Easter Holidays Pt 4- Isle of Skye

Thursday

Bluebell the motorhome is parked up next to another motorhome down the end of the beach road at Staffin Bay. We are parked up underneath the cliffs, at sea level, next to the beach that is famous for its dinosaur footprints. The weather is clear (hurrah)

20140412-131710.jpg
our pitch at Staffin Beach

Today, we drove the road from Broadford to Staffin, that passes through Portree. As soon as we departed Broadford the scenery stepped up from what we’d seen yesterday (granted the weather definitely helped!) As we got towards Portree Keith suggested we try the walk to the Old Man of Storr seeing as the weather was behaving. Our guide book intimated that this was the most popular walk on the island, and given how busy the car park was I’d have to agree.
20140412-131816.jpg
the view of The Old Man of Storr as we approached on the road

Thankfully we’ve (I’ve!) been trained well and so before setting off we made a full packed lunch including flasks of soup and tea, sarnies, cake, crisps, choc and a cheeky tinny of Tennants! (It was only 10am!!) We also made sure we had all our hiking gear on, boots, weather trousers, macs, fleece etc, as despite it saying it wasn’t a hard walk in the book, you just can’t be too sure. I’m glad we did- unlike every other person we passed (and there were lots) it never fails to amaze me seeing people rock climbing in converse, and today- heeled boots!!!!

We took (by accident) the more advanced rock climbers scramble to the base of the Old Man – and it was tricky to say the least at the top. I possibly had a minor panic when I realised the path around the base was non existent, but I’m proud to say we persevered and survived(!) and scrambled round, and therefore were rewarded with the most amazing views:
20140412-132709.jpg

20140412-133120.jpg

20140412-132839.jpg

20140412-133405.jpg
Having carted my tripod up, I was pleased to be able to give it a whirl, and I was very impressed especially given the wind speed up there! The spikes on the feet are ingenious.

Naturally, once having our picnic sat underneath the old man himself, we noticed the far easier and safer path that we should have taken up, so we had a good chuckle about that and looked forward to our descent.

Once safely back in the van, we drove on 5 miles or so for our second luncheon of the day- this time at Kilt Rock waterfall view point. The waterfall falls over the cliff into the sea and is next to the rock formation entitled Kilt Rock- supposedly it looks like a kilt. I will let you decide!

20140412-133451.jpg

20140412-133459.jpg

20140412-133556.jpg

Next and final stop, the beach at Staffin to a) see if we could stay overnight there and b) hunt these dinosaur footprints. We’d read the best time to see them is at low ride, which we’d missed by 4 hrs, but nevertheless we happily hunted for an hour or so, aided by the trusty hip flask of homemade sloe gin of course as by then we knew we had found our pitch for the night.

Sadly no such luck with the hunting of footprints, but we will stick around until low tide tomorrow, due at 1137 to see if we have any luck. Keith asked a local who was walking his dog, and apparently he’s lived here years and NEVER seen them. So we will see!

Friday and Saturday

Bluebell the motorhome is parked by a river, in a sheltered valley behind Brit Stop number 822.

We woke up after a quiet and relaxed night to a bit of a murky one in the weather department, but it didn’t affect our plans- we were going to have a late breakfast then go footprint hunting at low tide, then drive the 5 miles or so to the Quaring- a mystical unusual rock formation, including The Needle, The Prison and The Table. Our book told us that whatever the weather it was something to visit.

First things first- the dinosaur footprints. I’m happy to say, after an exciting (and competitive) hunt, Keith found them, we think! This to us looks like the photo displayed at the info board, and we are fairly sure it is it, but without the Staffin museum open and no indication on the beach it’s a bit difficult to be 100% sure. 🙂

20140413-125403.jpg

20140413-125415.jpg
Next we drove up a great pass to take us to the start of the Quaring walk. At first the path seemed a breeze, much easier than yesterday’s Old Man of Stoer, but as we approached the bottom of “the needle” a trickier path presented itself to get us to “the table”. We took the path with some sense of trepidation, but equally were keen to get to the top section to appreciate the full sense of enormity. The path was hard going, but we got there eventually, just in time for the mist to come down! Typical eh? Oh well, we got to the top.

20140413-125651.jpg

20140413-125702.jpg

20140413-125715.jpg

20140413-125726.jpg

20140413-125733.jpg

20140413-125742.jpg

20140413-125750.jpg

20140413-125755.jpg
Once back at Bluebell we were exhausted, cold, wet, hungry and a bit grumpy, so rather than venture out to find a new spot for the night, we decided to head back to the familiarity of the Staffin Beach spot, where we’d spent a pleasant night last night. We weren’t the only ones- our fellow motorhome neighbour had also returned, so we settled in for a chill and more importantly an early night.

