Our Caravanning Page
We have been caravanning now for over twenty years. We started off with an ABI Marauder 450 CTL. It was quite a basic four berth van - 2 burners, cold water, basin and small fridge, but it was the most we could afford at the time. We bought a toilet to go into the wash room and felt we were living in the lap of luxury! Compared to the tiny two-man tent Paul and I used to go camping in before we had the children, we were!
Our next van was an ABI Jubilee Herald - which had many more extras - including blinds, some fly screens, double glazing, cassette toilet, hot and cold water and a shower. Paul also added blown air central heating - he's a bit of a handyman!!
Until recently, we owned a Swift Challenger 520SE. We bought this van because it offered the following additional features - flyscreens all round (including across the door), bigger fridge, better heater, separate shower room, longer front bed, four burners and an oven. Luckily we were able to extend our awning to accommodate the increase in caravan length. The manufacturers did a really good job and making this alteration to the awning saved us about £1,000! So don't throw away your old awning - contact the original manufacturer and they may be able to extend it for you.
We now tow this new caravan with a 2.2 litre Diesel Freelander 2 (Landrover). This is a well matched outfit and we have been pleased with the performance of the Freelander.
Our Memorable First Trip
Our first trip was in the Easter of '90. Thomas was nearly three and Matthew was ten months!
We decided to go to the Gower in West Wales. We stayed at Pitton Cross Camping and Caravanning Site - which was quite basic, but well situated for the coast. Once we arrived at the site we set up and Paul soon wanted a cup of tea. This was when we realised we had forgotten the matches - luckily the small camp shop sold some. Shortly after this, we realised we had forgotten the bedding - as it was an extremely cold Easter, we made a trip into Swansea and bought new sleeping bags! During our first night in the van, we got very little sleep - it was bitterly cold and Matthew kept waking up all night.
The next day was still cold and we were pretty tired, but we decided to explore some of the coast. The coastline is marvellous and is the only place we have found which comes anywhere close to matching the coastline of North Cornwall, which we love. I would particularly recommend Three Cliffs Bay, Oxwich Bay and Rhossili. The walk to Worms Head at Rhossili is very invigorating and will blow away any cobwebs!
Here is a photo I took of Three Cliffs Bay - it looks even better in real life!
After our day of exploration we returned to the caravan just in time to escape the snow and hailstones!! (nb. the above photo was taken on a different visit to the Gower - hence the blue sky)!
Our first trip was very different from what we had imagined, but we thoroughly enjoyed it and couldn't wait for the next outing. We were hooked - and still enjoy our trips as much now as we did ten years ago - despite the many other 'hiccups' we've had along the way.
Some Of The Other Hiccups!
being reversed into by our friend and his caravan in a garage forecourt
getting stuck in a road with a huge mobile home being transported under police escort
cows escaping from an adjoining field during the night and rubbing their horns along the caravan
puncture on the car whilst towing
getting stuck in boggy fields (pre Freelander days)
driving off with the jockey wheel still down (Paul's fault, I'm afraid)
water pump failing on first day of holiday - miles from nearest caravan shop
corner steady breaking - again miles from nearest caravan shop
taking the awning away with us - only to find we had forgotten to take three essential pieces required to fix poles to caravan and all pegs
missing turnings and searching for convenient places to turn round - so much harder with a caravan in tow!
having all four of our bicycles stolen during the night whilst chained to the caravan
We're sure many of you have had similar experiences and we would love to hear about them. To e-mail us simply click on the symbol
If you live in the UK or are just visiting, we suggest you take a look at the Ordnance Survey site where you can print off detailed maps of any part of the UK. Visit their site at www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk.
Have you ever wondered how many people you can fit in a caravan? 13 plus the photographer!
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