A Bank Holiday at Meathop Fell, Cumbria

So, we were all fired up ready for another weekend away when we noticed that the fridge light wasn’t coming on. It was one of the hottest days of the year too! Jolly had recently been into Marquis for some work on the fridge so we (rightly as it turned out) assumed that something was amiss with their finishing off of the job. To cut a long story short, we took in a detour to call in at Marquis and ask them to sort it out which they did and once sorted we were out on the road again …

Meathop Fell C&MC Site was the destination for our camping trip with friends. It was a pretty late booking for a bank holiday weekend but luckily Meathop had available pitches, and having all been there before at one time or another (see previous post), we agreed it’d be a lovely site to visit again.

What FANTASTIC weather we had too! Wow, so sunny and warm. The two of us spent time out cycling for a large part of one day because it was just such perfect weather that we had to get out into the countryside. We also spent lots of time together as a group sitting at our pitches and walking/cycling into Grange-over-Sands on the first evening. It’s a leisurely 2.8 miles into Grange from the site along a country road and then along the prom as you enter the town. We all sat out and had tea at The Commodore Inn on the first evening and thoroughly enjoyed the grub there 👍.

The following day part of the group drove into Kendal for the afternoon for a wander and to listen to a music event in the park. However, we opted to hop back on our bikes again and cycled part of NCN route 70 from the site entrance through to Town End, Witherslack, where we turned right at The Derby Arms (after a flyer!) and continued along a long, straight, quiet country road which runs parallel to the A590. The views on such a day were fab and the ride although a sweaty one 💦 made for a lovely afternoon.

We rode to the small village of Levens (one that we intend to re-visit to see Levens Hall Deer Park), past the The Gilpin Bridge Inn before reaching the absolutely delightful Hare & Hounds just a little further over a bridge and up a steep hill. We only went in for a loo break and a beer, however, our cycling had given us an appetite and it was clear to see that this place was a little bit special so Bri ordered Sunday roast pork & Suzie the pan fried seabass on saffron mash. Both were absolutely delicious! 😋.

We were then re-energised for our cycle back to camp which was just a reversal of the route we’d taken in and which we took at a leisurely pace, stopping to take in the views and breathe in the fresh air. Perfect.

On arrival back at camp later on, we met up with the rest of the gang again who’d also had a great day in Kendal listening to music in the sunshine with a couple of beers. We all enjoyed a cold meats, olives, pate, cheese, bread and salad supper together later and sat around sipping Pimms, chatting, laughing and listening to music in what was a cosy round-up to the weekend.

The next morning, after a cooked breakfast bap, we headed our own ways back home after what had been an excellent weekend.

Our next Jolly Jaunt is only a week away and is a 9-nighter. We have the house/cat-sitter sorted so roll on that one because it’s been a long wait for us and it really can’t come soon enough.

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri

Haverigg, near Millom, Cumbria

Just back from a cheeky weekend Jolly jaunt to Haverigg, a quiet coastal village just outside Millom in Cumbria.

We stayed at Harbour Lights Campsite which is a very short walk from the picturesque and tranquil Haverigg Beach. We were lucky enough to be able to enjoy some time on this beautiful beach with the sun shining down and not another soul around us – it’s pretty rare to find that kind of privacy in such locations these days! We saw house martins landing on the wet sand to collect materials for their nests. They are so quick that the photos aren’t great but capture some of the action of these little beauties.

Just further on from Haverigg Beach (opposite the Inshore Rescue Team Building) is a 7-tonne sculpture looking out to sea. It’s by the famous sculptress Josefina de Vasconcellos, called ‘Escape to Light’, and dedicated to all UK inshore rescue teams.

Haverigg village is quiet and we found a little pub for a swifty during our exploration of the area – The Harbour Hotel. It seemed to be the hub of the community and there was a very friendly cat that lives there and which joined us for our pint by sprawling over the table. He/she really enjoyed a tummy tickle (well, don’t we all?).

We enjoyed a day out cycling from the site around the beach area, and out around the coastal lagoon which is the site of a former iron mine, and is now a nature reserve and the site of RSPB Hodbarrow.

