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About Blackhart

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  • Towcar
    L200 Barbarian
  • Caravan
    Swift Conqueror 530

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  1. Awnings are great for putting your coats and boots in, especially in wet weather, they help keep the caravan interior clean and clutter free. If you are away for longer trips they are just about essential. We have 3 which we use depending on what sort of trip we are on. 1. Lightweight Suncamp porch awning. Easy and quick to erect, can be taken down wet as it is easily dried. Lightweight to carry and store, can be erected by one person. Used for short stays (long weekend etc.). Can be used as a porch awning over the door or on the offside as storage. Cost new, about £120.00 2. Kampa Rally Pro 330 air awning. Simple and quick to erect, but a 2 person job, quite heavy but no heavier than the equivalent pole awning (taken as a unit awning plus poles). Bulky to store, ours travels in the back of our truck. No forgetting poles. Brilliant in really windy weather. Used for stays of 7 days +. Cost less than £500.00, secondhand in 'as new' condition. Plenty of space inside for storage and sitting/eating in. We have the electric pump (recommended). Needs to be dry when taken down. 3. Isabella Shadow 5m Sun Canopy. Very quick and easy to erect by one person (less than 5 minutes) and quick to get down if it gets too windy. We purchased this for our Morocco trip (photo shows our set up at Marrakesh) and it was a great success. We use this in conjunction with the Suncamp lightweight porch awning if needed. Cost £250.00 (new) So, total cost of less than £900.00 we have all bases covered. BH
  2. Yes, three years ago we were booked into the Culloden Moor C&CC site for Christmas as both daughters and families were for a change having their Christmases with in-laws. Just a couple of days beforehand there was a severe snowstorm with high winds and roads blocked with drifting snow. The police were advising essential travel only and the Traffic Scotland website was also advising no travel unless absolutely essential. We therefore had to reluctantly cancel. To cope with Christmas dinner in the caravan we (SWMBO) had stocked up with Aunt Bessie's Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes etc, and we had a 'cook in its wrapping turkey roll'. We sat cosily at home and had a lovely, easy to prepare and little washing up Christmas dinner looking out at the foul weather and deep snow! So, I'd say book it and hope for the best. BH
  3. A couple of winters ago we stayed for two nights at a site in northern Spain (on our way south) and they had 3 amp EHU! It was freezing cold with severe frosts and freezing fog, fortunately our Alde heating running on gas kept us nice and cosy. The electric heating wouldn't even run on 1 KW! BH
  4. I purchased a Reich gauge last year when we went from a SA to a TA caravan. There are versions for both, and I understand that the height of the tow ball is catered for. I prefer it to the spring gauge that I used on my SA caravan. BH
  5. To add my two pennyworth... I don't regard caravanning as a 'cheap' way to holiday, but it can be 'cheaper'. For example we would not be able to afford a 5 to 6 month winter break in Morocco and The Algarve if we had to stay in a hotel and hire a car. Having said that, when you add up the ferries, Euro-tunnel, fuel for a 5,750 mile trek, European road tolls and site fees (albeit much cheaper in Morocco and discounted for long stays in in southern Europe), it still adds up to quite a sum. Then there are the general running costs of the caravan. However, we do have the freedom to come and go as we like, where we like and when we like and each night we return to the cosy comfort of our 'home' on wheels. We didn't take up caravanning until about 6 years ago, so apart from the occasional nights with grandchildren it is usually just the two of us. Whilst staying at a C&CC Temporary Holiday site at Flamborough last year (£8.50 pn) I saw a commercial all singing, all dancing, bells & whistles campsite nearby advertising prices FROM £45.00 for two people! Anyway good luck and welcome. BH
  6. My thoughts were that the current forced closures were not responsible as it seems that most CLs are not a main business. Indeed if the site is closed there are not too many associated costs as most are run by their owners, so no furloughed staff, no extra electricity bills or running costs, apart from cutting the grass. I can understand a large commercial campsite going out of business as they will have a huge'fixed' cost and no income to pay the bills. Perhaps for some it is the final straw if they were thinking of giving it up. It is a shame as we love these small sites. BH
  7. Like many we use both clubs mainly for their CS and CL sites, but what the heck is going on at the CMC? The club magazine this month lists 1 new CL and 33 closures! BH
