Saturday, 1 December 2012


We were booked to go to York for two nights in the van this weekend, but I got a phone gall from the Caravan Club during the week to say that the Rowntree Park site was flooded. Ok I thought it would be but also thought that maybe it would be open again by the weekend, after all the floods have now gone. It will not however reopen until the 10th of December so the trip is off.

A couple of days after the phone call I received an Email from the Caravan Club saying;

Dear Mr Gant

Thank you for cancelling your UK Club Site Booking with The Caravan
Club. This ensures your pitch is available for another member.

Well I didn't cancel, so I replied;

Hi there, I did not cancel the booking, the site is closed because of flooding and you phoned me to cancel. I would not like this to go on my records as a cancellation and if the site is still open I do not want the pitch available for another member, I still want it.

The Caravan Club replied;

Dear Mr Gant

Thank you for your email.

I`m sorry but Rowntree Park will not reopen until December 10th, this will give us time to access the damage and make any repairs needed. Hopefully the rain has gone for now and this will also give the site time to dry out.

I can confirm the relevant notes have been added to your membership regarding the cancellation and confirming the site has been evacuated due to flooding.

If we can be of any further assistance then please advise by replying to this email.

I think that is what the first Email should have said, it would have been more helpful.

The pub was underwater anyway and we are booked in again, in two weeks time, I hope the rain holds off until then.

Thursday, 8 November 2012


As we usually do, we had booked onto our local Caravan Club site at Stockton, for the Council Firework display. That way we don't have to bother with all the traffic, before and after the event, we just walk there, last year.   Only this year, the week before, Dot suggested we go for two night, so I changed the booking.

Day one, 4th Nov

Had trouble staring the van, had to use the battery booster to get it going but then it was ok.

We had lunch and then want for a walk along the river. I have blogged the walk before, Walk, River Tees 2 (Newport Bridge).   Although it was a lot colder this time and it also became very foggy on the retune leg.   Too foggy to take many photos but there was still plenty to see, a seal was in the river and there were plenty of people using the refurbished white water course.

Bridge in the fog

To warm up we went into the The Talpore for a beer, I had a Hobgoblin and very nice it was too.  Back at the van, after a light supper (neither of us was hungry) we had a very early night.

Day two, 5th Nov

Even though we had and early night we also had a sleep in, I have been under the weather and I don't think Dot was on top form either, so we probably needed it. 

I got things ready for tea (Jonathan, Lorraine and the boys were coming for tea before the display) and after lunch we walked into Stockton, Walk, River Tees 1 (Stockton-on-Tees), we could not do the full walk, as part of the path was closed for the fireworks.

We did some shopping but walked too far and my feet were killing me by the time we got back. Instead of sitting though, I had to get on with the food, as the others were due early. There was no beer involved this year as both Jonathan, Lorraine were driving.

For the second year in a row I didn't try to take photos of the fireworks and therefore saw much more than I usually do.  A very good display again, another a big thank you to our local authority for still supporting things like this.

Day three, 6th Nov

When it was time to leave the van would not start, the battery has had it. I walked over to reception to ask for a jump start and had to wait until the toilet cleaning duties were done. They did not seem keen on jump starting the van and insisted it was done at my own risk, with any damage done to the van was down to me.

It took a while to get it going but it did start eventually and got us home. Next thing to do is buy a new battery, so watch this space.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Rowntree Park, update.

We had our first visit back to Rowntree Park, the Caravan Club site in York, last Friday. Our first visit since its closure for refurbishment starting in January, I am not sure how long it actually closed but it was scheduled for seven to eight months.

Well besides the office and toilet block being refurbished and slightly remodelled, I can not see any other changes, at all.

At the time, I said I could not see how the club could afford to close the site for so long and now I am bemused as to why they did. Other Caravan Club sites have no facility, surely it could have managed to stay open. We the members pay for all this, and I can only see that our money has been lost here.

We only had the one night there but we did enjoy ourselves, we had a nice walk around the shops and the obligatory night in the Kinks Arms, what more could you want.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Durham with the girls

Durham, City Boathouse

City Boathouse, Caravan Club Certificated Location. At the Durham Amateur Rowing Club on the banks of the river wear, 10 min walk from the centre of Durham. Electrics are available as are toilets and showers when the club is open (most of the day).

Day one, August 12th 2012

We had booked a couple of nights at the CC CL in Durham city intending to take the twins but had forgotten that Ralph would be bringing Amber up that week as well. No problem we could fit Amber in, she is only little after all, but Ralph informed us that he was also binging Chelsie, not so easy.

The van is a five berth but we were going to have to fit six in, although as I have said, Amber is only little after all.