It’s breeding season and as you can probably imagine, the whole site was alive with the chatter of birds and sight of parents carrying food back to the nests for their young. We sat in a hide and watched/listened for a while, taking photographs. We recorded a little vid …

We later cycled into Millom for a wander around and saw the statue that stands in the square of ‘the scutcher’ (the man whose job it was to stop the iron ore tubs with an iron bar) placed there in commemoration of the town’s iron industry history.

During our visit we ate at two places – Herdwicks, which is about a 10-minute walk from the site and The Clocktower Restaurant in Millom which we got a taxi to one evening. By far the best in our opinion was Herdwicks but you need to pre-book because they were full and turning people away, so it is obviously known to be good grub. The meal at the Clocktower was a little disappointing. There’s a lovely bar downstairs though so it’s well worth a visit for a drink, but we probably wouldn’t eat there again. Also, both taxi drivers recommended the Da Vinci Restorante so we’d probably give that a go next time.

All in all a very chilled out weekend with fantastic weather and beautiful scenery. Haverigg feels like our new little find, our special secret. Psst, *whisper* but we don’t mind sharing it with just you!

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri

Kendal was calling! 🚐

We’ve just spent a lovely weekend at Kendal Caravan & Motorhome Club site on a long overdue Jolly jaunt.

First Jolly Jaunt of the year! 😎

It isn’t actually in Kendal, it’s approx. 4.5 miles outside the town in a blissfully beautiful location beside the River Kent, set on the site of the 19th century Sedgwick Gunpowder Mill and it’s a wildlife heaven. The spacious pitches lie within separate wooded areas which gives a very peaceful sense of privacy, and a fabulous dawn chorus.

The site was fully booked up and we happily pitched up on number 77 where we could enjoy some afternoon sunshine before heading out on our first evening for a meal at The Strickland Arms, just 0.7 miles from the site which serves very good pub grub. We had pre-booked our table due to its popularity as the nearest pub/eatery to the site. We left with full and happy tummies!

  • Oh and we only found out later from a nice couple on the pitch beside us that you can get 10% off meals at The Strickland as C&MC members but they don’t promote it so you have to say, so take your membership card! You’re welcome 😉.

The next day we headed out on our bikes, firstly up to Low Sizergh Barn, a working farm, farm trail, cafe, and farm shop (online shop too), and raw milk station.

We had a coffee outside there before heading on up to Sizergh Castle (next door to the Strickland Arms) where we used our National Trust membership to gain free entry to the gardens. We thought we’d leave the house tour for another time when the weather might not be so great, as we preferred to spend some leisurely time meandering through the stunning gardens in the sunshine.

Afterwards we cycled an undulating 4.5 miles into Kendal where we had a mosey around before fish n chips mid-afternoon and a pint at The Shakespeare pub before making our way back.

We took a steep uphill detour on the way home to drop into the The Punch Bowl at Barrows Green for a drink before returning to site. Not sure how far we cycled in and around the area throughout the day but we slept very well! 😴

Next morning we enjoyed a bit of breakfast on Jolly before packing up and heading home, all the more relaxed for our short break. We’re never happier than when out and about in our Jolls.

We highly recommend this site if you like peace and nature. It caters well for families too with a playground and riverside areas for picnics, and there are plenty of walks from the site around the area. Next time we plan to visit Levens Hall & Deer Park but there was only so much we could fit in this time.

Until next time …

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri 🚐

Smithson Farm Campsite, Reedley Hallows, Burnley, Lancashire

A lovely night spent with friends over Burnley way this weekend.  We decided to make a weekend of it – any excuse for a Jolly jaunt 😉.

We pre-booked a 2 night stay at Smithson Farm Campsite in Reedley Hallows which is just outside Burnley, in the heart of Lancashire.  The owners, Carole & Harry, are very friendly and welcoming and can’t do enough for you.  They gave us a tour of the facilities on arrival and this included the shower/toilet block which is currently mid-refurbishment.  We used our own on-board facilities though.

The site has grass or hardstanding pitches with EHU.  There’s a CDP and grey waste can be disposed of there also.  Just a little heads up though, you’ll need a long water hose to fill your unit as the tap is quite a way from where you park up.  There is also a shepherd’s hut, camping pods and a larger camping hut, so something for everyone. There’s a cafe/shop on site selling jams & chutneys but it was closed as it was out of season.  Carole still kindly offered us breakfast but we’d come well prepared with provisions to make our own.  The site is also home to the small Woodend Mining Museum which is an interesting piece of mining history of the area.

