A Travellerspoint blog


A bit of background info

Hello! We are the Napier Family - Mik, Gina, Lola (aged 3) and Roger (5 year old sprocker spaniel).

In 2017 we bought an 8 year old ex mobile library to convert to a motorhome. The vehicle is a 7.5 tonne Mercedes Atego and was in service on the Isle of Arran till late 2016 - when they replaced it with a smaller van! Before Arran (as our vehicle is now known) we had an ex ambulance (Ivan - Iveco Daily), which my husband also converted. We had many excellent trips in the UK and Europe over the 5 years we owned it, but once our family expanded with Roger, and then Lola we found we needed more space.


We had eyed up a few mobile libraries before settling on Arran - some being rust buckets, some just too big, but all quite old. Although Arran had water ingress issues, the age of the vehicle, being Euro 5, and general condition won us over. How little did we know how extensive the water damage would be....


Turns out the skylights in the roof were leaking, all four of them, and the previous owner had decided the best course of action was to use sealant on the inside. So instead of stopping the water getting in to the roof, they stopped it getting out - causing most of the woodwork to rot. The first job we undertook was to remove the skylights and solar-panels and try to make the roof watertight. Having cleared the roof of clutter, we filled all the screw holes, resealed the roof seams, and then refitted two of the skylights and replaced the other two with large solar panels, to give us six panels in total.


Once Arran was watertight we could then concentrate on clearing the interior - everything had to go. Shelving, racking, toilet, stairwell, wheelchair lift, heater ducting, wall carpet, lights, plug sockets, miles of wiring and the sliding side door. Once cleared we could start prepping the interior - making steel framework to plug the gaps in the floor that we had left, sealing up the rear door and modifying the battery box to fit our new pull-out steps. We ended up having to replace all our batteries, installing a new inverter/charger system, LED lighting throughout, and lots of wood!


We spent many hours designing various floorplans - using IKEA's website for sizing of most the furniture. We wanted fixed beds for everyone - one thing we didn't have in Ivan - but they take up a lot of space. One solution was to have a bed over the cab, unfortunately we only have 1.9m of headroom, so it would leave very little space for a fixed bed. Which is when we had the idea of having the bed lift up for driving and down for sleeping - and that's exactly what we did. Fitted to four linear actuators - rated to 300kg each - to give us a Superking sized bed that lowers with a press of a button and is always ready for us to climb in to! Lola then has a set of bunkbeds at the rear and Roger sleeps underneath, with the inverter and batteries.


We have already had several trips and holidays in Arran around the UK but soon we are embarking on our biggest adventure to date now we have both quit our jobs and then jump on the ferry to Holland on 19th August 2020 to travel around Europe in for 4 months.

We will be regularly updating this blog as we travel so do subscribe and keep in touch!

Comment any questions below and anything you'd like us to cover in future blogs.

Posted by NapierFamily 13:16 Archived in United Kingdom

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Loved reading you blog. We are planning a similar trip in 2021 so you’ve given us a good framework to start on. Good luck with your travels. Best wishes Martin

by Martin Coutts

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