Author Archives: Nick Gillott

About Nick Gillott

Website Manager and General Committee member of the Owners Club. Owner of Eric the Viking (converted panel van with Viking roof) undergoing complete restoration. Tinkerer to Poppy the camper van (1972 Crossover dormobile).

Club Event – RAF Odiham Family Day 2021

Can it be a year already?

August 14th 2021 saw the return of RAF Odiham’s Family
Day. The club had several vans in attendance as
part of the show’s classic car event and members
camped for the weekend at a nearby pub.
The day involved displays from resident
Chinooks, Typhoons and also the Red Arrows,
who put on an excellent 40 minute display.
This event is getting better and better each
year and we are privileged as a club to be invited
to attend.
Photo credit to David Eaton.

FBHVC clarification on E10 fuel usage and labelling for historic vehicles

After an extensive consultation process, the
Department for Transport has introduced
legislation to mandate E10 petrol as the standard
95-octane petrol grade from 1 September 2021
and in Northern Ireland, this will happen in early 2022. They will also require the higher-octane
97+ ‘Super’ grades to remain E5 to provide
protection for owners of older vehicles. This
product will be designated as the ‘Protection’
grade. The change in fuel applies to petrol only.
Diesel fuel will not be changing.
Petrol pumps now show new labels designating
the grade, the maximum ethanol content and an
advisory cautionary notice. Other information
regarding the introduction of E10 petrol may
also be provided by fuel retailers such as the
‘Know your Fuel’ sticker (shown at the foot of this
For some time, service station pumps have
had E5 and B7 labels consistent with the BS
EN16942 standard that has been adopted across
Europe. This standard also sets out the labelling
requirements for other renewable fuel grades
such as E85, B20, B30, etc. that can be found
across Europe either on service station forecourts
or for captive fleet use.
At the filling station
At the petrol station, a circular ‘E10’ or ‘E5’
label will be clearly visible on both the petrol
dispenser and nozzle, making it easy
for you to identify the correct petrol
to use together with the warning
text “Suitable for most petrol vehicles: check
before use”
The ‘E10’ and ‘E5’ labels look like this:
Labels on modern vehicles
New vehicles manufactured from 2019 onwards
should have an ‘E10’ and ‘E5’ label close to the
filler cap showing the fuel(s) they can use.
What fuel should I use?
Almost all (95%) petrol-powered vehicles on the
road today can use E10 petrol and all cars built
since 2011 were required to be compatible.
If your petrol vehicle or equipment is not
compatible with E10 fuel, you will still be able
to use E5 by purchasing the ‘super’ grade (97+
octane) petrol from most filling stations.
Our recommendation
The Federation recommends that all vehicles
produced before 2000 and some vehicles
from the early 2000s that are considered noncompatible with E10 – should use the Super E5
Protection grade where the Ethanol content is
limited to a maximum of 5%.
To check compatibility of vehicles produced since
2000, we recommend using the new online E10
compatibility checker however, please note that
many manufacturers are missing and there are
some discrepancies regarding particular models.
Additional information on vehicle compatibility
issues is available on the FBHVC website.
What is ethanol?
Ethanol is an alcohol derived from plants,
including sugar beet and wheat. Increasingly,
waste products such as wood are also being
used to manufacture ethanol. Therefore, it is
renewable and not derived from fossil fuels.
Why are we using it?
Principally ethanol is being added to fuel in
order to reduce carbon emissions as Britain
heads towards its target of net zero emissions by

According to Government experts, this will
reduce greenhouse gases by 750,000 tonnes per
year which, they say, is the equivalent output of
350,000 cars.

