Our British Adventure Begins…#oneyearlate…Weeks 1 and 2: Canals, Racecourses and the Cotswolds.

Grand Union Canal

Having waited for the green light from Boris, we have been planning a trip around mainland England and hopefully up to Scotland. We planned to head north following some of the waterways that spread across the country.

After catching up with family, we set off, heading north to the Caravan and Motorhome Club (CMC) Site at Wyatts Covert, Denham, Buckinghamshire. https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/club-sites/england/south-east-england/buckinghamshire/wyatts-covert-caravan-club-site/

There are several footpaths to walk from here as well as a view of the HS2 rail link groundworks. The Grand Union Canal is also about a 15 minute walk away. From the campsite you can watch small planes and helicopters taking off and landing, or you can watch from the side of the runway about a five minute walk away.

From Denham, we travelled north to Leighton Buzzard and a CMC Certified Location (CL) on the Grand Union Canal at Grove Lock Marina, Bedfordshire. https://grovelockmarina.com/ It also has its own campsite in addition to the CL site. We walked along the canal to Leighton Buzzard (once navigating the narrow lock gates, with a very nervy Reg. You can go up river to the next lock at Church Lock and cross over the bridge if you wanted to cycle along the towpath.

After two nights at Grove Marina, we travelled north to Oxfordshire and another CL at Epwell Grounds Farm, outside Banbury. https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/certificated-locations/england/oxfordshire/banbury/epwell-grounds-farm/ It was a shame the weather wasn’t more favourable, but the campsite is right on the edge of a Bridleway with routes into Epwell, Shutford and Balscote and despite getting very soggy, the views across the countryside were magnificent.

Heading into week two of our adventure we’re spending more time touring the Cotswolds.

Firstly, we arrived at Moreton-in-Marsh and the CMC site https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/club-sites/england/cotswolds/gloucestershire/moreton-in-marsh-caravan-club-site/. We stayed here before, last year before the pandemic locked us down, but we were en route to Harrogate and we didn’t have time to explore, but this time we were able to. The town has a market on Tuesdays and it is a very typical Cotswold-style town. From the campsite you can walk to the Batsford Arboretum or right into the middle of the town.

We were reminded of how we assume that everyone who arrives on a campsite knows what they are doing. Our neighbours arrived in a newly bought VW California. They had been given some information by the seller, but not the correct power lead and as they looked puzzled, we asked if they were ok and they showed us the power lead they had but it was a domestic, 240V plug and not a Commando Plug. They were ok, we ran through a few basics with them and charged their mobile phones, before they headed off on their way the following morning.

Next, we headed west to Cheltenham Racecourse CMC site https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/club-sites/england/cotswolds/gloucestershire/cheltenham-racecourse-caravan-club-site/. This site was a little confusing on arrival and with a slight level of disappointment we checked in. The campsite is the car park of the Best Mate Enclosure and on first impression, it looks like a big tarmac car park. However, don’t let first impressions fool you! We had a great pitch, with views over the racecourse (and with the torrential rainstorm we had on Sunday, we were grateful to have been on tarmac). The Wardens were so helpful during our pitch selection and throughout our stay. The weather again had its moments, including the rainstorm. The site itself is a short walk from the town centre, there is a park about five minutes walk away and a footpath runs around the edge of the racecourse.

Our tour will take us further into the Cotswolds tomorrow. As always, thank you for reading. We hope you and your families are well and we’ll be back in touch soon (internet permitting – we’ve been in some of the most wi-fi unfriendly places recently!).

Back on the Road: Weeks 8, 9 and 10 – Kent, Dorset and Sussex…

Another Mileage Milestone 30000 miles – it’s been a while since we’ve managed one!

Apologies for the combination of posts, we have had really poor internet connection over the last couple of weeks and trying to upload anything was a real chore! Instead of bombarding you with loads of posts, we chose to send just one.

