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

Garlic Farm, Red Squirrel Trail & Sandown, Isle of Wight

Our final day in this area of the Island was spent on our bikes again. This time we cycled just 1.5 miles to the nearby Garlic Farm and shop. It was an interesting visit for garlic lovers and we left safe in the knowledge that we can put garlic in pretty much anything.  In fact somebody tell Peter Kay – garlic beer, it’s the future, we’ve tasted it! 🍻

https://www.thegarlicfarm.co.uk/

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We then cycled back on ourselves to Landbridge where we joined the ‘Red Squirrel Cycle Trail’ to take us the four miles or so down to Sandown.  It’s a cycle path created over an old railway line so it’s pretty flat for the most part.  The whole trail runs for approx. 23 miles through the countryside from East Cowes down to Sandown.  We look forward to completing the rest of this trail on our next visit to the island.

http://redsquirreltrail.org.uk/the-trail/

Once in Sandown we enjoyed a delicious crab sandwich at The Beach Shack Bar on the Western Esplanade as we soaked up the sun and views, just watching the world go by for a while before riding further along the front to Yaverland.

https://beachshackbar.co.uk/

The beach at Yaverland is considered to be one of the best on the island and is very popular with water sport enthusiasts.

https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/things-to-do/yaverland-beach-p970111

It turned out to be another glorious sunshiny day.  Absolutely perfect for cycling.  Once off the trail there were a few challenging hills but it was always worth the effort.   There are lots of cycle hire shops hiring out electric bikes for those who might prefer an easier cycling experience on what is known as ‘Bicycle Island’.

By early evening, after a day generally exploring Sandown, we returned.  We rode/walked up the hill back into Newchurch, stopped for a flyer in the Pointer Inn, and then got back to site.  We’d timed it well as the fish n chip van was parked up on site (it visits twice a week), so we ordered our chippy tea, set the table back at Jolly and enjoyed our well earned supper as we watched the sun set.

Sunset over Southland Caravan and Motorhome Club Site

 

Here’s a very short snippet-of-a-video taken along part of the Cycle Trail and on Sandown beach …

The next morning we packed up, waved goodbye to Newchurch, and headed off to Freshwater on the north part the island for the second half of our stay.   Already though, we had fallen in love with the Isle of Wight.

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri

Welltrough Hall Farm, Lower Withington, Cheshire

Last weekend we visited what we found to be a top rate CL site.  It was at Welltrough Hall Farm in Lower Withington, Cheshire.

This is an adults-only site which began as a 5-pitch C&MC Certified Location and has been extended to provide more pitches, all fully serviced and refreshingly spacious with hardstanding and a grassy area.  Some have wooden boundaries.  There are also grass pitches and a camping pod.

The original 5 pitches have the most impressive views across open countryside, although all have open views.   However, we found a cosy corner pitch (no 13) which was located by a small pond and trees.  It provided plenty of quiet and privacy.  Although most pitches are level, pitches 10-13 definitely need levelling blocks.  We were at the top of our ramps and still slightly sloping although this was no issue to us.

Facilities provided:- elsan chemical toilet disposal point, 2 portaloo-style toilets, showers (and one for doggies), washer/dryer, information hut, a farm walk and also a well signed walk through 2 fields to the local Red Lion Pub in the village of Lower Withington, about half a mile away.

We visited the Red Lion on our first evening for a chilled couple of drinks & game of cards in the bar area before moving into the dining area to eat later.  It was lovely food.  Would definitely recommend 😊

On site, our pitch provided a clear view of the impressive local landmark that is the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank.  This is just 2.7 miles from site.

Lovell Telescope in distance

We visited Jodrell Bank the next day while out and about exploring the area on our bikes.  We spent a pleasant 1-2 hours there which was plenty of time for what we wanted to see.  It was a perfect winter’s day with sunshine but VERY cold.  It was pleasant walking around outside and seeing the Lovell Telescope up close.  We also caught a film (on continuous play) in the film pod indoors.  This gave an interesting, detailed insight into the history and current role of the telescope in space research. There are several other interactive and informative displays inside and a couple of cafes.  It’s definitely a worthwhile visit if in the area.

