With the brief that “It must fit in a Tesco parking space”, Nick and Bev settled upon the idea of having a dog friendly campervan to carry them and their Chocolate Labrador, Maya, on their adventures and not have to worry about a tent.
Back in May 2015, the pair purchased a Blackberry VW T5 Transporter in Sheffield. Impressed by the visuals of their Blackberry beauty, they decided to name the van Roxi, after her registration number.
Soon after came the time to search for the perfect campervan conversion company and after looking around a variety of companies based in the South West, they decided on Autohaus.
Not only were they local, but with everything manufactured on site and friends recommendations, they were the most complete company to do the job.
Ashton VW Campervan Model was then undertaken with a few minor modifications. Nick and Bev watched the conversion with interest on the, then, newly installed Autohaus webcams.
As arranged, the finished result was ready on Bev’s birthday in July 2015. This date worked perfectly as it was a chance to take Bev out for her birthday meal and to get to grips with how the new camper worked, with an overnight stop in Dulverton.
Two days after celebrating Bev’s birthday, Nick and a friend set off in Roxi to undertake the 5 peaks, driving 1,700 miles in 6 days to walk Snowden (Wales), Scafell Pike (England), Ben Nevis (Scotland), Slieve Donard (Northern Ireland) and Carrantouhill (Ireland).
Roxi didn’t miss a beat throughout the whole journey and having two comfortable beds; the main double RIB 120cm bed and in the front elevating pop-top roof, gave them the ability to cook pre-walk bacon butties and the requisite cup of tea enabled them to complete the challenge and still return via Dublin refreshed after their exertions.
Since that epic first trip Roxi has done a further 11,000 miles of exploring including Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Derbyshire, Dublin (again), West coast of Ireland, London and numerous day trips accompanied by their dog Maya.
We have just returned from a 2,000 mile round trip to the South of France taking in Paris, Languedoc, Dordogne, Loire and Normandy stopping at five campsites on route.
The space provided by the Ashton conversion enabled them to take everything needed for two weeks abroad and still stow plenty of wine on the return trip. Now that she is all washed and cleaned of sand, pine needles and road grime she looks just as good as the day they got her back from Autohaus and is awaiting her next adventure.
What they have learnt
After the purchase of their Autohaus campervan, Nick and Bev have learnt a range of things over the course of a year, including:
- They need a bigger bed or a smaller dog – as Maya loves to join them, usually at 3 in the morning!
- The gas bottle seems to last a lot longer than they thought it would.
- An expanding curtain rail and voile wedged between the front door seal and the back inside frame of the sliding door acts as a very effective and cheap fly curtain.
- A 10m power cable isn’t always long enough!