Our second weekend of the year and again to White Water Park. Since Durham Grange is now no longer open all year, this has become our standard weekend option now during out-of-season touring.
Again, we didn’t take the awning, which kept all meals inside and gave me the opportunity to clean the ‘van all around. This time my focus was on the awning rails, so these got a real good cleaning this trip. As it turns out the weather wasn’t bad at all, but still a little cool to be outside for long. We did take in a Saturday evening stroll down to the marshalling yard, where you can always rely on plenty of class 66 action! The bird feeder also saw lots of action, with plenty of bird families popping out of the hedge for a snack.
Rain did appear on Monday morning however, so the ‘van returned a little dirtier than what is was on site 🙁
Date: 23rd February 2024
Pitch #: 55
GPS: 54.568506, -1.286260
Posted inTouring|Comments Off on White Water Park Caravan Club Site
First trip of the year, so we kept it simple and took only basics. No alfresco dining and no awning, just kept everything straight forward, just as well as it was a very windy weekend. We took the opportunity to give the’van a good clean both inside and out. The site was quiet upon arrival, but did fill up more later on and on Saturday. Enjoyed a relaxing weekend.
Date: 2nd February 2024
Pitch #: 80
GPS: 54.568506, -1.286260
Posted inTouring|Comments Off on White Water Park Caravan Club Site
Sat: Early start, although it is winter, so sunrise is not until 7.45am. We left at 6.45am and got to the storage yard at 7.20am, just enough light just coming through to get hitched up! A very pleasant journey to Wetherby services, didn’t touch the pedals once, where we were able to select any of the empty caravan pitches. We didn’t enjoy our breakfast however, as it took for ages and eventually came without any sauce and two pitiful pieces of bacon. Shame, as we usually enjoy our stop here. From here we trucked on towards our destination, all straight forward, just a minor delay due to roadworks.
On arrival at the site, we reported in to reception, which we had to ring first, as there was no one there. Following this, we we made our way to our pitch via some very tight areas. The barrier from reception is tight to say the least. Nevertheless, we made it to our pitch and pitched up. The site is sloping, so our nose was on the floor. Plenty of flies about, so we spent a while getting rid of these pesks. Finally all setup, we enjoyed our first night.
Sun: Cleaned the ‘van in the morning, as it was rather dirty following the journey down. Did a bit of work on the laptop in the afternoon and then relaxed down with a film.
Mon: Our 30th wedding anniversary! So we had a little walk around the site as the weather was very pleasant indeed. There are 3 lakes on the site, along with 4 ‘camping areas’, so it is quite a large site, although it doesn’t feel it because of this. Relaxed for the rest of the day.
Tue: Weather poor, so we spent the day inside.
Wed: Better weather, so a trip to Peterborough was on the cards. The city itself is quite large, with a gorgeous cathedral. We took a look around it and I must say, it is one of the most impressive cathedrals we have been in. They were due to put a light show on this weekend, so it was interesting to see this taking form. The city itself was healthy with a lot of shops, not many empty. Although we did see someone get arrested with a lot of police presence, a sign of the times in many a city centre now. Following our walk through the city, we headed back via a different route which took us a little of course, but with google maps you can’t go wrong really can you! Back at site, we relaxed in the dark again!
Thu: A lovely day. Enjoyed breakfast outside, washed the ‘van and the car a little more. But it soon turns dark again, so back inside relaxing! We quite enjoy this November break, as with the limited daylight, you end up relaxing more inside the ‘van. Sometimes, it’s just nice to do hobbies and the like and not worry about maxing your day out.
Fri: A little windy but otherwise fine. Took the awning down as it was nice and dry. Spent the day in the caravan pretty much, very chilled!
Sat: A standard pack-up and departure. We got back to storage just as dusk was setting, so timed that well. Overall, a very good relaxing week.
Not hoping for much this weekend, as storm Ciaran had just landed on Thursday. However, it seems to have blown out quicker than the forecasters thought and we were left with some sunshine in the North East! Nothing planned but chilling – apart from cleaning the caravan roof, it’s that time again.