All was well until around 6pm when our alarm bells were raised when our neighbours very quickly packed up shop and moved up to the next layby- a higher slip layby, that was right on the edge of a cliff. We couldn’t understand why they had moved in such a rush- the wind was picking up and it seemed odd to us to go to a higher lever on a cliff edge. Ever being the optimists, we decided to punch their spot, as they’d nabbed the best spot earlier and settle in for a panoramic view. About an hour later the wind picked up, and convinced it was just a passing storm, we made light of it, and settled in waiting for the storm to pass. By 10pm it was showing no sign of easing, if anything the winds were getting stronger and stronger, and bluebell was rocking further and further. Keith admitted to me this morning by this stage he’d noticed the windows buckling. We out an hour later, we’d managed to get enough mobile data to load the met office and bbc weather, both of which saying that the winds were south westerly and would increase to 50 mph by 5am. As we were parked our bum was totally the first thing these south westerly winds were grabbing as they bounced off the sea. Excellent- obviously this is why the other motorhome moved!

We set the bed out deciding once again (like Glencoe on Sunday) it was now far too dark and dangerous to drive and that we would be brave and hold tight. Once the bed was out we lasted approximately 5 mins before I decided enough was enough and that we were moving. My justification was that the exit road followed the south westerly wind so the wind would be pushing us up the hill rather than crossing us and making us wobble.

We got the 500 odd yards up to where the other motorhome had retreated to, and to our surprise there was no sign whatsoever of the winds in that spot, so we joined them and hit the sack. All was well, apart from the battling rain, I can’t remember ever hearing such heavy rain until 5am when the wind swiftly changed direction to the west, which meant we were now entirely swaying, the bike rack was clattering, the TV Ariel was squeeking- you name it. Keith this time made the call to move- this time back up to the main road and along maybe 10 miles to a sheltered pull in where we got an extra hours kip.

So when we woke up at 8am, it’s safe to say the mood was fractious- we were both drained and in addition to our lack of sleep the bed had broken, one of the lights had fallen off and the fridge door had broken! We spent the next half an hour fixing Bluebell, but we were both thrilled that other than these minor unrelated problems, there were no signs of leaks, or outer damage. Hurray, we’d survived.

We decided a chill was in order, so drive round the coast road to Uig, to stop at the Isle of Skye Brewery to stock up, then onto the Fairy Glen- a magical mystical small valley just outside of Uig where it’s really unnaturally green, and the hills and lakes are all in miniature! This is a natural phenomena caused by glacial meltwater ten thousand years ago, but I can see why the myth is that fairies live here as the hills look tiny and perfect and have ridges round them- you honestly can imagine the fairies living here!!

20140413-125912.jpg

20140413-125916.jpg
our visit to The Isle of Skye Brewery, in Uig

20140413-130017.jpg

20140413-130026.jpg

20140413-130030.jpg

20140413-130038.jpg

20140413-130044.jpg
The Fairy Glen

We headed towards Dunvegan and are now happily nestled behind a sheltered Brit Stop- an old hunting lodge that is now a bar/restaurant and inn and so, seeing as it’s Saturday night we are going to have a few drinks and a chill in there tonight. Sounds perfect, and just what the doctor ordered after last nights adventures!

Sunday
We had a great relax at our Brit Stop last night, and got mildly tipsy on the inn’s special ale- brewed specially for them by the Isle of Skye Brewery. It was delicious and we happily chatted to the landlord and landlady for a couple of hours.

After a great nights sleep, we hit the road in the rain, and managed to full with water at Dunvegan. We had a bacon butty looking out towards the castle, and then followed the road to Carbost, home to the Tallsiker distillery. Sadly the distillery is closed today, however there is a fantastic smell of whiskey lingering in the air, and the pub here, The Old Ship, is a fantasticly warm and cosy place to spend an hour or so, before heading back towards Portree for our final night on Skye.

Perfect!

20140413-130913.jpg
Dunvegan Castle

20140413-130951.jpg

20140413-131025.jpg

20140413-131029.jpg

20140414-170332.jpg

20140414-170344.jpg

20140414-170355.jpg
Portree

20140414-170554.jpg
storm brewing over Cuillin Hills

20140414-170807.jpg

20140414-170812.jpg
pleasant way to spend our last night on Skye

20140414-170853.jpg
our pitch over looking the Cuillin Hills, and half a mile stagger from the Sligachan Hotel bar!

One week til we’re off…..

Bluebell the motorhome is getting excited. She can always tell when preparations are being made for a trip as the humans start pottering in and out, checking cupboards, filling cupboards, and this week she had an extra treat- she got stripped bare and all her cushion covers, curtains, blankets etc got taken into the house and came back out all sparkly and clean. She knows something big is about to happen……

That’s right- next Friday, the 4th April she will be hitting the highway and heading north for our annual pilgrimage to the highlands. Excitement is hitting the household and plans are being formulated.

