Category Archives: Camping

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.

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
www.talesfromthedrivingseat.blogspot.com

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

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:

Member’s Motor – Rachel – Skype

For this edition of Member’s Motor, we look
at Rachel’s Bay, called “Skye”. This is what she
had to say about it.

We have a blue T2 called Skye. We originally
found her in May 2018 when someone local to us
used to hire her out, so we hired her for a trip to
Scotland. We took the van around the highlands,
including to the Isle of Skye. My husband Kyle
(then boyfriend) proposed to me on the trip,
which was a total surprise, so that trip and the
van had some very special memories for us.
In June 2019 we got married and I was waiting
for my wedding car to pick me up, instead of the
car arriving with my dad in it, Skye the T2 arrived
with our friend as the driver! I was shocked as I
had not seen Skye since we had got engaged
and I thought “How lovely, he’s hired her again as
a surprise”. He had decorated her with wedding
ribbons and bunting inside etc. When I got in the
van (with my dad inside) Keith our friend who
was driving, passed me a note which had the
typical wedding phrase:
Something old: Skye is from 1975.
Something blue: Skye is blue.
Something borrowed: She is borrowed
for the wedding.
Something new: actually she’s not borrowed,
Skye is yours!

Unbeknown to me, the guy who owned
Skye was selling her and Kyle bought her as a
surprise for our wedding day, so that’s how we
came to get her! What a surprise. Since then
we have had a lot of trips away, even in current
circumstances. We took her to Glastonbury 2
weeks after our wedding and then managed to
do the NC500 in September last year, as well as
lots more local weekends to the Lake District and
Northumberland where we got married. We have
a rescue fox terrier called Delilah who loves van
life as much as us 😍

We learnt a valuable lesson in September when
doing the nc500; we broke down in one of the
most northerly areas of Scotland and had to
wait 8 hours for recovery to be towed back to
the campsite, which was so embarrassing. The
problem was a snapped clutch cable, which we
have since learned is quite common and should
have carried a spare!

Typically the day we had to wait for 8 hours at the
side of the road was also the sunniest, warmest
day of our whole NC500 trip and we spent it at
the roadside! By the time we had been recovered
we were just grateful to get back to the campsite
and get it temporarily fixed, celebrating with a
big glass of well deserved wine!
We have been having problems finding someone
decent and reputable in the north east to fix our
van, there’s a few things we needed done and
ideally wanted it done before this summer. We’ve
been trying to find someone since last year, but
no one wants to touch it, so it’s getting a bit
stressful.

Ask The Mechanic – 169 – Solar Panel Charge Controllers

For this instalment of The mechanic, we welcome a submission from the club’s chairman;
Malcolm Marchbank.
SR PWM MPPT – A question of control


If you have or thinking of getting a PV (photo voltaic)
solar panel, then these terms may concern you.
There have been several articles about the use of
solar panels to provide power in vans when there
is no hook up available. The panel(s) will almost
certainly be used to charge a battery for use when
there is insufficient power available from the sun. The
maximum power available from any panel is in a very
clear set of circumstances, the sun needs to have an
energy at the panel of 1000 watts per square meter,
the sun’s rays must strike the panel perpendicularly,
the air temperature should be 23 deg C. So, if you set
up your panel at noon on a cloud free midsummer’s
day carefully angled so the sun strikes it at 90 deg and
there is a gentle breeze, a 100w rated panel will give
100w of electrical power. In any other circumstances
the power will be substantially less. So, in reality it
is better to estimate the average power to be 30 to
60w from a 100w panel.
The next thing is how to make the most of the power
we do get. If you examine the “rating plate” fitted to
almost all solar panels you will see some numbers.
Ok you see 100w max power but look at the “ipmax”
this is the current at maximum power, ”vpmax” this is
the voltage at maximum power. A typical example
of a 100w panel ip max =5.55a vp max =18v 185.55 =100w. So we need a control unit to regulate the power sent to the leisure battery. Small panels less than about 30cm square sold as “trickle chargers” to maintain a battery while laying on the dashboard have so little power they are self regulating (SR) as the current is so small as never to damage the vehicle battery. Those for phone or device charging rely on the internal battery controller in the device to regulate the power and prevent overcharging of the internal battery. This leaves the choice of the two types of actual control unit PWM (pulse width modulation) or MPPT (maximum power point tracking). At first the generally available controllers were all PWM and cost from £8 up to around £35. These work by monitoring the battery voltage and sending pulses of power to provide an average voltage to the battery. Initially when the battery is low, the power pulses are very wide, but as the battery voltage rises then the pulse width is reduced. It is important then for the controller to “know” when the battery is at full charge so the pulses can be reduced. Different (lead acid) batteries fall into at least 3 types; Flooded, AGM and GEL. Each has a different charging requirement. So, any controller needs to be set to the correct type. Cheaper controllers may have no settings at all or be described as “automatic detection” and are probably best avoided! When you look at the typical full power voltage and current from a solar panel you will notice the voltage is too high as the maximum needed for the battery is 14v so the best this controller can do is to give 145.5=77w. The rest of the power is wasted due to
the effective internal panel resistance.


So around 25% of the power we do get is just
wasted, to overcome this a MPPT controller can be
used. This is often a combination of PWM control (for
trickle charging when full power is not needed) and
an inverter which is controlled by a microprocessor.
This changes the 18v 5.55a into 14v 7a, this is an
example as the controller constantly measures both
panel output (change in sun intensity) and battery
condition (low, charging, full) and adjusts the inverter
to maximise the power to the battery. This results in
an efficiency of better than 95%.
SOLAR PANEL CHARGE CONTROLLERS
Transporter Talk Issue 169 | 23
I have tested this and can confirm that just changing
the controller increased the current from 5a to 7a
. If as I have, you have more than one solar panel
(I use 3) and they are all slightly different outputs,
the MPPT sorts out the balance even when one is in
shade and 2 are in sun.
The MPPT controller is as you would expect, more
complex and expensive up to around £70. This may
mean that some suppliers may claim to be MPPT
when they are not. I was fooled by this but claimed
back from the seller as the description was clearly
false. I have some photographs of the various types;
PWM 10 amp, fake MPPT (plenty of usb points on it!)
and a real MPPT 10 amp unit. So check that you get
the correct item!
I have 2 panels on the roof of my Westy and when
raised the angle is quite close to optimum. I also have
one on the front luggage rack so I can get power
even as the sun passes over. I have this arrangement
to support not only lights and water pump, but the
compressor fridge that is of course run 24/7. I would

not want to run out of ice for our G&T’s after all!
Malcolm