“You know what would be nice?” said the lovely lady I’ll be marrying in a few weeks. “Let’s take a break from all this wedding planning and escape to Dorset for a weekend.”
And on paper it was indeed a great idea. We’d been to Highlands End in Eype with its breathtaking clifftop pitches before. But there were two important things we didn’t consider.
First, stags and hens. This motley little crowd who have ‘helped’ us on a variety of celebratory pre-wedding gatherings decided this trip would work perfectly as a neatly fused ‘sten’.
So, after we hitched up Practical Caravan’s Bailey Pursuit 570-6 and hit the M3, it wasn’t long before the mirrors on our long-term Ford S-Max tow car were filled with grinning faces barrelling along behind us in a Range Rover full of tents, sleeping bags and booze.
The Pursuit party van
We arrived ready to test the six-berth capacity of the Bailey. However, even the most petite of our guests – possibly unfairly – looked twice at the last remaining bunk bed and decided on a floor-under-canvas solution instead.
But that says nothing of how capable this tourer was for a small herd of supposedly grown adults.
Three slept in the ample single beds at the back of the van, while bride- and groom-to-be made light work of assembling the forward double each night, before slipping into wine-induced comas.
As good friends as we are, we did miss the partition found in other Bailey caravans. This is perhaps not a problem if you are travelling as a family, but given we all needed space to change at some point or another, this would have significantly decreased the odds of accidental sightings of underpants.
As a team of campers we brought a unique cocktail of impatience and incompetence to setting up our home for the weekend – and still this fantastically handy little extension to our van was up and functional within minutes.
Rain didn’t stop play
And this is where the second of our aforementioned considerations came into play – the weather.
After weeks of sunshine, Dorset decided to empty what seemed like a month’s worth of rain onto our little ‘sten’ parade all weekend – and much of it sideways.
Both awning and Bailey provided a spacious refuge for all 10 of us, as we passed the time with umbrella-sheltered barbecues and damp board games. Those with the short straws who slept in the tents perhaps missed this structural rigidity when bedtime came along…
The Pursuit 570-6 might not be the most highly-specced of the Bailey line-up, but there is a charm to how pleasingly functional the space is.
It even ably managed to simultaneously function as bar and bed in the same moment. A trick I can with some confidence suggest hasn’t been a feature in a Practical Caravan test for some time. Probably. Let’s blame it on the booze!
We passed the time with umbrella-sheltered barbecues and damp board games