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About burstneraddict

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    Over 500 posts

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  • Gender
  • Location
    North of Scotland
  • Interests
  • Towcar
    Toyota Avensis Tourer D4-D
  • Caravan
    Burstner C480 TL

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  1. burstneraddict

    Fortrose Bay, Scottish Highlands

    We were there a couple of seasons ago. The site had just been taken over by new owners and had undoubtedly had a lot of effort put into improving it. It is along the shore with many of the pitches actually shore side. You are looking West towards Inverness so the sunsets can be special. You can easily walk along to Chanonry Point which is the best place to spot the Moray Firth dolphins. From our experience, just before high tide, particularly if there are small ships coming in is the best time for a display. You can make it a circular walk by coming back along the eastern side of the Point as far as the other camp site and then cutting back across. We are not dog owners but it seemed like good beaches and lots of room for them. There is a reasonable selection of shops in Fortrose. Cromarty is worth visiting with a good walk up onto the headland (The Sutors) that gives views over both the Cromarty and Moray Firth. From the headland you can see all the rigs being serviced in the Cromarty Firth and the Cruise Ships visiting Invergordon - worth checking the visit schedules on line.
  2. burstneraddict

    The British Grand Prix Caravan sites

    If you look 6 topics down the page, you will find this already being discussed under Sites near Silverstone.
  3. burstneraddict

    Scottish Holiday

    LTC. You mentioned that you plan to go to Arisaig. I recommend that you book whichever site that you hope to use. The area has become incredibly popular in the past couple of years with all the sites full. Our friends who live there warned us not to come down without booking as we had done in the past. Mentioning weather, we had the most glorious week at Oban in May this year but have gone home early from Arisaig on three occasions when the rain was arriving horizontally and forecast to continue to do so. It is purely a matter of luck as on one of those visits, we had ealier taken the ferry to Eigg for the 3 hours or so that you can spend there and came back sunburnt.
  4. burstneraddict

    Scottish Holiday

    The route that Black Grouse recommends for LTC from Cambridgeshire to Morvich is most definitely the way that I would go. A good tow all the way and the scenery just gets more spectacular. Worth a stop a few miles after Fort William at the Commando Memorial with easy parking with the van hitched and great views. The problem stretch of the A 82 is the 6 miles or so North of Tarbet (note this is not the Tarbet I mentioned in my input above about Durness). Here the road is between the Loch and the rocky hillside with bends, restricted width and difficult to see ahead in parts. It is possible to tow but whenever you meet a lorry or bus, it makes for an uncomfortable moment. Black Grouse's route avoids this stretch and also the traffic in Glasgow. You may wish to route back via Crianlarich and near Killin after you have been to Barcaldine.
  5. burstneraddict