As ever, we’re going to follow our nose mainly using BritStops and wild camping, but there are a few places we are aiming for. We’re heading for Loch Lomond for day one, to our fave spot on the Bonny Bonny banks of Loch Lomond, where we shall no doubt partake in a few whiskeys at the Inverbeg Inn.

20140327-201557.jpg
Then onto Glen Coe, for some walking and incredible views

>

20140327-202703.jpg then to Arasaig to see the glorious white beaches where Local Hero was filmed. We’re aiming for a few days on Skye, then back via the East coast, especially popping in the small village of Pennan- where they filmed the town scenes of Local Hero
Pennan

(Pics above taken by ourselves on previous trips)

This will be our 5th trip (4th Easter trip) to Scotland and if you are interested in touring Scotland in a motorhome (or otherwise) you may be interested in having a scroll through some of our previous entries:
Scotland 2010 – The First Trip

Scotland 2011part 1

Scotland 2011- Part 2

Scotland 2012 – The Hebrides and beyond

Scotland 2013- part 1

Scotland 2013- Part 2

Scotland 2013- Part 3

Scotland 2013- Part 4

Scotland 2013- Part 5

Scotland 2013 – Part 6

So my question to you is, where is your favourite place to visit in Scotland?

>

Sunshine on the Norfolk Broads

Bluebell the motorhome is back home and emptied after a lovely weekend up on the Norfolk broads.

We had two meetings this weekend, one in Norwich on Friday afternoon and one in Hingham Saturday morning, so decided to turn it into a micro break- this is why we adore living here! Luck was on our side as the forcast was good too!

We set off Norwich bound Friday after a gig, and headed for the Toys R Us carpark just off St Benedict’s st, as we knew that had no height barrier. We left Jazz guarding the van and darted off to the city to make our 4:15 appointment (top secret) 😀

An hour later and we were back at Bluebell and heading round the ring road towards Wroxham. We consulted our ever trustworthy BritStops book prior to leaving and as luck would have it, one of our faves was listed in the 2014 guide and was right near where we needed to be for our top secret meeting on Sat morning. We arrived at Brit Stop 235 just before 6pm, double checked we were ok to stay and booked a table for dinner. After a quick shower and a leg stretch for the pooch, we hot footed it the hundred yards or so across the car park and got ourselves a pint of Nog each and the menu.

20140316-130543.jpg

20140316-130551.jpg

20140316-130559.jpg

20140316-131659.jpg

This is one of our faves because it serves the most amazing locally sourced food- every time we’ve been we’ve had the venison pie, it is gorgeous and tonight was no exception! We both chose a starter too- I had black pudding Bon bons and Keith had mussels cooked in Ale. Both were mouth-wateringly good – the mussels working surprisingly well cooked in ale!

We managed to sink a few pints of nog in the process of eating and we both were mildly tipsy by the time we hit the sac a couple of hours later! We even managed to buy 4 pints of nog to takeaway 🙂 brilliant and another reason why we adore using BritStops. We paid far more than we could have for one night on a campsite, but enjoyed a great meal and some beer and don’t have to drive! The pub made £70 out of it- Win win

Next morning we arose with a slightly sore head I’m not going to lie, but a bacon bap soon sorted that and we hit the road towards Hingham, where we were meeting a man about a boat 😉

Hingham is a gorgeous little village and we spent a great 3 hours or so exploring and chilling in the beer garden of the Swan Hotel, watching the world and his wife go by (I was still hanging so was on the coca cola!) Keefy however was living by the “hair of the dog ” prophecy and enjoyed 2 pints of Adnams Broadside which he tells me worked like a treat.

20140316-131313.jpg

20140316-131324.jpg

20140316-131341.jpg

Around 2pm we checked our ever trusty Bible (ie the BritStop guide) and found a little pub not far away that we hadn’t been to before. 15 mins later we were installed into a nice quirky type pub and enjoying a cream tea.

20140316-131744.jpg

20140316-131755.jpg

20140316-131802.jpg

This, along with a 2 hour nap(!) fixed me so at dusk we took Jazz out for a leg stretch and to take in the sunset.

20140316-131858.jpg

20140316-131909.jpg

20140316-131919.jpg

20140316-131927.jpg

20140316-131941.jpg

20140316-131949.jpg

We had a great nights sleep despite our two hour afternoon nap and awoke fresh as daisies this morning. We had passed a very pretty village yesterday, Coltishall, so headed there for an hour before heading home in the glorious sunshine.

