Monday, 31 December 2012

A few facts about our travels 2012

We have kept a record of how many miles we have towed this year.
Here is the breakdown of the figures:

Pitts Farm, Cheddar.                                                 60 miles

Oxenhope    and. Burrs Country Park.                    406 miles

Synderborough Farm, Sidmouth.                            197 miles

Brittany and Normandy.                                          545 miles

Bristol & West Land Rover Show.                            70 miles

Aberbran CC site, Brecon.                                       140 miles

Greenacres CL, Bibury                                              64 miles

Menehay Farm Falmouth and Start Bay.                 418 miles

Walkeridge CL. Basingstoke.                                  134 miles

Eastnor Castle, Land Rover Show.                          120 miles

Westfield Farm CL, Dorchester.                              145 miles

Birley Arms, Warton, and Burrs Country Park.       447 miles

Crofty Nurseries, Saundersfoot.                               270 miles

Exmoor House, Dulverton.                                       180 miles

This gives a total for actual towing of                      3196 miles

Friday, 28 December 2012

Exmoor House, Dulverton CC Site 9th - 16th December

Our Christmas Time Trip

We decided that we would head for Dulverton for our December trip.  We  were on this site at the same time of year last year and thoroughly enjoyed it so we have decided to give it another go.
Leaving home at about lunch time on the Sunday we set off on a cross country route to avoid the Christmas chaos on the M5.  We drove down through Keynsham, Wells and Glastonbury.  As we drove through Glastonbury, we spotted a burger van in the B&Q carpark, so, even with the caravan on tow it was straight into the carpark for a quick cuppa.  Then it was back on the road heading south. we had  to avoid the A361 where it crossed the Somerset levels as it was flooded and totally impassable. On to the M5 for about half an hour, in which time we did not see another caravan, which is very unusual.  Then on towards Tiverton before turning North towards Dulverton and the site. The roads began to get very wet and muddy, and the caravan got really filthy on the front!.

It was a leisurely set up on Pitch 15, after paying the weeks fee of £115!  No wonder we normally use CL's, as they cost about £70 per week. I popped the awning up and got water and elctric etc set up, whilst Lizzie set up the inside, and soon got the temperature up to 30 degrees! Talk about being toasty warm.  We picked pitch 15 as it was south facing and would pick up any available sun.

Monday dawned clear and frosty, -5, but the caravan was lovely and warm.  Then a gentle stroll into Dulverton for coffee and some retail therapy.  Afternoon spent writing Christmas cards!

This was the view from the caravan!

Tuesday was even colder over night and one Aqua Roll froze up!  I still cooked breakfast outside in the bright sun though.  We drove across Exmoor to Porlock.

 The roads were extremely slippery, and the traction control on the Freelander2 came into its own.  Coffee was had in Porlock weir in a rather cold pub. We then took the toll road towards Lynton.  Never driven this road before.  It was very bumpy and the toll gate was a very narrow arch way.

On to Lynton where the town was utterly deserted so we headed for South Moulton which proved to be a delightful, reasonably busy market town.

Then back towards the site, travelling down a long ice covered hill, where the dashboard of the Freelander2 looked like a Christmas tree as all the electronics came into play to keep the vehicle under control.

We spent the day in Dulverton, embarking on a short trip round the local hostelries.
Bridge Inn - Very expensive food and beer.
Lion Hotel - only us there and just as expensive.
The Rock - a proper pub, and cheap beer.Beer was a £1.00 a pint cheaper than the others, and of better quality!.
Dulverton Main street

Then a wobble back to the caravan to cook Venison for dinner!

Frosty start yet again, so we headed for Morrisons in Tiverton to replenish supplies.  Was not over impressed with Tiverton, or rather the people. It reminded me of the Forest of Dean community.  Best say no more.
Back to the site where it was Steak, cooked on the Cadac for dinner, accompanied by chips from the local Chippy. Excellent.

Woke to the noisy tones of Exmoor rain at its worst. It rained so hard and so much that the signals to the TV aerial and satelite systems were badly disrupted.  It finally stopped hammering down at about 3.00pm, and the sun made an appearance, so we set off for the Copper Kettle tea shop in the main stree for afternoon tea..

