An Introduction…

Who are we?

Hello! We are Karla and Stephen, a young couple from Dorset, UK. We met at school and have been putting up with each other since we were 14 (I know, I deserve a medal!).

But we are not your average 24 year old couple. I have a genetic condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) which means that all of my muscles are weak and I need an electric wheelchair to get around, you may think this holds us back but we’ve never allowed my disability to stop us doing what we want to do, we might just simply have to do things in a slightly different way.

Both Stephen and I have always been adventurous and love being outdoors, spending most of our free time going for scenic walks/rolls and exploring new places.

So when he suggested we get a caravan I thought it was a great idea. He had caravanned with his family as a child so it wasn’t too much of a drop into the ocean and we had a basic understanding of what it entailed. The caravanning lifestyle appealed to us in many ways, not only does it give you great spontaneity and freedom to explore the whole of Europe but it would eliminate the hassle of finding wheelchair accessible accommodation, because we’ll be towing our very own hotel-on-wheels behind us everywhere we go.

Why did we decide to blog about it?

Firstly, it’s a great way to keep all of your adventures in one place, like a virtual scrapbook that we can look back on in years to come.

Secondly, it’s a great way to share our experiences and any challenges we face.

And thirdly, our main inspiration for caravanning has come from years of reading blogs/watching vlogs from other caravanners. So if we can inspire even one person to get out and make the most of every day, then we’ll be doing something amazing.

Now I think that concludes our first ever blog post, thank you for reading! I’m sure you’ll hear from us again very soon.


Featured post

Our Scotland Tour, Part 5- Strathclyde

Day 15

As we started heading south the landscape changed around us, we waved goodbye to the mountains and joined the motorway for the first time in weeks! Surrounded by the unfamiliar sight of buildings, people and traffic, it was clear we were no longer in the highlands.

Although we were missing the scenery already there was still plenty more adventure to be had and we couldn’t wait.

Late afternoon we arrived at our last campsite north of the Scottish border- Strathclyde Country Park, in Glasgow. At a great location for exploring the local areas and close to the main road, it was ideally situated for the things we wanted to do while we were there.

The site itself was very good, the wardens were friendly as always and the disabled shower room was nice and spacious.

We spent the rest of the night relaxing in the evening sun after popping out to the local Asda for some supplies. It literally was “popping out” as the store was only 3 miles away, and we had gotten used to having to drive at least half an hour to the nearest shop!

Day 16

After a much needed sleep we headed out to Falkirk, and our first stop was the Falkirk wheel. This magnificent piece of engineering connects the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal, lifting the boats from one to the other. We arrived at the perfect time and it sprung into action, a canal boat sailed into the bottom section and the wheel started turning.

We had a lovely wander around and stopped for drinks in the cafe before heading to our next stop, the Kelpies.

Just a short drive away (or a 4 mile walk if you fancy it), sit the two huge horse heads, beautifully sculpted from metal. At 30 meters tall they are the largest equine sculptures in the world!

And with a smooth tarmac path leading from the car park it was a lovely place to go for a Sunday afternoon stroll.

Day 17

Waking up to another gloriously sunny day it was too nice to be leaving Scotland, so we decided to stay an extra night. Making the most of our last day we headed back towards the highlands, and Loch Lomond. We had heard great things about it, so we were looking forward to exploring it more, and on such a perfect day!

Entertaining Stephen with my rendition of “The bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond” as we made our way up the very scenic A82, the journey flew by (although Stephen might disagree).

At the north end of the Loch we found our first stop- The Falls of Falloch. After parking up we made our way along the short woodland walk, with the sound of rushing water getting closer. Suddenly the trees opened out and the waterfall came into view, you’d never know we were literally just off the main road!

It opened out to a lovely seating area and through the trees was a discreet and very wheelchair accessible walkway, leading to a lookout point giving you fantastic views of the waterfall from above.

I could’ve spent ages here just watching the water flow, but it was time to make a move.

Driving back along the edge of Loch Lomond we were treated again to breathtaking views, and passing a few viewpoints along the way we just couldn’t resist stopping. My personal favourite was a carpark with a little walkway to the edge of the Loch. I just love the way the tunnel frames the picture perfect view.

Unsure where to head next we just got in the car and drove, eventually finding ourselves at a place called Loch Lomond Shores. Getting out to explore, we were pleasantly surprised! There was so much more there than we expected, shops, walks, a beach, aquarium, birds of prey and much more- all surrounded by a stunning landscape!