20140316-132057.jpg

20140316-132104.jpg

20140316-132109.jpg

20140316-132115.jpg

20140316-132121.jpg

20140316-132126.jpg

Until next time
Lx

Feb Half term- The Peak District, Pt 4: Railways and Ales

After a very blustery night (I honestly thought we would blow over at one point!) at our Brit Stop we awoke to a really rainy murky day which thankfully cheered up by the time we were ready to start our 1 mile drive to the Hartington Station car park of the Tissington Trail. Our plan was to have breakfast there, then a wander, then move back towards the Monsal Trail for the afternoon.

When we arrived at the car park we noticed 2 other motorhomes that had clearly stayed there overnight- and realising it was a nice spot, and that we were tired after our sleepless night we decided to copy! We chatted to the other motorhomers and they said we’d be fine to stay there, so we did. And we were. In fact, we had a great time- we walked from Hartington to Biggin, had a lavish meal at the Waterloo Inn in Biggin, and some beers ( well we were out of supplies!) wandered back, fell into a deep sleep, awoke about 8pm, had a sandwich and went back to sleep until 7am!!! It’s a hard life!

20140222-210229.jpg

20140222-210237.jpg

20140222-210246.jpg

20140222-210256.jpg

20140222-210304.jpg

We really enjoyed walking down the section of the Tissington trail, and it’s such a nice time to enjoy these trails as they aren’t too busy!

Next morning, we headed to Matlock, via Tissington

20140222-210535.jpg

20140222-210542.jpg

20140222-210550.jpg

Tissington is very pretty- it’s a good job, as it took us two attempts and a 15 mile detour to get there!! We missed the turnoff and then got locked into a small road where we couldn’t turn round! Never mind, in the process we saw some lovely little villages.

Matlock Bath- hmm, I’d been looking forward to showing Keefy round Matlock Bath having spent many a happy childhood days here. I don’t know if it was because we were out of season visiting (although still school hols??), whether since last visiting I’ve visited other nicer places, whether I just wasn’t in the mood, or what- but I couldn’t stand it there! No! I’m sorry Matlock, Derbyshire, fellow Midlanders – I just wasn’t feeling it there. It didn’t help that we wanted to go on the cable cars but just couldn’t bring ourselves to pay £14 EACH when we had already payed £4.40 in the car park, that we weren’t even supposed to be in due to the weight of our vehicle exceeding 2.5 tonnes but having no other options so had too.

Cor, it really cheeses me off when you see signs forbidding motorhomes to park tourist towns. Do councils not realise the majority of motorhomers have a disposable income that they want to spend in their town?? And that by putting up a sign preventing them to park there means people who are driving expensive vehicles (expensive vehicle= money to spend surely??) are unable to park in their town and therefore spend money?? Argh, this country needs to wake up and provide decent parking for large vehicles ie motorhomes rather than treat us like scum. Sorry rant over

Not wanting to waste our car park fees, or be defeated, but feeling nervous due to the signs all the same, we wandered the town but not fancying fish and chips at 10am or playing the amusements (that’s pretty much all there was shop wise) we settled on a chocolate shop and a fancy hot chocolate. Once ordered we went to pay on card and she didn’t accept card, so we spent 20 mins and 3 failed attempts at broken cash points, before trying somewhere else. Same problem, no card payments only cash. By this time, not to mention my run in with the tourist info lady who couldn’t tell me whether we could walk up the hill or not, I was ready to jump ship.

Sorry Matlock Bath, I feel like I’ve betrayed you, I still have my many happy memories of visiting here, but unfortunately this time won’t be added to those memories. Maybe another time?

20140222-211749.jpg

20140222-211755.jpg

By this time, my mood had plummeted which I took out on the top up food shop at Sainsburys in Matlock- returning with Ben and Jerry’s, cakes, crisps, you name it. Meanwhile, Keith had been studying the Brit Stop book, the road atlas and google, and in a desperate attempt to salvage the day, we hit the M1 southbound, bidding fairwell to lovely Derbyshire and heading for BritStop 505- nr to the site of the Battle of Bosworth, where King Richard III died, and a site we’ve been wanting to visit for ages.

20140222-212330.jpg

As luck would have it, they were serving one of the finest Ales I’ve tasted yet- Old Trip, a fellow Nottinghamer and after several pints my mood lifted and all thoughts of Matlock had drifted away and the day had been saved.

I’m not going to lie, I definitely am a lightweight these days, as I awoke with a mammoth ale head this morning! Whoops! And although Keith denies he was hanging, the joys of being in a small confined space like a motorhome means I heard him rummaging in the early hours for a sneaky annadin extra or two!! Busted!

