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Camper vans: Hammond the Hamster's New Wheels

May 10, 2011
by Laura Canning | news

A caravan Hammond prepared earlier Mwahaha! Richard Hammond, a.k.a. the Hamster, a.k.a. a quarter of the Top Gear caravan trashing team, has caved in and bought a campervan . A pink one, no less, because apparently that’s what his daughters wanted. Sure.

We are of course delighted to see that the Hamster has seen sense at last. As a girlie and complete non-fan of Jeremy Clarkson, his presenting style and his hair, I do try and avoid Top Gear wherever possible. But you don’t need to watch the programme to know that caravans, motorhomes and camping in general come in for a level of abuse similar to Nick Clegg in the recent elections.

The Top Gear team has at various points crashed a caravan into a bollard in Dorset , ‘accidentally’ set fire to one while making chips in Tolpuddle (both in Series 8), subjected six innocent vehicles to 'extreme motorhome racing’ (Series 10), and crashed a caravan into a field after trying to fly it attached to an airship (Series 14).

Clarkson has also moaned that caravans are 'clogging up the British countryside', a fine statement for a man with that hair, and claims that even in Airstreams , those mansions of the road, facilities are so poor that owners have to pee in a bucket. Well, whatever floats your boat, Jeremy.

But now Hammond has seen the light. Hehe.

It was a seven-day trip in Cornwall in a new VW wot done it, and we have to say that if Cornish beaches, walking on Dartmoor and pitching up at a farm to feed newborn lambs doesn’t make you see the campervanning light, then you have a heart the size and texture of a shrivelled old walnut. Buried in a rusty tin in a field.

'You might expect the rose-tinted glasses to slip and the reality to be a story of breakdowns, cramped quarters, lost sleep and arguments,' Hammond has since said. 'But no, the rose-tinteds stayed firmly on for the entire week.

'We stopped on beaches, on Dartmoor and on hillsides and saw places we would have missed. The girls played in streams, climbed on rocks, explored seaside rock pools and did the things we all did as children and thought had disappeared for ever with the arrival of Nintendos and satellite TV.

'It was, without doubt, one of our most successful holidays ever and quite possibly my favourite of all time.'

Buying a (pink) campervan after writing two books on caravans (Hammond published A Short History of Caravans in the UK in 2009 and Richard Hammond’s Caravan Confidential in 2010)? Jeremy Clarkson must be spinning in his overpriced cars. Never mind Jeremy, no doubt the Top Gear bosses will let you abuse a humble caravan again sometime soon. But perhaps you could just watch this instead.

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