14 Oct 2012

Autumn sunshine

12th to 14th October 2012

Waterfoot Park, Pooley Bridge.

Friday

When we arrived there were only two caravans on site and the most at any time over the weekend was six, so not exactly busy.  There must be about 40 pitches in total.

So plenty to choose from, which is never a good thing for people as indecisive as us.  The first one was a bit sloping so (after the usual argument) we hitched up again and moved to another which was much better.  Luckily not many people around to watch the poor display of reversing!

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Not massive pitches, but no awning this weekend so okay.

After setting everything up we walked into Pooley Bridge for a look around and a quick drink.  Just one, because the plan was to drive to Haweswater to catch the sunset.

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At the bottom of Rough Crag, not a great sunset today.

Stayed in the caravan in the evening, reading and listening to the radio with the heating on full.  Quite a cold night!

Saturday

A really nice autumnal day with plenty of blue sky and hardly any wind.  perfect for walking.

Today’s walk…a circuit of Gowbarrow Fell, 481 metres, less than 4 miles.

Route

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J on Gowbarrow Fell

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J enjoying a sandwich by the cairn at Memorial Seat

A really enjoyable, short walk.  Lots of people around when we got to the tourist attraction of Aira Force, a spectacular waterfall, but not many on the fell itself.  There are some quite reasonable pics in the gallery.

Stopped off at the Brackenrigg Inn on the way home and it was (just about) warm enough to sit outside and watch the world go by.

Walked down into Pooley Bridge in the evening and had a drink in a two of the three pubs.  We couldn’t get into the other one…too full.

Another cold night, colder than the previous one it seemed.  D disconnected the water pump and brought it inside, just in case.

Sunday

Left early and got back to the storage site in record time after an uneventful journey.  Drained all of the water out of the caravan, I bet we get a hot, sunny spell now!

A really good trip.  What a difference the weather makes.

Coming soon…

We are on holidaying in Lanzarote in a couple of weeks, so no more caravan trips before then.  We might try to get away in the caravan mid November, weather permitting, otherwise it will probably be next year.

1 Oct 2012

A pitch with a view

28th September to 1st October 2012

Our second visit of the year to the sleepy village of Ravenglass.

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As has been usual this year, a not very good weather forecast with high winds and rain expected for much of the weekend.

Friday

Arrived about 2.30 to find the site about a quarter full, so plenty of pitches to choose from.  We chose pitch number 3, which backs onto a field full of sheep, and looked on as the very helpful wardens spun the caravan around for us.

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Everything set up, we decided to drive to Wasdale for a drink and dinner at one of our favourite pubs in the area – the wonderfully remote Wasdale Head Inn.  It rained heavily on the way, but the reward was a magnificent rainbow.

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Had a wander around the lake and took some pics.

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Wastwater

Saturday

No summits today as we were both recovering from colds!  Instead a walk following the river Esk upstream from the foot of the Hardknott Pass.  About 7 miles in total.

Route

Very muddy in places, which is hardly surprising after all the recent rain, but a pleasant enough walk with only a couple of showers!

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No summits, so no pics of one or both of us posing at the top, instead here’s a pic of J atop Lingcove bridge.

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Stopped off at the Eskdale show on the way back and, as is usual for us, spent loads of money on sweets and cakes.  The highlight was probably the countryside version of Crufts.

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Followed by ‘Best Stick’…

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Popped into Ravenglass in the evening for a drink at the Holly House Hotel, the only other occupants being a group of men in the back room, the barmaid/owner, her young daughter and their dog.  Didn’t stay long as the small child was allowed to climb on the windowsills and fireplace whilst her mother read her newspaper!  The other pub in the village, the Ratty Arms, was full and we couldn’t find anywhere to sit, so it was back to the caravan for a bit of reading and music before bedtime.  The site was incredibly quiet, unlike our last trip.

Sunday

Weatherwise, this was to be the worst day of the weekend, with lots of wind and rain until early evening.  We needed something to do indoors, so we visited Muncaster Castle in the afternoon.

As we were looking in one of the bedrooms an elderly man appeared from a door in the corner, said hello and disappeared through a door in the opposite corner.  Turns out it was Lord Pennington himself.  Apparently his bedroom is next to the one we were looking at, which is where he came from, and his toilet is behind the door he disappeared through!  So it seems the rooms the family live in are mixed in with the display rooms.  Strange!