We left our base at the Gatwick Caravan and Motorhome Club Site and headed back to Kent and the Camping and Caravanning Club Site at Sevenoaks. We had not stopped at this part of Kent before and were keen to complete our tour of the County. It is fairly close to our home and probably one of the reasons for not stopping here before! The site at Oldbury Hill, is in National Trust land and opposite the site of an old Iron Age Hill Fort. There are plenty of places to walk and once, you’ve negotiated the hill up the walks are particularly flat.

Internet signal was not too great here (nor phone signal), but the views and the site were great. You will need some great chocks though to get level, especially if you’re in the top two rows – we weren’t able to choose a pitch as there had been a lot of recent rain and the ground still drying out. We had a walk to the local Farm Shop at Chart Farm, a short 10 minute walk (or so)!

Thursday, after four nights, we set off again, back to Sussex and one of our favourite sites – Slinfold Caravan and Motorhome Club Site. Although, it has no facilities, the atmosphere, staff and location are just so welcoming. No doubt we will return again, later in the year. From the site, there are several footpaths off the Downs Link and we spent some time wandering along some of the most beautiful. We saw deer in the woods and fields, woodpeckers on the site and a little cheeky squirrel outside the door.

One of the reasons for stopping here, again, was for Sarah to have her second COVID vaccination. Once complete we are both fully vaccinated! We managed to clean half of the very dirty Nortia, before leaving too, (the rest will have to wait).

We left Slinfold and headed back to a little Caravan and Motorhome Club Certified Location, we had stopped at before, last year – Omaha Meadows,https://omahameadows.com/ just outside Bournemouth, in the little town of Verwood. Omaha Meadows is on the edge of the Moors Valley Country Park https://www.moors-valley.co.uk/, plenty of dog walking, golf, trails through the woods, Go Ape, Segway Hire and a Gruffalo Trail, perfect for all the family!

We had two cycle rides and numerous walks through the Park. Note to self – don’t think it’s a short circular walk through the park and around the seemingly short road back (two hours and six and a half hours later – needless to say the dog was tired out for the rest of the day)!

From Omaha Meadows we headed to Sumners Ponds,https://www.sumnersponds.co.uk/ we still have credit for the lockdowns here – it’s our Bogey site, each time we arrive and Boris has an announcement, we are forced into Lockdown. This time though we were lucky and we still have the green light to travel. We spent a birthday afternoon with Sarah’s mum, Ric spent some time fishing on the lakes and in a horrendous rain storm we headed back home for two nights for a family Barbecue, to celebrate Sarah’s Birthday and Father’s Day. This time our stopover wasn’t enforced!

We’re heading off on a proper tour next. Our appointments have been kept and we can head off. Our plans for last year are still in our minds and hopefully we’ll be able to fulfil them this year. Where we are heading and how we get on will be our next set of updates. As always, thank you for reading, stay safe and well and hopefully we’ll all be able to fulfil our dreams…

Back on the Road: Weeks 3 and 4 – Salisbury, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and back to Sussex

Our blog this week will cover two weeks, as we had very poor mobile signal and wifi connection at the start of the week!

Having left Winchester, we headed west to the City of Salisbury. Salisbury Hillside Caravan and Motorhome Club Site is located 8 miles from the city centre and unfortunately not the site I thought it was! Still that site will remain on our list for another trip! Salisbury Hillside is, however, a lovely peaceful place, with a dog walk through the countryside and an ideal place to relax.

The weather was in our favour most of our stay and on the day the rain arrived we took a road trip to Warminster and Westbury.

After five days on site and chores completed (we were going off-grid for our next stop and we’re unlikely to have access to a site laundry for a week or so), we headed along the A303 (at the start of a Bank Holiday weekend – are we nuts?) past Stonehenge and into the Cotswolds.

Our stop for the weekend was a small Caravan and Motorhome Club Certified Location in Slaughterford. Toplands Farm CMC CL is located just outside the villages of Slaughterford, Biddestone and Giddeahall, 5 miles west of Chippenham. We loved it’s rural location and the ponies as our neighbours with the pheasants running around. The weather was kind, despite a weather warning for our departure day. We followed the Biddestone Heritage Trail in two halves, firstly walking to Biddestone and around, and then walking to Slaughterford and Ford. This is definitely a site we’ll be back to, there is so much more we could have done and seen.

