Coco's wild camp

Friday 4th  November

We are off to a wild camp site called Coco’s for a couple of nights, so we set off west up and down some daunting hills and narrow roads and eventually made it to the donkey sign which pointed us to the site. ///snowy.president.wimp.

We un-hitched the trailer and pulled onto the grass on the lower level after agreeing that we would not have made it to the top in our heavy van with a trailer behind. Andy chocked the wheels so that we didn’t roll down the hill into the pond and we went for a walk to the top of the hill. All the way up we kept stopping to take in the spectacular views and to shelter from the wind. When we got to the top, we found the metal donkey sculpture which was a depiction of the real donkey, Coco. Today is a day for walks and resting and another early night.  

Saturday 5th November

Bonfire night at Coco’s! This morning It is windy and rainy, but we went for a walk along the lane coming into Coco’s and met an ambulance coming our way. When we got back to the camp site the ambulance was collecting an older lady who had slipped and hurt her ankle. She was wearing trainers! Not really suitable footwear for this type of terrain. Apparently, she broke her tibia. We hope she recovers quickly. We walked up to the top of the hill again and got talking to some Vanner's and agreed to meet at the bonfire later tonight. On the way we checked out the 'facilities'

We struggled up the hill again at around 5:30 and we all made our way to the plateau where the Coco’s bonfire was waiting to be lit. We were slightly disappointed as the wood pile was not as big as we expected, and the wind was howling up the hill, bringing the temperature down by at least 5 degrees C. At last, the bonfire was lit but it was a slow starter so one of the farmer’s young'uns threw kerosene on it and that made all the difference! We soon warmed up after that addition and about five more gallons which followed. Sue went back down to the burger van and brought back some burgers and coffees which helped to warm us up for about five minutes! We all decided that it was time to go back to our vans and said our good nights and set off down the hill. We got in and had another hot drink before bed.  

Sunday 6th 

Andy was woken up by the leisure battery low voltage alarm beeping at 4:30 am. What was draining it? He had recently rewired the CCTV system and added connections for the Wi-Fi router, (which we sent back as it was faulty) and a USB power socket for the tyre inflator! Not wanting to investigate further at that time in the morning he went back to bed. When he woke again at 7:30 he could not turn the heating on, so he wrapped up and made the tea and woke Sue. This was the beginning of an incredibly stressful day. We are leaving Coco’s today and we do not know where we will be staying overnight. It looks like we will need electric hook up and a hard standing due to the battery fault and the continuous rain. The plan is to head for Aberystwyth and the west coast but first we must get the 4-ton van off the saturated grass! We discussed the options for some time over a cuppa or two and admired the fantastic double rainbow and eventually decided to gently let the van roll under its own weight down the hill towards the ponds?! and onto the muddy track so that it could get as much grip as possible. 

This idea worked although Andy's blood pressure must have gone up a few notches during the manouvre. Once on the track we discovered that the passenger window would not wind down, we suspected a blown fuse but decided that this could wait until later as it was raining anyway. Andy reversed the van all the way back to the main road but because it was now facing the wrong way, he had to then drive it along the lane to a small turning place and come back to collect the trailer which he had to drag 175 metres along the muddy, pot holed track fully laden! Job done, Sue scrambled in with our £10 Coco’s mugs and we hit the road in the torrential rain only to discover that the wind screen wipers were playing up aswell....*%£$"&^.

We continued with the wipers on manual, they worked as long as we held the stalk in place and then we had to let it go at precisely the correct time so that the wipers were out of our line of site. 

The views were spectacular, and the sun came out to give the wipers a rest as we headed towards Aberystwyth on the west coast.


The lithium leisure battery had shut itself down after sensing a low voltage, as it was designed to do.  We think that there might be a bad earth or a 'short' somewhere so we will investigate asap. The Sargent module is an older version and didn't understand what was happening so set off a low voltage alarm, as it is designed to do. We started the engine and when the lithium battery received a charge from the alternator it re-set itself to 13.5 volts. All is well, we hope!


After we had returned from our Wales trip Andy investigated the fault. The battery low voltage turned out to be caused by a broken 12v cable from battery to the EC200, possibly caused by a hungry mouse. Andy ran a secondary cable from the battery and spliced it into the original cable just before it entered the plug which went into the EC200 and all is well now. See more about this in our 'Installations and upgrades' page.

The wipers' fault was easier to rectify, Andy had replaced a fuse into the wrong slot when trying find out what was wrong with the passenger window which had stopped working as we left Hertford! The joys of van life in an old van!