Ralph drove up with us and we met up with Georgia and Emily there (Nicole and Tim went straight off) and Ralph didn't hang about for long.

So me and the five girls set off for a walk along the river into the city.

The Durham Cow

It was Sunday and by the time we made it to the shops there wasn't much shopping time left (yippee). We basically just had a walk into the centre had ice creams and walked back.


After some discussion, the Twins had the bunk beds, Chelsie had the large bed and Amber slept up top with me and Dot.

It was the closing ceremony of London 2012 and our TV reception was useless (yet again the sat receiver wasn't in the van), so we had to watch on line, that used up many times my internet allowance.

Day two, August 13th 2012

We had the fishing nets in with us and first thing, the girls all went down to the river to see if they could catch anything.   To my surprise they did catch some little fish.  


Later we walked along the river into the city again but before the shops we visited the cathedral. We spent some time in the small cathedral museum, with the girls doing a quiz and dressing up. They even had a go at building an arch from blocks.


After the shops I managed to get a beer, we all sat outside the Swan and Three Signets for one before the walk back. I also had a beer back at the Rowing Club bar, when I went over to pay for the pitch. One thing I haven't mentioned is that the hard standing that had been promised for a couple of years is now complete.

Day three, August 14th 2012

Looking out of the van window to the river Wear, I spotted a Kingfisher in the trees hanging over the river.   This is the first Kingfisher I have ever seen, I only just managed to grab my camera before it flew off.


The girls fished with nets again first thing, before we left for the seaside.

We drove from Durham to Blackhall for fish and chips and then to the parking area with a sea view above Crimdon Dene to eat them. We used this particular chip shop because they are very good, well they are not any more. The chips were horrible, I will not be back there, it did look like it was under new management as well.

The girls had a good day on the beach and in the sea getting very wet as usual. 


I spent the time sat in the sand dunes out of the breeze, trying to take macro photos of various tiny insects and snails.

Later we stopped off at a play park on the way home. I sat in the van reading my book while the girls played. When they came back, a guy form the house we parked outside, complained to the little ones that that the van was in his way. What a big man, I was sat in the van in clear view of the house all the time and he didn't say a thing to me. He soon disappeared when I asked him about it.

So the van is away for now and probably will not be used again until December.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Three nights in Pateley Bridge

With the girls off school for the summer holidays we looked for somewhere close and not expensive and came up with Pateley Bridge. Emailed them to book and sent a £25.00 deposit.  Last min, Mick and Bren booked up as well.

Riverside Caravan Park
Low Wath Road, Pateley Bridge, Yorkshire, HG3 5HL
Web Site

The site is on the bank of the river Nidd, a short walk from Pateley Bridge centre (about 500 yards), facilities are average but clean. Pubs, banks and shops in the village and also two takeaways and two chip shops. Good place for a relaxing holiday or for walking and exploring if you feel like it. As mentioned before in earlier blogs but worth repeating, this site does not take credit cards or debit cards, only cash or cheques.

Day one, July 29th

Arrived about two and after sandwiched, wandered into town along the river, well the girls did. I set every thing up in the van before I joined them. The girls played in the playground for a long while even though the weather was not good, it kept raining for short periods. We were expected Mick and Bren to arrive any time now but got a message to say the road they were on was blocked by a very bad accident.

It was getting late when they arrived, reception was closed but I had been told to direct them to next to us. It was a surprise for the girls especially as they had the dog Jazz with them.

I had cooked the Sunday dinner for all of us and we had it in our van before and early night.

Day two, July 30th

It was sunny when we all walked into town for a look around before lunch, but we all had our waterproofs with us. In one shop Dot found an amber ring she fancied but I wasn't listening to her and she didn't get it. After a brief wander round the rest of the shops, we went back to the site for lunch. We had hot dogs, Emily had planned the food for the holiday before we set off and that is what we had down for today.

Pateley Bridge

After lunch we set off to see if we could catch any fish in the river, we only had fishing nets though. We left by the side gate and turned left to the foot bridge, then over the river and left again to a spot where we knew we could get down to the river, see the walk we did last trip.


The girls loved playing in the river but not nearly as much a Jazz dog did. Especially swimming to retrieve sticks thrown by Georgia and Emily.


While they played I took photos of the local plants and bugs, we were to have a lot of problems with bugs later that night.

Mick and Bren took the dog back to the site and we continued along the river for a short walk. Dot reminded me about the ring she wanted but was too late to to go back into town, we would have to go tomorrow.

Emily had us down for a BBQ that night, so I cooked outside in the cold, as the others sat inside, in Nick and Bren's warm caravan.  We were plagued by midges outside and I think we were all bitten.  