In addition, this was our first time off-grid in England and it was also our test to check everything still works! It was not as warm as it was the last time in Spain, and the sun not quite as strong, but we survived. The gas heating and water was a dream, and the battery lasted until we left. We learnt a few lessons and we were pleased with our achievements. For reference, we needed to fill back up with LPG, our first top up since we left on 12th April – 3 weeks earlier, and it cost us £7.00.

After the glorious weekend at Toplands Farm withe the Cotswold countryside, a weather warning had been issued – yellow warning of wind for Monday and part of Tuesday, making the drive to our next stop a little hairy at times, one of the hazards of open countryside in a large metal box!

We arrived at the Caravan and Motorhome Club Site of Bladon Chains, just outside Woodstock, and on the edge of the Blenheim Estate, just before the rain arrived. Bladon Chains, is due to be handed back to the Blenheim Estate in September, so we had wanted to see it before it is turned into a lodge park. Blenheim Palace is the home to the Duke(s) of Marlborough and Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (British Prime Minister 1940 – 1944 and 1954 – 1955.

We walked to the Burial Sites of the Churchill Family and in particular the grave of Winston Churchill. It is located in the graveyard of the Church of Saint Martin, Bladon, Oxfordshire and about a 20 minute walk from the campsite.

The next two days we walked into the town of Woodstock, past the impressive entrance to the Blenheim Estate. The town of Woodstock has a number of historic wall plaques, which we managed to locate all of. Woodstock town dates back to around 1185, founded by King Henry II and expanded in the Eighteenth Century during the building of Blenheim Palace, which replaced the Royal Palace. https://www.oxfordshirecotswolds.org/dbimgs/Walk_WoodstockWallPlaque.pdfhttps://www.oxfordshirecotswolds.org/dbimgs/Walk_WoodstockWallPlaque.pdf

We discovered that although a fee is due to be paid to enter the Blenheim Estate ( the house was still closed when we went due to the pandemic, and several of the outside garden areas do not allow dogs, and £36.00 for the privilege was a little steep!) there is a gateway open and unmanned allowing entry to the Estate grounds, and we had a great look at the landscaped lands.

We headed back to Sussex, and the Caravan and Motorhome Club Site at Slinfold. We were here at the start of this mini-tour and loved it so much, we thought we’d try and stay when we have tasks to do, close to home! Ric had his second COVID jab booked, the motorhome needs a little fix, Reg needs his booster and I need a haircut! We were also able to catch up with family, outside the campsite. We’re heading off again, still local to complete our list of tasks before we begin another mini-tour.

As always thank you for reading. We hope you and your families are safe and well and the Bank Holiday wasn’t too much of a washout. We’ll be back with more soon.

Back on the Road: Out of Lockdown 3 (at last!).

We’re back on the road! We’ve left our Lockdown spot, much to the joy of one neighbour and the disappointment of others! After a weekend of cleaning and preparation (the last two times we left Lockdown, we left it to the morning of our departure and the heavens opened both times), we were ready – this time we awoke to snow!

Incidentally, 13 years ago, this week, we took our first camping trip together to the Lake District. We had a few days to spare and I (Sarah) was between jobs. We were slightly under prepared, we bought decent (but heavy) rucksacks, more for style than practicality, mummy-style sleeping bags, which we’d never tried before and subsequently didn’t allow us to move too warm up on the cold nights and an equally impractical Bivvy tent. Our next trip away camping, we were more prepared and thankfully, as you can tell, it hadn’t put us off!

Heading off we arrived at our first stop, Slinfold Caravan and Motorhome Club Site. We have cycled passed this site, before but knowing it had no facilities, we weren’t able to stay in our last van. We were looking forward to being local and enjoying the location. The site is right on the Downs Link – a 36 mile cycle and walking path, following two disused railways from St. Martha’s Hill (near Guildford), Surrey and Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex. During our stay, we walked up to the Double Bridge – a brick arch bridge with an iron girder bridge on top. The iron girder was added as the original gradient for the railway line was too steep for trains. We also cycled up the track to Cranleigh, passing the old restored station at Baynards.

