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: Week 7 – A tour of Kent (and back to Sussex)

a Victorian Post Box, Lydden, Kent

We left our campsite at Pluckley and headed to Lydden, just outside Margate. En route we stopped off at Headcorn Aerodrome, where about 30 years ago I did my (Sarah) one (and only) parachute jump! Our little tour of Kent, took us up through Sandwich and along the coast.

Lydden Farm Campsite https://www.lyddenfarm.co.uk/ is one of the Caravan and Motorhome Club’s Certified Locations and it is another gem. £13 a night, maximum of five pitches and a short walk to shops and Margate, however our walk was curtailed by a busy main road and fly-tipping! We chose to have a driving tour around the Isle of Thanet, down to Ramsgate (again a cycle ride away on the Viking Coastal Trail) up to Broadstairs into Margate and on to Herne Bay.

Part of our reason for visiting Margate was to view the Anthony Gormley Statue, Another Place. A word to the wise… Check the tide times! At high tide the statue is completely submerged. We, also, headed past the Amusement Park of Dreamland. We did manage to just see his head, when we came back on Friday, heading off.

From the campsite there were various walking and cycling routes and dog walking for Reg was great. On Wednesday, we were informed that our weekend stop in East Hoathly, was waterlogged and we had been cancelled! What now, it’s a Bank Holiday…

Leaving Lydden and Margate we made our way to Bearsted, Maidstone. We had planned to stop here and complete our laundry after having had no facilities on site for a fortnight! It is a short walk from the Caravan and Motorhome Club Site to Leeds Castle, where we had hoped to see views of the castle from the grounds, where the footpath will take you, but no such luck!

Now, for the Bank Holiday, Bearsted had no availability so we had to move on, but where to? Gatwick Caravan and Motorhome Club Site of course! Why? A curry! and potentially a motorhome wash (no such luck, it was too hot on our arrival day and the next, and the day of departure, everyone had the same idea, so we’re a little dirty, but…

We love a curry from our home town and the Raj Tandoori (Crawley’s oldest) never fails to deliver. Now they are on Just Eat too and will deliver to the campsite. http://www.rajtandooricrawley.co.uk/home/3496265

We also managed to meet one of our Facebook Friends (and follower) Great British Bake Off’s Karen Wright and her husband John. https://www.karenwrightbakes.co.uk/

Karen, her husband John and fellow GBBO Contestant Terry Harthill set off on a European Tour in two Etrusco Motorhomes in 2019. https://www.freedomtogo.co.uk/watch/travel-vlogs/gbbos-karen-terrys-european-motorhome-adventure/

We’re heading off again on Monday, back on our tour.

As always, thank you for reading. We hope you and your families are safe and well. We’ll be back soon (internet dependent!).

Back on the Road – Week 5 Sussex: (East and West)

Reg enjoying the sea (again)

Not a lot to write about this week, but we have sorted a variety of things!

We left Slindon Caravan and Motorhome Club (CMC) Site and headed north to Gatwick CMC Site. Gatwick is close to our home and we knew we can get a decent curry here, along with the fact that Reg needed to have his booster vaccination. We can’t believe it’s been a year since he was fully vaccinated and nearly a year since we could start to walk and socialise him! In addition, we have a repair to carry out on the motorhome which, our friendly local mechanic can sort out for us; but true to form, the standard part you can order, is not the one we need, so we’re awaiting news of the part’s delivery!

After Gatwick, we headed south to Brighton CMC Site. A well earned and overdue haircut was on the cards!

Next we headed east to the Norman’s Bay Camping and Caravanning Club Site. What a lovely site! It’s a walk over the road to the beach, which although stone and shingle, has a great walk to the little village of Pevensey Bay, with a few shops,restaurants and the train station. A walk in the opposite direction takes you to the railway station at Norman’s Bay, passed the restored Martello Tower.

