UK Motorcaravanning

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UK Motorcaravanning

Post by maricardo on Wed May 27, 2015 6:30 pm

“Reverse your ‘van into your pitch with the white peg close to your off side rear corner. If you wish to position differently you must see the site Warden…or you vill be shot.”

Having just returned from a couple of days on UK campsites I can’t help but compare the m’caravanning experience between UK and France. The French approach is that you pay for a “plot”, usually bounded by a trimmed hedge on three sides, or landscaped with trees. This “plot” is yours and you can position your ‘van, awning, car etc. according to your choice taking into account wind direction, view, and sun or shade. This results in a very pleasant camping experience and also for a variegated and pleasant look to the site. The UK sites we were on were rows and rows of car, van, awning, car, van, awning and so on spaced at minimum 6m, with a pitch capital outlay of say £5 for a white peg with a number on it. I must say that we have never encountered a uniformed warden or white peg in the whole of our 20years camping in France. Perhaps this is a product of our living on an overcrowded island where we have to pack ‘em in like sardines.



Yours Grumpily John
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Re: UK Motorcaravanning

Post by pablo on Wed May 27, 2015 9:41 pm

I think it is to do with "elf and safety" fire regs and safe distance to avoid being cremated in the event of a fire at your neighbours plot.
From my experience of French electrics they tend to have a more relaxed attitude to accidental death, which as we all know, can be fatal.
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Re: UK Motorcaravanning

Post by Jaytee on Thu May 28, 2015 8:54 am

Have to agree John, that is why we only go to CS's or CL's and refuse unless absolutely necessary to go anywhere near a commercial site. Or a CC rally where you are directed to your 'peg' and under threat of execution if it is not exactly as directed. 
Good ole England. And I say that as a very patriotic chap.

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Re: UK Motorcaravanning

Post by Peter Brown on Thu May 28, 2015 10:20 am

I personally am happy using aires etc and cramped campsites in Europe.  

The Confederation of Fire Protection Associations in Europe publishes a European Guideline on Fire Safety in Camping Sites, summarised in the diagram below having a minimum of 4m separation between sleeping areas and gaps between rows of units of 8m for emergency vehicle access.



In the UK, the spacing guide accepted by all the major camping organisations and supported by the relevant government agency (Natural England for England) is minimum of 6m between sleeping areas and a clear 6m access to every unit for emergency vehicle use.

Both the CC and the C&CC realised that despite supporting and publishing these guidelines they could only be applied on their sites if they didn’t allow campers freedom to put the ‘sleeping area(s) where they liked, hence the pitching regime introduced a couple of years ago.  Both those clubs are in the process (and it will take years) of rearranging their pitches so they always comply.  Keswick C&CC site is one where a lot of work has been done – each hard standing will take a car, caravan and awning and there is 6m between adjacent edges of pitches so you could use the pitch anyway you like and still maintain the 6m gap.

With respect to the direction of the unit on the pitch; I had a very serious discussion with a commercial campsite manager on this topic last year which concluded when he showed me the site licence issued by the local authority.  In that was a requirement (placed by the local fire authority) that all units be pitched with the front facing the access to the pitch.  The intent of this was obviously so that caravans could be towed quickly out of danger by the emergency services but they don’t seem to have considered awnings, steadies and wheel locks!  This concept seems to be proliferating through local authorities and into many site licences.

Peter #1
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Re: UK Motorcaravanning

Post by Jaytee on Thu May 28, 2015 2:58 pm

Possibly misinterpreted me Peter, I too am happy with the French sites and Aires.

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Re: UK Motorcaravanning

Post by Paulmold on Thu May 28, 2015 3:22 pm

Have you read my 'enlightened council' thread and answered the questionnaire?  We need more enlightened councils like Canterbury.

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Re: UK Motorcaravanning

Post by rogerblack on Thu May 28, 2015 3:29 pm

I agree with you completely, maricardo;  jaytee has summed up our feelings exactly. 

