Campervanliving: life on four wheels with Martin Dorey
Monday, 27 February 2017
A secret squirrel adventure to the Arctic Circle
Okay. So I've been holding out on you. I have been withholding information. It's not my fault. I was under embargo (isn't that exciting!) from Nikki at The Caravan and Motorhome Club not to spill the beans on a project that I have known about for a few months now. Until last Tuesday, when it was finally revealed at the NEC Caravan and Motorhome Show, it was known as the Secret Squirrel Adventure. Oh the agony of not being able to talk about it.
But now I can! I was invited by my friends at The Caravan and Motorhome Club (CAMC) to take part in the Arctic Adventure, a trip to the Arctic Circle in a convoy consisting of a motorhome, 2 caravans and a camper van. The journey, from the Milbrook testing Ground in the UK to the Milbrook Winter Testing Ground at Ivalo in Finland, will cover 5000 miles and take us through 12 countries in 16 days.
The point of the trip is twofold. Firstly, Bailey's of Bristol, the caravan and motorhome manufacturer, are demonstrating the the company’s patented Alu-Tech body shell construction system
Secondly, we are out to prove - as representatives or The CAMC - that it is possible to travel in winter in a caravan or motorhome, and that adventure awaits anyone who hits the road. Okay, so not everybody gets to go on a Secret Squirrel Arctic Adventure, but, as we know, any trip in a camper or motorhome can be an adventure.
The Bailey Arctic Adventure will set off from the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire, travel through Europe across the Arctic Circle to the Millbrook Winter Test Centre in Ivalo, Northern Finland and then back.
The journey will take 16 days and the team will visit 12 countries in the process taking in some of Europe’s most iconic locations including the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, the official home town of Santa Claus at Rovaniemi in Finland, and the Oresund Bridge linking Sweden to Denmark on the way.
Road and weather conditions at this time of year in Scandinavia will be challenging. With temperatures possibly dropping as low as minus 30 degrees centigrade there will be plenty of snow and ice on an already harsh terrain, making driving potentially hazardous.
To say I am excited about the trip would be a massive understatement. I have been to Hammerfest in northern Norway in the summer but never to anywhere really cold in winter, apart from surfing in North Wales, but that's a whole different ball game.
I am really lucky in that I have friends at Patagonia, who have supplied me with some winter clothing for the trip. I have merino, base and mid layers as well as long johns, over trousers and super warm parkas and sweats. This will be invaluable, as well as glamorous, of course, although there may only be bears and reindeer to share it with. I also have some winter walking boots from Hi-Tec, who got in touch recently. I am looking forward to trying them out in real conditions.
You can follow the journey on our official map here, or on twitter at @candmclub using the hashtag #CAMCpioneers and #arcticadventure :
WIN YOUR OWN TRIP:
I also understand that the CAMC are running a competition on social media to win a trip on Route 66 in the US of A, which you'll be able to enter by retweeting and hashtagging. More about that later when I get the deets. Oh, and you can also enter a comp to win a motorhome of your own by entering this competition here. Click and win. Click and win... etc!