May Half Term 2011- Dorset and Somerset- good ol’ Cider Country!

You may have noticed that we seem to have a tendency to travel “oop north” for our trips. I do take some blame myself on this- being a Northerner I have always been keen to show off our country to Keefy, who, being a “blooody saaaaaaatherner” has barely travelled north of Watford Gap.

Anyway, we did a trade off, he was keen to show me an area he knew well- Dorset. So off we went and I have to say I was rather looking forward to going to an area that us Northerners don’t venture to too often!

First stop was a site near Lulworth Cove. We stayed on a C&C Club site that night and spent about an hour and a half with a beer or 3, watching some guy in a caravan positioning his Sky dish. Seriously it was a right sight! He was moving it left a bit, right a bit, left a bit further, right a bit further. Then he got a chair out and a tripod. Blimey. The things some people will do for a tv signal. Aren’t we camping?!

I thought Lulworth Cove was amazing. It really is stunning! We did a lovely walk along the coast and back- it felt like we walked MILES! At the risk of sounding a bit “blonde”- it really is quite hilly down there- my legs were killing at the end of the walk! But the views more than made up for it, and we had an almost endless supply of sweeties, chocolates and pop to keep us going!

On our way through Dorset we saw the Cerne Giant in the hillside. If you don’t know what this is click below:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerne_Abbas_Giant

What a hoot! I couldn’t believe my innocent eyes!

We headed towards Bath and I had an amusing incident with the owner of a campsite we were staying on and my accent. I rang him to see if there was a bus to Bath from near the campsite, as Bath is officially a no go for motorhomes (the parking was a nightmare- height barrier city!!) so we intended to get a bus in. He had no idea what I was saying! “Is there a boooooooos that runs to bath” I asked him. “what?” he returned. I said it about five times, then Keith had to take over. Apparently what I should have said was “is there a baaas to barrrth”. Who knew.

Anyway, we had a great time in Bath. I managed to get Keith to let us go to the Roman Baths spa for an hour or so. Good work on my part- he usually hates these type of girly activities- and to spend £60+ for the experience, I just couldn’t see it happening. Anyway, turns out because the spa used water from the roman spring- it was a worthy experience for him in a historical sense, so we went and it was lush! That rooftop spa was amazing. Who says camping can’t be a bit glam!

We headed on towards Chedder Gorge, and gorge I did- on local cider. My goodness, we bought this plastic container full of scrumpy and I got absolutely SLOSHED!!!! We stayed on this amazing little campsite and the owner had a Harrier Jump Jet in his garage!!! Honestly, you just wouldn’t believe it! He let us go and look and have a little sit in it!! AMAZING! He apparently bought it on Ebay of all places. Like you do….

The views at Chedder Gorge were amazing. We were both totally bowled over by the whole experience, we walked right up to the top and just sat and watched the world go by. It’s a shame it’s such a tourist trap, but I suppose when you have views as super as that it will attract lots of people.

We headed home via Avebury, which was a lovely little place.

I really really enjoyed exploring this area which I hadn’t been to before (with the exception of Bath).

I learn’t lots:

1) that I am actually a lightweight when it comes to drinking Scrumpy jack,

2) I’m actually a bit scared of heights when I’m dangling off the edge of a rather old gorge..

3) People who live in Bath speak differently to us and I’m still not sure why!

4) The south coast is actually rather a nice place to go to…

Until next time…. Lydia x

Twixmas 2010/11 – Derbyshire and North Yorkshire

After numourous weekend jollies ere there and everywhere, we set about planning our Twixmas Break (Twixmas is the period in between Xmas and New Year, doncha know). Keith, being a “blaaaady saaaatherner” hadn’t explored much of Northern England before, so we decided to head to Derbyshire/North Yorks.

We set off on our travels a couple of days after Christmas, stopping again for an Ali BaBa’s with Krystle in Cov (well it’d be rude not to, and she needed a hand moving some furniture into her new house)

Our itinery was to go to Bakewell, home of the glorious tarts, then hook up with Dad and Jenny and their friends Simon, Emma and Selina for a night on a CL somewhere close by. We would then move onto a

different site near Goredale for NYE (we wanted a site where we could definitely have a TV signal to watch Jools Holland’s Hootenany! and this one promised on it’s website a tv aerial on each hook up) We then traveled onto a farm site somewhere near Malham (I love that place) and visited Malham and Asgarth, before finishing up near Wensleydale.

