Another Week in Norfolk…

A wet and windswept sandy dog!

Monday and the sun was shining. After a quick breakfast and walk for Reg, we headed out towards Norwich and a Hand Car Wash! Finally, we were able to get Nortia cleaned (outside) for the first time since France in February! We had meant to clean her while in lockdown, but there always seemed to be another day available until we left, then the opportunity hadn’t happened since….

Tuesday and we headed up to the coast and Cromer, famous for dressed crab and the Seacroft Caravan and Motorhome Club Site. It’s a great site, just off the Norfolk coast path. A short stroll and you are on the beach, which is lovely and sandy as the tide goes out. We met a couple with a young dog and Reg and Pippa were soon running around in circles along the shoreline.

Wednesday and in true autumn fashion it rained (again). Reg however, wasn’t unfazed by another trip on the beach and enjoyed playing in the waves.

Thursday, one of the things we’d looked forward to whilst in Cromer was visiting No 1 Cromer. https://www.no1cromer.com/ This is an award winning Fish and Chip Restaurant and Takeaway owned by Galton Blackiston. We’d heard about it so many times watching him on James Martin’s Saturday Morning. This place does not disappoint! This was possibly the best we’d ever had. If you are in Cromer, we would recommend this highly.

We headed down the coast from Cromer to Great Yarmouth and the Caravan and Motorhome Club Site at the Racecourse. This site is another so close to the beach and the town, that it’s great for a stay. There is a monument to Lord Nelson, which is now located in the industrial zone, but commemorates Nelson’s birth in the county of Norfolk.

As always, thank you for reading. We hope you and your families are safe and well. We’ll have more to share soon. Stay Safe and well…

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: Week 6 – Cornwall and back to Devon

Reg lording it in his trailer

We left the Roseland Peninsula and told Ditsy Daisy Sat Nav, we wanted to go to Falmouth. In true style, we found ourselves in a queue for the Chain Ferry – the King Harry Ferry over the River Fal. Luckily, we had checked the signs and we were light and short enough to use it. We stopped off in Falmouth to see our friends (who we used to work with 20+ years ago and now run a B&B). The sun was blazing and we had a lovely afternoon, before heading to our stopover outside Polperro.

When we arrived the sun was shining and we sat outside enjoying the warmth, then as the evening wore on the clouds came in too and they stayed until we left! We did enjoy a dog walk from the campsite and Reg saw his first horse for a while (the last one was when he was 8 weeks old)!

From Polperro we went to a site outside Ilfracombe, this site is right on the National Cycle Route 27 Devon Coast to Coast Route and we cycled into Ilfracombe to see the Damien Hirst Sculpture – Verity, through the very busy town and then up towards the Ilfracombe Viewpoint, before returning back to Nortia, just as a storm rolled in!

From Polperro, we headed inland to Dartmoor and a campsite on the edge of the Moor at Sourton. The campsite is right on the Granite Way Cycle Route ( part of the Devon Coast to Coast Route) and although we didn’t cycle on it this time, we did walk to the Meldon Viaduct and then onto the Reservoir before returning.

We’re definitely getting used to our slower pace of life, finding campsites where we can explore on our terms, without being in too crowded places. As always, we hope you are safe and well and thank you for reading. We’re carrying on our little tour next week, so you can find out where we get too, next.

The Adventure Continues – Week 2 Minehead to Crawley

England is still in partial lockdown, but campsites are open (with social distancing) and we’ve continued our journey.

We walked through the town in Minehead and along the promenade to the harbour, passing the marker for the start (or end) of the Southwest Coast Path. When we first set out last year my (Sarah) sister, loaned me a book – The Salt Path by Raynor Winn, it is the memoirs of a couple who set out to walk the Southwest Coast Path, having been made homeless. We hadn’t originally set out to stay in Minehead, but we are so glad we did.

The beach at Minehead is not dog friendly (in the summer), so despite a quick set onto the sand with Reg, we thought we should go somewhere he was welcome and headed up the coast to Burnham-on-Sea, where the campsite is close to the sea at Berrow. It’s a long sandy, dog friendly beach, and Reg was able to run on it (once we’d navigated the sand dunes). He also had his first venture into the sea, but was more amused with trying to eat the seaweed and drinking the sea water!

