The first trip to France in June was in the van with stops in St Malo, Saint-Brevin, Rochefort, Gastes, St Jean de Monts, and Pont Aven.
The second shorter trip to France in September was in the car staying in Berny-Rivière with two trips to Paris.
Now the for the UK, it was July 2012 that I said it would take a couple of weeks to do this blog, it took a while longer than that in the end.
We started with a trip to York as usual for birthdays (we also had another two visits there later in the year) and this first trip would also take in a few days in Whitby as well.
York and Whitby March 7th to 16th
Day one, Sun March 7th
York, Rowntree Park, Caravan Club Site,
Terry Avenue, York, Yorkshire, YO23 1JQ
Terry Avenue, York, Yorkshire, YO23 1JQ
By the time we got set up and walked into town it was already about two, it was lovely warm day and we had nice walk around the city centre.
When we got to the Kings at four, there were quite a few people sat outside by the river, sat on the floor with their legs over the river wall, as the outside seats are not there yet.
Day two, Mon March 8th
Decided to have a longish walk today, the weather was still very good, so we took advantage. We set off the way we went in 2008, along the river, towards the race course, the sun was out we set off through Rowntree park to the Millennium Bridge, then followed the the river passed the marina.
Where we turned back last time we continued on to the next bridge over the river at the ring road but did not cross but continued under the bridge to the village of Bishopthorpe. In Bishopthorpe we had a beer and used the toilets in The Ebor, a Sam Smiths pub (result), then popped into the co-op to get makings for sandwiches for lunch. We eat our lunch on a bench in the village before heading back to the bridge.
We met up with Josh later and had tea in the Postern Gate and then had an early night, I think the walk we did was far to far.
Day three, Tues March 9th
Was not well last night, must have been something I ate, did not sleep much at all and then spent most of the morning and afternoon with stomach cramps close to the toilet. Eventually got out for a walk late in the afternoon, after a lot of tablets. But it was back to the van early and had another early night.
Day four, Wed March 10th
Dots birthday, we did much the same as last year (walk, beer and meal), we had a walk on the wall (see York Walls Walk for the full walk) as far as the river then along the river to Scarborough bridge, crossed over and through the Museum gardens and after that it was the shops.
Had food in a small pizza place, Dot had a pasta dish and I had a spicy pizza, although we did swap some, as you do. With the meal, we had a small Stella each and the two of then cost almost as much as the food.
Day five, Thur March 11th
Sandfield House Farm Caravan Park, Sandfield House,
Sandsend Road, Whitby, YO21 3SR
Got packed up and drove to the next campsite at Whitby. We were to meet Mick and Brenda there but not for a couple of days.
After we were set up, we did the long walk down to the harbour, where the sun was shining but it was still very cold.
After a good day taking in the sights and shopping we went for a few drinks, before the long walk back to the site.
Day six, Fri March 12th
Today we did much the same as yesterday.
Day seven, Sat March 13th
Mick and Bren would be arriving later on the afternoon, so after lunch we went for a walk along the sea front. The sea was a bit wild and it was very cold.
We popped into The Whitehouse for a warm and a beer while waited for the others to arrive. We went in even though I am not keen on the place but it is the closest pub to the campsite. Anyway we shouldn't have bothered, taking my cloves off outside the pub, I dropped my new camera on the concrete path and broke it. Luckily I had an older camera back at the van.
When Mick and Bren did arrive, we all went down into town for a few beers.
I think we stopped for fish and chips on the way back, well we either did that night or the Monday night.
Day eight, Sun March 14th
Very cold again but we set off for a walk to Sandsend after the F1 race and lunch.
The sea was fairly rough, and coming over onto the promenaded, I was ready if the sea got Mick as he was taking photos but it never did.
We had a good refreshing walk but soon it was time to warm up and drink. The first pub on the swa front The Beach Hotel, it was warm the beer was good but the landlord was very lacking in personality. We only had the one and moved on.
The next pub The Hart Inn, was back over East Row Beck, it was closed last time Dot and I wanted to use it. Anyway it was a lot better than the previous pub. You can see from the photo Mick and I were enjoying it.
The others wanted to get a bus back to the site but I insisted we walk. Everyone was walked out, so we spent the night in the van drinking insted of going into town.
Day nine, Mon March 15th
Another day walking in Whitby town, it was fine and sunny but still cold, we spent some time watching the fishing boats before giving up and heading to the pubs. We went to the Duke of York first a very nice pub with great views over the river and a favourite of ours.
Between pubs we stopped off at the big Co-op and bought a slow cooked for less than £5.00, we had one already but this one would stay in the van. As we were passing on the way to the next pub, a got a shot of Grand Turk, the sailing ship based in Whitby.
On the way back I had a go at taking a night shot of Grand Turk as she was all lit up. as usual they didn't turn out very well but little did we know it would be the last time to try. Next day when Dot and I went back for a last walk, Grand Turk had gone, she was sailed out over night for her new home in France.
We were in St Malo next time we saw Grand Turk.
Day ten, Tues March 16th
After we left the campsite we parked up on the cliff top and had a final walk in town before we headed off home.
