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Caravanning in February

Category: Caravanning
06 Jun 2019
Written by Andy Hits: 242

It might take a while, but with the good heating and insulation in out caravan we seem to be working towards using the caravan at least once in every month of the year. 
Summer months, May, June, July, August aren't too difficult to cover, and I think we have already in the first couple of years of owning the caravan used it for at least one night on each of these months. 
Moving into late summer and autumn hasn't been too difficult either, having had our big family tour round Scotland last year in late September and early October covered that off. 
But getting out about in the propper winter months, November to February is where the challenge could lie.  

If we do get serious about it, all season tyres, or something with more of a mud / snow rating than the tyres supplied with the car may be a worthwhile investment, but I've looked at the caravan, and it appears to be on all season tyres as standard.  However, unlike 2018, the winter of 2019 was mild, and barely a dusting of snow in East Anglia.  So no special precautions were required for the little break we had in February.

Our destination was a CL site near Cambridge called Birds Farm.  In spite of the unseasonably warm weather, the ground was still too soft for the site to allow anything other than the hard standing to be used, which made pitching up a little difficult, and being closer than sometimes to the other visitors.  But with some creative manoeuvring using the motor mover, we were able to pull into the space at the very end of the hard standing, and fit our awning under the tree next to us.  We had our little porch awning, rather than our bigger inflatable one, but with our little one having her own wheels that need somewhere to go, we've found the space invaluable.  We ended up arriving after dark, but it didn't take too long to get the awning up once the rest of setup was done.

The next morning was chilly and crisp, but bright as I took the dogs out first thing, though as the sun rose, a little mist came up too.  About 10 minutes down the road from the camp site is the National Trust Wimpole Hall estate.  It has a large area of parkland, with some areas without live stock on that they are happy for dog walkers to exercise dogs off lead (if well trained), so we took the opportunity to try and wear the dogs out a little.  Seeing the Folly through the light mist as we walked through the park certainly added something to the experience.

Next on the agenda was a visit to Duxford Imperial War Museum.  It has a huge array of aircraft, from sections of the fabric wing of the Wright Flyer, through to Concorde and even a SR-71 Blackbird!  With the sunshine as warm and bright as it was, we sat down outside to enjoy our lunch.  We then headed inside to the main Airspace hanger with a huge variety of aircraft and exhibits.  Seeing Concorde again was quite something.  I recall visiting there what must be over 25 years before, when I was at primary school.  It was also impressive standing underneath the open bomb bay of the Lancaster Bomber.  A sobering thought that the contents of that space were dedicated to destruction.

After a good amount of time there, and with a little one needing a rest, we took the short drive back to the campsite, once again, it was only about 10 minutes to get back to the camp site.  With the weather still warm and sunny, we enjoyed a good few minutes rest sat out in the awning.

The next morning, after a nice chat with the site owner, we took the dogs for a walk from the camp site, around the fields, following the maps that the Countryside Restoration Trust Lark Rise Farm provides.  This included a section walking near the Cambridge Radio Telescope with all of its large dishes.

We then returned to Duxford to continue where we left off the previous day, this time visiting the American Air Museum hanger.  Walking through the door we were greeted by the cockpit of a B52 bomber.  An amazingly large aircraft, dwalving all the other aircraft in there.  Other interesting aircraft included SR-71 Blackbird and A10 Warthog

From there, we returned to Wimpole Estate, and visited the Farm.  It was touch and go whether we had a sleepy toddler once we got from the car park to the horses, but the smile on her face when she saw the shire horses getting washed and brushed down was worth the rush from the car park.  Having seen the animals, we then took a more leisurely walk to the walled gardens, before enjoying the sunset over the parkland, and heading back to get some tea.

Sunday morning came, and it was time to pack up and return home.  The awning was packed away, water drained down, items stowed in the caravan and the open road found once more.  A nice little break, and although some mornings there was a frost on the ground, no problems with water from the external barrel.  I've seen insulated covers that might be useful if it is properly cold.  But the other suggestion is to keep a full kettle, bring the pump pipe in, and if needed boil the kettle and add to water container if needed to melt it.

