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

Coastal Hamlet of Ravenglass, Lake District, Cumbria

Well we’re fresh back from another weekend in the Lake District, Cumbria. This time we re-visited the peaceful coastal hamlet of Ravenglass. It has been one of our favourites to return to over the years. The journey up was smooth and the weather remained dry but very misty in places.

We stayed as usual at the Ravenglass Camping and Caravanning Club site. It’s a beautiful site with good size pitches and a friendly, cosy feel. When we arrived there was just a choice of 3 or 4 pitches left but we managed to choose ourselves a quiet corner pitch (No. 33). One thing we would say, however, was that it rained a lot during the nights. We’re seasoned motorhomers now and always bear tree overhang in mind when choosing pitches when rain is forecast. However, due to reduced choice we found ourselves beneath a torrent of heavy rain droplets from branches throughout both nights but it was particularly noisy on the second night. We needed a few catch up 💤 when we got home 😴.

Anyhoo … Ravenglass is beautiful with everything so easily accessible. Literally 5 minutes walk from the site is the estuary which gives the most beautiful sunsets. There are benches to relax on as you watch the sun setting from an orange hue to a deep red as it sets fully. Pretty stunning. This time of year the sun set around 4:30 pm and even with more cloud cover the colours were beautiful. Here’s an earlier post from our 2014 visit when we captured a really, fantastic sunset – Ravenglass sunsets

There’s an interesting Roman history to Ravenglass and not far from the campsite is one of the largest surviving 2nd Century Roman buildings in England. It’s a Roman bath house, known as Walls Castle’ which is cared for by English Heritage. We’ve cycled past this on previous visits and had a wander round around the structure. Check it out.

We arrived mid-afternoon and walked down to the estuary just as the sun was beginning to set. We had a drink in the pub along the front, The Inn at Ravenglass. 🍻

It’s a busy little drinking pub which doesn’t serve food at the moment but may do again in the future. The Landlady was welcoming and a good laugh. We sat by the log burner warming our tootsies up after standing out by the estuary.

Sunset

We ate on both nights at The Ratty Arms which never disappoints and we always pre-book just to be sure of a table.

The Ratty Arms is situated between the site and the estuary, alongside the Ravenglass & Eskdale Steam Railway line. You can’t visit Ravenglass and not ride ‘Ratty’s Railway’. If you do, what is wrong with you!? 🤪

We travelled the full route to Dalegarth Station in the small village of Boot. There are a couple of places to eat and drink there if you wish – The Boot Inn, Brook House Inn, and the Hardknott Bar & Cafe at The Woolpack Inn just a little further walk away. We didn’t eat in Boot but can vouch for a good pint in each establishment 😉👍.

On previous visits we have taken our push bikes on the train (you’ve to pre-book this beforehand) to Dalegarth and have cycled the Eskdale Trail back to Ravenglass. More details and pics of this along with other things to do around Ravenglass, including visiting Muncaster Castle, are included on our previous blog post. This time though with it being mid-winter we took the train both ways and just enjoyed a saunter around Boot for the afternoon. This included stopping a while to talk to a few gorrrrgeous Aberdeen Angus cows we passed grazing in a field.

We then caught the last train back to Ravenglass.

Well that’s been our last Jolly Jaunt of 2018. What a year we’ve had, so many adventures. We feel so lucky to be living our motorhoming dream. Hope you’ve enjoyed the posts too.

Bring on 2019! 🚐

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.

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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

Chester Christmas Markets, Cheshire 🎅🏻

We’ve just had a lovely weekend over Chester way in Jolly.  We headed out on our annual Jolly Christmas Market Jaunt with the parent folks, and thought that Chester would make a nice change and would look pretty magical at this time of year.  We were not wrong!

We booked a room at the historic, and apparently haunted, ‘Pied Bull’ for Lesley & Malcolm which was a very comfortable stay for them.  We also ate there together on our first evening and the food was lovely.

Our base for the weekend was a little gem of a find, approx. 3 miles outside Chester, in Bretton.   It’s a Caravan & Motorhome Club CL site called Digby Farm in a peaceful, off road location.  The owner, Barry, that we dealt with from the time of booking was great with detailed directions and a warm welcome on our arrival.  It’s very easy to drive past the site lane entrance, even the taxi drivers struggled.  The lane is beside a small Methodist chapel with black railings outside.  Blink and you’ll miss it!

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We would happily recommend this site and will definitely return.   The CL area is a circular area of 7 well spaced hardstanding pitches with grass area and views looking out across the fields.  There seems to be an area for other caravans in a separate field also.  Facilities were as you’d expect, although as usual we used our onboard shower and not the site one which requires 20p pieces.

We used the local taxi service to travel into the centre – KingKabs Taxis, tel: 01244 343434 – but found it much quicker to download their app and book that way.  The average cost of the journey was between £8-£10.

Here’s a few photos of our weekend …

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The second evening we had a really excellent meal at Chez Jules (left outside the Pied Bull and just a few yards along the street).  Top notch 👍.  For both evening meals we booked well in advance as it was busy and places were turning people away who hadn’t booked.

Table for 4 at Chez Jules

The weather was quite wild at night but we were cosy as we were buffeted about in Jolly and we awoke to glorious sunshine before the rain set in one and off for much of the day.

And before we knew it our weekend was over and it was time to head home.  The weather was kind, it had stopped raining and the journey home traffic-wise was fine.

Not long til our next Christmas jaunt with our camping buddies.   Roll on that one!

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Proper busy innit!

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Well, Jolly’s been tucked up n cosy in his storage spot for longer than normal and much longer than we’d like.  Unfortunately it’s become a very busy time for us just lately and will be for a few months.

We’ll still be getting out and about in him (hell yeah!), but have had to cancel 2 autumn trips and have to wait until December for a jaunt somewhere that will hopefully involve a Christmas Market.

We’re tripping over our bottom lips here, but all is very well so we mustn’t grumble.

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