Saturday fortunately dawned bright and sunny, so we set off to visit Westward Ho, as neither of us had ever been there. We sat on the front enjoying a mug of tea whilst we watched the waves crash in.

 Probably not a town we would visit again.  Exmoor rain started again so we head for the caravan.

Sunday was dry, and we were able to clear up easilly.  When we left there were only two motor homes left on the site. We took the same route home as we came, and found a burger van in Wells for Sunday lunch.

So that unfortunately brings our caravanning year to a close.  I am preparing a data page to show how many miles we have travelled and how many nights we have been away.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Off to the land of Dragons, 5th-10th November

We had been thinking about visiting West Wales for some time, so a browse of CL's in the Saundersfoot area turned up Crofty Nurseries for a cost of £10.00 a night including Electric hookup.
On the Monday morning Lizzie had a blood test at the doctors, so we duly hitched the caravan up and drove down to the surgery. We decided that parking the outfit in the surgery carpark would be rather interesting, so we opted for the road outside instead.
Blood test over and we were off, down to Hambrook, up on to the M4.  We opted for the Old Severn Bridge.  Unusually the M4 was remakably empty, which made the journey much more pleasant than it usually is.
Crofty Nurseries was soon found so we parked in the car park and headed to the tea room for a mug of tea!      Talking to the owner it transpired that the previous day there had been a lot of snow followed by flooding. Anyway we drove on to the site and stopped on the access road to assess the situation. The hard standings were set away from the road, so to reach them you would have to cross about 10 feet of mud and flood water.   The owner came out and suggeseted that as we were the only people booked on site we could use the far end of the access road where the caravan and awning could easily be errected. So I reversed out, turned round and then reversed about 100 yds down the track. We were soon set up and Lizzie got dinner on! This is another 10amp site, so we decided to operate on 1000w heating, use the gas to heat the hot water, and to use the gas kettle.

Over night it certainly rained hard, and the awning floor was a bit wet in the morning, so a few buckets of stone were moved from around the site into the awning and we had dry feet again.

Tuesday morning was bright so breakfast was cooked on the Cadac.

We then set off for Saundersfoot, and along the coast to Tenby, just to sus out the area as I do not think I have ever been to this area before.

Whilst in Saundersfoot we had a quick look at the hotel that Coral was talking about buying!

When we drove round the coast we came across a village called Manorbeer!  Aparently the people of that village fought in the Same Great War as our home town of Chipping Sodbury as their War Memorial say the Great War 1914-1919.

On Wednesday as we were exploring the area, we went to Carmarthen.  Realised we had been there before, so we set of South towards Laughorne.  This villages claim to fame is that was the home of Dylan Thomas.   There is a superb cafe and next door an excellent gift shop, both worth visiting if you are in the area.

Then on to Pendine Sands.   I have never seen so many caravan sites!  Pendine sands was where many world speed record attempts were made. Parry Thomas was killed there in 1927 during once such attempt.

We tried to move on to Amroth, but all the coastal roads were blocked by landslides.

Thursday dawned bright and sunny so we decided on a day in Tenby.  A very pleasant town, with lots of interseting and varied shops.

  We visited the harbour and watched a fishing boat being winched from the water.  I was hoping the crane doing the lifting would topple into the water.

Then on around to the Life boat station and also saw the old life boat station that has been converted to an impressive home on Grand Designs.

I have to say I really liked Tenby.

Friday was very wet, so we headed for Amroth, where we sat in a sea front cafe watching the sea breaking over the front.  As it was so wet we drove around the coast and discovered a place called Stackpole Quay, where, convieniently, the National Trust cafe was open..

On the way back to camp it was still raining.  Dinner was put on and then the gas ran out!  Typical, blowing a gale, dark and raining.  Fortunately I had the spanners ready and a new bottle  in place.

We cleared up on Saturday morning and then had breakfast in the cafe, before setting off for home, a journey of 128 miles that took 2and a half hours.  Fuel averaged out at 27.6 mpg.