We are currently on the basic but beautifully sited municipal run campsite on the Pointe of the island of Noirmoutier (where the locals and some of the official signposts refer to the French mainland as 'le Continent'!).  Like all French sites we have been on over many years, there are absolutely no rules regarding where and how you pitch, just your own consideration of view, wind, sun and shade and we have not been burned to death yet. We have been able to select a pitch and orientation to make the best of the site's location which has sea on three sides around it and a charming little busy port and village within 3 minutes' walk.

We are also members of both UK clubs again primarily for the CLs and CSs although we occasionally use club sites such as Moffat when heading to Scotland and the beautifully located site on the sea near Chanonry point.

The Clubs' siting rules seem to take no account of the difference between a unit comprising a caravan, awning as big as if not bigger than the caravan and car (possibly large four wheel drive), compared to just a self-contained campervan/motorhome with possibly a pull-out sunshade.

Guess why most of our motorhoming is now done over here in la belle France? 

cheers
Roger

PS and don't get me started on the cost of the Clubs' wifi, as I sit here using this site's for FREE

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Re: UK Motorcaravanning

Post by daisy mae on Thu May 28, 2015 7:39 pm

I agree , free and easy on the continent, here it is regimental, hadn`t use to be, when tenting, we turned up could pitch how and where we  liked pay next morning for the previous night, there was never any problem. now half will not speak, if you have a dog other dog owners will, tenters and caravaners don`t want to know motor homers, just my findings, yet previous tenters are the most friendly.

I find this sad, yes I have said good morning or whatever it is first. with caravaners it seems to be them and us, the fact we have a caravan is neither here or there, I have a MH, so see it from both sides.We are all campers no matter what we sleep in. there is snobbishness about.

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Re: UK Motorcaravanning

Post by Dutto on Thu May 28, 2015 9:42 pm

Hi there,

The bane of my life both at work and since retirement has been observing the misapplication and abuse of the Risk Assessment requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The two major precepts of Risk Assessment are ....

"Risk is inherent in ALL activities."

and

"Risks should be controlled to a level that is As Low As Reasonably Practicable."

.... whereas here in the UK, Risk Assessment is used to ban so many things that it has become laughable.

If I may use the game of conkers (which has been banned in many schools) as an example ....

1.  Conkers DO shatter and there is a case for children to wear safety specs if they are encouraged to play the game, purely on the basis that no-one would want a child to be blinded under any circumstances.

2.  Children DO miss their strikes and occasionally hit their opponents knuckles.  Painful for a few minutes but with no lasting damage this kind of risk can be reduced by wearing gloves.

When organising a conker match it would therefore be prudent if the organiser made the wearing of safety specs a mandatory requirement and also provide gloves; although the wearing of gloves could be made a matter of choice for the child.

That way, the control of the more serious risk eliminates the chances of a child becoming permanently blinded; but it also allows the child to use his/her own judgement with regard to the advisability of wearing gloves.

In other words, the child will be protected from a MAJOR risk but will be exposed to a MINOR risk and thereby learn the consequences of taking risks; without being exposed to the potential for permanent disability.

Rant over. allthumbz

Best regards,
drinksallround


PS

Another abuse of Risk Assessment Procedures is where they are used to justify doing something dangerous.  Everyone really should know what a Risk Assessment is all about; but especially those who may be severely or fatally injured as a result of the activity being carried out!

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Re: UK Motorcaravanning

Post by RML on Fri May 29, 2015 10:53 pm

Here's another one...'These toilets are cleaned from 10.30-11.30 daily please vacate by 10.25'  We've been on many, yes many, sites in Europe where they clean the shower block without closing it - 4 times daily! We've also stayed on Aires where you can't fully open the door because the vans are so close.  The big club sites now have so many signs stuck up everywhere that I feel that I'm getting in the way, but I'm the customer and I think they've forgotten the fact. Now I position my van with the door on the sunny side and wait for the commandant to visit me..... he never does.
Rich..
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Re: UK Motorcaravanning

