Background: How we started Caravanning

After many years of camping, we found that lifting the equipment and packing and unpacking the car was becoming too much for our advancing years.  Our last big trip to the Secret Garden in Cornwall proved to be a step too far - possibly due to the enormous mirror I insisted on buying which was the last straw when it came to packing the car, plus the smell of dead dog when we arrived home following a power cut on the first Tuesday of our holiday leaving our freezers to defrost.

We decided that maybe we should try a caravan and after trawling the internet for a few days, we found a 1978 ABI Award going for a song.  We fitted a towbar to the car and duly drove hundreds of miles to pick it up. (I know - we’re mad.)

We spent our first night in the ‘van at a campsite near Holyhead and absolutely loved it.  It was so nice not to have to lug equipment from the car and set the tent up.  There wasn’t as much space as we’d had in the tent but the ‘van came with an awning so we could envisage the extra space we would have with the awning up.

The ABI came with an electric hookup, a leisure battery, a portaloo, a fridge and a foot pump for water on tap.  Oh luxury!!

The ‘van wasn’t without its problems - after all it was built in 1978!  The floor near the door had rotted and Jeff had to replace that area.  The fridge needed a service and the door was a bit iffy.   Jeff worked very hard to repair the faults and we duly set off on out first trip in the ‘van.

We had our first caravan holiday at ‘The Old Oaks’, Glastonbury and really enjoyed the experience.  The awning was a great success and we came back from the break feeling really refreshed.  It was so nice to set up and have our first cuppa so quickly.   Pretty soon, we had another week at ‘The Back of Beyond” site and noticed that many caravans had bathrooms.  Now, we liked that idea because we quite fancied staying at ‘no facility’ sites.  We had travelling plans for my impending retirement but really needed a few more facilities on the van if we were to undertake trips lasting for more than a couple of months.

Our ABI Award 12/2

Thus began our search for an ‘end bathroom’ caravan.  After lots of searching, we found our ideal caravan - a 1996 Buccaneer  Elan 15.  This was one of the last caravans made by the Buccaneer company before they were taken over by the Explorer group and contained many little luxuries, one of which was the pump to fill the toilet flush tank.

Our first ‘non facility’ experience was at the Camping and Caravanning Club’s ‘Ebury Hill’ site at Shrewsbury.  It is an amazing site and so cheap!!  I just can’t describe the luxury of having a shower without traipsing across the campsite with wet hair.   We have come to love this campsite and it had the added advantage of being situated just a mile from my brother’s house.

In 2007, we had our ‘retirement trip’ which was a tour of the Lake District and Scotland lasting eight weeks.  We also had a few visits to Ebury Hill.  In 2008, we have visited the Wye Valley, South Devon and, of course, Ebury Hill.

Having our bathroom has opened up our world to the cheaper CSs and CLs, which are affiliated to the two main Camping clubs.

We miss camping and are often quite envious of those camping in tents on the sites we visit.  However, we are realists and accept that our camping days are at an end and we are now caravanners.

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