Nick News, Spotlight

Nick’s News – Alan Murchison’s bespoke camper, Motorhome Holiday Company scoops award and the Swift Sprite Compact

Swift Sprite Compact parked up

Nick HardingNick’s News – Nick Harding is an expert in all things motorhomes, caravans and camping. Each week, Nick explores products, locations, holiday ideas and essential community information on our behalf – It’s a Hard-ing Life for Nick, but here is what he found this week.

My week

Greetings from Germany. We made it and are currently on our second site over on the eastern side of Germany. It’s at Sanssouci, near the historic town of Potsdam, with a day trip to Berlin in the offing, having just done two nights at Freizeit Luxoase, near Dresden.

But we almost didn’t make it. A mix-up over Covid tests meant we nearly missed our ferry from Harwich to Hook of Holland, as it seems the Dutch authorities don’t recognise our NHS tests. Luckily, we just had time to compete a 15-minute test at the port.

We weren’t the only ones falling foul of Covid bureaucracy here and despite the port staff at Harwich calling on our behalf to find we had indeed tested negative, at the time of writing we were still waiting for the official email. These were promised within 15 minutes of taking the test. More news of our travels next week.

In the newsAlan Murchison's custom campervan

A Michelin-starred campervan?

It’s a one-off, but just look at this campervan, produced exclusively for multi-Michelin starred chef Alan Murchison by specialist Volkswagen converter CJL Leisure. And yes, that is a full-size coffee maker you can see; it’s actually powered by a 3,000-watt inverter, complemented by a 350-watt solar panel.

Can you believe it can also carry up to five bikes, as well as performing the usual campervan duties?! Alan is team chef and provides support for the Canyon/SRAM UCI Women’s World Tour Team. The camper is based on CJL’s Adventure Competition model.

Motorhome Holiday Company’s Prestige pickings

Congratulations to the Motorhome Holiday Company, which has just won Motorhome Service of the Year at the Prestige Awards 2021, a competition designed to reflect excellence in customer care. The company runs a rather unique motorhome hire operation, as well as branching out into other areas relating to the leisure vehicle lifestyle, most notably in the past year with a new style of accessories shop at its base near Weston-Super-Mare in north Somerset.

Boss Matt Sims told me: “Winning this award is a source of huge pride for the entire team. We are all passionate about customer service and experience so to be recognised with this award is a great achievement for us as well as a huge morale booster.

“2021 has been a challenging year for us. We have seen record numbers of motorhome hire bookings, we’ve launched our new shop instore, as well as online and have welcomed more new custom than ever before. To win the award towards the end of the season is great timing!”

Caravan crush

Swift Sprite Compact – a narrow winner

Slender and light. Weren’t nearly all caravans like this once? Seriously, this latest addition to the Sprite line-up from Swift is just 5.37m long and a super-slim 2.03m across its bows. And, at 1,094kg max, it’s towable by just about everything. Yet the facilities are packed in and the interior – all recognisably Swift – doesn’t feel as cramped as you might expect.

Other than that, it’s a standard enough two-berth, end kitchen, corner washroom layout. If you’re under 5ft 11in, you might be happy enough with the twin single beds. I’m 5ft 6in but count me in for the 1.82m x 1.80m double, thank you very much.

Three good: Narrow body, all the usual Sprite hallmarks and lightweight
Two bad: Slightly short bed sizes and only the one floorplan so far
Perfect for… shorter folk
Also consider: Xplore 304