Thursday, 9 February 2012

Past Trips, UK 2008 Cotherstone


March 29th to April 1st.

29th March

Our usual Saturday night out was cancelled so I started to look for somewhere to go, with not much luck, then Dot spotted an advert in a camping magazine for Doe Park, it looked good, so I phoned and booked for that afternoon. Just then Nicole arrived with the twins, and Emily decided she wanted to come with us, this was not a straightforward as it seemed. We had no change of clothes for her or even a coat but we managed to find enough for the day including a coat (that Emily refused to put on) and anyway Nicole would come to pick her up in the morning.

Doe Park, Campsite
Cotherstone, Bernard Castle, Durham, DL12 9UQ

It was raining when we arrived and it didn't stop all day, as it was last minute decision to bring Emily so we had no children's DVD for her to watch, the TV reception was dreadful and it was way to wet and windy to set up the satellite dish.  I asked in reception if there was a path to the village, the answer was yes but it was very steep and would be very slippery, so we didn't even go to look for it.  Latter that afternoon we discovered a DVD in one of the overhead lockers so that kept Emily occupied for a while, and then after tea the TV was just about wachable so we watched for short while and then all had an early night.

Emily did have a towel for the showers though.

Frog Emily

30th March

Weather much better, it had stopped raining but it was still very windy, me and Emily had a walk over to the fields, to see the new lambs, when the site owner came over a said we could go and see the new born lambs in the birthing pens and sowed us the way.   So we went back for Dot and set off for the farm buildings to see the lambs, we had to walk through deep wet mud to get to them and I had to carry Emily. Twin lambs had just been born and there where triplets in the next pen, also there was a pen full of lambs rejected by their mothers, all of them as cute a buttons.

Back at the van and after getting the sat working, for Emily to watch children's TV, I decided to go for a wander with the camera to see what was close by, while Dot and Emily waited for the others to arrive. I set off out of the front gate and headed towards the village of Cotherstone, there was no footpath but the road was very quiet.  The route was down hill to the river Balder and then back up the other side to the village, at the bottom of the hill I stopped to photo the bridge then headed along the river towards the slippery dirt path to the campsite. It is a very beautiful valley, the river was running fast and high over small falls by the ruins of an old farmhouse.


The path back up to the campsite, was quite steep but not nearly as slippery as I had expected.

Soon, Nicole, Tim and Georgia arrived and we set off for High Force, the largest waterfall in the UK (most water not highest), we all went in one car and there was still a spare seat. Paid £2.00 for parking but went straight into the hotel for Sunday diner where parking is free.  Great lunch, plenty, tasty and a very fast service, Nicole, Tim and the girls had the roast beef, Dot had the lamb (don't know how she could after this morning) and I had boozy beef (steak cooked in beer), All served with Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes and lots of vegetables, this was all washed down with a pint of Everards Original, very, very, nice.

It cost £1.00 each for a ticket from the gift shop, to use the path to the falls and you get the ticket punched at the top the path. By now the wind as dropped the sun is out and it's a glorious day for a walk.

You turn up when there is more water coming over than usual, the sun is shining and then you can not get a good photo because the large flow of water is causing too much mist.

I have read that it is unusual to see the river running over both falls but on the few occasions I have been, I have seen it twice.  Climbed the steps to the top of the falls only to find a locked gait (last year, a young man had fallen from the top wile he was collecting rocks for his new tropical fish tank, he did not survive), oddly on the other side of the river (if you can be bothered to walk there), you can get right up to the edge.  The girls enjoyed the walk, the falls and playing Pooh sticks from a small bridge on the walk back to the car park.

On their way home the others dropped me and Dot of at one of the pubs in the village, we would have a couple of beers in one pub, then move on the other one for a couple more before setting off back for an early night.  It was four in the afternoon when we walked into the first pub the Red Lion, only to be informed that they had just closed and wouldn't reopen for two and a half hours.  So we walked to the next one the Fox and Hounds only to find this one had been close since two thirty and also wouldn't reopen until six thirty either.  We now have these wonderful all day opening laws in this country and you still can't get a drink when you are thirsty.

I have read quit a lot lately, about pubs not being able to make any money, what with all the competition from cheap supermarket beer and people drinking at home, well pubs in Cotherstone, go figure.

So we went for a short walk along the river Balder, where I showed Dot what I had found on my wanderings this morning.


We then went back to the van up the steep dirt path and watched a beautiful sunset drinking cheap supermarket beer (saved quite a few shekels there). When it got dark, which it didn't until late as the clocks had gone forward, we watched a film (movie) on DVD, Atonement, no wonder it didn't win any proper Oscars, if you haven't seen it don't bother (but that's just my opinion).

31st March

Woke up to a beautiful morning so we decided to make a picnic and go for a walk along one of the many public footpaths, we could do with some OS (ordinance survey) maps, as we had no idea where any of them went.

For the full story of the walk click on the link below. 

Cotherstone, Approximately 2.5 mile or 4.0 kilometres

Beers in the van again on the night.

1st April (no fooling)

It was raining so we packed up and headed for Barnard Castle for a look around the shops, we where very low on fuel and had to drive through town first to get some but that did give us the opportunity to spot potential parking places as we went though. In the petrol station I found for sale, four beers I had never had before so that was good, and the parking we had identified on the way was still free.

When we walk to the centre the sun was shining, so we set off for the river for some photos but as soon as we started down the hill, the heavens opened and we rushed back to the shops for cover.

Soon the sun was back out and we when down to the river and bridge for some photos but it did start raining again and ruined many of the pictures.

Back on the main street we had bacon buns for lunch (a treat for us, we are on a diet), looked round the rest of the shops, got more beer I had never had before, and some bargains in a clothes sale.

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