The move will bring the UK in line with many
European countries which have been using
E10 fuels for a number of years already. In some
parts of the world, such as South America much
higher levels of bioethanol have been in use
since as early as the 1970s.
What might happen?
1 Corrosion / Tarnishing of metal components
2 Elastomer compatibility – swelling, shrinking
and cracking of elastomers (seals and flexible
pipes) and other unsuitable gasket materials
3 Air/fuel ratio enleanment
Some historic vehicles use materials in the
fuel systems that are damaged by ethanol.
These include some cork, shellac, epoxy resins,
nylon, polyurethane and glass-fibre reinforced
polyesters. In later cars these have largely been
replaced with paper gaskets, Teflon, polyethylene
and polypropylene which are all unaffected by
ethanol. Very old leather gaskets and seals are
also resistant to ethanol.
As the ethanol molecule is smaller and more
polar than conventional petrol components,
there is a lower energy barrier for ethanol to
diffuse into elastomer materials. When exposed
to petrol/ethanol blends these materials will
swell and soften, resulting in a weakening of
the elastomer structure. On drying out they can
shrink and crack resulting in fuel leaks.
If your fuel system has old hoses or any
degradation of components, then ethanol may
appear to advance these problems very quickly.
You may experience leaks or fuel “sweating” from
fuel lines. Some fuel tank repair coatings have
been found to breakdown and clog fuel systems,
although there are plenty of ethanol resistant
products on the market.
What can we do?
The most important thing is to ensure your fuel
system components are regularly inspected
and renewed as part of a routine maintenance
programme for your historic vehicles. Ultimately
owners should look to renew fuel system
components such as hoses, seals and gaskets
with ethanol safe versions as a long – term
solution and more of these are entering the
market through specialists every day.
If you should decide to make the necessary
vehicle fuel system modifications together with
the addition of an aftermarket additive to operate
your classic or historic vehicle on E10 petrol. The
FBHVC strongly recommends that you regularly
check the condition of the vehicle fuel system
for elastomer and gasket material deterioration
and metallic components such as fuel tanks, fuel
lines and carburettors for corrosion. Some plastic
components such as carburettor floats and fuel
filter housings may be become discoloured over
time. Plastic carburettor float buoyancy can also
be affected by ethanol and carburettors should
be checked to ensure that float levels are not
adversely affected causing flooding and fuel
Ethanol is a good solvent and can remove
historic fuel system deposits from fuel tanks
and lines and it is advisable to check fuel filters
regularly after the switch to E10 petrol as they
may become blocked or restricted. If your vehicle
is to be laid up for an extended period of time, it
is recommended that the E10 petrol be replaced
with ethanol free petrol which is available from
some fuel suppliers. Do not leave fuel systems
dry when storing, as this can result corrosion and
the shrinking and cracking of elastomers and
gaskets as they dry out.
Engine tuning
Ethanol contains approximately 35% oxygen by
weight and will therefore result in fuel mixture
enleanment when blended into petrol. Petrol
containing 10% ethanol for example, would
result in a mixture-leaning effect equivalent
to approximately 2.6%, which may be felt as
a power loss, driveability issues (hesitations,
flat spots, stalling), but also could contribute
to slightly hotter running. Adjusting mixture
strength (enrichment) to counter this problem
is advised to maintain performance, driveability
and protect the engine from overheating and
knock at high loads.
Modern 3-way catalyst equipped vehicles do not
require mixture adjustment to operate on E10
petrol because they are equipped with oxygen
(lambda) sensors that detect lean operation and
the engine management system automatically
corrects the fuel mixture for optimum catalyst
and vehicle operation.
Additives and vehicle storage.
Ethanol has increased acidity, conductivity and
inorganic chloride content when compared to
conventional petrol which is typically pH neutral.
Ethanol can cause corrosion and tarnishing of
metal components under certain conditions.
These characteristics are controlled in the
ethanol used to blend E5 and E10 European and
UK petrol by the ethanol fuel specification BS
EN15376 in order to help limit corrosion.
Some aftermarket ethanol compatibility
additives claim complete protection for
operating historic and classic vehicles on E10
petrol. The FBHVC is not aware of, or has tested
any additives that claim complete fuel system
protection with respect to elastomer and
gasket materials for use with E10 petrol. The
FBHVC therefore recommends that elastomer
and gasket materials are replaced with ethanol
compatible materials before operation on E10
However, corrosion inhibitor additives can be
very effective in controlling ethanol derived
corrosion and are recommended to be added
to ethanol in the BS EN15376 standard. It is
not clear if corrosion inhibitors are universally
added to ethanol for E5 and E10 blending so
as an additional precaution it is recommended
that aftermarket corrosion inhibitor additives are
added to E5 and E10 petrol.
These aftermarket ethanol corrosion inhibitor
additives often called ethanol compatibility
additives are usually combined with a metallic
valve recession additive (VSR) and sometimes an
octane booster and have been found to provide
good protection against metal corrosion in
historic and classic vehicle fuel systems.
What happens if I fill up with E10
by accident?
Don’t panic – your car will continue to run,
just fill up with E5 at the next opportunity and
avoid storing your vehicle for long periods with
E10 fuel.
E5 Petrol
E5 petrol can contain between 0 and 5% by
volume ethanol. Other oxygenated blend
components may also be used up to a maximum
petrol oxygen content of 2.7%. There is a variation
at the pumps, not just between brands but also
between different areas of the country, some will
contain a lot less but the absolute maximum is
capped at 5%.
E10 Petrol
E10 petrol contains between 5.5 – 10%
ethanol by volume. Other oxygenated blend
components may also be used up to a maximum
petrol oxygen content of 3.7%. Again, there is a
variation at the pumps, not just between brands
but also between different areas of the country,
some will contain a lot less but the absolute
maximum is capped at 10%.

