2020 can’t really count as a full year in terms of camping! Thanks to Covid-19 and the various restrictions, we only had 173 nights [24 weeks and five days] when we were able to take our campervan, the Blue Bus, away for the night. Despite the lock downs, quarantine and tiers from March to the end of 2020 we managed to get away for 79 nights during the year in our campervan. Here in Lancashire our year looked like this:
- Lock Down One 23/3/20 – 3/7/20 – 103 nights
- Quarantine after our trip to France – 14 nights
- Lancashire in Tier Three and national Lock Down Two 17/10/20 – 31/12/20 – 76 nights
- A total of 193 nights when either campsites were closed or we were not allowed to use them.
Not everyone uses their campervan as much as we normally do. Of course, there are some owners who full-time or are hardly at home but for us 79 nights away is considerably less than we expected to be sleeping in our campervan in 2020 [we haven’t even used up the teabag stash we bought in February when we were getting ready for being away for over three months]. Our 2020 nights in the campervan is almost half the number of nights we were away in 2017 and in 2018. A ‘van is an expensive piece of kit and we don’t like to waste it. Since retirement we have used our Blue Bus over 100 nights in each year, including the year we moved house. When we were restricted by work we would usually be away for around 70+ nights, so 2020 felt a bit like being taken back in time.
Those 79 nights away were spent in 41 different campsites and overnight stops. We still don’t stay anywhere long! We have now spent 608 nights in our current Blue Bus and 1,325 nights in total in a campervan over the 15 years we have owned a ‘van.
With restrictions and constraints on our travel, the trips we did manage to make were all the more memorable and valued. I don’t think I will ever take the freedom to travel in our campervan for granted again. Out of those 79 nights, 16 were made in those carefree days BC days [Before Coronavirus]. In that time we had some short local holidays and got away to Wiltshire and Gloucestershire and Scotland. Of course, if I had known what was coming we would have been away more but, like many, I thought I had the year planned out. We were the last people to leave a Scottish campsite when Lock Down One began and that long drive through a shocked and anxious UK was a strange day.
After campsites re-opened on the 4th July [hurrah!] and then the VAT reduction was bought in, we took a number of fantastic trips. Staying local, camping in the Lake District was pure pleasure, Cheshire’s Delamere Forest delightful and the Yorkshire Dales always a favourite. We are lucky in the north-west of England to have so many beautiful places nearby.
More than usual in 2020, we spent our time walking and cycling, rarely visiting attractions. On a few occasions we met up with friends for socially distanced camping and hiking. This was the year when these social [and socially distanced] occasions with friends were rare and particularly precious times.
Mistakenly we thought things might be settling down and we headed further afield. We spent a fabulous few weeks on a circuit of Brittany through August [not a time of year we would normally have chosen but needs must] and found that France is even wonderful in the school holidays and that Brittany has some amazing and attractive corners on the coast and inland.
After France and staying home for quarantine we fitted in a trip to Scotland, discovering new places and re-discovering old haunts as we toured around the east coast and more Lake District and Yorkshire Dales trips. We knew that our days of being able to travel were numbered and that we would soon be confined to home again.
There were times within those restricted weeks when we could travel but not stay overnight. We took every opportunity to drive for up to an hour from home for a day trip and stretch our legs on some hills, rather than Morecambe’s Promenade. The Blue Bus came into its own on those trips too as we are self-sufficient and don’t need to use any other facilities..
At the moment none of us can go anywhere and planning feels too risky so I have no idea what 2021 has in store for us. I hope we will get to use our Blue Bus soon to create some more special memories.
6 thoughts on “2020 & Camping Trips shoe-horned into 6 months [almost] of Freedom to Travel”
You did well! We managed 28 nights away so I’m counting that as the equivalent of a month, although it doesn’t feel like it was nearly enough (it wasn’t!) We did the awayday trips too, before overnight stays were permitted, and right now we’re literally staying local and walking new routes we’ve discovered in the countryside around our small town. I’m not counting the nights away we had with our family in the US, when our usual long stay was abruptly curtailed and we had to find our own way home ahead of the first lockdown – I still shudder at the trauma of that return journey. Yes, we’re tentatively looking at where we might get to in the palace on wheels this year, but are we tempting providence? Will it happen? And when? And – heaven forbid – will it be heaving with crowds of Brits having staycations? So it’s all gently, quietly but hopefully germinating right now as it’s important to have the plans bubbling away optimistically somewhere on a back burner.
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Thank you. A month isn’t bad going. The 79 nights took a bit of determination! And you were away in the US early on while we were pottering around Wiltshire in a carefree manner. I think the crowds are inevitable, although there are unlikely to be foreign visitors – I have been wondering if those number will cancel each other out but probably not. We’ve planned little, just maintaining some hope, but will go as soon as we can and will stick to out of the way places that are not the usual destinations. Take care, it is good that you have some good places to walk locally. Today it is more like paddling here in the constant rain!
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I fancy Brittany for my first trip this year in our Devon Sundowner. Did you stay on sites or Aires.I’ve visted it on motorcycle trips is it possible for you to give details of your trip
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Hi Ian. Thank you. I forgot to do a link sorry. There is a blog post – under the campsites tab on the menu – with all the sites we stayed at in Brittany. We stayed on sites this time, as we were constantly expecting to pick up Covid-19 and thought we needed somewhere that we could sit out being ill! Here’s the link https://backontheroadagainblog.com/2020/09/28/nine-campsites-for-a-perfect-campervan-tour-of-brittany/
Also, I am preparing a post with more detail about the places we visited in Brittany and ideas for walks and cycling. Look out for it, I will hopefully get it finished in the next couple of weeks. I might post it on the Devon Owners page as Brittany is a fantastic place to visit.