Our first taste of “Wild Camping” – North Norfolk Feb 2012

One of the things we were rather excited about when we picked up our new pride and joy (Bluebell) was the prospect of having a go at “wild camping” – since our leisure battery seemed to hold its charge more we figured we could occasionally last a night or so parked up somewhere other than a campsite.

Unfortunately England isn’t quite as geared up for Wild Camping as Scotland or even the Continent.. in fact technically it’s classed as not legal, but of course, there are all sorts of loopholes and as far as we were/are aware it is tolerated as long as you are not breaching any public order notices/traffic orders or similar, or blocking anyone’s view, on their land etc etc.

For us the appeal was to be able to park up where we like and when we like. Don’t get me wrong, we enjoy staying on campsites, but sometimes we leave them thinking “flipping heck, that was a bit noisy for our liking” or “25 quid to stay for a night?!” We found ourselves sometimes paying up to £30 per night and then begrudging spending any more in the local pub for a meal or whatever, cos we aren’t made of money and if we’ve paid £30 to stay a night in an area it cuts into our holiday spends budget so are more likely not to spend as much money in that local area…

So after A LOT of research on the internet we found this website called http://www.wildcamping.co.uk. WHAT A FIND. We quickly joined for £15 and in return downloaded over 4000 gps coordinates of spots where you can park overnight to our trusty sat nav. We decided to give it a go one night at the end of February, and decided to head towards the North of the county. We visited Walsingham Abby to see the glorious snowdrops (my favourite!) and then headed north towards Wells Next to Sea. There was a spot in a little car park near to Wells that we had read about so headed straight there. When we arrived it was a fantastic location, right on the sea and in a harbour carpark. We spent the afternoon walking up to the main beach, chilling out and enjoying the view. It was glorious. But there was something niggling me. We had seen a small sign saying “no camping” and although we were fairly sure we would get away with it, we both decided that we would rather not risk it as we didn’t think we would be able to relax. So, we watched the sun set over the sea and decided to head into Wells Next to Sea. We found a quiet secluded road and parked up, then went for a walk around the town. We had a meal in the local pub and a few drinks around the town. We wandered back to Bluebell about 9pm and settled in for the night. We set the alarm for 7am and after a great nights sleep we just got straight up and left. We went and had bacon butties back at our spot from the day before and were thoroughly chilled out by the time we headed home to work that afternoon!

From our first experience, we took the following things..

1) If you don’t feel comfortable in a spot, don’t stay

2) Have more than one option of a spot to stay for each area you go.

3) We really enjoyed our wander around the Wells pubs, even though I didn’t have a drink “JUST IN CASE” we were moved on

All in all, we had a great time, and couldn’t wait until the next time.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

October Half Term 2011- Birthday fun in the Brecon Beacons

Birthdays… I have been so lucky. Being a late October babe has meant that I have never had to be at work or school (back in the day!) on my jolly birthday! It’s always been in half term! So I’ve pretty much always gone away!

This year, having enjoyed our previous adventure through Wales, we decided to hit the Beacons, and also teamed up with Dad and Jenny for some R&R, beer, food and walking.

Keith and I started our adventure with a night near Worcester, on a lovely little site on the river. It was lovely, we had a nice wander up the river towards the next village and stopped at a fab farm shop- I bought some marvelous Blackcurrant and Chocolate jam. Yum Yum!

The following day, we set off ready to meet Dad and Jen in Crickhowell and had 2 nights on a lovely, basic little site, overlooking Table Mountain.

Crickhowell is a cracking little village, we really enjoyed our time there. It’s everso pretty, if you are ever heading that way you should be sure to pop for a look around. We enjoyed a walk up to the top of Table Mountain and the views were brill!

The next day, we nursed our sore legs (!) and set off towards Brecon. We were treated to a lovely autumnal day, the colours on the trees were amazing..

In Brecon we visited the cathedral, which was stunning and enjoyed an afternoon of looking around the shops. We then carried on to our site at Aberfran. The site was lovely – all talk focused on where we were eating that night as Keefy had booked a table at a local restaurant http://www.felinfachgriffin.co.uk/.

We enjoyed birthday gin and tonics in Dad’s van and then waited for our taxi to arrive. Our meal that night was absolutely the bees knees!!! It was totally yummy- by far the best meal I’ve ever eaten! So if you’re ever nearby GO, GO GO!

The next day Dad and Jen had to head back to work, so we stayed another night in Aberfran and set out on a little wander round the local area. Our little wander turned into an 11 mile hike (never let Keefy in charge of that again – we didn’t even take any water!!!) but the scenery around that part of the world is truly stunning so it was a pleasure to explore it (I can say that now- at the time, I’m not going to lie, tempers may have got a little frayed in the dehydration of it all, and the ” Its just over that next brow of the hill…” speeches got a little wary after the 20th hill!!)

Next stop following our stay in Aberfran was Pen Y Fan, the highest peak in the beacons, and we were booked onto the site at the National Showcaves of Wales for the remainder of our week. The walk up Pen Y Fan was HARD!!! BUT, we both LOVED IT! Unfortunately it was a pea souper at the top, so we didn’t get to see the view, but we were treated to some snapshots half way down. I absolutely loved it – I can’t believe I’m saying it! I think Keefy struggled at one point, just before the last haul, and I think he found the true meaning of the Kit Kat mantra “Have a break, have a kit kat” as he gobbled his kitkat down in record time and then shot up the mountain quicker that billy goat gruff.

