It’s 15 years since we bought our first motorhome and we have enjoyed so many adventures travelling in the UK and mainland Europe.
1996 – we hire our first van
We decided to buy a motorhome after two very enjoyable trips in hired motorhomes. We hired our first motorhome in 1996 from one of the few organisations hiring back then, and we hired an A Class motorhome, a Pilote Galaxy.
We travelled to Berwick to pick up the van. It wasn’t the best start for us, the water tank leaked, and no hose pipe was supplied. We spent the first night at the Caravan and Motorhome Club (CMC) site at North Berwick where we bought a hose pipe and got to know the van. Meanwhile, what water we put in was slowly leaking away. After that we went to other club sites starting at Grantown-on-Spey, Kinlochewe, Morvich and finished the tour at Edinburgh.
2003 – we hire our second van
It was another seven years until we hired another motorhome – our cottage holidays were becoming expensive.
We travelled to Preston where one of the dealers was offering a “try before you buy”. We hired a Autosleeper Vivanti V4S, which had a rear kitchen, bathroom, side dinette and side sofa which made up into a huge king size bed. The dealer had pre-booked a tour for us staying at the CMC sites Meathop Fell, Troutbeck Head, Hawes and Wharfedale. We took our four year old Westie Katie with us and soon realised she was enjoying the trip as much as we were.
Katie in the Vivanti
2003 – we buy our first van
We came back from the trip and started looking at the motorhomes on the dealer’s forecourt and really liked a Autocruise Vista.
It was short enough to fit on our drive but spacious inside. We came home, the very next weekend went to our local branch of the dealership where they had a two year old Vista for sale. It didn’t take us long to decide to buy. We had some great trips in the Vista including a two week in Scotland where we took it on the ferry to Orkney.
By 2006 we had enjoyed some wonderful trips in the Vista but we now had two Westies. With ill heath approaching, Jenny’s parent’s were unable to care for Katie’s sister Bonnie, who came to live with us. Also, with their ill health we often could not be away from home for any length of time or distance.
2006 – we buy our second van
The Vista bed was getting too small for the four of us, so we went to Heart of England at Weedon and fell in love with their display model – a new Autocruise Starfire.
It had twin sofas making up into a nice big bed. On November 5th, 2006 we traded in the Vista for our first new motorhome. We kept the Starfire for 8 years during which time it took us back to Scotland, down to Cornwall and numerous other weekends away, although we were making less longer trips. The Starfire was kept on our drive at home, so we could take it out for day trips or stay just 5 miles away at the CMC site at Ashwell called Ashridge Farm.
2014 – our third van and that drop down bed
At the NEC 2014 show in Birmingham we had seen a Bailey Approach Compact 540.
We thought the drop-down bed was a great idea, allowing you to have a spacious lounge during the day and at night all you had to do was press a button and the bed would drop down. Things didn’t work out well though – we had numerous problems with the bed not going up or coming down. Bailey replaced the motor and then the fuse blew so we became less and less confident using the bed and less happy climbing up and down the ladder.
The idea of a fixed bed motorhome was getting more appealing.
2015 – our fourth and current van
At the end of 2014, we had lost both of Jenny’s parents, so we moved to a house up north, with a longer drive. This encouraged us to look at longermotorhomes. We went to a local dealer “just for a quick look” and on the way in we saw a Swift Bolero 714SB.
It seemed as if it was just waiting for us and we instantly liked it. It has single beds, a rear bathroom and travel seats so we can take our friends with us on day trips. This is our current van and we love it so much that we have travelled over 30,000 miles in it. Trips to Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Our current Westie Poppy loves the van and meeting up with her Westie friends Konnie, Macy and Bex. We are now retired we can go away more and have the added flexibility as we can tow our VW Up! car behind the van. We take the Up! when we are staying on a site for more than few days or just take the motorhome when we are touring, stopping on site for just one or two nights.
If you’d like a tour of our current Motorhome see the video – https://youtu.be/0LEHeROBe3I
We have had a brilliant 15 years since we bought our first motorhome, so glad we hired before we bought, that convinced us that we loved motorhoming. Even now, we still find it great that we can drive to a supermarket, stock up the fridge and cupboards straight from the trolley and head off on another trip. We love the flexibility it offers; taking us to so many different places, meeting up with friends in what is a great “home from home”. We always have everything with us.
This year we’re excited to be planning trips to: Scotland, Harris and Lewis, Cumbria, Northumbria, Cotswolds, France, Luxembourg, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium. We’ll be at the various caravan and motorhome shows at Manchester, NEC, Harrogate and Peterborough.
Hope to see you on our travels!