24 Nov 2015


20th to 23rd November 2015

The Croft, Hawkshead.  Our fourth visit to this site, once in a tent and twice previously in a caravan.  We didn’t really like it on our first two visits, we found it too noisy, but it’s had a makeover and gone upmarket a bit and we really enjoyed our last visit around the same time last year.

The journey from Ambleside is a bit hairy, along narrow twisting roads, but luckily we didn’t encounter a bus or lorry coming the other way.

Arrived early and found the site almost empty, so we had no trouble finding a decent pitch.  It did fill up a bit, but there were plenty of empty pitches all weekend.  Surprising, given it’s location.

No campers at this time of year, just as well because the ground was very wet after lots of heavy rain.  Great facilities, with a couple of unisex bathrooms as well as the usual ladies and gents block.  One even has a bath, which J took advantage of!  There is even a TV room, but we didn’t use it.

As well as the usual suspects, a goldfinch visited our bird feeder this weekend.  We get very excited when we spot a new bird now!  It didn’t stay long and there was no time to get the camera out, so here is a pic of the usual suspects instead.

After setting everything up we walked across the road to the village of Hawkshead.  It is literally across the road!

First pub of the afternoon/evening was the Black Horse, then the Red Lion, then dinner in the Sun Inn.  All excellent pubs.  At one point we were the only ones in the Red Lion without a dog, and it was quite busy!

Woke up around 3am because the caravan was being buffetted by wind.  By far the windiest night we have ever spent in a caravan!  How windy does it have to be for a caravan to get blown over?  We nearly found out, or so it seemed.  It lasted a couple of hours, so we didn’t get much sleep!


Something a bit different today…the annual Grizedale stages rally in nearby Grizedale forest.  We didn’t know it was on when we booked and probably wouldn’t have come had we known, but as all the footpaths in the forest were closed and we couldn’t go walking there, we thought we would go along and have a look.

Lots of standing around in the freezing cold, waiting for it to start, but it was quite good once it started.

Some of the cars were quite old, including a few mk2 Escorts, and a “real” Mini got the biggest cheer of the day.  No crashes, although a couple of cars came close to going in the ditch you can see in the pics.  We watched all 75 cars, but left before they came back for round 2 in the afternoon…too cold!
Something different in the evening, too.
We drove to Ambleside for the annual parade of lanterns, along with all the departing rally contestants and spectators.  Gridlock at Clappersgate!
It took so long to get there and find somewhere to park we missed the parade, but we did get to see some fireworks.


Had an early night, to catch up on lost sleep from the night before!


Another nice day, excellent conditions for walking. We walked from the site to the top of Latterbarrow, then on to Wray Castle and along the western shore of lake Windermere.  It ended up quite a long walk at close to 10 miles.
The summit of Latterbarrow
Wray castle…we were too muddy to go inside and will visit another day

When we got back to the site there was only one other caravan left, and lots of blackbirds flocking around our bird feeder!  We chased them.  The blackbirds, not the other caravanners!  We only like pretty birds.


A small motorhome arrived later, but we still had a bathroom each!

The pubs in Hawkshead were much the same…almost empty, which is how we like them.  We had a couple of drinks in the Red Lion and then switched to the Black Horse.

A very cold night.


A misty start to the day, but it soon cleared and we were on our way by 10am.  When we left there was only one caravan left.

An excellent trip, Hawkshead is a lovely village and the site is right on top of it.  This is exactly why we decided against getting a static caravan.  We will return, probably around the same time next year, for a bit longer maybe.

Coming soon…

A two night trip to Southport, which will almost certainly be our last trip of the year.

12 Nov 2015

Wet weekend in Windermere

6th to 8th November

Not a good weather forecast this weekend, and it lived down to expectations!  Undaunted, we headed to one of our most visited sites – the Windermere C&CC site.


Arrived early, just before the first wave of rain!  Plenty of pitches to choose from, and we got a good one.


Lots of interest in our bird feeder this weekend, including blue tits, great tits, coal tits, a chaffinch, a nuthatch, male and female blackbirds, all identified from the RSPB book of birds which is proving invaluable.




It started to rain soon after we arrived, so we had to wait for it to ease off before heading to nearby Staveley for drinks and dinner in the Hawkshead brewery beer hall.  Stayed out until about 9.