We had a lovely break, but would be lying if we said we didn’t encounter any problems at all…..

Firstly- pre setting off, the problem with taking a motorhome to Northern England in the middle of winter is that its a bit of a lottery with the weather. We prefer to stay on the small sites (Caravan and Camping Club certified sites only take 5 vans, generally only offer minimal services such as a water tap and a loo dump, sometimes some toilets or a shower, but definately no club houses and all for under a tenner usually..) As such, you tend to find that the sites tend to not want to commit to booking which is fair enough, as you really run the risk of being snowed in at the time of year. Therefore, we found ourselves a little up in the air about whether we would even get up there or not, and whether we would get on a site or not.

Secondly- on our first night we had rather a major leak in the bathroom! We ended up looking all our water from our tank and being stuck in a field not really sure what was happening. My mentality allows me to just think “Oh well, we will sort it in the morning..”. Keith’s mentality doesn’t allow him that luxury. Cue us packing up Daisy, to move it to the farmhouse courtyard (we were in a seperate field) in the pitch black, freezing cold, Keith having to borrow a tool from the farmer to take off all of the paneling in the bathroom to look at the pipes, do something to the pipes, reattach the paneling, re fill with water (the only tap in the field had frozen so we were instructed to use the tap in the cow shed), move back to the camping field, get all our stuff out again. To be fair to Keith and his “I must do this right now” attidude, we were both able to have a nice hot shower that night. Unfortunately during his morning shower the same thing happened again. So off we trotted to Matlock Bath to find his own tools, (number one

rule in a motorhome- don’t go anywhere without tools, you will need them!)

Matlock Bath- I love this place, I used to go regularly with Mum, Dad, Grandad, anyone who would take me really. I can’t tell you how often I have told Keith, we must go to Matlock Bath, you’d love it! So the compromise went like this.. Keith would buy his tools in Matlock Bath and whilst we were there we could explore. Luck didn’t want to be our side that day, clearly. We arrived in the most dense fog I’ve ever seen. You couldn’t see a bean. We went to Sainsburys to get the tools in the hope the fog would lift. When we came out we were planning on moving the van elsewhere so we could explore. Went to start the van. Nothing, nada, zilch, not a bean. We called the AA and were told they would be with us in an hour. We waited an hour. Nothing. Waited another hour. Nothing. Rang AA. Oh sorry Miss P we can’t get anyone to you within 8 HOURS! 8 HOURS!!!!! Bearing in mind we were very close to the M1 and even if they sent someone from London they could be here quicker than that. No Miss P, sorry, just the way it is. Ok. So we had a beer in Daisy (one advantage to a motorhome), Keith fixed his leak once and for all. And then an AA van turned up. He started looking at Daisy and couldn’t work it out. Next thing, another AA van turns up. The two mechanics were rather surprised to see each other there. The second guy straight away asks if we have a fuel pump switch on Daisy. We have no idea, naturally! He spends a minute inside the cab, and next thing Daisy fires up like a dream. Turns out there is this little switch by the leg of the driver. This controls the fuel going into the pump. It’d been switched off accidently as I got out of the drivers seat! The thing about motorhoming is you tend to learn something new every day!

By now, it was pitch black, pea soup foggy, we were tired, hungry and fed up. Back to the campsite, a nice hot shower and a glass of vino, and the world was ok again. But Keith still hasn’t seen Matlock Bath. We must go back!

After this incident, thankfully the rest of the trip went by without hitch. We had a lovely time, we ate well, we drank well, we slept well. All was great until we turned up at our campsite for NYE and found it to be a rather odd place. Too many statics for our liking, and then the guy parked us up in the car park. There was no TV signal, even though it was promised, so we couldn’t watch Jools. We did get electric eventually though, so we spent NYE watching back to back Sex in the City (I am so lucky, K not only tolerates the girly chick flicks, he actually enjoys them!)

Highlights:

DoveDale Stepping Stones

Malham Tarn, Mallam Cove. Awesome. Old Peculiar, Log fire- couldn’t have spent a few hours in the pub in Malham!

Asgarth Falls. Famous for the scene in Robin Hood where Kevin Costner has that sword fight in the water trying to cross to Nottingham- despite the dodgy accent

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