It should be noted that some Super E5 Protection
grade fuels do not contain Ethanol as the E5
designation is for fuels containing up to 5%
Ethanol. To re-iterate, product availability varies
by manufacturer and geographical location.
Diesel labelling
The renewable content of diesel fuel will not
be changing and service station fuel pumps
will continue to be labelled as B7, designating a
biodiesel, Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME) content
of between 0 and 7% by volume. New vehicles
manufactured from 2019 onwards should have a
‘B7’ and or higher content label close to the filler
cap showing the fuel they can use.
The ‘B7’ label looks like this:
For media enquiries, please contact:
Wayne Scott at Classic Heritage PR,
07759 260899
About the FBHVC:
The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs
exists to uphold the freedom to use historic
vehicles on the road. It does this by representing
the interests of owners of such vehicles to
politicians, government officials, and legislators
both in the UK and (through the Federation
Internationale des Vehicules Anciens) in Europe.
There are over 500 subscriber organisations
representing a total membership of over 250,000
in addition to individual and trade supporters.
All our directors operate in a voluntary capacity
supported by our secretary.

Tales from the driving seat – Wonderful Wales Part 3

Continuing our 2020 Social Distance Summer
Road Trip, we left Wales and headed north to
Scotland, but we had to reach the border first
and decided to spend a night in the Lake District
on our way north to break up the journey.
The journey from Wales to the Lake District was
long and uneventful. 200 miles in a VW Camper
at 55mph is quite a slog, but we are used to
long durations on the road and somehow in
the camper it never seems as bad as being in a
car. Maybe that’s because the camper feels like
being at home? At least you can pull over pretty
much whenever you like and make a cuppa!
On arrival at the Lake District, we hit
Windermere. We aren’t staying here, but it’s the
starting point for a road through the mountains
that I have wanted to drive ever since coming
to this location by accident four years ago; the
Kirkstone Pass!
For those who know the Lake District well
enough, you may know there are two places
called Troutbeck.
One of them is close to Penrith and has a
campsite, the other is near to Windermere and
doesn’t! Four years ago I drove to the wrong
Troutbeck and haven’t been able to live it down.
The Kirkstone pass pretty much runs between
the two, but we weren’t brave enough to take
on the pass last time we visited (first time towing
the camping trailer and didn’t know if we would
make it!… bearing in mind one of the roads on
the pass is called “The Struggle!” and so we took
the long way round instead.
From the Windermere side of the pass in
the south, it’s a long uphill jaunt along harsh
mountain roads with tall, threatening, exposed
rock faces, narrow sections and tight bends.
After what seems like a lifetime with my foot
flat on the throttle (I don’t dare back off incase
we can’t get going again!) we make it up to the
summit of the road, which is surrounded by
even taller mountain peaks and rocky landscape