After a couple of days, we headed up to Bristol. Not too sure what to expect, we arrived at the campsite and were in awe! The campsite backs onto the Floating Harbour at Baltic Wharf and a gate at the rear, allows you to access straight onto the harbourside walk. There were views up towards the Suspension Bridge and towards the S.S. Great Britain (closed at the moment but still iconic).

We walked up the hill to the Cabot Tower (again closed) and along the harbourside. We discovered the Banksy Mural of the Girl with the Earring (complete with face mask) and several other sculptures and statues – including Samuel Plimsoll – the man responsible for the Plimsoll Line on ships, indicating the maximum load for a ship, and John Cabot (an Italian who discovered Newfoundland in 1497, with the backing of the mayor of Bristol and King Henry VII).

The following day after a morning walk around the harbour, we walked up to the Clifton Suspension Bridge, through the Leigh Woods National Nature Reserve and then over the Bridge (take care if you suffer from vertigo – especially at the moment with social distancing in place)! Before walking back down through the Hotwells district of the city.

We headed off again on Saturday to Winchester and the Caravan and Motorhome Club Site at Morn Hill. The campsite is just too far to walk to the city in the rain, but lovely grass pitches and a big-ish dog walk. The A303 as usual was very busy but the views over Stonehenge can’t be faulted.

Sunday, saw us head back to Crawley. We have a couple of appointments we need to attend to, these had been put on hold during Lockdown and a week into our trip, they started to be rebooked, it was too good an opportunity to not return for – especially as one was for the Dentist we had been waiting for since the hospital trip in Spain in December.

As always, thank you for reading, hopefully you and your families are safe and well. Join us next week to see where we get to!

Lockdown Week 16 / The Adventure Continues Week 1: Chichester to Minehead

Reg’s first countryside walk

Monday morning and we woke up to the relative peace of a campsite, rather than the hustle and bustle of town life. Taking Reg for a walk in a place he’s never been before (the countryside – rather than the road) was entertaining – he saw rabbits for the first time and also cat’s eyes in the road – which he wanted to chew!

We had planned to cycle to the Marina in Chichester, to catch up with my (Sarah’s) mum, before we disappeared again! We checked the route and strapped Reg into his trailer and set off. One hairy moment when he slipped his straps (Houdini strikes again) and ran along the side of the trailer along the busy road. A quick stop to remedy the situation and attach another lead to the trailer and harness and hopefully he’ll be safe in the future.

We arrived at the Marina, after having to navigate a very difficult kissing gate – it’s designed for wheelchairs, but to get a bike trailer through you have to dismantle the trailer and go through individually! Mum was glad to see us and we spent a lovely afternoon, socially distancing on her boat. We said our goodbyes and set off back to the campsite (and Reg’s friends).

Tuesday morning, after a quick trip to the Farm Shop opposite https://www.southbournefarmshop.co.uk/ and stocking up with some lovely food, we headed off to the New Forest and the Caravan Club Site in Bransgore. The facilities are open on Caravan Club sites, with social distancing measures in place (not that everyone understands how it works!). We had a nice grass pitch and managed to wander to the Airfield Memorial, before the weather changed.

We headed off after a couple of days (the weather was due to brighten up and campsites were getting booked up) to Exmoor House Caravan Site, in Dulverton. Dulverton is such a lovely town, with a traditional butchers and greengrocers. We had a wander around and the next day, we headed into the town for fish and chips – which we’d both been craving, whilst in lockdown and it didn’t disappoint.

Reg went for a swim in the river next to the site – he decided he wanted to jump in and off he went, luckily he was on a lead as the current was very strong. He did have a moment when he got back on the shore trying to dry himself!

From here we set off to Minehead. It’s only a short drive but we fancied a couple of days by the sea. We had a short walk to the beach and despite dogs not being allowed on the beach, we couldn’t resist – Reg has never been to the beach before and the sand was too inviting to him; he was trying to play with it on the prom! Our walk took us past Butlins, which is still not open and looked a bit sad. The walk back in the heat was a bit too much for Reg and he had to be carried part of the way.

We got the barbecue out in the evening and had lovely steaks, from the butcher in Dulverton,

We’re now planning our trip for the next week – we’re heading back towards home as lockdown easing has allowed the dentist to open and Ric can have the treatment we’ve been waiting for since Spain and December!

As always, thank you for reading, we’ll update you with the rest of our adventure soon #theadventurecontinues. Stay safe…

Lockdown Week 15: Light at the end of the Tunnel

Our Lockdown Hideaway – we are thankful to our neighbours for putting up with us, but we need to move on!

