Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Past Trips, UK 2007 Scotland


August 17 to 18th

Got an Acer n35 PDA with GPS capabilities built in off eBay, for £90.00 and was trying it out for the first time, it seemed to work very well. I do not think it is as easy to use as the laptop but it had other advantages and it got us there.  

Gibson Park
Gibson Park, Caravan Club Site High Street
Melrose, Scotland, TD6 9RY

Only sopped for one night on our way to Aviemore, we like Melrose and used to visit for the Sevens, so it seemed like a good place for the night.  It is a CC site in the centre of Melrose just opposite the rugby club, not far off the A68 or A7, in an excellent position, two mins walk to the shops and bars and has the usual good CC facilities.  There were a lot of Italian registered motorhome about, strange as we do not usually see many foreign vans at all.  Walked to town on the evening and had a bar meal in one of the pubs and a few beers as well.  Next morning we were lucky to get out of town just as the pipe band championships were starting.


August 18th to 22nd

The drive up was relatively easy but there were long hold ups at the Forth bridge.

Glenmore Forest Camping & Caravan Park

Glenmore Forest Camping & Caravan Park 
Aviemore, Inverness-shire, Scotland, PH22 1QU 

18th Aug

Site is in the heart of the Cairngorms on Loch Morlich, with its sandy beaches, ideal for sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, fishing and relaxing. It is a Forestry Commission site but it is now run by the Camping & Caravan Club and has new facilities. Scotland's largest ski area is nearby with a funicular railway up Mount Cairngorm. We had been here before on our honeymoon, 35 years ago and the only change I could see was the new toilet block.

It was very wet when we arrived and the only hard standing had caravans on, luckily a percentage of the site is on hard rocky ground so we pitched there.

I managed to get the satellite working, to a certain extent anyway, we had some channels and we had forgotten the sky card for the didge box. It was at this time I discovered a problem with Midges, I was almost eaten alive in the short time I was setting up the dish. It was also very cold.

19th Aug

Our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary and it was still wet and cold, thirty-five years earlier, it had been warm and sunny, this global warming is working in very strange ways.

We headed off into Aviemore, we left the scooter and took the van as it was too wet (something we have rarely done). We wanted to have a look round, to see how much it had changed in 30 something years and have an anniversary meal.  First we decided we would eat, and had a good three course Sunday lunch in one of the hotels and a beer that tasted like home brew (not good home brew).  Then we went for our walk round.

Well most of the town has been taken over by Mcdonalds Highland Resort a hotel group, the old main street looked the same but what was the new town centre last time we were there had gone, replaced by this resort.  We had, had a problem finding somewhere to park in Aviemore, Mcdonalds Highland Resort seemed to have car parks all over their resort but they are not in use.  As I have already mentioned they pulled down the old centre and built a shop and car park that were both empty, when the rest of the main street was heaving.  The whole of Mcdonalds Highland Resort looked empty when we where there (presumably it is used during the winter), what a waste.   Lastly the ice rink had gone, a winter resort without an ice rink??   It was all very disappointing.

We finished the day with a trip to Cairngorm but we were too late to take the trip in funicular railway, it was a chairlift last time we were there. After that we went back to the campsite and had a walk through the trees to Loch Morlich.

20th Aug

Unusually for us we went out for a drive in the van again, first we had a drive to Loch Ness, we parked up to look at the lock on the Caledonian Canal at the top end of Loch Ness.

Caledonian CanalCaledonian Canal

We then headed north, over the Kessock bridge to the north side of the Moray Firth and the Black Isle, for a spot of dolphin watching, of course we didn't see any, just lots of other people looking for them. It is still very cold.

Dolphin watchingBlack Isle

21st Aug

Went back up Cairngorm but on the scooter this time and this time we did get on the funicular railway to the visitor centre. Now you can walk to the top of Cairngorm but if you get on the funicular railway to the visitor centre, you are not allowed outside, anyway the fog was that bad you couldn't even see outside, we came up for the view and it was foggy so we had a beer and went back down.

Cairngorm funicular railwayScotland Aviemore 2007

Eventually the sun came out and we had a pleasant evening watching the sun go down over the Loch Morlich.

Sun reflecting onto Loch MorlichLoch Morlich, Scotland

22nd Aug

It was a very long drive back home.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Past Trips, UK 2007 one

I will try to review 2007 in the order we visited but for places like York, where we do multiple trips , I will lump them together.