After wandering around the shops and picking up a couple of little Scottish souvenirs we headed back outside to explore. Strolling down the beach the shallow sand meant that I could get my chair down to the shore for the first time in a very long time!

Sitting on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, eating ice cream in the late afternoon sun, things couldn’t get much better. It was a perfect end to our fantastic last day in Scotland.

Our Scotland Tour, Part 4- Morvich

Day 11

By now we were experiencing typical Scottish weather, it would go from rain and hail to sun and blue skies within minutes. This made some of the most spectacular rainbows we’ve ever seen! We were on the road again and couldn’t wait to get to our next stop- Morvich Caravan and Motorhome club site.

Nestled between mountains and close to the Isle of Skye, this site was in a great location for exploring the local areas, and very picturesque!

Not only was this a gorgeous campsite but it had fantastic facilities. Including a good disabled shower room, laundry facilities, a drying room to air out wet gear, and even a lounge with tv, pool table and a cupboard full of games and puzzles!

This would be our longest stop of the trip (4 nights) so we were looking forward to settling in.

After exploring the site it was time for dinner. We didn’t fancy making food in the caravan after our long day travelling, so we headed to Kintail Lodge. Sitting on the edge of Loch Duich this hotel had a cosy traditional pub on the ground floor. Everyone there was really friendly, including their resident dog- Bailey. We enjoyed our food and got chatting with a lovely couple on the table next to us. Coincidentally they were also caravaners and doing a similar tour of Scotland! We ended up talking for hours and they gave us some great recommendations for things to do in the area.

The evening passed us by and before we knew it, it was time to get some sleep ready for the very busy day ahead.

Day 12

Waking up to the tune of “Happy birthday” I was probably (definitely) more excitable than Stephen. It was his 25th birthday and it was going to be one to remember!

We set off mid morning and headed straight for Sconser on the Isle of Skye, where we caught the ferry to the Isle of Raasay. We had heard a lot about this tiny island from a certain caravan vlogger and we couldn’t wait to explore it.

After taking the 25 minute crossing we weren’t quite ready for lunch yet. So we parked up at the ferry port with a gorgeous view across the turquoise water- the perfect setting for opening birthday presents!

By now we were feeling a little peckish so we drove a short two minutes to the beautiful Raasay House. Stephen had wanted to visit this place for quite some time so he was particularly looking forward to it. And we weren’t disappointed! Sitting on the side of a hill overlooking the sea and back to the Isle of Skye, this hotel/restaurant gives you stunning views as you enjoy your delicious food. Stephen had the best battered cod and chips ever and I thoroughly enjoyed their soup of the day.

After our amazing lunch we took a scenic drive up the main road on the island- a single track lane full of twists and turns. It felt so rural, we barely passed a single car, but the views were beautiful.

Our journey took us to a place called “Calum’s Road” which we’ve been particularly interested in the history of- the road is almost 2 miles long and was built by one man with little more than a shovel, pickaxe and a wheelbarrow!

On our way back down we couldn’t resist stopping at Raasay House again for coffee and cake (which Stephen was really impressed with) before going to a local shop to pick up some supplies. It was lovely to meet some of the locals and they were all so welcoming.

Time was getting on now so we headed back to the ferry port, keen to not miss the last crossing of the day. As much as we loved Raasay, we didn’t fancy paying for a hotel room when we had our perfect adventure-mobile waiting for us on the mainland.

Stephen has never been much of a fan of birthdays, but I think after this one he might have just changed his mind.

Day 13

Waking up late to the pitter patter of rain on the roof we had a lovely relaxed morning in the caravan. We didn’t want the ever changing forecast to stop us doing what we wanted so after lunch we went for another fantastic scenic drive, this time up the Wester Ross coast trail to Applecross- specifically a place called Bealach na Ba viewpoint.

The journey there took about an hour but the scenery was so stunning it just flew by! Passing lochs and mountains with perfect little streams running down the side of them we couldn’t wait to get to the viewpoint to see it all from such a height.

As we approached the start of the road up the mountain there were warning signs stating that it was an unsuitable for learner drivers because of the narrow, steep incline and hairpin bends. This just made us more excited!

Ears popping as we started our rapid ascent, the view was getting better and better, until… we reached an altitude of over 2,000 feet and became engulfed by cloud! The temperature instantly dropped to 1c, it started raining ice and the car windscreen was freezing! I’ve heard of being on cloud nine but this was taking it a bit too literally!

Although the view was non existent we had an experience that we’ll remember for a very long time!

As we made our way back down the skies started to clear and we were greeted yet again by amazing views. We took the journey back slowly, stopping often for photo opportunities before heading back to Kintail Lodge for dinner and settling in for the night.

