Parts & Accessories

Julie Whiteside's LadyBelle (UK) Coastline Adventure

29th April 2022 | Julie Whiteside
My journey started in May 2020 when I knew I wanted to change what I was doing, how I was living, and how I was working etc. I sat down with a blank sheet of paper, came up with several ideas, and this is the one that stuck. I had no idea about motorhomes or what to expect. And, at the time, I hadn't realised their popularity. I decided I would start looking, and that was really where it all began.

I thought to myself… I love the UK, and I’ve always wanted to explore it. Particularly Scotland. So, I decided to turn it into an expedition! And, if I was going to do that, I was going to do it well! So, I decided to travel for an entire year, on my own with two dogs! Then it all spiralled from there, really. Eventually, I decided that I would go anti-clockwise, starting in Norfolk, and along the entire UK coastline. Including the Outer Hebrides, Shetlands, Orkney Islands, and the Isle of Wight. I chose to avoid Northern Ireland and Ireland on this occasion, but I’d certainly like to travel there one day. A year is not quite long enough to do all the islands. Shame! But I will, I’m sure of it.

Firstly, I found Pioneer Caravans & Leisure in Eye, Peterborough. I had a look at a few different manufacturers and eventually chose Bailey of Bristol, mainly because my family owned a Bailey caravan in the seventies. A British and family-run business, Bailey also perfectly aligned with my ethos. Next, deciding on which model was a story in itself… and of course, I went for the biggest one! It seemed like the best option. Looking at the duration of my trip, it also made the most sense. Initially, I planned on looking at a fixed bed, but my concern was the amount of living space the bedroom covered. And, as I was going away for such a long time, I decided that I needed a separate living and working space. That’s why the Autograph 81-6 seemed the perfect fit for me. From that moment on, LadyBelle was born!

I ordered LadyBelle in July 2020, and because of Lockdown, everything was delayed. I finally collected her on the 24th of December 2021. By the time it was ready for collection, several months had passed, and I was extremely nervous. It was a massive commitment! “Am I doing the right thing? How on earth was I going to manage driving such a large vehicle?” My head was buzzing with concerns.

Initially, I found it tricky to understand how everything worked, but thankfully Pioneer Caravans gave me a detailed handover. But! Retaining all that information was nigh on impossible. I collected LadyBelle on Christmas Eve, so it was about five days before I had the time to test everything. First off, I put the electrics and water on. Suddenly, I discovered water pouring out from the bottom of the motorhome. “What’s going on?! Is my brand-new motorhome broken?!” Eventually, once I’d calmed down, I found the problem. There is a draining point in the centre of the motorhome, but how do you get to it? After a lot of head-scratching, I discovered there was an inspection chamber located in the centre aisle, but… under the carpet. Relieved that I found it, I finally inserted the plug. BINGO! I had water. “It’s so easy when you know how.”

Once I understood the basics, I came to realise how lovely it was inside. The size and function of the oven and fridge is marvellous. The way everything is styled is streamline and slick.  Very comfortable. Very warm. In addition to this, as I planned to travel throughout the year, I decided to include several optional extras. I did say I was going to do this well! These included a folding tow rack, a Phantom iTrack S5, Truma Aventa Compact Air Conditioning System, Maxview Roam Mobile 4G Wi-Fi System and an Avtex 24″ TV.

I’m often asked what I am most looking forward to on the trip. My answer… Time. It’s one of the main reasons I decided to go on this adventure. I wanted to experience more time in the open air and enjoy the nature. I also love to write and will be doing so in a regular blog. A big thing I wanted to achieve before leaving was to create a website. A space in which I can regularly upload blogs, and updates, about living in a motorhome and where I can talk about my experience along the UK coastline.

A special thank you to Julie Whiteside for introducing us to her journey. Julie is currently a few months into her trip, so be sure to check out her website to see how she’s getting on! You can follow Julie on her LadyBelle UK Coastline Adventure at www.ladybelle.co.uk. We’ll also be posting more updates about her trip on our website and social media.

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