28 Jun 2010

Watching the boats go by – Whitchurch

A new site for us, quite close to home.  Whitchurch is on the Shropshire / Cheshire border.  Good reviews on UK Campsite.


A bit of a scare on the way there as we encountered the dreaded low bridge sign! Was about six foot higher than the caravan but D didn’t want to take any chances! A quick diversion added about half an hour to our journey, but apart from that it was uneventful.  Stabilizer still squeaking!

On arrival we were towed on to our pitch by the owner as it was on a bit of a hill so no embarrassing display of reversing! Owners very friendly.


Very secure site, as they do caravan storage as well, but made it seem a bit like a compound!  No showers after 9.30pm and it’s the hottest weekend of the year!!!  Also, the showers cost 50p which we haven’t encountered since our camping days. After you put in the money you have 2 minutes to lock the door and get undressed.  Not good in the colder months if you have lots of layers on!  They’re timed too, so abruptly shut off after a few minutes – better rinse that soap off quick!  Was a bit of a pain making sure we had enough 50p coins.

They are very big on recycling here.  They don’t have a main rubbish bin, just a series of recycling ones.  Even food waste must be wrapped in newspaper and put in separately.  Anything else goes in a ‘burnable waste’ bin.  The low pitch fee (£14 a night) is because they don’t get charged to have massive bins of rubbish taken away.  It’s a shame other sites can’t do this as the fees for some are getting quite high.

Nice site in spite of the strict rules! Lots of ducks and rabbits about.  Threw a piece of bread to one duck, and the next thing about 10 of them came running over squawking!


A stroll of about 30 mins to the pub at Willeymoor Lock for the obligatory Friday afternoon drink, but it was shut!  Sat in the sun by the water for about 45 mins until it opened at 6pm

The pub is adjacent to a lock, so we watched a few boats go through.  D very impressed with the pub.  Ludlow Best a very nice beer.

Image0190D’s third pint. Don’t be fooled by the contented look on his face - he was starting to worry about getting back for his shower before the 9.30pm curfew

Day 2

A nice walk into Whitchurch along the canal tow path, but there isn’t much to do there, especially when the temperature is in the 80s.  A nice walk nonetheless. Got some treats in Tesco and had a picnic in the park under a large tree.

IMG_0299 Wide enough for bikes – shame we left ours at home!

On the way back we sat outside a cafe at Grindley Lock with an ice cream and picked up the obligatory fridge magnet.  Here they have the famous ‘Staircase Lock’ – a series of locks very close to one another.  It’s looks quite complicated as you have to empty them in a certain order.  Was great fun watching people go in and out of them.  There is also a caravan site alongside it so will check that out for another visit, as the canal path is wide enough to ride a bike on.


Staircase Lock

Back to the pub at Willeymoor Lock in the evening for more drinks.  Had to leave at 9.30 because D was worried about being stranded in the dark on the tow path.  Passed many people sitting on their boats enjoying the evening air, felt a bit jealous so we are hoping to have a go ourselves next year!

Time to go

Left very early the next morning, not really much else to do.  A very short journey back to the storage place.


  • Close to home so not a long journey
  • Alongside the canal
  • Only £14 per night


  • No showers after 9.30pm and are charged for
  • Near a busy road

21 Jun 2010

Windy Windermere

A return visit to the CCC site at Windermere.  A big site, but surprisingly quiet.  Easy to get to as it’s not far from junction 36 of the M6.


A break of two weeks, just enough time to fit new friction pads to the stabiliser and for D to snap a tendon in the end of his middle finger making the bed up in the caravan.  Stabiliser still creaks and D’s finger is in a splint for 6-8 weeks!  The technical term for the finger problem is “mallet finger” and the technical term for the stabiliser problem is…”what the **** is wrong with it!”

Allocated pitch no.46, same as last time we were there.  Lucky it’s a goodun!

No problems this time.  Had a bit of a panic as the water was slow coming out of the kitchen tap.  Turned out J didn’t plug the hook up lead in far enough so it was running off the low battery.  In no time at all we were sitting down, drinking tea and feeding the local wildlife.


Then a cross country walk of about a mile and a half into Staveley for the customary Friday afternoon pint.  Just one, because we had to get back for a BBQ and England v Algeria, which D listened to on the radio as he forgot to bring the tv. Didn’t miss much by all accounts!

Whilst sitting outside enjoying the evening sun, we noticed a hot air balloon drifting past, complete with England flag attached to the basket.  That’s something we will have to do one day!


Day 2

Stony Cove Pike or Caudale Moor was the objective of today’s walk.  Starting from the pub at the top of a very windy Kirkstone Pass and about five miles.  Quite a steep climb into the wind, followed by an equally steep descent into Troutbeck valley, followed by an even steeper “off path” climb out of the valley.  Going off path never ends well but at least we didn’t get lost this time, just an unpleasant, slog through thick undergrowth alongside a wall.  J not impressed - doesn’t like walking uphill on grass.  Oh well, another “Wainwright” bagged, which makes 26.  Only another 188 to go!!

