This was a full blown test run with full camping gear which included the drive away awning, the Cadac the fold up tables and the LED light to name just a few things.
We were all packed and ready to go, we just had to collect the kids from school and load the food we were taking into cool bags/boxes.
I had a 12v cool box which we plugged in for the trip. We filled the fridge to the brim and placed a frozen blue ice block in the ice tray, and a couple of cool bags.
The VW fridge runs off either the 12v supply or gas. Running if off the 12v supply will drain the battery sharpish and running it off the gas eats up the gas, so to be totally honest after leaving in the blue ice pack and opening the fridge door as little as possible we did nothing with it. It kept everything cool, which for just a couple of days is fine.
We had booked 2 nights at Freshwater Beach Caravan Park near Burton Bradstock, as I said in a previous post, not my normal type of camp site, but for the kids it was perfect.
Reception was still open when we arrived as it only took us and hour and a half to get to the site. We were issued with and information pack and pitching instructions and a map of the site.
As you can see we had a good view over the rest of the site, I would say approx only 1/12th full. I was rather glad of having a corner pitch, only having neighbours on one side.
Setting up on the site was fairly easy, it wasn't level so I am glad we had invested in the levelling ramps! I did see a motor home with a massive set of ramps which I rather liked the look of but finding somewhere to store them may be an issue!
So once level, we pulled out the awning and got to work putting it up. It could not of been simpler! Two large poles which slot through from corner to corner, peg out the base and hey presto, the awning is up!
Now the tricky bit of connecting it to the awning. Well it could of been, and probably would not of worked as well as it did if we had done it correctly.
The problem being that it clips onto the roof rail on the VW. However when the van was resprayed the rail appears to be clogged up and solid with some kind filler?! So attaching the clips proved impossible.
We were aware of this as the previous owner had told us about it and they said they used bungy ropes to attach it. We inserted the pole that goes along the entrance to the awning and with a couple of bungy ropes over the roof of the VW and down to clip on the wheels we attached it to the van.
Now in doing this it did a number of things. Firstly this whole section became taught and attached much better to the van, but the best thing was that it lifted the entrance up higher. If we had attached it to the van rail it would of just of been above the sliding door entrance. With it being lifted higher it was a good 30 to 40cm above which meant getting in and out of the side door so much easier.
So all in all it worked a treat. The awning had a sewn in ground sheet and three doors, however we only used the one. Both us us were very pleased with not only the ease of erecting the awning but the size of it and it's use ability.
Not tested in wind or rain, but have no complaints so far about it.
Next was the Cadac, what can I say that I haven't said a million times before - brilliant! The new model, considerably improved over my last one worked as it should. I will write a complete post on it as I really do think it deserves to be covered in a little bit more detail.
The folding tables also worked well, all though the large one was a little tricky to put together and you had to be careful when moving it around as it tended to come apart!
The site had direct access to the beach, I'm sure that I have written about Chesil Beach before, but if I haven't then it's worth taking a look at. It stretches for 18 miles and it has been said that in the old days, the smugglers would land on the beach and new exactly where they were by the size of the shingle as the further from Portland you get the smaller the stones get. I have also heard this story about Mackerel fisherman landing.
Now the site itself was spotlessly clean and the loo's and toilets were tip top. Some of the shower cubicles were massive and included within it a sink and loo which is great if you have young kids. The water was hot and plentiful as well. So they deserve a pat on the back for getting that right.
However, two things left me rather puzzled. Firstly, no recycling at all. The only bins were the big industrial ones where everything went into. You would of thought they would of had general, glass, cardboard and plastic ones?
And the one thing that does annoy me no end, chargeable WiFi !!!! In this day and age you should not be charged for internet access. Certainly not £4.00 a day! Not only that but you were limited on data usage as well! Rip off.
All in all a good weekend away, all the kit was used and it all worked extremely well.
On our way back we stopped for ice cream near Corfe Castle over looking Poole bay, then we headed home via Studland ferry. A bit of a wait to catch the ferry, but nothing too long.
So where next??