Motorhome sales are booming.

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The UK motorhome market continues to boom. The total number of new registrations in March 2017 was up by nearly a quarter on 2016, according to figures just released by the NCC.

The statistics show that registrations of new motorhomes in March 2017 reached 2,877, a 22.3% increase over last year, taking them to their highest ever level for the first quarter at 3,670. March, with its number plate change, is a popular month for consumers to buy, ahead of the spring and summer season.  

Source: National Caravan Council NCC

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

Hawes, Wensleydale, Yorkshire.

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The Caravan and Motorhome Club site in Hawes is within a ten minute walk of the town centre which is a delight and has a wide range of shops and no less than four pubs. I randomly selected The White Hart and only just managed to get back to the motorhome by midnight which I think speaks volumes for the establishment.

The site itself is undergoing a huge upgrade and only half the site is open at the moment but it is easy to see how good it will be on completion. Because it is where it is, the Club is upgrading the site totally in keeping with the beautiful area in which it sits and on completion I can imagine it will be in even greater demand than before.

As my photo shows, I also stopped by the amazing Ribblehead Viaduct. The site wardens gave me the tip that the B6255 Hawes to Ingleton road was a beautiful run and how right they were – simply stunning.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

A visit to Jodrell Bank.

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When I was at school we had – of all things – an observatory tacked on to the end of the school buildings kitted out with a big telescope with a mechanical timing mechanism which enabled you to track the moon and stars without losing them because of the earth’s movement while you were sat at the telescope watching things. This instilled in me a love of astronomy and later the NASA space programme.

I was staying with a school friend in Chelsea when Sputnik cut across the night sky – a thrilling but slightly frightening experience because it was Russian – The Cold War was running full tilt then.  Years later when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon I was living in Toronto and enjoying at the time a very good party in Mississauga. Everything stopped and we watched in amazement on the TV screens as the events unfolded. Never to be forgotten despite the many subsequent conspiracy theories that actually it all took place on a sound stage in Seattle and there was a really anxious moment when the studio cat nearly strolled into the picture……

So this interest has been with me since early childhood but somehow along the way I had never been to Jodrell Bank which even now is still the third largest radio telescope of it type in the world having slipped from its original premier position. A great day out for me amongst the earnest parents teaching their reluctant children the difference between stars and planets and goodness knows what else; how lovely it was for me just to enjoy it!

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

Visit to Auto Trail.

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I was lucky enough this week to be included on a visit to the new Auto Trail factory in Grimsby. Part of the all powerful Trigano Group this factory produces Tribute van conversions and Auto Trail coach builts in a modern, light and well laid out environment. As we all know, Trigano encourages brands to keep their very strong individual identities but the sheer size of the group must make their central purchasing operation based in Paris for the big components such as the power train a serious force to be reckoned with.

It was an extremely good visit and the Auto Trail management team was generous with its time answering literally hundreds of questions very openly indeed. On the day we were there we saw motorhomes being built for the UK, Australian and New Zealand markets. 

And what one thing most stuck in my mind? Care and attention to detail by everyone involved.  And maybe one unexpected fact? Like most motorhome manufacturers, Auto Trail has eliminated wood from the structural components but continues to build nearly all its own furniture. Waste timber is converted to pellets which feed a biomass boiler making the factory self sufficient for heating and hot water – coupled with a rain water collection system dramatically reducing fresh water consumption.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

Sunshine, blue skies and a super site. Anything else needed?

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Am spending time at the Caravan and Motorhome Club site in Peterborough – Ferry Meadows – and I’m enjoying super weather, the country park next door and, for me, the restored seven and a half miles long Nene Valley Railway with one of the stations actually at Ferry Meadows. 

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

The Bailey Arctic Adventure team return home. 

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So the Arctic Adventure team has returned home. It was such fun following the group all the way from Millbrook to the Arctic Circle in Finland and back home again. Lee Davey, Martin Dorey, Nigel Hutson, John Rawlings and of course Bailey Mastermind Simon Howard (Marketing Director, Bailey of Bristol), together with a supporting cast. And all done in association with The Caravan and Motorhome Club

There were many high spots for us Groupies but watching the team drive across the Oresund Bridge from Sweden into Denmark was certainly one of them for me as a fan of the TV drama series The Bridge. Also memorable were Martin Dorey’s amazing skills at conjuring up meals under less than ideal circumstances. Artistic Creativity Award went to the photo of the Thetford toilet cassette in the foreground of a stupendous snowy arctic scene. 

There was of course a very serious purpose to the venture which were the cold weather tests carried out by Millbrook’s operation in Finland; insulation materials and heating systems are getting ever more advanced and they are tested under rigorous climate conditions reproduced in test centres in the UK – but there is no substitute for a gruelling long haul run in the coldest possible conditions encountered in the Arctic.