Day 14

So far we had only briefly driven through the Isle of Skye en route to Raasay, so we were keen to explore more of it. We could easily drive over the Skye bridge, but where’s the fun in that when you can take the worlds only remaining turntable ferry?!

We weren’t really sure what to expect but it was worth the £15 just for the experience. The tiny ferry only took a handful of vehicles and we narrowly squeezed our transporter on. As we set off the platform on top of the ferry started turning, giving spectacular panoramic views all around as otters swam alongside us.

It was another gloriously sunny day in Scotland and we were surrounded by more spectacular scenery. You’d think that by now we’d be used to it, that we would have seen it all, but we’d go around another corner and be in awe all over again!

Heading north up the Island we came across a mountain range called The Cullin and we just had to turn around and park up for a while.

After taking yet more photos we made our way to Trotternish Ridge- a dramatic landscape formed by a series of landslips.

The most well known cliff here is The Quiraing, it’s the only part of the landslip that is still moving, requiring repairs to the road below every year. The views here were breathtaking!

We slowly made our way back to the mainland, stopping at various beaches and lochs along the way. This was our last day in the highlands so we wanted to savour every bit of it!

We’d had an incredible time here and were sad to be leaving in the morning, but we still had one more stop to go before crossing back into England. This time we were heading to Glasgow.

Our Scotland Tour, Part 3- Dunnet Bay and Altnaharra

Day 8

Excited for the adventures ahead we hit the road again. We couldn’t believe how lucky we had been so far with the weather and today was no different. Taking the scenic A9 up the east coast we got amazing coastal views on our way to our next stop- Dunnet Bay Caravan and Motorhome club site.

After a 3 hour drive we arrived on site and were greeted yet again by a great view, looking out over Dunnet Bay. Surrounded by grassy sand dunes dancing in the wind we set up and went to explore the campsite.

It was quite a small site but it had a great disabled shower room, it was ‘L’ shaped with the shower cubicle coming off one side, and it was really warm (Which automatically gets my vote)!

Just next to the site was a pathway that lead down to the beach, there were steps at the bottom, but at the top was a fantastic decked lookout area which was perfect for wheelchairs.

Since the weather wasn’t looking as good for the following day and we wanted to make the most of the afternoon, we headed out again. Driving through miles of barren wasteland it felt like we’d been transported to another planet, and before we knew it we were there…

We Dunnet! We had driven from our home on the south coast of England to the mostly northerly point in mainland UK- Dunnet Head. Although this was only marking the middle of our road trip it felt like quite an accomplishment.

After taking the obligatory photo we went for a little stroll down the path to the viewpoint overlooking the cliffs. It was extremely windy but we enjoyed taking in the fresh air as well as the amazing view, before heading back to the caravan to watch the sun set over Dunnet Bay.

Day 9

By now we had travelled over 1,200 miles in just 7 days so we were both ready to have a bit of a rest. We enjoyed a nice lazy morning before heading out to John O’Groats, there we found a little bistro where we stopped for lunch, which was lovely and the staff were really friendly. Wandering around afterwards we came across a quirky little shop called “The Emporium” where they sold loads of handmade things. We couldn’t resist picking up some homemade jam and gorgeous hand painted greetings cards, sold by a lovely gentleman on behalf of his talented wife who had painted them.

We both thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Dunnet Bay, and as usual we could’ve happily stayed for longer. But it was time to start heading south, to our next stop- Altnaharra.

Day 10

As we got closer to our site it gradually got more and more rural, any signs of civilisation got fewer and further between and the roads became even more narrow and bumpy.

After driving to the middle of the Scottish highlands we arrived at Altnaharra Caravan and Motorhome club site, and boy was it worth it! As we pulled into the campsite we were blown away by the view, it was just stunning! Sitting on the Edge of Loch Naver with a backdrop of snowy mountains it was postcard perfect, and the most tranquil place we’ve ever been. All you could hear was the sound of the water lapping up against the rocks and the birds tweeting.

The site itself was quite simplistic, the only facilities being electricity and a service point with water sourced from the stream behind. As usual the wardens were lovely and friendly, they even sold delicious homemade treats in the small site shop- very handy as the nearest convenience store was almost an hours drive away!

Although we could’ve happily sat by the side of the Loch, letting the day roll by, we were only at Altnaharra for one night so we were keen to explore the north west of the highlands that we would otherwise miss out on.

We planned to set off on a little circular driving tour but it ended up lasting hours. Going down the narrow winding roads we felt like we were really in the wilderness, there was nothing but hills and mountains as far as the eye could see and we barely passed a single car. We even caught a glimpse of some wild stags grazing on the hills.