Originally was going to book the Camping & Caravan Club site at Boroughbridge for our fist outing this year but in my opinion it was far too expensive for out of season. In fact I emailed them to say so, as follows

Just been on line to book Boroughbridge in Feb, but at £53.00 for three days with a Motorhome, I just do not think this is reasonable. Other private run sites are hugely discounted at this time of year, so I will book with one of them instead. I will have to think hard before I renew my membership this year.

I received the following answer.

I have read your comments, and am sorry that you feel fees on Club Sites are too expensive. However, I would stress that all fees are discussed and agreed upon by the UK Club Sites Committee, a body that consists purely of Club Members. Decisions by this Committee are made to meet the best interests of all Club Members, and to ensure the Club continues to raise sufficient revenue to maintain and improve Club Sites to the high standards that our Members have come to expect.

However, I appreciate you are unhappy with the fee structure as it currently stands, and will ensure that your comments will be recorded for possible reference by the UK Club Sites Committee.

So I booked elsewhere and emailed back.

Thanks for your reply, I appreciate what you are saying but I have managed to book a site with similar facilities in North Yorkshire for £37.50. I also checked the Caravan Club and the Stockton site for the same dates, for a member, would have been £33.60 this is also a site with similar facilities. Its not that I feel the club sites are too expensive all year, just at this time of year.

Goosewood Holiday Park, Sutton-on-the-Forest, February 18th to 21st

The site we booked instead, is not far from Easingwold and fairly close to York, although we had no intention of leaving the site this trip. There is a health suite on site, small pool etc, you have exclusive use of this facility for 45 mins at £10.00 per session but were very disappointed to discover it was not in use over winter (just when it would be of most use). There was also a small shop in reception for sweets, milk, bread. etc.

This is one of those crazy sites that have hardstanding but a six to ten foot gap between the hardstanding and the road, I was reassured by the warden, that if I did get stuck they could tow me off though.

We had the twins with us and the weather was wet most of the time we where there (this was before the wet weather of 2007) but we had some dry spells and the girls enjoyed it very much.

Goosewood Holiday ParkGoosewood Holiday Park

We spent our time there walking (there is a short but muddy circuit of the fishing lake) but outside the site the is no pavement (sidewalk) so it was a bit dodgy with the twins, we also spent a lot of time in the adventure playground. Where the girls made lots of friends.

A good point for this site was a bathroom, very handy for getting twins ready for bed, £1.00 for the hot water. We had new torches for the dark walk to and from the bathroom, loads of fun.

When it was time to leave, I walk over to reception to let them know I would require towing of the pitch, as I didn't want to churn up the site any more than it was and it was quite bad in places. The warden turned up with their small tractor but insisted I try first to reverse off first, as I feared the van just sank in the mud, the warden then suggested I try to go forward and round in a circle. Eventually when it sank in to his brain as well as the mud I got towed onto the road and the site was slightly worse than it needed to be.

Crimdon Dene, near Hartlepool, April 10th to 14th

We had booked in to Crimdon just for somewhere to take the girls, as they were off school for Easter. The site was very busy, it was Easter week but the pool did not get too crowded. We now had a two man tent that we could use for the girls to play in and also keep all of their toys is, to give us more room in the van.

Crimdon, April 2007

As soon as we arrived the girls went straight to the pool, while I did thing like get the sat working. On the beach the next day on what turned out to be one of the best days of the year, we actually got sunburnt (not bad for April). Then it was in the pool before tea.

Collecting driftwoodCrimdon, April 2007

Next day we walked through the Dene and had a go at flying kites, we eventually got them to work on the beach.  Then back in the pool again.
By the Friday though it was cold and the sea fret (or fog) was very bad. Mick and Brenda came to visit on the Friday and we all went over the clubhouse for a beer, after the girls had been in the pool.

October 23rd to 24th

Back again, just one night, just because its handy and the girls love the pool it is also very cheap, £5.00 for the night.

As in April when we were last there, the site was very busy but again, the pool did not get too crowded and after the pool we went down on beach but this time there was no sunburn. Had a drink in the bar on the way back to the van and then at night watched kids films. One bad thing about the site since the beginning of the year, children are no longer allowed in the Jacuzzi, the girls loved being in there, all because some parents do not supervise there children it affects us all.

Crimdon, Oct 2007Crimdon

Next morning the girls went to the pool again while I got packed up, we were supposed to be off for 10:00 but were allowed to stay until 12:00. Where else can go to a heated indoor pool, twice, have a pitch with electrics on a site with clubhouse, all for just £5.00?

