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Dartmoor (or an appreciation of British weather)

Stuart and two walking guides head out on Dartmoor

Stuart and two walking guides head out on Dartmoor

Sometimes reality bites.

What I had wanted was to travel to one of the UK’s last great wildernesses and be greeted with metaphoric open arms.

“Come on in, nice to see you, hope you enjoy yourself.” I pictured the beaming rays of sunshine, the gentle breeze among the long grass, the soothing isolation – what wonderful pictures we’d get, what great memories we’d take away.

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Stuart Kidman

Stuart Kidman

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Stuart Kidman is the magazine's Deputy Editor. He has been a journalist for ten years, writing for local newspapers before joining the Club in 2009. He loves camping and enjoys nothing better than trekking off into the wilderness to 'rough it' for a couple of nights.

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Change and chocolate ahead

Ted and KizzyKizzy and I were kindly invited by the maid and chauffeur to accompany them on their caravan hunting trip recently. They have a nice ‘van ( I spent a week in it last summer while we moved house) but I think the chauffeur craves a little more space to relax in after our walks on the proms of England.

As you can see from the photo, there were lots to choose from but at the moment our little Milly, the Avondale Dart 380/2, is awaiting her first trip out of 2016. So where will we go? Well, we have a weekend trip in May to West Yorkshire to look forward to, and this year I think we’ll be spending more weekends away, with being relatively close to the seaside hotspot of Skegness!

You may think I’m joking, but there’s a great promenade there, and more than one cafe when dogs (they often specify ‘small’ but that does apply to Kizzy and me!) can pop inside with their owners, as long as we are good and keep our paws firmly on the floor.

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Dog Blog

Dog Blog

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Travelling terrier Ted, together with his maid and chauffeur, visit campsites around the UK with Milly the caravan in tow. Ted offers tips for places to stay and shares some of his holiday capers.

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Keep your distance

Watching footage of motorway pile-ups was an interesting start to Week 4’s Institute of Advanced Motoring Skill for Life course, which showed what can go wrong at speed.

Remembering the two-second rule is vital for dual carriageway or motorway driving. When travelling at 70mph the braking distance is 315ft – that’s potentially a lot of vehicles to crash into if the worst happens. Navigating slip roads was addressed too – namely how not to race down them and hope for the best. Again we were reminded why flashing the headlights is never a good idea to indicate your intentions – though it’s a tough one when it seems to be a universal driver language. And dare I say it but I think it’s actually quite a nice gesture when someone you’ve courteously given way to shows their thanks by flashing their hazards a couple of times.

Mike PageThen it was time to get out there and experience what the A46 (a three lane dual carriageway in some sections) had to offer on a Sunday morning with IAM Observer Mike Page. As my daily commute route I was not too worried about this, and aside from forgetting to signal at least four times before overtaking (and then being told not to bother when safely pulling back in – a habit I’m going to have a really hard time dropping) I had no issues.

A few days later I tried to remember what I'd learned on my trip down the M5. It was interesting to see how many people ignored the flashing 50mph signs that warned of an accident ahead; a mile later everyone realised the signs weren't purely decorative and slammed on the brakes. It was definitely a moment for spouting off some IAM hazard-noticing commentary - and thankfully Mike was nowhere near to hear it!

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Vicky SartainRead other posts by Vicky Sartain