More VW Love in Northern Cyprus

When we got married in Northern Cyprus in 2013 we saw a few VWs, and again the following year, mainly Beetles, and the odd bay window. As we left from Ercan airport in June 2014, we caught a glimpse of a splitscreen van in a scrapyard, and, more intriguingly, what appeared to be a garage forecourt full of Karmann Ghias on the road from Nicosia towards Ercan.

Fast forward to April 2015 when we visited again, and everyone in our party was on the look out for VWs!

Pa and Ma Custard mad some good spots, including a bay window sliding door panel van, and a splitscreen panel van (the best kind):

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One day, after a visit to St Hilarion Castle and a drive past Buffavento and through the mountains (best bit of road ever, it has to be driven whilst listening to On Days Like These by Matt Monro, as it is a very Italian Job-eqsue experience, without an unfortunate ending in a tunnel) we set off in search of the fabled garage of Ghias that we had spotted on our previous trip.

We drove up and down the road where we had remembered seeing them, and were about to give up looking, when we decided to go a little closer to Nicosia, and we hit the goldmine!

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We spied some very familiar-shaped dusty noses, and pulled up to peep through the fence.

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As we were looking, a guy pulled up in a large Japanese pick up, and we quickly realised that he was the owner of the garage – he’d been driving back from a car rally, had seen us looking and pulled over – what a great coincidence! He let us in to have a better look:

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He mainly imports cars from Japan, and said that all the Ghias could be for sale for the right price, except his own that he was restoring inside one of his garages:

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What a bit of luck we had, being able to get up close and see these fabulous cars. I’d love to see them back on the road and being used. Perhaps if we ever go through with our plan of moving to Northern Cyprus we need to buy one. I can’t see that driving an air-cooled car in a really hot country would cause us any issues at all! 😉

What old beauties have you ever seen stashed away? Is your VW a barn find? Let us know in the comments!

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Rebuilding Ruby, Part 1.

So, as previously mentioned, Ruby is with Accrington Beetles and Campers, having her rear end and undercarriage fettled.

A fortnight in, and things look like this:

Engine is out!

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The bumper had just a leeeetle bit of oil on it:

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The engine is off to be rebuilt this week.

Exhaust is off too, and going to be replaced with a Vintage Speed one.

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Then it was off with the front wheels and the steering box:

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Last time I saw a dashboard like this, it was because someone had broken into my Fiat 500 and stolen my airbags and seatbelts, even down to the steering wheel in the footwell…

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So the box and column are now out, ready to be sent down to Simon for refurb:

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Leaving Dave with a footless Ruby to continue fettling.

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Of course, it would have been rude when visiting not to say hello to Carmen and Ringo from Vintage VWs 4 Hire:

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We can rebuild her. We have the technology.

So, today was the day. We picked up Ruby-choo, and drove her to Accrington Beetles and Campers for her engine rebuild and other repairs and improvements.

That makes it sound very straightforward. Let me elucidate:

We drove to the barn where Ruby is stored. We realised that neither of us have the codes for various gates and doors saved anymore, as we have both had new phones since we first stored Ruby. Thankfully, Rooobarb’s memory is even better at retaining random information than we thought.

We took Ruby’s cover off and found that her gutters were full of spiders, and that she had been marking her territory on the floor of the barn. We also found that her battery was completely flat, so attached the booster pack and got her started. We then noticed that her back O/S tyre was flat, so used the compressor on the booster pack to pump it up. Whilst doing this, Rooobarb turned her engine off again. So she needed more booster pack to get her started. During this, Custard found a bar of dark chocolate on the bulkhead that must have been left there during our ill-fated last trip out in September. Result!

We set off, Rooobarb driving and Custard following behind, and Rooobarb announced that he was going to stop for some petrol. Turning the engine off whilst waiting for a man to finish filling his screenwash at the pump meant needing the booster pack again. However now, for whatever reason, the immobiliser, which has been somewhat of a mystery since we bought Ruby, decided now that the battery was being tampered with, and prevented the engine being started. Oh, and the battery seemed to have gone in the immobiliser keyfob. And the garage didn’t have the right size replacement battery for sale.

This meant having to push the van away from the pumps, down a slope, then up a slope into the non-functioning car wash, where it would have to be left whilst we found somewhere that sold a replacement battery. (Lady in garage: “How long are you going to be?” “How long does it take to find a really obscure-sized battery?”) Thankfully, the next garage down the road had one, although the LED on the fob still didn’t seem to be lighting up, and thanks to the traffic, it still took about half an hour to sort.