April 11th to 14th
As last year with the girls off school we needed something to do, so I rang Doe Park to see if they had a pitch for three nights, it is close by and the girls like it there.
Doe Park, Campsite, Cotherstone,
Bernard Castle, Durham, DL12 9UQ
Web Site, http://www.doepark.co.uk/Our last visit there.
Day one, April 11th
Picked the girls up around dinner time and we were on site just after one. The weather was very good, the sun was shining although it was a bit cool in the open but nice and warm where it was shaded from the light breeze. We sat in the sun by the side of the van with a cup of tea, then put up the small tent we have for the girls to play in and keep all of their toys.
We had sandwiches and crisps for lunch and afterwards, left by the side gate, for a short walk down the hill, to the old mill by the river Balder. The old mill was in a lot worse condition this year, quite a large portion of one of the walls was down, it looked like it could have been vandalism. It was warmer down in the valley out of the breeze, the girls played nicely by the river, we had nets that we used to see what was in the river, there was nothing.
We walked along the river fishing with the nets, and getting nothing, until Georgia slipped on the rocks and got very wet. Emily was very good and swapped some clothes with Georgia, so we didn't have to go straight back to the van.
There were lots of new lambs in the field by the river and the girls tried to get close to them but without any success.
Back at the van, while I made tea the other three played in the tent, then after tea we watched a couple of kids DVD's before bed, shower in the morning this time.
Day two, April 12th
The girls had their bikes with them, so we could go on a longer walk, we made the obligatory picnic and set off in the glorious sun. We left via the back of the site, and across the fields towards the old Tees Valley Railway Path and turned right towards Romaldkirk, along the path of the old Barnard Castle to Alston line.
The path is very well surfaced and it was quite easy for the girls to ride along. Just before Romaldkirk the path slopes up and veers away for the old railway, as the old route passes through some private property. There is a picnic table there so we had our food before continuing with the walk.
The next part of the walk was quite dangerous for children, as we had to walk along a short stretch of road with no path to walk on. It would all be safer and nicer if the path just continued along the old route of the railway into to village. We walked through the village and back up to the railway path but nobody wanted to go any further, so we went back into the village to find a shop for an ice cream.
There isn't a shop but there are two pubs, so we sat out side one of them instead. Inside I ordered two beers and two ice cream, I took the beer back outside, the ice creams were going to be brought out by the waitress. Well the girls were most displeased when I told them there was no ice cream, "thats not fare you have a beer" they said. You should have seen their faces when their ice creams arrived in posh bowls with fancy wafers.
Refreshed we had a look around the very small but very nice village, before heading back the way we came.
Its seemed to be more down hill on the way back and the girls had fun riding off and waiting for us to catch up with them.
Back at the site it was sunny enough to relaxing sitting out in the sun.
Day three, April 13th
The weather had deteriorated, it wasn't warm any more but we went for a walk anyway, well warped up of course. Dot and I had already done part of this walk before but today's was much longer. We had our picnic so off we went.
We set off out of the side gate and down the steep dirt path from the site in the direction of the village, not a good path but safer than the road. We walked alongside the river Balder, passed the remains the old watermill and then, crossed over the field to the road.
Across the field at the road, we crossed the river and then over to the left of the the road to the public right of way.
We then turned left along the public right of way just over the bridge and headed towards the river Tees, this path is fairly slippery but not too bad, until it veers away from the river, around a house.
This part of the path was nearly impassable with beep mud the first time we did this walk but we managed to get through (this has now been resurfaced but beware), the rest of the way down to the confluence with the river Tees, is along a narrow road set back from the river Balder.
At the confluence where there are footbridges over both rivers, we crossed over the Balder via a footbridge, then the other footbridge over the Tees.
We then headed east along the river banks, where the girls played in the river for a while. They had hoped to play on the rope swing that they had played on last time they were there, but the rope had gone.
Then we crossed back over the two bridges, for our picnic lunch, on a nice seat overlooking the confluence ot two rivers. The girls also played in the river again under the bridge over the Balder
After lunch we set off up the hill behind the seat (you can see it in the photo above), Dot and I had walked this way before. It is steep but not too long and you get a very good view along the Tees from the top.
At the top we came to a road and some houses but instead of walking back into town along the road we followed the public footpath across the field. All was well until we came to a dip that was full of mud, we had to climb along the fence to get passed.
The path comes out on t he main road, where we turned left and headed for the green. From there we walked along the Bowes road towards the village hall (I was heading for the old railway line). Anyway we came to a path on the left that led to a playground, there was no getting out of spending an hour there. Good job I was carrying a book with me.
We came back out from the park the way we went in and took the path opposite which led to the Tees Railway Path, which in turn leads back passed the campsite.
There is an easier way to the walk by just continuing along the Bowes road until is crosses the path of the old railway though.
The path is level and easy to walk and stayed on the railway path until just after the fantastic viaduct over the river Balder.
Just over the river another public footpath crossed Tees Valley Railway Path and a turn to the right took us back to the campsite, the way we had walked on the previous day.
Day four, April 14th
On the way home we called into Barnard Castle,we parked by the river, had a walk around town a play on the play park and had a look at the castle but didn't pay to go in.