Nick’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.
Am I winding down to Christmas? Not really. It’s still all go for me. Literally, because there are already lots of travel plans for next year. I stress, they’re still pretty much at the planning stage, but it’s good to be optimistic.
Conditions allowing, my 2022 is shaping up with proposals for trips including the Cumbrian Coastal Route 200; the Isle of Bute; a fair sprinkling of festivals (Hay, Wychwood and Busfest to name a few); and over to Europe for some summer touring through Italy. All of this will culminate in a 60th birthday at the end of the year. Maybe then it will be time to slow down a bit.
In the news
Delivery dates? Gotta keep believing
Have you placed an order for a new or pre-owned leisure vehicle and are expecting delivery as per an agreed date? Do keep checking on developments.
A friend of mine has just been knocked back – not for the first time – on the delivery date of a campervan he first ordered just over a year ago. The general background is it’s a new conversion on a pre-owned vehicle that has been imported from Japan.
This has long been a popular way of getting into campervan ownership at a bargain price. The vehicle was in the UK at the time of the order, but there have been all kinds of excuses for the conversion work still not having been carried out.
The latest one? A recall of Dometic’s hob/sink units. Now we’re getting into fantasy land. That was about three months ago and was handled with excellent efficiency by the manufacturer, especially considering everything else that’s been going on.
What’s worse is my friend’s friend had made an order for a similar vehicle from the same company, albeit some three months later. Having had similar deadline issues, he gave the manufacturer an ultimatum and it seems he’s now been bumped up the queue ahead of my friend.
Climb every mountain? Start at the top?
Want to reach the peaks? Why not read about it first? The Epic Mountain Guide is brought to you by none other than Land Rover and it lists 40 summits that are ranked from hardest to easiest to climb in the UK.
Depending on how you look at it, starting at the top – in other words, the easiest to get up – that accolade goes to Sawel. It’s the highest of the Sperrin in Northern Ireland, but is also the quickest, taking people on average an hour to reach its 678m peak.
At the other end of the scale, 1,234m Aonach Beag, is reckoned the hardest mountain to climb. Give yourselves about six hours to tackle it. I’ve not had the pleasure of either of these, but I have made it to the top of Snowdon, which gets honourable mentions for being the most popular, taking into account TripAdvisor and Instagram reviews.
Find out more here at Land Rover Epic Mountain Guide.
Premium service means a Silver lining
Hmmm, how to make insurance interesting? That’s a challenge. Anyway, congratulations to caravan and motorhome specialist Caravan Guard for picking up a Silver award in the Personal Lines Broker of the Year category of the latest Insurance Times Awards.
It’s reassuring to know the prize recognised the company’s excellent customer feedback and high levels of loyalty, amongst other aspects of its family-run business.
Elddis Avanté 585 – go nap with a five-berth
Family-friendly? That’s harder to define than you might think, but one factor could be a floorplan that puts beds as far apart as possible to optimise privacy. That’s what you get the with Avanté 585 from Elddis, as well as its sister model the Compass Casita 585.
And yes, it does sleep up to five, with three at the back, thanks to an L-shaped settee that can extend to a double bed, plus a single bunk. The front settees make a transverse double.
All this while also having sufficient facilities for family catering. The kitchen, for example, has a full cooker, as well as microwave oven, plus a Dometic 120-series slimline fridge. And the washroom has a water-efficient Ecocamel Orbit showerhead.
A maximum weight of 1,485kg (upgradeable to 1,550kg) puts it in the range of many towcars, too. And an on-the-road price of £23,644 represents good value, although you may well want to find an extra grand or so to grab some additional items, including ramped up security, from the options list.
Three good: Family values, light weight and end bedrooms
Two bad: Lacks a bit of sparkle and no washroom window
Perfect for… Five going caravanning
Also consider: Sprite Major 6TD or Weinsberg CaraOne 400 LK
Christmas come early, 2021. Part six…
A winter boot that promises warmth, amazing grip and good water resistance? Try on the Olang Nora G for size, with its all-new Arctic Grip sole from specialist maker Vibram. The wool lining keeps it all cosy. Prices start at around £115.
Another handy item to keep your progression elegant whilst conditions underfoot aren’t so favourable is a walking pole. Austria’s Komperdell has long been a major name in this sector, offering a massive pole portfolio. I’d suggest starting with something like the £79.95 Trekmaster with cork grip and padded strap, all packing down to just 57cm for carrying.
Finally, do you need some help with your wrapping? Retailer Decathlon has this handy little video that gives great advice on how to gift-wrap any presents, including trickier items right up to bikes. It’s complete with lots of eco-friendly hacks to help keep any waste to a minimum. Hence tips like using recyclable wrapping paper, biodegradable tape, and lots of other re-use ideas.
My guess is by the time you read this there will be only a few days of online ordering left if you’re to guarantee on-time deliveries. So, it just leaves me to wish you a very Happy Christmas and all the very best for the year ahead.