Back to the van, push to pumps, finally put some fuel in, attach booster pack, fiddle with immobiliser, get van started. We finally hopped on the motorway and cruised up to Accrington at a heady 55mph with the sun shining, to arrive with Dave and discuss our plans.

On Monday the engine will come out and be examined, we will see how much of our current engine can be used, what needs to be replaced, and start drawing up a plan for replacing other parts, such as the exhaust, clutch, gear linkage, and steering box. Fun and games!

Long see, no time…

Life has got in the way of posting. Generally, life involving work, dogs, and broken down VWs. But here’s what you’ve missed:

  • We went to Tatton Park. It was good fun and we met up with some friends. Teddy decided that he’s really not a fan of VW shows, especially those with music, crowds and other dogs. That’s all of them then.

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  • We revisited our mis-spent youth with a weekend at Coniston Hall, which generally involved swimming, sunbathing and messing about. For once, we were in the nicest splitty on the campsite (er, ok, the only splitty…)

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  • We went to VWFestival. Again, friends, cider, crowds, cool dubs, staffy generally behaving like a bit of an ASBO dog. Including chewing through his lead whilst Custard was distracted by cider. Ruby appeared on Look North (Rooobarb and Custard we both having a bit of a nap at this point though…)

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  • We bought a roofrack for the van, started off to go and collect it, and turned round and came back thanks to an engine bay full of oil. Meh.
  • We pooled our birthday spends and bought a frontier stove for camping. The next step with be a Glawning because they’re just too cool for words.

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  • Operation Car Port is pretty much finished. Hurrah! Photos to follow soon.
  • After six weeks of running like a dream, Rufus decided to give up on starting again. A new starter motor bush sorted that though, and after some fettling once again to rear hubs, he got an MOT certificate. Big up to Dave at Accrington Beetles and Campers for once again taming our errant child.

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So, what next? The beetle needs some more little jobs doing, and sadly we’ve had to admit to ourselves that the ride height is causing more problems than it solves, so Rufus will be going (slightly) up in the world. Ruby needs a bloody good service, and probably an engine rebuild.

And finally, last weekend, Rooobarb and Custard decided to lob themselves out of a plane for charity! So the normal quiet life here at Hooligan’s Island then…

Dubs at the Castle and Homeless Hounds

Yo Yo Yo!

Teddy Homeless Hounds

Right, first up, I should probably explain who I am. My name is Teddy, and I used to live with some ace people at Homeless Hounds – Dogs in Need who did look after me for a while in this place called kennels. It’s like a hangout for loads of different dogs, and some people come and take you for walks, and to go and visit their houses and stuff if you’re good. I went to visit Danni’s house, who is a friend of Custard, and Danni put some photos of me on her Facebook page, and Custard did fall in love with me (it is only to be expected, I am after all very handsome).

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So Rooobarb and Custard did speak to a lady called Emma, then came and took me for a nice walk, and then Emma had to do something called a home check, then that was it, I was off to my new home!

I’m having a really good time here, we go for lots of walks, and do lots of playing, and snuggling, and Mum likes to sit in something called a Beetle and read her books, and I like to sit with her, because I love being outside.

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I also get lots of post from my friends, including Loki and Frankie The Fit Dog, who is my Brother from Another Mother. He is a very good blogger, and I would like to be as good at writing as he is one day.

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I like to play with my humans, and wrestle them, and generally spend time with them. I am very much a Dog of the People. Custard is writing this right now sitting on the floor in the back yard because I wanted company. We are sitting on a blanket with a big hole in it, because I wanted the blanket out, but I couldn’t work out how to unfold it, so I chewed it a bit instead.

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Rooobarb and Custard were very excited this weekend, because they were taking me Camping. I wasn’t sure what camping was, but it involved filling the back of the car with loads of Stuff, and driving to meet someone called Ruby.

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Ruby turned out to be this AWESOME VAN that I wanted to climb inside and sit in, and Mum said that that was a good job really, because we were going to be sitting in her for a long time.

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I alternated between sticking my head out of the window, and sleeping on Dad’s knee. It was very hot, but I love Dad. Lots of people smiled when they saw me grinning at them out of the window. We stopped a few times at the services so I could have a drink out of my bowl, but I preferred drinking Mum’s Evian out of her hand whilst we were going along. I got quite a lot of it in her lap, and when we stopped the last time, Mum looked like she’d had a wee.

