After waiting for over 4 months since we put our deposit down on our new 2019 Buccaneer Aruba, the day was set for delivery, February 1st 2019. We were really looking forward to it.
Mrs CD decided it would be a great idea to book a site local to the dealer for two nights. The Friday and Saturday. That would give us a great opportunity to fully test the caravan and get to grips with everything in close proximity to the dealer. Just in case.
Great idea. Booked.
Key facts. This was our FIRST caravan. EVER.
I had only towed ONCE before. Two weeks ago at the Manchester Caravan show for 20 minutes dragging a small van with a Volvo around the Trafford Centre. Literally to try to get a feel for it. No issues. All good. Still never hitched a caravan up though. Never used E&P levelling. Never used Motor Movers. Nothing.
Arrived at the dealers on Friday at about 12pm. Car packed with everything we needed for the weekend. The plan was to have a detailed handover, get the van set up at the site and then Mrs CD would drive the 70-odd miles back to West Yorkshire to collect the 14 year old Daughter, after she returned home from school, and the Dog and drive back to the site for our two night adventure.
In the week leading up to the Friday we watched the forecasts VERY closely and the snow that had been forecast on and off for a number of days, looked like it had hit the South and the North of England looked clear and would miss out on the white stuff for the weekend. Wrong.
It started snowing quite heavily during the handover process at Catterick, but wasn’t lying so didn’t seem too bad. After a few more hours, around 2:30pm we decided that we would pospone until another weekend and left the dealership after 90% of the handover was completed.
We decided to take the 10 minute detour to the campsite on our way home to see what it was like . Scar Close in Hudswell. Nice little CL. Great spot hardly any snow. Perfect.
Sod it we thought let’s go and get the van. Called the dealer and said “get everything ready” we ARE taking it this afternoon.
We literally rushed through the final bits, paid the balance on the Caravan and hooked up and left the dealership at 4pm. We knew we had to get to the site in 15-20 minutes to give ourselves 40 minutes of final day light to get it all set up. Remember, we’ve never done this before. First time.
Driving with the MASSIVE van for the first time. How was that? Good. All good. It felt fine. I was very focused and careful but I was okay with it. Taking it easy.
As we came into the centre of Richmond Sat Nav was trying to take us down a road we didn’t like the look of. I drove past to get to the next option, but in the confusion Sat Nav had re-routed to take us around a loop and back down the original road. I turned right up a hill to follow the re-route. BIG mistake. As we climbed higher and higher, We had to stop to take stock. The next right hand turn was way too tight and steep to attempt. We couldn’t turn right. We couldn’t go back. No room to turn around. The only option was straight on. In a hope to find a turning point.
After another 5-10 minutes of climbing on what was now a narrow country lane and in at least 4-5 inches of snow covering the entire road, narrowly missing a rogue Pheasant running across the snow covered road, we had to stop again. We let a car past us and asked if there was anywhere further up that could enable us to turn this massive rig around. “Yes, follow me” said this chap, “There’s a t-junction half a mile further up this road”. Great, Tried to set off, no chance, even the Range Rover Sport was having none of it. Spinning out and even in Snow and Gravel mode; No chance. Every time I tried to get going the car was sliding and the caravan was starting to drag us back down the lane. Job was knackered. Snow was now coming down VERY heavy and it was starting to get dusk. It was about 4:30pm.
Mrs CD had a great idea. Unhook it, and turn it on the Motor Movers. Then get the car past and hook it back up. Go back down the lane and find our way. Great idea Mrs CD! That's what we did. My very first time of unhitching and using the motor movers was in the dusk, in heavy show and on a hill covered in snow. What a baptism of fire. I mean really?
At this point the adrenaline had kicked and I went into survival mode, or Bear Grylls mode. The motor movers were FANTASTIC. I mean they really saved us that night. The drama continued quite a while as I was assisted by a few very kind locals in getting the caravan turned and re-hitched.
We made it back down and through Richmond and by the time we got to the site, the snow was VERY heavy and we had about 6 inches on the ground. Enough to cover your foot when you walked in it. Oh and by this time it was pitch black outside. We arrived on site at 5:20pm. After leaving the dealer at 4pm 10 miles away!
By 7pm everything was up and running. First time. I set off to do the journey back to West Yorkshire to collect the Daughter and Dog. Arrived back to the site at 11pm (delayed slightly after the A1 was shut due to an accident!) and opening the wine. Mrs CD had set up all the new bedding, put all of the cutlery and crockery away and made our new home 100% ready.
You couldn’t write it. But we did it. What an introduction.
WE LOVE IT. We love our new found adventure. We love our new caravan. Although it was dropped back at the dealers on Sunday to get some snagging sorted and we collect it again next weekend.