Currently holed up in Carnfunnock on our very first trip, long winded but here you go:
Didnt start well:
running late leaving home last Friday, got the caravan packed, car packed, caravan off the drive (awkward location!) and checked the tyres etc before hitching up. So far so good. At this point it was time to test the lights, being the sensible sort of chap I like to let others believe.
Just to help set the scene, the previous owner had suffered a lighting cable to tarmac moment, and repaired this with electrical tape and not much else. My dad being an electronics engineer done a sterling job of soldering it all back together, heat shrinking the cable etc and making it as good as new again. Back to the awkward driveway - the caravan is parked nose up so no way of connecting the car to test. ......so you would assume that when I did come to Friday and the 'cursory light check before hitting the road' showed that only the indicators worked that the wiring fix hadn't exactly gone to plan. ....
. ...and you would be wrong as I traced it to a blown in line fuse for the towbar electrics, phew!
So onto the road, taking it easy and I have never checked my mirrors so much in my life. Fairly teaches you to read the road well ahead having the van on the back but on the whole the car coped pretty well. Made sure all the heavier stuff was in the car which probably helped.
Arrived at the site around 3, weather was nice and we couldn't wait to get set up. Lots of other more seasoned looking caravanners hanging around sorting their vans out, so I am embarrassed to say I chickened out of reversing the van onto the pitch. .....in my defence the EHU point is in the centre of the pitch between the caravan and car and I had visions of hitting it!
Anyway a couple of other caravanners came over and helped me push the van up, which in a way was a good icebreaker! Got plenty of tips from them and made feel very welcome.
So caravan parked, time to get level. Side to side was dead on, nice flat pitch but I had overdone winding down the jockey wheel when lifting the van off the towbar so front to rear the caravan looked ready for take-off. ...spirit level on the floor with the door open managed to get nice and level.
Corner steadies down, EHU cable plugged in, waste water plumbed in and time to sort the fresh water!
Thankfully there was a tap for each pitch on the EHU post as we don't have one of those fancy aqua roller things, just an old fashioned big clear container. So filled that and dropped in the pump.
Into the caravan and everything switched on to find the water pump worked. .........constantly!
Traced this to a dodgy micro switch in the bathroom, turning the hot tap on a touch cured it (not enough to let water flow) I'll fix that one properly when I get home.
Back outside to put the awning up and I noticed water under the caravan where the fresh water goes in - on further investigation the filter is cracked enough to let water flow out when the pump is running. Another thing to throw on the list but I guess I should have bought a new filter given they are only a tenner, just slipped my mind!
On this site there is a second, smaller concrete hard standing to form a base for your awning and this is where the next adventure appeared - the concrete base is great, providing you don't have a small porch awning that is just smaller than the concrete meaning nowhere to peg the sides. ......got round that but it left the awning looking a bit out of shape but it was solid!
As an aside we have a sunncamp swift porch awning and whilst small we were pretty impressed with it. Only a couple of poles and only took 20mins to put up.
Our youngest then decided to become a bit sick and run down, and spent most of the first two days clinging to my wife (he is only 1) meaning she hasn't had much of a break. The other two have had a blast, brilliant park up here and a big grass hill behind our pitch they can run about on.
Few days later and here we are - wind so bad the awning had to be packed away before it headed home by itself! Not the only ones either, couple of other campers hastily packing theirs up at the same time! It's got very cold but our wee oil filled radiator is keeping us toasty, kids are all asleep and there is cake and tea in front of me.
Heading home tomorrow but we are ready for it as the weather has got very horrid up here, plus we are surviving on a camping stove and a microwave - I have another post on here about issues with our carver gas fire, further investigation by myself found a leak at the hob as well. We didn't have the time to get it sorted professionally before we left so it's been a gas free caravan for obvious reasons! Will be all sorted before we go away again (in may so hopefully better weather!)
Friends of ours recommended taking a notepad and writing down anything you would bring next time, and it's been a good idea as pottering round the caravan lots of little things pop into our heads and now we have a list as long as my arm. I'll maybe post it up if it's of any use to newbies, or if people want to add to it and create a mega list!
Incidentally the same friends had to abandon their first trip of the season today after the wind in portrush tore down their brand new full awning, and scattered their belongings around the site they had the misfortune of being on a very exposed site.
Final thoughts - emptying a portaloo and getting up close and personal with your children's 'output' is an experience, wifey and i have been using the toilet block for the more serious visits but try telling a 3 year old to "hold it in till we walk down to the shower block" - ain't gonna happen! . .......watching with envy other people effortlessly pulling along their wastemaster while you struggle with an old fashioned black container is another experience. .....caravanners are mostly friendly helpful people. ......my wife misses her dressing gown (I did tell her to bring it).......and kids love caravans!
Must get some pics up, looking forward to the summer weather now!