Tickets were £8 per adult (£7.30 without gift aid) but we saved 10% booking online in advance.  It’s also worth noting there’s work ongoing on the car park at present.  This didn’t affect us being on bikes but car parking spaces were reduced.

Other villages we cycled through during our day out included the old farming village of Goostrey, Twemlow Green and Swettenham.  We had planned on calling into The Yellow Broom for refreshments but it was closed when we arrived so we headed another 3 miles or so through Kermincham and into Swettenham.  It was worth the often-uphill effort because we found a fine country inn, purportedly haunted, called The Swettenham Arms.   It’s easy to cycle past as it’s tucked away to the rear of St Peter’s Church.

After re-fuelling with well-earned fodder, we headed back by just the lights on our bikes to site.

A great day and top weekend.   Roll on the next one!

Chatty Chappy

A chatty blue tit chirped “Cheerio!” as we left

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Chirk, North Wales

Last weekend Jolly took us to Chirk, a small town in North Wales between Wrexham and Oswestry.

We stayed at Lady Margaret’s C&M Club Site which is beautifully situated in woodland.  The site offers good sized pitches to suit all preferences, be it the shade and privacy of trees or open grassy areas.  We loved this site and the location, it’s pretty with a sense of space, and the sun shone too which always shows a place at its best.  We had noted some comments on the site reviews about facilities needing upgrading but we can’t comment on the showers because we used Jolly’s onboard shower as we always do. However, we used the toilets which were fine and spotlessly clean.

The wardens were very welcoming, smiling, chatty and laid back despite always being busy with a steady flow of arrivals and departures.

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The site is located beside Chirk Castle, a grade I listed 13th Century fortress built during the reign of Edward I.  It was sold to the Myddelton family at the end of the 16th Century and descendants of this family still live in part of the Castle today.  You can just lose yourself wandering through the grounds, admiring the ornamental statues, or join a guided tour of the state rooms, and visit the tea room and shop.

There’s a striking entrance to the Castle in the form of intricate ornate white wrought iron gates, bearing the Myddelton Coat of Arms.  Dated 1719, they’re the work of local brothers, Robert & John Davies.  We stopped a while at these gates to admire the intricate detail of the work on them.

Ornate gates at Chirk Castle

The gates bear the ‘Red hand of Chirk’.  A tale of how this symbol came about relates to a Lord Myddelton issuing a challenge to his twin sons as he lay on his death bed.  Chirk Castle was to be passed to his eldest child but he was unsure which son had been born first.  The sons had to race on horseback around the estate, the winner being the one who returned first to touch his father’s deathbed, thereby inheriting the estate.

Legend has it that as the feuding sons returned neck-and-neck running towards the chamber, one of the sons tripped.  Fearing he would lose the race and the inheritance, he drew his sword, sliced off his own hand and threw the bloody thing(!) onto his father’s bed thereby claiming his right to the inheritance.

Lucky that he had his sword ‘handy’ wasn’t it …

We noticed this symbol in places throughout Chirk as we wandered around the town on our first afternoon.  It’s about a half hour walk from site but we rode our bikes down.  We ate later on at a café/restaurant on the main street, called ‘The Castle Bistro’.  It’s a delightful, cosy bistro with a friendly atmosphere. We enjoyed some very tasty, well presented food washed down with a cheeky bottle of rosé wine.  Mmmm.

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The Llangollen branch of the Shropshire Union Canal runs through Chirk and we got out on the bikes the next day to enjoy a scenic bike ride and a little photography along the canal towpath from Chirk Railway Station, over the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and into Trevor Basin (NCN route 84) where there’s a Visitor Centre.

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The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is the tallest aqueduct in the world, with its 18 arches it stands at 38 metres (126 feet high) and was built between 1795-1805.  It’s recognised as being the first great masterpiece of Civil Engineer, Thomas Telford.  We walked our bikes across as you can’t cycle it, and the pathway is quite narrow with just enough room for people to pass by.  It’s quite an experience to cross it, especially if you aren’t too keen on heights.  You can take a narrow-boat ride across if you prefer.

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We stopped for a wander around Trevor Basin, and ate lunch at the Telford Inn there.  This building was initially called Scotch House, and the name is still visible in the glass above the doorway.  The house was used by the Supervisor of the construction of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, and sometimes by Thomas Telford too.  The building was converted into a pub from a private dwelling in 1981.  We had a lunch snack here and a nice pint of Telford Tipple outside in the beer garden overlooking the canal.