The weather once again was on our side, so we set off to the Bosworth battlefield Heritage Site nice and early. The visiter centre has won lots of awards and I can see why- it was well presented and had lots of interactive features to help you guide your way through the history surrounding the death of Richard III, including some archeological finds from excavations on the battlefield itself. It was interesting and good value for money, however I would have preferred not to have to pay £2.50 to park in their carpark given that we were already paying £7.95 each to get in! I really hope that doesn’t make me sound cheap!

20140222-213253.jpg

20140222-213302.jpg

20140222-213309.jpg

Anyway, all in all, a great end to a brilliant week away! We’ve been beyond lucky with the weather, met some lovely fellow motorhomers, walked some terrific trails, ate and drank in some awesome pubs, and generally rested and recharged our batteries.

All thoughts are now turning towards our Easter adventure- Scotland! Whooo

So, thanks for reading, feel free to comment and enjoy the rest of your weekend, oh and sorry for the rant!

Until next time

Lx

Feb Half term- The Peak District, Pt 3: Railways and Ales

Bluebell the motorhome is parked up at home, having a well earned rest having driven 500 miles over the last week!

We’ve had a wonderful week, and have been very lucky with the weather, hence the lack of blog posts- we’ve been out and about, eating, drinking and napping!! Oh, and I actually started and finished a book I’d been wanting to read, which is what holidays are all about aren’t they?!

So, let’s rewind back to Tuesday morning, when we set off from our lovely little campsite and head off to visit the very pretty Spa town of Buxton.

We spent an enjoyable couple of hours wandering round the sites

20140222-202400.jpg

20140222-202412.jpg

20140222-202439.jpg

20140222-202450.jpg

and enjoyed a coffee and people watch outside a cafe on the high street. We were gutted to realise that the one and only Brian May was playing at the opera house the following day, but unfortunately and not surprisingly, it was all sold out.

After lunch we set off towards The Snake Pass, an interestingly named pass that caught our eye on the map, that was to take us towards the Derwent Dam/Ladybower Resevoir. I’d read a little about this famous Resevoir, and knew Keefy would enjoy visiting, as a history lover I knew he would be keen to see for himself where the Dambusters practiced. Being a slight self confessed air head, and having never seen a real dam before (I don’t think) I hadn’t quite understood how large it would be and spent the first 15 mins feeling a bit underwhelmed

20140222-203155.jpg

Once I realised I was looking at the the wrong thing…durrr, I was genuinely impressed and excited- it really is an impressive bit of engineering and is huge- and I would highly recommend visiting if you are in the area.

20140222-203428.jpg

20140222-203440.jpg

20140222-203451.jpg

20140222-203500.jpg

It’s was soon getting time for our traditional holiday nap, so we hit the road towards Castleton, with the intention of finding somewhere to wildcamp so that we were close to the attractions for the next day.

After a little bit of exploring we settled on a spot overlooking Castleton near to Mam Tor, and settled in for a night of Criminal Minds.

Next day, we awoke to thick fog- which was disappointing seeing as we were hoping to walk up Mam Tor BEFORE breakfast (yes you read that right..)
Doing the very British thing, we decided we wouldn’t let a bit of fog put us off, so donned our walking gear and set off up to the peak.

20140222-203934.jpg

20140222-203941.jpg

I’m not entirely sure how we are both smiling at this point, being that it was before 8am and we couldn’t see a thing, but we were and even though we were disappointed we laughed all the way down )those of you that know me well, il let you decide how true you think that statement is…)
After a rewarding bacon and egg butty and a chat with the motorhomer parked next door, we head on down to the pretty village of Castleton for a wander, and to find a cave to explore.

It’s a very pretty town, with Mam Tor (known as the Shivering mountain to locals) in the backdrop

20140222-204311.jpg

20140222-204322.jpg

20140222-204330.jpg

20140222-204338.jpg

The tourist information here couldn’t have been more friendly, helpful and dog loving- Jazz was allowed in and of course lapped up all the attention from the ladies who worked there! Having chatted to the TI lady we decided on visiting the Blue John Caves – the main factor in this decision being that we could take Jazz, the well travelled pampered pooch in.

20140222-204753.jpg

20140222-204802.jpg

20140222-204811.jpg

We enjoyed the visit, but wonder if we’ve been spoilt with other caves we visited elsewhere- it was nice to take Jazz in, we enjoyed walking down (and up again!) the 245 stairs to get to the bottom, but we both left feeling it was a little overpriced perhaps?

Seeing as we were a the top of the hill ( The Winnats Pass)

20140222-205043.jpg and the weather had transformed we decided to give Mam Tor another go- in an attempt to be rewarded with a view- luck was on our side, we got our view

20140222-205156.jpg

20140222-205204.jpg

20140222-205214.jpg

20140222-205227.jpg

20140222-205236.jpg
It was well worth the second walk up the view was spectacular.