Sat: A very relaxed start to the day as the journey time to the site is quite short and the earliest arrival time is 1.00pm. For the first time in a long while I had to change the battery on the ‘van as it has been 3 weeks since our last outing and the movers would take their toll! All straight forward apart from one of the clamps had seized up and needed some lubrication to bring back into life. A pleasant, simple journey to the site. Barrier access and pitch number are all pre-sent in your welcome pack, so you can simply arrive and pull straight onto your pitch. We did this, we were greeted by one of the owners, who were keen for no grass driving because of the wet weather, we happily said we’d use the mover. Even using this, things are a little tight for a long ‘van, keeping the jockey wheel off the grass made for quite a large sweeping turn. Parking is in front of the ‘van, as the width of the pitches is approximately only 6m. But we got on and put the awning up, after a short downpour from a passing rogue cloud. BBQ for tea and we were set. The site is adults only and very peaceful. The pitch is also rarely for us a fully serviced one, as these offer 16A compared to standard pitches at 10A.
Sun: A trip to the South Tynedale railway was the plan for the day. I had planned on catching the 10.30am train but we had a heavy frost over night and the car decided it didn’t want to open up with the key fob, so this delayed us somewhat until it decided to spring back into life. We took the opportunity to have a wander around the site whilst we delayed our departure for the next train. The site is well laid out and kept to a very high standard. There is a boules pitch and sports hall, which we will be making use of. The journey to the STR was a twisty drive but pleasant views none-the-less. We caught the train at Alston, which was an electric shunter, no steam, as the steam brakes on the train planned had just failed that morning. It’s a pleasant 5 mile journey to Slaggyford, a quick run round and then we headed back. We took a slightly different route home, which took us over the moorlands, very nice, felt like an American Werewolf in London! Sunday lunch for tea and we enjoyed the rest of the evening.
Mon: A day onsite to relax. We played a game of boules, which Cath won at shockingly. We took a stroll on the dog walk and Henry’s Hill. The site has excellent facilities. As already mentioned the sports hall and boules. The wash block is one of the best I’ve seen. Very high quality fittings, wet rooms complete with shower, toilet and sink. along with a dish washing area and conventional toilets. There is a self service shop, laundry, extra toilets which are open when the main wash block is closed for cleaning. And even a caravan washing point!
Tue: A trip to Carlisle today. We visited the cathedral, which was very well presented and enjoyable. Whilst not the biggest of cathedrals, the inside had some fantastic splendour, especially the ceiling. We perused the shops a little, stopped for a coffee and then made our way back to the site, stopping for fuel at the local BP. Weather has been great so far, apart from the frosty mornings.
Wed: The garden centre just down the road was on the cards today. Quite literally a two minute drive and we were there. Large carpark and quite an extensive site. Inside there are the usual offerings of garden furniture, plants, household furnishings, craft and hobby supplies. There is also a cafe or two along with a miniature museum. It was pleasant to spend time here, very much reminding us of Heighley Gate in Northumberland, where we’ve been a few times, No purchases as such, but we enjoyed the visit including the Christmas Toy Display they had utilising Lemax products. Back onsite we enjoyed a game of Boules & darts in the sports hall.
Thu: Storm Babet hit us last night, not too bad – just a couple of pegs to redo. An onsite day today, with just a break to visit the sports hall again for some ping-pong & another game of boules. Weather has improved following the storm, so we enjoyed a BBQ for tea.
Fri: The storm is back, we had a rough night but the awning held its ground. We relaxed onsite all day as the weather didn’t let up. No breakfast or ping-pong, but that’s the way it goes at this time of year.
Sat: A pleasant start to the day, looks like the storm has run its course. This made for pleasant packup without fighting the wind and rain. Good drive back to storage and home again This is a great site, ticks a lot of boxes for us. We will be returning again.
Well, we had a surprise on this visit. Just as we thought nothing would be different at our most visited site, we had the pleasure of being ‘upgraded’ to a new pitch! We had booked a grass pitch for this visit, but due to the wet weather we were moved to a hardstanding pitch instead. Not only that, but we were given a new pitch that had just been constructed following the new developments on the site. This was a pitch sited where the tent pitches used to be, but have now been converted to hardstanding caravan pitches. Not only that, pitch 34 is the one and only 11m length pitch! So plenty of room and in a good spot, at the end of the the new 5 pitches, so a good open view from one side at least. Set up was routine and we enjoyed the new ‘vista’ from our new pitch.