We paid £40 for 2 nights on a hardstanding pitch with EHU.  It isn’t a large hardstanding pitching area, and Jolly at 7.2m in length just about fit.  Bigger units would struggle.  Also, there were 2 or 3 caravans on site that seemed to be permanent fixtures leaving a very limited choice of pitches.  The power supply was low and tripped a couple of times during our stay even though we weren’t drawing much from it.  Overall, however, the site was perfectly adequate for our needs this weekend.

Our first evening we enjoyed a meal at The Forest, Fence just a short taxi ride away.  We used Cavalier Taxis and it was £10 for the journey, not cheap but it was ‘Mad Friday’ one of the busiest nights before Christmas 🎅🏻🍻.  They were a friendly and reliable service.  Our meal at The Forest was delicious even though TripAdvisor shows mixed reviews.  It seems it may be a bit hit and miss there, in which case we were lucky that night because we couldn’t fault our meals.  The atmosphere was great too.

The second evening we met up with friends for a Christmas get-together at The Fence Gate Inn, Fence which was a fantastic evening too.  In fact we were so immersed in the night we forgot to get any photos!  We’d recommend giving both places we tried a visit.  A really lovely weekend with excellent company and plenty of laughs.

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Roll on our next Jolly Jaunt 😀 but until then …

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

A ‘Rail Ale Trail’, Bury, Greater Manchester

We recently enjoyed a great visit to Bury (named after the Saxon word for “a stronghold”) in Greater Manchester.  Here’s a brief history of the town.

We stayed at  Burrs Country Park Caravan Club Site on a serviced pitch (No. 89), and were pretty impressed with every aspect of our stay from the location, site facilities and pitch size to the numerous activities, things to do and eateries/pubs in the area.   There’s a Cluster Sculpture Trail to explore, and the River Irwell passes the entrance to the Country Park.

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We had pre-booked our stay some time ago, having bought tickets to attend a ‘Rail Ale Journey’ – a guided day trip on a steam train along the East Lancashire Railway  from Bury.  We thoroughly enjoyed this fun, friendly and sociable day out and can definitely recommend.  We even travelled the return journey in the comfort of an old first class carriage which ended the day beautifully.

It was a good job we’d booked our camping stay in advance because the site was fully booked due to it being the weekend of a visit from the much-loved and most famous steam engine of all – The Flying Scotsman 😮.

As further luck would have it, we managed to bag a pitch backing directly up to the railway line allowing us to watch The Flying Scotsman, the Witherslack Hall and the City of Wells steam locomotives as they chugged past Jolly 🚂.🚂🚂.

There’s a railway station at the site, making the railway easily accessible right from your doorstep.

There’s something mesmerising about the sight and sound of steam locomotives and it was a treat to see them up close.   These 2 videos were taken from our pitch:-

We’ll let the photos tell the story of the rest of our weekend.

For food and drink we visited the onsite pub, The Brown Cow, which was busy, buzzing, and great for a pint but we didn’t eat here so can’t comment.  Just a little further out from the site on the road towards town is another pub called The Garsdale Country Inn.  This was also good for a drink but the food was just ok, nothing special at all so we probably wouldn’t bother eating there again.

We found a lovely Indian Restaurant in town and can recommend it.  Excellent food and very good value too – The Jewel in the Crown.

We hadn’t actually realised just how much there is to do in Bury, and will definitely be re-visiting in the future.   Next time we’ll probably take the bikes and explore further afield.

ONWARD!

Suzie & Bri

Broughton-in-Furness, Cumbria

Well, we’ve just parked Jolly back up in storage after a weekend break near Broughton in Furness, a small market town on the South West border of the Lake District National Park in Cumbria.

We stayed at Upper Hawthwaite Caravan Park, a C&MC adult-only CL site on a working farm.  It’s approx. 1.5 miles outside Broughton-in-Furness and about a mile in the other direction from the village of Broughton Mills.