The area is partly submerged in cloud, but there
is a cafe at the top and there are bikers gathered
(cars too) who have been enjoying the twisty
black stuff.
The road back down the other side towards the
North is very similar; steep, twisty and narrow!
One main difference now is the pedal choice.
Instead of the right one being hard to the floor,
I am covering and pumping the middle one in
the hope that we don’t get brake fade! (That’s
a story for another day!) The route down treats
you to magnificent views over Ullswater in the
distance and when you do eventually reach it,
the road follows the undulating contours of the
shoreline, providing a few places along the way
where you can stop and enjoy the views over
the water, maybe even have a paddle.
We don’t stop as we are keen to get a decent
pitch secured for the night and head to our
campsite at Troutbeck Head. To get to the site
from Ullswater you have to climb the hill at Aira
Force waterfall, which is understated at steep.
Don’t forget to look in your mirrors to appreciate
the stunning views!
We have visited Aira Force waterfall in the past.
It’s a very popular National Trust attraction and
has a sizeable car park, but on a day with decent
weather it gets extremely busy.
Here’s a top tip: Visit the waterfall on a really rainy
day. It will be virtually empty and the falls will be
even more spectacular! Just make sure you pack
your waterproofs as you will get wet!
After checking into the site and enjoying a
cuppa, we head back out down to Ullswater and
see if we can find a spot to stop on the shoreline
to let Ruby (our springer spaniel) have a paddle.
It’s rammed. It’s summer, it’s the school holidays
and people have been in a covid lockdown for
4 months!
We follow the road around Ullswater and
up to Penrith to get some supplies. If you’re in
the area, this is a great spot to pick up essentials
before heading off into the wilderness for a few
nights. Within 5 minutes of each other, there
is a Morrisons, an Aldi and a Booths! There’s
also a Pets At Home and a Go Outdoors. So
everyone, including travelling pets, should be
well catered for.
With stocks of essential supplies and the fridge
filled with dog food (should really be cold
alcoholic beverages in there), we head back
down to Ullswater again and Bingo!.. The crowds
and families have now left as it’s tea time, so we
park up and head down to the shore. I pack a
towel and my swim shorts… just in case.

When we get down there, the views are
simply stunning. There are some beautiful and
picturesque places in the UK, but this has got
to be up there. It is hard to believe that we are
still in England, this could easily be the Italian
lakes! The sun is shining on the mountains on
the other side of Ullswater, which is flat calm and
quiet. Ruby needs no persuasion and is straight
in the water. I follow in my flip flops… wow! That
is seriously cold!!
Feeling brave, or possibly just delirious from
driving all day, I don my swim shorts and head
in. After 5 mins of walking up and down up to
my waist with excuses about how it’s too cold
and how I will develop hypothermia, I go for the
dunk. I’m in. It’s freezing! As I paddle I start to
loosen up and feel the refreshing water washing
over me. After 5 minutes or so I realise that the
water is so cold it is making my skin tingle and
I feel bits of me going numb. I carry on a while
before making the decision to get out whilst I
am not shivering with teeth chattering together
like one of those wind up toys!
I dried myself off and we headed back to the
camper. Ruby got to have her favourite towel
dry and we head back to base at the campsite
for dinner. We have a short walk in some nearby
footpaths before the sun goes down and head
to bed in preparation of another long day that
will take us further north and across the border
into Scotland!
Phil Aldridge
“Tales From The Driving Seat” is on Instagram
@talesfromthedrivingseat and blogspot

Ask The Mechanic – Fitting a hot start relay

If you have an air-cooled van and experience
the dreaded “click” when trying to start your van,
it could be that the original wiring and ignition
switch now has a higher resistance than it did
back in the 70’s and cannot cope with the current
required to turn the engine over using the starter
One way to counteract this is to fit a relay that
takes the current load and the ignition switch
activates the relay.
A relay sourced for this application can be
purchased from Just Kampers; JK part number
Parts required
‹ Suitable cable for wiring the relay – suggest
Halfords 12v 17A cable sold in 4m reels
‹ Several crimp connectors
‹ The relay itself – JK part number J12928
It is advisable to always disconnect the vehicle’s
battery before carrying out any work on the
electrical system.

