My worst and very nearly my last caravanning moment

This story happened on: 11/03/2012

Long time ago, but the memory is still imprinted!

Imagine, new to caravanning, brand new caravan, first trip out, first try at pitching. Nice site close to home just for a tryout to get the hang of things. Nice wooded site, easy access but given a pitch in among some trees. Studied the pitch for a while and concluded it was not possible to weave round the trees whilst reversing the van. So, as it was downhill a bit to the pitch there would be no problem moving the van by hand. Uncoupled the van and the two of us eased it down towards the pitch.

We all know what's coming now! Yes, the van speeded up alarmingly and pulling on the handles just caused both of us to skid on the damp grass. Handbrake was pulled on, but just as quickly disengaged itself as the reversing mechanism kicked in. This was getting serious now, and pushing up on the handbrake was not enough to engage it as it was runnung aay from me. Eventually I managed to push down on the hitch and jerk up on the handbrake at the same time and thankfully the van stopped very quickly.

The quick stop caused the hitch to fly upwards narrowly missing my face, and then the whole thing came crashing down just missing my foot! When I dared to venture to the rear of the van, the very solid fence was just 6 inches away...

I can laugh about it now, but at the time it was anything but funny. From that day on the van never left the car, regardless of any pitch difficulty, until the van was finally in position and very firmly braked and chocked.

Vanfan commented on 12/03/2012 18:58

Commented on 12/03/2012 18:58

It certainly was Jim. When I think back to how close I was to serious injury to myself and the wallet (van wasn't insured then), it still gives me the shivers.

FiatBessacarr commented on 17/03/2012 12:49

Commented on 17/03/2012 12:49

Bit of a close shave you could say! One of my first vans was so lightweight attached to my lovely old Rover 3500 SDi Auto it rode like the wind - quite literally - taking it back for a service completely empty on the M5 it was a tad windy though I didn't realise it with the weight of the Rover and 5 people sat in it was travelling as straight as a die - I happened to look in my off-side extended mirror in horror to see the van had tilted up on one wheel with bits of wood, plastic and sparks shearing off on the front off-side corner edge of the van. I was only doing 50mph and it didn't turn over so I gradually slowed down and the van seemed to float back down onto both wheels and I pulled over into the the hard shoulder. My legs turned to jelly and I somehow plucked up the courage and got out the car I was amazed I could hardly stand up straight in the wind was so strong. A motorist following also pulled over to check that I was ok and said he saw the whole thing and was so shocked he had to stop and was going off at the next services to have a strong coffee. What a wake-up call that was I can assure you. We still had about 20 mile back to the dealer and had to have a major repair job done also which took a bit longer than a day with the insurance company messing about but got it sorted! We had her back all looking brand new again within a couple of weeks but to this day still thank my lucky stars - someone up there was looking after us not to mention anyone else who may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time! The incident happened just on the M5 curve where the Wicker-Man stands by the new Morrisons storage depot. The bend slightly slopes away the off-side central reservation and every time we pass that point I always remember what may have been!!!