30 Nov 2014

Last trip of the year?

28th to 30th November 2014

An excellent weather forecast for the weekend, so a last minute trip to the Windermere C&CC site.  Our second visit this year.  We wanted to come here for the Hawkshead Brewery summer beer festival, but it was full, so we went to the Kendal CC site instead.

Friday

Arrived early, and plenty of pitches to choose from at this time of year.

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First things first –  we needed to get a replacement gas bottle as ours had completely ran out.  D staggered to reception with it, only to be told they had none left!  The warden must have felt sorry for him, and gave him a quarter full bottle which a more organised person had previously swapped…for free! That should see us through a few more trips.

As is customary at this site, we headed straight for Staveley as soon as we had finished setting everything up.  Checked on our geo-cache on the way, and tried to find another one but D slipped climbing over a stile and pulled a muscle in his leg.  Lots of swearing and shouting…the gist of which was **** the cache!

Our pub of choice in the village is the Eagle and Child.  We had a couple of drinks there, the re-located to the Hawkshead Brewery for beer tapas, before returning to the Eagle and Child.  Drank far too much today!

Saturday

Fabulous weather for the time of year today.  We drove into Staveley and set off to visit Potter Tarn and Gurnal Dubs, no summits today.

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Potter tarn first, complete with resident greedy swans…

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Then the much prettier Gurnal Dubs…

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Afterwards stopped off at Wilf’s Cafe next door to the Brewery for tea and cake, then drove to the Watermill Inn, one of our favourite pubs in the area, and D was delighted to discover that they had Loweswater Gold…except it wasn’t Loweswater Gold.  We both agreed it wasn’t, but the barman insisted it was.  He made some excuse about Cumbrian Legendary Ales having a new head brewer, but it didn’t improve the taste!  It’s won so many awards there is no way they would change the recipe.   D drank it anyway!

After last night’s excessive drinking it was a quiet night in with a ready meal and soft drinks tonight.

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It rained a bit in the night and a constant drip, drip, drip kept us awake for ages…

Sunday

Turns out the dripping was a leaking skylight in the washroom…the first problem we have had with this caravan.  Luckily it drips into the shower tray so no flooding.  Have ordered a replacement from Ebay for around £40 which is the whole unit including flyscreen.

Another lovely day, weather-wise, and just enough time for D to rush up into the hills to take a few pics before we headed for home.

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Coming soon…

Nothing planned, this might be our last trip of the year with Christmas looming!  It depends on the weather.

18 Nov 2014

Third time lucky in Hawkshead

14th to 16th November 2014

The Croft, Hawkshead.  We’ve been to this site a couple of times before and were troubled with noisy neighbours on both occasions, but we thought we would give it another go.

Friday

The site has gone upmarket since we last visited, with lodges where the touring pitches used to be and hardstanding pitches in the field that used to be set aside for camping.  A big improvement, we think.  The facilities have been improved too, with a couple of unisex shower rooms as well as the usual ladies and gents toilet blocks.  There is even a room with a spotless bath in it, but J’s excitement quickly turned to disappointment when she found there wasn’t any hot water for a bath.

Plenty of pitches to choose from when we arrived.

P1000023That’s us right at the back – anyone would think we were antisocial!

Hawkshead village is literally across the road from the site, and that is where we went after setting everything up.  Bought a new pair of walking trousers each from one of the outdoor shops…Craghoppers Kiwi Pro Active.  Very stretchy and water repellent - about time we had some decent walking trousers!  Also a  trip to the Hawkshead Relish shop for the customary jar of Westmoreland chutney and some nice crackers.

First pub of the weekend was the Kings Arms Hotel, which is nice but has a very small bar area.  Luckily we got there just at the right time and managed to get a great table in the corner.  D pleased to see Loweswater Gold on offer, not surprising really as Cumbrian Legendary Ales brewery is just down the road!

When it started to get really busy we relocated to the The Sun Inn.  We were about to leave when plates of fish and chips were delivered to the table next to us, and we just couldn’t resist...Bang goes our promise of eating in the caravan this weekend!

We spent the rest of the evening in the caravan.  There was some noise from a cluster of motorhomes on the other side of the site, and a lot of noise from one of the lodges or static caravans, but neither really bothered us.  A much quieter site this time, which is what we like.

Saturday

A disastrous walk today.  What we thought were tracks on the OS map turned out to be private roads, so what was supposed to be a circular walk in the hills around the village turned out to be an out and back walk to Moss Eccles tarn.  Still better than sitting at home, though and the rain kept off.

P1000041 Wise Een tarn, on the way to Moss Eccles tarn

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Not a great day for pics, especially disappointing for D as he has just bought a new camera!

In the evening we headed back into the village and tried the Red Lion Inn, which was our least favourite pub of the weekend.  We quickly moved to The Kings Arms Hotel and managed to get the same table as yesterday.  The same group of people as on the previous day ended up sitting next to us again.