Post by maricardo on Sat May 30, 2015 9:28 am

Please vacate your pitch by 12.00. Fair enough.  Walked over to the gents at 11.30 and found "closed for cleaning". Asked the warden very pleasantly how long before he was finished.  He took umbrage (thought I was chasing him up!) and said why do I want to know before saying 15mins. Went back to the van and duly waited 15 mins before driving off pitch and round to toilet block to make myself comfortable before the next two hours on the road. Stopped the van outside toilet block half on the roadway and half on the grass. I was going to be two minutes at the most  Immediately a uniformed warden appeared.  "You can't park there.  Go up to the area outside the office and park." Duly drove 200yds to the car park and walked back.
Trivial I know but does demonstrate the difference between UK and continental approach to their customers.
John
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Re: UK Motorcaravanning

Post by Paulmold on Sat May 30, 2015 9:50 am

Unfortunately the 'closed for cleaning between 10.30 and 11.30' seems to apply largely to the two main organisations, the CC and the C&CC. Have stayed recently at commercial site in Stratford where they employed a cleaner who constantly cleaned the loos all day everyday, they never closed. Another commercial site in Llanrwst North Wales, cleaned their blocks at 22.00-22.30 each evening and one on the Isle of Wight cleaned them each morning at 06.00.  It seems the customers' needs can be looked after in the private sector but not in the so called clubs. With some club site prices not much different to commercial sites, it's just another reason the clubs are losing members.

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Re: UK Motorcaravanning

Post by Dutto on Sat May 30, 2015 10:00 am

Hi there,

In defence of toilet cleaners everywhere I would like to quote my Mum. up! up! up!

After retiring, Mum (aged 70) got incredibly bored and took a job as a cleaner at a local caravan site.  The toilets were part of her cleaning duties and when asked how her first week had panned out she shook her head ruefully and replied ...

....  "Some people must have "inappropriate word"'s in the middle of their backs!" ....

.... and proceeded to put me off my lunch with a further description of her week' work! tap_fingers tap_fingers tap_fingers

I presume that the personal habits of some of my fellow campers haven't got any better in the last forty years! allthumbz allthumbz

Best regards,
drinksallround

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Re: UK Motorcaravanning

Post by Tommy-Darcy on Fri Jun 05, 2015 2:24 pm

As an ex touring/camp site warden for privately owned sites I feel I should chuck in my two pence worth regarding the last few posts.

The saga and never ending discussions regarding shower/toilet block cleaning is always going to be one whereby the solution will not please everyone all of the time.

However, a full close and clean at around 11.00am for 30-60 minutes depending on the size of the site should on the whole not really be a cause of upset to the holiday experience. Especially when we all know it exists and should therefore be prepared for it to happen. Smaller "quick" cleans when doing checks will hopefully be enough to keep them in tip top condition until the following day.
After all, surely we would all prefer to visit clean and well kept facilities.

If a customer has a bad stay for whatever reason (often because it has rained every day), the obvious slating will be directed to "The Uniformed Warden". The uniform is supplied so that he/she is distinguishable from the maddening crowd so that anyone requiring help/assistance or advice can do so to the right person, not so that he/she can act out a dictator fantasy.

The job of Park Warden is very rewarding when people tell you they have enjoyed their stay and leave with a thank you.

The rest of the time it can be very frustrating, extremely long hours, undertaking tasks you wouldn't think your stomach could take (especially in the toilet blocks), trying to please everyone by being "google maps", an "IT" technician, a policeman, a paramedic, a mechanic, a babysitter, a dog sitter (+cleaning up), strimming, mowing, hedge cutting, emptying the bins and the list goes on..............and all for less than minimum wage.

Ok, you do usually get a free pitch but believe me by the time you return to it after your shift you are too knackered to enjoy it.

So when a uniformed warden annoys you in some way just think about their day !

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Re: UK Motorcaravanning

Post by Jaytee on Fri Jun 05, 2015 7:02 pm

Yes, hats off to the wardens. drinksallround They are only complying with the petty UK regs.