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This is a small, quiet site of 5 hard standing pitches backing onto fields with sweeping views of the surrounding Dunnerdale Fells and Duddon Valley.  Being a working farm, there are many different farming machines, etc. around but we heard no noise during our stay.  We only met one of the owners briefly on arrival when he came to collect payment.

The facilities are perfectly adequate, close by to each other and spotlessly clean.

The weather was far from that which we had come to expect after a summer of endless sunshine.  That said, the beauty of Cumbria and the Lakes is never diminished by a spot of rain.  Well we say spot, but at times the heavens absolutely opened although thankfully this was through the nights with days remaining mostly dry.

For our first evening we walked the mile from site along a winding ‘B’ road to the village of Broughton Mills and the beautifully traditional Lakeland inn called The Blacksmiths Arms.

We had pre-booked a table which is essential as it’s definitely the place to go in this area and therefore gets very busy.  The bar area is small and intimate giving it a friendly, social feel.  They serve a good selection of real ales and high quality home-cooked food.  This has to be one of our favourite pubs we’ve been to recently.  We highly recommend you visit it if in the area!

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Overnight, we were rocked to sleep in Jolly due to high winds blowing down through the valley and across the site which is quite exposed.  These winds had died down by lunch time the next day so, after a late breakfast and a lazy morning, we jumped on our bikes to cycle into Broughton.

It was all downhill towards the town so we knew the homeward trip would demand much more pedal power.  We also experienced a hairy moment when a motorist came flying up the hill around a blind bend onto our side of the road and nearly took us out, swerving at the last minute 😱.  We saw the whites of her 👀 and if she looked in her rear view mirror she’ll have seen the flicking of Suzie’s two fingers!! ✌🏻🤬.

Anyway, we survived and cycled on into the centre of Broughton in Furness, parking up in the pretty Georgian market square where there’s an obelisk which has stood there since 1810, erected to commemorate the 50th year of the reign of King George III.  This is the main focal point of the town.  By the obelisk is a set of stocks and a couple of market fish slabs, and across the road is the Tourist Information Centre located in the old market hall.

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As it was a dry and warm day we decided to ride out a little further on the bikes, following a short cycle/walking route we’d found online (approx. 4 miles).  The first part follows a renovated stretch of the old Coniston Railway track which once carried slate and copper ore from the mines at Coniston to the coast.

At the beginning of the ride we passed a cute little community vegetable patch with a sign inviting locals to pick and/or plant whatever they wished.

Further along we arrived at a small tarn with a wooden bench where we walked quietly up to a flock of ducks sleeping.  It was very peaceful sight so we sat there for a while before the ducks were woken by some dog walkers.

They were all standing on one leg (the ducks not the dog walkers).  They do this to conserve heat via an adaptation called ‘rete mirabile’ (Latin for ‘wonderful net’).  Their arteries carrying warm blood to the legs lie in contact with the veins carrying cold blood to the heart, helping them to maintain body temperature (Nature lesson over 🤓).

It was a gradual incline to the end of the renovated stretch of old railway line, when we then followed a narrower track to the right which took us down to Five Arches Road,  sadly the five arches bridge no longer exists.  We followed the rest of the route along lanes & tracks before completing the circular route back into town.

We finished off with a little detour along Foxfield Road to visit ‘Donkey Rock’, aka Eccle Riggs Bank Quarry.  It’s easy to miss the entrance and just shoot past but it’s a site of geological interest and well worth a peek.

The quarry wall is over 400 million years old, and once part of a Silurian sea bed.  It was pushed into the vertical position we see today by earth movements.  That’s as much as we understand anyway!

To finish our afternoon wanderings off, we stopped off for a couple of drinks in town.  There are 3 pubs within the centre, the Black Cock Inn, the Old Kings Head and the Manor Arms

For us, the most interesting and characterful by far is the 17th Century Manor Arms freehouse, which offers a good selection of real ales.  It doesn’t do food.   The pub to eat in seemed to be the Old Kings Head which has been refurbished and is very modern.  The Black Cock Inn also serves food.

There’s a restaurant called Beswicks Langholme House but we weren’t sure whether this has now closed, and The Square Cafe both within the market square.

Here’s a list of eateries in the area.

However, we’d decided to cook our own meal back on Jolly that evening.  So we called into the village bakery (also a cafe), Butchers/grocers to collect our ingredients.

