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.
My Motorhome Week
Good time to buy; great time to sell. That’s what Canterbury, Kent-based motorhome dealer Choose Leisure tells me. It’s a pointed reminder that although it’s perfect timing if you’re aiming to purchase a motorhome for “immediate use” – apart from the fact that stock is fairly scarce, nationally – it’s an even bigger opportunity if, for some reason, you need to sell.
As Choose Leisure’s general manager Dominic Price puts it: “We’re constantly on the hunt for stock but even more so now – newbies mean no part-exchanges! So, if you’d like us to broker your motorhome [sale], or you’d prefer to sell it for cash, now’s the time.”
Brokering is a particular proposition where you retain ownership of the vehicle whilst employing the services of a dealer to sell on your behalf. Choose Leisure, long experienced in this format, is promising:
• Peace of mind that you don’t have to deal with strangers at your home
• Professional marketing and preparation of your motorhome
• Safe, secure transaction
If you are looking to sell your current motorhome – ideally still fairly new, in good condition and with a proper service history for both the base vehicle and the conversion – dealers will bite your hand off to take it.
In the news
National walking – May the force be with you
If it’s May, it must be National Walking Month. A great opportunity to step out and with every step you take you’re taking part. Designed to coincide with better weather, surely, it doesn’t need me to tell you walking is a great way of maintaining good health, mental as well as physical.
There’s even an attempt to define what actually is a “short walk” – answer: around one mile or 15-20 minutes. I’ve just logged in at www.livingstreets.org.uk (there’s also lots of advice here on what you can do if you’re unable to walk as much as you’d like) and been told my proposed 15 short journeys each week will see me cover some 75 miles, burning off 7,500 calories and saving 17,100 grams of carbon dioxide (compared to if I were to drive). Let’s go!
Meet your hero
Anne Wragg – Bringing out the best of Burford
Wardens, holiday site managers, hosts… call ‘em what you will, but the staff on the front line running campsites across the UK deserve some kind of collective medal. Not just for helping us get back to a form of normality in recent weeks, but for their unstinting efforts overall to ensure we get the best breaks when we go away camping.
That invariably means going well beyond the boundaries of their job descriptions – helping out in real emergencies and offering aid to those with vehicle issues. This latter situation is often unfairly put on their shoulders, I might add, but plenty of newcomers feel they have nobody else to turn to when things aren’t working as they should be.
Just one example is Anne Wragg, who, with husband Martyn, heads up the team at the Caravan and Motorhome Club Site at Burford, in the Cotswolds. It really does make all the difference when you meet folk as cheery, positive and helpful as this. She’s in her second stint at Burford – you may also recognise her from the Club’s Cirencester site – and she has a wealth of experience to call on and, time allowing, stories to tell. Or, as she puts it: “I used to be a nurse. Nothing shocks me now.”
Motorhome for me?
Ford Nugget – re-beginnings of a classic?
Ford’s Nugget – built for the brand by campervan gargantuan Westfalia – is starting to take the UK market seriously. About time, too – did you know it’s been in production for around a quarter of a century now? Like Volkswagen’s California and Mercedes’ Marco Polo, it has the base vehicle manufacturer’s “stamp of approval” and is being sold through its own network of selected retailers, as opposed to mainstream motorhome dealerships.
It offers a bit more in many aspects – five travel seats as standard, two generous double beds – and a bit less in others, notably overall storage.
Not that it’s going to be a worry to the Cali, by far the most popular campervan in the UK. But it does provide something different and should attract even more folk to the sector. And, in the latest Custom guise, it’s the best-driving Transit to date.
Three good: Top-drawer conversion work, superior elevating roof and upper bed, five-person travel and twin sliding doors
Two bad: Very limited storage and a low payload
Perfect for… an alternative to a VW-based camper
Also consider: Autohaus Spartan GT, Wellhouse Misano and Westfalia Kelsey
The power of three
Not so much a gadget, but slowly starting to be seen as something of an essential – especially for those who like to travel beyond certain horizons. That’s what3words. It’s a relatively simple concept – wherever you are in the world, you can be pinpointed because it has been designated three random words. Just download the app to your phone and you’re away. It even works when you’re offline.
It’s increasingly used by the UK emergency services, as a sure-fire guarantee they will get to the exact spot of any potential disaster. A friend had an unfortunate brush with a bus whilst out driving recently. He was in the middle of nowhere and in a location where GPS has failed to permeate, seemingly suggesting a location he knew to be at least 70 miles away. Luckily, his breakdown recovery service was able to pinpoint exactly where he was because he had the what3words app. A lesson for all of us everywhere perhaps?