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Afterwards we took NCN route 85 along the canal towpath into Llangollen, stopping off briefly for a swift one at The Sun, Trevor .  When we arrived in Llangollen we noticed it was very popular with visitors and no shortage of shops, pubs and restaurants.  It’s definitely somewhere to return to on a future Jolly adventure.  As it was, we had only called in to check it out and didn’t have a great deal of time to explore it much.

We cycled over Llangollen bridge to grab a pint at the Corn Mill an old mill turned modern bar/restaurant which has still managed to maintain a lot of its original features including the water wheel that turns behind the bar.  From the outside decking area, we watched the white waters of the River Dee and were lucky to see a steam engine departing from the station across the water.

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We then re-joined the canal towpath for our return ride back to Chirk.  In all, throughout the day, we probably cycled a leisurely 19-20 miles and had cycled up an appetite so we decided on tea at the Chirk Tandoori in town.  Not before Bri got pooped on by a bird outside the Hand Hotel though *snigger* 😮

Even early evening the Chirk Tandoori was full and clearly a popular place with locals.  The food and service was great and it was like travelling back in time as Indian restaurants go – we even got a carnation on leaving!  Lovely.

With that, another Jolly jaunt came to a close and the following morning the journey home flowed nicely, no hold-ups.  Next adventure will probably be Cumbria way.

In the meantime, I need to get to the gym after all that lovely fodder and before the next adventure! 😊

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Overwater Marina, Audlem, Cheshire

We booked this two-nighter last year as we thought it looked a pretty one.  Our destination was the village of Audlem on the South Cheshire border with Shropshire.  The village is situated alongside the Shropshire Union Canal which starts in Wolverhampton in The Midlands, running northwards towards Cheshire, the River Mersey and Ellesmere Port.

The Audlem stretch of the canal is famous for its 15 locks, designed by Thomas Telford to raise the canal up to the Shropshire Plain from the lower Cheshire Plain.  These locks cover a distance of approx. a mile and a half.

We stayed at Overwater Marina just outside Audlem.

http://www.overwatermarina.co.uk/caravans/site-information.html

We had booked a pitch in the Caravan & Motorhome Club 5-pitch CL area (£15 per night with EHU).  They are attractively laid out, spacious, hard-standing pitches with a separate grassed area and picnic table.

On arrival we were informed that we had been allocated pitch number 3 but it was immediately clear that somebody else was already pitched there.   Staff expressed surprise that it was already occupied and then told us that somebody must have either overstayed their occupancy or pitched in the wrong place.  They didn’t really know and to be honest didn’t seem that bothered.  In fact, even when the pitch later became available nobody bothered to tell us.  So, a shambles is the best way to describe check-in to be honest!

Oh well, we found ourselves a pitch on the new section of 10 hard-standings.   Not as pretty but functional and serviced which was a positive.  Facilities were good.

We spent the first afternoon and evening around Jolly just having an end of week wind-down and chill out before an early night in preparation for the next day exploring the area.  We woke to blazing sunshine and had again struck lucky with the weather.  That’s 3 breaks in a row of sunshine.  Hope this run of luck lasts 🙏😎

We began the day with a breakfast at the on site ‘Cafe at Bridge 80’.  The food was good and set us up for the day.  We then rode our bikes along the canal towpath into Audlem.  It would be about a 20-25 minute walk or there’s the option of taking the ‘Audlem Lass’, a canal boat taxi, which runs between the marina and the village.

http://www.audlemlass.co.uk/

It’s a really beautiful walk/cycle/boat ride, whichever you choose.  Very scenic and part of what is considered to be one of the prettiest walks in lowland England.

On arrival in Audlem, we stopped for a swiftie 🍻 at the Shroppie Fly pub, situated by a lock on the canal.

http://www.shroppiefly.com/home-5863.html

While sitting in the sunshine we decided to change our original plan which had been to visit Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker (not so secret, there are signs everywhere!) in Nantwich, a further 3 miles down the towpath.  It was just too nice a day to be spent in an underground bunker.  We got chatting to a local who said the bunker is definitely worth a visit at some point though and is quite an eerie experience.  It gives us a good reason to re-visit this beautiful area another time.

