So for the first big trip (and also Rosana’s birthday) we decided to go to Snowdonia for a few days. After looking at the weather forecast we decided on the Peak District instead and found a lovely little site just south of Buxton called Clover Field Touring Park. So with a few days of walking planned, we made our way north.
There’s no denying that hills cause Betty a little bit of a problem when fully loaded, but we’re learning to keep the momentum going when we can see a hill ahead of us.
After a wander around Harpur Hill, we settled in for the night with a lovely meal cooked from The Camper Van Cookbook. We had an electric hook up this time, so no issues running the laptop for a bit of entertainment through the long dark evening.
Overnight the temperature dropped and the wind got up. I thought I could hear it raining as well. Turned out I was wrong!
The weather around Harpur Hill and Buxton stayed this way for the next four days, but as we discovered, if we went west there was a definite snow line!
Anyway, we spent the time walking and taking Chatsworth House as well. A few photos below. Unfortunately our camera died, so not too many from the walking.
Overall we’re getting used to living in Betty Bus, it needs a certain amount of organisation in such a small space and drying wet clothing isn’t easy – it may be we need to get an awning for future bad weather trips. We did discover that the tailgate door seal is leaking causing the carpet to get quite wet at the back.
The other issue that we are having is with condensation building up overnight. It’s hard to keep the windows open enough when the weather is cold and windy. All the heat we create with the diesel heater just escapes as well! Some thermal covers for the windows may be a good investment.
After what felt like rather a lot of cleaning, as well as replacing the leisure batteries, we finally got away for our first weekend at the end of November.
We decided not to go to far in case we had problems, so headed south to the New Forest. We wanted a small, quiet site to stay on and chose Acres Down Farm. The owners were very enthusiastic and went to great lengths to explain that it wasn’t a problem if we got stuck in the field, they had a tractor and we wouldn’t be the first people to be towed out. Should we have taken that as an omen? We got her out eventually!
Anyway, we had a very pleasant weekend walking in the forest. We did discover that the 12v supply in the back of the van isn’t a standard cigarette lighter plug. So instead of watching a film, Rosana beat Dan at cards. By quite a lot…
Anyway, some pictures from the weekend.
Bored of cleaning, we headed over to a local woodland park for a cup of tea, a spot of lunch and a walk in the woods.
We picked up Betty Bus a week later, on the 5th November. A train ride down to Guildford where Steve from Eastfalia picked us up in a lovely old convertible Beetle. I’m in no way a car person, but it is easy to see the charm of these cars.
The van was ready and waiting for us back at Eastfalia’s premises. After all the form filling we checked the van over and found the windscreen washers weren’t working. Steve fixed them quickly and was very apologetic and fairly embarrassed. Job done and we headed off. Our first challenge, turning onto the fast moving A3. I’ll admit to taking a fair bit of time before committing to pulling out!
Other than that it was an uneventful journey home. Driving a left hand drive van was not a problem at all, other than occasionally trying to open the door instead of changing gear…
Then we started cleaning. She didn’t look too dirty, but once we started cleaning we found she hides the grime well.
Then fireworks stopped play for the evening 🙂
Let’s jump back in time a short way, to Saturday October 29th, 2011.
We took a trip down to Eastfalia near Guildford to take a look at a ’91 California that they had advertised on their website. Actually finding their unit is an adventure in itself!
The owner, Steve, clearly has a love for these vans and is increadibly enthusiastic.
We were already really liking this particular van and a decent test drive sealed it. It needed a few small jobs doing to it, so we arranged to pick it up the following Saturday.