When we arrived it was still too hot, and very busy, so Mum was getting my lead on so that we could go for a walk whilst Dad parked the van. I had other ideas, and jumped out of the van window. Good job Mum had got my lead on me first. We got parked up, and I was too hot to do anything else. I made friends with a nice man in another van nearby and I wanted to sit in his van too. We rested for a bit and Mum and Dad got the awning put up and loads of other practical boring stuff like that.

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Then we went up to the show itself so that Mum and Dad could enjoy cider and paella and music and stuff. I decided that I didn’t want to do that, so I barked at some other dogs and got very grumpy, so we went back to the van. During the night there was loads of rain and thunder and lightning. I wasn’t bothered by that at all but in the morning Mum said “Oh bugger,” because the cargo doors had leaked and her’s and Dad’s shoes were all wet. I was ok, I don’t wear shoes.

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I also discovered that the doors of the awning aren’t like real doors, and I escaped out of them to find out why the lady next door was screaming. I decided it was probably her chocolate lab’s fault, so I barked at him. Nobody would grab my harness because I’m a Big Vicious Staffy.

I have decided that VW shows aren’t really my thing yet. There are lots of crowds, and noises, and other dogs, and I found it difficult to cope. I did very well and Mum and Dad said I was a Very Good Boy, but I think I would prefer some quieter camping first. We saw some cool veedubs though.

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My favourite bit was cuddling and playing with Mum and Dad near our van. And climbing all over them in the middle of the night when they were trying to sleep.

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If you are a Human who doesn’t have a Dog in their life, then you need to get in touch with Homeless Hounds. There are loads of PAWSOME dogs like me just waiting to come and make your life better. Tell them I said hi.

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Gotta go now, lots of adventures to have, squirrels to chase and rope toys to chew. Laters, homies!

 

Luv Teddy xxx

 

 

SSVC AGM at Victoria Farm and Stanford Hall 2014

Early May Bank Holiday can only mean one thing: Vicky Farm and Stanford Hall!

We had a great journey down, and arrived in good time to get a good pitch, get everything set up and catch up with a few mates before it got dark. As always there were lots of fab splitties to see:

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van

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SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Polly's Parlour

Thank you to Polly’s Parlour who made this gluten and dairy-free girly very happy with a delicious tub of raspberry sorbet!

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Single Cab Van

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Amazing Gerry! Please read the story of this restoration, what an amazing bus, built by a top bloke!

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SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Mark Pindar Gerry

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Single Cab Van

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Hi-top Van

Darren Yip’s hi-top, a show and shine winner at Bus Types.

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SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Beetle

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Beetle

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SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Beetle

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SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Buzz Van of the Year 2013

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Another Rhubarb and Custard bus! With *flames*!

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Sunday morning saw the cruise to Stanford Hall:

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SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Stanford Hall Cruise

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Stanford Hall Cruise

And the show itself was awesome, as always:

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Stanford Hall VW Show

 

Please could somebody lend me £42000? I promise to invest it responsibly.

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Stanford Hall VW Show

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Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show Hayburner

 

Always worth a visit to the Hayburner stand.

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Brilliant line up of Beetles:

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Stanford Hall VW Show

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Stanford Hall VW Show

 

The SSVC provided an awesome line up of buses, as usual!

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Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show The Stiff Shifter!

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Bus Types 2014

We set off bright and early to pick Ruby up. The sun was shining, so we paused for a quick “Make Love not War” photo at the Leyland tank, before heading down to Oswestry Show Ground for Bus Types.

Bus Types 2014

We did a Pindy on the way:

Bus Types 2014

And arrived to find a very busy showground, but found just enough space to squeeze Ruby into, to get set up in order to enjoy a relaxed evening:

Bus Types 2014

Bus Types 2014

Bus Types 2014

Whilst the show was overcast and breezy for much of the weekend, there were lots of traders with a good variety of clothes, handcrafted goods, autojumble and food to enjoy, and some excellent Volkswagens in the Show and Shine field:

Bus Types 2014

Bus Types 2014

Bus Types 2014

Bus Types 2014

Bus Types 2014

We set off on Sunday shortly before the heavens opened, and Custard managed to drive Ruby back and get her under cover before she got all wet and dirty.

Bus Types 2014
Bus Types 2014

Bank holiday Monday provided ample opportunity for Rooobarb to get down and dirty with Rufus’s rear hubs, which are going to need some different castle nuts in order to fit on properly. Fun and games!
Bus Types 2014

See you at our next show – Stanford Hall!

The Ballad of Kex Gill Road.

If you have ever driven from Lancashire to Yorkshire or vice versa on the A59, you may be familiar with this bit of road:

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It’s the twisty part with a fairly steep drop on one side, between the steep but straight bits on the way out of Harrogate, and into Bolton Abbey.

