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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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

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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

Easter Holidays day 2, Loch Lomond

Hi all

We’ve arrived at the stunning Loch Lomond. Man, I really adore this place! This is the third year running we’ve stopped off here, we can’t get enough. Every time we get past Glasgow and cross the magnificent bridge we both start getting excited! Today was no exception!

Last night we had a great night courtesy of Brit Stops. We loved the location, the chilled out ness, the lady was friendly, it was perfect. Jazz however struggled to relax, mainly due to our neighbours (in the cow shed). The sounds and smells coming from the shed confused him massively and as a result between the hours of about 0230 and 0400 he was huffing and gruffing (thankfully not loud enough to stop our sleep too much) and fidgeting and generally being a pain in the bum. Eventually he decided whatever it was out there wasn’t trying to get in and even it it were he were too tired to care, so settled, and that was that until the loud cockerels awoke us with their glorious song around 8am.

We went to investigate the ice cream parlour and to say thank you, but unfortunately we were unable to get in to buy some ice cream until 11am, and we were keen to move on as we knew we had a long journey ahead of us. We will however definitely return there, and are already discussing maybe a cheeky week round the Ripon area at the start if the summer hols!

We managed to hit the road for half 8 and had a very pretty journey through the Dales heading towards Asgarth and Hawdraw. Keith was keen to visit Hawdraw falls, apparently the highest waterfall in England, and also one of the places they filmed Kevin Costner dancing around in water for Robin Hood back in the day. It was a nice waterfall, but I wouldn’t say it was one of the finest I’ve seen. There was a nice gauge with some impressive icicles hanging down, and there was a fair amount of snow on the ground, but for me it didn’t have the same energy or charm as some of the others we visited on our travels.

We hit the road towards Sedburgh, it’s such a pretty route though the Dales towards Cumbria. We always stop for a piccie near Gosforth, and today the hill tops were covered in icing sugar and glinting in the sunshine. We soon joined the M6 northwards and before we knew it we were passing Glasgow. We arrived at Loch Lomond at around half 3, tonight we are wild camping in one of Loch Lomond’s deep laybys right on the waters edge. We stayed here last year too- and it was packed! This year, we are the only van here. We have seen a few drive past on the the A82 but they don’t seem to be stopping here.

We walked up to the Inverbeg Hotel, where we had a whiskey sesh last year. I have been looking forward to sampling a Loch Lomond malt here since then, as I loved it. Unfortunately this year they didn’t have any on stock, and after about 15 mins and 3 different bar men dealing with me, I returned to Keith with a local ish malt that I’ve forgotten the name of and a dram of Glen Keith (which I’m not ashamed to admit I picked because of the name!) I was a bit disappointed with the service at this self titled whiskey bar today, I’ve got to be honest. The three bar men who dealt with me obviously had no idea about whiskey, and I’m by no means an expert. There didn’t seem to be as large a choice as last year, and the detailed whiskey menu we got last year had been replaced by a very confusing whiskey bible, half of which they didn’t stock! When I got back to our table (outside as they wouldn’t let Jazz in) I said to Keith I feel like I’ve been trying to have a conversation with 3 blokes about tampons! However, I must say my random choices of whiskey were actually very nice and we made our way merrily back to Bluebell and sat on our private beach with a G+T watching the sun go down.

The weather has been glorious and according to both our phone weather apps this big round yellow thing is due for the next few days, so we’ve crossed Jazz’s paws and will see what Mother Nature has in store for us tomorrow!

Until then

Lx

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Easter Holidays day 1, near Ripon

We’re finally away! After two horrible weeks of the lurgy hitting our household, and one cancelled long weekend, we spent the last few days preparing Bluebell and wavering between whether or not we should even set off! The weather in Britain has been abysmal to say the least, with headlines of snow across the country, with severe weather warnings not just for snow but also flooding. Looking at the weather map there literally wasn’t a county that looked to be ok as we pondered where we could go if we postponed our planned jaunt up to the top of Scotland. So in a fit of tiredness after our end of term concerts and commitments, we decided “sod it- we need a change of scenery, we’re going to attempt to do our planned tour”. Our main motto in life is “fortune favours the brave” and this tour is hopefully going to prove that- either that or we will return, or get stuck somewhere and return to Norfolk with our tails between our legs!

So back to today, poor Keith had to go to school teaching this morning so I stayed put and made all our preparations so that we could set off as soon as he got home. Preparation for these sort of tours is paramount- we needed to make sure we had enough food and drink and gas for the heater in case we did get stuck. We also needed to pack LOADS of woollies! And plenty of booze as we had read that the rural areas of Scotland shut all their shops over the Easter weekend and we didn’t want to run out of the wet stuff! Other things include charging camera, phones and iPad, make a picnic for the journey, sort clothes, decide on what shoes to take (Lydia!) and general bits like that. I also found time to make 2 dozen chocolate cornflake cakes, like you do!! ( well it is Easter, and you never know, they may prove vital if we get stuck…!) Unusually for us, on this tour we haven’t booked a single site (other than let James at Clachtoll know that we are intending on getting there at the weekend) so we have the Mapbook, the Brit Stop guide and the POI on our sat nag for the wild camping spots across Britain.

We set off in the glorious sunshine at 2:30pm with a mixture of excitement and adventure. We have a vague idea of where we want to be and where but we aren’t tied down at all. As long as we are back in 10 days then that’s groovy!

We drove for 4 hours solid- So, where did we end up? Well, I can’t tell you exactly (unless you are in the “club”- number 715!) , because we are staying at a Brit Stop tonight. Brit Stop is a scheme for motorhomes where local businesses, farms, tea shops, pubs etc register to be included in the guide. They basically offer their land and sometimes a facility such as water, or maybe electric, but generally it’s a car park. Motorhomes such as us then register on the scheme for a single payment of£25, receive a guide book with all the locations in and a lovely sticker for our window and are allowed to visit these car parks to stay for free overnight. Motorhomers are asked to say hello and show some interest in the product, but there is no obligation to buy.

What I will tell you is that we drove through the beautiful Ripon, making a mental note to come back and visit one day, and are parked outside a shed of cows and geese with a fabulous view over the dales and the product here is ice cream!! 🙂

So tonight we can see some snow laying on the sides of roads, but it hasn’t interfered yet- tomorrow we are aiming for Loch Lomond, so we will see how that goes. We’ve had tea, I’ve had a couple of gin and tonics, and frankly the world is looking like a rather great place right now!

Enough waffle from me,

More tomorrow! 🙂

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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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