Day three, July 31st

Mick and Bren went for a drive and we walked into town to get the amber ring Dot wanted. Well the shop was closed, so we looked into the sweet shop opposite (Oldest Sweet Shop In England) and bought some lollies. I asked about the shop with the ring, and was informed that the gallery further down the hill had the same owners. We went there to ask but it was also closed.

Georgia asked to visit, The Nidderdale Museum, she had read a pamphlet about it and wanted to go. So we follows the signs for the museum, this took us passed a glass blowing unit and we stopped to watch some glass making. The nice man doing the demonstration gave the girls a piece of coloured glass each to take away.


It was £2.00 each entrance to the museum, accompanied children were free.  A small museum but large for the size of the town and interesting.  The museum building, erected in 1863, was originally the Pateley Bridge Union Workhouse.

Back to schoolNaughty girl

Emily lost interest about half way round, so I gave her my camera to document our visit.  By now it was time for lunch, Emily had us down for pizzas but as we passed the chip shop, the smell of frying and vinegar got the better of us.   The girls had sausage and chips and we just had chip buttys.

Later back at the site we met back up with the others and went back into town for a beer, we didn't go to the one on the main street but went to the pub on the road out.   We got drinks, even the dog, and sat outside, although it was a bit on the cold side. 


After a drink Dot took the girls down to the play ground and the other three of us went inside the pub, for another beer in the warm.


Another BBQ on the night, although everyone joined me outside for the cooking this time, all was well until the rain started and the bug problem reappeared. 

Day four, Aug 1st

While I packed up, Dot and the girls went into town, the ring shop was open and Dot got the ring, it is very nice, I can see why she walked down twice to get it.  The girls also got a bag of lollies from the sweet shop.

We planned to visit Brimham Rocks on the way home, if the weather was fine, well it wasn't raining but it was very overcast. We decided we would take the chance and go. The brown road signs took us a way that I thought would be longer than the way I planned to go but I was wrong. Although the brown signs at one point are misleading and you can go the wrong way if you do not look close enough. We got it wrong and had to turn back to get on the right road.

No entrance fee but it is £4.00 to park (for a car that is, £8.00 for a minibus, I classed us as a car, as there were only four of us), for three hours. It was lunchtime but the girls wanted to get going, so we had some crisps, put on our walking boots and set off to explore the rocks.

It didn't take long before the girls started climbing the rock and then wanting to climb every one we came to.

I was hard to keep track of them at times, we had to split up and watch a twin each. After a lot of climbing we stopped for a drink and chocolate biscuits, before a look round the visitor centre.

Behind the visitor centre there is a walk, where some of the better formations and views are. It is a lot less busy round there, I do not think some of the visitors knew about it.

Saying that, one family managed to get in our way most of the way round, Every time we tried to take photos they were there.

Back at the van we had lunch, it had taken us the full three hours on the parking ticket to do what we did, I do not think it is long enough.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Washing the van

Now that the bunk beds are made (see here), all I have to do is tidy up and put everything away.

Then I have to get ready for a trip away next week, so at the moment I am washing and polishing the van and I am warn out. I have only stopped for a cup of tea.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Past trips, UK 2010??

Looking back while doing my past trips blogs, I have discovered that I do not seem to have anything written down for the 2010 trips in the UK. I have a few notes, a lot of photos and a couple of walk blogs, so will have to see what I can cobbler together. It will probably be a shorter version than usual. It will probably be a couple of weeks before I get around to it and we have a trip away in a few day, so there will be that to do as well. We will just have to see what I come up with.

Past trips, UK 2009 Leyburn

Leyburn August 16th to 19th

Last time we where in Middleham we could see a campsite on the side of a hill, facing Middleham, it was just outside Leyburn, so we looked it up and booked it up and so did Mick and Bren.

Craken House Camping Site 
Middleham Road, Leyburn, North Yorkshire, DL8 5HF

Day one, August 16th

Arrived and booked in, the owner is a very laidback lady and very friendly. Got set up and waited for Mick and Bren and also Nicole and Tim to arrive with the twins.

As soon as every one arrived and got ready we set off into Middleham for a Sunday dinner, we took two cars and got the last two parking places in the square.  I was going to look around but we just went into the nearest pub to where we parked. It was a very friendly pub and they got us seated in a side room but informed us that they were out of roast potatoes.  I fact we were very lucky as the next group that came in looking for food were turned away and it was only two.  Everyone was happy with their meal and they even found a few roasties for us, I say everyone but I am not that keen on the Sunday dinner out, I would rather do my own (I do not like lots of veg, so I do not get much choice).