We thoroughly enjoyed our week,  and will definitely be back to the area, but probably on a different site.

Although it is winter now we have at least one more week away planned!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Burrs Country Park Caravan Club Site. 12th - 16th October

We took just over an hour to get to Burrs Country Park CC site.  As it was fully booked for the weekend we were surprised at the number of pitches available when we arrived at one thirty. We were fortunate enough to get one on the top rank with a clear view of the railway.  As it was a Diesel spectacular weekend this would ensure we had a good view of the trains.

We have been to this site several times before so I am not going to repeat myself, except to say it is rather good, although on the expensive side. We notice this even more now that we stay on CL sites at about £10.00 to £14.00 per night including electric.  Burrs court is £20.00 a night!
On Friday evening we met up with Cathy, Robert and the boys  for an excellent dinner. Robert is certainly an excellent Chef!

On Saturday morning Lizzie and I went down to Bury's famous market. It was really crowded, so Lizzie was wheeled round.  We spent very little, although we did admire some of the items on sale that you do not see down south.  The meat, bacon and sausages that we bought were really good.

Then it was back to camp to watch trains!

In the evening we went out with Cathy, Robert and the boys to a local restauraunt.

On the next pitch to us was this motorhome!
This was one of the biggest motor home I have ever seen on a site in the UK.  It was huge!  On each sides were 'slideouts' which made the living  space even bigger. Accompanying it was a BMW.  Both vehicles had consecutive registration numbers.

Sunday was a quiet day, spent reading and watching trains.  This was my favourite one!

I remember building Airfix models of these!

On Monday, after a proper breakfast we set off for Snake Pass, in the Nortern Peak District.  the views were spectacular.

Before we left though this steam train appeared and I was able to capture it as a back drop to our pitch.

When we reached Snake Pass we headed for Derwent water.  Lizzie took some spectacular photographs!

Derwent Water was where the Dam Busters practiced during the preparation for their famous raids.
We returned to the caravan, and then had dinner with Cathy and Rob. Superb Liver!

Overnight on the Monday it got really windy.  One of our awning poles snapped, but fortunately no other damage so that will easilly repaired!

This was our first trip out with our newly insulated heating system. I have to say that the improvement was amazing.  We actually got the loo and shower room warmer than the main part of the caravan!

We cleared up in the morning. Robert called in to say farewell, as we are unlikely to see him until the new year.
The journey home took just over 4 hours. Not bad for 190 miles towing a caravan!

Now to plan our next trip, as we hope to go away again at least twice before Christmas!

Birley Arms CL, Warton. 9th to 12th October

Well we decided that we would like to see the sites around Blackpool, particularly the Illuminations. It took us about 4 hours to drive up to Warton. The site was a small one behind the Birley Arms Hotel and pub.  Each pitch was a hard standing with grass for the awning.  Each pitch was separated from the adjacent ones by 6 foot high panel fencing. Also each pitch had its own water and electric conections. Each pitch was also supplied with a picnic bench to sit at. The hotel also had free Wi-Fi, that was available on the caravan site.
We set up and turned the power on.  It briefly flashed and then went off. I popped over to the hotel to tell them, and was told that it was only a 10amp supply, rather than the more usual 16amp one. The staff in the hotel laughed though saying it was always happening. The reasons for it only being 10amp, was because of the  people who had been leaving electric fires burning all day in their awnings.

On the Wednesday morning we decided to take a leisurely drive along the coast through Lytham to Blackpool. Spotted this Sitfire in a park there.

We drove through the Blackpool to the north of the town, where we parked up in a side street.  Then it was time to ride one of their super-duper new trams.  It cost all of £2.00 to travel 11 stops, as I was able to use my bus pass.  (there are some advantages of being an old wrinkly).

We alighted at the Tower, and then wandered along the front, marvelling at just how tacky a place could be. Now remember we were there on a Wednesday in the middle of a cold October, and the place was exceedingly busy. What it must be like at the weekend I cannot imagine.

A burger and chips for a late lunch in one of the numerous cafes, and then more wandering before visiting one of the piers, to play on the 2p slider machines.