By now, it was coming up towards nap time again, and so we programmed the sat nav with a pub we’d seen in the Brit Stop book located near the Tissington Trail ready for tomorrow. After a nap, a couple of pints, a chat with another motorhomer also staying, we were worn out and so hit the sack!

20140222-205512.jpg

Feb Half term- The Peak District, Pt 2: Edges and Ales

Bluebell the motorhome is parked up on a lovely hard standing pitch with panoramic views on…..wait for it…. A………CAMPSITE!

We are pitched up for the night on the very pretty, and extremely good value Beech Croft Farm Caravan and Campsite

20140217-140427.jpg

During winter months, we can manage 2-3 nights without hookup/ water/ loos, then we need a night on site to empty, re fill, charge etc. So, here we are, and first impressions are very good! Especially for just £18 for the night.

So yesterday, we made an early start and drove the 5 miles from our Britstop to another pub, The Robin Hood Inn which was the starting point of the walk we were doing and where we had pre booked a table for dinner, and during the process of booking asked if we could stay overnight in the car park, to which they obliged.

We set off on our “Edges and Ales” walk and couldn’t believe how lucky we were with the weather!

20140217-141140.jpg

20140217-141204.jpg

20140217-141216.jpg

20140217-141245.jpg

It was a lovely walk which took in Bircham Edge, Chatsworth Estate and then Dobb Edge although we both found it tough as we are out of practice with the ol hill walking! Mind you, my homemade sloe gin helped!

20140217-142013.jpg

When we got to the Chatsworth House estate there was a big trail hunt about to start, and we were offered mulled wine and cake! Which was very welcome by that point I can tell you!

20140217-142151.jpg

20140217-142201.jpg

20140217-142208.jpg

We carried on the walk and got back to Bluebell feeling a bit like this…..

20140217-142215.jpg

One advantage to parking our motorhome in the pub car park was that we could both shower and change before dinner! We went in early for dinner and enjoyed a couple of pints of Pedigree before. The menu was lovely and we both were near enough foaming at the mouth by the time our parsnip and honey soup came out! I followed the soup with Sirloin of Roast beef and Keefy had homemade fish and chips and we both had homemade treacle tart with whiskey cream and ice cream for pud. The meal was gorgeous and the ale slipped down very well indeed!!

After “one for the road” we stumbled back to our room for the night and fell into a deep snooze! Must have been all that fresh air!!

We had a chilled and quiet evening and managed to escape hangover thankfully!

This morning the weather wasn’t so bright, so we decided to have a drive and then check in to the site at the earliest opportunity, in this case 12pm.

We drove up through Froggart, then to Bakewell, where we nearly stopped, but it was packed busy and we’ve both been before, so carried on to the quieter but equally as pretty Ashford in the Water

20140217-143050.jpg
then Monsal Head viewpoint

20140217-143352.jpg

We’re now all settled on our campsite, re charging and chilling – after all the weathers a bit gloomy and we are on holiday so are quite happy to have a day of doing not much!! 🙂 ***

20140217-143807.jpg

*** edit 5:30pm***

Us being us, got bored of chilling by roughly 2pm, so decided to see what walks were around from the site. We knew were close to the famous Monsal trail but didn’t realise we were within walking distance. A quick cross reference on streetmap and the memory map and a donning of the waterproofs and we were off.

We did a 3.5 mile circuit in 1.5 hrs- it took us across the moor

20140217-173011.jpg

Down into the gauge and onto the Monsal trail

20140217-173115.jpg

20140217-173131.jpg

Along the trail and through some cool tunnels

20140217-173210.jpg

20140217-173217.jpg

And back up a hill to the campsite!

20140217-173252.jpg

20140217-173257.jpg

Not forgetting past the campsites very own dog and muddy boot wash! (Much to the disapproval of Jazz!)

20140217-173355.jpg

The sun has now set, and it’s most certainly time for a beer!

Until next time

Lx

Feb Half term- The Peak District, Pt 1: The Crooked Spire of Chesterfield

Bluebell the motorhome is parked up in the car park at BritStop 518 (2914 book) overlooking the Derbyshire Dales and the town of Chesterfield.

20140216-083244.jpg

We didn’t leave Norfolkshire til lunchtime as we’d had a busy day yesterday moving Keefy’s mum. We weren’t in a major rush, as all we wanted to do was see the Crooked Spire of Chesterfield, and then chill and have a couple of beers in the pub.

It was a very blustery journey across the fens, but we still made good time, despite us rarely going about 50mph. We passed through rain and sun then rain again, but by the time we reached Chesterfield we had a break in the rain so found a car park right by the church and so set off for a quick explore.

The spire really is worth a visit to see, the crook in it is believed to becau sed by untreated timber being used when it was built 700 yrs ago- it’s very Tim Burton like.