Walking Reg each morning was great as it was low tide and he still loves the water, he does go a little more nutty than normal but… He was able to be off lead, as the only restriction on the beach was to be under control – but with no other dogs or people around he was as good as gold (or as good as a 15 month Border Terrier can be!) Our only restriction was as the tide was still going out, the sand was a little quick and the rip looked a bit too strong. I didn’t fancy a cold early morning swim to rescue him!

We’re heading off to Kent, next week for a tour around and hopefully being able to see some sights we couldn’t the last time we wanted to (when the country went into the November Lockdown and the Kent variant of COVID-19 had just been identified. We’ll let you know how we get on and where we get to soon.

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

Week 37: Road Trip – Yorkshire to Sussex and a new Team Member: Meet Reg!

New Team Member – Meet Reg

This week has been a little weird. We set off on Monday from Bolton Abbey in the Yorkshire Dales to Harrogate. We had planned to head up to Leyburn and then on to Harrogate, but a road closure meant we needed to travel back to Hawes and north to Kirkby Stephen before heading through the Swaledale Valley towards Richmond and then south to Harrogate.

We walked the Coast to Coast several years ago and were reminded of the route as we headed up to Ravenseat and on to Keld, Muker and Reeth. We like to remember the little tales we heard on the way! Albi also did this walk with us.

We arrived at Harrogate Caravan Site, after having been taken to the wrong address by Ditsy Daisy – Gloria Google Maps to the rescue! The campsite is not too far from the town, and next door to a Farm Shop and Cafe, just up the road is Sainsbury’s. Our reason for coming to Harrogate, was to get the Motorhome sorted. In Spain, our water pump stopped working and we have been making do with water bottles and topping up, but Rachel at Erwin Hymer was able to book us in to Steve Mann Caravans https://stevemanncaravans.co.uk/ for a repair. We consulted with Alison and were able to book an appointment for Tuesday at 09:30. As you are probably aware, Ric doesn’t like early mornings and the thought of a wake-up call at 08:00 was a shock to the system!

Tuesday morning, bright and early we set off to Steve Mann Caravans, where we left a very dirty Nortia and Alison, dropped us into the town and we set off on a mooch. We have to say, this was the day after the Government brought in new measures to control the spread of Coronavirus – Covid-19 and the town was very quiet. We were able to get a bacon bap in Gregg’s but Betty’s – the iconic tea rooms in Harrogate, was closed (the shop/bakery was still open, as we write). We managed to bag a couple of bargains too, before we walked back to the workshop, they had offered to collect us but in light of the current rules of socialising we thought a walk the best way! When we arrived, Nortia was being cleaned, that told us how dirty she was. Pump fitted, we headed off to get some puppy bits – Reg is a Border Terrier puppy, who we are due to collect on Thursday!

We returned to the campsite and took the bikes off for a well deserved clean. They were still caked with sand from France! Before we could go out on a ride, the weather turned and rain clouds loomed, so they were put back on the Motorhome, with the knowledge they are serviced. We took the opportunity to plan our trip back, south. We still aren’t sure what we’ll be able to do or go with the Coronavirus pandemic. Currently, there are no restrictions for campsites here as there are in France and Spain, but we’re waiting. Technically, we aren’t socialising and we’re away from vulnerable people, but we’ll wait and see! We had hoped to take our next tour to Ireland, but with the lock-down we think it might be wise to stay on the UK mainland, wait and see what we’ll get up to, we have no idea at the moment!

Wednesday, we had a fairly long journey to Polstead, Suffolk. We’ve stayed here before on our return from our first Europe tour. It’s a lovely site, in the middle of the country but in true British fashion it was raining. We settled down for the night and got ready for our short journey tomorrow.

Thursday, we headed to Essex, where we were picking up Reg, our new puppy. He’s the new team member. He’s a lovely, lively eight week old bundle of fur. Normally, we would have waited and collected him a week or so later, but with the threat of countrywide shutdowns, we felt it best to collect him now.