After a three day stay we headed south to Worthing, and Northbrook Farm Caravan and Motorhome Club Site. We have never been here before either, but again another local-ish site. On the first day a long walk to the beach at Goring, made us realise we had headed slightly in the wrong direction to get there and Gloria Google Maps helped out on our return to the site. We also took a walk up to the South Downs, for a picnic lunch at Highdown Hill, just a short walk from the site, but with amazing views along the coast to Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters and to Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.

It’s been a great week, we’re heading off again tomorrow, along the coast. We’re trying to stay local-ish as we’re waiting for our second COVID-19 vaccinations. We have plans for this year, fingers crossed and Coronavirus permitting, we really hope we can get there!

As always, thank you for reading. We hope you’re all safe and well. We’ll be back to share our trips soon…

Hayling Island, Homeward Bound…

Spending Monday at our little Certified Site Location at Stoke Farm, Hayling Island, we waited for the sun to appear (after a lovely rainbow) and headed back along the Hayling Billy Coastal Path, northwards towards the mainland, stopping at the bridge.

Tuesday and a short trip to Barnham, and another Certified Location, Choller Farm and Fisheries. It’s located near to a bridleway and cyclepath, down to the town and up towards the South Downs National Park. It’s almost geographically the centre of three areas, Bognor Regis, Chichester and Arundel. We had a stroll up the road to the village of Walberton and down to the town of Barnham. Barnham has a mainline train station and is a junction. From here, you can head to Littlehampton, Brighton, Portsmouth, London and beyond!

En-route, we popped into Chichester Marina, half hoping to catch-up with my (Sarah’s) mum, as her boat was out of the water having its annual maintenance (slightly later than normal due to the initial national lockdown 1), but in true unplanned style, she wasn’t there!

After a couple of days here, we headed north and on to the familiar Gatwick Site. Areas around us have had their Coronavirus Alert Levels increased to Tier 3 and we knew we couldn’t head there. In addition, Hayling Island is now Tier 3, along with Portsmouth. We’ve changed our New Year plans too, as London where we were heading is also Tier 3.

We like the Gatwick Site as it’s close to family and friends, but the rules are no mixing at this time of Coronavirus. We had a few things to do while we were here, but these changed slightly on Saturday as two things happened!

Firstly, my (Sarah’s) mum fell out distributing Christmas cards at her home and fractured her wrist. I am the only person who can drive her car, currently parked in a public car park. We packed up, as quick as we could, and headed to collect her. A call to 111 and an appointment at the Urgent Care Centre nearby, involving another drive. Ric returned to the campsite with Reg and I headed off to Chichester. A few hours later and a cast wearing mum returned to the car.

Secondly, Boris and the UK government have changed the Coronavirus Tiers and Christmas arrangements. Surrey, which is approximately two miles north of us, is now Tier 4 – the highest level and a brand new tier, similar to the last complete England Lockdown. No travel or staying overnight, so glad we’re in the right place. Christmas is now a one day celebration only. We haven’t yet arranged what we’re going to do, but I’m sure you’ll find out soon!

As always, thank you for reading. We hope you and your families are safe and well, whichever Tier you are now in. This will pass and we will get back to normal…

The Lake District, Britain’s Highest Pub (Yorkshire) and south to Leek.

We chose to cycle to Maryport along Hadrian’s Cycle Route, National Cycle Route 72. From the campsite it is almost all off the road on a cycle path and the promenade (there are signs warning not to use the promenade in bad weather – it is so exposed to the sea). Luckily, it wasn’t on the road as in a catastrophic failure, I managed to cycle into the trailer when Ric stopped, landing face down in the grass – it could have been so much worse, though! We do have hand signals warning that we are stopping or slowing, but thinking he’d dropped something he stopped dead!