Then another Tram ride along the front back to the car.  Each of the trams was served by a driver and two conductors.

We then found ourselves an award winning fish and chip shop for a relaxed tea, whilst we waited for it to get dark.  The lights are only on from the end of August to the 4th of November. They go on during the week at dusk until about midnight.

As 7.00pm approached we joined a queue, ready to proceed along the admiring the illuminations. It took us an hour to travel the length of the front, just under 7 miles.
The lights in places could be described as impresive, whereas in one or two places they were a bit thin. Overall though I have to say that they were impressive.

Lots of displays like this.
This was a tram, travelling along.

The lights proved difficult tophotograph, so this came from the official Blackpool website.

On Thursday we decided to go to the other side of the estuary to visit Southport. Pleasant enough drive there, but I have to say that we were rather unimpressed. A large desolate area of mud flats, and nothing else of interest along the front.  We then drove through the town, plenty of individual shops, and lots of impressive houses.  Looked like quite a wealthy place.  As it was raining though we did not stop.

Friday morning saw us clear up and set off for our next stop at Burrs Court.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Westfield Farm CL Site.+ 12th to 19th September

This is a large open CL, set behind a posh used car area and farm buildings. The site slopes gently down towards the farm buildings. There are plenty of electric points around the field and extra cables are available from the owners if yours are not long enough, so it is easy enough to find a pitch that suits. There are also plenty of leveling blocks strategically placed around the perimiter of the field. The grass is kept short and the ground drains well.
The owners of the site are friendly and welcoming. They are also on site all day working on the cars that are for sale, so security is very good.
Westfield Farm is ideally placed for visiting Bridport, Chesil Beach, Dorchester and Weymouth.

Well that is the review I put on the Caravan Club CL web site, where they ask you to review the site you have stayed on..

When we got to the site there were already 9 Caravans on site, so we made ten. They are only allowed 5 caravans by law!  Huge field though so no problem. 

There was another van, some 20 yards from us.  When they returned to the site he started on at me that they would not be able to get out as the Discovery he drove had a poor turning circle.  I pointed out that I also had a Discovery, and would have no trouble getting out.  I then pointed out, very politely that he had a motor mover so he could turn his caravan on the spot.  I also offered that when he wanted to go I would hith my Freeelander2 to his caravan, and turn it for him. So off he went quite happy.

Beautiful weather on Thursday, so we drove along the coast to West Bay.  The road along is very scenic. You  are up very high so can see for miles.

I have not been to West Bay for over 30 years, and boy!  has it changed in that time!  lots of building!

On the Friday the weather was again quite beautiful.  Clear blue skies and hot sunshine. We travelled the other way to Portland and Weymouth.  
I do not recall ever having been to Portland before, so we climbed to the top and admired the view.

Then off to Weymouth, where it was heaving, so a quick cup of char, and we went back to the caravan, where we sat outside reading for the rest of the day

Saturday was another gorgeous day, so we went to meet Mary, an ex colleague and really good friend of mine.  Lunch was taken at the Sun Pub, just outside Dorchester.  We were able to sit outside all afternoon.

Mr Grumpy cleared up on Sunday morning.  His wife spun the caravan round with the motor mover, then hitched it up to the Discovery, climbed into the drivers seat, him in the passenger seat, waved goodbye and they were off.  They were intending to drive for 4 hours without a break.  Rather them than me. 

As the weather was so beautiful, we went to West Bay, where we enjoyed Fish and Chips and people watching!

On the wayback to the caravan we went to Hardys Monument. Hardy was Admiral Nelsons side kick at Trafalgar.   The monument afforded tremendous views.

We should have come home on the Monday, but with such beautiful weather we stayed on.  We popped up the road to 'Lady Bailey caravans'  just to view new models.  The site though was very dissapointing compared to CS Caravans.

We then went to Lulworth cove, via Bovington Tank Testing area, where unfortunately there was no tank activity to view.

Lulworth was lovely though.  An excellent lunch then a short walk around the cove.

Cleared up on Tuesday morning.  Just as I was taking the Awning down we had a two minute shower, so the awning came home wet