We'd like to welcome the newest contributor, Martin Roberts, to the Practical Caravan team. Here is his latest column, gearing up to the coming season of good weather and family time.
Martin Roberts' Home from Home June 2013
And so it was, that last weekend, our Lunar Lexon was dusted down and de-algae’d. Old breakfast cereals, biscuits and bottles of ketchup were binned as our thoughts turned to the blazing summer of near-tropical temperatures that I’m sure lies ahead.
Our family consists of me and my wife, Kirsty, our two children Scott (six) and Megan (three) and our two golden retrievers, Bagel and Mylo. With Scott being at school now, it’s July and August that provide the most opportunities to go away on really long trips.
We all have our own top requirements for a good site. I want to be close to good walks, interesting sights and green space. For Kirsty it’s clean facilities, friendly staff and nice views. Scott and Megan want somewhere with a swimming pool and to be by the beach and good ‘crabbing’, and Bagel and Mylo just want nice walks, lots of friendly people and a restaurant that provides doggy bags!
To meet everyone’s criteria, we sat down one Saturday and pored over club directories and independent guides – struggling with the usual question of whether to try out new places or stick with those that proved wonderful on previous occasions. As usual, we’ve plumped for a mixture of the two.
We usually warm the caravan up and iron out any winter niggles with a few days at the Longleat Safari Park site, which is close to home and adjacent to the park itself. It still rates high on the ‘bizarre’ scale, because you can hear lions roaring at night as you lie in your berth.
Next it’s off to Wood Farm near Lyme Regis for a long weekend of fossil hunting. Then comes one of our favourites, Wareham Forest Tourist Park near Swanage, a woodland site with terrific walks and lovely pitches.
For summer, we are planning to be away for as much of July and August as possible. We live near Bath, so the convenience and beauty of the South West are hard to resist, and we are once again heading to Devon and Cornwall.
We’re starting near Perranporth then heading to Looe, Start Bay near Dartmouth and finally Brixham – a favourite for Scott as nearby Stoke Gabriel holds the record for the most crabs bucketed in one session – 114!
So there it is, the coming months of touring now tantalisingly laid out on the family calendar. I’m confident that in this case, the realisation will exceed expectation. I’m very happy that the long-term weather forecast is so encouraging! Well, there’s no point in being anything other than cheerfully optimistic, is there? We are caravanners after all and, as all-weather folk, will make the most of any weather thrown at us.
I wish you happy holiday planning, wherever you’re off to this season. Let’s hope it’s a scorcher – don’t forget the suncream!
Martin's next column will be in July's issue, so look out for it in the shops or get a digital subscription from either Zinio or Exact Editions