31 Jul 2011

Our longest caravan trip ever!

Park Coppice, Coniston - 22nd to 27th July 2011

Our main caravan trip of the year and probably the nearest we will get to a holiday this year due to lack of funds after buying a new boiler, caravan and car earlier in the year!

We went to Park Coppice, Coniston, a few months ago and liked it so much that we decided to return for a longer stay (after finding out we couldn’t get in to our first choice - Castlerigg Hall, Keswick).


We originally booked for three nights, but extended it to four and then five, making it our longest caravan trip ever!

Friday 22nd

Last time we visited the site was almost empty.  This time it was much busier but we still managed to find a pitch we liked, which would have been good if D had been able to get into it!  Instead, after an embarrassing display of reversing, we ended up in the pitch next to it, which was just as good!


Awning up, we set off for Torver and the Church House Inn which was to become our pub of choice for the weekend.  D enjoyed a taster selection of beers but quickly reverted to Loweswater Gold.



Cute rabbits in the beer garden

Afterwards we returned to the site and had a barbecue.

Saturday 23rd

Today’s objective - Stickle Pike, 375 metres, about 5 miles.  Glorious weather.  A bit too glorious in fact, resulting in both of us getting a bit sun burnt.


Stopped off at Broughton-in-Furness on the way back for a quick drink.  A nice market town, although very small.  Picked up some fruit and a bit of local cheese.  Not cheap though - a pot of potato salad was £3.50!

In the evening we headed into Coniston, passing through a very crowded camp site on the way (Coniston Hall, I think).  Lots of groups playing loud music, more like a festival really, not at all our thing.

Sunday 24th

Coniston country fair.  Popped into Coniston first to get cash and hats and sun tan lotion (another sunny day forecast), which resulted in us missing the terrier racing!  Lots of other things going on, including…

  • Sheep contest – not really a spectator sport, just a bunch of judges prodding and poking different types of sheep.
  • Coniston Old Man fell race – the winner was up and down in less than hour.  It took us all day when we did it a few years ago!
  • Tug of war – dragged on a bit.
  • Dog with the waggiest tail!
  • Llamas
  • Ferrets
  • Lots of trade stalls – we bought an awful lot of sweets!




All in all, a good day out.

Weather still very hot, but we had sun tan lotion today to prevent our sunburn from getting burnt!

Back to the Church House Inn after dinner in the caravan and we stayed for the Sunday night pub quiz.  We didn’t win but didn’t come last either, and were runners up in a bonus question at the end.  The question was: What is the sum of the following?:

  • a) Distance in miles from Lands End to John o’ Groats
  • b) How many miles the queen travelled in a recent trip around USA (excluding the journey there and back)

The answer was about 9,500 miles.  It was won by some visiting Americans, so I guess we never really had a chance!

Monday 25th

Weather glorious again, so we asked at reception if we could stay another night.  D had booked the whole week off work, so it seemed a shame to waste the day at home watching rubbish on tv!

Because it was still hot, we decided to drive into Hawkshead in the morning, and walk in the early evening instead.  Had a nice jacket potato in a pub there, and a wander round the shops.  Got back to the site and lazed around the caravan for the rest the afternoon.


In the evening we went up Holme Fell, 317 metres, only a couple of miles.  Good view of Coniston from the top whilst we ate our sandwiches.


Afterwards we walked into Coniston and had a couple of drinks in the Sun Inn and then the Black Bull.  Olivers Light Ale from Coniston Brewery Co was D’s favourite beer of the weekend (apart from Loweswater Gold of course).  Got a couple of bottles to take home.

Tuesday 26th

Our bonus day!

Nothing much planned, so we went for a stroll along the lake – a  circular route back to the site.  This turned out to be quite a long walk, but mostly flat.


Returned several hours later via Torver and the Church House Inn, where we had yet more drinks.  Lots of drinking on this trip!  Came across some amorous cows on the way home!


Wednesday 27th

Homeward bound at last after out longest trip ever.  Thursday will be spent in Blackpool for the day visiting family then off in the caravan again to another club site in Wharfedale, Yorkshire.

