles of towing, we tried a hill start. The electronic parking brake held the car and caravan securely but, with little electrical assistance when pulling away, the car was very laboured up the 1-in-10 slope, with lots of noise from under the bonnet. Hilly roads, similarly, don’t show the Outlander at its best. The PHEV tows better on the motorway, where the engine can settle down. Revised suspension settings give the Outlander a tauter feel than before, but it still moves around in crosswinds more than the best SUVs. The driver
needs to make more steering corrections than would be needed while towing with a BMW X3 or a Jaguar F-Pace. Arrive at your campsite, and manoeuvring is easy enough. And if your pitch is damp or muddy, you’ll be glad the Outlander PHEV can be driven as a four-wheel-drive, thanks to electric motors front and rear. Our 4hs spec test car has a 360-degree camera system which gives a good view around the car. The rear-view camera, in particular, is a great help when hitching up. The towball and electrics are neatly installed, although the electrics are some way under the bumper. The maximum noseweight is just 75kg – on the low side for a car of this size and weight – so careful caravan loading will be needed to avoid exceeding it. On main roads, preferably with a fully charged battery, the Outlander tows acceptably.
Behind the wheel
1 Paddles behind the steering wheel adjust the level of regenerative braking 2 The touchscreen is compatible with smartphone mirroring systems such as Apple CarPlay 3 The standard of finish is rather basic for a car with a price tag of over ÂŁ40k 4 Buttons by the gearlever control hybrid modes
The load floor is high but seats that split 60/40 add a useful amount of extra luggage space
Although not the most thrilling drive, the PHEV is spacious and easy to live with day to day
www.practicalcaravan.com | OCTOBER 2019 | 85
You can subscribe to this magazine @ www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk