Club Blog Archive - 2014

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Christmas camping

So here I sit, well lay actually, writing this blog on my last camp of the year.
I'm at Blackmore Club Site in a Vango Force 10 Vortex 300 and it's Christmas Eve Eve.
I always try to have a dads and lads Christmas camping trip with my two sons, Tom, aged 14, and 11-year-old Elliot. It's become a bit of a tradition and Blackmore is our usual destination.
We pitched up yesterday in record time as the rain was just about to start and then jumped back in the car to head into the Malvern Hills. We drove towards our starting point with that sinking feeling as the rain was getting worse, as was the complaints from the 'lads' about getting wet on the hill.
But undeterred we found a parking spot that shortens the walk up to the highest point in the Malverns and found ourselves in what turned out to be the perfect pocket of good weather.
More grumbles from the lads (Tom actually) soon disappeared as they got stuck into the walk, which gave us great views of the English and Welsh countryside. We ploughed on through the cold wind until we reached our summit, the top of Worcestershire Beacon.
Bacon sandwiches were consumed and I then suggested we head back before it got too dark. But no. The lads wanted another summit under their belts so we headed on to Sugarloaf Hill.
Then it definitely was time to head back.
Bracing but lovely is the best way to describe the late afternoon walk.
Our reward on the return to Blackmore was another walk but this time to the Swan at Hanley Swan where dinner and drinks awaited and a good dads and lads chinwag (subjects being Facebook, Twitter, school, the Hobbit - you get the idea).
Then back to the tent to watch a Top Gear special on the iPad (another little tradition) before bedding down for the night.
It was pretty cold outside, worsened by the wind chill factor (3 degrees) but inside we were toasty with our thermal mats, Snugpak sleeping bags and 16 layers of clothing!
But we all slept well, though a noisy owl did try to interrupt our visit to the land of nod at about 1am. But we'll forgive him that - this is more his home than ours.
So now all that's left is for me to climb out of the sleeping bag and tent, get on with breakfast in the rain while the lads stay snug in their beds (funnily enough another tradition), before heading for home.
Good thing these traditions.

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Simon McGrath avatar Posted by
Simon McGrath

Simon McGrath

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Editor, Camping & Caravanning I've been a journalist for more than 20 years and a magazine editor for at least a dozen of them. I have a love of the great outdoors, not to mention camping in all its forms, which is a great way to get out there. But I don't just like admiring the countryside, I love getting active by sailing, trekking and walking, canoeing (when I get the chance) and mountain-biking.

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Carbon monoxide alarms in tents - yes or no?

The Club's carbon monoxide warning poster

The Club's carbon monoxide warning poster

Over the last few months the Club has changed its position on the use of carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in tents. If you’ve followed our deliberations you may remember we were concerned the current European standard (EN 50291) didn’t seem to cover the conditions found inside a tent.

My colleague Ian Hewlett and I met with Leigh Greenham from CoGDEM last year. CoGDEM is the organisation for members of the gas detection industry. It obviously has an interest in selling CO detection systems, but its members are also doing significant research into the efficacy of sensors and alarms, sadly often prompted by loss of life. Leigh was able to share with us some ‘company confidential’ CO alarm testing data that’s not generally available.

In cases like these I tend to use my Jonathan Jones test, named after a friend who’s a professional sceptic. I simply ask myself “Would Jonathan consider this sufficient proof in this case?”

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Candy Evans avatar Posted by
Candy Evans

Candy Evans

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Candy Evans is Test Editor for Camping & Caravanning. She took a less conventional path into magazine journalism via physics and a decade in computer consultancy, turning to caravanning and writing during a career break as a full-time mum. Her interests are wide and include the Club’s Archive – though she’s careful to wash her hands after checking 1919 editions of the Club’s magazine to avoid lurking traces of influenza.

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Stolen caravans recovered thanks to Caravan Theft Alerts system

Caravan Theft Alerts has had recent success with the recovery of three stolen caravans

Caravan Theft Alerts has had recent success with the recovery of three stolen caravans

This is a guest blog by Nigel Coppen, Client Services Director at Club Care Insurance and Caravan Theft Alerts

When we set up the Caravan Theft Alerts system in October last year, the aim was to provide the wider caravanning community with a central system to look up whether a caravan had been stolen. Sadly, too many caravanners out there know what it is like to have their caravans taken from them, and our Caravan Theft Alerts system can help the community to support each other and get the caravan returned.

The officer contacted Tim Booth, Leisure Vehicles Officer at the Association of Chief Police Officers’ Vehicle Crime Intelligence division and the police representative for our Caravan Theft Alerts system, who recognised details of one of the caravans from the system report.

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Guest Blogger

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This is a guest blog entry. All views are that of the author and not necessarily shared by the Club. Mention of any product or service on the blog does not constitute endorsement by the Club. All blog posts are moderated before going live.

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