On the way home we stopped off at Hartlepool marina for a picnic and a walk around the Museum of Hartlepool (not the Historic quay the Museum of Hartlepool is free), plenty for the girls to do including a tour of the paddle steamer, PSS Wingfield Castle. The PSS Wingfield Castle was built in Hartlepool by William Gray & Co. for the L. N. E. R. as a passenger and vehicle ferry over the Humber estuary between Hull and New Holland.

PSS Wingfield Castle 2007HMS Trincomalee 1817

Past Trips, UK 2006 three


This was our fist trip to the CC site in Peterborough and it is now an annual event for Amber's birthday, this was for her first one. We had the Twins with us this time and there is plenty to see and do close to the site, even if it's just walking around the lakes.

Ferry Meadows, Caravan Club Site   Me and Amber 2006

We also used the CC sites at Knaresborough and Low Wensleydale both of them are not within walking distance of anywhere, well not when you have two three year old's with you and both had nothing for young children (if you do not count one slid at Knaresborough).

Better for the girls were the two Park Resorts we visited in 2006, Sandy Bay at North Seaton, and Crimdon Dene close to Hartlepool. Both had play areas, heated indoor pools and direct access to good beaches, plus other things that come in handy when you do not have a car. Like a shop, takeaway, bar and kids entertainment. Out of season they are also very inexpensive.

Sandy Bay at North Seaton

DiggingSandy Bay Holiday Park 2006

Crimdon Dene close to Hartlepool

Campsite Pool, Crimdon Dene Park

We also had a couple of nights at Akebar Park in Wensleydale, somewhere we used to visit all the time wnen Nicole and Ralph were young but we hadn't been for ages.

Rickety Rackety, BridgeAkebar Park

We were there in August and you can see by the photos what the weather was like, sadly we haven't been back since, maybe 2012 will be the year we go again.

Past Trips, UK 2006 two


May 14th to 17th, we usually visit this site about ones a year. This time was with the twins.

As you turn off the main road in Hawes to head for the campsite, you pass a small park with a children's play area, the girls spotted it and didn't even want us to go to the site but stop here so they could go play. We checked in and had to convince them to have lunch, before we set off back into town for them to play.

There is a family wash room on this site (you do have to ask for a key though), so each night Dot gets the girls bathed while I set up the bed for them.

Next day was pretty similar only we took a picnic with us this time.

On the third day we thought we might be able to walk to Hardraw Force Waterfall, using the double buggy but this turned out to be practically impossible, so we had a much shorter walk than intended.

Then it was back at the site, for a sit in the large field by the river with some ice lollies purchased from reception and more playing by the river.

Brown Moor, Caravan Club Site.Brown Moor, Caravan Club Site.

On the way home we stopped off at Aysgarth Falls, the weather wasn't quite as good as the previous day. We had to keep the girls in reins to stop them getting in the river and over the falls but we did have a very good day.

Aysgarth falls 2006Aysgarth falls 2006


We had never really considered Dorset for a holiday but when Nicole and Tim said they had booked a holiday there and asked if we would like to come with the we jumped at the chance to visit somewhere different. Nicole, Tim and the twins, were also travelling with Tim's Parents, Jim and Jean, who had lived in Dorset for a while, so they knew the area and were looking forward to revisiting old haunts.

Day one 24th June,

We are booked on to one of the Haven Holiday Parks (Rockley Park) in Poole, for seven nights although we will only be staying for six as we are booked on the Norfolkline Dover to Dunkerque ferry on the seventh night (£38.00 return). We are meeting Niccole and the others there, who are all sharing a three bedroom holiday home.

When we arrive the others are already there and have already sussed out the place, it is a very big park but fortuitously, we are about a hundred yards from their accommodation, it could have been about half a mile. The others are up in the Oasis food outlet having lunch, so we quickly park up and join them for a pint and sandwich.

It is absolutely boiling and I am just about passing out trying to put the awning up only to discover once it is up, that it is faulty, the two flexi poles that hold it up are poking through the material. I am furious and just want to tear it to pieces before throwing it in the bin but Dot being sensible, is convinced the she can fix it. So about a hour later and half time in the footy (Germany v Sweden), I am once again, absolutely boiling and I am just about passing out trying to put up the awning again but Dot is right and everything holds together.

I have spent the time while Dot is mending the awning trying to set up the TV, this site has the worst TV reception of any site I have ever been on, even connecting to the aerial socket on the service point I can just about get BBC1 and we have the worst position on the holiday park for a satellite dish. We are at the bottom of a terrace, with two very large trees on the terrace above, no chance at all.

