11 Dec 2016


9th to 11th December 2016

Unseasonably mild weather and a free weekend finds us at the Southport Caravan Club site.  Our 22nd caravan trip of the year, beating our previous best of 21.

This is one of those sites that is usually fully booked, but not this weekend, with about 100 of 171 pitches free!  Not sure why.  It is within walking distance of the town centre, which has a good selection of shops and restaurants.  Maybe it is more for families, we can imagine it being packed in the summer.  We're not complaining, though, a site can never be too empty for us.


Southport is not far away and it only took about half an hour to get there.  No trouble finding a good pitch.

After a quick set up we walked into Southport via the marine lake, just as it was getting dark and starting to rain.  We had dinner in our pub of choice for the weekend - The Corridor Bar.  It's long and narrow, as the name suggests, and a really nice cheese and ham platter caught our eye.  We also liked Peaky Blinders (busier and noisier), The Guest House (a real ale pub) and Remedy (great selection of gins).  We drank a lot of gin this weekend!

The Christmas tree, with Remedy behind it


The rain rained itself out overnight and Saturday turned out to be cloudy and grey, but dry!

In the morning we went for a walk around Ainsdale forest and sand dunes, stopping off on the way for breakfast at nearby Morrisons.  The area is home to natterjack toads, but this is the closest we got to seeing one...

We did see a wild, decorated Christmas tree...

A really nice place for a not too strenuous walk, a mixture of trees, dunes and beach.

In the afternoon we headed back into Southport and walked to the end of the pier, which has an old style penny arcade.  Nothing like the ones we have today.

Then we went a bit mad!  A drink in a pub in one of the side streets (can't remember its name), dinner and a bottle of wine in Casa Italia, then more drinks in The Corridor Bar, then a final gin and tonic in Remedy.  We were reeling when we finally got back to the caravan.  No more drinking for a few days at least!

From a Christmas cracker in Casa Italia


We didn't leave until 10.30, which is quite late for us,but we were still home in the house by 11.30.

Coming soon...

That is definitely it for 2016.  We might do something between Christmas and new year, but not in the caravan.  We will be back in 2017. 

27 Nov 2016


25th to 27th November 2016

Back in the caravan after a break of about a month, during which time we enjoyed some winter sunshine in a villa in Playa Blanca, Lanzarote.

Plenty of sunshine this weekend, too, but much, much colder!


We last visited the Croft, Hawkshead, exactly a year ago.  We really like this site at this time of year.  It's not too busy, there were only a handful of motorhomes on site all weekend (we were the only caravan), and it's just across the road from Hawkshead village, which has a great selection of pubs and a few shops.  We like the peace and quiet of the site and the village.

Maybe a reason why it is so quiet are the narrow, twisty approach roads from Ambleside.  Luckily we didn't meet a bus or lorry coming the other way, but we probably will one day!

No trouble finding a pitch.

We were quite late getting there due to an accident on the M6, so it was about 3.30 before we strolled into the village...almost dark!  We got a good seat in the Kings Arms and stayed there all afternoon/evening, moving into the dining rooms for an early dinner around 6.  We had to vacate the dining room by 7.30 and the bar area was quite full by then, so we relocated to the Red Lion for one more drink before heading back to the caravan.

A very cold night, but at least no wind or rain.  Good job we thought to bring the water pump in, there was a layer of ice in the water barrel in the morning!


A short drive to Tarn Hows on icy roads for a walk up Black Crag and the surrounding area.  We've done this walk before, but chose different paths this time.

Blue sky and sunshine for most of the day, great conditions for a not too strenuous walk.

Frozen Tarn Hows

Near the summit of Black Crag

This is why there are relatively few pics of us in the blog!  We both hate having our photo taken.

We got back to the site around 3.30 and rushed into the village to catch a great sunset from the church grounds.  The church is quite impressive, on a hill overlooking the village.  We must go inside one day!

After dinner in the caravan we headed back into the village for drinks in the Kings Arms and Red Lion.


In addition to narrow, twisty roads there is a nasty hill start on the way home, at Clappersgate, which D made a mess of once again.  At least he didn't stall!

We spent a lot of money this weekend, and this is where a lot of it went!  Well, you can't get them anywhere in Liverpool!

Coming soon...

Christmas is looming and we are supposed to be getting a new car sometime in the next couple of weeks, so nothing planned for the rest of this year.  See you in 2017.

1 Nov 2016


28th to 30th October 2016

We visited Sunny Oak in 2015 and quite liked it.  It's on the Llangollen canal, right next to the Willeymoor Lock Tavern, and only a short taxi ride into Whitchurch.  With just about every other site full, it seemed like the right time for a return visit.


Lots of roadworks around the Runcorn bridge added some time to the journey, but we still managed to get there before 2pm and had out pick of plenty of vacant pitches.  We chose the same pitch we had last year.

Pitches are very narrow, especially when we are used to massive caravan club ones!

