Feedback - Recent experience of a CMHC Course

Oct 20, 2015
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Hello All,
I posted last month that I had booked to do a weekend CMHC Practical Caravanning Course. I attended this on 29th and 30th May at Duchy College in Cornwall. Firstly thank you to those who responded with encouragement or thoughts when I previously mentioned it.

I thought I'd share a little feedback on the experience in case of interest:
- Number of participants: 6 (a really lovely group of people with very mixed levels of experience, all supportive and encouraging of one another.)

- Course Structure: mixture of classroom discussion / talks and practical application (would estimate about 80% of the time was practical using 2x Adria Caravans (shells.)
-Scheduled timings of the course were Saturday 8.45am - 5pm, Sunday 9am- 1pm (BUT the instructor -fab guy, was really generous with his time and offered that he was happy to be available and willing to continue / facilitate until 5pm on the Sunday as well - wanted to ensure all participants got sufficient practice and gained well from attending) – this may not be the same on all courses – I was grateful. We’d completed at about 3.45 on Sunday. (The instructor was assisted by another chap for practical sessions who was also really good.)

What we covered on the course: (there was more than I'll list here.)
Classroom: legalities, safety checks – habitation, correct loading: what to carry and where, car & caravan matching, nose weights, snaking: causes & rectification.
Practical: Outside checks, tyre safety, hitching procedure, extension mirror positioning, couple of emergency repair tips including how to change a wheel if you have a puncture + no phone signal + no jack!
Driving: awareness of what’s around you: over hanging trees etc, manoeuvring in and out of cones, negotiating tight turns, reversing in a straight line & near and off side cornering / onto pitches. The course took place in the grounds of the college on a field and its lanes.
I will need to practice reversing further; but I have the principles and it’s less alien to me now!

I’m pleased that I did the course and I would recommend it for others such as I with little experience & who do not have access to somebody with knowledge to guide them in person. For me, it was a positive experience and represented good value for money.
Thanks for reading!
Wayne
 
Nov 16, 2015
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It could be done , I would. pull the van up ramps until at least about 8 inches from the ground. Lower the stays on the puncture side. To relieve pressure from the ramps , remove ramps , then replace the wheel, and lower the stays.
But lets see how Wayne was shown.
Wayne thanks for the feed back.
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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It could be done , I would. pull the van up ramps until at least about 8 inches from the ground. Lower the stays on the puncture side. To relieve pressure from the ramps , remove ramps , then replace the wheel, and lower the stays.
But lets see how Wayne was shown.
Wayne thanks for the feed back.
That’s what I was told as the option, but you’d have to question why anyone would carry a spare and no jack. Unless they expected support from others or a recovery service.
 
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May 21, 2021
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Thanks for the feedback Wayne. I am doing the course in August to refresh myself after being away from caravanning in motorhomes. Looking forward to it.
 
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Oct 20, 2015
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Hutch & Clive - you're spot on!
- double up levelling ramps under under flat tyre and tow up onto it.
-Lower corner steadies - this way not jacking, just supporting weight evenly in emergency situation.
- Gently kick out ramps (surprisingly easy.)
-Change wheel
-wind back steadies.
Agree Clive ref question as to why no jack? ....... regardless though, a nice learn!

Tandjo - good for you - I think / hope that you'll enjoy the course. (y)
 
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Nov 16, 2015
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Hutch & Clive - you're spot on!
- double up levelling ramps under under flat tyre and tow up onto it.
-Lower corner steadies - this way not jacking, just supporting weight evenly in emergency situation.
- Gently kick out ramps (surprisingly easy.)
-Change wheel
-wind back steadies.
Agree Clive ref question as to why no jack? ....... regardless though, a nice learn!

Tandjo - good for you - I think / hope that you'll enjoy the course. (y)
Thanks Wayne, as for the "no jack" lost in the caravan or car, or it got twisted and was unservicable. Lots of reasons.
Thanks again for the feedback. 👍
 
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Oct 20, 2015
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Thanks for the nice responses, wasn't gonna post these bits due to potential to open cans of worms... but hey-hoe:
- Nose weight: measure near horizontal height: not towball height, if you can achieve 75kg this way, it should be universally good to go.
- Early pre-snake wobble: can be useful to very gently touch gas pedal whilst loosening hold on steering wheel to pull into line instead of lifting off pedals and letting the tail fix the dog.

DISCALIMER - I'm not qualified or scientifically knowledgeable to say the above is spot on, but our instructor certainly seemed to know his onions!
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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Thanks for the nice responses, wasn't gonna post these bits due to potential to open cans of worms... but hey-hoe:
- Nose weight: measure near horizontal height: not towball height, if you can achieve 75kg this way, it should be universally good to go.
- Early pre-snake wobble: can be useful to very gently touch gas pedal whilst loosening hold on steering wheel to pull into line instead of lifting off pedals and letting the tail fix the dog.

DISCALIMER - I'm not qualified or scientifically knowledgeable to say the above is spot on, but our instructor certainly seemed to know his onions!