Boris has said that campsites can reopen in England on 4th July. We’ve spent the week, preparing. We started to declutter all the extra stuff, we’ve accumulated in the last 15 weeks. Unfortunately, the weather changed and we weren’t able to completely empty the garage, but we have managed to put another seven kilos of clothes in the loft!

We said our goodbyes to family and the friends we’ve made in our lockdown parking space and headed off to a Camping and Caravanning Site in Chichester.

It felt good but strange to be back on the road, almost like we were expecting to be asked, what are we doing / where are we going?

Arriving at the campsite was amazing, we were allocated a pitch and although, no facilities were open, except for waste disposal and washing up, but we were aware of this before we booked and Nortia has an amazing shower and bathroom set up, so this wouldn’t be an issue. We waited until we arrived to fill up with water, just as there was less weight that way, to travel with.

People on site, were all friendly and looked like we felt, so thankful to be able to be out and about. The knowledge that we don’t have to go home at the end of the day, is such a relief. When we arrived, the sun was shining and although a little windy, sitting outside for the evening, brought back lots of happy memories. We hope that Reg will enjoy it too.

Reg, has only ever spent four days on a pitch before, way back when he was eight weeks old, so to be harnessed and tethered was a little strange to him, He also, hasn’t really been on a drive ( we had two lockdown drives, weeks apart. He is used to sleeping in the motorhome, but not the outside experience.

Reg did make some friends during our stay, there were three little girls next door and he loved being made a fuss of by the youngest two.

Tomorrow, we are continuing our adventure. Thank you for reading and we look forward to sharing our adventure with you for next week. Find out where we go and what we do, next!

Lockdown Week 11: Places we’ve been (Part 4: Poland to Slovenia)

We’re still in lockdown. Rules are being relaxed but, we still can’t camp overnight. The weather has continued to be nice and sunny and Reg continues to grow and get more adventurous.

We’re continuing on our review of places we’ve been, remembering happy times travelling and waiting for the time we can continue.

Poland

  • Ryn – our first stop in Poland. The campsite here, although the Campercontact App, stated it was closed, was very much open, and it was an absolute gem of a site. We can’t recommend Camping Mazury enough. We were even shown to a big fenced field next to the woods, where Albi was allowed to roam free.
  • Warsaw – the roads into the city were very busy so we chose to stay on the outskirts at Camping 222 in Kaputy. It was here we bumped into our fellow Bloggers and friends, Karen and Colin – Rewind the Gap.
  • Auschwitz – we made the decision, if we were going through Poland, we had to go to Auschwitz. We stopped for the night in the Motorhome stop in the car park opposite and explored the site the following day.

Slovakia

  • Námestovo – after a drive from Poland, up into the hills / mountains and over the border we found a campsite on the edge of the Reservoir. Another lovely small site – ATC Jumi.
  • Kremnické Bane – The geographical central point of Europe. A plaque is mounted on a stone outside the church of St John. We arrived at the same time as a coach of school children, in the rain. Be careful when looking for the sign posts, as it was on a steep bend!
  • Čilistov – we stopped at a small Stellplatz on the edge of the village, near the river Danube. We had been looking for a campsite, but they were all closed, and stumbled on this site, complete with honesty box for payment. It is also close to a Hotel – the Hotel Kormorán and the X-Bionic Sphere Sports Resort, with it’s wonderful Sculpture – Colossus, the largest Equine Statue in the World.
  • Bratislava – we stopped at the Motorhome Parking on the edge of the River Danube and wandered around the town, stopping for lunch. The Parking is a free car park, with no time limit.

Czech Repuplic

We stopped in the Czech Republic, after having a difficulty crossing the border into Austria – all part of the adventure!

  • Lednice – we stopped at the campsite ATC Apollo. It was a little stuck in the 1950’s and not somewhere we would chose to go back to.

Austria

We sorted out our little issue (what vignette we needed, and whether we did need one) and headed over the border.

  • Tulln – another town on the Danube. The campsite, Donaupark, had the potential to be lovely, but due to a Rally on site, we were placed at the edge of the site.
  • Burgau – the town was a lovely place with a castle, and the Camping Schloss Burgau was located behind it.

Slovenia

One of our favourite places to visit. We can not get enough of this country.