Over 120 miles later we got back to the peaceful campsite, both exhausted after a long day but extremely grateful to have such a perfect place to sleep for the night.

Our Scotland Tour, Part 2- Inverness

Day 5

As we started heading north of Edinburgh the scenery got more and more stunning. We passed streams, lochs, huge forests and snow capped mountains, it was clear we had crossed into the Highlands!

After a 4 hour drive we arrived at Culloden Moor Caravan and Motorhome club site where we would stay for 3 nights. The site was lovely, had good disabled facilities and a great view! To get the most out of this we parked our caravan facing forwards for the first time ever and were surprisingly confused by everything being the opposite way around on the pitch!

Once we’d put the kettle on and settled in we made our way back out again. We had heard that Chanonry Point was the best place to see wild dolphins from the shore and it was only a 25 minute drive from the site so we thought we’d head there, hoping to catch a glimpse. Sitting on the edge of a little Scottish village Chanonry Point sticks out into the sea, giving amazing panoramic views into the Moray Firth and across to Fort George. We parked up and found a pathway that lead down the side of the lighthouse, right to the viewing area on the beach. It was amazingly accessible for wheelchairs! There we sat for over an hour, taking in the fresh air, incredible views and keeping an eye out for dolphins. Unfortunately we didn’t have any luck but we agreed that we’d come back at least once more before our tour took us further north.

Day 6

It was another gloriously sunny day at Culloden Moor, perfect for the adventures we had planned. First we headed to Loch Ness for a boat tour. Only one of the tours started at an accessible port but that wasn’t a problem for us as we just wanted a tour of the Loch. We arrived just in time to board and we were off! There wasn’t a specific place for wheelchair users to sit but because it was such a beautiful day we made our way to the outside area at the front of the boat. It was extremely windy but we certainly had the best view! Our tour took us up to Urquart Castle and back, where we heard interesting information about Loch Ness and the surrounding areas, but my personal favourite part was when our tour guide kept breaking into Scottish folk songs, it just added to the experience.

After a lovely trip on Loch Ness we took a scenic drive to Fort Augustus before heading back to what was quickly becoming our new favourite place- Chanonry Point. It was a lot calmer than the night before, there was little wind, and all we could hear was the sea. Despite not seeing any dolphins for a second night, it was a little piece of perfection.

We watched the sun sinking low in the sky before heading back to the caravan for a peaceful nights sleep.

Day 7

Determined to prove that the dolphins were not like the Loch Ness monster- a total myth. We headed to Spey Bay and the Whale and Dolphin conservation centre. Starting to feel hungry we went straight into the cafe where Stephen had a “blooming delicious” beef, bacon and melted cheese ciabatta sandwich, which didn’t take long to demolish.

At the conservation centre they have specialists who keep a look out for whales, dolphins and other marine life. They’d had two separate sightings that day already, the last being just half an hour before we arrived so if we were going to get lucky, surely now was our chance?!… Nope, I’m pretty sure they saw us coming and hid.

Despite not seeing any dolphins we had a fantastic few days in Inverness and were very sad to be leaving… but we couldn’t wait to see what else Scotland has to offer!

Our Scottish Tour, Part 1- Making Our Way To Edinburgh

We’d dreamt of touring Scotland before we’d even picked up the caravan, so you can imagine our excitement when the time had come. We had booked all the campsites, planned out routes and packed everything we needed. We were finally ready to start this journey.

Day 1

We left on Saturday morning and the sun was shining bright, after a long winter it felt like spring was finally here. There was a 2000 mile road trip ahead of us so we eagerly made our way to our first stop- Chapel Lane Caravan and Motorhome club site. The site was just as lovely as our two previous stays there and it was in an ideal location for a stop over- just south of Birmingham with easy access to the M42.

After a peaceful nights sleep we were feeling refreshed and ready to push further north, our next stop was Englethwaite Hall Caravan and Motorhome club site in Carlisle.

Day 2

One thing I’ve always loved about road trips is that you get to see so many amazing things along the way. This became even more apparent driving up the M6 when we were greeted with the stunning rolling hills of the Yorkshire Dales.

When we arrived on site we were greeted by beauty yet again as a woodland area with daffodils in full bloom led us to the entrance. After a quick set up we took a little stroll around the site and Stephen even made friends with one of the locals!

We both agreed that we could happily spend the week at Englethwaite Hall but adventure awaits, so we spent the rest of the evening relaxing, ready for our exciting day ahead.

