The Altnaharra Caravan Club site must be one of the most isolated and beautiful sites in the UK. I realise I am probably a bit biased but by any standard this is very special. It has a mixture of electric and non-electric pitches and there is no loo block. In addition, access to the site is by an eighteen mile single track road to Altnaharra and then a further three miles along a minor road to the site itself.
So this is not for the feint hearted or for those who like to order a daily paper and expect fresh milk to be on tap when they run out. The round trip to the shops for the excellent wardens is fifty miles so only frozen and non-perishable goods are on sale in the minuscule reception area. You need to plan ahead a bit. My partner tells me that whenever I go away I seem to stock up the motorhome in preparation for a nuclear holocaust so I was confident I was going to be OK – and I was. Also, stating the obvious, there are no filling stations to be seen so the moment you hit Inverness it is best to top up regardless of how much you have in the tank.
You stay at Altnaharra for the view, the atmosphere and the realisation that you are not merely attempting to be getting away from it all – you have succeeded absolutely in getting away from it all. And there were people from Germany, France and Italy on site doing that wonderful triangular trip of sites that the Club has in Scotland – Dunnet Bay, Brora and Altnaharra.
It is a fabulous spot!
Lucca and Tuscany. A wonderful combination. Just returned from a week long holiday and loved every minute of it. Lucca has an extremely convenient motorhome site just outside the city walls albeit uninspiring and minimalist. If you do nothing else, cycle round the city on top of the the old walls!!
There is an unsubstantiated news story doing the rounds this week that Renault and Fiat either have signed or are about to sign an agreement to jointly build a Ducato style commercial vehicle in Russia.
The gist of it is that the production would be handled by Russian truckmaker ZIL and that starting as early as 2014 it would produce about 25,000 Renault Masters and 25,000 Fiat Ducatos.
Such agreements in the commercial vehicle market are common simply because very few manufacturers can make the numbers add up by themselves whereas with cars the production numbers are bigger and such joint agreements are therefore less well known – Peugeot and Toyota possibly being one of the best known in the UK. By contrast we see such agreements between Volkswagen and Mercedes and Fiat/Citroen/Peugeot in commercial vehicles and as motorhomers we are pretty clear what we are getting when we purchase.
Even Ford recently found it impossible to sustain its Transit factory in the UK and moved production to a bigger more flexible facility in Turkey – again to make the production numbers add up. Those familiar with the Southampton plant will know only too well how constrained it was with a railway and major road down two sides of it. I am reminded of the identical constraint at the main Porsche factory which was resolved by building upwards on several different levels – something that could be considered to protect the valuable Porsche heritage and tradition but which would hardly be feasible for a Transit van.
The question is therefore, might my next motorhome – be it a Fiat or a Renault – come from Russia and does any of this have an impact on the market leading Ducato Sevel plant we are all so familiar with? The Fiat PSA agreement goes all the way back to 1981 and Fiat has built it in a number of plants around the world – including Russia – so maybe what goes round comes round?
I acknowledge the source I first saw this from:
A new plan to introduce an MOT-style test for caravans could cost families hundreds of pounds.The plan has been touted by the European Union.
If the idea is brought into force it could affect 200,000 holidaymakers in the UK. There are also fears that it could hit the popular caravan tourism market.
Andrew Baker, director at Pearman Briggs caravan sales at Longlevens, said: “We have seen a dramatic increase in the number of younger families taking up caravanning because they can’t afford to go abroad and this new rule would be a real shame for them. I can’t see it being brought in because simply policing it would be a nightmare. It would just be another unnecessary expense for people.”
Reacting to the news, a spokesman for the Caravan Club, which has 375,000 members nationally, said: “The Caravan Club actively supports and encourages measures designed to improve road safety, but has seen no EU evidence that MOT-style testing on caravans will do so. “Caravanning is inherently very safe, with extremely low levels of reported accidents, and the overwhelming majority of accidents which do occur are caused by factors such as poor loading – causing instability – and driver behaviour, not by factors that would be mitigated by roadworthiness testing.”
The UK government is attempting to block the measure but it could be passed by the EU later this year.