Outline plans for Autumn

27 Aug

Loch Goil and the Arrochar Alps

We received a wonderful gift of a week in accomodation adjacent to Loch Goil in the Trossachs, Scotland! We are taking the opportunity to extend our stay a little by using the Kampa on campsites nearby. Got some decent walking boots yesterday and the campervan is still clean from the trip to London. Taking the bikes on the towbar of the Kampa. Our other co-visitors will hire bikes up there.

I could not resist showing this cross section of nearby Loch Lomond. It is simply awe inspiring in my eyes !

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Do NOT drop your keys in Loch Lomond !

Where else then (as if this brilliant destination is not enough……..) ??? Well there is the Tour of Britain cycle race in September. Hoping to stay out overnight in between “chasing” the event , day to day. We used to do this when following the old Lombard RAC Rally years ago. A lovely way to spend some Autumn (late Summer?? )  leisure time.

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A previous Tour of Britain. We have two more aspirational destinations to cram in :

Anglesey_Holiday_Mapcornwall and devon

All being well, we should also be heading for a short camping trip to Angelsey and a longer break in Devon and Cornwall. After such a very busy but enjoyable few weeks, it will be lovely to get back into the swing of travelling around, just for fun.

Technical delays but better times ahead

19 Aug

technical difficulties

Recently returned from a trouble free round trip to central London. A fantastic long weekend away. With no real delays either way, we managed just under 60 mpg on the run down , mostly very dry but then very wet on the last bit of the Dartford end of the M25. On our return though, we began to pay the horrible price of getting involved in the Carphone Warehouse hacking scandal. The Talk Talk (mobile) staff were less than helpful and I shall be kicking them firmly in to touch as soon as I don’t have to pay a robbing amount of dosh to quit the contract. What a crock………….

Anyhow, I got hacked and had people trying to charge me for their bills. I had passwords changed and loss of all sorts of services. This is still causing delays and problems in running the Blog safely and properly. But we are getting there. The good news is that I have a skeleton plan for Autumn, with windows (I hate this word too, from  the Microsoft aspect…… but I dare not put that in print!) of opportunity to use the Kampa and caravan.

Back to “normality” soon folks !

propex heaterAutumn camping “au Van” ! No worries with this bit of kit onboard!

A new van for an experienced compact full timer

13 Aug

3 NV200 CHILLING IN THE FIELD MODE This is SteveG with his recently purchased NV200 , called “Mevan” which Sussex Campervans put together for him. He has full timed in small campervan, which in my mind gives him a lot of credibility. Just look what he crammed into that one.spring cleaning my old van

2 NV200 AND ITS MATE NEXT DOOR This photo shows the size comparison with a VW Transporter particularly well.

4 NV200 FROM THE FRONT RECLINER LOOKING AFT5 NV200 FROM THE PILLOW END LOOKING FORWARDS WINDOW BLINDS REMOVED FOR FOTO A familiar looking cosy place.

6 NV200 AND ITS AMAZING SAT NAV SYSTEM The mother of all Sat Dishes. That would upset the “Jones’ ” on a Caravan Club site. Keep up with this one…………………

1 NV200 IN STEALTH MODE In the words of another wild camper, Grey can be much better in stealth mode ! SteveG thinks so too !! Here’s what he had to say:

Cheers Dinkum – Everyone likes to show off their new toys – so here’s a few shots from the first 4 days of ownership (pick it up from Sussex and went straight on the road and spent three days and two nights in the van – mainly to try and sort out any snags and problems there may have been before we drove back up from the south coast to North Yorkshire)

Think a site like yours is invaluable source of reference for anyone thing of buying a small van – which is for most people a big financial outlay – I certainly wanted to gather as much info about the NV200 before I committed – I have had a small van before – I sold my previous house and bought a ex-crew-bus (picture attached) and lived in it, full time, for two years during a big mountaineering/hill bagging trip I was doing – life was so simple – all you needed was fuel and water for you and the van – oops – sorry I was drifting off there !  – but the scariest time of that trip was having to get your house MOT’ed !!! – Quote…”If you fail it – I’m living on your forecourt !!!”