    Scottish Holiday

    I agree with both of the above comments about routing to Durness from Inverness via Ullapool. The road is good twin track all the way to the Kinlochbervie turn off ( it was improved and the bridge built to replace the ferry at Kylescu to improve access to that port). The single track stage is mostly very open with good viewing ahead so not a problem spotting the oncoming traffic. You will not have any problem on that route with timber lorries as there are no trees to harvest and transport. However, whichever route you take, I think you should be prepared to be a little later than 4 arriving but not too much. My computer usually tells me that I average 38 mph towing on the roads up here and you will undoubtedly want to stop to admire some of the views. There is a good layby at the Kylescu Bridge, I would strongly recommend booking as you will be arriving after many of the NC 500 have already stopped for the day. Black Grouse mentions fuel at Inverness, The more practical one with the caravan on is Tesco as Morrisons is towards the centre. Tesco is very easily reached as you take the slip road and roundabout signposted A96 Aberdeen and after less than half a mile take the second exit at the first roundabout on the short stretch of dual carriageway. You have to make an easy U turn into the fuel pumps and either side of the right hand pumps is an easy exit. We invariably top up there when heading North or West with the van on. If you are thinking of shopping at Tesco, I would park in the shopping park rather than the Tesco park as it would be very tight and full - usually lots of spare spots in the shopping area. There are fuel places at Ullapool, Scourie and Durness but the price is invariably high. At Sango Sands, Smoo Cave is worth an explore - the trip in a small rubber dinghy is often full in season but you can see most of it by just peering in. A trip to Cape Wrath lighthouse is interesting. You take a small passenger ferry across the Loch and then an old mini bus ride across the hills to the lighthouse. There is a small cafe there, not much else, but the views and cliffs are stunning. Another day that we have enjoyed is a trip to Handa Island which is a vast bird reserve with Puffins and masses of other sea birds on the incredibly high cliffs. You head back towards Ullapool but turn off before Scourie for Tarbet and take a small rib ferry across to the island. The wardens then give you a briefing and it is a superb circular walk around the island with board walks on any stretches that might be boggy. There is a sea food cafe at Tarbet where we had a memorable lunch. The headland to the North of Durness is well worth a walk for the sea views if the weather is good. I personally would have thought that 7 nights at Durness would be a bit too long, particularly if the weather is not too good. Also from April to Sep, it is very light in the evenings so you have extended days. You may wish to consider having a couple of nights near Thurso and taking the day trip from John o Groats across to Orkney - it is an interesting trip that takes in the major points of the main Orkney Island and an extra experience having come all this way. This would also mean that you see the scenery across the northern coast and down that part of the eastern as well. Wick is worth a visit with an excellent museum near the harbour - there is a Tesco with cheaper fuel just as you reach Wick from the North. Any questions - just ask. It is a super part of the world to visit even with those driving round the NC 500 - the roads have been there for years but only promoted recently.
  6. burstneraddict

    ACSI 2019 Books/Membership

    I ordered mine on Wednesday morning from Vicarious Books (I thought I had already pre-ordered but then I realised that I had forgotten when I read this topic) for £17-50 post free. It arrived in perfect condition on Saturday morning which is excellent service to the North of Scotland.
  7. burstneraddict


    My outbound is £145 which includes a 2 bed inside cabin with double bed: you have to book a cabin for this crossing. My inbound is £397 with the same cabin. I have not included meals in these figures. This time, we will have breakfast outbound and buffet dinner inbound but we have just picnicked sometimes. You can see why I think the outbound is such a bargain as it is not much more than Dover Calais/Dunquerque at a reasonable time of the day. When I looked at Dunquerque or Calais to Dover around my return dates, the ferry would cost me around £120 and we would probably have planned to spend the night on the parking outside the ticket office at Dunquerque. Thus in round terms, it is costing me £250 to avoid the approx extra 350 miles and at least one night's site fees. We still have a 300 mile tow North from Newcastle but it is an easy tow and we should be home by tea time having had an essential shop and lunch at Edinburgh's Ikea. We have found that the long tow home from Dover with M25, M11, A14 and A1, all full of trucks and traffic, a real dampner at the end of what has invariably been a great few weeks wandering around in Europe. I think that avoiding that is worth whatever the apparent extra cost.
  8. For those thinking of using the Newcastle to Ijmuiden ferry in 2019, DFDS are currently running an offer of a 15% reduction and only require a 15% deposit at this stage. The offer currently expires on 26 Nov. What is not mentioned is that the this years offer of caravans being free on Sundays and Mondays up until the end of April appears to apply as well in 2019. I had been trying to decide whether to go with the 15% offer or wait for an announcement on the caravan free offer and finally decided to book anyway. Imagine the pleasant surprise when I booked a Sunday evening crossing in April and discovered no charge for the caravan and 15% off. The pleasure was reduced somewhat when I discovered the price of the caravan for the return journey in June. Luckily, we are flexible on return dates and so could look at various dates and choose what appeared to be the cheapest sailing nearest our planned return. Towing from the North of Scotland, this crossing, with the bargain of the outward leg, makes much more sense than the additional mileage and time to Dover. I did consider coming back via Calais - Dover but decided that the saving was not worth the effort of towing an additional 500 miles at the end of a trip to Italy.
  9. burstneraddict

    Beware in Italy !!

