Star of BBC2’s One Man and his Campervan, Martin Dorey, fell in love with camper vans whilst he was at University and used a camper van to travel to the beach to surf. “I spent a lot of time in camper vans,” he recalls, “I thought it would be a good idea to write a ‘life-style guide’; I’m not a Chef but we used to pick and cook mussels from the beach after surfing and just make the most of ‘wild food’. Camper Van Cookbook is a robust cookbook which is suitable for camping and general outdoor fun.”
The outdoor enthusiast credits his Grandfather for his love of the fresh air. “He was a Scout Leader after the First World War and was right at the start of the Scout movement. He was eccentric and just loved the outdoors. I spent a lot of time with him as a kid, he was the most influential person in my life. He was a quiet but powerful influence. He told me things like to cut a bar of soap in half so my rucksack wouldn’t be so heavy. He was mad about daffodils and used to cross pollinate them with a paint brush to create new ones. I love passing on knowledge from him to my own children today. I’m not an expert but I enjoy foraging; there is so much out there. Without a supermarket most people would starve.
“Whilst filming One Man and his Campervan in Pembrokeshire, we broke down in St David’s on the very last day of filming. It was such a lovely place to be stranded,” he laughs. “I remember drinking meadowsweet cordial and once I was shown what meadowsweet was, I saw it was absolutely everywhere. For my new book, Campervan Coast, I explore seaweed as an edible food, and made crisps out of sugar kelp. I like suggesting things to try.”
Back at home Martin admits he and his wife, Joanne, are still learning to grow their own food. “One year we sowed beds and beds with Pak Choi and coriander thinking they would never grow. It all came and we ended up giving big bags of it away for people to do ‘something Thai’ with. We have planted up old fish crates but as I’m away so much everything bolts and goes to seed.”
“I just love Campervan living and as well as beach combing we do a lot of beach cleaning; I love the coasts of Wales. One of the best coastal drives ever is between Aberaeron and Aberystwyth and there are stunning campsites along the way. Wild camping is still illegal in Wales” he adds, “which is fine as you have some of the best campsites ever.”
For more about Martin and his Camper Van cook books (and some cool photos) visit www.martindorey.com.