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).

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
Platybus.
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,
Mel

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
journey.

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
www.talesfromthedrvingseat.blogspot.com

Ask The Mechanic – Aircooled engine cooling

The summer is here and that hopefully means that
we are experiencing warmer air temperatures.
With warmer air temperatures, comes warmer
engines. Those using aircooled engines will find it
even harder to keep the engine cool during the
summer months and we have all seen the odd VW
at the side of the motorway! Don’t let that be you
(not through overheating anyway!)


Although it may seem like a small detail, to ensure
cooler engine temperatures, it is absolutely vital
that the tinware and engine compartment rubber
seals are all present and intact. This ensures that
there is cool air above the engine and hot air
below it. These are known as the cool and warm
zones. If tinware parts are missing, or the seals
around the front and back of the engine are torn
or broken, hot air will be drawn from the cylinder
heads and exhaust back into the cool zone around
the top of the engine and then sucked in by the
cooling fan and re-circulated over the cylinders
and heads, causing the engine temperature to
rise, potentially to a critical level. This can cause all
kinds of problems over time, some of which may
not be immediately obvious, from hot starting
troubles, to cracked cylinder heads, up to and
including a seized engine.
If you’ve just bought a car/bus, it is well worth
checking the condition of the tinware and seals
and also making sure that there are no foreign
bodies stuck in the cooling fan (remember to do
this with the engine turned off!)
If you are fitting a reconditioned or new engine,
don’t just rely on refitting the parts that were on
the old engine, as they may not be correct either.
The thermostat is another vital piece in the cooling
system. There is a set of flaps inside the fan shroud,
that actually block cooling air when the engine
is cold, in order to warm up the engine more
quickly. These are opened by the thermostat,
located between the cylinder barrels and if this
part is defective your engine will very quickly
overheat. Check the function of the thermostat
and flaps and if required, replace. The alternative
is to completely remove the thermostat and
flaps, which while it certainly simplifies matters,
is not ideal. It means that your engine may never
reach the correct operating temperature in cold
weather conditions.
The last few points to consider are your ignition
timing, air leaks and fuelling. Poor ignition timing
can cause your engine to run too hot, it’s unlikely
to be visible if it’s wrong but you should hear
it. Fuel mixture is equally important, so ensure
the carburettor jetting is correct for the size of
the engine, fuel starvation will raise the engine
temperature internally. Your fuel system could be
setup perfectly, but if your engine is sucking air in
elsewhere through a split hose or a broken gasket,
then the whole fuel/air mixture is compromised
and the chances of running lean and therefore
hot, are increased too. Spraying the intake system
with Wd40 whilst running will help to detect this,
an air leak will suck the spray in, using it as fuel and
changing the engine note at the same time.
I hope there are some helpful tips for members to
help stay cool this summer.

Reader’s Road Trip – Linda and Stewart Shuttleworth – Driving with Dennis

It was a real treat to head north in Dennis the
Dormobile last month. We had three glorious
weeks in Scotland in July (despite the roadside
Yellow Storm Warnings on route!). We broke
journey in Crianlarich and travelled on to Skye the
next day. Probably busier than usual, the island
was far from overwhelmed and Dennis loved the
rolling single track roads. We did notice a huge
expansion of motorhome hiring since last year.
We were surprised by our 1978 T2 having become
a rarity and a conversation piece; several people
asked to take his photograph! All of which made
the campsites even more sociable than usual.
Set up in Glen Brittle, we hiked up onto the
rugged Cuillin Ridge and got our only soaking of
the trip on the way down. From Dunvegan, we
used our bikes to explore a landscape that is still
only a generation or two away from the crofting
life. There was a whole trail of makers and artists
on Skye and we dropped in on a weaving shed
and a print and glass gallery.

