Adventure Overland show and Campervan show

Next April just got better, after the announcement of an extra campervan show along with the Adventure Overland Show at Stratford on Avon Racecourse. The whole event is supported by The Overland Journal.

Overland Journal

Adventure Overland show

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Announcing the launch of the INTERNATIONAL CAMPERVAN SHOW [ICS].

Covering mostly two-wheel-drive vehicles, the INTERNATIONAL CAMPERVAN SHOW is the sister event to the twice yearly ADVENTURE OVERLAND SHOW [AOS]. Now into it’s 8th year, AOS held at Stratford-upon-Avon Racecourse has Spring & Late Summer editions.

The inaugural INTERNATIONAL CAMPERVAN SHOW will take place at the same Racecourse venue directly alongside the Spring edition of AOS … that’s 27-28 April 2019.

The result of this expansion means that visitors booking either show – AOS or ICS – will have unlimited access to both shows … basically that’s “two shows for the price of one”!!!

In conjunction with the world renowned adventure travel magazine ‘Overland Journal’, the INTERNATIONAL CAMPERVAN SHOW is a major festival of all things related to two-wheel-drive campers and “homes on the move”.

Much like the AOS, the INTERNATIONAL CAMPERVAN SHOW will span professionally-built ready-made motor caravans, companies specialising in build to order van-to-campervan conversions or simply ideas for your next self-build project.

Whether your preference is 4×2 or 4×4, the event now covers all types of overland vehicle!

INTERNATIONAL CAMPERVAN SHOW

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Whitby

The campsite we were staying on was clean and regimented, but not the type that we would normally stay at with its neat pitches in straight rows and lots of “do not do” signs. When you’ve been staying off grid for a while it rankles being told what you can and can’t do, especially when the commands are just common sense things you wouldn’t dream of doing. One even said “do not wear walking boots in the shower” I can’t remember the last time I showered on walking boots.

Anyway we were there and that was that. Nice, but It lacked a soul.

It was bright sunshine when we set off to visit Whitby; by the time we had found somewhere to park it was pouring with rain and blowing a gale. Luckily a man just leaving the car park gave us his ticket with six hours parking left on it. We were hardy tourists and we all wrapped up in our rainwear including Elsie. Touring the town proved difficult, looking in shops and trying to keep upright at the same time. It was that windy it was a struggle to cross the bridge to the Scary part of Whitby.

whitby harbour

 

To get some relieve from being battered by the wind, we shot into a dog friendly pub that served local fish and chips. We found a table and ordered our food just before the rest of Whitby descended on the pub all with the same idea.

I was going to run up these steps. really!

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Back on the harbour and the Extreme Knitter saw a sign that brought back traumatic memories of one holiday we had in St Ives, back in the 1990’s. She had just purchased a clotted cream Ice-cream, when a rogue seagull swooped down and snatched it from her hand before she had even licked it. Was she livid that day? You bet she was and she still has flashbacks to this day. She even reckoned that if she saw it again she would recognise it. The seagull that is, not the ice cream.

whitby gulls

When we left Whitby I gave the parking ticket to another happy parker with three hours still remaining.

Puffin’s wiper blade decided to start shredding itself in all the torrential rain, so a trip to the local Halfords was called for and a pair of new wiper blades were purchased and fitted in their car park. Luckily it had stopped raining long enough for me to avoid getting soaked while fitting them.

The rain had set in for the rest of the day, so we spent the remains of our time in the camper reading, eating and generally lounging about until bedtime.

Hawick and Kielder Forest

We had a very quiet night in the Hawick car park. 

Hawick Aire

The following morning after bacon butties, we visited Morrisons to use their facilities again before we set off for Kielder Water arriving at the start of the forest drive, a 12 mile long gravel road through Kielder forest.

I had read all the warnings that the forest road was only suitable in a 4×4 vehicle , but I worked on the basis that if the track became impassable we could turn around. The track was a toll road with a payment machine costing £3 and a notice warning about the need for 4 x 4.

I really enjoy driving these forest tracks

Kielder Forest Drive

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A stop over at the six mile point for food and beverages

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The 12 miles of track came to an end near a main road, so we turned around and went back along the track to travel another 12 miles doing the return trip.

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As can be seen from photos the road is a fairly level gravel surface with some steady gradients that you could drive along in your Granny’s Fiat 500 without any bother. Not as challenging as I would have liked, but certainly an enjoyable drive.

It was starting to get late, so somewhere to overnight was a priority before it got dark. There was a pub that allowed motor homes to over night in their car park if you had a drink and a meal in the pub, but It didn’t appeal to us.

I had heard that overnighting around Kielder water including the forestry drive was banned and checked by the forestry agents. All the parking areas had barriers across the access.

We gave up after driving around aimlessly and decided to head back to Hawick car park for another night.

You’ll note that this was the third night we had stayed off grid

Adventure Overland Show Sept 2018

Saturday morning and I’m making my annual trip to the Adventure Overland Show at Stratford on Avon racecourse.

Adventure Overland Show

The weather forecast wasn’t good, predicting rain at 4 pm. Well they lied, it rained at 12 pm. In typical British spirit, a drop of rain wasn’t going to put me off, especially as I paid an entrance fee.

I find it difficult to judge whether the show is bigger or busier than the previous show as the layout varies each year.

It’s always a good show with a laidback feel and some interesting characters. I must admit after a long conversation with an overland travel writer he showed me places off the beaten track in Spain that were stunning and accessible in our campervan.

There is always something in the car park that catches the eye and this VW T4 Doka certainly did.

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I managed to meet up with fellow blogger Mike Brailey the director and editor of the Overland Journal European issue.

Overland Rover

Overland Journal

Overland Portal

The Overland Journal is a massively popular publication in the States and finally the UK has its own edition published 5 times a year and edited by Mike.

It’s easy to think of it as just another magazine, but it is a journal in the truest sense, imagine an oversized paperback book and you would be nearer the mark.

It’s not all about size though; the content gives a fascinating insight into travelling the world by various means of transport with superb photographs.

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The Overland Journal Landrover

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I’m a glutten for teardrop trailers and this example made by Boondock Trailers was perfect. Comfortable and rugged.

Boondock

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The Mercedes Sprinter 4 x 4 van has really taken off here and in the States as the must have campervan.

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This Ford Transit by Lifes Adventure Overland had the best Raptor paint finish I ever seen and their bespoke fabrications were top quality.

Lifes Adventure Overland

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Gull wing side door, a powerful BMW engine and large split rim wheels make this Renault Traffic van a jaw dropper

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Unimogs galore this year

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The Camper Van Culture Managon

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And finally the arse end of the post A bumper dumper and a rifle case, just what every camper needs.

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Dubs in the Middle 2018

This was our second visit to Dubs in the middle. Our feral family consisting of me, the extreme knitter, our feral daughter, equally feral granddaughter, Ruby the Yorky and Elsie the Cockapoo were loaded into the campervan and we sped off to Evesham.  This years show seemed busier than last year, helped by a break in the wet weather that provided us with plenty of sunshine. We highly recommend this show. The camping area was massive and there was a good turnout of day visitors. With the entrance fee only £5 each and children free it made a cheap day out. There were plenty of trade stands and live music

Puffin holding her own in the car park

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VW Crafter conversion

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Crafter Interior featured Copper piping and reclaimed wood

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VW T4 cab interior

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VW Golf engine bay

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Rat look

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VW T3 Gypsy motorhome

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The Cheeky Monkey and a Toad in the Hole

Our latest cooking gadget is a Toasted sandwich maker or Pie iron made by TF Gear, but more commonly know as a “Ridge Monkey”.

The TF Gear iron is identical to the Ridge Monkey, so we have nicknamed ours “The Cheeky Monkey”.

TF-Gear-Sandwich-Toaster

I was hoping that this would be the camping nirvana after all the good reviews I had read. We don’t have an oven in the campervan, so it limits our possible menu.

I tried the Omnia oven, but I couldn’t get on with it and it was a little oversize for our campervan hob.

Omnia Oven

We have a similar sandwich toaster called “The Diablo” that toasts sandwiches, but they were small and you had towaste a lot of bread cutting it to fit the round shape. The TF Gear is a square shaped pie iron that makes toasted sandwiches using a gas hob, open fire or barbeque. It is very popular with fishermen who cook breakfast on the river side. So far I have cooked Bacon, Burgers, Eggs and a small Pizza, well warmed one up. As the cooking process is enclosed, the top gets a chance of being cooked.

A Chicago pie pizza approximately 3 “diameter fits nicely. I heated one side of the iron until hot then turned it over and placed the defrosted pizza on the unheated side. The theory being that as the pizza base was directly on the bottom of the iron, preheating the top would give the cooking of the pizza top a head start before the base burnt. It actually worked. I did turn it over once just to brown the top. I shall be asking the extreme knitter to make some homemade pizzas that fit the Cheeky Monkeys shape and size. If they are thinner they might cook quicker and more thoroughly.

I’ve tried McCann’s frozen oven fries as they were thin. These cooked perfectly. I think the trick with frozen food is to thaw it out first, so that your cooking time isn’t taking up having to defrost first.

The next try out was Toad in the Hole, an easy to make quaint English recipe that is basically sausages cooked in a dish of batter mix using a very hot oven. The batter would normally rise in an oven enveloping the sausage in a crispy Yorkshire pudding. Cooking it in the Cheeky monkey was going to be a challenge.

 

Start by cooking 3 or 4 sausages in the Cheeky Monkey. I like to butterfly mine to make sure they are thoroughly cooked.

 Monkey toad in the hole (2)

While the sausages are cooking make your batter mix

1 cup of plain flour

A pinch of salt

300mls of milk

Whisk these ingredients until you’ve got a smooth liquid (without any lumps)

This will make approximately 450mls.

Boil some water.

When the sausages are cooked take them out and pour a good glug of veg oil in the Cheeky monkey and heat until smoking hot.

Pour a small layer of the batter mix into the hot oil that will seal the underside, them place the sausages in and pour some more batter mix over them. I used about 250mls. If the mix is too deep it will burn before the middle is cooked. I cooked it on a low flame for 20 minutes turning the Cheeky Monkey over regularly to stop the mix from burning.

 Monkey toad in the hole (5)

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Make a small amount of gravy using gravy granules and the water that you boiled earlier. (yes, I know, but we are camping so short cuts are allowed).

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Much to my amazement it worked out and tasted good. I didn’t rise as it would in an oven, but because it was thinner it cooked all the way through.

The batter mix could be made at home before setting off on your camping trip to save time.

If you’ve been paying attention you’ll be asking what about the 200mls of batter mix that I had left?

Well that’s for pudding, three Pancakes to be precise. Even though it was Sunday I like a Fat Tuesday

These can be made in the Cheeky monkey by pouring in a small amount of veg oil and pouring a third of the mix on top. They can be made sweeter by slicing some bananas into the mix or possibly pineapple chunks. The beauty of the monkey is that you just turn it over to cook the other side.

Monkey toad in the hole (12)

The experimenting goes on.

 

 

 

Downwards to Uphill

At last we were rolling again after a long period of inactivity and we were heading down to Weston Super Mare or the Uphill region to be precise.

I quickly popped into Morrisons at Weston to get some bits and pieces.

Uphill Boat Centre have a campsite at the Uphill Marina. The large pitches are set around the perimeter of a salt water lake. The site facilities were closed down for the winter period to stop the water freezing, so we used the showers and toilets at the reception building. These were clean and immaculate.

We were only staying for one night as this was Elsies first trip away in the campervan just to see how we all got on together.

Uphill Boat Centre

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It was just a short walk down the road to the beach passing a small café/shop that has good reviews. The beach links to Weston Super Mare and it’s very popular with dog owners. Ruby and Elsie just ran and ran. As usual with Weston it is rare for the sea to come in, so Elsie didn’t get chance to swim.

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Elsie stationery for one minute.

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After the breezy walk along the beach we settled in for the evening and had our old favourite first night meal of Meat Balls, Pasta in a home made Tomato Sauce and I had a nifty Barcardi and coke. Heating on and we were all cosy for the night.

Elsie needed a wee in the night, but she woke me to let her out, so we are getting there.

 

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I think the girls enjoyed their short break.

We had to vacate the pitch by 10.30am which is early for us so we hastily packed our gear and headed to Wells, where we parked up and cooked Bacon baps before hitting the city.

Wells is always a pleasant City to wander around taking in the sights particularly the cathedral. We bought a Cornish pasty and a cake for lunch then heading home.

All in all it was a successful trip the dogs enjoyed the run around on the beach we needed the break away from our commitments.