After a well deserved cuppa in Daisy at the bottom, and a reflection on what we had achieved as the cloud cover broke, we head off to the Showcaves site. I have to say the showers on that site were great, and although we wouldn’t usually stay somewhere like that it was just what we needed at that point in the week, especially as Daisy’s water system had decided to give up the ghost. We also enjoyed our visit to the caves, they were fab. A must if you are ever in that neck of the woods.

All in all, a fab week in Wales, we will definitely return, and attempt Pen Y Fan once more but hopefully so we can enjoy the view next time! 🙂

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Chasing the Easter Bunny all the way “ooop north” – Easter 2011 – Scotland and back up the East Side *PART 2*

Apologies for having to do this in two stages- I managed to loose the latter half of my blog rather annoyingly. I’ve had a good day though so I refuse to get moody about this now!

Whilst in Edinburgh we spent some time doing the normal touristy things like the castle and the mile etc. I have to say I really like Edinburgh, it’s got such a great atmosphere. I was lucky enough to have a month there playing at the fringe in 2007, so it was good to be back and in true muso style, visiting some of my old haunts!

After a couple of days in Edinburgh (and an ALMIGHTY hangover on the middle day- by the way, we climbed Arthur’s Seat, accidently taking the proper hardcore route and not the mamby pamby route up that we discovered once at the top!- not the best activity when you are rough as a badgers bum bum but a flipping fab view at the top!) we headed for a few days around Braemar. We visited the Falkirk Wheel which we both found interesting- I first became interested in this after seeing a programme on the mechanics of it whilst at Uni- I surprise myself sometimes…! We also visited Scone Abbey, which was great! I sat on the throne.. oops, I mean the stone of Scone, otherwise known as the stone of destiny. It was used by Scottish Monarchs on their coronations. I’ve just wiki-ed it, and found out that the one at the Abby that we saw is actually a replica- I hadn’t realised that- never mind, I still enjoyed my time on the throne.

At Braemar itself, we did another really awesome walk up a large mountain, and were once again really lucky that when we got to the top we had clear views and my goodness, what views they were. We stayed on a camping and caravan club site for a few days, and to be honest we were ready to move on when we did. There wasn’t anything wrong with it, but it just wasn’t our cup of tea- wardens too-ing and fro-ing constantly and a hi-de-hi feel to it.

We headed south via The Trossachs, Hadrian’s Wall, Goathland and then York. We loved every minute. We walked for miles, we had fantastic weather, we even ran out of shorts and summer tops, so had to do an emergency charity shop run in York.

Below are a snap shot of some of the photos we gathered!

Chasing the Easter Bunny all the way “ooop north” – Easter 2011 – Scotland and back up the East Side *PART 1*

Following on from our Scottish trip in 2010, we could not wait to return, but this time we were determined to avoid the dreaded Midges, cos poor ol’ Keefy got EATEN ALIVE on our last adventure. In true Daisy fashion, we wanted to make sure we saw lots of places before we hit “the main feature” so decided to work our way up the East side of England and then spend a week or so meandering along the Braemar valley.

First stop- Sherwood Forest! A lovely day trip to see Major Oak, and a good stretch of the leggies round the forest, and the dreaded council estate too…

We then worked our way up to Dracula’s old haunt, Whitby. We decided to splash out on a DELUXE pitch at the Whitby Holiday Park, with a promise that we would have the best pitch on the rather large site. And boy did it deliver. When we pulled onto the site, we both looked ahead with trepidation- there was a club house, loads of statics, and all the other things that we would usually not go for and run a mile. We persevered through the lengthly check in procedure and was shown to our pitch.

Pretty awesome, huh?

One of the things we were determined to do this time round, was travel early, pitch then explore. So off we set to Whitby, and enjoyed a mosy round the streets, a couple of beers and the BEST FISH AND CHIPS IN THE WORLD. Hells bells, I can still remember. Yum- tastic! It was precisely after these fish and chips, and during a pint to wash em down (rude not to eh?) that I had a geographic moment of inspiration (these don’t happen very often). I realised we are about as far on the east coast as we could be and, doesn’t the sun come up on the east? As a keen photographer, I decided that I, Lydia P, hater of early mornings, was going to attempt to get up in time to watch the sunrise. Ha, Keith scoffed. YEAH RIGHT. Off we tottered back to Daisy and I eagerly checked sunrise times on my iPhone, set my alarm and fell asleep to Keith going on about how unlikely it was going to be, blah blah blah. What were the chances of a) me waking up, b) me getting up, and c) if I had managed to overcome a and b, what were the chances of being able to see the sunrise- it was early April and you know what British weather is like!

Well, I did, and this is how it was: (I actually took over 200 photos that morning, before 6 am, thats a record for me- these are my favs)

That was one of those moments where you just stand, in humble silence, everyone else on the campsite was fast asleep other than one guy who was snapping away too, and it was just awesome. I even blubbed.. !

Anyway, I was far too pumped to go back to sleep, so sat and went through my photos time and again until it was a reasonable time to eat, and bugger on off, both well chuffed we had splashed out and for once the good old english weather had been kind to us!

Next stop- Holy Island (Lindisfarne). We’d both been here before, but very much enjoyed it this time, driving across the causeway in Daisy with a great view from our high driving position! We were treated to a spectacular sunset that night from our campsite, a perfect end to a perfect day!

Next stop, Edinburgh- time for me to meet Keefy’s cousin Simon- unbeknownst to Keith, Simon and I had shared email conversations earlier that month, as I was in the middle of organising a surprise party for K’s birthday. We had lots of fun trying to be discreet, as we got drunker and drunker and drunker!