Family Tour 2018 Day 15

Category: Caravanning
28 Mar 2019
Written by Andy Hits: 403

Day 15: Coventry to home (130 miles)

There and back again.  Our final day of travel was a "short" of just 130 miles. We drained down the water system, packed up the caravan and attached it back onto the car, before hitting the motorway and main roads to get back home.  Nothing much to report, other than the "friendly" car driver that was sat on the inside lane doing about 55 miles an hour, who matched our speed when we attempted to pass them.  Not wishing to push luck or any of that, we didn't try and have a race to see who could go fastest, but let them "win" and settled in behind. A few junctions later, the driver was kind enough to give us a single digit "salute" as he took his exit.  Oh well, at least we maintained the moral, and legal high ground by not trying to force in front!

Back home we soon had the caravan back on the driveway, and the feeling of openness and space that a house has over the caravan.  Even now I look back at the photos, and the distance traveled on a map, and am amazed at the adventure we had, how much we managed to fit in to 2 weeks.

Family Tour 2018 Day 11-12

Category: Caravanning
07 Mar 2019
Written by Andy Hits: 2192

In this next stage of the tour, we spent a day exploring Skye, before then heading over on the ferry towards Fort William

Day 11: 02/10/2018, Skye (84 miles)

The morning after the windy night before was a complete contrast.  It was sunny and bright, and we were quite happy to begin our exploration of waterfalls of sky.  The first ones we went to were a short distance from the camp site, but as we were continuing on to other ones, we did drive and park up near by.  A short walk from there took us to the Rha Falls:

The weather over night appeared to have supplied them with a good amount of water.

Back at the car, we then planned our route to get to the next set of falls, at Loch Mealt, and falling over a cliff into the sea.  We picked the (not much) smaller road via Sartle, rather than going right the way to the top of Skye.  And what a view of the Quiraing we got as we went along our way.  We stopped in the car park to take some quick pictures of the landscape, and will have to come back and walk it properly another time:

It feels a bit hard to believe that it is real, and not just an artists epic landscape!

Family Tour 2018 Day 13-14

Category: Caravanning
14 Mar 2019
Written by Andy Hits: 1983

This covers the last two nights away from home, and our big push south.  From Dallachulish we pushed south to Lochmaben, near Lockerbie.  Then from there down to near Coventry, visiting some family on the way through.

Day 13:  04/10/2018, Dallachulish to Lochmaben (175 miles)

So the journey home really began, and we were sad to leave the campsite behind and be on our way.  Our route down took us over a very interesting cantilever bridge at Connel. I was able to snap a quick picture having driven over it, and underneath it on the A85:

We continued on to Luss, beside Loch Lomond.  Some scouting ahead on google maps had told us there was a good sized car park, along with a filling station, both of which were going to be useful for continuing our journey.  There was plenty of space in the car park, and we copied a motorhome and parked across parking spaces, rather than length ways.  We weren't sure how happy bus and coach drivers would be if we used one of the bays marked for them.  However, we are sure that this would be a different matter had we been there at the height of summer on a nice day.

With the caravan parked, we tended to the dogs needs, and stretched our legs too beside the loch, before heading into the village to find lunch

Family Tour 2018 Day 9-10

Category: Caravanning
28 Feb 2019
Written by Andy Hits: 3326

On Days 9 and 10, we spend some time around Inverness, and then drive down Loch Ness and take the bridge, over the sea to Skye

Day 9: 30/09/2018, Inverness (36 miles)

A quiet day today, starting off with a visit with our friends to their church, which was out in Culloden.  We headed back to their house for lunch, and while we waited for things to finish cooking, I got taken bird hunting watching.  I was lent some camo gear, and got my biggest lens out, a 170-500mm and stalked up to the unsuspecting birds with much success.  Even to the point that I was closer than the minimum focus distance!

Once the bird feeders were re-stocked, the birds came thick and fast:

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