  1. Mount the relay in a safe place as close to the
    starter motor as possible.
  2. Take the existing wire from terminal 50 on
    the solenoid and extend it to reach the relay
  3. Connect this extension from terminal 50 on
    the solenoid to terminal 86 on the relay.
  4. Now connect terminal 85 on the relay to a
    good earth on the vehicle body/chassis.
  5. Connect terminal 87 of the relay to the live
    terminal of the vehicle’s battery.
  6. Now connect terminal 30 on the relay back
    to terminal 50 on the starter solenoid.

Whilst every attempt is made to ensure that
these instructions are as accurate and clear as
possible, the author or club itself cannot be
held responsible for misinterpretation of these
instructions or for any subsequent accident or
damage caused through mis-fitted parts.

Eric the Viking – a restoration in many parts – October 2021

Spend since last report: £427. Total hours labour since last report: 52

Last time I had finished the offside suspension and the brakes were in progress. This time I’ve managed to do rather a lot!

In order: The front suspension and front brake is back together on the offside, the gearbox is out, the underside of the fuel tank was then accessible to get its rust removed.

The steering box has mostly been cleaned up, so has the gearbox and Eric is back on his wheels.

A large chunk of the current work was the cab floor. The driver’s side was pretty ropey and the outer half needed replacing. I chose to remove more good metal than was really necessary to give a straight line of seam weld to reduce the visible change. I was also able to rust proof the tops of the chassis rails at the same time. The passenger side was less rotten and was a smaller patch plus a final rectangle in the middle just behind the handbrake and we have good strong metal all welded in.

Then primer time but my spray gun had a fault and it looked rubbish and will need smoothing before top coat. Nonetheless rather improved!

The next part of the project is going to be interesting! The offside middle panel opposite the sliding door is a fixed panel. Several years ago I replaced the lower part of that panel and the outer sill with a cheat panel that is all joined together. It looks ok but the top of the original panel had been damaged in an accident many years ago and there was a lot of filler. I also cut the edge off the lower replacement panel as it was slightly too large but welding that cut in looked rubbish.

I had bought a replacement lower sliding door panel which is the same on both sides and I picked up a new outer sill at Busfest because otherwise it was £17 for the sill and £7 postage!

Outer sill joins the middle sill which is new metal, so it was quite a quick win. More on this next time as I have a plan so cunning that it could be a fox who has just been made Professor of Cunning at Cambridge University.

Finally, I was on Facebook one evening and someone that I did not know called Jon was asking for more information about this picture. He and I got chatting, and that’s Eric in the picture with Jon’s Grandad at some point in the 80s. That roof was changed to the Paris roof that arrived with Eric, the paintwork had mostly been replaced with primer and rust, and the front grill was missing. The louvre windows I have and the rust hole from the aerial on the roof was quite extensive! I am not currently looking to sell Eric as I want to finish him and then use him, but Jon has first dibs if that day should ever arrive. Talk about a small world – only 15 more owners to find and I will know the whole history.

Upcoming event – Busfest, Malvern Showground – 9th to 11th September 2022

Are you going? The World’s Biggest Transporter Show, some 6,000 people per day but we have our own field which is secluded and quiet overnight.

All the upside of the big show – lots of music, autojumble, memorabilia, parts for every vehicle, For Sale sections for all vehicles, sheds full of exhibitors.

In one small corner is our club field – the party tent in case of wind, rain or cold. Our now legendary evening burgers (veggie options) and bacon breakfast baps. The club shop to renew your membership, meet the people who volunteer to help make this a great club. Evenings also feature our very own live Jazz, Swing and Soul singer – Events Manager Lorna. Tea and Coffee and usually biscuits and cake.

What’s not to like?

Members motor – Mel Gulliford – Platybus

For this edition of Member’s Motor, we look
at Mel’s Bay, called “Platybus”. This is what she
had to say about it.
Back in 2010, my husband Mark announced
one day that he’d always fancied getting an old
camper van. This was news to me, but I figured
it was just a passing fancy and that he’d soon get
over it! Anyway, to cut a long story short, he did
some research and after a couple of false starts,
eventually found a van that someone in North
Wales was selling.