We knew the cycling back up to site would take more effort than it had coming down.  So we got our heads down to cycle & push (well it is called a push bike!) in equal measure.

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Once we got back we could chill out and enjoy the rest of our evening.  We actually timed our return well because within half an hour or so the rains and mist had set in.

We fired up the Lotus Grill and slapped on two very succulent fillet steaks to sizzle away while the mist descended upon the hills around us.

It was like a scene from that film, ‘Grillers in the Mist’ …. (sorry!) 🦍

We boiled some new potatoes and green beans inside on Jolly to accompany our meaty feast.   Mmm, mmmmm, it was delicious.

A great way to end our stay 😊.

Next morning we drove through the misty valley back home.  We thoroughly enjoyed our weekend and in a strange way it was nice to have different weather this time around.  It all adds to the experience.

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ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Hesket Newmarket, Lake District, Cumbria

We recently spent a weekend up in the Northern edge of the Lake District or, as the locals call it, the ‘Back O’ Skidda’.

Our journey up was smooth without any hold-ups.  The weather was changeable, driving through drizzle and low cloud over the southern lakes then finally being greeted with sunshine on arrival at our destination.  Result! 😎

We stayed at Riverside Tourer Park in the hamlet of Millhouse, just a couple of miles outside the small village of Hesket Newmarket

It’s an open all year, adult-only site which suited us well during the busy school summer holidays.  There are both CL pitches for C&MC members and another section called ‘Millrace’ which we had pre-booked onto as the CL had already been booked up.

We’d originally booked for the previous weekend but had changed our plans and must say that the owners were very flexible with our request to move our stay.  Big 👍 for that.

On arrival there’s a ‘New Arrivals’ board by the gate which had our name on and a pre-allocated pitch number.   So we filled Jolly up and made our way to our pitch which was clearly marked with a reserved sign.

We were allocated Pitch 9 which was perfect for us in a quiet corner down by the riverside.   All pitches are a generous size, separated by mature hedges for added privacy and most, if not all, are hard standing.

The site appeared to be run very efficiently.  We didn’t actually meet the owners – maybe next time.  There was no need to though, having paid upfront by PayPal and just following the instructions on arrival.

We found it to be a wonderfully quirky site in some ways, especially the toilets, showers and the variety of piping gear provided to fit any type of waste outlet imaginable! 😀.

 

Once pitched up we had a cuppa and a chill out for a while.  The site was almost full but quiet.  Normally you’d have the sound of the River Caldew which runs alongside the site, but it was very low, little more than a trickle after the prolonged period of hot, dry weather we’ve had.

The River Caldew runs through Millhouse from it’s origin at Skiddaw, down through the nearby fells at Caldbeck and onwards to Carlisle where it joins the River Eden.

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During our stay we cycled around the local area, visiting the villages of Hesket Newmarket and Caldbeck.

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The first evening we ate at the 18th Century Old Crown Inn in Hesket Newmarket, Britain’s first co-operatively owned pub with its own brewery next door (Hesket Market Brewery).  The co-operative model of ownership of this pub has enabled it to retain a real community friendly feel.  We enjoyed a couple of excellent ales (particularly enjoyed the Skiddaw) and some good pub grub there that night.

Prince Charles has visited twice.  Yes, twice.  ‘Nuff said about this great little pub! 🍻 👑

The next day we cycled from the campsite back through Hesket Newmarket and on towards the larger village of Caldbeck.  Here we visited Priests Mill – a restored old water mill which was originally built by a Rector of the church next door.  It now houses the Watermill Cafe and gift shops.

After a wander around the mill area and a cuppa and cheeky slice of cake at the cafe, we headed towards the 12th Century St Kentigern’s Church.  We took a walk around the churchyard where the famous Huntsman, John Peel is buried, and went inside to write a message in the prayer book for a recently deceased friend 🙏.

By the riverside to the rear of the church you can see St Mungo’s/St Kentigern’s Well.   This Well was made holy by St Kentigern for early Christian baptisms.

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We finished the afternoon off with a short stroll from the village car park up to The Howk, a limestone gorge and waterfall.  This natural gorge has been called ‘Fairy Kettle’ and ‘Fairy Kirk’.