Steak and chips in the caravan, followed by another night in.  We had intended to go back into the village but we were tired after our walk which ended up being 8.5 miles, and the three pints we (D) had had earlier had taken their toll.

Sunday

Left early.  No bacon butty today when we discovered our gas had run out.  Oh well, it had to run out sometime, it’s lasted a few years.  Will have to exchange it when we go away next.

Coming soon…

Nothing planned but we hope to get at least one more trip in before Christmas.

12 Nov 2014

Castleton in the rain

6th to 8th November 2014

Back after a break of three weeks, it’s almost as if we waited for the bad weather to return!  We’ve been really lucky with the weather this year, but it had to run out sooner or later, and it ran out this weekend in Derbyshire.

Actually, not a weekend.  A Thursday/Friday trip, due to the Castleton CC site being fully booked every Saturday for the rest of the year.  A victim of it’s own success.

Thursday

The site was pretty empty when we got there, so plenty of pitches to choose from.  We’ve been here a few times and usually opt for the same area, but we decided to try a pitch at the back of the site this time.  There aren’t really any bad pitches here.

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Castleton is only a short walk from the site.  There aren’t many shops in the village and most were shut, so there wasn’t much to see.  Instead we had a couple of drinks in a couple of the pubs, followed by dinner.  A mix up with our Tastecard at Ye Olde Nags Head meant we had to pay full price.  Apparently there is another Ye Olde Nags Head in nearby Edale!

Friday

It rained quite a bit in the night, but when we got up it was relatively okay, so we set off for a walk up Win Hill (462 metres). At the top lies Win Hill Pike, locally known as the Pimple

Route 

A couple of heavy showers to start, followed by a spell of continuous heavy rain,  and a race against time to get the waterproofs on!!

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We made it to the top…

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Not a good day for pics, so not many here!

Back at the site we put our soaking clothing in the very handy drying room and settled down in the caravan.  We had to wait until about 5.30 for the rain to stop but we got to the Cheshire Cheese Inn just in time for their earlybird special menu.  Unfortunately we didn’t fancy anything on it, so ended up paying full price for two massive meals.  We didn’t really need the bread basket side order that J asked for, but you can’t have fish and chips without it!

As we were finishing our meal a massively overweight couple waddled in, and as the only remaining table was a tiny one in the corner right next to us, we decided to leave before the embarrassment of watching them wedge themselves in.

There are six pubs in the village.  We’ve been in four of them.  One we have never been able to get in because it is always full, and one we have always avoided because we thought it didn’t look very nice…the Peaks Inn.  It’s had a makeover, so we decided to give it a go and it turned out to be really nice.  That’s at least five good pubs out of six in the village now.   It amazes us how such a small place can have 6 busy pubs no matter what time of year

A quick game of scrabble back at the caravan, then bed (D lost again)

Saturday

Just managed to pack everything away before it started raining, then a long journey home.  We can’t recall ever travelling with the caravan on a Saturday before. We would certainly have remembered the huge volumes of traffic!

Coming soon…

We are hoping to get at least one more trip in before Christmas, weather permitting, and the frontrunner at the moment is The Croft, Hawkshead.

 

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15 Oct 2014

Hawes, North Yorkshire

9th to 12th October 2014

Our last visit to the CC site in Hawes was over two years ago and we have been looking forward to coming again.  We had to cancel a scheduled visit last year – can’t remember why.

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D was particularly looking forward to the Green Dragon in nearby Hardraw, a pub we really liked on our previous two visits.

Thursday

A Thursday start for a change, so when we arrived there were plenty of pitches available.

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A fairly quick set up, including levelling left to right.  How ever did we manage without a motor mover and levelling block?  We were just relaxing with a cup of tea when the warden’s face appeared at the window and told us that they had had to turn off the water due to unforseen circumstances – a burst underground pipe.  Quite a serious problem for us, as we always use site facilities and don’t even know if our cassette toilet works!

It won’t take long to fix, we thought, so we drove into Hawes (it was raining heavily by now) and had a look around the Wensleydale Creamery.  As on previous occasions, it was the wrong time of day to see cheese being made!

Got back to the site armed with cheese, crackers and local beer around 5pm to find the water still off!

After dinner we asked the plumber who was repairing the pipe how much longer it would take to fix and he guaranteed 100% the water would be back on that night.  Good enough for us, so we headed for the nearest pub in Hawes.

Got back to the site after a couple of drinks around 9.30pm and the water was still off.  Starting to panic a bit now! Only a fool would drink pints of lager knowing there may not be a toilet to use later on!!   The water actually remained off until about 11pm.  Could have been worse!

Friday 

Not a great weather forecast today, so no serious walking.  Instead we drove to Aysgarth Falls and had a wander along the river.  Not sure what they are normally like, but the waterfalls seemed pretty impressive after the heavy rain of yesterday.

