When you’re standing alone in remote country car park and a man you’ve never met before shouts over to you “Would you like to come with me?” it would be rude not to.
The man in question was Keith our instructor on a “How to Tow Your Caravan” course run by the Caravan and Motor Home Club. I’d signed up for it months ago on the recommendation of a forum club member and I wasn’t disappointed.
Last photo of bollard before its sad end plus a motley collection of horse trailers
In between the giggling and sharing stories I actually did learn something and I significantly increased my towing yards (I say yards as I have only previously towed 300 yards on my own!). I reckon adding up all the going backwards and forwards I must at least have a mile’s towing under my belt now. There were just 5 of us which was just right. Keith was our instructor and must be one of the great caravanning oracles of all time. I don’t think there was a single question that floored him except for Mark’s question as to which type of mortgage would be best to go for.
Having weight ratios and how to pack your caravan was really useful, plus what type of tools to take with you. Then we went outside and did the practical bit – hitching and unhitching. I was paired up with Michala and I’m convinced that girl could end up winning timed hitching and unhitching competitions! I don’t think I’m afraid of the Jockey wheel anymore having wound it up and down so many times, in a perverse way I really enjoyed seeing the back end of my car rising up when we were testing that the tow ball was properly attached.
Keith set up a course where we had to drive forward and make a tight turn and come back the other way. I really enjoyed that bit and discovered that my car does have a decent wheel lock. The others nailed it as well. It was only when we did the reversing along a line of bollards that one of them suffered an untimely demise at my hands. I’d quite like to blame it on the fact it was raining and I had naff, cheapy towing mirrors fitted. When Keith swapped them over for some decent glass it really did make all the difference and everything did become much easier to see. So new mirrors are now on order.
The course was held in the grounds of an Equestrian Centre and it was weird being in the classroom and seeing horses trotting to and fro past the windows. They were all gorgeous creatures and seemed to have a large dedicated team of young people looking after them.
The second day of the course and Keith had us all reversing in to ‘pitches’ from the left and the right. This is the bit I’d been dreading but you know when you have a great instructor who thoroughly explains the manoeuvring to you the fear really subsides. We all did the manoeuvres about 4 times each. We learned in our cars and also by watching each other reversing.
Just a fab learning experience in the company of 5 of the nicest caravanners you could meet –
Mark – who introduced me to reversing cameras (got to get one of those!) and the world of gadgets for cars
Alison and Nigel – whoever gets them as neighbours at a caravan site will be very lucky indeed, so kind and considerate
Michala – as I said above an incredibly fast learner and a serious future contender for Caravanner of the Year
And finally Keith the instructor – patient, knowledgeable, encouraging and his pictures of a site virtually on a Scottish beach will have me planning routes to Skerray in the very near future.
And here they are – L to R – Mark, Michala, Alison, Nigel and Keith
I’m getting closer to the off!!