Nick News, Spotlight

Nick’s News – Bilbo’s gets Qualification Scheme status, the CCR200 and the Adria Alpina Mississippi

The Adria Alpina Mississippi 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

I’m planning ahead, as I’m off to the Netherlands and Germany later this month. I’ll be aiming to get over to the eastern side of the latter to explore the likes of Dresden, Potsdam and Berlin, none of which I’ve visited before.

Such trips take a bit more organisation these days, of course, especially getting to grips with the latest Covid requirements demanded by different countries. But I think I’m on top of things, having been double vaccinated, testing twice a week and – just a week ago – getting my second ever flu jab.

If anyone wants to offer any caravanning advice on the Netherlands and Germany do feel free to get in touch.

In the news

An NEC show that’s good to go

There will be a motorhome and caravan show at the NEC next February after all. It will be the UK’s first major leisure vehicle and lifestyle showcase event since the pandemic really did rip up our world (did it all kick off as recently as January 2020 here in the UK?!).

Well, just two years later and the next Caravan, Camping & Motorhome Show is scheduled to take place in 2022. Will I be going? That depends, as at the moment it clashes rather too directly with the following:

CCR200 – another new route

The Cumbrian Coastal Route 200 (CCR200) is new and I can’t wait to go…in fact, dates are in the diary for early next year, well ahead of the main touring season. Doubtless taking its cues from Scotland’s North Coast 500 and East Coast 250, Cumbria Tourism has unveiled its very own driving and camping route.

Hoping to draw folk away from the current Lake District hotspots – well, everyone agrees they do get too busy – the CCR200 is some 200 miles long (surprise), starting in Morecambe Bay and weaving through the Furness peninsula up to Haverigg, Seascale, Maryport and on to Carlisle. Please don’t all rush to go there, although that’s just me being selfish now!

Bilbo’s gets Volkswagen Motorhome Qualification Scheme status

Bilbo’s is the latest specialist campervan converter to be added to the Motorhome Qualification Scheme announced by Volkswagen at the start of this year. It joins a very short list – Hillside Leisure, Jerba and Rolling Homes are amongst the others – who meet Volkswagen’s criteria for manufacturing, financial stability, Type Approval and more.

Bilbo’s has been converting campers for some 44 years now, nearly exclusively using Volkswagens (OK, there was a brief dabble with the Mercedes Viano, and an even briefer flirts with Fiat’s Ducato) and in that time has produced nearly 5,000 campers.

True, it doesn’t make the flashiest of campers, preferring to take a steadier route with proven products, but maybe that’s the secret of its enduring success. As well as VW’s scheme, campers from Bilbo’s have NCC approval (National Caravan Council, our UK trade body) and GB National Small Series Type Approval, plus they come from a manufacturer that has ISO 9001 accreditation.

Why am I suddenly in favour of all this red tape and bureaucracy? Because it’s reassuring to know a company is trying to do things the right way before you part with some £50,000 and more when you’re about to buy your campervan dream machine.

Caravan crush

Adria Alpina Mississippi – tow the other chic

Inside this latest range-topper from Adria, and at the right angle (hint: sit down anywhere in the U-shaped front lounge, rest your head on either of the large corner restraints) and this could pass as a contemporary apartment. There’s not even an excess of curves to the furnishings, although I do like the concave shape to the overhead lockers. It’s all very clean cut.

The kitchen is almost a thing of beauty, from its most elegant of mixer taps to the L-shaped hob and sink combination, to the wall rails with adjustable hooks, even if the padded mini-shelf is a bit of a strange one.

But yes, it’s all very practical too. Right through to the transverse island bed in its own room and the full-width washroom at the back. For entertainment, a single control is on show for you to stream away to your heart’s content thanks to the Media Controller feature. And there’s plenty more here to keep you amused.

Three good: Chic, quality build and year-round capabilities
Two bad: Heavy (1,900kg) and expensive
Perfect for… The style conscious
Also consider: Coachman Lusso I or Swift Elegance 845