Awoke to the sound of heavy rain, and it continued all morning.  Just for something to do, we drove to Hawkshead and had a look around the shops, until it brightened up.  We might go back to Hawkshead in a couple of weeks if the weather is ok.

The weather seemed to be improving so we headed back to the site and then went for a walk to Cunswick Scar, a small hill not far from the site.


Of course, it started to rain again and we got soaked.  Thank goodness for our waterproof coats.  It was quite slippery in places…


In the evening we stayed in the caravan.


Just about managed to pack everything away before it started to rain again.

Coming soon…

Nothing booked, but we might have a weekend in Hawkshead in a couple of weeks.

2 Nov 2015

Halloween in Buxton

30th October to 1st November 2015

Second trip of the year to the Buxton CC site.  We’ve only been to two sites twice this year, so far, this one and the C&CC site at Ravenglass.  We’ve been trying new sites this year with mixed success, so next year we might just visit our favourite sites more often, and this might be one of them.



We’ve never been away for Halloween before, so weren’t sure what to expect.  What we got was children everywhere!

No problems finding a pitch, and pretty soon we were all set up and enjoying a cup of tea outside, watching children on scooters in front of our caravan and others playing hide and seek behind it.


We quickly decided to walk into Buxton.

Had a quick look around the shops, then set up camp in the Buxton Brewery Tap.  We managed to secure a really comfy settee, and stayed for a couple of drinks and dinner.

Afterwards we popped into another pub, but it wasn’t anywhere near as nice so we headed for home.  Got back to the caravan just too late for the “trick or treat tractor”!


A murky, misty day.  We went for a walk around Lathkill and Bradford dales.  Not the most picturesque of dales, the rivers are little more than trickles in places.  Lots of nice autumnal colours though, and lots of leaves to be kicked.


A rare expanse of open water on the river Lathkill


An enormous cat we saw on the way


In the evening we walked up to Solomon’s Temple to enjoy the sunset.


Then we drove into Buxton for a quick drink in the Buxton Brewery Tap, partly to avoid trick or treaters…aren’t we miserable!  Managed to get the settee again, but only stayed for one drink.


Blue skies today…just our luck!

A disastrous trip home!  First, the cap that covers the towbar electrics socked snapped off, but worse was to come.  When we got back to the storage site we couldn’t find the motor mover remote control.  We must have left it on the A frame when we set off, and it must have fallen off somewhere on the journey.  We phoned the site, but nobody has handed it in, so we will have to fork out another £80 for a replacement.  Regular readers of this blog will know we lost the original a few trips ago!  We really are getting careless…might need a checklist.

Coming soon…

Second trip of the year to Windermere C&CC site.  No beer festival this time, but, if it’s not already sold out, the Houghton Weavers in Staveley village hall.

12 Oct 2015


9th to 12th October 2015


Still our favourite site, we were looking forward to our visit to the C&CC site at Ravenglass, and it didn’t disappoint.


Ok, it’s a long journey, just under three hours, but no problems towing the longer caravan on twisting A roads.

We arrived around 1.30 and discovered that all of the pitches we had requested when we booked were taken! No problem, the very helpful new wardens said we could take our pick of what was left and we settled on pitch no. 32.  A part of the site we have not been on before, but it was nice and secluded.  Nearer to the road than we are used to, so a bit noisier, but it’s not a busy road.


The bird feeder wasn’t a great success this weekend, with only occasional visits from the usual birds...coal tits, blue tits, great tits, robins.  Plus a great spotted woodpecker, identified thanks to the recently purchased RSPB book of birds!


I wish I could say I’d taken this pic, but I can’t, it’s an image from Google!  If we weren’t so poor after buying the new caravan, the search would be on for a better camera than the Canon S120, which only has a 5x zoom…okay for landscapes, rubbish for wildlife photography.

As usual, we headed straight into the village and ended up outside the Inn at Ravenglass, overlooking the estuary.  Excellent beer, but no sunset tonight.  We did think about eating there, but it was fully booked, so we went back to the caravan for dinner and had a night in listening to the radio.


Lots of white cloud about today, but pretty good conditions for a walk. We drove to Wasdale Head to tackle Illgill Head, 609 metres.