Sat: A quick journey back home in the morning to pick up the bird feeder, as Cath didn’t bring it thinking we wouldn’t be in an appropriate spot! Breakfast follows and then I enjoyed my birthday, a little belated but that’s the way it goes! Weather has been poor so far.
Sun: A quick tour around the site to see the new pitches and storage section. It has been done well I have to say. Weather cleared up a little, so we took down the awning whilst it was dry. Relaxed for the rest of the day.
Sat: Early start, forgot to check the battery as we hadn’t been out for a month, the motor mover died within a few minutes, but thankfully we got the ‘van out just enough so that I could get the car onto the ‘van and hitch up from there. Pleasant journey encompassing the A69 and M6, although we had a bird strike on the A69, one less pigeon on the scene now. Usual stop at Southwaite on the way to refuel with a bacon buttie, coffee and some diesel. Following this the journey became stop and start with the volume of traffic. We ended up being delayed by 45 mins in total, pleased to reach the M53 where things finally settled down to a steady flow. Arrived at the site with no issues and used the fast check-in which worked faultlessly. The site was pretty full naturally being the holidays, be we found a good pitch and settled in for the night. No TV signal whatsoever, so a film it was – Beauty & the Beast (live action).
Sun: Railway trip time – Llangollen was the heritage line to visit on this occasion, a very rewarding 10 mile trip with gorgeous vistas along the way. We got there early doors as it was only a 15 minute journey from the site. We enjoyed a drink at the cafe (well I did, Cath didn’t enjoy what was supposed to be a hot chocolate!) and then embarked on the 10.30am. The journey pretty much hugs the river Dee along the way, making for some spectacular views. Following this we had a little wander in the town itself, very pleasant and quite busy, we managed to secure a couple of thimbles I’m pleased to say. Returning to the site and I attempted to put the satellite dish up to get some TV, but the trees were getting the better of me!
Mon: Relax stay onsite day!
Tue: Weather good, so first job before breakfast was to wash the ‘van. Following this, we headed out for a walk encompassing the aquaduct/viaduct in Chirk. This was a pleasant hike, quite undulating, but worth it, a total of 3.5 miles. Back at the site, I posed for some photos from the club magazine photographer and then we relaxed for the rest of the night.
Wed: A rainy start, but this cleared in time for us to head for the Cambrian Railway in Oswestry. This is a small heritage line with just two stations, resulting in a 20 minute return train journey, although you do get 30 minutes in Weston Wharf, which has just recently been completed, very nice it is as well. We managed a drink in the buffet car and then returned along the line, passing a large corn field, which triggers watching ‘Field of Dreams’ tonight! Back at Oswestry, we took a look at the railway museum as well. Picked us some fuel at a rather busy BP station along the return journey back to the campsite.
Thu: Onsite relax day!
Fri: Onsite relax day, complete with fish & chips from the visiting site van. It’s been a nice week, the site and surrounding area are very picturesque and worth exploring. The Llangollen railway was spectacular and well worth a visit. The site has recently been updated and the toilet block is first class, complete with dual access, so it doesn’t close completely for cleaning. However, there is no TV signal and no booster signals on the bollards, so most pitches can’t access TV even with a satellite due to the high surrounding trees. A little cut-through from the lower level to the toilet block is complete one side, but then just exits behind two pitches with no official cut-through – a bit awkward! Some pitches are car in-front pitching, being quite small width wise, so not the best especially as some of these are fully serviced pitches. There are no bins at the service points, being centrally located at the toilet block. This didn’t bother us, but it was strange never seeing a warden, as they didn’t have to collect the waste and we didn’t have to book in! I’m sure they were active and on-hand however. Despite this, a quality site and worth a visit for the area.
Sat: Rained through the night, but clear for the pack-up! Good journey back home, albeit we took the M62 route as I missed a turn on the M6! Worked out well though, we managed to stop at Hartshead Moor which we haven’t used in a while, nice and empty! Passing Wetherby further up proved that Hartshead Moor was the correct choice, as it was very busy and we wouldn’t have got in. A little busy passing Leeds, as the festival was on, but then back to storage as usual.