From Allonby, we headed into the Yorkshire Dales, via Carlisle. We were due to stop the night at the Tan Hill Inn, outside Reeth. It is the highest pub in the British Isles at 1732 feet (528m) above sea level. We had pre-booked and booked a meal in the pub – our first real night out since Sweden! The views are amazing, it is right on the Pennine Way and the footpath leads right down to the village of Keld. We walked up to the top of the path before returning back to Nortia! It was freezing and wet underfoot, but the views were stunning. Motorhome parking at the Tan Hill Inn, is unmarked, so literally, where you can! It was somewhere we’d wanted to stay, but wasn’t the place we’d thought it was!!!

We set off back through the Yorkshire Dales to Kendal, back in the Lake District. Our trip back took us up towards Skipton and back down to Kirkby Lonsdale, the scenery is amazing and we love this part of the world. The campsite in Kendal is about four miles outside the town, although it is possible to walk it, we walked to the Farm Shop at Sizergh, instead!

We set off again, heading south. Our plan was always to move south at this point, but it also coincided with the threat of a new COVID lockdown being placed on the North West. An announcement was due tomorrow.

We arrived at Leek in Staffordshire, a site we have stayed at before, but I didn’t recognise either by name or location, but Ric did – I was adamant we’d never been here before, until the Warden checking us in recognised me! Then the penny dropped! We stayed here in March, on our way to Harrogate. We had arrived in the dark and without a dog to walk around the site, we hadn’t really taken it in. I’ve had a nightmare of a week, hopefully next week will be better!

As always, thank you for reading. Stay Safe. We’ll be back soon…

The Lake District – Coniston, Borrowdale and Allonby.

We’re still in Coniston, near to Coniston Water – the lake where Sir Malcolm Campbell set the World Water Speed Record in 1939, at 141.74 miles per hour, in his Blue Bird K4. His son, Donald, continued the tradition, setting four faster speeds between 1956 and 1959. In 1966, he wanted to exceed 300 mph, but unfortunately, was killed in the process. Incidentally, the lake in our local Park, is named after the Campbell family, who owned some land and tested the floatation devices for the Bluebird K series prototypes.

After a day of rain, where we followed the path along the lake to Torver Jetty and back, we spent a sunny day up on the fells above Coniston (the foothills of the Old Man of Coniston). This was Reg’s first adventure up in the hills. There were plenty of sheep to keep him occupied too. As we headed back towards the campsite, we found an amazing waterfall and lake.

After, Coniston, we headed north-west to the Borrowdale Valley, just outside Keswick. Although, we’ve stayed at the Camping and Caravanning Club Site in Keswick, we’ve never been here before and it was a gem. The Caravan Club Site in Borrowdale, despite having no facilities, is right on the edge of Derwent Water and under Cat Bells. We had hoped to walk up Cat Bells, but the weather had other ideas – we almost managed it once before, but the weather forced us back then, hopefully we’ll be third time lucky! Instead, we walked along the edge of the lake and around to Grange – in – Borrowdale and back to the campsite. We had a cheeky Saturday Walk for breakfast at the Grange Cafe. It was amazing and despite the weather, we were able to sit outside socially distanced.

Reg is definitely a water dog! He loves to chase the waves or ripples, as we found in a stream by the campsite! He’d jump in and try to catch the water as it rippled down over the stones, all fun, but add his wetness to the mud in the field and we had to wash him down before he could come back in the Motorhome!

Leaving Borrowdale, we headed north to the coast at Maryport and up to a Certified Location at Allonby. Old Kiln Farm CL Site https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/certificated-locations/england/cumbria/maryport/old-kiln-farm/ is a small five pitch site, just off the Solway Firth, with views across the sea to Scotland. It is a short walk to the village or a cycle ride to Maryport and Workington.

Reg again showed us his love of the beach, running circles on the sand and attacking the waves, trying to bite the surf!

We’re here for a few more days, so there’ll be more to come. Thank you again for reading. We hope you and your families are well. Stay Safe, we’ll be back soon….

Heading back to England (again)…

What do you call a trio of Etruscos?