20140216-083722.jpg

20140216-083732.jpg

20140216-083739.jpg

After a good circuit round the church ( there wasn’t much else to see in town) we drove the 4 miles or so out of town to our rural retreat of a pub which is on a hill so overlooks the valley. We had a good chill, watched a film, napped, went for a couple of beers and watched the International Space Station pass overhead, then turned in for the night.

20140216-084044.jpg

20140216-084051.jpg

20140216-084056.jpg

It was so peaceful during the night, and this morning we were treated to a gorgeous sunrise over the valley. We are feeling chilled to the max, and are looking forward to driving up to near to a Chatsworth house today for a good walk – and weathers looking promising so hurrah!

20140216-084600.jpg

20140216-084606.jpg

20140216-084611.jpg

In other news, I’m somehow picking up 4G from here which is a first for me, and although we weren’t able to pick up wifi from this site, my 4G on my phone is tethered to my ipad and Keith’s ipad and seems to be powering it very impressively. Currently I’m online uploading photos and writing this blog post, and Keith is online streaming music from Spotify, and enjoying his new Bluetooth speakers, which are fab btw (more on those another time). I will just have to keep an eye on my data allowance! :-/

Have a great Sunday folks, and happy half term to fellow teachers out there!

Until next time

Lx

Yorkshire Dales- The final Chapter

Bluebell the motorhome is currently hurtling down the A1 Southbound, somewhere between Doncaster and Newark! We’ve decided to head homewards today as we both fancy going to the village fireworks event tonight, but my gosh, we are heading home fully relaxed, well fed, watered and a little stiff round the knees from the walks we’ve enjoyed!

We had a fantastic 2 nights at Brit Stop no 713 (near the viaduct 😉 ). We asked them if we could do 2 nights, as there were two walks that we fancied trying out and they were more than happy for us to stay. It was win win- we must have spent £70+ on their legendary a Station ale the first day alone, and day 2 we drank them out of the Ale (whoops!) and enjoyed a hearty 3 course meal off their huge menu! For us, it was really nice to not have to drive, and we found that even after a rather immense walk we totally chilled down and felt tons better for it (if not slightly hungover!!)

We did two walks near Ribblehead, one at took us under the viaduct and another that took on some of the Ribble Way. The latter was really adventurous! We found ourselves having to try out some survival skills fresh off the tele- on finding ourselves at a river that needed to be crossed, with no sign of a bridge, we remembered a tip from one tv prog, take off your boots and socks before wading through- it keeps them dry. So off came our boots and socks, Keefy lobbed them across the river (thankfully he’s got a good aim!) and off we went! It. Was. Freezing! Luckily we got through despite a near miss with Jazz where the current dragged him off and he almost slipped out of his harness! And we were very pleased to have dry socks and boots to put on the other side!

After our two nights at 713 we travelled south to Malham and parked up at the tarn. We had a walk that took in all the main sites, the Tarn, the Cove- a huge natural limestone pavement on the top of a big gorge, the pretty village, Janet’s floss waterfall, and Gordale Scar crag. At 6.5 miles (and a lot of challenging paths) it was a great walk but very tiring, although we were really lucky with the weather! After the walk we headed for our final BritStop of the week, a farm shop about 2.5 miles away from Malham. We enjoyed looking round the shop, and stocking up on the essentials; bacon, beef steaks for tea, local cheese and some veg! All the ingredients for a hearty local tea, beef in reed wine stew from my new campervan recipe book- thanks Sam! 🙂

We had a lovely evening chilling and enjoyed listening to the tawny owl that was on the tree above us. Sadly we couldn’t see it, but it was a lovely sound to hear.

So now we are on the home run, having had a brilliant week of eating drinking sleeping and chilling! We are so glad we chose to do the Dales, we’ve seen so many awesome things here and it’s been nice doing a smaller scale tour with less driving.

BritStops once again has been beyond Marvellous. We’ve managed to centre our tour around a small area taking in local pubs and farm shops and we cannot recommend it enough to anyone.

Holiday highlights are Ribblehead, Fountains Abby and Malham 🙂

Until next time

Lx

20131102-123947.jpg

20131102-124002.jpg

20131102-124040.jpg

20131102-124053.jpg

20131102-124117.jpg

20131102-124130.jpg

20131102-124143.jpg

20131102-124148.jpg

20131102-124155.jpg

20131102-124204.jpg

This post is fuelled by the Station inn ale!! ;-)

Bluebell the motorhome is parked in the car park of our 4th Brit Stop of the week! We are high up in the Dales, where it is clear but blustery, that sort of weather where after a long walk, it only seems right to take advantage of the log fire in the pub!