Wow Wayne a container full of worms on noseweight height. You’d better dive for cover😂

Bet they didn’t cover my technique for getting off a muddy pitch where the cars more a hindrance than a help?
 
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Oct 20, 2015
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Clive, - Thus far worms still in their container and no need for me to put a crash hat on!
Ref coming off muddy fields (guessing you’re not contemplating tracking down your swb pajero ;) ) so assuming your tip of getting your good lady to stand to the rear of the caravan axle? If so, astonishingly - it never even got a mention!!!!
For getting off muddy pitches suggestions were:
- Use of mats / boards.
- Motor mover (if fitted.)
- Tow rope if room (this was from one of the course attendee's.)
- Asking for assistance from a 4x4 driver or farmer!
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Clive, - Thus far worms still in their container and no need for me to put a crash hat on!
Ref coming off muddy fields (guessing you’re not contemplating tracking down your swb pajero ;) ) so assuming your tip of getting your good lady to stand to the rear of the caravan axle? If so, astonishingly - it never even got a mention!!!!
For getting off muddy pitches suggestions were:
- Use of mats / boards.
- Motor mover (if fitted.)
- Tow rope if room (this was from one of the course attendee's.)
- Asking for assistance from a 4x4 driver or farmer!
Wayne
Perhaps I could patent my approach. The only three times I’ve failed to get off a bad CL pitch were with 4WD vehicles including a Sorento with AT tyres.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Wayne
Perhaps I could patent my approach. The only three times I’ve failed to get off a bad CL pitch were with 4WD vehicles including a Sorento with AT tyres.
When we got bogged down a few years ago I was driving a 1996 Toyota Surf. I selected 4x4 and low ratio to get out. Chucked a lot of mud up on front of caravan, but we got out.
 

Mel

Mar 17, 2007
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I am a competent, but not confident driver, so in spite of Caravanning for 15 years, I have never towed. ( except one of those taster sessions around the NEC car park at a show). I have looked at doing a CAMC course but as far as I can see the first level course covers lots of stuff that I already know, such as loading, checking nose weight, hitching etc. The second level seems course to focus on reversing. Two questions:
1. Anyone know of a course that is sort of in between, I.e skips the basics of loading and what have you and focusses more on towing for the terrified.
2. Has anyone done the second level course; could it be suitable for the likes of me?

I am sure that I am not the only one in this situation and there must be many partners of the tower-in-chief who are similarly fixed.
Before anyone suggests that my OH teaches me; let that idea whither and die quickly- which is exact what would happen to my dearly beloved, as soon as the argument over his instructions broke out. ( I’d say 50-100 yards down the road, tops)
TIA
Mel
 
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Jun 16, 2020
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There can be no doubt that a 4x4 has to be better for moving on poor ground. A full 4x4 with low ratio even better, and with mud tyres even better still. But having owned 2 4x4’s, all be it soft 4x4‘s, an XTrail and a 4007. Over a period of about 10 years The one and only time I needed it was to help someone else out.

One time, on a very bad field I still needed a tractor, the 4007 wouldn’t look at it.

Another time when I had a rear wheel drive car. The slight gradient on slippy grass. Firm underneath but zero grip. I needed to go a couple of hundred yards. A young lad on his first ever outing with his very very old Land Rover. Pulled it off with no issue at all. He was so happy with himself.

John
 
Jul 18, 2017
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I found out in the past that cars with front wheel drive where the worst of grass whether solo or towing. Our Volvo S80 was terrible on grass especially if the grass was wet. Unfortunately now the majority of cars are front wheel drive.
 
May 7, 2012
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I found out in the past that cars with front wheel drive where the worst of grass whether solo or towing. Our Volvo S80 was terrible on grass especially if the grass was wet. Unfortunately now the majority of cars are front wheel drive.
I have heard of people sitting on the bonnet to get extra weight on the front wheels. Not recommended though.
 
Oct 20, 2015
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Update: We spent couple of nights over the weekend just gone at Pine Green Valley - was quite tight but reversed onto the pitch just fine :D - I know it's such a minor achievement but have to say, I felt chuffed! & we had a lovely sunny weekend.
 

Damian

Moderator
Mar 14, 2005
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Well done Wayne. Its the minor achievements that make each day so much more enjoyable.
Now bask in your new found skill as next time it will all probably go horribly wrong.............been there , done that. :rolleyes:
 
May 7, 2012
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Well done Wayne. We have had a mover on the last four caravans though so difficult pitches are no longer a problem.
 
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May 21, 2021
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Ah, well. My course for this weekend has been cancelled because the instructor has broken her leg. The next few courses are full so I have had to go on the reserve list for October. The best laid plans and all that. Pity because I was looking forward to it.
 
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Jan 3, 2012
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Ah, well. My course for this weekend has been cancelled because the instructor has broken her leg. The next few courses are full so I have had to go on the reserve list for October. The best laid plans and all that. Pity because I was looking forward to it.
You seem to understand the importance of safe driving, pleased to see this and know you'll gain alot of experience from this course. Good luck for the future and all your adventures.
 

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