We left Gowerton and headed back to England along the motorway, so far this is the third time on this trip we’ve headed back, across the border! We had an appointment for the motorhome in Gloucester on Tuesday, so we’ve opted to return to Tewkesbury Caravan and Motorhome Club Site.

We’ve fallen in love with Tewkesbury and the town is very welcoming. Monday night, Ric’s birthday and we knew there was a very nice looking Indian Restaurant and Take-Away at the end of the lane to the Campsite. This was his choice of meal and I couldn’t have agreed more. The Mezbaan Fine Indian Restaurant: https://mezbaan.uk/ was just as good as their menu looked!

Tuesday and we cleared out some of our gear from Nortia, and headed off to Pearman Briggs Motorhomes for our habitation check. This is supposed to be completed annually as a safety and damp check and something we are keen to have completed prior to purchasing Nortia, from Erwin Hymer. We arrived and also explained that we have concerns over the position of our Gaslow filling cap – we have caught it on a couple of occasions, without serious damage – and they were able to move it for us to a less prominent position. However, with the latest COVID-19 restrictions, our gear needs to be completely removed to carry out the habitation check… We’ve re-booked it, and will be back in Tewkesbury, again!

The weather has got a lot warmer this week and we have decided to purchase a driveaway awning, partially to enjoy life out of the wind and partially in anticipation of our habitation check – we can dump all our gear in it whilst the check is being carried out! We went to Allwoolls Camping in Worcester and purchased a Vango Noosa Driveaway https://www.attwoolls.co.uk/vango-noosa-tall-driveaway-awning-p-2828 We’ve chosen this as it is lighter than an air tent and therefore will not add to much to our payload. Returning to the campsite, we had a quick go at putting it up! We needed to make sure that we had all the bits before driving off and to ensure there was nothing wrong with it! The moment we got it out of the bag the wind picked up and we managed to check it out, before repacking it and stowing it away! Normally, we would pitch a new tent in our garden to ensure we knew what we are doing, before looking like numpties in public! (We have even pitched a brand new tent in the living room, just to check it out)!

We left Tewkesbury and started our trip north. Our next stop is a small Caravan and Motorhome Club Certified Location (CL), just outside the village of Much Wenlock – birthplace of William Penny Brookes, who contributed to the rebirth of the Modern Olympic Games. He apprenticed with his father in Much Wenlock and trained as a physician and surgeon at Guy’s and St. Thomas’s Hospital in London, at the Sorbonne and in Padua, before taking over his father’s practice in Much Wenlock. Here, he was keen to improve the health of the villagers, along with sanitation and hygiene and he set up the Wenlock Olympian Society and campaigned to get Physical Education onto the school curriculum. His annual Wenlock Games, encouraged all villagers to keep fit and compete and not just a privilege of the elite He was visited by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who later set up the Modern International Olympic Committee, based on the Much Wenlock Games held in his honour.

We stayed at the Coates CL for the weekend, and we used it as a base to travel out and about around the local area, travelling to Telford and Ironbridge. The countryside and views are stunning, as is the village of Much Wenlock. Reg also had a field of friends, for his stay!

We’re off again tomorrow, heading north. Thank you as always for reading and we hope that you and your families are safe and well.

The Adventure Continues: Wales, England and back to Wales

Reg meets a cat in Tewkesbury!

We left Newport and headed back across the border to England and the historic market town of Tewkesbury. Neither of us had been here before and the initial sight of the town, with it’s historic battlefield statues, Victor and Vanquished – The Arrivall, commemorating the War of the Roses and the Battle of Tewkesbury on 4th May 1471, on the roundabout as we approached, along with the colourful pennants outside houses and the historic Abbey.

We had a walk around the town and onto the Ham before returning to the campsite and finding a local Indian takeaway in the process (if you’ve read our previous posts, you’ll know we love a curry, or chinese or pizza…..!)

We went for a longer walk the following day over the Ham again and up to the Marina, returning to the campsite via the Abbey. The weather was a little doubtful first thing but slowly the sun came out and the walk was very warm. We returned and carried out a few chores, before planning our onward journey.