We’ve had a brill couple of days, departing Harrogate yesterday morning and visiting Fountains Abby, which was stunning with the autumn colours in the trees. We spent a great couple of hours there (I actually think the £9.50 each entrance was more than reasonable with the Abby, the hall, the mill plus miles of beautifully landscaped gardens to explore- plus Jazz was welcomed in too!)

After our visit to NT Fountains Abby we stopped at Ripon to visit the cathedral to see the 6th Century crypt, very cool! And the prison museum, very creepy! We then carried on to Masham, home to Theakstons brewery and the MAsham sausage- both of which we sampled extensively 😉

We then headed to our stop for the night, an old Brit Stop hotel/bar in the heart of Wensleydale. It had a fantastic roaring fire and we were able to continue our Theakstons and Masham sausage tasting into the evening as I cooked us a sausage stew from some local Marsham sausages, which we washed down with a couple of bottles of Old Peculiar… Hic 🙂

Today, we got up bright and early, and tackled Buttertubs- a high pass that links Hawes to Thwaite. On the summit you can see these marvellous limestone stones that have been caused by years of acidic rain falling onto the limescale rocks to cause these 100 ft deep gorges. It got its name Buttertubs as legend says that in the olden days men used to store their butter there between market days, to prevent having to carry it down the hill then back up the next day.

We then made our way to Ribblehead, which is where we are now. There is this fantastic viaduct here which with the backdrop of the rolling dales, it’s very atmospheric. We’ve had a lovely walk this afternoon, and then a good session in the pub where we are staying tonight and tomorrow. It’s got some brill ales on, wine, whiskeys and food. What more could we want!!!

Until next time

Lx

20131030-193632.jpg

20131030-193711.jpg

20131030-193723.jpg

20131030-193730.jpg

20131030-193742.jpg

20131030-193756.jpg

20131030-193806.jpg

20131030-193812.jpg

This post is fuelled by Theakstons ;-)

Bluebell the motorhome is out and about for half term, despite the weather warnings! We were supposed to go to Kent this week, but yesterday when we were due to leave we (luckily) caught sky news and learnt about this storm that was supposedly heading Kent way. Needless to say, after a few hours of umming and ahhing, we departed East Harling and rather than heading south, we decided to had north. To be fair, it doesn’t take much for me to consider visiting Yorkshire, it’s a well known fact I love it here, and any opportunity for me to carry on showing Keith that it’s not all grim up here, il gladly take.

3 hours later and a very very good journey traffic wise ( perhaps everyone else was taking the advice plastered on the tv- only make necessary journeys….) we rocked up into a rather large car park of the BritStop we had set the sat nav for- a 14th century village pub, promising log fires, real ale, and good grub. Perfect, just what we were after (who isn’t?!) We had a lovely night sampling their local ales, chatting to the very friendly staff and of course, being a Sunday night, catching up on Strictly! That’s right- the pub had strictly on their bar tv- can’t remember watching it in such a brill location- beer on tap, fire… yes I was in heaven.

20131028-211659.jpg

20131028-211708.jpg

20131028-211715.jpg

After a very good, long sleep we had a fry up, and set the motorhome towards Knaresborough. We’d read about its famous viaduct and knew that Mother Shipton, the prophet was born here. Nothing had prepared us for how beautiful it was. The viaduct and river was so pretty, and the old houses stuck out of the rock reminding me of Dinan and to some extent the Dordogne. It was lovely. The weather certainly helped- we kept hearing on the radio about the chaos in the south of England, but here we were in our sunglasses enjoying the autumn leaves and breeze. Lovely

20131028-212131.jpg

20131028-212142.jpg

20131028-212149.jpg

20131028-212156.jpg

20131028-212208.jpg

We visited Mother Shipton’s cave and the petrifying well. It was a great place to visit- we liked the fact that our pampered pooch Jazz could also enjoy it with us. The petrifying well was particularly amazing- basically anything that was hung there turned into stone by the minerals in the water after 3 months, and there were examples of teddy bears hanging, turned into stone, hats, gloves and even a lobster shell.

20131028-212432.jpg

20131028-212441.jpg

20131028-212449.jpg

20131028-212456.jpg

We also enjoyed the Halloween figures dotted around the site…. Creepy or what?!

20131028-212638.jpg

20131028-212646.jpg

20131028-212654.jpg

20131028-212701.jpg

20131028-212709.jpg

20131028-212720.jpg

20131028-212728.jpg

20131028-212736.jpg

After a really enjoyable day we headed towards Harrogate, where we found our next Brit Stop pitch within walking distance of Harrogate centre. It’s a not a pub, it’s a shop, but the owner was very friendly and also a motorhome owner. We enjoyed an evening stroll into Harrogate, which is where the Old Peculiar came in… Great night, great day! It’s good to back touring 🙂

Until next time x