We are supposed to meet the others back up at the indoor pool but by the time we have finished with the awning, they are on their way back down at their place. The evening is spent watching Argentina v Mexico with a few beers back at their place, where the TV is watchable.

Day two 25th June

Off we go to Tesco for the weeks provisions, I think its because Nicole is an accountant, that we have a list of the food we need for each meal for each night of the week, could be wrong. One funny thing, is how we already have enough beer and wine for the week with us, Dot and I brought the booze for everyone in the van.

Got ready for the England match, flag on the awning (next pitch is a Scot, how do I know? flag in the back of his car and I can't understand a word he says), England shirt on, twins have theirs on as well, beer cold. Not a good game but we beat Ecuador 1 - 0, so its onward and upward to the next round, we will be in France for that one.

After tea we decide on an early night but listen to Portugal v Holland (as we get the winner in the next round), could not see anything on the TV, sounded a bit of a bloodbath though, we get Portugal but several of their players are banned for the match.

Started to rain, rained all night.

Day Three 26th June

As it is still raining and cold, we set of for Bournemouth and the Oceanarium, a sea life centre and also the beach (if it fairs up). After a wrong turn we get parked in the underground car park of the BIC (Bournemouth International Centre), which turns out to be next door to the Oceanarium, it's stopped raining but is still cold, so in we go. Note, you can get tickets from reception at a discount, we didn't.

The Oceanarium is not that big but the twins love it, all of the characters from Finding Nemo are there for them to spot and we go round twice (you can go back as often as you like during the day, if you keep your ticket) but the second time it is getting rather busy. So we set off into Bournemouth centre, a very short walk, for a sandwich.

Bournemouth Oceanarium 2006Bournemouth Oceanarium 2006

In the centre there are several stages setup for a music festival and various different types of music are being blasted out.  Out of all of these different types of music the girls pick out a German brass band with majorettes baton twirling, as their favourite and it takes us an age to get them to move on, eventually it starts raining again which gives us an excuse to move them on.   Back down the beach the girls have an ice cream and a walk on the sand.

Ice-cream BournemouthOn the Sand, Bournemouth 2006

Day four 27th June

Had a day onsite in the pool and down on the small beach, it was a bit windy on the beach but ok if you had some shade. I also took the scooter out for a short run, basically just a look around the very large campsite.

Georgia on the beachPoole Dorset, 2006

That night we all went over to watch the kids show in the concert room, the kids really enjoyed it, but it was very noisy.

Day five 28th June

The rest all went for a day out in Weymouth and a look around where Jim and Jean used to live, there wasn't room for all of us in the car so I volunteered to have a quiet day set in the sun reading. I could have followed on the scooter but I fancied a quiet day. They spent most of the day on the beach on the hot sun.

Weymouth 2006Weymouth 2006

That night Jim and Jean offered to babysit, so we could go over to the bar but after our first beer, the bar closed and we were informed we would have to move into the concert room. Well it was far too noisy in there, so we didn't get much of a night out.

Day six 29th June

Trip into Poole centre on the open top bus, well that was the plan, today the bus had a top on it but the girls thought it was great fun anyway.

Poole, Dorset

Poole centre, with a good mix of old and new shops is just a couple of hundred meters in from the harbour and marina area, with free internet access in the large library. Which was lucky as I was looking for internet access to get an up-to-date copy of the insurance for the scooter, before we set off for France.

It was our last night but we would not be leaving until teatime the next day.

Day seven 30th June

As we did not have to be on our way until teatime we got packed up, took the awning down etc and spent the test of the day by the pool with the family.

Before leaving Poole for Dover, we filled up with diesel at the Tesco we had used earlier in the week.

France 2006

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Past Trips, UK 2006 one

During a quiet time with the van, I thought I could post info on some of our trips in the UK from a year or two back, from before I started this blog. I did all our trips abroad and the links are on the left of the page but I never got around to moving the UK trips from my old web.

I started documenting our trips abroad as soon as we bought the van in Spain but I didn't think to start on the UK until 2006 and even then it was not as detailed as the foreign trips. 2006 will therefor be mainly a list of places we stayed and a few stories along the way.

Also the twins Georgia and Emily (the motorhoming twins), were only three in 2006, not at school yet, so they came with us on most trips that year.