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In the afternoon we visited Bolton castle.  Lots to do here, including a maze and falconry display.  The castle was ok too.

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IMG_5852    Woody the harris hawk

IMG_5859Heavy traffic on the way back to the site!

In the evening a much anticipated walk to the Green Dragon, Hardraw.  About a mile and a quarter along pitch black country lanes, good job we had our torches.  When we got there we discovered an Irish music “gathering” in full flow, so nowhere to sit and a long wait to be served.  We have nothing against Irish music, but the reason we really like this pub is that it is nice and quiet, so we didn’t stay long.  Also, there were three different rooms and each one had different music playing and we were sat in the centre of the pub so it was just one big noise!

Saturday

The best day weather forecast wise, so we drove to Ribblehead to tackle Whernside, the highest peak in Yorkshire at 736 metres.

Whernside route

The start and end of the walk was the impressive Ribblehead viaduct on the  famous Settle to Carlisle route and we were hoping to see a steam train going across it, but no such luck.  Not close up, at least.

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J watching a steam train crossing the viaduct from near the top of Whernside.  She had to wear her coat around her waist all day as she tore a hole in her trousers on the last trip and didn't realise till she got out of the car!

It really brightened up as the day progressed, so much so we were just wearing t shirts by the time we got to the summit.  Really good paths all the way and no chance of getting lost.  Lots of other walkers about.

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View of Whernside from near the end of the walk – not the most impressive looking hill we have ever climbed!

 

…A quick drink in the Station Inn, which had quite unusual outside seating

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Overheard some couples talking about the delights of waterbeds!

In the evening we had fish and chips in Hawes and then a quick drink in one of the pubs before heading back to the caravan for a quiet night in.

Sunday

Homeward bound.

Coming soon…

Might try and get another trip in before the clocks go back, possibly Chipping, Lancashire. 

Maybe with some of this!!

 

PS

D really likes this pic of a puddle…

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29 Sep 2014

Waterfoot Park

26th to 29th September 2014

We’ve been neglecting north Cumbria lately in favour of the south, so a trip to Ullswater was long overdue.  A good test of the new towcar, lots of exposed motorway and quite windy.  It coped ok although it is not as stable as the Insignia or Mondeo, so D has to concentrate a bit harder.

Friday

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Waterfoot Park is a pretty good site, the only negative being that the pitches are quite small and not too level.  Under new management, pitches are now allocated whereas before you could choose your own.  We got pitch no. 10, which we probably would have chosen anyway, so no problem.  Luckily quite a long way away from two caravans with a total of ten bicycles, a mixture of adults and children.  They were actually pretty quiet all weekend.

No problems getting onto the pitch, thanks to the motor mover, and we even managed to motor move it up onto a levelling block.  The couple next to us seemed pretty impressed!

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Had a stroll around the site after setting everything up and popped into the onsite pub, which has improved massively since our last visit.  It even had a couple of decent beers.

Walked into Pooley Bridge and had a drink there, then back to the site for dinner in the caravan followed by another visit to the onsite pub.  Good sunset pic on the way back to the site…

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Saturday

Three Wainwright’s today, Dove Crag (792 metres), Hart Crag (822 metres) and Hartsop above How (580 metres), a round trip of about 7 miles made much more difficult by the weather.  It seems like ages since we have been walking in less than perfect weather, so it made a nice change.

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Starting point was Brothers Water…

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Low cloud meant visibility at the top was poor, and it was very windy in places.  Lots of non walkers around, we were twice asked for directions by people armed with a guide book map and wearing inappropriate clothing.  Hope they made it back ok!

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IMG_5737       A momentary break in the clouds…it only lasted a few minutes

IMG_5732 A survival shelter with 4 people crammed in it, near the top of Dove Crag.  It was bad but not that bad!

IMG_5750We think this used to be a sheep!

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Some pretty reasonable pics this weekend but Windows Live Writer won’t let us upload a gallery any more!

Fish and chips from a mobile fish and chip van for dinner, then we stayed in the caravan all night, too lazy even to walk up to the onsite pub.The 240v electrical supply cut out twice, a problem with the site, we think.  The second time we heard a rustling outside the caravan and J opened the door to find a carrier bag full of rubbish moving on it’s own.  Further investigation revealed a hedgehog with a leftover chip!

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Sunday

Penrith in the morning, then Haweswater in the afternoon, in search of the last golden eagle in England.  We found a couple of geo-caches but no sign of the eagle.  The closest we got…

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We’ve been to Haweswater a lot over the years, but have never seen it so busy.  It turns out it was on the news, because the water level is so low that the remains of the flooded village of Mardale are visible, hence the hoards of people and lack of parking!

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After dinner we walked into Pooley Bridge and had a couple of drinks in a couple of almost empty pubs.  Then back through the pitch black woods, not as hard or scary as we thought it might be.

Monday

We managed to get away quite early and it took just over two hours to get back to our storage site.

Coming soon…

A three night trip to Hawes.