It’s a pretty riverside trail and although the water levels were low and the waterfall wasn’t thundering, it was still quite an impressive sight and sound.  There is a section of very steep stone steps at the waterfall.

Before reaching The Howk, you walk through the ruins of an Old Bobbin Mill.

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After our leisurely exploration of Caldbeck, we finished our day off with drinks and a meal at the Oddfellows Arms before cycling back to camp, calling in again at The Old Crown on the way.  The Old Crown was definitely our favourite of the 2 pubs.

And that was it, another adventure over so quickly!  Oh well, there’s always another just around the corner 🙂

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri

Freshwater Bay & Yarmouth, Isle of Wight

Our Isle of Wight Adventure was drawing to a close and we decided to spend another day oot n aboot on the bikes.

We found what looked to be an interesting circular cycling route on the Wightlink website.  It turned out to be very scenic and without many steep hills (just two I think) – result!  The route involved a combination of road, off road and cycle track.

9-mile cycle route Yarmouth – Freshwater Bay 🚲

We picked the route up outside the site at the top of Heathfield Road (just up from Colwell Road on the map), turning left and following the road down through Totland and on towards Freshwater Bay.  There are old smuggler caves in this bay that can be seen at low tide.  Today though, the action seemed to be mostly water sports enthusiasts.

We sat at the bay for a while before carrying on through the hamlet of Afton, after which we turned onto the cycleway which carried us along into Yarmouth.  This part was a gentle ride alongside the picturesque River Yar Estuary.

On arrival at Yarmouth we reached ‘Off The Rails’, a cafe/restaurant located within the old Yarmouth Railway Station.  It’s furnished very much in keeping with its rail history.  We stopped here for a drink and sat at a table outside on the old platform imagining the station back in its day.

https://www.offtherailsyarmouth.co.uk/

Afterwards, we continued into the bustling Yarmouth Harbour which is pretty and lively with plenty of shops, bars, restaurants, etc to keep you occupied.

https://www.yarmouth-harbour.co.uk/

Basically, our afternoon was spent in the Harbour area wandering and watching boats come and go.  Two places we visited and would recommend for food/drink are:-

Salty’s – a quirkily appealing bar with a separate restaurant.  We only went into the bar section downstairs which was very welcoming and relaxed with long tables and long bench seating creating a very sociable feel.  Visitors can write on the ceiling (so obviously we did!) which is painted over every 2 years so that there’s always space for visitors to leave their mark.  Upstairs is the seafood restaurant and we’d love to try this out on a future visit.

https://www.saltysrestaurant.co.uk/

Bugle Coaching Inn – 16th century inn in the Market Square.   Despite being very busy  we somehow managed to find a table and enjoyed a lovely meal there.

https://www.characterinns.co.uk/the-bugle-coaching-inn

Obviously there are loads more places but there’s only so much us two could eat/drink during one afternoon/evening there 😬.

By evening there was another lovely sunset over the boats in the Harbour which we captured before cycling back to site over Bridge Road.  There’s quite a steep section after this point where we pushed our bikes up before re-mounting to finish off the short ride back to site.

Sunset over Yarmouth Harbour

All this fresh air and exercise out and about was making us sleep very well! 😴.

On the final day of our holiday we decided to chill out beside Jolly and soak up some of the glorious sunshine 😎 as we’d been on the move pretty much since we arrived.  The site wasn’t over busy and so we enjoyed a relaxing, peaceful afternoon.  We also started to pack up some things in preparation for leaving the next morning.

By late afternoon, we’d decided that our final meal for this visit had to be back at The Hut in Colwell Bay.  So we pre-booked a table online and walked there as the bikes had been loaded back up onto the back of Jolly.  It was about a 2 mile walk to The Hut and back.

The Hut was heaving on arrival but again still seemed to retain just the right atmosphere, and soon quietened down a little after the afternoon rush.  We ate, had a couple of drinks and stayed just long enough to catch the sunset, before returning for an early night in preparation for our long journey home the next day.

The perfect finish to our hollibobs.

Our drive back up took us through the New Forest which looked stunning and had animals roaming freely through the fields and by the roadside.  It’s another place on our lonnnnng ‘To Do’ list.