    Mr Plodd, Thank you very much for the warning. We are off to Italy next Spring for about 10 weeks and hopefully will spot the signs before we get bitten. It is a trip down memory lane as we spent 3 years living in Italy some 30 years ago and want to visit old haunts and see how the country has changed. We toured all over with our first Burstner and this time will take its replacement, another Burstner. I suspect that the ruins will be older, the food still as good and the crowds in Rome, Florence and Venice very much worse than before and prices much higher. However, if we don't go we will never know. I once had along discussion with a policeman in Vieste who had stopped me for going the wrong way down a one way street as I had missed the sign and was following a local. I was let off without a fine but given a very serious warning which luckily I could understand as it was accompanied by many hand gestures to emphasise the points that my Italian let me understand,
  10. burstneraddict

    Touring Europe post Brexit.?

    The 2 factors that have made travel in Europe so much simpler, the UK never joined: Schengen Agreement and the Euro. Thus, travelling around once on the Continent will probably be still the same but to answer the OP's question, my memory is of slowly driving past border check points and waving the blue passports out of the window. Sometimes, we parked and went through a building to have the passport stamped but in those days there were fewer people travelling and no queues to speak of. Those were tenting days and it may have been different with a van on the back but I think not. Visas are usually only necessary for countries that the UK requires them of citizens who visit here or are used as a tourist tax by countries issuing Visas on Arrival as in Turkey for example.
  11. burstneraddict

    Planning our big one-Slovenia info anyone?

    We went to Slovenia in May 2016 via several days in Austria using ACSI card sites. It was a very simple journey from Villach through the Karawanken tunnel (Toll €7) to Camping Bled . We stopped at a service station en-route for the rapid process of buying a Vignette for Slovenia - price varies with days required. We had been through a similar process just before entering Austria. We pitched in the upper part of CAmping Bled as we found the lower part damp and a bit claustrophobic with trees whereas the upper pitches were out in the open, large and level. The bread man comes up to them every morning. We walked from the van around the Lake which was a pleasant way to see the town and also enjoy the scenery - about 4 miles on good footpaths. We visited an fascinating Bee museum which even had live exhibits flying in and out in a plastic tunnel in the small town of Radovlyica and a small iron industry museum in Kropia. Another day saw us drive the short distance to Lake Bohinj and visit the Dairy museum at Stara Muzina. We also enjoyed a scenic rail journey through the hills from Bled Jezero rail station, close to the campsite, to Nova Goriza on the Italian border. There was time for a superb pizza lunch before catching the train back. The Vintgar gorge is well worth visiting for a 1 mile walk along a gorge on a wooden walkway. We moved on to Ljubljana Resort campsite just to the North of the city. A bus passes the site and takes you into the centre which was an enjoyable visit. On to the small length of coast at Camping Adria near Koper. A busy large site as we were there over the weekend but became much quieter on the Monday. A real mix of a huge industrial port complex and then old fishing villages which were very touristy. Our next site was Camping Menina, near Mozirje in Central Slovenia: lovely site and a great welcome from the English speaking owners. This was a beautiful, scenic mountain area with very few tourists, Robanov Kot is supposedly one of the most beautiful valleys in Europe where we walked up and back and the Solcava panoramic drive along the crest of a line of hills is a spectacular circular route which descended back down to let us visit the Rimka waterfall. We also visited a forestry museum near the campsite, a leather museum in Sostanj and on to Valenj for a mining museum where you can go down the mine - only school groups on the day we were there but Valenj has the biggest statue of Tito in the world. We moved the short distance to Camping Terme at Ptuj for one night to visit this very pretty, olde worlde, town. Camping Terme is opposite a hotel and we had the unusual experience of checking in to a campsite at the front desk of a 4* hotel as the campsite reception is only manned in high season. As well as wandering around the old town, we drove to visit the Ethnographic Outdoo Museum at Rogatec: a very good example that you walked from house to house or barn to mill to see what life in rural Slovenia had been. We were glad that we made the effort to drive there. We then headed North back into Austria having really enjoyed our time in Slovenia, particularly visiting the central parts and the many lovely little museums of rural life. You will enjoy the coast more in Croatia but we highly recommend inland Slovenia,
  12. burstneraddict

    Built in Battery charger?