Day 3

This was our third consecutive day of hitching up and travelling, so by now we were becoming pros! We left Carlisle and headed straight for the border.

After driving over 500 miles in three days we were pleased to have arrived at Edinburgh Caravan and Motorhome club site. Just as we unhitched the caravan the sun came out, so we had a little wander around. It was a lovely site, the wardens were very friendly and it was in a great location- right by the coast and only a 15 minute drive into Edinburgh city centre.

It was a sunny afternoon and we wanted to make the most of our short time in Edinburgh so we headed straight to the Royal Yacht Britannia. We had heard good things about its accessibility for wheelchairs and were not disappointed! I was able to access every area of the ship and they even offered me headphones for the virtual tour guide device, and a longer neck strap so that it could rest on my lap. We both thoroughly enjoyed learning about the history and seeing inside the grand yacht.

We were wary of the fact that the weather forecast for the following day wasn’t looking so great, so we wanted to take advantage of it while we could. We made our way to Calton Hill and parked on a cobbled side street, then we started the ascend. It was steeper than it looks in the pictures but we made it to the top and the view was worth it!

Day 4

Pleased to be having a day off from travelling we enjoyed a lazy morning in the caravan before heading back out to the city centre. It turned out that the weather forecast was very wrong and it was in fact even better than it had been the previous day. We started exploring Princes Street Gardens, admiring the flowers and of course Edinburgh castle, the sunshine just added to the beauty. Wanting to see the whole city we decided to go on a bus tour, we weren’t sure if I’d be able to see much because wheelchair positions are always facing backwards, but I was pleasantly surprised when we got on and saw that there was a screen in front of the space showing the view out the front of the bus. We heard all about Edinburgh’s interesting history and saw all the main landmarks as we passed through the cobbled streets.

Next we headed to the National Museum of Scotland, we weren’t really sure what to expect but we were amazed by how big it was. There were different areas covering different subjects- science and technology, space, fashion, Scottish history, and my personal favourite- nature and wildlife. We ended up staying in there until closing time.

Heading back to the campsite we decided that the weather was too nice to go back yet, so we took a small diversion to Cramond Beach where we went for a lovely stroll along the promenade as the sun dipped low in the sky. It was just what we needed after a busy day exploring the city and a perfect end to a fantastic stay in Edinburgh.

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open BBQ… Our First Christmas Trip

Mid December and Christmas was fast approaching, with it came the usual festive hustle and bustle so a stay at Longleat Caravan and Motorhome club site was just what we needed.

We arrived on a cold Tuesday afternoon and were informed by the site warden that only one fresh water tap was working because there had been two burst pipes and the rest were frozen due to the -12c temperatures the night before. The site wasn’t busy at all and we drove around to find a pitch, ideally located on the side closest to the safari park as we were hoping to hear some of the many exotic animals housed at Longleat.

After setting up our adventure-mobile we left it to heat up while we wandered around the site. This was the biggest site we’ve stayed at so far and the facilities were great, all of the rooms were easily accessible and the washing up room even had a lowered sink with an empty space beneath it, perfect for wheelchair users!

I was also impressed by the information room, it was a large room with tons of information and a handy lowered desk, which again was really easy to access in my chair.

It was getting dark by the time we got back to our caravan and the background music drifting over from the Longleat festival of light, combined with the twinkling Christmas lights on many of the caravans created a perfect festive atmosphere. The only thing that might improve it would be roasting chestnuts on the BBQ!

After finishing the chestnuts we quickly decided it was too cold to stay outside for a single minute longer. So we packed up and headed inside, where it was a lovely 22 degrees Celsius. The rest of the evening was spent relaxing and looking forward to the day ahead.

We woke up the next morning with the sound of sea lions coming from the lake, it’s not a noise you commonly hear on caravan sites and made you feel like you were somewhere more exotic than Wiltshire.

The last time we went to Longleat was in the summer of 2016, on the most beautifully hot day- this time it was the total opposite, freezing cold and raining. But we weren’t going to let that stop us and we drove the short 2 minutes from the site to the start of the safari. From there we slowly drove around, seeing all kinds of animals, from deer and camels to lions and tigers. They all looked just as impressed with the weather as we were!

We decided against driving through the monkeys this time as we’d previously learnt our lesson. It ended up costing almost £100 in repairs to our old car and we are really rather attached to our VW Transporter – with parking sensors intact!

Just as we finished the safari the clouds parted and a little blue sky started poking through, so we took the opportunity to have a little wander around the park itself before heading back to the caravan for refreshments.

By now it was getting dark so we wrapped up warm and headed out to the Longleat Festival of Light, after a very short walk/roll we were in the centre of the action and were amazed by the atmosphere.

We were whisked away to another world as we came across castles, mermaids, dragons and even a full size horse drawn pumpkin carriage! It was magical and made us feel like big kids.

Once we’d reached the courtyard area we were admiring the huge Christmas tree all lit up when we started to wonder why everyone seemed to be gathered there. Then all of a sudden the lights changed, music started playing, and we realised we’d walked in just in time for the lights show. There were laser lights and a video being projected onto Longleat house, telling a Christmas story.

Until now we’d been very lucky with the weather, but just after the show started it began to rain… and I mean RAIN! We optimistically kept telling ourselves that “it’s just a shower” and “it’ll pass” but it just kept getting worse. We stuck it out for as long as we could but the rain was starting to soak through my jeans, leggings and tights so it was getting very cold! Luckily we’d seen everything we wanted to see, so it was time to head back to the caravan to dry off and warm up. And we got back just in time because as soon as we closed the door it started to sleet heavily!

The rest of our trip was spent with a lovely drive to the city of Bath and cosy nights watching movies in the caravan before we returned home for Christmas.

It was our first ever festive trip in the caravan and it certainly won’t be our last! Despite the weather we both had a fantastic time, the site was great and the festival of light was definitely worth a visit. Just what we needed to get into the Christmas spirit.

The Caravan and Motorhome Show / Chapel Lane- October 2017

After having a few days to recover from our trip to The Purbecks, the Caravan and Motorhome show in Birmingham was just around the corner. We weren’t sure if we’d be ready to camp up there since it was a lot further away and the caravan still hadn’t been adapted for my chair, but after our first trip we were confident it would be fine. The fact that we had left it late before booking a campsite meant that we weren’t likely to find one close to the NEC (National Exhibition Centre), but we were in luck and amazingly found out that Chapel Lane caravan and motorhome club site had some last minute availability!

Day 1

We set off on the Wednesday morning, excited for the trip and of course visiting the NEC show again. It wasn’t long after we’d left when we joined the motorway for the first time with the caravan. We took it easy for a while, taking time to get used to the speed and the air turbulence of the lorries along side us, before having the courage to do our very first motorway overtake. It went smoothly and we carried on our way. The plan was to stop off for some lunch at Warwick services but we drove through the entrance and were intimidated by the sheer number of HGV’s in there, there was little room to drive through, let alone park! So we drove straight back out again and continued on to the campsite, since it was only half an hour further.

We arrived early afternoon and checked in with the site warden, he pointed out the allocated disabled pitches which were close to the toilet block but we opted not to use those as we much prefer to be tucked away in a quiet corner somewhere, plus we like to use our own on board facilities. So we drove around to find our perfect pitch- the far side of the campsite in a quiet corner. Despite the miserable October weather I thought the Chapel Lane site was beautiful, the pitches were on winding lanes nestled between big trees and it had a cosy autumnal feel about it.

Stephen started to set up while I made my way from our pitch to reception (whilst trying not to get lost, directions aren’t my strong point!) to tell the site warden where we were pitched and to get an entrance key. I made my way there in the drizzling rain and arrived at reception where a friendly site warden helped me with the door. There was a smooth ramp up but it had a small lip at the entrance which made my wet wheels slip a little, but I made it in and after a bit of a chat he gave me the site key and I was heading back to the pitch.

When I got back I was pleased to see that Stephen had almost finished setting up and all that was left to do was fetch the water and put up the awning. Luckily this site was a lot less windy and we remembered to bring the rock pegs!

After a quicker and much more straight forward set up we had a lot more time and energy than last time, so we had something to eat and we decided to enjoy the rest of the evening by seeing a film at the cinema. With a strong 4G signal we did a quick google search and found one only 15 minutes away- a Vue cinema in Redditch. It had been a while since we’d been to a cinema and we had a lovely time, although I think Stephen enjoyed covering me in popcorn more than he actually enjoyed the film!

When we got back to the campsite at 10:30pm we heard a noise that we really didn’t want to hear- the sound of a puncture on our Transporter. After hunting around with a torch Stephen found the culprit, a small nail sticking out of the tread. It was pitch black and getting late so we decided this was a problem that would have to wait until the morning. So we kept the nail lodged in the tyre in the hope that it would stop it from going down too much and we headed inside to sleep, ahead of the busy day planned tomorrow.