J likes a good path!


Afterwards, a pint of Langdale Tup in the Kirkstone Inn, followed by a carvery dinner in Bowness, overlooking Lake Windermere. Sat by the lake for a bit with ice creams.

Kirkstone Pass Inn dating back to 1496

Sat outside the caravan for while in the evening, wondering whether to go to the onsite bar for a football quiz.  As we know next to nothing about football, we decided to give it a miss! Instead, a walk into nearby fields to sit on a rock and watch the sun go down, surrounded by sheep...baa!  Very peaceful.  Saw a fox running across the field. 

Have you ever heard a sheep cough?  It sounds exactly like a human!

Back in the caravan, a real find for J…’Absolute 80’s’ radio station!

Windermere CCC site


  • Excellent toilets and showers
  • Big site, but very quiet
  • Easy to get to


  • A bit on the edge of things
  • Main shower block gets cleaned around 11pm, which is our preferred showering time!

Coming soon…watching the boats go by…a canal side site in Cheshire!

1 Jun 2010

Midge Mayhem

If you go down to the woods today…you’re sure to be bitten!


Day 1

Well you can’t say we weren’t warned!  Almost every review on UK Campsite mentioned midges and they weren’t exaggerating!

We set off early on Friday and arrived about 2pm.  This site is like two sites in one, with a large main pitching area and a smaller, quieter area separated by a stream.  We chose the latter, alongside a steam railway line, with it’s own toilet/shower block.  Showers very powerful and very hot!  As it was Bank Holiday weekend, the site was full and some late arrivals weren’t so lucky and ended up on pretty poor pitches.  We did hear one couple arguing as they were right by the toilets!

IMG_0068 Very pleasant spot amongst the bluebells

Video from our pitch – Welsh Highland Railway

A stroll into Beddgelert in the afternoon and then a BBQ in the evening.  First BBQ wouldn’t light so we bought another one from the site shop and combined them.  This resulted in us being able to make toast for supper as it stayed hot for so long!

Then the midges appeared!


The Rain it Raineth

Woke to the sound of rain hammering against the caravan.  Rain sounds bad enough in a caravan, but under trees it is pretty depressing.  When we finally emerged it wasn’t as bad as it sounded, but wet enough to postpone a walk in the hills.

We seem to be getting bigger even though we are walking more, so we’re cutting out the cooked breakfasts for a while (rather than the beer!) – J did a Goldilocks and had porridge in the woods.

Headed into Caernarfon and had a look round the castle.


then a cheap roast dinner on a boat in the harbour, very tasty.

Floating Restaurant - CaernarfonThe Floating Restaurant - Caernarfon

Got back to the site mid afternoon and got the steam train to Nantmor…£5.70 each for a ten minute trip!  Walked from Nantmor back to Beddgelert alongside a stream, with a quick detour to view Gelert’s grave.  Poor Gelert, killed on suspicion of eating Prince Llewellyn’s  son, who later turned up safe and well.  The Prince was mortified but gave his faithful hound a great resting place - how many dogs get such a detailed tombstone?!

IMG_0136Gelert’s Grave 

A tray of chips in Beddgelert (which translates as Gelert’s Grave) and a few drinks, then back to the site.  Too midgey to sit outside.

Day 3

A much better day, weather-wise.  A walk through the forest, then a steep climb to the summit of Moel yr Ogof (655m).  Bwlch Meillionen (below) was quite spectacular but we couldn’t find Owain Glyndwr’s cave.


IMG_0175 Made it to the top!

Nice views of Snowdon and the sea in the distance – see more photos in the gallery.

Got back to the site quite early and managed to sit outside for a while.  Definitely fewer midges today.  Then off to Beddgelert for more drinks.  (All this drinking has got to stop!) Sat outside the Tanronnen Inn as it was packed inside. A man over the road was taking pictures of the pub - we now feature in somebody’s photo album! Tried all three pubs in the village but none had any decent local beer, but forced it down anyway.

Tanronnen Inn entrance and signThe Tanronnen Inn


Homeward Bound

Woke early, so ended up leaving before 10am. Stabilizer started creaking on the homeward journey.  A quick search online  suggests new friction pads required!


  • Nice forest setting,
  • Good facilities
  • Pubs within walking distance.


  • A bit gloomy in the shade of the trees.

The final score midge-wise:  D – 11 bites, J – none!!!  Guess J is not so tasty!

Nothing planned for a couple of weeks now, will give D time to carry out repairs.  So if anybody actually reads this and is waiting for the next instalment…you will have to wait a bit longer!