From Essex, we headed to our campsite outside Horsham – Sumners Ponds. They have a special offer until the end of March. We like Sumners, we have stayed here before on a number of occasions; it’s on the edge of a footpath and close to the Downs Link, as well has having a number of fishing lakes. It’s the ideal place to stay. We have booked to be here until Wednesday. In the current pandemic situation, we chose to stay within our NHS catchment area, just in case.

Friday, after the first night with Reg, up at 03:30 to let him out (not alone!) and then move him into the bedroom to stop him crying. Until 03:30 he had been as quiet as anything. We were met by my (Sarah’s) mum and practicing social-distancing – no hugs or kisses just an air high five. The weather was still not great and a reminder of those days dog walking in the rain!

Saturday and a less early start. Reg slept until about 05:00. Later in the morning, we took him on a little stroll (we strolled, he was carried!) he saw a couple of horses, which he wasn’t quite sure of. The sun has graced us with its presence today.

Sunday, and a surreal Mother’s Day. It’s not advised to visit family and spend time in groups more than two outside of your own household. We strolled with Reg (who slept until nearly 06:00) to the village shop, maintaining social distancing. Reading through e-mails it was becoming obvious that things were changing in relation to the COVID-19 virus. The Caravan and Motorhome Club have shut their sites, as have the Camping and Caravanning Club. The campsite today, has no intentions to close, so we’ve booked to stay until 1st April. It’s still sunny and becoming positively springlike, following yesterday’s Spring Equinox.

As always, thank you for reading. We hope that you, your families and friends are safe in this current strange time. Please see what we get up to next week and more of Reg’s adventures…

Week 21 and 22: Cornwall to Sussex

We left Tavistock and followed the map over Dartmoor. For a change we had sunshine on the moor, normally it gets dark and overcast and snow falls with a strong wind – regardless of the time of year! We headed off along the road, until we were met with a road width restriction. We were too large to attempt it, so back we went.

On the way back, we saw Dartmoor ponies by the side of the road and then, there they were reminding us of the reindeer at the Arctic Circle, on the road, walking towards us! We have never seen them before on the moor, probably because of the weather, but…

We ventured into Exeter, on to Lyme Regis and then Charmouth, where we stopped for the night. Again we were the only people there! There was a lovely looking pub in the High Street, but it was closed until the next day. The following morning we took a short walk to the beach and looked at the spectacular Jurassic Coast, before setting off along the coast to Portland Bill.

Neither of us had been to Portland Bill before, so this part of the trip was definitely one of firsts! I can remember the television programme from when I was younger, and again proceeded to annoy Ric with the theme tune – which I proceeded to play on you tube to him and it stuck as his earworm for the day!

We stopped and had lunch, before watching a Coastguard Search and Rescue Helicopter practising manoeuvres. We drove up to the point and the Lighthouse, before returning to look at the Olympic Rings from the 2012 London Olympics’ Sailing Events. We headed on to Wareham, where we stopped for the night, but first had the experience of live tank fire on the artillery range, and road signs indicating which road was open and could be used. The roads have signs warning of tanks crossing too, it was like being back in Poland!

From Wareham we went on to Fordingbridge, where we’d been recommended a jet wash, big enough for the lovely Nortia, who by now was looking a whole lot worse for the weather! All she needed was a typical comment – Also available in white!

After an hour or so we were ready to continue or journey, homeward bound. Nortia, looked clean and despite the weather a little cleaner, although we were a whole lot colder after the experience!

We arrived at our stop for the next couple of nights – Brighton. We are now close to home and were able to make the necessary appointments, pick up post and sort a bike wheel we had damaged – pot holes don’t just harm cars!

The next week or so we’re just going to be catching up with family and sorting appointments and getting ready for our next adventure. We’ve had Albi seen by the vet and his passport checked for our next trip to Europe. We’ve booked our tickets to France for next week and our adventure will continue. The weather has been really bad here, so there aren’t even good photos to show you…

Thank you again for reading and we’ll be back to update you in a week or so…