After dinner we all went to have a look at the castle and the twins led the way, as we had been the month before.  Then it was back to the campsite for a cupper before Nicole and Tim set off for home leaving the twins with us.  The girls discovered that the field at the end on the campsite contained horses, so they would not come away from the gate. That night we watched DVDs and drank beer, the grown ups drank beer, not the twins.

Day two, August 17th

The girls were up early and off down to see the horses, they didn't even bother to get dressed first, they just went down in their pyjamas.

When we eventually got the ready, we made the obligatory picnic and all set off for Aysgarth falls, on the river Ure, in Mick's car.  We parked at the bottom of the hill in the national trust car park, which was very busy, as workmen were using part of it for storage.  Anyway we got a space and made our way to the falls, we all had cameras, Me, Mick, Georgia and Emily, to see who could get the best shot.


We decided that we would have food before we did anything else and luckily there was a picnic table free.

Picnic Aysgarth Falls

To win the photo comp, Mick, besides having the best camera, decided he would climb down to river level below the falls for a better angle. The rest of us were all ready to get a shot of him falling in but he didn't.

Mick, Aysgarth Falls Aysgarth falls
There was a good flow over the falls and they looked very impressive, in fact they usually do and we come here quite often.

Aysgarth falls

We walked along he river for a while, threw stones in it, skimmed stones over it and plodged in it and no one got overly wet. 

Mick Georgia

Then made our way back to the falls through the long grass and wild flowers and again took many photos. 

Wild Folwer Walk

On the way back to the car park we stopped to take photos of the bridge and crossed over to visit the shop in the old mill. The bridge is from 1539 but I think it may have been rebuilt at some time, as one side looks a lot older than the other side.


Yore Mill is a four-storey Grade II listed building, originally built in 1784 but it burned down in 1852, was rebuilt in 1853, and then extended in 1870. We got ice creams and it started to rain.

The Mill and Bridge at Aysgarth Falls

It stopped raining when we got back to the site so we had a BBQ for tea and Mick spent quite a long time on the roof of my van trying to get the internet on his phone.

One mans quest for internet access Beer and BBQ

Day three, August 18th

Spent the morning on the campsite and then after lunch, made the half mile or so walk into Leyburn, the first part of the walk up the lane to the main road is very steep. The main road is very busy so we had to be careful with the twins on the scooters.

Our first stop on the way into town, was Leyburn train station, sadly now just a tourist line and luckily there was a steam train in the station. So we went in for a closer look, the engineers and rail staff were very helpful and let us take plenty of photos.


From the station we continued into Leyburn and took photos back down on the station from the road bridge, I can not count the times we have been over this bridge and never realised the railway and station was underneath.

80105 (1955)

In Leyburn we spent time in the shops, before heading along the Shawl, to a large children's playground with fantastic views across Ure valley.  We also spotted the steam train on its way back from Redmire.

 80105 (1955)

While we let the twins play, Mick and Bren wandered off to the pub for a warm.  The girls seamed to play for ages and it was pretty cool out there in the open, I was glad when it was time to go back into town.


We mat back up with Mick and Bren in town and walked back to the site.  Later Mick and Bren  made curry for tea, very nice and as usual we had a few beers with it and a few more after that.


Day four, August 19th

Our 37th wedding anniversary, booked to take the girls on a surprise visit to the Forbidden Corner on our way home but Mick and Bren where heading off home earlier.

The booking wasn't until two, so we stopped off on the way, just outside Wensley, to have a walk along the river Ure. We did all of the usual things, took photos of the bridge, threw stones in the river, got wet, you know he sort of stuff. Unusually for this summer the sun was out and it was very warm.


We followed signs for the Forbidden Corner but ended up on a road that said private property, looking at the map it was a very long way round. I asked a car driver coming down the private road and was informed that it would be ok to go that way.

We had our picnic lunch in the van at the Forbidden Corner and then had to queue to get in, even though you have to pre book, have an allotted time to enter and pay in advance you still have to stand in a queue to get in, what wonderful organisation.

Forbidden Corner

The girls were very exited but Georgia got scared just going through the entrance and when we got to he indoor parts she we so frightened we had to come out and just look around the outside parts.

Forbidden Corner Forbidden Corner

There is still plenty to do and see but we did miss quite a lot, Georgia was a lot happier though. We sat on a wall for a drink and some chocolate and watched a herd of deer in the field below us. That cheered Georgia up and we continued exploring, getting wet in the process.


However we missed out some of the places and as a result, we were not there as long as we expected.  We left via the road we came in on and the only other stop we made on the way home, was to take a photo of Richmond castle

Richmond Castle