Whitchurch town centre is about three miles away via the canal towpath, and that is where we headed after a quick lunch.  We like Whitchurch.  It has two or three nice pubs and we had dinner in one of them and lots of drinks in the others.

A bit of a disaster when we got back to the site and discovered that J had lost D's phone!  She thinks it fell out of her pocket in the taxi, but nobody handed it in!


A day out at nearby Hawkstone Park.  It's just a couple of hills really, with a monument at the top and a few tunnels and caves.  That's not a very good description, it's actually much better than I have made it sound.

We ignored the notice saying that torches were needed, and ended up feeling our way through the tunnels with the help of the infrared beam on the camera and J's (not lost) phone!  Without them we would have had to turn back, it was that dark.

It took about three hours to see it all, with lots of up and down walking, but hardest of all was the climb to the top of the monument.  Lost count of the number of steps!  Great views, but the pics didn't turn out too well.

Lots of nice, autumnal colours.

In the afternoon we had another look around Whitchurch before rushing back to the site so that we could sit outside the Willeymoor Lock Tavern and watch the boats go by.  Would have been nice if it has been open.  We knew it closed in the afternoon but thought it re-opened at 5pm.  Turns out it was 6pm and it was dark by then!

We had another go after dinner, but had to make do with sitting inside.  It seemed everybody in the pub knew everybody else and we felt a bit out of place, so didn't stay long.  It's a nice pub to sit outside, but not so nice inside.


An extra hour in bed due to the clocks going back, but we still struggled to get away by 10am!

Coming soon...

This might be out last trip of the year.  We are going on holiday to Lanzarote in a week or so, and then getting a new car, so lots happening.  No time for caravan trips?  We'll see.....

16 Oct 2016

Pooley Bridge

13th to 16th October 2016

The ok weather continues, so it's off to north Cumbria, to Waterfoot Park, Pooley Bridge to be exact.  A site we haven't been to for a couple of years, but which used to be one of our favorites in the days before we joined the C&CC and CC.


It's still a pretty good site, just not in our top five anymore.  All of the pitches are serviced now, which is great, but they are quite small.  It is becoming quite normal for us to reject our allocated pitch and ask for another, which is what we did when we arrived.  We liked the look of pitch no. 16.

After setting everything up, and lunch, we drove into Penrith to have a look around and get some supplies from Booths.  There is a new pub in town - Dockray Hall, owned by Cumbrian Legendary Ales, brewers of Loweswater Gold and Langdale amongst others.  We really liked it, but couldn't stay for more than one drink as we were in the car.

In the evening we walked into Pooley Bridge, the plan being to have dinner in one of the pubs, only to find our favorite of the three temporarily closed. We had a quick drink in the Pooley Bridge Inn and then decided to get the last bus into Penrith instead.  It was only when it was 15 minutes overdue that we noticed Sat/Nsch next to the time!

A bit dispirited we headed back to the site, for dinner in the caravan and a night in.


Two Wainwrights today as we struggle to reach our target of 107 by the end of the year.  Beda and Place fells from St Martins church in Martindale, a great place to start and finish a walk.

The church is about 750 years old. 

A 1300 year old yew tree in the grounds!

Beda fell first (509 metres).

Then Place fell (657 metres)

We decided to have another go at getting a bus into Penrith later, and had no trouble this time.  We had what turned out to be a very expensive dinner and drinks in Dockray Hall, but it's true what they say...you get what you pay for!  Pigeon breast and venison loin for D, pork and venison pate and chicken and chorizo for J.  Very well presented and very tasty.  Excellent beer too, and a plum gin and tonic for J.

The taxi journey back to the site wasn't cheap, either!

Back at site we weren't ready for bed, so had more drinks in the on site bar. It's in an old mansion house and much better than most on site bars, plus it's the only place on the site with wifi, which we took advantage of as we had no signal anywhere else in the area all weekend!


In the morning we drove into Penrith, stopping off at a not very busy car boot sale on the way.  We bought some new mugs and bowls from a charity shop and resisted the temptation to pop into  Dockray Hall.

In the afternoon we drove to Haweswater, hoping to catch sight of the last remaining golden eagle in England, but there were notices everywhere saying that it hasn't been seen this year and is presumed dead!  Very sad.

We wandered around the reservoir for a while.  It is still one of D's favorite places, just not in the top 5 anymore (like the site).  The water level was quite low.

In the evening we walked down to Ullswater pier for a very reasonable sunset.

After dinner in the caravan we wandered up to the mansion house, but it was empty apart from the barmaid (who was busy knitting).  We stayed for one drink, just long enough to download last weeks Archers omnibus which we listened to in the caravan later.


We left at 10.  It was quite breezy on the M6 to begin with, so the journey home wasn't very pleasant and took longer than it should have, but we made it in one piece.

Coming soon...

The caravan is being service next week, but we hope to get away again at the end of October, weather permitting.