21st Oct to 25th Oct 2019
Our first trip in our new Bailey motorhome was to Northumberland. Round trip distance: 562 miles according to google maps.
Having picked up the motorhome from Don Amott’s on the 18th and kitting it out from the NEC Caravan and Camping show on the 19th, this was our first “shake-down” run to make sure we understood how everything worked and to identify anything that wasn’t working.
On the Monday morning we excitedly finished packing up, and headed of toward Beamish River Caravan and Motorhome Club site (via Don Amott in Derby to pick up some missing trim and manuals). Once we had fixed the normal rattles e.g grill pan, microwave plate and chattering saucepans, the new motorhome drove exceptionally smoothly, especially over smooth roads. The low AL-KO chassis makes a noticeable difference by lowering the centre of gravity and thereby reducing “roll” around corners. I’m not so sure about the lane guidance function. In reduced width lanes it can get quite annoying listening to the alarm every time a wheel touches a white line. Nevertheless – very impressed with the first real drive.
The club site was excellent. The wardens were friendly and informative. Taking the time to explain the site, it’s facilities and club etiquette. The showers were warm and clean with plenty of hot water. Couldn’t ask for more.
On Tuesday we went exploring the coast. Starting at Holy Island – Lindisfarne, Bamburgh Castle and the lovely sand beach (Finlay loved that), and finally Alnwick Castle famous for the filming of the Harry Potter movies. We had never been to this part of the UK before, but it wont be the last.
The weather looked OK on Wednesday too, so we decided to find a hill walk. Looking at routes nearby using the OS app on my phone, we decided on a BCC Countryfile Magazine walk – Upper Coquetdale. This was a circular walk of 8.4 miles peaking at 1500 ft on the top of Saughy Hill. The two Relive videos below show the route we took, along with a google annotated map of the route.
Having not planned too far ahead (not high season), once we had completed the walk and the obligatory brew and biscuit, we had a look around for motorhome pitches around Kielder Water. Another place on our “must visit” list. We quickly found a pitch at Kielder Caravan Park which is right on the shoreline of the reservoir. A beautiful spot, but the caravan pitches hadn’t been used for 2 seasons so were a little unkempt. The rest of the facilities were excellent: shower blocks, pool, restaurant and bar. Just what we needed after the walk earlier.
Thursday was a quieter day, spent around Kielder Water before the weather moved in and we headed home on Friday
The new motorhome behaved just as we hoped it would, apart from one small incident. On the first morning I couldn’t get the control panel to fire up on 12v (leisure battery). After a call to Don Amott aftersales I discovered the problem. The leisure battery hadn’t been secured properly. Both the leads and the steel strap were loose i.e. just pushed on and not tightened up at all. Many apologies from Don Amott for allowing the vehicle to be driven away in an unsafe state, but no harm done and easily fixed. Oh and the fridge was far too cold – even the milk froze. Our fault for turning it to max when we set out.