Monday, 6 February 2012

Past Trips, UK 2008 Keswick

First overnight trip this year was going to be Keswick, to meet up with friends for Dot's birthday but through indecision we left it too late and the site was fully booked.  Anyway by chance I checked again two days before the trip and there must have been a cancellation, as there was now room, so Keswick it is.  On the down side, the worst storms of the winter were forecast for the Lake District, on the days we were to be there.


March 9th to 12th

Keswick Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Crow Park Road, Keswick CA12 5EP

9th March

The drive over the Pennines on the A66 was not a windy as we had feared (I had thought the road could be closed to high sided vehicles at one time) and it was quite bright when we arrived.

Booked in, got my club card stamped to prove I am over 55, only been 55 for four days though (I had forgot my new card so will have to do it all over again next site) for discount of site fees (don't know how much off though).  Was offered a pitch in the back field for more protection from the weather but we wanted a lake view, so opted for the view instead.  As I said earlier the site was fully booked, so why by late afternoon were there at least seven hardstanding pitches within sight of our van?

Got set up (sat and stuff), had our prepared Sunday dinner and watched Boro in the FA Cup, what a waste of an afternoon, we got beat by Cardiff 0 - 2 no Wembley for us again this year.   Totally dejected, we set off for a walk into town, it had been an early game and we reckoned that some of the shops would still be open.  We had half an hour shopping and an hour in the Oddfellows Arms on the high street with some Jennings bitter, Dot had a glass of wine.  Then it was back to the van before the forecasted storm, the sat dish had blown over (I had took the pegs out of the van for some reason so it was not pegged down) so I but some large stones on the legs to hold it down.

 Storm Clouds

10th March

The wind during the night was quite bad but we didn't blow over, nor did anyone else and there were tents on site, the heavy rain had made it sound a worse than I think it actually was.  There was snow on the hills that wasn't there when we went to bed, the lake was very high and the ground was very waterlogged, I think it was too wet for the ducks.  The sat didn't work but it hadn't blown over it just needed a slight tweak to get it back on, they were big stones I held it down with.

 Waterlogged SiteSnow Toped

We were due to meet up with friends Trev and Pat but that all depended on the weather, we all have mobiles (cell phones) to keep in touch, so me and Dot set off for a walk to the lake and we would get together in town if and when they arrived.

Dot, Derwent Water

We walked along the lake past the theatre to Friars Crag, for a look at the view, then headed back into town for something to eat and have a look round the shops, for Dot to spend her birthday money (did I mention it was Dot's birthday).

 Me, Friars CragDot, Friars Crag

Back in town just as we started looking in the shops, Trev phoned to say they were here and that would meet us by the Moot Hall in five mins.  We met up and decided we all needed something to eat, so set off to look for a cafe or tearoom for a snack (we would not chance going in a pub, it was too early).  To cut a long story short we ended up in a Thai restaurant and all had BLTs.  Afterwards we all had a stroll back down to the lake fed the ducks and spent the rest of the afternoon there before having tea and coffees in the theatre cafe.

it was back to the shops to see if Dot could spend her birthday money, she had spotted a jacket the day before and luckily there was one in her size.  Also the day before Dot had picked out some green amber earrings but the shop had been closed, today was no different it still wasn't open.  Then we headed back to the van to get ready for a night out.

We met back up Trev and Pat in the bar of their hotel, as they hadn't had to walk far to get ready they were already one drink ahead of us.  We had a couple of beers there (Thwaites, Lancaster Bomber and a Hartleys, Cumbria Way),  before moving on to another couple of pubs just off the high street, Trev and me had a Robinsons, Double Hop in one and a Theakstons XB in the other.

Keswick Lodge

By now we were very hungry and as it was Dot's birthday we let her choose what we were going to do.  We had discussed whether we should have, Indian, Chinese, Italian, Thai but in the end, Dot had seen leg of lamb with all the trimmings on the specials board in the hotel, so English it was.

The food was excellent Dot and Trev had the lamb (it was massive) Pat and me had  pie (I think),  we washed it all down with a couple more pints this time Thwaites, Original, all very nice, good choice Dot.

The walk back to the van was very cold and windy.

11th March

As the weather was poor (cold and damp), Trev offered to take us all out for a run in his car, he suggested we head over Honister Pass, passed Buttermere and Crummock Water, then back to Keswick via Whinlatter Pass.  It sounded good, so that's what we did, I asked if we could stop if we passed any interesting bridges, so as I could get some photos, everyone agreed, as long as it was only me that had to get out of the car, it was cold.

At the bottom end of Derwent water, Trev remembered an old packhorse bridge up in the hills, Ashness Bridge, and set off up the tiniest road to find it.  When we got there it was only just wide enough for the car to get over, while Trev turned the car I jumped out for some photos.  The view back over Derwent Water is magnificent from the area of the bridge but I would recommend you do a walk that includes the bridge, rather than driving up.

The next stop on our trip was for the twin bridges over the river Derwent at Grange, again I was allowed to hop out on my own, then on to the pass itself.


On the other side of the pass we drove along the side of lake Buttermere, through Buttermere and on passed Crummock Water.  As we set of through Whinlatter Pass I spotted another old bridge (Scawgill Bridge over Spout Force) and Trev stopped to let me out in the rain (the others think that I am mad).  By this time we needed sustenance and luckily we were very near the visitor centre at Whinlatter Forest Park, so we stopped there.