Day 2

We woke up the next morning to the sound of raindrops on the caravan roof, it was quite a soothing sound until we remembered that Stephen had to go out and change the wheel before we could go to the NEC. Luckily our Transporter comes with a full sized spare, although he was not impressed that we had to go around with one odd wheel that didn’t match his beloved alloys. The rain seemed to get heavier as he went out to make a start and I definitely wasn’t teasing him by smiling and waving from inside the warm, dry caravan (okay maybe a little!).

With the Transporter ready to go we made our way to the NEC. From Chapel Lane it was only a short 20 minute drive so we made it in good time and were directed straight to the disabled parking spaces- still a little walk/roll to the entrance but it was the closest car park and the weather was clearing up. Although there is a drop off area right outside the entrance that has come in handy in previous years when the rain has been a lot heavier.

We’ve been to the show a few times before but we are always astounded by the size of it when we go inside, there are 11 huge halls full of caravans, motorhomes, awnings, information stalls and any accessory you could possibly want.

After picking up a map we made our way into one of the halls, the very first stall we came across was giving out information about Valencia, which happens to be one of the places I’m most keen to visit. So we picked up some brochures and carried on, gradually making our way to the live theatre in anticipation for the talk on Bailey’s Arctic Adventure. We were really excited to see this as we’d followed their journey when they did it and couldn’t wait to hear all about it from them in person. The talk didn’t disappoint and made us even more determined to do our own arctic adventure one day. It really proved that caravans are so versatile and can be used in any climate! We were thrilled when Simon Howard and Lee Davey came to introduce themselves to us after their talk and we look forward to hopefully catching up with them at future shows.

We then continued wandering around, picking up many brochures, leaflets and magazines, and even some free pens from the caravan and motorhome club stand (because who doesn’t love a free pen!) The main things we wanted to look at were awnings and mattress toppers as we only got a cheap awning which we wanted to upgrade in the future and the bed in our caravan was a little too firm for my liking. After this it was time for the YouTubers meet up, arranged by some of our favourite vloggers- Andrew Ditton and The Trudgians. We’d watched these guys for years so it was great to finally meet them, as well as other like minded people. Everyone there was as lovely and friendly as we’d imagined, and really encouraged me to start this very blog!

After a long day we were both ready to go back to the caravan, we’d worked out that we’d walked/rolled 3 miles just around the exhibition halls! So we headed back and enjoyed the rest of the evening snuggled up on the sofa while the rain patted down on the roof.

Day 3

In the morning we woke up feeling well rested and started to pack up to leave. Of course since we were heading home, the sunshine finally decided to make an appearance- typical!

The drive home went smoothly and gave us time to reflect on our trip. Despite the puncture everything went a lot smoother and we felt a lot more fluent and confident in what we were doing, which made the whole trip a lot more enjoyable.

We’d gained more knowledge and experience, picked up lots of informative reading material and met some lovely people along the way, familiar faces and new.

We can’t wait to do it all again!

Our first trip in the caravan

With the wheelchair conversion half completed (there will be a blog post when it’s fully done) we decided it was time to go on our first trip in the caravan. It wasn’t ideal that I couldn’t get my chair inside yet but it was only for a short trip and we knew we could work around it. Not only were we desperate to take it on an adventure as we’d had it in storage for over a month while we worked on it, but we needed some experience caravanning somewhere local before our planned trip up to Birmingham for the Caravan and Motorhome show the following week.
Luckily we found a site that had availability at short notice and it was less than an hour from home.

After a smooth tow (if you don’t count a road closure and diversion) we arrived at Haycraft Caravan and Motorhome club site in the Purbecks, where we were greeted by a very friendly site warden. After chatting for a little while he showed me around the disabled facilities- a small but perfectly functional wet room and toilet. It was nice and clean but a bit outdated. Then we sheepishly admitted it was our first ever trip in the caravan and he gave us a site map and pointed out the most suitable pitch for a newbie to reverse into.

As we approached our pitch we were aware of other caravanners watching us, it was almost as if they knew it was our first time! (No pressure Stephen!). We had a good size pitch but just in front of it was a speed bump so we ended up wheel spinning on the grass as we tried to reverse over the bump. After a little bit of back and forth (entertaining for other campers I’m sure) we got perfectly aligned on our pitch and we began setting up.The pitch wasn’t quite level so we had fun trying out the new levelling blocks whilst trying to get the wheel rotation just right for the Alko wheel lock to work. Then it was time to put our new awning up! We got a small, basic awning so Stephen wouldn’t have too much trouble putting it up, but the coastal wind had other ideas. We put on another comedy show for the campers as I battled to keep hold of the instruction manual and Stephen battled with the awning. Needless to say, rock pegs are now on the list of essential items!