We had been keen to follow the last stages of Euro
2020 despite being away, which meant listening
to a crackly quarter-final radio commentary on
the road to Crianlarich (did they just score??) and
also the semi-final at Dunvegan (the only pub in
the village wasn’t open on a Wednesday…).
At the small site near Staffin, we asked about the
nearest pub for the Sunday night final and the
lovely owners told us that they had a couple of
spare TVs and they could lend us one to set up in
Dennis. So with a low tech but safe hook-up and
a bent wire aerial, we watched the match! A first
for us.
More hiking and cycling to explore the stunning
Trotternish ridge and the coastline, before
heading down to Loch Rannoch and a campsite
near a remnant of the ancient Caledonian forest
and some hot and sunny Munros. The evening
midges were repelled successfully with some Miss
Haversham-style headnets!
Three nights with friends and family around
Glasgow and north Ayrshire also gave us the
chance to do a washing load (!) before our final
week down in Galloway in Scotland’s overlooked
southwest. If you get the chance, see if you can
book a space at quirky North Rhinns campsite. It’s
not many miles from Stranraer, but it’s another
world; 12 or 15 pitches tucked among a small
wood, well looked after by the enthusiastic and
sociable owners, who would love to host a T2 rally
sometime!!
Linda and Stewart Shuttleworth

Another one in the bag! Club camp completed – Banbury

The Club on tour – Barnstones Caravan and Camping Park, Banbury, Oxon

May 12th to 16th 2022 saw the Club’s annual AGM, BBQ and Club Camp (ABC camp) in Great Bourton. Convenient for the M40 allowing many people to join us, we had nearly 30 vehicles after some late dropouts due to mechanical trouble. Over 60 people spent the weekend together with a lot of laughter, plenty of burgers and maybe the odd glass of something.

In addition to the AGM and BBQ, we also had the FA cup final televised in one gazebo, Eurovision later in the evening and some singing from our resident jazz singer Lorna.

On the plus side, 5 people joined the Committee. On the minus side, Derek Leary stepped down from the Committee after several decades shaping the Club into what it is today. We’ll miss you Derek (and Christie).

Upcoming event – Just Kampers Weekend! – 10th to 12th June 2022

The hugely popular JK Weekender is back! Having been cancelled due to COVID, last year’s tickets are still valid in a rollover way to this year.

Set in a field next to the JK headquarters just outside Odiham in Hampshire, Mark and the team give us a chilled out, music, outdoor evening movies, stalls, displays and of course their shop.

Our club enjoys a dedicated club field for members only which includes a disabled toilet. We get plenty of space in a prime position and the club lays on a club tent for congregating is you feel sociable plus we are doing our famous BBQ on Saturday evening – come and get a free burger and have a natter!

If you are lucky, our very own Events Manager Lorna will be singing again! Check out the Events page on this site or see the latest edition of Transporter Talk

See the source image



See the source image

Another one in the bag! Club camp completed – Cheddar

The Club on tour – Petruth Paddocks, Cheddar, Somerset
April 22 to 25 2022

The first club camp of the season saw us down in the pretty down of Cheddar at Petruth Paddocks, hosted by the wonderful Jules.

What did you miss? Burgers, fire pit, marshmallows, bacon baps. Cheddar village, Cheddar gorge, the caves. Locally made cheese, 16 club member dogs, 33 adults, 2 children, live singer on Friday and Saturday and a lot of laughter.

Here is some feedback from a member:

“We have been VWT2OC members for a few years but had not previously got involved in meetings or attending camps. What have we been missing? The St George’s camp at Cheddar over the weekend was a fantastic event. The campsite was beautiful, clean and friendly; the club negotiated camping rates that could not be beaten; the Saturday evening social around the firepits, with burgers provided and lovely entertainment from Lorna was fantastic; and the coffee, tea and bacon rolls provided on Sunday morning was very welcome. I had nothing to do than enjoy myself. Big shout out to Lorna Williamson, Nick Gillott, Malcolm Marchbank and Val Lewis for all the hard work planning, organising and delivering the camp. You are stars. We were already booked in for the May BBQ & AGM, now we are looking forward to it more than ever.”

Here are some photos from the weekend: