Bushmills, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

So, we arrived up at Ballyness Caravan Park just outside Bushmills by mid or late afternoon, we don’t know, we don’t care, because our day hadn’t been ruled by a clock 🙂. We were greeted with a warm welcome, directed to our fully serviced pitch, and were set up with the kettle on for a cup of tea in no time.

We thought a good way to round off our first day on the island would be to have some tea and a couple of drinks in the town of Bushmills itself before venturing further afield the next morning. So we hopped on our bikes to ride the mile or so into the centre to get there quicker as the weather was wet that evening. We visited Finn MacCool’s Public House on the Main Street – you can’t miss its bright yellow exterior. It was less vibrant inside but the landlord and others guests were friendly and it was a warm atmosphere and with some good chat. Definitely worth a stop for a pint or two. We also had one in the tiny Bush House pub before picking up a fish n chips supper to take back and eat on Jolly. There are 3 fish n chip shops in very close proximity along the Main Street so we went off a recommendation and visited the Flash in the Pan. We must say though that they weren’t that great and if there again we’d try one of the others (The Cod’s Way or The Hip Chip).

The main attraction of Bushmills town is undoubtedly the Old Bushmills Distillery just 5 minutes from the site. We made sure to pay this a visit during our stay. Neither of us are big whiskey drinkers, but we can both appreciate a sip of the good stuff and the history of the place, so we took one of their tours around the distillery.

Also during our stay here, we treated ourselves to a special meal at the Tartine restaurant at the Distillers Arms in town. It’s award-winning so doesn’t need any recommendation from us, but just for the record it was an absolutely Fab-U-Lous night in every way! We’d return in a flash.

There were so many more attractions we visited while based in Bushmills, which we’ll cover in the next posts …

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Cairnryan to Belfast – StenaLine crossing


Stena Line crossing from Cairnryan to Belfast

Jolly’s Northern Ireland jaunt began with a leisurely 4 hour evening drive up to Cairnryan, Stranraer in Scotland. We decided to kip overnight at the StenaLine terminal at a cost of £5 so that we had an easy, stress-free boarding for our early morning crossing over to Belfast the next day. We used the reception facilities, open between about 6am-10pm. It was quite a noisy night on the car park with comings and goings at the port but we slept fine.

We’d pre-booked StenaLine Flexi E-tickets at a total cost of £243.90 for return travel for Jolly and us. This option guaranteed 100% refund on cancellations up to 24 hours before departure and 50% refund on cancellations up to 2 hours before departure. We needed this flexibility in case the trip didn’t go ahead because of other responsibilities. Fortunately though, our holiday proceeded as planned 😀.

The duration of this route is approx. 2.5 hours and they run 8 crossings a day, we’d booked outgoing: 07:30 hrs Tues 3rd Sept & Return: 11:30 hrs Tues 10th Sept, and check-in closed 30 mins before departure. The early morning crossing was very quiet compared to our return, but both ways ran on time and were very smooth crossings.

On arrival at Belfast port, we travelled up to the village of Bushmills on the north coast of County Antrim, which derives its name from the River Bush flowing through it and a large water mill built there in the 17th Century. We’d originally planned to take the quickest route there and stop off for brunch at McLarnon’s Ramble Inn on the A26. Instead though, we grabbed the opportunity of seeing as much of the dramatic coastline as we could by driving up the Coast Rd/Causeway Road (A2) through Carrickfergus, Magheramorne, and Larne, with short stops at Ballygally and Glenarm. It was definitely the right decision, giving us an immediate taster of Northern Ireland’s rugged charm.

We pulled in a little further up the coast in the picturesque harbour village of Carnlough which is situated at the foot of Glencloy, and had brunch at the Harbour Lights Cafe. It was a cosy cafe, good food, and we were lucky enough to get window table overlooking the little harbour.

With full n happy tums we then headed on up to our destination of Bushmills, knowing that the surrounding area has a helluva lot to offer the tourist. We couldn’t wait to experience it!

Here’s a short vid of this first part of our Jolly adventure 🙂

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

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 🚐

CandMC Photography Competition WINNER! 📸

Nice day for it 🌞

Well, Suzie’s manic snapping has produced some lovely images this year.

The image on the front of the 2019 Caravan & Motorhome Club Site Directory was captured while we were cycling the club’s recommended cycle route from Southport Club Site.

EAE41561-B681-46F6-849E-4C27BF3E08B1

It was a beautiful day and we passed this impressively colourful show of Lupins in a field in Lydiate.  Just had to stop and snap it!  We recommend the cycle ride.  Check out the blog post if you want to know more:-

https://jollymajestic.com/2015/09/17/sunny-southport-merseyside/

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

Pooley Bridge, Cumbria

Last weekend we returned to the Lakeland village of Pooley Bridge for the first time in … ooooh … many years and our first time in Jolly.

We stayed at Waterfoot Park which is located just 0.9 miles from the centre of the village.  The staff were very welcoming and helpful, giving us the usual facilities info and local info.  As usual we didn’t use the site toilet/showers, using Jolly’s onboard facilities instead.

If you stay here and want to use Ullswater Steamer during your stay you can buy your ticket from the site reception at a reduced price.

It was a busy weekend on site and we were directed to a pre-allocated pitch on arrival (Pitch 19) which was one of the pitches on the outer perimeter of the touring site.  We were happy with this as we thought that the centre pitches looked a little tight with the units backed up close to one another with less privacy.

https://www.waterfootpark.co.uk/

After a couple of hours sunbathing beside Jolly, we followed directions given to us by reception for a pathway from the site into Pooley.  The path is very scenic and a lot safer than walking along the busy road.

We took a slight detour first though, to check out the on-site bar – The Mansion Bar and Cafe.  As its name suggests, it’s set in an old mansion house with a large terrace at the back and views of Ullswater in the distance.  After a quick drink here we headed off on our walk.   There’s a chippy van that parks up outside the mansion on certain evenings.

Pooley Bridge is situated at the North East end of Ullswater Lake with the River Eamont running through it.  The old stone bridge that crossed the river at Pooley was sadly destroyed in the floods caused by Storm Desmond in 2015 and during our visit we saw the temporary metal bridge that is still in situ awaiting a permant replacement structure to be built.

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We had a wander around the village before sitting out with a drink at the 1863 bar/bistro

https://1863ullswater.co.uk/

Followed by a meal at the Sun Inn

https://suninnpooleybridge.co.uk/

Next day we decided to go for a walk in the beautiful weather.  We set off well prepared with full flasks of water and decided to walk a section of the Ullswater Way, which is a 21-mile walking route around Ullswater.  It can be walked from any starting point and in any direction.

http://www.ullswater.co.uk/the-ullswater-way.html

Map of the Ullswater Way

We began by walking down to Pooley Bridge Pier and taking a ride on the Ullswater Steamer over to Howtown Pier.

https://www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk/

From Howtown Pier we walked on approx. 500 yards into Martindale valley which lies between Ullswater and Haweswater.  There’s an old Church of St Martin there and a hotel – The Howtown Hotel.  We visited the cosy, traditional bar to the rear of the hotel and sat out for a little while on the sloping grass there.

After our drink, we walked back towards Howtown Pier where we joined the Ullswater Way via a gate up into a field on the right opposite the Pier entrance.  It was an approx. 6-mile walk from here along the low level route back into Pooley Bridge.  There’s the option of a higher route which takes you up to the Cock Pit Stone Circle but we were happy enough with our wander along the tracks overlooking Ullswater and through the fields, eventually coming out alongside the lake and continuing into Pooley Bridge.

But ohhhh, the vampire bloodsucking horseflies were bitey little bu*$ers up in the fields that day! 🧛‍♂️.

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On arrival into Pooley Bridge, we had a couple of cool down pints and some food before heading back up to site, catching a lovely sunset over the hills on our way back.  A total of about 8-miles walked in the day.   We sat out on site with a brew before turning in.

The beautiful Lake District seen in the most perfect weather.  Top weekend 👌.   Our next Jolly trip is a cheeky little overnighter in Yorkshire with some camping buddies.

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