We had something to eat and drink then watched and the bird feeding outside the cafe.  In the centre there is a closed circuit TV hook up with an ospreys nest (I think it is on Bassenthwaite Lake) but they are not due back until April.

From there it way only a short drive back to Keswick it was still very early so Trev decided to do a lap of Bassenthwaite Lake and I got some more bridge photos at the top end.  Soon we were back a Keswick again so Trev asked if we wanted to stop or have another drive passed lake Thirlmere to Grasmere, and as there was nothing else to do in this weather, we all agreed.

River Derwent, Bridge fiveRiver Derwent, Ouse Bridge
Grasmere, was wet and very crowded, William Wordsworth is buried in St. Oswald's Churchyard here, I hadn't realised, no wonder it was busy.  By accident we stumbled upon the grave during our wanderings, there was a very loud person spouting his opinions on modern burial techniques, so we didn't get very near and made a swift exit.  I went down by the river below the graveyard to get a photo of a bridge and found I was in the William Wordsworth memorial daffodil garden, it was a poor display of daffodils indeed, not much of a memorial.  On the way back to meet the others, I noticed that the pathway was made of engraved stones, these had been sponsored for £175 each, I think these people were ripped off.

Bridge over the River Rothay

We looked in the souvenir and outdoor clothing shops (the lake district is not short of these) we even got some long oblong serving plates (useful for garlic bread), at a bargain price and outside it was still raining.

 Trev and Me, again

Trev dropped us back at the van for us to get ready for another night out, that didn't take long and we set off early back into town, so Dot could have another look in the shops.  I sneaked away and got the beers in just in time before Trev and Pat to appear from there room and Dot from the shops.  We had a bit of a pub crawl but went to different pubs from the night before, I remember being in the Oddfellows Arms and having a Jennings Sneck Lifter in there.

For food, we had seen Aberdeen angus beef burgers on the specials menu back in Trev and Pat's hotel. so it was back over there again for super, and again, it was very good, one of the best bits about being away, is eating food you would not normally have at home.  Yet another good night in Keswick.

The walk back to the van was as the previous night, very cold.

12th March

After a discussion with the warden we decided to head back over the Pennines on the A66 as soon as we were ready, as the forecast was for more strong winds.  Rang Trev to say we wouldn't be meeting them for lunch and set of home, on the trip back we had the wind behind us, so we didn't get blown about too much and I'd swear we only use half the fuel we did going the other way.

As we approached the A1 we though, as we were close, it would be a good idea, epically as the wind wasn't that bad, to pop into the caravan shop in Catterick for a ACSI camping card and book.  Although picking up the ACSI book was a good idea, heading north to south was a lot different from going west to east.  The wind was now blowing on the side of the van and it was getting difficult to control, I was glad when we got to the shop, got the book and started heading east again.  I was glad to get home and out of the van, I do not like driving in strong wind, then again, I do not like driving in fog or on ice either.

Keswick Two

May 25th to 28th

May 25th

We booked this trip on the 21/01/2008 and there where only a standard grass pitch with awning still available, it was the end of a bank holiday weekend and also school half term.  We would be meeting up with our friends Jonathan and Lorain, who would be there for the full week with their children Tom and Will.

We picked up the twins at lunch time on the Sunday, straight from a birthday party and they had their faces painted as butterflies.  The drive over the A66 was nice and easy not like last time and we arrived before two.   We have been several times before, even during school holidays but have never seen the site so full (Jonathan was told by one of the site wardens that the site was meant for 250 outfits but they already had 280 on).  We got a pitch about 50 yards from Jonathan and Lorain but I then realised there was no electricity in this field, and explained to the warden that this was no good for me and I needed to be elsewhere.   The warden said there was nowhere else and I had not booked electric hook-up anyway, apparently a standard pitch is just a patch of grass in a field about a third of a mile from the toilets and this cost me £17.50/night robbery.

I was annoyed that I had a new induction hotplate that I now couldn't use and I taken the hob kettle out years ago, when we needed to reduce weight for the scooter, we were lucky we even had gas on board.  Anyway none of the kids were bothered and had a great time playing in the sun by the lake, and like them we just had to make the best of it.

We were only about 50 yards from Jonathan and Lorain's tent but by the end of the day I must have walked miles between the two pitches.  We had a nice BBQ on the night and a few beers by their tent.

May 26th

First thing on the morning we moved the van closer to Jonathan and Lorain's tent, this save my legs and also stopped the wardens cramming more tents or caravans in next to them.   

The kids played down by the lake again before lunch but this time girls got themselves covered in mud. 

On the afternoon we all walked into town and picked out somewhere to get a takeaway for super on the night.  I forgot my camera hence the lack of photos.

Getting the young ones ready on an evening was no easy task, for a start it was so far to the shower block that it was unreasonable and only added to my dissatisfaction with the way the site was very overcrowded.   After many visits we have not been back since and are no longer members of the Camping and Caravan Club.  

May 27th

Jon, Lorain and the boys were off on a walk up one of the mountains today, so we went to the park in town with a picnic for lunch. Actually we we got savoury pasties, sausage rolls, sandwiches and cakes from Greggs the bakers but that counts as a picnic, doesn't it?

It was a lot different from last time we were here, the girls have grown up so much and played with some of the other children there, we just had to sit and watch, much easier.  I even left them for a while and wandered off to take some Bridge photos.


Later we had ice-creams and played by the river but the weather was changing, it was getting cold so we headed back to the campsite.

That evening we had another BBQ but it was a much colder than previous days.

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