27 Nov 2011

Wet and windy in Wales!

25th to 27th November 2011


Riverside, Betws y Coed, a site we first visited back in June.  An excellent site in the centre (almost) of Betws y Coed.  We would have preferred Cumbria or Derbyshire but wanted somewhere with lots to do within easy walking distance and there’s not much else open at this time of year, at least not with vacancies


Arrived about 1.30 to find the site half empty, so we got a good pitch.


Had a quick look in the model railway shop on the way into the village and very nearly bought a starter set, but the cheapest one at £75 put us off.

There are plenty of pubs in Betws y Coed (none of them are particularly good, D has been spoilt by the Cumbrian real ales!) but we had a quick drink in one of them anyway and then went back to the caravan for dinner.

Back into the village after dinner and ended up drinking San Miguel in one of the hotels.


A very half hearted attempt to get to the top of Moel Siabod (872 metres) today.  Apparently it’s a bit challenging even in good conditions with a section of prolonged scrambling to get to the summit.  And conditions were not good!


Out of the way sheep – the path to Moel Siabod

We made it to the lake at the start of the final climb, but by then the showers had turned into heavy rain and it was very, very windy!  Instead we walked around the lake, which wasn’t much fun as it was wet and boggy, and retraced our steps.  We weren’t the only ones who turned back, a group of half a dozen men did too, although we did see an elderly couple disappearing up into the mist.  We will re-visit Moel Siabod in better weather.


All the rain turned the paths into rivers, so we had to walk on the wet grass.  Very slippery and  J fell over several times and got covered in mud.  D did ask her to do it again so he could get a picture but she wouldn’t!


This was a path earlier!

First outing with our new camera, a Canon Powershot SX130, but we couldn’t really take many pictures because of the heavy rain, hence no gallery this time.  It does seem much better than the old one however.


D’s favourite pic of the day, making full use of the 12x optical zoom in glorious monochrome…


We were well and truly soaked by the time we got back to the car, despite wearing waterproof jackets and trousers.

No pub stop on way back this time, but straight back for showers and a hot drink, and a look on eBay for that train set (found it for £15 cheaper)  There may be another blog in the near future!


In the evening we headed into the village for something to eat,  but it was so busy we ended up having a fairly expensive dinner in one of the hotels, followed by drinks in another.


Homeward bound, so of course a lovely day with clear blue sky and just a few clouds!  Still quite windy though.

D drove straight through a red light at some roadworks only to find a stream of cars coming towards us along a single carriageway!  Luckily they didn't include a caravan or a bus so we were able to get over onto the grass verge to allow them to pass, it could have been much worse.  Very embarrassing, though!

Bear Grylls on desert island discs.  He wouldn’t have given up halfway up Moel Siabod, he is the youngest person to have climbed Everest!!

Back at the storage site we discovered that we had bought the key to the toilet block home with us, so will have to post it back to them.  The new occupants of pitch no. 17 will have to cross their legs!

Coming soon…

That’s all for 2011, we wont be caravanning again until 2012.  That’s assuming it (and us) survives the winter!

We do have a couple of trips planned in December, to Cumbria and then Scotland for Twixmas, but we will be staying in hotels for the first time this year.  I wonder, will we be pining for the caravan or enjoying the luxury…?

Oh well, see you in 2012…have a great Christmas and New Year.

14 Nov 2011

November sunshine

11th to 13th November 2011

Fallbarrow Park, Bowness-on-Windermere.

Another new one for us.  This is a very commercial site right on the lake with just a few minutes walk into Bowness.  It boasts an onsite pub, cafe, deli and private launch area.  It’s mostly for statics and lodges but there is a small touring area.  Not the sort of site we would normally go to, but as the days are much shorter now we wanted somewhere where we knew there would be plenty to do in the evening.

Some excellent (empty) pitches for caravans or lodges, but way out of our price range!


The worst thing about the site is the earliest arrival time…2pm.  We phoned and asked if we could get there a bit earlier, but was told not a chance.  We arrived 15 minutes too early due to the traffic being very good, so hung around in a lay-by till 2 eating sausage rolls!

The pitches are a good size and have their own water and waste water disposal, and we especially like the way they are all separated by hedges, albeit pretty bare ones at this time of year.


It’s right on the edge of lake Windermere…



Lots of hungry swans and ducks…


After a quick wander around the site we headed into Bowness and had a look around the shops and a quick drink in a couple of the pubs, our favourite the Old John Peel Inn.  Nothing to do with the much missed DJ of the same name.

Then we went to the Crown Carvery, which overlooks the lake, for a £3.89 dinner.  Not exactly busy, there were only half a dozen people in there after 9.30 0n both nights, but the food was very good and rivals the Toby carvery at more than twice the price. The Marston’s EPA was very good too (says D).


Up earlyish for a low level walk in the hills around Windermere.  High points Brantfell (191 metres) and School Knott (232 metres), so nothing too strenuous.  Excellent views of Windermere and the surrounding area…


And some colourful sheep…


More pics in the gallery.

