Picking up their brand new Elddis Avante 462 in August, our Avante Adventurers didn’t waste a moment in putting their prize to immediate use.
After a full and thorough handover at Glossop Caravans, Jane and Steve headed straight to the Yorkshire Coast to spend a few nights in their new home-from-home, familiarising themselves with the nifty new layout and facilities.
above: Jane and Steve with Pat and Trevor Davies, wardens at the Caravan and Motorhome Club Beechwood Grange site in York
above: Spending a few days at the coast allowed Jane and Steve to familiarise themselves with towing and touring
The plan was to spend a bit of time in the UK before heading across the Channel to explore western France and Northern Spain for the first part of their year-long adventure.
Jane and Steve won this opportunity in a competition run by Elddis in partnership with the Caravan and Motorhome Club:
Steve and Jane have both lived in Huddersfield all their lives. Jane retired the same week as picking up the Elddis Avante and Steve, who retired a few years ago, was carer for his wife of 42 years who tragically died 2 years ago from Mesothelioma.
The couple went out on their first date in October 2016 and it was whilst they were on one of their dates that Jane suggested to Steve they entered the Elddis and Caravan and Motorhome Club competition!
Jane told us: “We were both in shock when we found out we had won the competition because neither of us have ever won anything before. We could not believe it was happening to us (and it did not help when I told my Mum we had won and she said it would be a scam!). It was only when I showed her the Elddis website that she believed me!”
Jane had not used her own aging caravan for two years because she did not have a tow bar on her car (and she was concerned the caravan was so old and towing it on her own). Steve had sold his caravan a long time ago. He says: “When our children were young we spent many happy years caravanning in the UK. I have not been abroad for 14 years until I met Jane and I now have a new zest for life and would love to share her caravanning experiences. We both see this as a lifetime opportunity.”
And grabbing the opportunity by the horns they both are. The couple are now happily meandering through Brittany – a place that Jane spent her teenage years. She hopes to revisit her childhood holiday spots and Steve – an avid history buff – is keen to visit the Landing Beaches and Cemeteries of the North.
Our Avante Adventurers will enjoy Normandy and northern Brittany, before heading South West, via the Golfe de Morbihan, Loire Atlanque, Bordeaux and Les Landes – completing their first ‘French leg’ in Biarritz.
Hopping over the border from French ‘Pays-Basque’ to Spanish ‘Euskadi’, the pair plan to venture into all-new surroundings – from the spectacular terrain and vistas of the Picos d’Europa, to the beauty of the Oyambre National Park and the cultural thrills of Bilbao and San Sebastian/Donostia.
Further trips include a visit to the German Christmas markets in December and a longer trip to southern Spain, taking a detour through the Alps on their return. The longer trips will be interspersed with short breaks in the UK, including Wales, North Yorkshire and Northumberland.
All sites are provided by the Caravan and Motorhome Club and Jane and Steve have joyously plotted their various trips with the help of the Club’s latest Sites Guides.
Jane tells us: “We are very happy and are just living the dream at the moment. We still think someone is going to say there has been some big mistake!
“Things like this do not happen to us. We cannot thank Elddis and the Caravan and Motorhome Club enough for this wonderful opportunity!”
Stay tuned to find out what happened in France and whether the voyage into northern Spain exceeded expectations.