After taking an embarrassingly long time to set up we were both worn out and hungry, so we decided to go into Swanage to pick up some supplies- pasta, cheese and bacon, along with the most delicious Purbeck ice cream. Then we settled back into the cosy caravan for the evening, finally relaxing after a busy day.

We woke the next morning feeling well rested after a good sleep. The weather was beautiful so we decided to go and explore Corfe Castle, a nice little village full of history. Although it was narrow and cobbled it was nothing my chair couldn’t handle and we made our way around the model village before heading to the remains of the Castle. It was a steep and bumpy climb but we made it up to where the steps begin, admiring the views over Corfe, the bright blue sky creating the perfect backdrop. Stephen continued up to the top to take some photos while I waited in the sunshine, admiring the view and the passing steam trains. From there he was able to see as far as Bournemouth and Poole Harbour. Then we paused for a break in the National Trust tea gardens and enjoyed further views of the castle whilst having coffee and ice cream.

The sun was starting to set as we got back so there was a chill in the air, but that wasn’t going to stop us having our first campsite BBQ- Stephen was particularly excited about being able to use the external BBQ point on the caravan. As we ate our steak and Mediterranean vegetables an eery mist rolled in and the temperature dropped, we quickly decided it was time to clear up and get back inside the warm caravan. We were amazed at how well the caravan held its heat and we actually had to open the skylights late on a cold October night because we’d underestimated the Alde central heating and insulation.

The next morning it was time to get packed up and come home. Again, this took longer than expected and we only just made it out of the campsite exactly at the check out time- 12:00, narrowly squeezing past the queue of caravans and motorhomes already waiting to come in.

Although it had only been a short trip we felt like we gained knowledge and experience and were a lot more prepared for our trip up to Birmingham the next week. There’s still a lot to learn and we know we’ll get a lot faster at doing everything but it’s all part of the adventure… And the adventures are really only just beginning. 

Collecting our caravan

After years of saving up for our dream adventure-mobile, the time was almost here…Although the wait wasn’t easy (probably not helped by watching caravan youtubers on all their exciting travels) it allowed us time to prepare for the adventures ahead.

We took this time to do a number of things:

* We brushed up on our caravan knowledge, reading blogs and magazines.

* Started a collection of caravan accessories- kitchen utensils, bedding etc.

* Had a removable tow bar fitted to our VW Transporter.

* Looked into the options for wheelchair caravan adaptions.

* Went to multiple caravan shows at the NEC, watching talks and getting ideas.

* We even wrote a list of places we wanted to visit (it’s getting longer than we could have ever imagined).

It also gave us time to choose the right make, model and layout. After changing our minds a couple of times we decided on the perfect caravan for us- a Bailey Unicorn Valencia. We chose this for a few reasons, but mainly because the layout would mean it needed the least amount of work done to it in order to make it wheelchair accessible.
Now we were edging closer to being caravan owners it was time for Stephen to get his B+E added on to his license so that we could tow. He passed his original driving test after 1997 so he was required to take an additional trailer test.

After about 20 hours spent doing intensive trailer training, learning various manoeuvres and gaining confidence, he was ready for his test. The day arrived and I waved him off, quietly confident that he’d pass. He met his examiner and was pleasantly surprised by how friendly he was. The off road reversing manoeuvre went well, as did the uncouple/recouple exercise. Next it was time to hit the road, they chatted as he drove along, sometimes forgetting he was even on a test. Then I got the phone call to say he’d passed, amazingly with no minors at all! A fantastic result!

Half way through Stephens trailer training we were scrolling through caravan sales online and we came across our perfect caravan- a 2011 Bailey Unicorn Valencia, at a great price, in a good location and in fantastic condition. Although we weren’t expecting it so soon and he hadn’t taken his test yet, this was an opportunity that couldn’t be missed! There were a couple of ways around this but we opted for having ‘L’ plates and a person with a valid license in the vehicle with us.

It was a sunny August day and we arrived at the caravan with anticipation, we were buying from a lovely private seller who really took the time to go through everything with us and make sure we were happy with the purchase. We’d checked over everything, signed the papers and the hand over was complete. Now all that was left to do was hitch up and bring our new adventure-mobile home! The tow back went really smoothly, the weather and lack of traffic created a perfect condition for our first ever tow and Stephen got some valuable towing experience ahead of his test. We got back to our local storage yard safe and sound just before the sun set, and it still hadn’t sunk in that we finally owned a caravan!

Now the hard work begins, making it a caravan I can get my wheelchair into…

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