  8. Yes, and it's not just a quick visit back to the UK, you will need to be out of the EU for 90 days before returning. We are overcoming this by extending our trip to Morocco in 2021 to 3 months plus, then back to Europe for a couple of months. For Morocco you get a 3 month visitor's permit which can be extended to 6 months with the correct paperwork. Last year we went from a single axle caravan to a 7.9m twin axle caravan caravan and I was surprised to find how many sites in Europe state that they do not allow TA units on site. You will also find that often pitch sites in Europe are generally much smaller than in the UK, the average seems to be about 70 square meters. That said however we managed okay and are pleased that we have the TA unit with its extra stability whilst towing and the extra space inside. If you are looking at long term then you may find the larger caravan more comfortable - we did. Oh yes and one of the main reasons we changed the caravan was to get a fixed bed. Good luck. BH
  9. So, anyone fancying a trip to Morocco with their caravan in 2021? We are planning a visit of 3 months, but with flexibility to take in the Coronavirus situation. Having done the trip now we know that we can tow the caravan down to Algeciras and get a ferry across without too much trouble. The decisions come about taking the ferry to Spain, or crossing with Eurotunnel and driving all the way through France. Having a wee dog we need to book well in advance for a pet friendly cabin on the ferry. Taking Eurotunnel we can set off at a moments notice. We will give it a couple of months and reassess the situation with the ferry. If it is still unclear at the end of August then we will opt for Eurotunel. Let's face it, experience tells us that we can drive from the Scottish Highlands to Algeciras in 6 days (well we did it the other way coming back). BH
  10. I carry a combination of 'normal' plastic pegs for grass, rock pegs and screw pegs for harder surfaces. I often use a combination of rock and screw pegs, it depends on the surface. The screw pegs are perfect and quick on some surfaces but on others they seem to churn up the ground rather than screw in. With the three types I'm sorted for all surfaces and they don't exactly take up a lot of room. As for carrying the battery drill I use that for the corner steadies as well. BH
  11. I'll second that, the C&CC managed to get us booked on Euro Tunnel for our dash back to the UK from The Algarve in March. We couldn't get through to the train company directly. BH
  12. The two main things to look at when buying a caravan are damp & layout. Damp you can check with a damp meter but layout can only really be tested by using the caravan. However, your ideal layout may change as the use of your caravan changes, and the only way to find out how your use of the caravan changes is to use it! When buying our first caravan 4 years ago we spent a lot of time visiting dealers and looking at different layouts. We settled on a 4 berth, rear bathroom, side dinette (which converted to a bunk), 'u' shaped front lounge, single axle caravan. We liked the feel of the extra space that we had in the front lounge and compromised with having to make the double bed up each night. For the first couple of years the layout suited us fine, but we found that we were taking longer trips away, then after a trip of almost 6 months I found that the thought of making the bed up every night was just too much. So, after looking again at different layouts we purchased a mid bathroom, end (fixed) bed layout, twin axle, caravan, which really suits us now. But who knows how our needs will change again in the future? Perhaps as we get older we will want a smaller caravan? So, I think that if you can find an older and cheaper caravan that is damp free (they are out there if you look) you can give the layout the ultimate test by using it in earnest. Then after a couple of years you will have a good idea of what suits you at the moment, before investing in a newer and more expensive unit. Good luck in your searching and move to the tin box. BH
  13. Indeed it was, our trip to Morocco was a bit of a comedy as well, which is how the journal got its name! No excuse regarding the cats though. Our German neighbours in Marrakesh took their cat with them (see photo). No problem with dogs either, it's all catered for in the guide section. Photo attached of our wee dogie getting admired in the Medina at Asilah. BH
  14. Thank you for your kind comments. The Road to Morocco is now available in Kindle or generic eBook format so you can read it on your smartphone or tablet. If you have already received the PDF version and would like a Kindle or eBook copy (at no extra charge) please PM me. If you have not already purchased a copy of the book then PM me and state what format you would like. Remember donations to http://www.britishmoroccansociety.org/covid-19/ there is no set price and I do not require to know how much you donated. Thanks again. BH
  15. Like many on here we are in both the C&CC and the CMC. That way we get access to twice as many CS and CL sites and up here in the Scottish Highlands where there are way fewer sites it gives us a better choice. As has been suggested, if you can afford it join both and see what YOU think. This has been debated MANY times on caravan forums, there is no generic answer, there is only YOUR answer. As for the L&L, we purchased one for our new TA caravan last year. Great for leveling and great for changing tyres if you have a puncture. Good luck and welcome. BH
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