Appuldurcombe gardens near Ventnor

Discussion in 'Isle Of Wight' started by mandy, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. This a delightful site, just inland from Ventnor. Set in pretty grounds it has some statics which are separate and a large camping field with hookups. There is a meadow with a little stream and an outdoor pool and clubhouse... Fairly quite even when full. We've stayed a couple of times in the summer hols and managed to book at short notice.
  2. Sounds quite nice we fancy the IOW this summer, we will put on the list.One good thing about IOW you cant do tooo many miles ;)
  3. Honky

    Honky Administrator

    Thanks for the review.
  4. Stayed here from last Friday to this Wednesday. Excellent place. Very friendly, both in terms of staff and fellow campers (one of which was Paddy, a LateBay sticker-wielder whose username I can't remember, but he owns a pale blue Westy and a purple Beach Buggy). Very modern and clean toilets and showers. Pool a bit chilly, but OK once you were in. Shop, laundry, bar, playground, all the things you'd expect. I'm not a veteran of campsites (this was the first one in fact) so can't gauge how it stacks up against others, but the family and I enjoyed it.

    The day before we set off I, for the first time ever, got someone else to wash it. There seemed to be plenty of giggling and presumably the Polish words for "rust", "heap" and probably "polish" were being swapped.


    So off we went from Essex to Portsmouth the next day, the van recently tweaked by local Barrie the week before (as mentioned on here). Feeling a bit sluggish on hills as we left home. Maybe that'll get better after a motorway cruise...

    Unfortunately not. The shape of things to come manifested when I stalled in traffic on the M25. I left my change from third to second a little too late and before I knew it the warning lights came on and the engine died. After what seemed like several months of cranking, waiting and cranking again it caught and we got going again. I had an angry Hymer motorhome driver gesticulate at me (possibly because I was briefly rolling backwards, or maybe because he was angry about the hand life had dealt him that had left him driving something that looked like a half-sucked glacier mint) so did everything I could to catch up with him. Unfortunately I was beaten by the turn off for the A3 and didn't feel it was worth missing my junction just to give him a Nescafé wave.

    The stretch around Guildford is two lanes of trafficky uphill twistiness. The van was maxing at around 30mph on these parts and I was riding the clutch to keep the revs up like a bugger. At this point I realised that the trip was going to need some assistance at some point. I wasn't going to run this one off. Thankfully from Hindhead onwards it's largely downhill to Portsmouth and we made it to Fishbourne with ten minutes to spare for the ferry (or half an hour as it turned out as Wightlink was running late). As some of you may know I'm an IOW Festival regular so this was the first touchstone, which felt quite surreal without my best mate in tow. I had to hide behind an artic to have my traditional "we've made it to Portsmouth" ciggie for one.

    Off we get at Fishbourne and here's the next bit of bad news. There is almost no O2 coverage on the Island. A little bit around Newport (which has allowed me to do a fair bit of early hours YouTube disco over the years), but there was no way Waze on my phone was going to guide me to Wroxall. So I decided to head to the Festival site at Seaclose to see if some signal would appear. It didn't and I ended up doing a three-point turn in the campervan field where I'd been not two months previously. At least I got the "that's where it all happens" show out of the way early. Luckily my wife's 3 signal (utterly awful in London and Essex) worked brilliantly on the Island so I quickly downloaded the app on her phone and got on our way. The van was running worse by the minute and I seemed to be generating the odd puff of blue smoke.

    We got to the campsite with a pungent clutch. Checked in and I sent the family to the playground while I attempted to get restarted to drive from reception to pitch. Pitched up, and gave kenregency's old awning an airing.


    The kids loved being in the van and the sleeping problems we envisioned simply didn't happen. My boy had been looking forward to the cab bunk and my missus's old sleeping bag for a while. And it was a good place to shove them with a tablet when things needed doing.

    The next day we did the short trip to Ventnor. It's been thirty years since I'd been there and I'd forgot just how steeply hilly it is. The van did NOT appreciate this. The smoke got worse, the stalls more frequent, the restarts more difficult. After lunch we limped to Carisbrooke Castle, taking the hills in a screaming first gear. Carisbrooke was lovely and really enhanced by the pair of charismatic actors telling stories and giving swordfighting lessons to the kids.


    The view was pretty good too (did I mention I got a new phone the week before? The LG G3, a real beaut of a camera after the last four years with an aging iPhone).


