Archive | November, 2013

Dinkum’s hand picked tour destinations in England and Wales

30 Nov

ezilon dot com map of UK

Please visit for your maps.

Here is my personal selection of tour destinations. It is a pretty hefty mileage if you were to attempt all of them in one go, but it would be quite easy to break the whole thing down into segments and just visit parts of the grand tour if time does not allow. The assumption for our continental visitors is that you land in Dover or Folkestone by Ferry or Tunnel.
There are lots of omissions and you are welcome and encouraged to add your own ideas under comments, please!
London is a most popular destination but it is omitted here, for example. As is Scotland and Ireland but I would treat these as special places worth seeing as separate destinations for touring. Both are must see places!

The Lake District. North West England: I propose a circuit from the M6 Motorway at Penrith to Keswick, Windermere and Kendal. Then back to the M6 and head back south to M62.
Liverpool, Chester and North Wales. From Liverpool via Birkenhead Tunnel to Chester. Then A55 to Llandudno, via Bangor and on to the island of Angelsey. Caernarfon and it’s Castle also well worth a look.

From Caernarfon you can either, if time allows, head down the Coast roads of Wales to Porthmadog, Barmouth and Dolgellau and onwards to Cardigan, St David and Tenby. To return east via Swansea the M4 motorway and Cardiff eventually reaching the M5 motorway. Alternatively, from Caernarfon you could return to Bangor and pick up the ancient coaching road , the A5 and back through Wales via Llangollen and down to Telford. The M54 then takes you east to the M6 for Shakespeare country, Warwick and it’s castle, Stratford upon Avon. Further south you can visit Cheltenham and the Cotswolds villages.

The M6 and M5 can then lead you to The West Country. Devon and Cornwall. I would head for Exeter then the A30 and visit Padstow, Newquay, St Agnes and Chapel Porth beach (at low tide !). Falmouth and Mevagissey also a must but you are spoiled for choice for towns, villages and Harbours to see.

On my run back to Dover, I would head for Portsmouth for it’s museums and naval history.

Yes ! a monster tour. Why not pick out some areas of particular interest and cut it down to size ?
What do you think Stefaan?

More about Angelsey, Ynys Mon, North Wales

30 Nov

penmon priory angelsey dot info

This fabulous photo, attributed to Phil Evans (see ) shows Penmon Priory Church which dates from the 5th Century. I cannot believe that in all the years we have visited this lovely Island we have never visited the Church. After seeing this picture, it is an absolute must see ! The website is so very interesting!
I am awaiting my wife’s return from London where she is Christmas shopping with my daughter. (my wallet is screaming already………) I hope that she is getting me an MP3 type player to plug into my restored Aux Port on the Kamper!

Another photo from the website

beaumaris castle street 1960s

This picture of Castle Street, Beaumaris dates from the 1960s. It mirrors some of my earliest memories of the island when I first visited all those years ago. It took a long time to reach the island from the Potteries. The 100 mile trip was made at 25 to 35 mph (?). My dad’s trusty Ford Prefect (registration NOL244) would perhaps max out at about 45mph on a good day. The NV200 , yesterday easily coped with cruising at 70 mph (and more…..) and used considerably less fuel in the process.
As an aside, I ran really low on fuel. The second warning beeper came on. The Shell garage I used had ran out of “standard” diesel and so I reluctantly filled up with Shell V-Power Nitro+ , the higher “RON” fuel. I have to say that the engine did seem to run even smoother than usual and: did it feel a little more responsive too ??? I am checking fuel consumption to compare with the standard RON diesel that I normally use. This is no “smoke and mirrors” product. It is based on pure chemistry, physics and engineering. It will provide a beneifit but is it worth paying the extra? I hope to see for myself. Hopefully on the way to Ynys Mon !

Diesel Particulate Filter. Anyone had problems ?

27 Nov

diesel particulate filter

I have previously been running a 2009 1.6 Tdci Fiesta (and still am , currently) without any problems concerning the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). Our NV200 is euro 5 spec and has six speed gearbox which means the engine is spinning over pretty slowly even on the motorway. I have also been driving in an economical fashion albeit on mixed local and motorways. The big question is, am I doing more harm than good? Am I allowing unburnt deposits to build up in the DPF and laying the path towards a big repair bill at some point in the future? Have you had any problems with your NV200’s DPF? Please comment and let us know if you have. Some motoring organisations recommend a few intermittent high engine revs in lower gears to clear the DPF. The AA reports lots and lots of issues with DPFs on their website but not necessarily with Nissan or NV200 models.

More about keeping warm

26 Nov

wasabi hot sauce

Apart from hot food and drinks (the sauce is available from Amazon) , keeping the insulated panels for the cab firmly in place is a good idea. The original suckers , which came with the universal kit from ebay, used to fix them in place turned out not to be as effective as first thought. Fitted much more functional ones to all the insulated window “blinds” today and wired them in place with plastic coated wire. I reinforced the “bubble” type sheets with heavy duty duct tape where the sucker mount pins fitted and the additional fixing wires were pushed through the material. Each pad now has 4 fixings , one in each extreme “corner” and they work much better. Much more like a sat nav fixing now than a cheap Christmas decoration. Quite a bit of work but we now have a fully functioning set for the cab and rear door glass. My wife is planning to line the curtains next for those very cold winter nights. We also plan to fit a cross cab curtain behind the seats for privacy when the porta-potti is needed for a quick comfort break in daylight hours


Now much more secure method of fixing. Should keep the van cool on those hot sunny days in France too

‘allo ‘allo ! A Japanese conversion from Rinei

23 Nov

rinei japan nv200

Thought that you would like to see what the Japanese do with the Nv200. I have seen a raising roof version on video but only from a distance. There is also at least one high top version with streamlining but again images not available as yet. Also saw a tiny Suzuki (?) with a slide out and a side hinged raising roof which gave enormous internal space on a tiny wheelbase. The Japanese tend to refer to camper vans as Camping Cars if you want to search for info yourself

Skiing from a Motorhome Anyone?