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Re: UK Motorcaravanning

Post by Dutto on Fri Jun 05, 2015 8:12 pm

maricardo wrote:.............

Trivial I know but does demonstrate the difference between UK and continental approach to their customers.
John
John,

I agree wholeheartedly with the triviality of the warden's response, however as one who can't walk very far (and nowhere without pain) I'm afraid I would probably just told him to go forth and multiply .... tap_fingers

.... as for returning to the place "No chance!" is a phrase the springs to mind! allthumbz

Best regards,
drinksallround
Ian

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Re: UK Motorcaravanning

Post by Dutto on Fri Jun 05, 2015 8:22 pm

Tommy-Darcy wrote:As an ex touring/camp site warden for privately owned sites I feel I should chuck in my two pence worth regarding the last few posts.

.........
Hiya,

Long time no seen you Posting .... scratch head

.... so where are you keeping tabs on us all now?? hugegrins hugegrins

Woof, woof, whine, wag-wag and hoping you okay!!  walkies

Best regards,
best_friends
Ian

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Re: UK Motorcaravanning

Post by Dave 'R' on Fri Jun 05, 2015 8:24 pm

It is not the rules that are a problem, it is the interpretation by a few people with a little bit of knowledge and power that then turns their ideas into policy, and then quote the rules.
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Re: UK Motorcaravanning

Post by daisy mae on Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:15 pm

We are at Haltwhistle C&CC site, toilets are cleaned 11am until12.30pm , as there isn`t a disabled toilet there isn`t one toilet open, as you have to leave the site by 12noon that could be a problem for some.on other sites have been on,  the disabled toilet was available to use before you left the site.

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Re: UK Motorcaravanning

Post by Jaytee on Sun Jun 07, 2015 8:18 am

I know this sounds ridiculous but we don't have to worry as we have a toilet in the MH lol4


(Do accept that disabled toilets are different though)

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Re: UK Motorcaravanning

Post by pablo on Sun Jun 07, 2015 10:54 am

Have you ever tried reading the morning newspaper when sat on a Motorhome toilet? Thats why you have to use the Campsite Toilet! lol4

By the way, why aren't they called the " Ablution Block" any more
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Re: UK Motorcaravanning

Post by Paulmold on Sun Jun 07, 2015 11:29 am

daisy mae wrote:We are at Haltwhistle C&CC site, toilets are cleaned 11am until12.30pm , as there isn`t a disabled toilet there isn`t one toilet open, as you have to leave the site by 12noon that could be a problem for some.on other sites have been on,  the disabled toilet was available to use before you left the site.

Same at Barnard Castle C&CC site, disabled toilet located between the gents and the ladies and whole block 'roped off' for cleaning, so no toilet available at all.
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Re: UK Motorcaravanning

Post by RML on Sun Jun 07, 2015 4:13 pm

Prisons have wardens, sites should have Staff.
Rich..  hugegrins
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Re: UK Motorcaravanning

Post by Dutto on Sun Jun 07, 2015 5:38 pm

pablo wrote:.......

By the way, why aren't they called the " Ablution Block" any more

Dumbing down the education system I'm afraid!! tap_fingers tap_fingers

I reckon a good 50% of kids under 20 would't know what "ablutions" are .... scratch head

.... and the other 50% probably don't perform their ablutions on a daily basis anyway!! lol4 lol4

Best regards,
drinksallround

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Re: UK Motorcaravanning

Post by Jaytee on Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:47 am

pablo wrote:Have you ever tried reading the morning newspaper when sat on a Motorhome toilet? Thats why you have to use the Campsite Toilet! lol4


We were Landrovering and tent camping in the Italian Alps last year and 'had' to use the campsite facilities. There were about 10 toilets in the men's but all bar one were the old squat style and with 'ish' knees they were not an option. However there was one modern European trap BUT someone used to sit there for hours probably reading a paper preventing its use for anyone else. NOW I KNOW WHO IT WAS sensored1hugegrins

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Re: UK Motorcaravanning

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