    We then drove to Newport for supplies and the smoke was properly Icelandic volcanic. We parked up and while the missus went shopping I wiped as much oil off the underside of the engine as I could. Something was leaking oil onto the heat exchanger which was burning off in plumes.

    So that was Saturday afternoon. Again we limped back to the campsite, stalling aplenty in this hilly hell. It was that evening I approached Paddy who took a look and suggested that it sounded like timing and I should cheer up a bit. What he heard in fact was the engine point blank refusing to start but trying very hard indeed. Luckily I have festival friends who live in Ryde with their yellow Bay. A quick plea on Facebook gave me the name and number of a chap called Rob who has a workshop in Cowes. If I could get there on Monday morning he'd clear his schedule to give us the chance of salvaging the holiday. What a guy.

    So we spent Sunday on site and enjoyed a lazy day.

    Monday morning. 12.7 miles to get to the workshop according to Waze. After a very worrying few minutes and a couple of headbutts of the steering wheel it fired up. Well, it started, but would only stay alive with my foot fully down and then was grumpling at about 700 revs. Two minutes with the pedal flat on the floor the revs rose and we pulled off the square in first at 3,000 revs. I knew that if I stalled it would not start again. It was giving me a final chance and, at the same time, a final test. If I get there, I said to my wife, I'm a f**king boss.

    Well it went pretty well. So much so that the wife took a selfie of me being a boss.


    Rob said that you couldn't miss his workshop. You could and I did. It was on a steep hill in West Cowes. I went past once, then did a loop and pulled into where the sat nav said it was. However it was a private road for a nice looking house. Mrs Arthur went for a walk and found the workshop. The entrance was literally twenty feet away. The engine died leaving the driveway and that was it. I rolled down the hill, turned into a side street and waited to be towed in. So close and yet so clichéd. Still, at least Bobby looked happy with life.


    Spent a lovely, if unwanted, day in Cowes. First day of the "Week" so plenty to look at and lots of places to eat and drink. Wife decided to re-assess her approach to parenting and I really couldn't blame her.


    And naturally, we looked at boats. She's from a seaside town in New Zealand, my father-in-law is something of a sailor and I used to be in my company's yachting team (I was rubbish at it, but I digress), so we enjoyed hanging out with the yachties.


    And four and a half hours after leaving it, Rob called me to say I could collect the van. What was wrong? Well Barrie had royally fecked the valve adjustments and someone (I'm not sure who) had fitted leads that were for a Boxer engine. The carbs are very worn and could do with replacement or refurb, but the set up had been so bad that the engine was just giving up. Basically running on, cumulatively, less than a cylinder (well not of course, but you know what I mean - virtually no compression anywhere). Oh and when he'd done my tappets he didn't put in a new gasket so oil was peeing out of the cover to create the clouds of Comma Oil smoke. "It'll run great in Essex and OK on the island" Rob told me and gave me the advice (almost under threat of violence) that I was NOT to touch the accelerator when turning the ignition key.

    I can't speak highly enough about this bloke. He moved his work around us. He clearly explained what was wrong, how to sort it in the future and how to live with it for now.

    I drove triumphantly back to the campsite, completing a victory lap when I got there.

    Next day Blackgang Chine (of course). Dinosaurs, cowboys, fairies, happy kids. And lovely coastal roads. It really is a spectacular place in parts.



    Back home the next day. The van's still a little ginger on the steep hills but I've found that I've modified my driving style to suit. Got stuck on the M25 again but this time crept onto the A2 and did a traffic-free blatt to the Blackwall Tunnel and out to Essex. Naturally the van stalled three minutes from home and we sat on someone's driveway for a couple of minutes.

    Great holiday. The van tried to put the kibosh on things but the combination of great surroundings and good people kept the feelings good.

    Monique (that blonde lady above) wants to go back next month...
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014
    CollyP and Dubweiser like this.
  5. Glad you all had a great time, thanks for the excellent write up :thumbsup:
  6. CollyP

    CollyP Moderator

    That was a really great story - well done.

    I'm a little worried that when you need time to yourselves you give the kids a tablet.

    Two questions;
    do they know the childline telephone number?
    Have you got any spare? :)
    Bertie the Bus and Sir Arthur like this.
  7. Forgot to mention that the front number plate fell off as we left the A3 on the way home as well.
  8. Sir Arthur

    Thanks for the great write up, i've recently returned from the IOW, it is great isn't it. More trips planned.

    Sorry about your engine problems. Give Paul Miller at Harry Harpics a try, he knows VW engines and is only in Leigh on Sea
  9. did you go?

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