23 Nov

hire a hymer com

Picture from We can only dry ski after practicing on our local municipal slope. We have never skied on snow. I do know that lots of people take a motorhome to the slopes. Are you one of them? Please comment below. With all the equipment and clothing plus the need to have a “garage” for somewhere to dry stuff out, I cannot see anyone skiing from a campervan? Or do you know differently. Surely somebody has broken the mould and taken a VW Bus to the ski slopes. Let us know.

harrogate motorhome hire alpe d'huez

This photo is from Harrogate motorhome hire and shows motorhomes larger than the NV200. (Andy Wild , are you reading this? Why not comment?)

New destination and some nostalgia.

21 Nov

newborough forest

Just phoned a dear old friend and made arrangements to call in to see him and his wife. They live near Bangor, North Wales. We have another new friend there too. These folk are not in the bloom of youth, shall we say, but they put us to shame. At 80 years old our first friend has just completed yet another project, replacing the lead in the numerous (Welsh….. ) valleys on his complex cottage roof. The other, newer friend climbs mountains and flies an airplane. Not to be confused with our other acquaintance from Tennessee who flies daily in his home made plane. He’s about 80 years old too !
Bangor is just across the Menai Straits from our favourite Island, Angelsey. I have been going there since I was a very young boy when we camped in an old army tent from a Ford Prefect. Newborough Forest is a must for us with our bikes as per the photo above which shows one of our previous motorhomes ( Excalibur on Talbot Express) and my late parents’ much loved Bedford CF Orlando.

bedford cf camper brew up

What better way to have a cuppa ! Pic shows my late mother brewing up for my father somewhere in Europe. ” Make us a cuppa Char , Ma !”

Motorhomes and campervans provide for the perfect base to make you own memories. Great Fun.

jack moffat

This photo shows my younger brother in 1974 on the beach in Red Wharf Bay, Angelsey. The sleeping gentleman is the late Jack Moffat, known as “Moff” to his friends. He did not take fools lightly and my brother would have had one massive shock if he had actually dumped that stuff on Moff’s head. He was a very capable and practical man. He taught me to repair cars when I was aged just 12 years old. His patience and faith in me has put food on our tables for years when times were hard. A giant of a man despite his shortness of stature! Still missed

Back from the Lakes today.

18 Nov

stickerbomb com

After breakfast, we packed up the van and set off down the “A” road from Glenridding to the M6 motorway at Penrith. The motorway was free running to around the Preston turnoff then volume of traffic picked up and speed dropped from around 60 mph to 50 to 55 mph but running freely. At the Penrith end of the motorway we had averaged about 43 mpg with a warming engine. At the end of the 2 1/2 hours trip we averaged just over 60 miles per gallon overall. The engine is now run in at 1850 miles and we had half a tank of diesel onboard, two people and full campervan equipment. Very pleased with this to say the least. Not setting point to point times on fire, I admit, but what economy ! It will be interesting to see what we can achive once the cruise control is retro-fitted


Lakeland circular tour

17 Nov


Did a circular tour today. Pic shows us parked up above Lake Windermere. We started close to Aira Force Waterfall and headed off through Glenridding towards Bowness on Windermere (Lake Windermere). The pass over the fells was fairly narrow. The leaves are still on most of the trees. Browns, reds and orange abound.
A low mist came down over Windermere but we enjoyed shopping and walking around town. The Lake was very still and mirror flat. When we left for Ambleside, with mist above the water we expected to see Gollum eating a fish on a rock in the water, but he did not show up ! The peaks past Grasmere added to the “Lord of the Rings” atmospherics

windermere mist

There appeared to be a well attended cycling “fest” centred on Grasmere and traffic was slowed to accommodate the fit cyclists using the Keswick road. We parked on the long term carpark in Keswick and bought Christmas gifts , some decaff coffee grounds and a couple of National Geographics from the Oxfam shop. A late lunch in Keswick and we then headed off back through Troutbeck to again pass Aira Force to Glenridding village. Yesterday we saw a German motorhome wild camping in Ullswater. Today we saw a VW campervan and another motorhome wild camping, this time just off Forestry Commission land.

Ullswater, Cumbria. It’s lovely here !

16 Nov

Picture Malfunction:

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Following last minute changes to the last minute changes !!!!!!!! ( am I turning into Mr McGoo or Victor Meldrew ?)

Just had a short drive out alongside Ullswater. The weather is dry and fairly bright. The scenery breath taking.
We got 57 mpg on the way up cruising just under 60mph due to volume of traffic on the M6. Almost ran into a “shed” load of huge plastic drainage pipes from a Highways Maintenance flatbed. It fell right in front of us. You Know who you are Knumb skull ! Bloody dangerous and very fortunate no-one injured. It’s a good thing that the truckers behind the loose load reacted so quickly to warn others.
Had lunch not far from Aira Force Waterfall (shown above). Nowhere near as exciting as the picnic with Paul and Kate but tasty and warm. There is a chill wind. The camper gets warm quickly and stays oh so comfy even with the roof up. Have not had to set the heating above about 1/2 setting and that gets too warm.

We can feel our batteries recharging. A break up here is highly recommended. Oh, try the American Pale Ale at the Glenridding Hotel. Hoppy with a grapefruit finish. The Ale, not the Hotel !