The Sussex Campavan conversion is great – they did need a bit of a prod and a poke here and there to get the van exactly how we wanted, but one of the main reason behind this was us trying to get the “perfect” bespoke build done from over three hundred miles away

“MeVan”, as we now call him, will be used every weekend and holiday for away trips all over the country and Europe but will also be my day to day vehicle as well – so the size, ease of drive and economy where a major factor in picking the NV200 to drive to work in – It has done an average of 46mpg during its first 600 miles of life – with me driving a nice mixture steep narrow country lanes “darn sarf” and blasting up the motorway at 70+ to get home – but the people at Nissan assure me the mpg will improve by at least 10mpg once the new vehicle/engine has been run in and settles down

Cheers for noo – happy camping – and enjoy the rest of the….errrrr – “summer” ???

Steve

p.s.

Off up to Northumberland this weekend to test out just how waterproof the roof is ! – watch this space ;-)

Thanks for a brilliant contribution SteveG ! I have a couple of others awaiting processing, including some videos from Martin and some questions to answer about fitting a grill betwixt sink and fridge. Trying to get round to it all, promise ! 

I have been getting from 43 mpg running around on short local runs, through around 53/54 mpg on longer runs in the lanes and on A roads, which is most days. Today,  we got an excellent 59 mpg on a long trek South. The new Michelin’s don’t seem to have hit economy too hard !

A quick update on the new tyres

7 Aug

peace and quiet The newly fitted Michelin Primacy 3s are now nicely scrubbed in. On a mixture of road surfaces including new asphalt and the horrible pink concrete , they are the quietist of all the tyres which have been fitted to our NV200 , which is why I bought them. The tyres do seem to have quietened down as they scrubbed in. Not sure of any science behind that but just reporting mine and my wife’s opinions. Any tyre  design engineers out there? Peace and quiet on the road. It’s reinforced my faith in Michelin engineering. Lovely!

Fitting extra seats to an NV200 van

5 Aug

retrofit nv200 seats tworetrofit nv200 seats threeretrofit nv200 seats one

isirdi homme au journalOh dear! I responded to an urgent call for help last night and now I am struggling to get the information needed. Can you help?  My brother, currently relaxing somewhere nice and remote, had these seats, shown, above fitted into his NV200 van. I have phoned all the converters around Stoke-on-Trent that I can think of and found one which fit seats to Nissan NV200. You have to provide the seats though. Pretty sure that my bro had his supplied and fitted, so it was not this guy who did it for him. Phil used to make F1 trailers and now does all sorts of conversion work. Autokraft are in Bucknall Road, ST1 6AH  tel 01782 261151

So. until my brother emerges, tanned and relaxed from his hols., I cannot help further. Seats and lap/diagonal belt units can be bought with adjustable bases from ebay and so on, which can be fitted to the NV200.

IF YOU KNOW OF SOMEONE WHO CAN SUPPLY AND FIT , PLEASE COMMENT IMMEDIATELY BELOW AS SOON AS POSSIBLE PLEASE.

ALSO, IF YOU KNOW A SOURCE OF SUITABLE SEATS OFF THE SHELF.

STOP PRESS!     SEATS SUITABLE FOR NV200 VAN CAN BE PURCHASED FROM THE FOLLOWING COMPANY, WHICH HAS OVER 50 YEAR’S EXPERIENCE. THEY CAN ARRANGE FITMENT FOR YOU AT A NUMBER OF LOCATIONS (I BELIEVE)

Contact Restall Bros.,

Masterfit House, Colliery Road, West Bromwich B71 4JT
0121 525 1309

ALSO SEE COMMENTS BELOW FOR A SUPPLIER/FITTER IN ESSEX. SEATS NOT LISTED ON THEIR WEBSITE BUT APPARENTLY VAN-EXTRAS CAN DO IT !

A flurry of interest in the Blog. A few facts revisited.