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View of flooded Eskdale from the castle

The owl sanctuary is always worth a visit, although none were flying today due to the weather.

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The weather cheered up in the evening and we (well, D) even managed to sit outside the caravan for a while.

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A visitor to our pitch and the reason we had no bread left for toast the next day!

Dinner in the Ratty Arms after a few sunset pics…

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The Ratty Arms was back to normal tonight, with only us and one other couple in!  Just the way we like it.

Monday

Luckily it wasn’t raining when we put the awning away, although it did just after as we were scratching our heads and wondering how we could turn the caravan around.  It was actually much easier that expected, so we needn’t have worried.

All in all a good trip, despite the bad weather, which has been a feature of pretty much all trips this year.  There are some more pics in the gallery.

Coming soon…

Nothing planned, but hopefully a trip mid October if the weather is okay.

17 Sep 2012

Noisy neighbours!

13th to 16th September 2012

Our first trip after paying £395 for a running gear only service, and our first trip of the year to Wales.  To Porthmadog, to be exact, and a new site for us…Tyddn Llwyn.

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Nearly a very good site, but (we think) not quite up to CC or C&CC standards.  There is a review at the end of this post.

Thursday

D off work this week, hence the Thursday start.  We arrived after an uneventful journey and were allocated pitch number 19.  Unfortunately we got a bit lost looking for it and D had to reverse about 100 yards after taking a wrong turn.  Luckily there was a friendly warden on hand to help…and laugh!

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Not a particularly nice day weather wise and it was raining a bit when we set off for the nearby village of Borth-y-Gest.

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Borth-y-Gest

Not much to do there, so we walked into Porthmadog and ended up having a meal in the Ship Inn and staying for their pub quiz.  27/50 wasn’t anywhere near enough to win, but we did win a box of Quality Street in the raffle.  Good selection of not local beers.  The Royal Sportsman is nice too, but very expensive food!

Friday

Not a very promising weather forecast, so no walk planned for today.  Instead a stroll along the beach.

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There are some nice beaches around here and the pic above is typical.  When the path headed inland we decided to walk along the beach instead and had to wade through pools of water before getting to one that was just a bit too deep and we had to retrace our steps.

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This one wasn’t too deep.

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Crabbing.

It turned out to be quite a hot day with plenty of sunshine, albeit a bit windy.

In the afternoon we drove to Criccieth.

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Criccieth Castle

The on site bar promised a selection of real ales, so we decided to give it a go.  In reality there was only one, Welsh Pale Ale, which was okay, but the atmosphere was typical of an on site bar and we didn’t hang around.  The people next door stayed up chatting loudly until well past midnight, but worse was to come!

Saturday

A slightly better weather forecast for today, which turned out to be wrong…again!  The plan was to go for  a walk around Blaenau Ffestiniog but when we got there it was very grey and overcast and the hills looked dark and menacing, so, wimps that we are, we decided to give it a miss.

Instead we drove on to Barmouth, which is a really nice seaside town.  Obviously it’s much nicer in fine weather, but we had a look around and D bought a couple of books from a second-hand book shop and J bought an incense holder.

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On the way back we stopped off in Porthmadog and had a wander around the shops there.  D bought a couple of jazz CDs from a second-hand record shop to listen to later.

Moel-y-Gest is a small hill that is accessible from the site.  Only 270 metres, a round trip of about 2 miles, and this was to be the only walking this weekend.

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View of Moel-y-Gest from Tyddn Llwyn

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View of Tyddn Llwyn from Moel-y-Gest

A short, steep climb to the summit, but the reward was excellent views of Cardigan bay.  Spent a while looking for, but not finding, a geocache halfway up!

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There are more pics in the gallery.

The plan for tonight was a quiet night in, but our neighbours had other ideas, and all we could hear until about 10.30 was the sound of their TV which they had brought out into their awning.  Some people might call us killjoys, but it was really loud.  We couldn’t hear our music above it.  J phoned the site number to complain but there was no reply so we just put up with it and turned our music up a bit.  Some people have no consideration for others and are just plain ignorant.  We have never had noise issues at CC or C&CC sites, so maybe we will stick to them in future.  Rant over.

Sunday

Got up early to put the awning away and it was just as well we did because it started to rain just as we finished.  Our neighbours weren’t so lucky and we enjoyed watching them struggling in the rain…ha ha.

Review of Tyddn Llwyn

This is nearly a very good site, but there a few niggling complaints.