The van had originally been imported from
Australia and had eventually ended up in sunny
Wales. She’d been converted to run on both
petrol and LPG. Bearing in mind that Mark had
never driven a camper van before, he persuaded
a mate to drive him to Wales and then Mark
would drive the van back! As you can imagine,
my main concern was that the van would break
down on the way back and I would have to go
and fetch him from goodness knows where.
Fortunately, the van behaved itself and he got
safely home, after an epic 5 hour journey.
Over the next 3 or 4 years, our family had a
couple of trips in it down to Wales and 2 trips to
Devon. Despite a couple of hiccups, we got there
and back in one piece. Then about 5 years ago,
we went to an open day at Just Kampers down in
Hampshire. We’d already discussed having a full
restoration on the van and we met a chap from
a company called Voodoo VW. We duly agreed to
take the van down to his workshop in Newbury
so we could talk about what we wanted done on
the van. We felt totally reassured that they would
carry out the work we wanted done and basically
left them to get on with it. You know the saying
“be careful what you wish for?”.

Well, unfortunately things didn’t pan out the
way we wanted them to; the company went
bust and we had to fetch the van from down
near Newbury and pay someone to fix the bits
that hadn’t been done properly. We eventually
got the van back and at present it’s sitting on
the forecourt of a friend’s garage, waiting for the
engine to be taken out to investigate an issue
with the hydraulics. We love the van, she’s been
brilliant when she works, but it’s like they say, it’s
been a labour of love.

She’s called the Platybus, because when we were
cleaning out the glove compartment, we found
an Australian coin with what we thought had
a platypus on it. It transpired that it’s actually a
Spiny Anteater, but we decided to stick with
I really hope that one day soon we can get to go
camping again in the bus and that we can iron
out all the little niggles we’ve discovered since
the van was “restored “. We’ve since discovered
that the chap who ran Voodoo VW is back
running a company restoring camper vans, after
declaring to us that he wanted nothing more to
do with the VW scene… ! Hey ho…”
Best wishes,

Another one in the bag! Club camp completed – Odiham

The Club on tour – Just Kampers, Odiham, Hampshire

June 10 to 12 2022

6 members were in the dedicated club field with more coming over to say Hello. 15 new members joined on the day, lots of money raised for charity for the Phyllis Tuckwell hospice. Live music from multiple bands, open air cinema on Friday (Breakdance) and Saturday (Karate kid), a big raffle with prizes worth up to £700 each.

Another great weekend at JK.

Tales from the driving seat – Wonderful Wales Part 2

We head into Aberystwyth to pick up some
essentials; dog food, milk and petrol! Not
wanting to waste the trip into town, we head
to the seafront and take a drive along the
promenade. We are pleasantly surprised by the
lovely Victorian buildings and a funicular cliff
railway too!
Stocked up with supplies and the tank full to
bursting with petrol, we head north and are
looking forward to today’s route which will take
us on a B road that follows the coast around the
southern part of Snowdonia rather than going
through it and then into the National Park to
camp for the night.
The start of the coastal road happens
immediately after crossing the river/estuary at
Machynlleth via an old stone bridge and then
turning left off the main A road and following
the river on your left. As roads go, this one is
beautiful. The surface is smooth, with a stone
wall on one side and a cliff face the other, it
undulates over and around the coastal features,
giving us amazing views over the river and sea.
As we get closer to the coast, the road becomes
lined with old oak trees, growing out of the cliff
and hanging over the edge.
Our first stop on this route is a small seaside
town called Aberdovey. There is a golf club, a
beach and beach related stuff. We drive through,
noticing people pointing and commenting at
the camper… this often happens and I sometimes
wonder if they are pointing at something falling
off! But you get used to it and you soon realise
that driving a bright blue camper van with an
exhaust that announces your arrival everywhere
you go is going to get you attention.
The road picks up as it comes out of Aberdovey,
but its only a short run before the next small
town called Tywyn. On our way in we notice
the large amount of static caravans surrounding
the area. The town is pleasant and has all the
makings of a seaside location, with a decent
looking Co-Op if you need supplies! The beach
is clean and there is also a narrow gauge steam
railway here too.

From Tywyn the road heads inland to avoid
another river estuary and make the crossing via
a bridge.