1 Aug

DCFC0003.JPGdrivelodgeRecently received several requests for information about the conversion, which was done by Drivelodge, near Keighley. Almost all the info can be found in the archives but it can be a pain to search. So he is some info reposted. That’s a Drivelodge pop top roof example above.

propex heatergaslow 6kg refillable cylindersmev gas hob and basinThe Drivelodge Nevada is fitted with a Gaslow refillable bottle with a filler in the offside body wall of the van. You can check the gas level via an inspection panel in the rear offside cupboard. There is no hot water but there is a super efficient gas powered blown air heating system which works well on the coldest days of winter even with the roof popped up. There is a 13 litre capacity cold water bottle which operates when the tap is opened on the Smeg stainless steel sink, next to the twin burner gas hob Shown here.

elyboatchandler waeco cr-50The f ridge/freezer is a Vitrifrigo. A 12v only, compressor unit, it will fit the narrower (than a VW type) side cupboards. It is both quiet and efficient, easily freezing ice cubes or freezer blocks for the chiller which we also carry. It was sourced and supplied by Drivelodge.

DCFC0011.JPGThe Nissan dealer fitted a tow bar for us to the new base vehicle. They also supplied the van with rear door, black security glass , wiper and washer system for a bargain £125 at the time! I also got a massive discount from Nissan following a sales drive by them. We use a Thule bike carrier which will take up to 3 bikes. Drivelodge fitted the other glass as part of the conversion.

DCFC0058.JPGporta pottiOur porta potti is similar to this example. We solved the 24 hour access issue (it’s under the bed) by purchasing both a female and a male urine bottle. Simples!  Drivelodge did offer to sort out a revamped bed and frame for us which was most generous but it was just easier to adapt to circumstance.

drivelodge work in progressdrivelodge work in progress twodrivelodge bed oneDrivelodge did a great job interpreting our very basic design sketch into a well “screwed” together unit. Nothing has come undone or worked loose!

DCFC0001.JPGlugbuy com blinds

The cab seats both swivel. Drivelodge sorted this for us and fitted their own bed/seat design with loads of storage underneath. We spotted these Chinese blinds but failed when we tried to buy some!

The whole lot, including the high spec SE van, new, plus conversion etc etc came to £26,500 or thereabouts. It’ s got to be worth as much as a Lunar Vacanza, say £32,000 plus. Was it worth it? Oh yes! Every penny!

Thanks especially to Ryan  and Mel for their query. If you want to see an Adventurer’s camper blog visit theirs at  http://www.doyourdream.co.uk

The pop top does not have to up for sleeping or eating. It’s more pleasant if it’s up for cooking or washing but it can be a big advantage for bad weather, dodgy areas or wild camping. If you were travelling full time, then a bigger fresh water tank and a waste water tank would be better. Comments always welcome and it helps if you put them on the most recent posting. Thanks! Here’s the finished Kampa

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Two Beautiful Houses south of Birmingham

29 Jul

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Another great day out today. This could easily be a French Chateau. It isn’t. It’s Baddesley Clinton House not far from Solihull. A Tudor home used for more than 500 years. A retreat for hidden Catholic Priests at times. A beautiful atmospheric pile. If you have not visited, then I recommend that you do. The guides were brilliant! Some interesting and at times risqué stories! The flower garden shown above, sits within the house surrounded by the moat. We were there a long time talking and laughing with the guides. We hopped back into the Kampa and drove the couple of miles to catch the last two hours of opening at Packwood House.

Packwood_House)packwood great hall

Packwood House and the Great Hall. A great deal of conversion was carried out in the 1930s to “restore” this originally Tudor house with “mock” Tudor additions using original materials salvaged from other properties. My description does not do justice to the place and before I got there, I was a little put off by a similar description that I had read. Don’t be! Based around a genuine Tudor house it’s another National Trust gem. The embroidered tapestries hanging on the walls again are very like those to be found across the channel. Again the guides were well informed and fascinating to talk to. A very memorable day out in the Kampa.

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