After about 3 hours, we ended up in the village of Ings, and had a late lunch in the Watermill Inn.  D had the Collywobbles – not caused by the salmon sandwich,  but a fine beer from the onsite brewery

The bus only comes once every hour, so we had to keep an eye on the time.  D a bit tipsy after his 2 pints, (one was quite strong), and  armed with a couple of pilfered beer mats to add to the collection and one of their own fridge magnets (bought, not pinched) we made it to the bus stop with minutes to spare.

After a rest and showers we went into Bowness and ended up back in the Crown Carvery, our (surprising) pub of choice for the weekend.  No food, just a few drinks, then chips and a giant sausage from the chippy next to the site.


Left about 10.30.  Remembrance Sunday, so no Archers omnibus to listen to on the way home, just Nicholas Witchell describing the outfits of the wreath layers and lots of military music, would have been much better to see on TV

Fallbarrow Park


  • A very short walk into Bowness, which has lots of pubs, restaurants etc.
  • Easy to get to
  • Onsite pub and cafe (both looked ok, although we didn’t venture in)
  • Large pitches with own water/hookup, separated by hedges for added privacy.
  • Large play area for kids
  • Good toilets/showers (although the layout in the gents was a little strange)


  • Earliest arrival time 2pm
  • Site dominated by statics and lodges
  • Very expensive, £35 per night plus extra for awning/pets in high season!

Overall a pretty good site which we will probably go back to around the same time next year, but not in high season.  Good for families.

Coming soon…

Nothing planned.  We’ve drained all of the water out of the caravan in case we don’t use it again until next year but if the weather stays nice we might try to get away again.

Or we might consider hiring a static here for three nights…only £128, so cheaper than a hotel.

1 Nov 2011

Herriott country

28th to 30th October 2011

Brown Moor, Hawes, North Yorkshire,  a new site for us.


Great location, just a few minutes walk from the town and facilities up to usual CC standard.  See review at end.


30 or so miles of A and B roads made the journey seem longer than it actually was, but at least it was nice scenery!

No awning this weekend, so a very quick set up and plenty of time to answer a question that has been troubling us for a while…DAB or FM radio, which is best in a caravan situation?  We brought a really old FM radio with us this week, to compare with the DAB one we usually use.  In a poor signal area we didn’t get a single station with the DAB radio, but perfect FM reception.  Which confirms what D has always though, DAB is rubbish unless you are in a good signal area or have a really good aerial, which we haven’t!  We are showing our age now and think new technology sucks!


Then we headed into Hawes, Yorkshire’s highest market town


First, a craft fair and second hand book shop.  Didn’t buy anything though.

Then the Wensleydale Creamery.  Lots of free samples, which we gorged ourselves on!  Ended up buying £15 worth of cheese.  Had a look around the museum, but we were too late to watch the cheese being made.

Then we tried three of the four pubs in the high street.  All pretty average, with the Crown probably the best of the bunch.  Well, it had a cat with no tail, so no contest really!  Best beer was in the Old Board Inn, but overhearing the landlady talking about how disgusting the gents toilets were put us off a bit.  D didn’t venture in, so can’t confirm how disgusting they actually are!

No time to visit the Dales museum or Herriott gallery, maybe next time.

Dinner in the fish and chip shop, which also has a small seating area.  Excellent, but not exactly cheap.

Back at the caravan, we discovered that the gas had run out…and it was a pretty cold night.  Luckily we had remembered to bring a halogen heater with us for just such an emergency, so we didn’t freeze.

Saturday 30th

Lots of good walking straight from the site, so no need to use the car.  We headed into the hills to the north of Hawes.  No summit of note, just a walk in the hills, in rapidly deteriorating weather!



IMG_2526A soggy J


Ended up in the village of Hardraw.  After eating our packed lunch in the church grounds followed by tea and a cake in the local tea room, we ended up in the “legendary” Green Dragon Inn which dates back to the 13th century.  It  has Hardraw Force waterfall in its grounds and charges £2 per person to get to it.  Just about worth it, we thought.

Green Dragon Inn

IMG_2532Hardraw Force Waterfall

And what a fabulous pub the Green Dragon is!  Loads of character, stone walls, plenty of space, log fires, nicely lit (maybe too dark for some), and great beer!

After dining in the caravan, we headed back to the Green Dragon Inn, J volunteering to drive as we thought it was just a bit too far to walk given the current weather conditions.  Definitely walkable in better weather, though.  Not exactly crowded, just a few locals and people staying in the hotel.

Sunday 30th

We remembered to put the clocks back, so got up early and had time for a bacon and egg breakfast and a stroll into Hawes before heading for home.

Brown Moor, Hawes


  • Good facilities, usual CC standard.
  • Large hard-standing pitches, nicely laid out.
  • Only a short stroll into Hawes.


  • Struggling to think of any!

We will definitely return to this site next year, if only to re-visit the Green Dragon Inn in Hardraw.

Coming soon…

Back to the lake district…Fallbarrow Park in Bowness, another new site for us.