  • Ptuj – crossing the border into Slovenia, felt relaxing. We headed into an area we hadn’t been before and the town of Ptuj. Located on the river Drava, the campsite is a short walk into the main town with its historic old town and castle.
  • Reccica ob Savinji – A small town out in the Upper Savinja Valley, this Camping Menina is one of the most relaxed but lively campsites we’ve stayed at. It is on the river, with activities available in high season and a restaurant on site.
  • Ankaran – on our return from Croatia, we stopped off here on the Adriatic Coast. Despite the weather (it rained all the time we were there). The Adria Camping and Resort, is between Croatia and Italy and looked like a very lively place in the right weather!
  • Bled – Camping Bled and the town are possibly our favourite places. There is so much to do and see around here. We cycled round the lake, climbed up the hills, picked up a Chinese takeaway. We will happily return here over and over again!

Thank you for reading. We continue to be safe and well (if a little bored) and hope you are safe and well too.

Lockdown: Week 7 – Places we’ve been (Part 1 – England to Denmark)

While we’re unable to travel, we thought we’d have a lookback over the places we’ve been in the last year.

Nortia at Sunset in Norway

Our time travelling has taken us to some amazing places, some unexpected, and some planned. We’ve had some great days and some not so great. We’ve been to some places we’ve been before, but many we hadn’t. We’ve been caught up in some good and bad weather and we’ve met some lovely people, along the way.

We started our tour in England. We collected Nortia from Darlington, County Durham and slowly travelled back to our families in the South, before heading through the Tunnel to Europe.

Our first destination, was changed when we had a leaking basin in the bathroom and were booked in for repairs in Belgium.

Belgium

  • Geel – Dicar Motorhomes. We arrived not knowing exactly what to expect and with limited (unconfident) French, but we were made to feel welcome and the Motorhome was fixed in a couple of hours.
  • De Klinge – we stopped here in the sunshine after our stop at Dicar Motors. There is a statue in the village to the De Loor brothers, one of whom won the Tour of Spain Cycle Race, now called La Veulta.
  • Ypres – we stopped at the campsite just outside the town and walked to the Menin Gate and the historic town.
  • Tyne Cot Cemetery – the largest cemetery for Commonwealth Soldiers in the World (for any war). It was one of the best cemeteries we have been to, so well looked after and maintained. The poignancy of the cemetery was unbelievable.
  • Bredene – on the North Sea Coast, close to the Dutch Border. This is on our list to return to. If you know our love of take-aways, we found a Chinese, almost next door to the campsite too. The beaches here are sandy and the wind was whipping it up a treat.

The Netherlands

  • Ouddorp aan Zee – we stayed in a campsite here, close to the beach and cycled along the promenades, stopping for lunch with a view of the North Sea. We also cycled inland along the polders. This place had a lot of charm and an unbelievable blue North Sea.
  • Utrecht – check whether dogs are allowed before paying and pitching and taking the dog for a stroll! then checking the website after a few strange looks and making a hasty retreat.
  • Abbenes – Camperstop in a beautiful part of the country, surrounded by farmland.
  • Amsterdam – what do we need to say? The campsite was close to cycle routes and the tram to the City Centre. Well worth a two night stop. Amsterdam with its history and sights was a must see and do.
  • Witmarsum – close to the motorway and the dams. A beautiful town with canals and more cycle paths and windmills.

Germany

  • Kollmar – after a series of diversions and a ferry trip, we arrived at a lovely campsite outside the town. The highlight of the campsite was the owner, who raised the English St George Flag for our stay.

Denmark

  • Tønder – just over the border from Germany, The campsite is on the edge of the town, behind the Leisure Centre. It’s a lovely short walk up to the cobbled streets of the village, and bakery. The pavements had roses growing through them and up the walls of the houses.
  • Vesløs – in the middle of the Danish countryside, 11 Kms from the beach and apparently cyclable, but we didn’t get there, partially because the weather started to change and partially, because after 13 miles we hadn’t got there! From here, we went to the Wind Turbine Centre at Osterlid.
  • Skagen – Right at the tip of Denmark. We loved it here! We cycled into the main town and port more than once. It’s a great place to visit. We are definitely coming back here!
  • Aarlborg – a beautiful town on a river, with cycle routes and a variety of takeaways and restaurants.
  • Island of Fyn – Faaberg – Another amazing place and one we’re coming back to.