    I once had problems with my mover and suspected everything from the hand controller battery to the connections and it turned out to be a failing battery. That is where I would start looking based on my experience.
  13. burstneraddict

    Looking for inspiration

    We have used a sun canopy rather than an awning for the past 12 years and it makes life so much easier. One word of warning though, you have to keep an eye on the weather forecast for wind as it obviously gets under the canopy and however good your guys are will quickly lift the poles out of the ground. If going off site, we often take ours off the poles but leave the guys loose but still on the pegs and it only takes a minute to put it up again: once bitten etc.
  14. burstneraddict

    French toll roads ?

    It is very easy as described above. Using a credit card is much simpler than cash but make sure that you have one that does not charge for each foreign transaction as on some toll routes you can go through a number of toll booth stations on not too long a journey. When using a credit card, you are not asked to input your pin . If you have problems and the booth is not manned, there is a speaker grill and you can usually get an operator who speaks English if you ask.
  15. burstneraddict

    German caravans

    Given my moniker, you can guess what type of caravan I have. We bought out first Burstner a 440TK Club (our second caravan) in 1987. It was in german specification bought second hand less than 2 years old from someone in the RAF who had bought it whilst serving in Germany but his wife did not enjoy caravanning in Scotland. We simply fitted our kettle, toaster and extension lead etc with german plugs and rapidly adapted to having the door on the other side. The design with two bunk beds shut off with a sliding door suited us perfectly as it gave our young children and ourselves privacy from each other. Like most continental vans, there was no oven or grill only a 3 ring hob and the electrics really depended on being on EHU as it used small batteries for storage rather than a large car/leisure type. That said, we often used CLs in the summer as the batteries fed the lights and the water pump. Over the 20 years we owned the van, we toured the continent from Greece to Portugal and found that we could readily get spares from local dealers. One year we even called in at the factory which was then in Wissenbourg, in France but on the border and had some minor parts renewed. Moreover, the factory would send us spares wherever we were (not that we needed many - a toilet window and door handles come to mind)- sometimes via a local dealer. We eventually sold the van privately in 2007 after some 346 nights spent in it (we had some long periods when we did not use it) and our loss/depreciation over the 20 years was £2150. We only sold the van in 2007 as we wanted to upgrade to fixed beds and many of the fittings were beginning to show their age and were becoming brittle. The only van that really met our ideal was another Burstner - a Ventana 480 TL - but this one had been partly fitted to UK spec for Barrons. It has UK sockets and a UK leisure battery. We bought it from the Barrons dealer near Darlington, shortly before Barrons went out of business. It was their display model and about 15 months old and I got an excellent deal paying a great deal less than I would have paid for a UK van at that time. Again there is no oven or grill and we never use the shower which is in the toilet room but we really like the fixed single bed design and the quality of all the fittings. We have now had this Burstner for over 11 years and it still looks in excellent condition both inside and out. The few small spares items that I have needed have either come direct from the factory or via a dealer in southern England. We called in at the factory across the Rhine from Strasbourg when we were en route to Slovenia to have a new front window fitted as the old one had become slightly hazy but other than that we have enjoyed just under 500 nights in it with no problems. We fitted a mover so that, if necessary, we can go in nose first if the site requires it for spacing but we have never experienced any problem with having a continental side door. With the longer A frame it is very stable to tow. The internal water tank is easy to fill and top up and we have no aqua roll and waste master to drag around. Moreover, with everything internal, we have used the caravan in the winter with the temperature well below zero. From my experience, and it is alluded to above, many of the continental caravan companies are linked and use the same parts. We have found that this really helps if you want a small spare part as the dealers often have them in stock or can readily order one. As about 60% of our nights in the van are spent on the continent, it seems more sensible to have a van from there rather than have to rely on getting any spares if needed sent out from the UK. However, spares have never been a consideration as the build quality and reliability that we have experienced has been excellent. We have looked around at caravan exhibitions but always think that the UK vans have lots of stuff fitted that we would never use which increases their weight and cost. When we come to change our Ventana, I suspect that we will undoubtedly look for another continental van but that is probably many years away.