Hitting the road for the longest tow yet, competition winner Lucie Johnston shares her touring tales – and tries an inflatable awning for the first time!

Well, we promised we’d thoroughly test the Elddis Avanté 866 with a long tow during our year with this caravan.

And you can’t get much further away from our home in Perthshire, Scotland, than the beautiful town of Padstow in Cornwall!

It was with much excitement that we packed Ellie-the-Elddis for her latest adventure and got the kids settled into the back of the car (with iPads, DVDs, colouring books and 27 hours of Harry Potter downloaded to keep them entertained!).

We were ready for our 570-mile journey.

Braving the elements

Things went very well until we reached the M6 when, as usual, the going got a little slower. Does that motorway ever not have roadworks on it?!

After a break at Tebay services, which has a lovely large caravan area to park in, we eventually reached our overnight stop in time for some tea.

It was with some trepidation that we checked the weather forecast for the next day, as high winds were anticipated just as we were due to reach Bodmin Moor.

As you know, the 2017 Elddis Avanté 866 is a very big caravan and we weren’t sure about towing her in these conditions.

But after some research into wind speeds and towing, we felt confident that it wasn’t going to be dangerous, so we set off with fingers only slightly crossed.

Luckily we were right and the caravan coped admirably with the weather. In fact, it only ever swayed on the motorway when vehicles shot past us at speed – something to do with slipstreams, perhaps?

An awning revelation

Arriving in Cornwall in the late afternoon, we pulled out the Vango Kalari 520 air awning.

We have only ever had pole awnings before, and memories of trying to simultaneously hold four poles together and keep a grip on the fabric of the awning which was trying to take off in a breeze were in our minds.

However, we could not have been more impressed with the Kalari. Less than 15 minutes after removing it from the packaging, it was fully inflated!

Pegging it out in the rock-solid hardstanding was more of an issue, but there’s not much that Vango can do about that.

The touring high life

Inside, the awning is so spacious, thanks to a cleverly angled front, and we absolutely love the shoe storage that clips onto the awning – it’s these little details that make a huge difference to a family.

We spent a fortnight in Cornwall at the fantastic Padstow Touring Park and could easily have stayed for another two weeks.

The caravan plus awning gave us a simply huge living space. We never felt cramped or uncomfortable – this really is touring luxury!

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