Location wise, it’s very handy for Porthmadog and some nice local beaches, and the hill that overlooks it is well worth a climb.  There are some reasonable pubs in Porthmadog and it is only about 3/4 of a mile.  The on site bar and restaurant is ok, just not our thing.

Pitches are a good size but some are a bit close together.

There are three toilet blocks, one of which is new and very well decorated.  The other one we used was clean enough but a bit dark and dingy compared to the new one.  50p for showers is quite unusual these days, but we never ran out of hot water.  Despite having to pay, you still have to push a button every ten seconds or so, which is a bit annoying.  In one of the showers in the new block you had to press it every three seconds!  Same in some of the wash basins.  The lighting is motion sensitive and whilst in the shower most of the lights went off.  There was still enough light for a shower but…why?  Very green, I’m sure, just not practical.

No rubbish bins on site, just a large skip near the entrance.  The only reason I can think of for this is that they don’t want to empty the bins themselves!

I know we shouldn’t blame the site, but our problem with noisy neighbours has to go against it too.

We would return to this site if we want to visit this area again, but the search for a really nice site in Wales continues.

Pros

  • Handy for Porthmadog and local beaches.
  • Moel-y-Gest is a very nice short walk from the site
  • Good facilities, especially the new one.

Cons

  • Nothing major, just lots of niggling things like the push button water, 50p for a shower, no bins
  • Noisy neighbours!

Coming soon…

Our second visit of the year to the C&CC site at Ravenglass, Cumbria…still D’s favourite site.

3 Sep 2012

Last days of summer 2012

31st August to 3rd September 2012

The last day of summer 2012 (what summer, I hear you cry?) finds us in Castleton, Derbyshire.

Friday

We arrived around 2pm to find the site quite full, probably of people left over from the bank holiday, so not many pitches to choose from.  The one we ended up in was not great as it had a path right next to it, so not much privacy this weekend!

Set everything up, including the awning, and then strolled into Castleton to have a look around and sample the local ales, of which there are plenty.  No fewer than six pubs to choose from!

  • Cheshire Cheese Inn – a nice quiet pub with an excellent selection of real ales.  Some of the seats are a bit uncomfortable.  Lots of games scattered around, we played backgammon here once.
  • The Castle Inn – more a hotel and restaurant than a pub, but a great selection of real ales.
  • Ye Olde Nags Head – also a great selection of beers.  Not much to choose between these three.
  • The Peaks Inn – didn’t really like this one.
  • The George – have never been able to get inside this one, it’s always too full.  Must be good!
  • The Bulls Head – haven’t tried this one but looks okay.

We popped back to the caravan for dinner and then returned to Ye Olde Nags Head for their Friday night pub quiz.  We didn’t come close to winning but did okay…34/50.  We were reminiscing about the first time we came here and free food kept coming round, when all of a sudden, the barmaid appeared with a tray of sandwiches, then came back again with hot sausage rolls and chips, hurrah!

Saturday

It was overcast when we woke up so we didn’t rush to get out.  The forecast was for an improving day and it was spot on.

The objective was Kinder Low (633 metres) from Upper Booth, via Jacob’s Ladder, but when we arrived at Upper Booth there was nowhere to park so we had to start from Edale instead.  This added a couple of miles to the walk, making it about 8 in total.

Route

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Jacob’s Ladder

We made it to the summit.

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Got chatting to a family with a couple of small dogs about the merits of handheld GPS’s after they saw us playing with ours.  One of the dogs got left behind when they left and we saw it running round in circles looking for them, so D marched off in the direction they had gone while J tried to grab it.  Luckily they came running back and Cracker was reunited with them.

We set off in a different direction, heading for the Woolpacks and Crowden Tower before returning to Edale.  Lots of interesting rock formations here.  More pics in the gallery.

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Popped into a pub in Edale before heading back to the site for a barbecue and an evening in and around the caravan.

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Sunday

Awoke very early to the sound of drip, drip, drip, drip….!  The sound of water dripping from the front of the awning onto the storm flaps.  Storm flaps in or out? that is the question.  We always have them out, but probably wont in future!

It remained grey and overcast all morning but didn’t really rain again, so we went for a stroll to a crushing circle and wheel just outside Castleton.  Yes, a crushing circle and wheel.  Here it is.

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The circle is made of metal and was very slippery.  J slipped and fell but no pic or video record of it and luckily a soft landing.

