August is here, the schools have broken up, and the caravanning season is in full swing. However, you don’t need me to tell you that the weather over the past few months has been pretty awful.
The picture I’ve seen while touring a variety of sites over the past few weeks has been a mixed one. On some sites the owners are struggling to make their business work as bookings have fallen and pitches lie empty. Yet I’ve been to some other sites that have been so busy, I’ve been lucky to bag one of the very last available pitches.
While it can be tempting to forgo breaks away in the caravan if the weather is less than perfect, we could be doing ourselves more harm than good by staying away. Site operators, be they massive institutions or a couple who have sunk their life savings into their business, need our patronage now more than ever. The bottom line is that people need to make their businesses work in order to keep them going. If the business fails, the campsite closes. If campsites close, we have less choice for when the sun reappears. In other words, by staying at home we are shooting ourselves in the foot in more ways than one.
All-weather pitches are in great demand during wet weather. Nobody likes caravanning in mud, but planning regulations and high installation costs prevent many operators from putting in hardstandings. Plus the fact, when the ground dries up, there’s nothing as pleasing as caravanning on lush, green, fragrant grass, and padding about barefoot on the lawn.
I’m not going to insult your intelligence by pretending that sitting inside a caravan with rain hammering on the roof is preferable to sitting outside in the sun while the barbecue sizzles, but there is a bright side to all this. At least in the ‘van we are warm and dry and well protected from the worst of the weather.
Something else to consider is that it’s never awful weather everywhere. Right now the Western Isles off Scotland are suffering drought conditions. Hardly any rain has fallen there since April. During the month of June I enjoyed three gloriously sunny weeks on the islands of Harris and North Uist while my friends in the soggy South East enviously looked at the daily smug sunny pictures I posted on Facebook. Caravanning epitomises flexibility, so instead of fixing a plan and then complaining about the weather, why not let the weather forecast be your guide? It’s a plan I intend to put into place for my fortnights break in September. It could be North Devon, Pembrokeshire, Norfolk, or the Hebrides again. I’ll see what the forecast is the day before I travel.
But before that, I have a date at the Lawns show in Hull to see the 2013 season tourers. I look forward to giving you the low-down on those next month. In the meantime get out there, enjoy yourself, and Happy Caravanning!