There is a ferry that can take you across, but
we took the road to save time. Once you cross
over the river, the road heads back towards the
coast and is it does, starts to climb. As the road
meets the coast you are met with one of the
most beautiful coastal roads we have driven.
There are numerous lay by areas to pull over and
appreciate the view, which we did.
We followed the coastal road until reaching
the larger town of Fairbourne. To continue
from here there are a few options; a ferry direct
to Barmouth, a modern road bridge several
miles inland or an old rickety wooden bridge
that resembles a seaside pier… guess which
option we went for?! The old wooden bridge
at Penmaenpool is a toll bridge, costing 80p for
cars and £1 for motorhomes. We are technically
driving a Motorhome, despite being car sized,
but I don’t mind paying the extra 20p to keep
the bridge maintained. The crossing is bumpy as
the wooden sections are uneven, but we make
it across safely without encountering any trolls
who want to eat us for their supper!
After crossing the bridge we head into Barmouth.
Barmouth is a seaside resort with everything
you would expect; amusements, chip shops,
sandy beaches and a long promenade. It was
busy. Really busy. We stopped for a while on the
promenade and watched the crowds but didn’t
venture out of our own space inside the camper.
From Barmouth we follow the road all
the way to the end of the coastal route at
Penrhyndeudraeth and make our way up to the
campsite which is only 5 minutes up the road.
Nearby is the village of Portmeirion; a tourist
village, designed and built by Sir Clough
Williams-Ellis in the style of an Italian village,
which is now owned by a charitable trust. We
didn’t visit as we didn’t have any time left in the
day, but it’s worth a look if you’re in the area!

In the evening we pop back into
Penrhyndeudraeth to look for some dinner
and find several takeaway options including
a Chinese, Indian, kebab and chippy. What a
fantastic selection. We opt for the Indian and
head back to the site to rest up in preparation
for the next day – Snowdonia!

We set off from our site the next morning
heading for Anglesey. It’s a shorter trip today,
taking in the sites that Snowdonia has to offer.
On the route we pass through Beddgelert,
which has an interesting story. The town is home
to a legendary site called Gelert’s Grave. In the
legend, Llywelyn The Great returns from hunting
to find his baby missing, the cradle overturned,
and his dog Gelert, with a blood-smeared
mouth. Believing the dog had savaged the child,
Llywelyn draws his sword and kills Gelert. After
the dog’s dying yelp Llywelyn hears the cries
of the baby, unharmed under the cradle, along
with a dead wolf which had attacked the child
and been killed by Gelert. Llywelyn is overcome
with remorse and buries the dog with great
ceremony, but can still hear its dying yelp. After
that day Llywelyn never smiles again.
You can park in the village and walk to the site,
however the morning has brought much rain
with it and so we decide to carry on with a

We follow a road that takes us past a beautiful
lake called Llyn Dinas, there are a few spots
along the side of the road to stop and if you’re
brave enough, take a paddle

The road starts to meander and climb slowly,
this becomes more apparent as you come past
Llyn Gwynant. There are some tight bends on
the climb and I notice views in my mirrors!
We eventually come to a small car park
which boasts a view of Snowdon. The Peak of
Snowdonia and the highest peak in England
and Wales at 1085m. We get a few snaps here
as the clouds break over the mountain and also
take advantage of the ice cream van parked here
too… it’s never too cold or wet for an ice cream!
We continue our journey through Snowdonia,
past Snowdon, and Pen y Pass, where there were
many cars being turned away as it was so busy.
We climb up and over the pass that flows in the
valley on what started as a miners track, down to
the village of Llanberis. You can walk Snowdon
from here as well and if your legs aren’t up to it,
take the train up too!
From Llanberis we make our way out of
Snowdonia, the landscape changes quickly
from Mountains to flat land and trees. We arrive
at Bangor, singing the famous song as we do
and then travel over to Anglesey on the Brittania
Bridge. We notice the large amount of farming
and gorgeous rolling countryside. We stop at
some beaches at Cemaes in the northern part of
the island and on our way to our campsite stop
off at a lovely harbour in Amlwch Port.
The next part of our journey will see us leaving
Wales and heading north towards the Scottish
border, stopping over in the Lake District
en route.
Phil Aldridge
“Tales From The Driving Seat” is on Instagram
@talesfromthedrivingseat and blogspot