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Family Tour 2018 Day 5-6

Category: Caravanning
14 Feb 2019
Written by Andy Hits: 8129

Continuing on from Carrbridge, our next bit of adventure takes us up past Inverness into the middle of the Highlands, where we spend 2 nights at the Caravan and Motorhome Club site at Altnahara, beside Loch Naver

Day 5: 26/9/2018, Carrbridge to Altnaharra (125 miles) 

Having not put the awning up the night before, packing up didn't take too long, and we were soon on our way to our next stop Altnahara Club Site.

A short stop over at a Tesco filling station near Inverness ensured we had plenty of fuel for the drive up to the middle of the Highlands.  We were well aware that we were going to be quite some way from the nearest shops and fuel.  It did seem that someone there didn't appreciate us using the filling station with our caravan attached, as there was a horn beep from behind us!  But there was very little else we could do, and by using pay at pump, I'm sure we minimised the amount of time we were there.

Back on the A9, and we continued north, and from the wheel I enjoyed the impressive sight of some of the offshore platforms moored up in the Cromarty Firth.

It appeared our steady progress unnerved one car as we made our way along the A836, as it pulled to the side to let us pass.  But past Lairg I the "main" A road became the smallest ever A road I've ever been on.  I've driven plenty of small country lanes with passing places, some of which with cattle grids too, but I wasn't quite expecting an A road to do so.  Not that I was complaining. On our way through almost everyone seemed good at stopping in a passing place, and you could typically see from one passing place to the next.

At one of the many, we did pause to double check what a rattle was from behind, it turned out to be nothing to worry about, just the feet on the corner steadies, not anything jockey-wheel related.  But while we paused there, the car that had pulled in earlier passed us.  I think we passed them again at another passing place when they motioned us through, so it all seemed fair.  I hasten to add that I was not tailgating, and particularly on these small roads, even 30 mph seemed on the fast side.

Eventually we passed through the village of Altnaharra, and take the turning onto the B road leading along side Loch Naver.  We were being quite cautious along this road, as there were roadworks, and the campsite had warned of road closures.  Coming up on what looked like a possible closure, I stopped at a place that (with some effort) we could hopefully turn around and take the other (long way round) to the camp site.  Meanwhile Hannah jumped out and checked with the workmen, and although they were working on drainage beside the road, we were fine to come through.

When we reached the camp site, we pulled past the space outside the office as there wasn't a lot of spare room.  A gentleman came out and greeted us by name and gave us first refusal of the pitch he thought was best.  This was apparently because we came along at a gentle steady speed unlike the motorhome behind us, which from his comments had arrived a lot more "enthusiastically" than us.

He offered us a pitch right on the edge of the loch, with an access track for other pitches running past.  It was very tight, and much as we would have liked to have reversed in, we broke out the motormover.  Without running our wheels over the stones at the track edge (and likely getting stuck) we couldn't get the angle we needed.

The awning got put up, once fresh water was in the barrels, along with purification tablets.  Another unique thing to everywhere else we have stayed was that it uses (filtered) spring water, as it has no mains water connection!

Read more: Family Tour 2018 Day 5-6

Family Tour 2018 Day 3-4

Category: Caravanning
07 Feb 2019
Written by Andy Hits: 6389

Continuing on our family tour, Our next visits are a day at Edinburgh Zoo, followed by traveling over the third Forth Bridge (Queensferry crossing) and up into the Cairngorms

See also Family Tour 2018 Day 1-2

Day 3: 24/09/2018, Edinburgh Zoo (20 miles)

After letting the dogs have a bit of exercise and chatting with our neighbours, we headed over to the Zoo to meet up with my brother in law and his family who were down in Edinburgh for the weekend to meet up with us.  It was great walking through the enclosure with the Lorikeets, and my daughter also loved watching the penguins swimming around.  We spent pretty much the whole day there, and there was more than enough to keep 4 adults and a 4 year old and 9 month old interested.  

Hopefully embedded below are a selection of some of my photos from the zoo


Lunch for me at the zoo was haggis pizza.  I'm sure thats a 100% authentic local dish....  It was tasty!

After that, we headed back to the caravan to check in on our dogs, and let them have their tea, before we headed out to find food at the near by retail park.  The places we looked at eating had a bit of a wait, so we split up and left one of us holding a position in the wait for food, while my wife and sister-in-law did some shopping, and I looked for a hammer or a hex drive as I couldn't locate the one that should have been with the awning for the normal or screw pegs.  Halfords didn't have much without buying way more than I needed, but Argos had a tent spares kit which as well as a rubber mallet, had spare wire pegs and rope.  

We all eventually reconvened at Frankie and Benny's, and enjoyed a nice meal together before we went our separate ways

Read more: Family Tour 2018 Day 3-4

Update - Caravan heating mods

Category: Caravanning
10 Sep 2018
Written by Andy Hits: 2504

I found the real cause for poor performance on the heat vent in the bedroom.

I did what I should have done first before modifying things.  Traced the duct all the way back between the bedroom, under the caravan, back inside under the oven, beneath the fridge and to the heater.
Under the oven was a plywood plate held in by 2 screws, with the back pipework for the bathroom vent, and the duct that leads to the bedroom.  On a slight whim, I removed this panel to prove where these pipes went, and this is what I found:

Disconnected Heating Duct

Read more: Update - Caravan heating mods

Family Tour 2018 Day 1-2

Category: Caravanning
31 Jan 2019
Written by Andy Hits: 6064

It's been a little while since I posted an update, so over the next few weeks I'll try and post a little bit about our "grand tour" as we nicknamed it, a trip of approximately 2000 miles from home to Scotland and back again, stopping off with family and friends along the way.


We did this over a course of 2 weeks and we didn't stay at a campsite for more than 2 nights.  It was kind of inspired by some of the fun we'd had a couple of years before with a motorhome on the North island of New Zealand, only this time there would be the 2 of us, plus our 2 dogs, and our 10 month old daughter.

This meant we did our best to break the journeys down into manageable chunks to fit in with feeding, sleeping and nappy changing requirements!

Read more: Family Tour 2018 Day 1-2

Caravan Heating Mods

Category: Caravanning
06 Sep 2018
Written by Andy Hits: 3524

Another little mod, that is in progress, but I'll try and walk through what I've done

The 'van has Truma blown air heating, with 4 air vents, as opposed to some slightly more expensive caravans that have Alde based wet heating, much more like a conventional domesting central heating system, with a header tank and radiators.
Being a special edition, one of the upgrades we got was "butterfly" valves on these air vents, allowing shutting off / restricting the flow of certain vents, to encourage hot air out of the others.   This is needed to keep heat roughly balanced, as the air duct to the bedroom is significantly longer than the one to the lounge. This image shows roughly the route the 4 different ducts take.  The blue is to the bedroom and is the coolest.  The dashed portion is where the duct is underneath the van on the outside

Caravan Heating Ducts

Read more: Caravan Heating Mods

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