30 Apr 2013

Black Beck, Newby Bridge

26th to 28th April 2013

Another new site for us.  We were dreaming about statics recently and came across this site, which has a brand new Atlas Florida Excel for sale for £12,345.  The catch is the site fees, which are about £3,500 per year, too much for us.

It has two touring areas, one for seasonal pitches and another for one or two nighters like us.

Reviews on UK Campsite complain of too few toilets and showers…only two of each in the men’s block and the same in the ladies.  They were nice and clean, though, and we never had to queue, for reasons which will become apparent.

Two decent looking pubs within walking distance.


We arrived very early, around 12.30, and were directed to the touring pitches.


Not exactly busy!

We were joined later by another caravan and a motorhome, but that was it…and the motorhome left the next day.

We are aiming to keep this caravan for at least the rest of the year and are trying to find ways to spruce it up a bit, hence the new curtains and the latest idea…a full length curtain to separate the seating area from the kitchen/bathroom.  D spent an hour or so putting up a curtain wire that we got from Ikea, before rejecting it and using the shower curtain rail instead.  It’s looking good, but no pic until it’s finished.  Next trip.


Good sized pitches with different shades of gravel for caravan, awning and parking areas, which we thought was a good idea.  This is a really good site, except for the lack of toilets which we think would be a problem if the site were full.


A visitor to our pitch

Work done, it was off to the pub.  Two to choose from, each less than a mile away.

The Rusland Pool and the White Hart.  Both are okay.  The Rusland Pool is more of a hotel and we didn’t really give it a chance, preferring the White Hart with it’s better selection of beers and collection of stuffed animals.

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Not exactly cute, apart from the foxy looking fox!

A flawed pub, understaffed, tables not cleared, a long wait to be served and complaints from diners about the food (we ate in the caravan both nights this time).  But loads of character and we still liked it!  Plenty of seats on both nights.

Got back to the caravan early, for dinner, and then a really heavy shower put us off walking back to the pub.  Instead, we drove into Ulverston, which is quite a lively town at night.  We got some supplies and retreated to the quiet of the site…and it was very quiet!


We were lucky with the weather again, and awoke to blue skies.  Today’s walk, about 6.5 miles from nearby Finsthwaite, taking in Rusland Heights (244 metres), High Dam and Stott Park Heights.

We arrived at High Dam car park only to find a) the ticket machine wasn’t working…great, £4.50 saved, and b) D had forgot to bring the camera…grrrr.  We drove back to the site, but no sign of it inside the caravan, then we found it after a quick rummage amongst coats and things in the boot of the car.  Back to the car park.


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Lot’s more pics in the gallery.

And so to the winner of the best view from a bench competition…this, at the top of Stott Park Heights, overlooking the southern end of Lake Windermere…



On the way back we stopped for a cup of tea and a cake at Lakeside, which is where the Lakeside & Haverthwaite steam train terminates.  We were too busy eating the cakes to get a pic of the train!

Back at the site, we managed to get a look inside the Atlas Florida Excel and a couple of other caravans.  They were all very nice, but the site fees are far too high and we managed to avoid signing anything!  The salesman could tell we were time wasters, we think, but he was nice enough all the same.  All of the staff were very pleasant, even whoever it was that poked a UK Campsite reviewer in the chest whilst telling him off for driving the wrong way down a one way road!

Toyed with the idea of having a barbecue, but it was just a bit too cold, so we had dinner in the caravan and then went back to the White Hart for a couple of drinks.


It was raining when we got up, but we didn’t care because we were heading for home anyway.  Not sure if the other caravan was leaving too, there was no sign of anybody when we left at 9.30.  If they did leave, they left the site empty!

Overall, we really liked this site and will return, although not in high season because we think the facilities would be stretched.  Same time next year…it’s a date.


Coming soon…

Three nights at Skelwith Fold.

23 Apr 2013

Getting warmer!

Barmouth, 19th to 22nd May 2013

A three night trip to Hendre Mynach, Barmouth, a new site for us.









Great location, about a mile from Barmouth town centre, near the beach, good sized pitches, good facilities, friendly staff, and surprisingly quiet at night.  Surprising because it is a really big site.  As well as lots of pitches for caravans there are a couple of large fields for camping, but these were pretty much empty.  It probably gets very busy in the summer, but at this time of year it’s hard to fault.

If we were being really picky, we could point out that the on site shop is rubbish, or that there is no heating in the toilet/shower blocks.

We will definitely return, maybe in the autumn.


Arrived around 1.30 after an uneventful journey on A roads rather than motorway.  Stopped for lunch near Bala, overlooking Llyn Tegid.

Toyed with the idea of putting the awning up but decided against it, so a very quick set-up.


Blue sky!

You can’t see the sea from the site, but the promenade and beach are just a short stroll away, across a railway line.  You have to walk right to the end of the site to get to a crossing, which would be better if it wasn’t in the opposite direction to the town centre!  Walking back from the town, you have to go past the caravan to get to the crossing and this added about half a mile to the journey, but it is a nice walk.