Illgill head route

Out and back the same way, we usually prefer circular walks but couldn’t figure out how to turn this into one without making it too long.  Anyway, another Wainwright ticked off.  Not a great day for pics, with washed out skies, but great views down into Wasdale Head.



On the way up we noticed a steady stream of cars heading along the road below and gradually realised that something was going one.  It turned out to be the Wasdale show.  We had no idea it was on.  We didn’t hang around at the top and descended in record time so that we could catch the end of it.

The usual stuff…best sheep, best walking stick, fell race…and a display of classic cars and motorbikes.





Afterwards we managed to get a table in the Wasdale Head Inn and had a lamb hotpot each.  No need to ask for the wi-fi password here…


We had to walk past a field of sheep on the way back to the car, so tried not make make eye contact after eating one of their own!

Back at site, we had snacks in the caravan and then went to the Ratty Arms for a couple of drinks, after admiring a slightly better sunset than yesterday.  Sometimes the Ratty Arms can be too quiet, but tonight it was just about right.



A less strenuous day today, we went for a short walk around nearby Devoke Water, the largest tarn in Cumbria?

Devoke water walk

We haven’t explored this area before, but we really liked it and will return for a longer walk in the future.




It’s not far from Boot, so we drove there afterwards and had a look around the old mill and then dinner in the Brook House Inn.

Got back to the site quite early and lazed around for a while, before heading off into the village.  We ended up sitting outside the Inn at Ravenglass until it got dark, then retreated inside for more drinks.  It was unbelievably peaceful and relaxing sitting outside, nothing but the sound of birds, the distant sea and a small girl trying to teach her younger brother to do a cartwheel.  Best pub experience of the year?  A good sunset, too.



We were back in the caravan by 9 but couldn’t stay awake, so went to bed early!


A long journey home after possibly the best trip of the year?

Coming soon…

Nothing booked, we will have a weekend at home and then decide where to go.

5 Oct 2015


2nd to 4th October 2015

Our first visit of the year to one of our favourite sites – Castleton Caravan Club site.

Almost always fully booked at weekends, we had to book this one months ago, long before we started looking at statics and other caravans.  Not being able to visit Castleton (and a couple of other places) is one of the reasons we decided against getting a static.


Nice and sunny today, and we chose a sunny pitch, only to discover it was too hot to sit outside, even with out of date sun tan lotion on!


Lots of big caravans in our part of the site, but we can hold our own in this caravan.  Our first caravan, the Abi Sprinter, was about half the length!


Apart from it being in a good area for walking, the main attraction of this site is how near it is to Castleton and its six pubs.  We headed straight for them!

The Castle Inn and the Cheshire Cheese are our favourites, and we booked a table for dinner on Saturday at the first.

But tonight it was dinner in the caravan (the temperature dropped too much for a barbecue).  There isn’t really anywhere to put a microwave in this caravan so we are having to cook proper food again.

After dinner we headed back into the village for  more drinks. We like the Cheshire Cheese as its a very old pub dating back to the 1700s, and they have a good selection of beers and board games.  It also seems to have had a bit of a refurb. 

The names of all the landlords have been added to the beams over the years


A completely different day today, weather-wise, with mist and low cloud instead of blue skies and sunshine.

Undaunted, we decided to have a car free day and got a bus to the northern end of Stanage Edge, the plan being to walk to Hathersage and then get another bus back to Castleton.


Stanage Edge is very popular with rock climbers and we saw lots today.  Not great weather for photography, but a couple of pics to set the scene.




Got to Hathersage around 2pm and had tea and cake and a look around the shops.  Picked up an impressive geocache just before the village


Then a very hot bus ride back to Castleton (heating on full).

Back at the site we discovered our bird feeder on the ground, and a couple of suspects caught red handed?


They turned out to be not guilty.  A man in a neighbouring caravan fingered the real culprit…a grey squirrel.  Oh well, squirrels have to eat too. D caught him a few times shinning up to pole to get at the treats (the squirrel not the man next door)


An excellent dinner in the Castle Inn, which wasn’t very busy.  Probably because everybody was in other pubs watching England get knocked out of the rugby world cup.

Only six pints for D this weekend,he usually drinks much more when we visit Castleton!


An uneventful journey home listening to the Archers.

Coming soon…

Three nights in Ravenglass, another of our favourite sites.  Looking forward to some great sunsets…