So, our verdict on the Isle of Wight for a moho adventure ….

FANBLINKINTASTIC!  Obviously the perfect summer weather helped, but the place itself is beautiful with so much more to see and do than we had originally expected of this relatively small island.  Numerous camping sites/touring parks to allow easy exploration of all areas of the island.  The South is considered the more tourist-popular side of the island, but we found the North equally appealing.   We came back having fallen in love with the place and knowing that we must return to explore it some more.

Ahhh, I’m all blogged out after this trip and Jolly’s parked up having a rest … but not for long 😉.

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri

The Needles Landmark & Battery, Alum Bay, Isle of Wight

We spent a day at Alum Bay.  Although it’s only approx. 3 miles from the campsite we caught the bus as the roads for the route weren’t ideal for cycling.  We caught the Southern Vectis No.7 Newport-Alum Bay bus from the bus stop just outside the site entrance.  The name of the site bus stop is ‘Heathfield Road Top’ and the stop for the return trip is just a little further up across the road.

It was a superb day out and the continuing wonderful weather we were enjoying really made it special.  Our day was filled with stunning scenery, a chairlift ride down to the beach & back up, a boat ride around the Needles rocks & lighthouse, and an open top bus ride up to the Needles Old & New Batteries for what turned out to be a fascinating and informative couple of hours of military history.

Firstly though, on arrival we purchased tickets for the chairlift ride.  The cost was £6 each return, but they advised us at the ticket office that it was cheaper to buy a book of tickets for £9 which would cover us both for the ride.   So that’s obviously what we did.

We’d previously read that the chairlift wasn’t for the faint hearted.  However, never ones to let the possibility of plummeting from a great height and crashing down onto a rocky cliff face to deter us, we gave it a go.

The point where it first takes you over the cliff edge is a bit of a squeaky bum moment, but we really enjoyed it.  It’s a slow and gentle ride and luckily it was a very still and clear day.   The impressive views over the beach, out to sea, and of the Needles in the distance took most of our attention.

Once down at the beach we decided to take the pleasure boat ride on ‘Ramblin’Rose’ out to the Needles rocks and lighthouse to get a closer view and some photos.

http://needlespleasurecruises.co.uk/

The boat ride also provided good views of the unusual multi-coloured sand cliffs.

There are apparently 21 different shades of colour and, according to the Needles Landmark Attraction website, the reason for this is:-

“Approximately 70 million years ago, the sea bed rose, was eroded and then sank beneath the sea again. The new sea was shallow and it laid down a series of sands and clays. Some 10 million years later, movement in the bedrock caused these sediments to be pushed nearly vertically to form the multi-coloured cliffs that are visible today”

The sands are made of three minerals – quartz, felspar and mica, and in their pure state are white with other colours being produced through contamination by other minerals.

We brought home a memento glass jar of the sand from the gift shop like most people probably do.

After exploring the beach for a while we rode back up the cliff and hopped on the open top ‘Needles Breezer’ bus which took us up to the Old and New Needles Batteries.  It was a refreshing, blustery ride up the coastal road.  Alternatively, there’s a coastal footpath you can walk up.  We’d love to return to this area and explore Tennyson Down which we didn’t have the time to do on this trip.

The Needles Battery is a National Trust attraction and we decided to become members while we were there.  We had been meaning to join for a while.  The membership took immediate effect so we got free entrance into the Old Battery.  The New Battery is free to everyone.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-needles-old-battery-and-new-battery

We’ll let the photos tell the story of our visit because we saw too much to talk about and took plenty of snaps.

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Half way through our wander up there, we called into the 1940s style cafe for tea and cake.  It’s so authentic that we really felt like we’d been transported back in time.  In fact, I can still hear Glen Miller as I type … 🎺 🎶

We poked our noses in pretty much every room, nook and cranny of the site, finishing up in the tunnel to the searchlight which has windows looking directly out at the chalk stacks that are The Needles.   Not sure how long exactly we were there but the time flew by.

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Here are a few more photos taken at the Old Battery throughout the afternoon:-

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Well that was quite enough excitement for one day 🙂 so we caught the No.7 back to site.

Next day we were going to the Yarmouth Harbour area as we’d only driven through it on arrival.

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri