Friday, 17 November 2017

Carrog Station Camp Site, North Wales.

10th of September saw us heading up to Carrog Station Camp Site, which is on the side of the Llangollen railway. www.stationcampsite.com
We were in a big field directly behind the station and had good views of the Station and the railway, which was operating steam trains every day.
Our nice new awning went up easily . Kampa Rally Pro 260, the poled version.



Carrog Station from the road bridge.

I enjoyed traveling on this DMU

Thhis engine had just run round the train to take it backwards to Llangollen



Carrog Station. The two storey building is a private house.


On the Tuesday we went to travel on the train, which was absolutely packed. Good ride up and down the line though, and it is very scenic. www.llangollen-railway.co.uk



Heading towards Llangollen


We went out for a run in the countryside up through Ruthin, before going on to Aldi in Llangollen for shopping. Very scenic area and enjoyed it. There was a storm forceast overnight, but apart from some heavy rain, the strong winds did not materialise.

On the Thursday we headed up North towards Rhyl and Prestatyn. Very showery day . When we got up to Rhyl and drove along the coast we were amazed at how many caravan sites there were, mostly statics with a few touring ones. We then went on to Flint, before cutting South to Mold and back to the caravan.
It was an excellent day out

Friday was again very showery, so Lizzie had a PJ day and I spent most of it up at the station, photographing trains.

Next to us on the site four families pitched up. There were very well organised and had a great weekend.

It really did rain overnight, but the sun came out, so I went up to the railway again to travel on the Diesel Multiple Unit that was running on the line.  It was built in 1958 and was in superb condition.


The  Diesel Multiple Unit.


Every day we watched coaches arrive at the station, loaded with tourists, who were going to ride the railway. Two coaches that arrived on the Sunday were full of American Tourists, who had come from a cruise ship that had berthed in Liverpool
Whilst up at the station on the Sunday I was invited up into the Signal Box that was a very interesting experience.

Inside the signal box.



The Ffestiniog railway was our destination.  www.festrail.co.uk We had a good run over to it and the journey on the train was good. Again the Photos can tell the story.

We ran out of gas on the Monday night, so I set off to find a Calor Lite bottle. Well they seem to be like hens teeth in North Wales. The Calor dealer in Llangollen did not have any, but he gave me a 6kg cylinder as long as I paid for the gas, and let me keep my Calor Lite, so I could exchange it elsewhere.

On the Wednesday we took a packed lunch down to the Bala Lake railway.
 www.bala-lake-railway.co.uk
It is a narrow gauge railway built on the track bed of a disused standard gauge railway.

Bala Lake Railway


On the Friday we departed at 10.45 for the Adventure Overland show on Stratford race course, where we met up with Robert and Kathy, Dennis the Dog, Steve and Barry.
www.adventureoverlandshow.net
 We had an excellent weekend and headed home late on Sunday afternoon,

Barry, Steve, Kathy, Dennis the dog, Robert and Liz



Our Stand.




Again an excellent few weeks away.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Sea Breeze CL, Appledore.

Well just five days at home and we were off down to Devon again, this time to a lovely little CL, (Caravan Club  Certified Location 5 Caravan Site)
We found the site easily and set up on what was a really lovely little site, that was beautifully kept.
We had never been to Appledore before and had decided to come here as James, Jade, Josie and Jack were staying in the town with Andy and Val, James's parents.
As we set up the awning roof split from top to bottom, caused by UV degradation, so it was repaired with gaffer tape!  It lasted the week though, and a new one, made of more substantial material was ordered during the week, to be delivered when we got home.
I did take a lot of photos, but they see to have escaped somewhere into space. A few remain though!

Sunday was a very hot day and we popped into Appledore for quick look, then back to sit outside the caravan.





On the Monday it was again very hot, so we made up a packed lunch and went to Westward Ho to join the 4 J's.
Westward Ho was very busy, but we managed to park, courtesy of the Blue Badge! We met up with the J's and spent a couple of hours with them before returning to camp to sit in the sun!
My thoughts on Westward Ho that it was very busy, and smelt of Fish, Chips and Candy Floss.

Sunset from the Camp Site


On Wednesday we drove over to Hartland Quay which was a stunning place.

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From there we went round to Hartland Point and I climbed up to look down on the Lighthouse.

The lighthouse looks very little from the top of the cliffs.


It was Andy's birthday on the Thursday so we all went out for an excellent dinner.

Friday was again a stunning day, and we spent it at Northam Burrows which is a country park.


Northam Burrows Country park, looking towards Appledore.


We drove home on the Saturday, through extremely heavy traffic.

Excellent week with only one damp spell, the rest of the weather being perfect.
Site cost £15.00 per night.

Adventures in South Devon.

Well a few days at home and then it was off down to South Devon for three weeks or so.
We traveled down on Saturday to Steamer Quay, at Totnes for just one night, where all it did was rain. The following morning we then made the short trip to Start Bay Caravan Club site.
It was an easy run through as being a Sunday morning the roads were very quiet.
We set up on a pitch right in the middle of the site, next to the service point.
We soon fell into life in Devon, enjoying some good weather, but on the Wednesday the rain was so hard that water flowed through the awning.

Devon in August!

During the week I also fitted USB ports to the front of the caravan! It makes a lot easier when charging the I pads.
Kathy and Rob arrived at their site, which was a couple of miles from us on Thursday, so the following day we popped up to see them .
On the Sunday we went out for dinner with them.



On the Monday I took Lizzie into Kingsbridge hospital for her carpal tunnel operation to be dressed. Excellent service from them, and we were to to go back every couple of days and they would change the dressings and when it was ready they would take the stitches out.
During the afternoon Zoe and Mitch arrived for their annual few days in South Devon
All of us, including Rob and Kathy went to the Tradesmans Arms in Stokenham for dinner.


Lizzie and I drove up to Torquay on Wednesday, where we stayed in the Premier Inn. It was quite nice to be spoilt for a few days. We spent Thursday wandering around Torquay, which, as far as I can recall I have never been to before. Discovered it was quite a nice town.

A different sort of Railway!  Enjoyed watching this !

Torquay Harbour



When we left on the Friday we drove over to Teignmouth where we had a lovely lunch with Angela and Alan. Good to see them again. Then it was back to the caravan.
Zoe and Mitch departed on Saturday morning, so life returned to normal.
We went up to join Rob and Kathy on Sunday for a barbecue. They now had all the family staying with them, so it was quite a lively affair.

Rob and Kathy's Barbecue


We spent the rest of the week wandering the area, Bee Sands, Hope Cove, Salcombe and Kingsbridge.

Britannia Fish restaurant and shop, Bee Sands



We also took the opportunity to ride on the miniature railway that runs along the quay side in Kingsbridge. www.kdlr.co.uk  


Riding the Railway

It was quite surprising how many people I bumped into from home. Most notable being Paul C, who like me is a past mayor of Chipping Sodbury. Amazingly he was staying in his caravan at Karragen, and had done the same thing for the last 30 or so years. Quite surprising that we had never bumped into each other before.
We also met up with Robert and Kathy a few times, before they departed for home on the Friday, and us on the Sunday.
An excellent, if damp at times three weeks.

One of my favourite views! Salcombe harbour and lifeboat!


We

Monday, 4 September 2017

RIAT 2017

So we got home from France on the Saturday and faced a few days of  washing, cleaning the caravan and re-equipping it for an off grid time at the Royal International Air Tattoo on Fairford Air Field.
as usual we were booked into Kempsford Camping, which is the site right next to the air field.

We arrived at noon on the Wednesday, and pitched up next to Robert. Amazingly we seemed to have brought the fine French weather with us, and sure enough it stayed with us until the Monday when we left.

All set up!

We settled down to watch the planes and helicopters arriving over the next few days. We also find time to reproof Roberts Tent.
 On the Friday afternoon I headed for home to collect Izzy and Freddie as they were going to stay with us .
I collected them from home and also hitched up the Toylander, that I had already loaded into the trailer.
We were soon back at the airfield and Izzy and Freddies face was amazing as they watched all the planes arriving and practising over the air field.

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

We got the Toylander out and Izzy was soon off driving with Freddie in the passenger seat.

Izzy enjoying a drive


On the Saturday they got to see the full display, whilst also filling them selves with plenty of food.
They went home when the show finished on the Saturday evening.
Lizzie and I spent the Sunday recovering as  well as watching the displays overhead.

Heading for departure

We cleared up on the Monday morning whilst also watching the planes depart.
Finally leaving the site at noon we were soon home.The caravan was emptied and popped up into storage for a week, whilst Lizzie and I prepared for our next long trip.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Our French Adventure 2017

So with everything packed up we set off for Poole at 4.30pm on Tuesday 16th of May. After an uneventful run down we parked up on the Quay with a handful of other travelers. Supper and bed.

At half past six the following morning we were woken by the Brittany ferry staff, and after winding the legs up we moved forward to the ticket office where passports were checked and then on to the next queue. We were only there a few minutes before we were waved through security! It then started to rain!
At a quarter to eight we were on the ferry, and we made our way upstairs to the cafeteria for breakfast.
Greg the ground grinder and Elsa enjoyed looking out of the ferry window as we left Poole.
The journey to Cherbourg took four and a quarter hours. It was quite foggy and there was a  good swell as we crossed the channel  We were off the ferry and on our way to Villedieu-les Poeles, where we booked into the site, which was looking very good. It was still raining. Dinner was cooked and I went up to the garage to fuel up and to collect some cheese and wine from the supermarket.
Villedieu-les Poeles was looking really wet. Our caravan is the one in the middle.


We were away the following morning, still in the pouring rain,  just before 10 and on our way to Camping Les Noblis at Montreuil Bellay, a distance of 180 miles.  We arrived there four hours later and it was still raining. So it was legs down, cook dinner and then bed.


Our one night stop at Montreuil Bellay

It was still raining in the morning so after breakfast we were on our way just after 10.

Todays run was 150 miles to Camping de Montreal at St Germain Les Belles. after a couple of hours driving, as we approached Limoges the rain stopped and the sun came out.
As we arrived at the site Leone and Hans were there to welcome us. We were soon set up on a lakeside pitch as this was to be our base for 6 nights.

Finally the weather became good!
We ate in the restaurant that night and met up with Sonja and Peter. It was very good to see them again.






We relaxed over the next five days, enjoying the hot sunshine.

I did find time to go to the railway station and managed to get a picture of the local train. Not a very good picture as the station was being rebuilt and was all fenced off!  Passengers were bused to and from another local station and trains were not stopping either.

Train at St Germain Les Belles
On the Thursday morning we left at about 10.30 and set off down the A20, for another 150 mile drive to Camping de Montech, which is a large municipal site just north of Toulouse.
The sun was still out , but as we set up there was some light rain.

As we approached the site there were tractors everywhere.  Not a farmers protest but a tractor parade and rally.


We were away in  the morning again by 10.00am heading for La Floride at Le Barcares, again 150 miles. The journey should have taken us about 4 hours, but unfortunately we met horrific traffic on the Peage as we passed Carcassonne. This slow, stop start traffic was caused by roadworks where the A61 joins the A9 just south of Narbonne, and added over an hour to our journey. The traffic cleared as we joined the A9.  When we arrived at La Floride we booked in and set up on our pitch.
It was really hot and sunny as we set up, so we took our time. We were going to be here for 35 nights so it was important to get everything done properly.



When in France we cook in the awning using our electric hob or Teriyaki  electric hotplate. We also have a Quest expedition fridge that cools to 30 degrees below ambient temperature, an essential when it is so hot in France.

Frittati, prepared in the awning.


Our Boulangerie
We soon settled in to a French way of life. I rode up to the village  for fresh bread and croissants each morning. We enjoyed the sun and most days we went out for coffee or to visit one of the nearby towns for shopping. The Freelander2 had its cover put on and was only used on Wednesdays and Saturdays when we went out to get the heavy shopping, (water and Wine).
We enjoyed the occasional meal at the Camp site restaurant


The best Boulangerie in the village. Unbelievably there were four within 250 yards of each other!



Lizzie had hired a very posh mobility scooter so we often went out together, Lizzie on her scooter and me on my bike.


Lizzie off exploring.

Most days the sun was out and the temperature reached the mid 30's, some days it topped 39.
Unusually this year there was a constant stream of English pitching up round us with their tent, caravan or motor home.

Just along from our caravan a 'Thai Cream' ice cream booth appeared. It only stayed for a week as trade was very slow. The ice cream was good though, albeit very expensive and was too much for one person.




A market is held in Le Barcares on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.We enjoyed visiting that and just browsing. Each Sunday we would get a chicken from the market that had been cooked on a rotisserie, which was then used for dinner that evening.

Market Day!



Our Chicken Man!  He was only at the Market on Sundays


We often went up to Le Barcares for coffee.  We sometimes ventured on to the inviting beach.

Le Barcares beach on a busy day.


We eat out occasionally, finding that the camp bar and restaurant was very good value.

Our 35 nights at Le Barcares soon came to an end, and it was time to clear up. The last few days there saw us have thunder storms, but on our last day it was warm and dry so the awning was packed away in the dry.

Our return journey was a mirror image of our outward journey with one night at Camping De Montech, three nights at Camping de Montreal, one night at Montreuil Bellay and two nights at Villedieu les Poeles where we enjoyed time shopping. I even found a french Barber where I could get my hair cut.

My French Barber!
 Villedieu les Poeles is one of the many pretty French villages we saw.

The Maire, (Town Hall)



On the Friday we drove up to Cherbourg for the 18.30 ferry.  We arrived back in Poole at 21.45, and parked up on the Quay accompanied by several other caravans. We sat outside with our neighbours sharing a few glasses of wine.

At 9.30 the following morning we left for home arriving there at noon after an excellent trip away.


Thursday, 11 May 2017

Exmoor House, Dulverton. 2nd May

Well we have been to this site before many times in November/December, so we decided to visit again in late spring.
We had a good run down stopping in Wells for a burger and a mug of tea.  When we reached the site it was very full, but we were able to find a good south facing pitch.  We were soon set up in the very warm sun.


This really is a lovely tidy site, close to the centre of town. It is very clean and is extremely tidy. The new wardens Keith and Debbie are very helpful. We had met them before at Burrs Country Park and also Start Bay.

On the Wednesday after a proper breakfast I went on the 'Heritage walk' round Dulverton. There were 12 of us on the walk, and was really informative.  www.dulvertonheritagecentre.org.uk

Dulverton Main Street. 

 Their used to be another row of cottages down the middle of the street.

Their are many cottages built of brick, rather than local stone.


This waterway feeds three mills further down.

We drove over to Minehead on the Thursday. We took the opportunity to visit the West Somerset railway where we had coffee and watched the trains for a while before adjourning to Lidl to do the shopping.  www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk

The moor still looks quite forbidding, even with the Gorse in flower.




Just about to depart to Bishops Lydeard
This is the next engine to be restored!

I spent the Friday wandering round Dulverton, browsing the amazing second hand bookshop, www.rdbooks.co.uk before spending time in the Dulverton Heritage centre and their fabulous model railway.  More details of the railway are on the Dulverton Heritage centre website.
As the campsite is only a few minutes walk from the town I went up to collect fish and chips for our supper.

The Lynmouth and Barnstaple railway was our destination for Saturday. This is a narrow gauge railway, and at present is only a mile and a half long.  Plans to expand it to about nine miles are well in hand though. It really was an outstanding railway with everything being very clean, tidy and well presented. We rode down the line and then stopped for a light lunch. www.lynton-rail.co.uk

Taking on Water

The turn round at Killington Lane

Looking down the line


We loved the station signs.


The views from the railway over the countryside were outstanding!




I went to church in Dulverton on Sunday morning, and then at lunch time as it was so warm we adjourned to the bridge inn for a lunch time drink.  www.thebridgeinndulverton.com

We went to Woods on Monday!  This is a really outstanding restaurant, and the food certainly lived up to its reputation,  www.woodsdulverton.co.uk

We cleared up on the Tuesday and had a good run home.