As you may know we visit the CC site in York three or four times every year and the first time this year was for three nights March 4th to 7th, for my birthday, it was very cold, even for march. This first time was without the twins

We returned for four nights, August 19th to 23rd. Had Saturday on our own before Nicole and Tim brought the twins down to stop with us on Sunday. There was a gay pride sort of festival going on in the park (well I think that's what it was), there were bands on and stalls selling hippy stuff. There was also the usual bouncy castle and trampolines and stuff so spent a bit of time there before we had a BBQ for tea.

Day Out York 2006Trampoline, York 2006

Weather was so good we spent most of the last two days of the holiday in the park with the twins playing on the swings, etc.

YorkIce Cream, York 2006

The final two night trip to York was October 30th to Nov 1st for Halloween. Weather not too good, a bit wet, what do you expect October but we got wrapped up and had a walk round the wall, well part way round, it's a bit dodgy with the girls. We also did a trip on one of the river boats but with the weather as it was we sat inside, it was safer that way as well. This was the first time we let the girls have a go with the camera but they could not see through the view finder and took lots of pictures of people with no heads.

Wlaking the Walls, York 2006PA300136

Next day we went for a walk along the river but were caught out by a sudden downpour, it also got very windy and cold. So we headed back to the van to watch films. Later the girls got dressed up (their other Gran and Granddad had bought them witch costumes and done pumpkins for them) then went round the site trick or treating as it was Halloween and they really enjoyed themselves.

HalloweenHalloween, York 2006


We also love the site in Keswick and did it twice this year, although we do not get there much anymore. March 9th to 12th, booked for a long weekend away, for Dots birthday on the C&CC site, thought we would chance the lake district weather (we went to Prague last March for Dots birthday, it could not be colder than there, four inches of snow and the temp never above freezing), we had already spent several nights in the van in the snow over Christmas and also we did York earlier in the week for my Birthday (see York above).

On arrival on Thursday lunchtime, I was surprised to see how many others had chanced the weather as well, mostly motorhomes with a few caravans. We had booked for four night but I had made a mistake and we could only stay for three night, the people on reception were very good about it and said it was no problem and we could just pay for the fourth night if we changed our minds later.

The ground was very very wet and soft, luckily we are on hard standing, got really muddy just plugging the electrics in. We put an old mat outside the habitation door (I knew there was a reason for carrying it everywhere with us).

Put the TV on and the only channel I can not get is channel 5, obviously this is the one I want to watch the Boro v Roma in the UEFA cup. Good job I decided to put the satellite in and I was wrong anyway, its on ITV4. ASTRA 2 should be straight out the back of the van, so I stick the dish to the back with suction pads, point it at the lake and get a single first time (good tip to remember for next time, but will I??).

Keswick 2006

Into town for a few beers before the football, and Boro beat Roma, quite a good day.

Day two, Dot's birthday, it was a lot drier today but there is snow toping the mountains, went out for a meal for dots birthday, then after the meal, as there was a jazz festival on in the town, we ended up in a pub with a jazz band playing, unluckily Dot hadn't been feeling well and we had to leave early (or luckily if your not Dot).

Keswick 2006

Day three, Dot feeling better but we had a quiet day anyway, a walk into town and along the lake before a couple of beers.

Woke next morning to find the van covered in snow, and it was still snowing, had to make a fast decision, do we set off now before it gets any deeper, do we wait to see if it improves, or do we book in for another night? After talking with the people in reception and finding that the roads are still open we decide to set off ASAP and if it is too bad, we will turn around and come back.

Keswick 2006

So without breakfast we set off for home, the roads are not too bad at first and most vehicles are travelling at a steady pace but as we get to the long climb away from Keswick on the A66 the car in front of me slows right down. This is not good for me, he eventually pulls over to the side but by this time I have lost momentum and am sliding about all over, I think we will never get up but by good luck rather than skill we eventually reach the top. The rest of the trip on the A66 through Cumbria is very similar only having problems behind very slow cars but I found that if I hung back before steep inclines, I could then keep up a steady speed and not catch up before he top. Once in Durham the roads started to improve and there was no snow at all past Bowes.

The second trip to Keswick June 10th to 14th, was a lot warmer than last time we where here. Got the twins and my mother with us, although my mother is staying in sheltered accommodation just outside the site entrance road (this is run by the same people as the place she lives in, in Hartlepool and the spare room is only costing her £5.00 per night).

I put the awning up and also had to build the usual compound round the the van with windbreaks, to stop the girls running away.

Keswick 2006

Four days looking after three year old twins and my Mam was exhausting, all three of them needed consent attention but we had fun. We did walks, played in play grounds, fed ducks and played in the paddling pool.

KeswickWet Georgia and Emily