Features, Nick News, Spotlight

Nick’s News – The new Countryside Code, an update on a caravan classic and chemical innovations

The Eriba Ocean Drive 530 on display at a caravan show

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 caravan week

Hey, I’m after some advice. Like all of you, my lockdown time hasn’t been wasted and all kinds of holiday trips have not just been dreamed up but will hopefully actually happen. My summer touring should see me leaving my home in the West Country and visiting, in turn, Pembrokeshire in Wales, Scotland’s west coast and Northern Ireland.

It’s the latter I’m after advice on. We’re taking our dog on the Stena Line Cairnryan-Belfast crossing, because it’s the shortest, and we’re not sure whether to leave her in our vehicle or book an on-board kennel. She’s been on a ferry before and coped with being kennelled on a four-hour crossing, but I don’t think she found it completely enjoyable. Hence the shout out. I’d love to hear of anyone else’s experiences.

In the news

The countryside – new coded warnings

There’s a new version of the Countryside Code in town – but some folk aren’t happy. Despite exhortations to “be nice, say hello, share the space” and “enjoy your visit, have fun, make a memory”, lots of folk are arguing the latest version isn’t going far enough – in terms of sticking to official footpaths, keeping dogs on leads near livestock and wild animals and warnings against the dangers of disposable barbecues, for example.

The original Countryside Code dates back to 1951, and as you can guess there have been quite a few changes since then. We spread a lot more litter, for starters. Common sense, really, but there’s no shortage of heartbreaking tales and images of devastation that show some folk really don’t care about our great outdoors.

Our government has enough on its hands at the moment without trying to promote things like Countryside Codes (official advertising budget £50,000; compare that with the £46million Get Ready for Brexit spend). So, you can find out more here. Personally, I’ve always liked the ‘leave only footprints, take only photographs’ mantra.

Caravan crush

Eriba Ocean Drive 530 – rhapsodising about the blue

I do love a little caravan. They’re fun and they’re not as impractical as you might presuppose. With roots back in the 1950s, Eriba’s Troll series has been around long enough to be a proper grown-up, with the latest Ocean Drive in blue and Rockabilly in red 530 variants keeping them bang on trend.

Thanks to Eriba’s unique aerodynamics and impeccable road manners, they’re an absolute doddle to tow. There’s top build quality here too. If there’s the two of you, you could leave the bed permanently made up and sit across from each other at the front. It’s not cheap, though. Bang in a few essential extras and you could find yourself going the wrong side of £29,000. Ouch!

Three good: Character, style, quality
Two bad: Expensive, living space is always going to be tight
Perfect for… Going retro and keeping it compact
Also Consider: Adria Action, Knaus Sport&Fun

Cleaning products for your caravan

Gadget envy

Opening up – be prepared

I’m writing this just before England’s campsites are due to open from April 12, but without toilet block facilities. So, if you’re heading off, make sure you’ve got a good supply of the right chemicals with you – for the toilet and beyond.

A couple of items I’m trying out for the first time on a post-Easter trip to the Cotswolds are from a company called Qualkem. Both are from its extensive 40shot range. Dish-n-Treat sounds rather unique in that you can use it as you would any washing-up liquid, but as it drains away it’s also designed to cleanse any pipework it passes through as well as the waste tank itself.

Loo-Tubes, meanwhile, are packs of “one-shot” solutions for chemical toilets – six 25ml doses for the cassette tank and two pink rinses for the flush. Just open them and use them as normal, but not only do you know you’re giving an exact dose each time, there’s none of the lingering smell you often get with larger containers of toilet chemicals. And less chance of any accidental spillages.

I’ve managed to grab myself a good sanitiser too. Steril-eeze differs from other sanitisers in that it’s alcohol-free, instead its vital ingredient is hypochlorous acid – as used in hospitals. It’s child-friendly, won’t irritate skin and can also extend beyond personal use. You can use it on fruit and veg, work surfaces and more.