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Those members who were at Malvern this year may recall that Françoise and I bought a Kampa Rally Air Pro 260XL awning (after admiring the one Steve & Maureen Tofts had erected). We had a little difficulty, and a lot of help, attaching it to the van, along with the promise from Glossop Caravans to send us a new one after the show. The one we had bought turned out to a slightly muddy ex-demo unit. Glossop Caravans sent us a new one, as promised, and we set off for France with it safely stowed in our van’s garage.
Our first stop was in the Loire Valley and we quickly set about putting up our new awning. Once more, after watching us struggle, there was plenty of help on hand from fellow motorhomers. We gave up after nearly two hours, very frustrated. Even liberal applications of silicone spray and silicone grease had failed to make it possible to pull the bead through the channel.
I telephoned Glossop Caravans and, although they could not understand why I was having difficulties, suggested that they send out an adapter kit. This they did and it arrived three days later.
Another couple of hours of wasted effort and more applications of silicone spray ensued. For the next five weeks we carried around a huge and heavy bag of ballast. It had taken up the space we could more usefully have used for our bicycles.
We returned from France on Monday 10th, and drove up to the NEC on the 12th to confront Glossop Caravans. I had put the awning, plus adapter kit, in the back of our car. I spoke to the Awnings Manager, Paul Laing, who was apologetic and very helpful. He told me that they had not had any other complaints about awnings not fitting and, in an effort to find out why, he took me to the Kampa stand. The Kampa technical chappie knew exactly what was wrong. Apparently, caravan manufacturers have increased the size of their accessory channels from 6mm to 7mm. Kampa have followed suit so all their new awnings have a 7mm bead.
Glossop Caravans took back my unused awning and have promised me a refund. Hopefully this will be paid as soon as the NEC show has finished and folk get back to their offices.
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