Hack Green (not so) Secret Nuclear Bunker

http://www.hackgreen.co.uk/

Audlem has an interesting history and a lot to offer for a village.

http://www.audlem.org/features/tourism-heritage.html

There is also a busy calendar of events happening in and around the area throughout the year worth bearing in mind if planning a visit.  A local particularly recommended the Music & Arts Festival and Beer Festival for a great atmosphere.  There’s a list of events here:-

http://www.audlem.org/whatson/village-events-2016.html

Free parking in the village and some lovely shops including the ‘Lllovely Chocolate Shop’.  No shortage of good eating and drinking establishments including three pubs – The Shroppie Fly, Bridge Inn just around the corner from the Shroppie, and further along the main road from there is the Lord Combermere at the centre of the village.

At the end of our day’s wanderings we ate back at the Shroppie Fly where we got talking to a lovely & interesting coupe who owned a narrow boat ‘Layla’ and loved to travel –

Hello, if you’re reading this Ann & ? sorry we didn’t manage to call in for a nightcap but we had probably had enough by then and at least we didn’t interrupt your football match viewing! 😉   

The food at the Shroppie was great and so was the atmosphere.

With full bellies we cycled the towpath back to camp at the end of a thoroughly enjoyable day.  Definitely a visit we’d recommend and repeat.  A big thumbs up!

This year has been a great one so far both weather-wise and destination-wise, and we’re still only in Spring.  Loving it!  Bring on the next adventure.

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri

Leyburn, Richmondshire, North Yorkshire

Wall to wall Spring sunshine, peace & tranquility, wildlife galore, pretty villages, stunning scenery and one of the best Caravan & Motorhome Club sites we have visited so far.  All in all we’ve just spent a pretty perfect weekend in the lower Wensleydale area of North Yorkshire.

Our approx. 2 hour journey took us up the M6 to Junc 34 then across to Ingleton, up through the Yorkshire Dales National Park, past the White Scar Caves (visited previously – see our ‘Ingleton’ post), and the impressive Ribblehead Viaduct, through pretty towns and villages such as Burton-in-Lonsdale, Chapel-le-Dale, Hawes and Aysgarth, then finally into Leyburn, where just a mile further down the road into Harmby we turned left at the Pheasant Inn and took the narrow road up to site.

It’s clear to see why it’s important for visitors to adhere to the specified arrival/departure times here as there would be no passing space for two units.  Big thumbs up to the Lower Wensleydale Caravan & Motorhome Club Site.  It’s a gem.  Set in an old disused quarry, which is now well-established with trees and wildlife, including LOTS of rabbits.

From the moment we arrived we were struck by the great welcome and bright smiles from the wardens.  They were also very helpful in pointing out the best available sunshine pitches.

It was a busy weekend on site, probably due to the great weather, and yet still so tranquil.  Facilities were spot on.

https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/

The Wensleydale Railway, which provides some tourist steam services and special event days, runs from Northallerton to Redmire and passes through Leyburn and along the bottom of the site.

http://www.wensleydalerail.com/

We spent our first afternoon soaking up some much needed sunshine before biking the mile or so along the main road into Leyburn via Harmby.

It’s a thriving market town which is quite big on tourism with a variety of things to do or visit, including many walks and cycling routes.

Rather than list them all, check out this Leyburn Tourist Information vid for a bit of inspiration:-

 

After some deliberation about food on our first evening (plenty of choices), we finally decided to eat at a gastropub called The Sandpiper Inn in the town centre.  Right choice!  This places gets great reviews and served us some fabulous food.  OK, not the cheapest but worth the money.   With happy, full bellies we cycled back to camp for the night and slept likes logs 🙂

http://www.sandpiperinn.co.uk/

The next morning, we awoke to birdsong and, wow, the sun really shone for Suzie’s birthday!  After a fried egg on crumpet brekkie, the breakfast of champions, we saddled up for a day out on the bikes.

Check out the link below for our ‘Jolly Wensley’ale Bike Trail’ we put together.  Let us know if you try it:- 🙂

The Jolly Wensley’Ale Bike Trail

Obviously drinking responsibly, the main aim was really to visit as many of the surrounding villages as we could in the day but with the added interest of calling into some olde worlde hostelries.

There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn” ~ Samuel Johnson

With the scenic rolling hills, there was a good balance of ups and downs, the downhills always compensating for the uphill pushes.  The final stretch up Harmby Bank is definitely a walker though, unless you’re a real fittie 😀

Next day, another great weekend over, we enjoyed a brew in the sunshine before heading home from the Yorkshire Dales back to Lancashire.

The clocks have sprung forward now for British Summertime so bring on the summer adventures!

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Oktoberfest, Uttoxeter Racecourse, Staffordshire

We returned to the Uttoxeter Racecourse Caravan Club Site this weekend, having first come here last November.  We arrived in heavy downpours and were greeted by very helpful wardens who immediately guided us to a pitch that had been closed to recover from seasonal use.  They made it available to us as it was less water saturated than other available pitches.  Nice touch.  Most campers had arrived the previous day and all hard standings were occupied (14 in total).  The wardens said that they had been expecting another 9 pitches to be converted to hard standing at Easter but this didn’t materialise.  It would certainly benefit this site which often floods with surface water.

http://www.caravanclub.co.uk/caravanclubapps/applications/uk-caravan-sites-and-parks/SiteDetails.aspx?csid=22007

We returned to Uttoxeter to experience a taste of Germany at the Oktoberfest Race Day gathering.  We booked several months in advance following last year’s visit to the November Marston’s Beer Festival (see previous blog post Nov 2015).  These race days are great days out and to top it off, we booked the premier 1907 restaurant (previously Silks Restaurant) hospitality package.

http://www.uttoxeter-racecourse.co.uk/

It was an amazing day, great atmosphere, excellent food, German beer & a Bavarian style Oompah Band!  There were 8 races in total and things got off to a cracking start with us backing winners in the first two races with Pickamix and Whatduhavtoget.  We also had good luck throughout the day with Ballycross, Value At Risk, Tantamount, Cobajayisland, Itstimeforapint, and Donna’s Pride.  We seemed more savvy this time around and it was exciting nipping out to the bookie stands in between meal courses (you can order each course at whatever time is convenient to you) and watching some races from the stands and others on the screens inside the restaurant.  Fab atmosphere wherever you were!

After all the excitement, good food and beer/wine, we returned to Jolly at the end of the afternoon and slumped happily inside and relaxed for the remainder of the day.  We decided to cabin up for the night just as the sun was setting, and slept well in the peaceful surroundings.  Next morning we headed back home.

10/10 for this trip.  We just loved every minute and no doubt we’ll be back at some point in the not too distant future.

For now though, our next outing will be in a few weeks’ time and probably somewhere in the Lake District or wherever the mood takes us …

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Meathop Fell, Grange-Over-Sands, Cumbria

Whoop!  Our first Jolly jaunt for a few months.  A few months that we are very happy and relieved to put behind us, but enough about that.

This site has been on our ‘To Do’ list for a while now, and we finally got to spend a short but lovely two-night stay at the Meathop Fell Caravan Club Site in the South Lakes, approximately 2-3 miles from the seaside town of Grange-Over-Sands.

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Meathop Fell Caravan Club Site

The site staff were friendly and helpful and seemed keen for visitors to get the most from their stay.  We were informed of the direction to head for eateries, villages and the town of Grange-Over-Sands.  The site information hut is well stocked with leaflets, etc too.

This is such a relaxed site, where you can really appreciate the feeling of privacy, as pitches are a good size and many are separated by grassy areas or shrubs.  The site appeared almost full when we arrived but we found a perfectly spacious and sheltered corner pitch (No.75).  It was near to the play area but this was extremely quiet at this time of the season.  It’s a real haven for wildlife in and around the site and a treat to listen to the owls at night.

http://www.caravanclub.co.uk/caravanclubapps/applications/uk-caravan-sites-and-parks/SiteDetails.aspx?csid=21935

We arrived on site just after lunch time and, after pitching up, heated up some homemade chilli which we enjoyed with homemade jalapeno cheddar cornbread muffins.  This was washed down with a chilled glass of Doombar.  Yum!

We spent a few hours just unwinding and enjoying the peace, quiet and beautiful surroundings on site.  The rain set in late afternoon so we got togged up and went out for a walk up to the Woodlands Hotel, just a 5-10 minute stroll away.  There’s a signpost at the site entrance (left out of the gates, then right at the pine lodges).  It’s a country house hotel which welcomes visitors from the campsite (dog friendly too), and where you can get decent pub style food and a good pint of Wainwrights.

http://www.lakedistrict-stay.co.uk/accommodation/Woodlands-Hotel.html

The heavens opened that night and a lot of rain was put down before we awoke to a fresh day.  The weather improved considerably from then on.  We fired up the cooker and enjoyed a cumberland chipolata sandwich before jumping on our bikes to explore the local area.

We decided to cycle to Grange-Over-Sands which was a pretty, scenic route from site, avoiding the busy A590 road.

We cycled along part of the promenade and could see in the distance a large group of Morecambe Bay Walkers.  There are about 30 walks a year across Morecambe Bay.  They take place during spring and summer. Most walks are undertaken by charity fundraisers, and cross the sands between Arnside and Kents Bank.  The walks are guided by Cedric Robinson MBE, the Queen’s Official Guide. In 1963 Cedric Robinson was appointed the 25th guide and for 53 years has escorted many thousands of people across the dangerous sands of the stunning bay.

Grange-Over-Sands is a delightful town of higgledy piggledy streets with an impressive clock tower and an array of shops, cafes, and a couple of pubs.  It’s easy to spend a few hours meandering around the town, which is what we did before cycling a little further afield to create a circular ride back to site through Lindale.

On arrival back near site, as it was such a beautiful day, we decided to ride a further couple of miles to The Derby Arms at Witherslack for tea.  Here we sat out and enjoyed the last of the day’s sunshine.

Another great Jolly adventure and the next is under two weeks away.  Can’t wait!

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri

Wirral Country Park, Merseyside

We recently enjoyed a 2-night stay at Wirral Country Park Caravan Club Site, Thurstaston, Merseyside, over the Bank Holiday weekend.  It was our first trip for a couple of months and we were ready for it!

wirralsuzenbri

And we’re off!

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Arrival at site

This a very scenic site overlooking the Dee Estuary, and the weather couldn’t have been better.  It was a scorcher of a weekend, and the site was full.

http://www.caravanclub.co.uk/caravanclubapps/applications/uk-caravan-sites-and-parks/SiteDetails.aspx?csid=22016

On arrival and after finding a pitch providing us with plenty of afternoon sunshine, we set up and sat out for a few hours just enjoying the peace and quiet.  We later fired up the barbie for tea, before having a reccy around the site and heading down to the estuary to watch the sun set.  All in all it was a perfect, relaxing first day B-).

wirralpitch

Pitched up

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Wirral sunset

After a good night’s sleep on this quiet site which has very little nearby traffic, we cooked breakfast before heading out for the day on our bikes.  We joined the ‘Wirral Way’ just outside the site as it passes through the country park.  This old disused railway track is now a cycle/walk/bridle way running along the Wirral Peninsula from West Kirby to Hooton.

wirralwaymap

http://www.visitparkgate.co.uk/#/wirral-way-country-park/4564767899

We cycled some way along the track in the West Kirby direction, but veered off through Caldy and up to the Hoylake area at the northern tip of Wirral Peninsula.  We were just taking in the scenery, with a pit stop for some liquid refreshment along the way.

wirralshadow

wirralbeers

On our return, we stopped for tea at a cafe just outside the campsite, but there was very little on the menu so we decided instead to cycle into Thurstaston itself and the nearest pub to site which is The Cottage Loaf.  This pub can get busy, however, with the lovely weather most people were seated in the spacious outdoor beer garden.

wirralpub

The Cottage Loaf

https://www.oldenglishinns.co.uk/our-locations/the-cottage-loaf-thurstaston

There aren’t really a great deal of places close by to this caravan park so you need to be prepared to walk, cycle or drive; unless just relaxing is your thing in which case the setting is perfect with stunning views right on your doorstep.  We will happily return here in the future.

However, the immediate future involves our longest trip to date …. our long awaited 10-night tour of the Jurassic Coast kicking off on 5th June until 15th June.  Any recommendations, feel free to comment or please tweet us @JollyMajestic on Twitter.

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri