Brenda and I have just returned from a press familiarisation trip to the Republic of Ireland and Ulster. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip but like all the press trips we’ve ever been on, it did have one drawback: insufficient time to see everything our hosts wanted to show us. I’ll be going into detail about what we saw and where shortly, but what I want to talk about here is something which applies to us all before we set out on long tows – caravan and towcar preparation.


As far as the caravan is concerned, although I have it serviced each year in accordance with the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule before setting out on any trip I check the tyre pressures and if necessary use my foot pump to inflate them to the required pressure. Whilst doing so, I also give the side walls the once-over, checking for signs of cracking, although as our present ‘van is only six months old I don’t expect to find any. As far as the spare is concerned I admit that it gets checked less regularly, mainly to make sure that it’s at the correct pressure.

Preparing my towcar involves having it serviced a couple of

weeks before setting off. Normally, I have it serviced in accordance with the

manufacturer’s maintenance schedule but the last thing I want is a problem with it when towing – especially when we’ve crossed the water to France or Ireland. Some people might think that I’m being over cautious but as far as I’m concerned it’s a question of peace of mind.

I also take out recovery insurance on the basis that I don’t

want to use it, but if anything does happen I want to know I’m covered and that help is only a phone call away. So far I’ve been lucky, unlike some others I know, including one caravanner who decided to save money by not taking out recovery insurance on his Range Rover. When it developed gearbox problems in the south of France, he had to drive it back home in second gear. Apart from paying a fortune for fuel his decision meant that he also needed a new gearbox when he got back to base!

[email protected]