As always, thank you for reading. We hope you and your families are well and surviving lockdown, we’re safe and well in our little spot, waiting for the opportunity to continue our journey. Reg continues to grow and his training is ongoing. We’ll be back with another part of our trip, soon, #staysafe #stayhome.

Week 36: France – from the Edge of the World to Montreuil-sur-Mer

On Monday, we awoke to more rain and rain at La Ferme du Bout de Monde, The Farm at the Edge of the World, Kerguidy-Izella, Brittany. We set off to the most westerly point of France, the Pointe de Corsen, where the sun did come out but the wind was bitter. The views were amazing.

We chose a campsite to stop at in Locquirec, right on the bay overlooking the English Channel (or La Manche in France). The view was amazing and when the sun was out.

The following morning we set off on a road trip, recommended by the free guide we picked up in Reception. We headed up to Plougasnou, Saint-Samson, the port du Diben, up the coast to Primel-Tregastel and on to Saint-Jean du Doigt, through Prajou and back to Locquirec. The leaflet called the route the Grand Panoramas along the Tregor protected coastline and it was truly stunning.

Wednesday, we left Locquirec and headed up the coast to Dinard. The views along the coast were lovely and we were only 40 miles from the Channel Islands – we had thought about going there, but campsites don’t open until later in the year and the weather didn’t look favourable for a ferry crossing. Our campsite has fantastic views of the sea and we are almost on the beach! Today, also marked the one year anniversary of our house move, downsizing to fund our adventure.

Thursday, we had chosen to go on a walk around the town of Dinan and down to the yacht harbour, but the weather had other ideas! We walked into the town, stopping for lunch in a little brasserie for the plat du jour! Next, we headed along to see the Alfred Hitchcock Statue, apparently it was put in place for a film festival. As we headed towards the beach, we were sandblasted as the wind whipped the sand off the beach, not wanting to be lightweights, it was impossible to continue our trip, though comfortably.

The change of plans was incredibly fortunate as when we returned to Nortia, she was also being battered, the sand had started to drift over the roadway and was beginning to accumulate in the vents on her side (these are the ventilation points for the fridge). We chose to runaway! We packed up as quickly as we could and sought shelter in a lower and secluded part of the campsite. We have sand everywhere, outside, inside and ourselves – we were still finding sand in our hair and eyes, the following morning.

Overnight the wind did calm and the rain began to ease. We set off up towards the Tunnel and Calais. We have booked our crossing back to England for Monday! We decided to have a longish journey, so we could get to the port with some ease. As we headed up the coast, we found a car wash where we could try to get rid of some of the remaining sand. We drove up to Le Mont-Saint-Michel and although the weather wasn’t good enough to stop for long (and it was high tide), we admired the view.

Our stop for the night was a hidden gem. We pulled into the campsite – Camping Sous les Etoiles, in Saint-Martin des Besaces, Normandy and on first impressions thought it shut up fo the winter, there didn’t appear to be anyone around. We drove back up the drive and pulled over to find somewhere else for the night, when Steve the campsite owner, drove up and told us they were open and if we still wanted to we were more than welcome.

Steve and his wife have only recently bought the campsite, but it is a gem, old buildings some over 400 years old and farmland with grass pitches and the best grass we have seen for ages. There is a bar and a restaurant – used by the locals, and one of the best toilet blocks we’ve been to!

Saturday, we headed off again, this time to Le Treport. The campsite we had found was just outside the town, but when we arrived the Reception was closed (in the winter it opens from 09:00 to 12:00, helpful! We did however stay at the Camping Car Aire just behind it!

Sunday, we wanted to get close-ish to the Tunnel, just in case, but not too close! We had made the mistake a few years before of checking how long it would take us to get to the Tunnel from our site the morning we were supposed to leave and finding the Sat Nav told us it would take 30 minutes longer than we had left! (We did make it, but it was a push)! We’d chosen to stop at Montreuil-sur-Mer.

Montreuil-sur-Mer, is an old walled citadel town and also the inspiration for Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. Each year there is an open air performance of the play there too. The campsite is located under the citadel walls and Ditsy Daisy Sat Nav did try and make us do some rather precarious turns, which we didn’t (we’ll try a lot of drives, but a switchback left, downhill with a wall and parked cars, was really out of our comfort zone), we did find an alternative route. From the campsite you can also walk up to and through the wall to the old town.

As we mentioned earlier, we’re off to the Tunnel tomorrow, so find out what we get up to back in England! As always, thank you for reading…