We headed into town, enjoying the nice weather, and had a look around and an ice cream.  There are a few pubs in the town and the ones we tried were nice enough, especially the Last Inn which became our pub of choice for the weekend.  We liked it so much we booked a table for dinner on Sunday night.

Got back to the site quite early and had dinner in the caravan, then listened to the radio and did a bit of reading.


New curtains, much nicer than the old red ones.


The plan today was to walk from Barmouth to Penmaempool along the Mawddach trail, an old railway line which follows the estuary, and then get a bus back.  We have cycled this route before, but haven’t walked it.  About 9 miles, but completely flat.

Route 1


Barmouth from the bridge across the estuary 



The toll bridge at Penmaenpool , for sale £350,000


There are more pics in the gallery at the end.

We made it back in one piece and the weather was so nice we decided to have a barbecue.  Fairly successful, but the coals didn’t stay hot for long enough so we had to leave some of the food.

Afterwards we strolled to the beach to catch the sunset.



D re-enacting a scene from Karate Kid (no pic of him falling off)

Lots more sunset pics in the gallery.


What a difference a days makes.  It was grey and cloudy when we woke up and then it started raining.  We drove into Barmouth for their “massive car boot sale”, which turned out to be three stalls, and then made a fabulous find in a discount shop…a handheld hoover for £19.99.  Not a rechargeable one, but one with a power lead.  We’ve had rechargeable ones in the past and found that they don’t work.  This one is great – we are easily pleased

Then lunch in the caravan, until about 2pm when D had had enough and had to get out.  We headed up into the hills above Barmouth in light drizzle.

Route 2

Not very nice weather to start with, but it soon cheered up and it was blue skies when we got back to the site.  Great views overlooking Barmouth, but the camera batteries (and the spare ones) ran out on us, so not as many pics as there would have been otherwise.



The summit of Craig y Gigfran, 183 metres


Dinner at the Last Inn in the evening.  We needn’t have bothered to book, there weren’t many people there, but dinner was really nice, as was the beer, which is unusual for Wales!


We woke up very early and left about 9am.

Here are some more pics.

Coming soon…

Two nights at Black Beck caravan park, Newby Bridge, Cumbria.  Another new site, chosen because according to their website you can buy a new Atlas Florida Excel static caravan for just over £12,000.  What’s the catch?  We’ll find out next weekend!

8 Apr 2013

Still very cold!

Windermere, 5th to 6th April

D’s birthday treat, a three night trip to Coniston, didn’t happen, thanks to unseasonal blizzards and snow drifts.  Nor did a trip to Buxton, hastily booked after cancelling Coniston.  Same reason!

So after a longer break than planned it was off to an old favourite – the C&CC site at Windermere.  Still a bit of snow around and below freezing temperatures at night, but glorious sunshine during the day.

Still no pic of the new curtains, and not even a pic of the caravan this time…not sure why!


Arrived early and got a pitch in our usual place.  No awning this weekend, so an easy set-up leaving us with a bit of time on our hands.  We decided to pop into Kendal to get supplies.  Kendal is what you might call a functional town, not at all touristy like Bowness or Ambleside, but plenty of shops.

Later in the afternoon we walked across the fields to Staveley, stopping off on the way to make sure a geocache we placed last year was ok.  It has survived the winter well and is being found regularly, which is good.  Not much in the way of treasure in it though!

We had a drink in all three pubs in Staveley, and some beer tapas in the Hawkshead brewery beer hall, before heading back to the caravan. We now have a new heater with a thermostat, so we didn't have a cold caravan to come back to! The temperature was plummeting though so we brought in the water pump in case it froze (that has happened before!)


We like the Beer Tapas!


Up early, good job the pump was indoors as the water barrel had a layer of ice in it!

After a sausage sandwich we set of for a walk from Ings to Kentmere and back, a round trip of about 9 miles with no real ups and downs.

Ings to Kentmere

Had a quick look around Ings Mill caravan park at the start of the walk.  Nice place for a static…

IMG_1980 Ings Mill caravan park

IMG_1985 Still a bit of snow around

IMG_1994 Kentmere

Found a few geocaches on the way and generally a really nice walk in great weather.  We started off in coats and gloves, and finished in t-shirts! The only disappointment not being able to get to the top of Hugill fell on the way back.  We decided to head straight for the monument at the top but couldn’t find a way through the dry stone walls!  We will have another go some other time.

The customary cute lamb pic we always have around this time of year…


And here’s one of J finding one of the geocaches…


Came across this on the way back…where we will live when we win the lottery!


After a quick drink in the Watermill Inn, currently D’s favourite pub anywhere, we got back to the caravan just in time for the Grand National.  J’s horse came third but she only broke even as the others she bet on weren't very good!

Drove into Bowness in the evening and had a stroll around, then dinner in the very reasonably priced Crown Carvery overlooking the lake.

On the way back to the site we stopped off at the Watermill Inn again…so many beers to choose from, including ones from their on-site brewery.


Homeward bound after a classic caravan trip.

Coming soon…

Three nights in Hendre Mynach, Barmouth, a new site for us.  D has wanted to go to Barmouth for some time and is really looking forward to this one, but it is Wales, and if you read previous posts you will know that we don’t have much luck in Wales!