We were all packed up the following morning, and Reg walked, just as the rain started and it continued for our whole journey back to Wales. We headed to our stop in Brecon, via Monmouth, where we had planned to stop and have lunch. The traffic and weather gods were against us – Monmouth had road closures and diversions, trying to negotiate the one-way system in Nortia, took away any enjoyment and we carried on to Brecon.

The rain was relentless, full wet weather gear donned and we checked in and sorted out our pitch. Of course the moment we’d finished the rain stopped and we were able to see a bit more of the countryside surrounding us.

On Friday, we walked along the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal – the same canal we’d cycled along in Newport! Here though, the canal is navigable and there were holiday boats on the canal, along with paddle boarders and canoeists.

On Saturday, we went for a drive over the Black Mountains, we have been over them before but the scenery is fantastic and well worth a trip.

On Sunday, we headed off again, this time to one of our most favourite places, the city of St David’s in Pembrokeshire. St David’s is the smallest city in the UK (both area and population). We’re looking forward to our week here, so you’ll hear more about our trip in the next blog.

As always. thank you for reading. We hope you and your families are safe and well.

The Adventure Continues: Dorset, Somerset and Wales.

Leaving Dartmoor, we headed east and into the most torrential rain we’ve seen for ages. We stopped to stock up as we’d found a little CL (Certified Location) site to stop at in Middlemarsh (just outside Sherbourne), Dorset https://www.cherrycottagecl.com/ The Caravan and Motorhome Club Certified Locations are small independently run campsites with 5 pitches.

The following day the rain stopped and the sun arrived. We went for a walk in the countryside, getting lost once and resulting in a climb over an eight foot high gate! Luckily, there was a wee gap at the side and Reg was able to be sent through – we did try it but it wasn’t wide enough for us!!

Then, more rain – all day on Wednesday. Even walking the dog around the dog field resulted in a soaking, each time we tried to go out in the dry, halfway around the field, the heavens would open! We spent the day catching up on the blog and just chilling. This is one site we are definitely coming back to so there will be plenty of time to explore.

Moving on, we headed north to Minehead, we were here a few weeks ago and knew we liked it, but it was a stopover and an ideal place to catch up with some of the family. We caught up with the washing, did a quick top up of LPG and had a Chinese Takeaway from the local parade.

After a night we were heading off again, it’s getting close to the Bank Holiday and places are getting booked up, we were heading off to Newport, Wales. We’d checked with Ditsy Daisy and Gloria Google Maps, and on the motorway it would take us 58 mins from Bridgwater. We’d arranged to meet some of the family at a lovely cafe, just off the M5, Pyne’s of Somerset https://www.pynethebutcher.co.uk/ it’s so much better than a usual motorway cafe, and worth the drive.

As we set off to the M5, we were stuck in traffic, this queue continued all the way to Newport and two and a half hours or so later, we arrived at Tredegar House. We have stayed here before, but many years ago, in the Campervan. The house was closed (again – it was the last time we were here too), but the gardens are open and an ideal place to walk Reg.

On Saturday, the rain returned, so we had a tour in Nortia. We drove to the Fourteen Locks, but despite having checked the website and finding it had parking for coaches, there was nothing suitable on arrival. We headed off up to Caerphilly, in search of cheese. Despite a good walk around there was no cheese shop to be found, but we did find a statue to Tommy Cooper, who was born in the town. Next, we headed into Cardiff, and the National War Memorial and the Norwegian Church, before heading back to the campsite.

On Sunday, the weather brightened up and we took the bikes out for a trip, along the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal aiming to get to the Canal Basin at Pontymoel, along National Cycle Route 4. After 10 miles of derelict and overgrown canal, we decided to head back and a wrong turn later, we arrived at the campsite having completed 26 miles!

Reg has now crossed his first country border. He has a few to go before catching up with Albi, but Albi hadn’t crossed a country border at this age!

We’re heading off again, tomorrow. Thank you again for reading this. We hope you and your families are safe and well.