11 Jul 2011

A puzzling weekend

8th to 10th July 2011

Skelwith Fold is a great site for a static and not bad for tourers either.  We’ve been here a few times and the only real criticism is that there is no grass between pitches, so it’s a bit like a car park.  Only a very minor criticism though.



Only a two night stay and £3 a night extra meant no awning this time!  Not much setup needed, except we decided to try our status aerial for the first time this weekend.  First problem, wrong lead.  We needed one with a male connector at both ends but instead had two male-female ones.  Undaunted, D spent ages cobbling them together but to no avail…no signal.  We don’t know if it’s a defective aerial, the poor quality lead or just a poor reception area.  Will try again next time, but the older status aerials don’t get very good reviews so we are not holding out much hope!


After much cursing, D finally gave up and we headed for the Drunken Duck Inn, just over a mile away, with rain clouds gathering.

This is a great pub to sit outside, with comfy wicker chairs and a canopy so that you can sit outside even if it is raining, which was just as well!  Good beer too, with Westmorland Gold from the on-site Barngates brewery winning the best beer of the weekend acolade.



The view from the pub…



D really enjoyed sitting outside watching the rain.  A bit of thunder and lightning would have been the icing on the cake, but J was less keen as the temperature started to drop!

After a few drinks there was no sign of a break in the weather, so with no umbrella we jogged (yes jogged!) back to the site in the rain.  This knocked about 7 minutes off the time it took to walk there, but we still got back to the site soaked through. 

A trip to the onsite laundrette was in order to dry off J’s walking trousers she needed for the next day.  While we were waiting, we had a browse in the library next door where visitors can swap books, and amongst the books were a couple of jigsaws.

Sitting inside a caravan, in the rain, listening to the radio, doing a jigsaw, life doesn’t get much better!  Actually a lot more enjoyable than it sounds. Didn’t realise it was one of those mystery ones though that doesn't show the picture on the box…this is going to take more than a weekend to complete!


The rain eased off overnight.

A bit of jigsaw-ing,  a couple of croissants then off to catch the bus to climb Helvellyn.  After a series of low level, easyish walks we thought it was time to tackle something a bit harder.  Helvellyn - Nethermost Pike - Dollywagon Pike, highpoint Helvellyn at 950 metres, distance about 7.5 miles.

We parked at Grasmere,  but as D was panicking about missing the bus,  we arrived at the stop 30 minutes early.  Got off at Swirls car park - the intention being to walk back to the car.  Started walking about 10am, still reeling from paying £4.40 each to travel a couple of stops!  If anybody from the Department for Transport is reading and wondering why more people don’t use buses more often…!

We’ve done Helvellyn before, but from the other side.  None of the excitement of Striding Edge this time, instead a steep, seemingly endless stepped path, like walking up stairs for an hour!


Made it to the top!


D really likes the summit of Helvellyn, a flat, open space with excellent views in all directions


Next stop Nethermost Pike, then Dollywagon Pike, then a very long, steep descent back to Grasmere.  J likes the steps coming down, but D’s knees don’t.  The sun came back out with a vengeance and must have been at least 75 degrees. We had fleeces on at the top!

Eventually got to the Travellers Rest Inn for a most welcome pint.  J asked for a grapefruit juice and was presented with a packet of cheese and onion crisps by the barmaid!

Back at site we had another successful barbecue before returning to the jigsaw, determined to get it finished before we had to leave.


The jigsaw, the jigsaw, its like a black cloud hanging over us!  Did a bit more before we packed up, but no way were we going to dismantle it and take it back.  We managed to get the bits we had done back in the box and took it home.  We will return it when we visit next.  At least we left a couple of books in it’s place

An uneventful journey home taking about 2 hours. 

There is supposed to be a pic of the jigsaw here, but it was very quickly disassembled by J!

We’ve been to Skelwith Fold a few times and haven’t really got anything bad to say about it.  After the lottery win, it will definitely be on our shortlist of sites for a static caravan.

But until the lottery win comes through, it’s carry on touring with our main caravan trip of the year next,  four nights at Park Coppice, Coniston, coming soon.