It was fun following the trip; it must have been some experience to have been actually part of the trip.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

Ypres 

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I was talking to a fellow Caravan and Motorhome Club friend the other day and remarked that I am more of a tourer than a rallyer to which she rather tartly remarked “Well, Christopher, that’s your loss then.” That could be but I think I am likely to stick with my touring and this week has been a case in point.

A few days came free in the diary after an extremely serious bout of man flu which required a great deal of help and TLC to get me through – believe me it was touch and go. 

For some time I have been wanting to visit a couple of the peace parks built near Ypres post WW1 and also see Prowse Point where the famous Christmas Day football match was played and where a faithful reconstruction of the trenches shows that just a few metres separated the opposing forces. Disapproved of by the generals at the time, it has become something of a focal point.

When in Ypres I usually drive the clearly signed Poppy Trail coming across all sorts of interesting history. Thursday night’s attendance at the daily Menin Gate ceremony was primarily attended by children many of whom were on school trips from the UK so that future generations never forget.

Whilst I may not be much of a rallyer, there can scarcely be a better way of touring the Somme battlefields than in a motorhome. 

Christopher Macgowan
@motorhomenews

Visitors to CCM Show soar in 2017.

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SOURCE: CARAVAN TIMES

Written by Tom Leaning.

Consistent national media coverage reflected the interest caravans, camping and motorhomes have around the country.

 

The Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2017 finished on 26 February with over 94,000 visitors through its doors: 7,023 more than 2016. The weekend peaked with 25,349 visiting the show on Saturday and over 45,000 visitors attending across the two days of the weekend.

The show’s media coverage reflected the nation’s interest in caravans, camping and motorhomes, with Radio 2’s Chris Evans championing the event during last week’s breakfast show, and ITV’s This Morning presenting a range of products on London’s South Bank during its live broadcast.

Despite midweek gales disrupting roads and public transport in the Midlands, exhibitors still reported strong sales figures from the event. Director of Sales and Marketing for Auto-Trail, Scott Stephens reported that “show sales have highlighted how many customers are entering into motorhoming which is a great sign for the industry on the whole.” The announcement of a re-brand by The Caravan Club to The Caravan and Motorhome Club – which was broadcast through a Facebook Live RSS Stream by CaravanTimes – also reflected the growth in motorhome ownership.

The caravan industry also confirmed a positive result. Unveiling a one-off Joules-designed touring caravan, Lunar’s UK Sales Director, Lee Roberts said that he saw “good footfall throughout the show, complemented by a great buying audience, making this February’s show the best yet.” The Coachman Caravan company reported an increase of 22 per cent in retail sales compared to the previous year. Elliot Hibbs, Managing Director said “2017 has been positive for the industry as a whole and we have enjoyed an increase in demand for our product range.”

Swift showed its S-Pod 4 holiday lodge for the first time and reported strong interest. Nick Page, Group Commercial Director commented that “this has been our most successful February show for years with retail sales increasing by 26 per cent on touring caravans and 34 per cent on motorhomes.”

Launches included the Sonic Supreme 810SC by Adria. Managing Director, Slavica Sterk said: “The show has strengthened Adria’s position in the market,” suggesting that while products are not traditionally launched at the February show, overall public response surpassed expectations.

Omar Park and Leisure Homes unveiled the Wessex Hideaway lodge and were very pleased at the general interest across its lodges. Peter Berwick, the Group Sales and Design Director said that the show is “an opportunity to showcase top end models across the Wessex and Omar brands and gives us the chance to get valuable feedback from customers.”

Camping equipment brand Vango created a great buzz in Hall 5 thanks to the AirBeam Challenge, letting members of the public race against the clock to inflate a full sized tent. Vango saw record sales again at the show, with the Kela II DriveAway Awning and Inspire 800XXL eight-berth tent leading the way. Ivan Davies, Account Manager said that “the show really launches our year.”

“The February show’s attendance endorses the optimistic outlook for our industry, which continues to grow,” said John Lally, CEO – NCC Events Ltd. “We are also pleased to see that the demographic of those attending the show continues to diversify, with engagement from those new to the industry.”

A whole host of celebrities took to the Discovery Theatre stage throughout the show. Appearances included Ben Fogle, Barney Harwood, Kate Humble, Julia Bradbury and Sam Quek. Live cookery demonstrations from Monica Rivron, Selasi Gbormittah, Welsh chefs Mike Bates and Colin Gray also graced the stage.

Displays included the Lego® caravan, which featured in a Facebook Live RSS stream organised by Guinness World Records, and the highly popular Dog Agility arena. Additional attractions for visiting families included trampolines in the Bounce Zone, bushcraft workshops, climbing wall, artificial caving and a virtual reality of Europe’s longest zip wire in the North Wales LIVE area, and a Woodland Assault Course in partnership with The Woodland Trust.

The Motorhome and Caravan Show is at the NEC from 17 to 22 October 2017 and The Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show returns 20 to 25 February 2018.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews