Autumn is an invigorating season and our October issue of Practical Caravan is energised by tales of outdoor adventure holidays in beautiful wild locations. The great outdoors doesn’t come much bigger than Ben Nevis, as our Clare and Emma discover the hard way. Find out how our youthful dynamic duo get on when they use a caravan as their base camp during the first leg of their Three Peaks Challenge. As with all the best holidays there are comical moments, such as Clare’s happiness when spotting the caravan, far below, followed immediately by the scary thought that she might not have locked it!
In the same issue Kate Taylor explores the hunting ground of kings – the New Forest – on foot, by bike and by boat, and stays at the popular and lively Sandy Balls Holiday Village. The Lyon family use their Eriba caravan as a base when competing in three extreme running events, a Brighton Marathon, an endurance race on the Derbyshire/Staffordshire border and a running race in Berkshire.
This issue will also appeal to those of us who enjoy Vintage cars, caravans, bicycles and fashions. If you love cycling, don’t miss David Motton’s story of his getaway in the Peak District, when he takes our 1982 Elddis Whirlwind GT and a 1980 Vauxhall Cavalier 2000 GLS to a vintage-themed festival. Meanwhile our Bryony takes a vintage tour of Gloucestershire, dipping into the shops, heritage and literature of the Cotswolds.
Me and My Caravan tells the tale of John Novell’s restoration of a beautiful Fairholme Bambi caravan, which cost just £407 when it was brand new back in 1956!
Another highlight in the October issue is our truly inspiring budget caravan renovation feature. Reader Tony Vallance reveals how to buy a bargain old caravan, where to find the spare parts and accessories, and how he has transformed his project caravan from a scrapper to a veritable Vintage delight.
In Showroom we take first looks at more of the best new caravans being launched for 2015. Don’t miss our vital first impressions of the deluxe and desirable new fixed-bed Coachman VIP 575/4, the stylish and affordable Xplore 526 (what a brilliant bargain), the dramatically revamped twin-axle Lunar Delta TI four-berth and the new fixed-bed four-berth Sterling Continental 630.
Plus in our regular layout focus piece we look at why a fixed-bed caravan with a great end washroom could be the perfect caravan layout for you! On the test bench we put a host of pumps up against each other to find out which of 15 high-volume, low-pressure air pumps is best for inflating your air beds, paddling pools and other holiday essentials.
This month’s Practical Caravan tow car test features the new Kia Carens 1.7 CRDi 3 Sat-Nav seven-seater, and we put it through its paces in a rigorous towing test, complete with the verdict from our towing expert, tow car editor David Motton. He also reveals his opinion of the Skoda Superb Estate Outdoor 2.0 TDI 170PS 4×4 and the revamped Peugeot 308 SW 2.0 BlueHDi 150 after first drives of both these new cars. Our running reports give you the lowdown on our long-term loan caravans and cars, too, featuring the Volkswagen Tiguan Match 2.0 TDI, the Bailey Pursuit 550-4 family caravan and the Swift Lifestyle 2 two-berth caravan.
In this issue we also bring you loads of great advice on running and maintaining your caravan, our updated Caravan Buyer’s Guide, full of all the data you’ll need when shopping around, including for bargain ‘Dealer Specials’. In Talking Tow cars, Motty answers your queries and in Used Tow Car Buyer we have advice on buying a Saab 9-3 (2002-11). Plus our glamorous new Caravan Chef Emma Howcutt takes on the challenge to cook a delicious Italian dish and rate it for taste and how easy it is to cook in a caravan.
Last but not least, we had a great chuckle at the latest column from Martin Roberts, star of BBC One’s Homes under the Hammer. ‘Can women tow caravans?’ he asks. The answer leaves him shaken to the core, don’t miss it!
You can buy your October copy of Practical Caravan in good newsagents or buy a print or digital subscription to Practical Caravan from The Magazine Shop, our online newsagent.
In an hour or so, we'd scaled the first part of the ascent. This is where the path opens out a little more allowing for more panoramic views and, as the caravan got smaller, I wondered if I'd locked it