Caravan holidays then and now
The caravan revolution of the 1960s brought mobile holidays into the mainstream. Bob Mather chatted to love touring about his memories of holidays on the road in the 60s, compared with today.
Bob is the former editor of the Scottish Caravaner and previous manager of Lochside Caravan Park.
There was a foot pump on the floor at the sink which you had to press continuously for water. The funny thing about it was if you had been away for a week in the caravan when you got home you stood at the sink and all you wanted to do was to pump the floor. It’s all done electronically now which is a blessing.
The early electric fires that were built into caravan were basic but effective. Caravans now have roof elements (solar panels), similar to those you can have at home to supply your heating. Up until about the mid-60s most of the caravans were just single glazed, but double-glazed windows began to creep in and that made a big difference to the heat in the van.
It’s 100% quicker now and food preparation is a lot easier. The first caravan we had only had a very small fridge. Nowadays they’ve got complete fridges, microwaves and ovens – they’re a home from home really.
Some people would rather have it as it was in the olden days, when you had no option but to completely cut yourself off from the outside world. Now, most caravans have all the facilities for charging your phones and everything a family needs for modern day living, meaning access to Wi-Fi and games on the Xbox are possible.
In the past it was much like driving into a grass field. Now you drive into the park, and it’s all sectioned off properly into hard standing pitches with grass round about. In those days a lot of the caravan parks didn’t have electricity on tap and those that did only had about a six Amps supply to the caravan. You also had to pay for the showers which were activated by a coin operated thing, sometimes they worked and sometimes they didn’t! Now there’s a full electrical supply to all the caravans on the park.
It was very cramped in a way; our first caravan was only 14ft long and we had two of a family. You didn’t have a lot of room to move about. A lot of the caravans now have a fixed double bed with the added convenience of seating areas that easily convert into a double bed for sleeping.
Thousands of visitors are expected to attend the Love Touring Festival at The Royal Highland Centre over the weekend of July 27-30, when the latest caravans, motorhomes and campervans from major brands will be showcased.