05/03/2019
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Is caravanning for young people too?

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The Young Tourers Rally shows caravanning interests more age groups than you may realise!

Words by Dan Arnold
Photos by Richard Chapman

"A young what?" I hear you ask!

You might have had to read 'Young Caravanners' twice, but trust me they do exist, as we found out last September when Karl, Rhea, Grace and I put on the first Young Caravanners' Rally in association with Caravan Magazine.

What's their 'Why'?

Let's start with a bit of history! In February 2018, the four of us met on a group created by Karl and Rhea called 'Young Caravanners'. If you hadn't already guessed, it does exactly what it says on the tin, a group for those who go caravanning, motorhoming or even camping in their 20s, 30s and early 40s!

Left: Grace & Dan. Right: Rhea & Karl
Dan and Grace - Young Tourers Karl & Rhea - Young Tourers

The group was a great start, but we wanted to take things a step further. We formed Young Tourers, a social media space for others to follow our young-caravanning adventures, as we showcase the benefits, experiences and freedom that leisure-vehicle holidays bring.

Our main aim? To inspire and spread the word! And, oh boy, did we get more than we'd bargained for!

What happened next?

Young Tourers Rally

The response from both individuals and the industry has been amazing, and it gave us the perfect excuse to host an industry-first celebration event to showcase all things youthful!

Simply named Young Caravanners Rally 2018, or #YCR18 for the techy tourers amongst you, who are familiar with the hashtag trend, the event promised to be something like no other.

It took place over a weekend in September 2018 and was hosted at Lyndon Top Caravan Park, looking down on the shores of stunning Rutland Water, just outside the town of Oakham.

Friday — Getting together

Eating out at the Young Tourers Rally

Friday started rather quietly. Given almost all those attending had spent Friday working, arrivals didn't start to appear until early evening.

As more units arrived into the night, the event got bigger and so did our ever-friendly circle of adults, kids… and dogs!

Huddling behind the windbreak with a beverage of choice, getting to know everyone, it was exactly what we'd dreamed of! And what a friendly bunch they were, too. A bond, caravanning, the conversation was soon flowing like the wine!

Time flew, and it wasn't long before we retired to bed, ready for Saturday's main event… The notorious 'Caravan Manoeuvring Challenge'.

Saturday — Let the games begin

Caravan manoeuvres

Karl and I were up early to set up the stage for the challenge, supported by Caravelair Caravans. It involved a large field, many pegs and a long roll of marker tape.

After a couple of hours and a few last-minute checks, we were ready to go! The course appeared to be something like the famous Top Gear track, only ours was built on a slightly smaller budget.

Interest was building amongst the camp and the anticipation was keen. It was time to wheel out a brilliantly-tiny Caravelair Antarès 335, kindly lent to us by the fab people at Marquis Leisure.

The rules were simple: one familiarity lap without the caravan in tow, then on the whistle, hitch up and get safely around the course in the quickest time.

Caravan towing

The back straight, chicane and three reversing elements were just some of the technical challenges to give our drivers sweaty palms! You won't believe how competitive people can be with towing, but the skills on show were impressive, especially when it came to reversing.

The little 335 performed admirably. By the end of the afternoon, the results were in, ready to be announced on Sunday morning!

Following on from the excitement and adrenaline of the track, Saturday afternoon provided more entertainment in our 'Caravanagram' competition, as well as biscuit decorating, treasure hunt and soap carving activities for the children.

A feast for the Rally

Eating together at the rally

By early evening, it was time to spark up the barbecue for a feast provided by the Caravan & Motorhome Club. This was a generous gesture, and it meant a lot to the young folk gathered such an esteemed organisation had taken an interest in what we were trying to do.

The delicious food was just what we needed after an action-packed day at #YCR18. Music, dancing, socialising… oh, and a 'donut eating challenge' meant the evening rocketed by, and we were soon waking up on Sunday with only a couple of sore heads between us!

Satellite entertainment

On Sunday morning, we hosted a bacon butties breakfast for all to enjoy, before our final competition of the weekend, the Maxview Satellite Challenge! You may have seen the brilliant Remora 40 kit Karl and Rhea have been putting through its paces recently?

Maxview Remora 40 fixed to a caravan

The kit promises to give you a brilliant satellite picture in seconds. How hard can it be to build and target the portable dish to get a perfect picture? Fortunately, not, as even Caravan magazine's managing editor, John Sootheran, was to prove! (Rude! — Ed).

After a quick demo from Karl, the stopwatch was out once again. Can you get a satellite picture on an Avtex TV in the boot of a Land Rover? Yes, yes you can!

The contestants slotted and screwed the clever dish together in about a minute, before spinning it on its axis to find a good signal. And, boy, was it good. The Avtex television had a crystal-clear image in seconds… every time.

And, the winner was...

Winning a Maxview Remora 40

Finally, the results were in, and it was time to announce our weekend winners.

The manoeuvring challenge was highly competitive, and we ended up with joint winners on identical times.

Adam Stonehill-Hammond and Matthew Farrar both won a pair of tickets to the NEC Caravan & Motorhome Show, courtesy of the NCC and Freedom To Go.

The other main competition, the satellite challenge, was won by Adam and Craig Stonehill-Hammond, who walked away with a Remora 40 kit, thanks to the team at
Maxview Systems.

None of the kids went away empty-handed, either, receiving sweets for their excellent efforts in their challenges.

The small-but-perfectly-formed event was a great success and showcased the potential future of caravanning amongst younger people.

I speak on behalf of all of us in the Young Tourers 'committee' when I say we have been truly overwhelmed by the support we've received.

Firstly, thank you to everyone who attended and made the event a success. Our second and biggest thank you must go out to each and every industry partner. The enthusiasm that you guys have for the Young Caravanners campaign is encouraging and reinforces the potential future of the industry.

caravelair logo Caravan & Motorhome Club logo

Our special thanks must also go to Caravan magazine, the Caravan & Motorhome Club, Marquis Leisure, Maxview, Whale, Truma, NCC and Freedom To Go!

Watch this short video about their first rally!

 

If you'd like to find out more about our Young Caravanners' Spring 2019 Extravaganza, or see what happened at #YCR18, be sure to search 'Young Caravanners' on Facebook.

If you're young and thinking about starting your caravanning adventure… do! You will have so much fun.

FaceBook @youngtourers
Twitter @youngtourers_yt
Instagram @youngtourers_yt
W youngtourers.co.uk
E contact@youngtourers.co.uk

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