It was my friend Hector who first inspired us. He bought a pre-owned Eriba camper for £3000 about 10 years ago, and I was very impressed by it.
Fast forward, and my wife, Anne, and I had adopted a Labrador. However, Bruno-the-dog didn’t like going into kennels while we went on holiday.
In our younger days, Anne and I had enjoyed Keycamp/Eurocamp holidays in France, and we both had great memories of camping. So that, and Hector’s experiences, prompted us to start looking for a campervan.
Dog on tour!
Our first trip was all of 20 miles, to the Caravan Club site at Ayr. I then started planning our big trip: we would go to Devon.
Four of us – including Hector in his Eribacar, and Bruno the dog – went to France for the next couple of years, including to Carnac, the Normandy beaches and Honfleur. It was fantastic.
By now, the Eribacar was struggling a bit, though, so Hector decided to call it a day. Our Auto-Trail was leaking, too, so we decided to look for something else.
We fell in love with an 18-month-old Bessacarr E460 with an end-lounge, and bought it in 2010.
Since then we’ve been to France, through Colmar to Lake Constance in Germany, then on to Switzerland and back up through France, taking the wine route to Beaune.
We have also toured the Dordogne to Rocamadour, Sarlat and Saumur – all trips have been hugely enjoyable.
Great British holidays
Bruno is now 12-and-a-half and it would not be fair to take him on long trips, so for the past two years we have been exploring the delights of the UK. We tend to stay at club sites, but we occasionally use commercial sites and sometimes CLs.
We have visited places that before were just names on a map that we passed by on the way to somewhere else. We've been to Keswick and Bowness in the Lake District, Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds, Padstow, Ilfracombe, Sandringham, Chatsworth… not to mention short trips in Scotland to North Berwick, Loch Lomond and more.
We have encountered some really interesting people along the way. In St Andrews we met François, who worked in the space industry and was camping in Scotland. He telephoned his wife in France every night and she gave him his route for the next day.
In Lucerne, we met Shawnne and her children. She was a former Miss Texas, had been married to an ambassador and had met Henry Kissinger and Mikhail Gorbachev. We still keep in touch via Facebook!