It’s the part where you would not want to break down. It’s the part where we did.

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Thankfully, there had been some roadworks, so there were cones further down the road. So Custard hopped out and stuck them in the road to warn people of the impending non-moving Beetle between two bends (there was a low rumbling sound, then all of a sudden, there was no acceleration when revving. Bugger.)

The RAC were called and asked to send a low loader, as Rufus is not one for being towed. They gave us an ETA of about 6pm. It was about 4pm when we broke down. Argh.

Some people gesticulated and beeped at us (yeah, coz we chose to break down here…) some lovely people (mainly VW types) stopped and asked if they could help. Lots of people pulled the special sympathetic face you pull when someone is broken down. Some people went way too fast around us, and we both started to get edgy, especially as the light was starting to fade.

Unfortunately, as one person pulled around us rather quickly, it caused a lady driving a Volvo on the opposite side of the road to have to slam on rather sharply. The young lady behind her in the Suzuki Alto also slammed on the anchors. The guy behind her in the Transit didn’t stop so sharply, and unfortunately the Alto was sandwiched between the Volvo and the Transit, with the Volvo’s towbar going through her radiator, and the Transit crushing her bumper and boot, and ending up a fair way onto the verge.

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Once the Volvo driver had established her car had only cosmetic damage, she left, the Transit driver helped move the Alto to the same side of the road as Rufus, gave his details and left, leaving Rooobarb to phone the police and both of us to look after the two young ladies who were understandably shaken up. Several police cars, a camera man from BBC’s Traffic Cops, an ambulance car and a fire engine turned up, as the police pointed out that incidents on this particular stretch of the A59 are usually much, much worse.

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Custard had been doing her Railway Children “flannel petticoats” bit standing on the verge slowing people down as they came down the hill, as the first police car slowed people on their way up, then at least two more police cars arrived, and the ambulance, to block the road and direct traffic.

The police decided to tow Rufus to a safer part of the road, which involved a rope around his front beam and some very slow and nerve-wracking driving up to the now infamous (to us, anyway) Kex Gill Road, as that was the only point of reference we’d had whilst trying to get the RAC and the emergency services to find us.

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As we were being towed, we saw our low loader heading the other way, and he rang to ask if he’d just seen us, and turned round and came and got us loaded up in a much safer location.

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Turns out, that the lovely man had a 1971 Beetle of his own that is lower than Rufus (!!!) so he got him on the wagon with ease, and brought us home, then helped us push him into the garage. What a gent.

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So all in all, an eventful afternoon! Rufus will require the ministrations of Dave again to get him back on the road, but at least he made it home in one piece. We broke down in a very unfortunate place, and were very lucky to not have been involved a collision ourselves.

So much for a quiet weekend trip out, eh? Look out for us on Traffic Cops towards the end of this year or the beginning of next…

Coming soon to a show near you

Rooobarb and I decided to have a more formal discussion about the shows were were planning to attend this year.

We’d had a chat back in maybe October or November, and jotted down a few possibles, with the plan to eliminate a few and go camping on our own instead of doing the show thing so much this year. Last year, being our first year of camper ownership, we went a bit crazy with the show attending, and spent lots of money out of the “Repairing old Volkswagens” fund. We said we wouldn’t do as many shows this year.

We got our list out. And ended up adding to it. Whoops.

So our plan for the year looks something like this:

Day visit – 16th February – DubFreeze, Stafford

Day visit – 2nd March – Spring Dub, Harrogate

Easter Weekend – 18th-21st April – Bus Types, Oswestry

Early May Bank Holiday Weekend – 3rd-5th May – Vicky Farm and Stanford Hall

Weekend – 17th-18th May All Types VW Show, Bodelwyddan Castle, Wales

Day Visit – 21st-22nd June – CumbriaVAG, Kendal

Weekend – 4th-6th July – Camper Jam, Shropshire

End of Term Weekend – 18th-20th July – Dubs at the Castle, Monmouthshire

Day Visit – 3rd August – Tatton Park, Cheshire

Day Visit – 8th-10th August – Blackpool Breeze

Weekend – 15th – 17th August – VW Festival, Leeds

Weekend – 5th-7th September – Busfest, Malvern

Weekend – 12th-14th September – VW Field of Dreams

Weekend – 26th-28th September – Dubs int Dales

 

Other camping:

Goredale Scar

Coniston Hall

Fraisthorpe

Where are you going camping this summer? What shows do you fancy? Let us know in the comments!