We dropped off our first trackable travelbug here…Kitty Tag.  We should be able to track it as it gets moved from cache to cache around the country.

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Dinner at The Castle Inn…a very reasonable two courses for £9.95.

In the evening we went to the Cheshire Cheese Inn for their weekly pub quiz and couldn’t believe it when the quizmaster started reading out exactly the same questions we had had on Friday!  We started fretting about how we were going to drink the gallon of ale first prize in the hour or so before last orders, but we needn’t have bothered.  We only managed 18/20, as we forgot 2 of the answers, and there was an element of luck involved because it was Blockbusters style and you had to get the right answer in the right order.  We didn’t win the bingo either, or the picture round, or the best team name competition!

Monday

Left early and noticed an annoying bump from the caravan when braking or slowing down.  A quick look on google suggest it is the damper in the tow hitch, but it’s booked in for a running gear service later in the week.  Hopefully nothing too expensive or the search for a new caravan will start up again.

All in all a really good trip, perhaps the best of 2012.

Lots of beer got drunk this weekend, so…

  • Best beer of the weekend - Brother Rabbit from Thornbridge brewery.
  • Worst beer of the weekend – Chatsworth Gold.  Think there was something wrong with this one because D has had it before and quite liked it, but this time...urgh!  Of course, he didn’t complain to the barman!

Just as well we didn’t win the gallon of ale!

Coming soon…

Despite D being off work for a week soon, nothing booked.  It depends on the results of the service I guess.

19 Aug 2012

Weather extremes in Ambleside

17th to 19th August 2012

We weren’t planning to go away this weekend, the intention being to have the school holidays off.  But itchy feet are itchy feet, hence a last minute trip to the C&CC site at Windermere.

Friday

First thing we noticed on arrival was how empty the site was.  There were at least half a dozen empty pitches in the bit we were in, although some were waterlogged!  We expected it to be full, and it did get a bit busier on Saturday.

Usually at C&CC sites the wardens take you to your pitch and help with reversing, but not this time.  D did ok, although he had to abort the first attempt and start again.

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It was raining when we got there but it stopped just long enough for us to set everything up, then started again.  No awning this weekend.

It was only light, drizzly rain so we decided to brave it and walk across the fields to Staveley.

Had a drink under a canopy outside the Eagle and Child, beside the River Kent.  Then a visit to the Hawkshead Brewery Beer Hall for beer tapas, before finally settling in the other pub in the village, the Duke William.  We ended up staying until about 10pm and had to walk back across the fields in the dark.  Luckily it had stopped raining by then.

Saturday

Awoke to the sound of heavy rain and discovered that some had got in through an open window and the corner of the bedsheet and duvet were soaking, although we didn’t notice it in the night.  It was due to the positioning of the aerial lead that we feed into the caravan through the window.

The original plan for today was to tackle Bowfell, but we got up far too late for that – there is very limited parking available in Langdale.

Instead we headed to Ambleside to climb Low (508 metres) and High (656 metres) Pikes and High Bakerstones (about 700 metres).

Route

It was still raining a bit when we got there so we wandered around the shops for a while, hoping it would stop.  We finally set off around midday.

This was a longish walk for us, about 8 miles in total, and was very much a walk of two halves.  We soon entered the clouds and it was wet and damp to start with, followed by blazing sunshine on the way down.  Very wet underfoot on the way up.  The pics below tell the story.

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J at the summit of High Bakerstones – not much of a view today!

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A natural shower for D on the way down!

Picked up a couple of geocaches on the way.  Geocaching is becoming very much a part of our walks now.

Because of the late start we didn’t get back to the site until 7ish, which we thought was a bit late for a barbecue.  Instead we had a barbecue without the meat…and a barbecue – so really it was just salad and quiche outdoors!

A fabulous sunset, which we all but missed because we were in the laundry room drying our bedding!  We rushed up into the fields around the site and D managed to get a couple of pics, the best of which is below.

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We planted a geocache under some rocks at the base of a tree and said farewell to Captain Jack Sparrow, who we picked up on our last trip.  I wonder where he will go next?  We have a trackable geo-coin which we are going to send off soon, but couldn’t find any way of attaching it to him, so I guess we will never know!

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Sunday

It rained a bit in the night but was bright and sunny by morning.  Packed up and headed for home, a very uneventful journey.

Coming soon…

Castleton, Derbyshire.