Sat: A ‘focused’ drive to get us here – nothing too bad, just correct lane watching is in order 🙂 We arrive over the cobbles, lovely and then booked in. Site very full as expected, but to my joy we managed to secure a pitch right in front of the railway line – woohoo! Weather was variable again, but now very windy. So much so that it took both of us to put the awning up as make things a little easier. Somehow though, we managed to loose the pump bag! We managed tea outside however and then relaxed indoors.
Sun: Still windy, but enjoyed taking photos of the trains as they went past. This has to be the best site for train fans, the line is quite literally 20 metres from the caravan 🙂 Picked up some shopping ‘collect & go’ from Tesco in Bury, all went without a hitch – although interesting to note the number of people trying to enter the store at 10am when it doesn’t open until 11am!
Mon: Rained all day – stayed inside and cleaned the caravan.
Tue: Took a trip into Bury, to see the infamous ‘Bury Market’. It wasn’t open today, but we looked around the rest of the shops.
Wed: The day for a trip on the East Lancs Railway! We caught the train from the platform at Burrs Country Park at 10.15am and journeyed on up to Rawtenstall. Here the train runs around and journeys all the way back down the line to Heywood Station. On the return journey, the train stops at Bury for quite some time. This caught us by surprise as we stayed on the train. There was indeed plenty of time to get out and have a look around and a coffee. Never mind, we were soon back at our platform, where we enjoyed drinks and snacks. The line is about 12 miles in length and provides a good day out, well worth a trip. And with the CAMC discount, very keenly priced!
Thu & Fri: Relax onsite days!
Sat: Departure day. Everything went to plan and we had a pleasant journey home.
Sat: An early start, picked up the ‘van and headed south. First stop would be Wetherby, in time for a bacon buttie and coffee. We managed to spend a good hour here, as we were ahead of schedule. It made a nice change not rushing for once, I think I’ll plan in a longer stop for future journeys. The journey to the site took us along the A6, which was a bit slow with all the roadworks. But we arrived only 20mins behind schedule and in glorious sunshine. In fact, it was so hot, we had to stage the set-up at a slower pace due to the heat. We pitched on the lower terrace near the road, as this was all that was available. Despite the road noise, which doesn’t really bother either of us, the pitch is in a nice and open area, south facing, so ticks all of the boxes. BBQ for tea and all is well for the start of summer tour!
Sun: A trip to Foxfield Railway is on the cards today. We arrived, via a very interesting sat nav led journey and enjoyed a coffee before departing on the 11am train. The line isn’t very long and doesn’t have any stations enroute, just a small halt where the train runs round for the return journey. Also onsite is a museum, shop and miniature railway. Once we had finished here, we left heading for Morrisons in Leek to refuel and pick up a couple of items. Back at the site, we enjoyed the weather again.
Mon: Relax onsite day!
Tue: A trip to Leek, despite the weather turning a little. We walked through the town, didn’t take long as there’s not a lot there. Back onsite for the rest of the day.
Wed: Another railway trip, this time on the Churnet Valley Railway. This is quite an impressive heritage line, about 10 miles in length, with a return journey taking approximately 2 hours. There are some nice lineside buildings along the way, goods shed, cafe & gift shop. Steam was supposed to be running today, but alas, due to technical difficulties, it was replaced with a diesel, namely a class 33.
Thu: Relax onsite day, weather much better!
Fri: Weather poor again, stay onsite we will.
Sat: Departure day – a relaxed pack-up as it’s only an 11.30am departure to hit Burrs. A quick reverse to get out of the lower section and we were on our way. Nice site, a lot of pitches that didn’t take our fancy however – along with them mostly being tree covered. Glad we pitched where we did now, road noise not bothering us. Not a great deal to see or do in the area, although a good place for the two heritage lines we managed to see!
Date: 24th June 2023
Pitch #: 1
GPS: 53.138923, -1.984115
Approach: A6 > A53
Posted inTouring|Comments Off on Blackshaw Moor CAMC
Yet another weekend away in Durham, but boy was the weather glorious! Sunshine in abundance Friday & Saturday, slightly overcast on Sunday but still warm.
I’d booked a grass pitch, hoping the weather was going to behave, so pleased I did now. The pitch was slightly sloping, it’s been a while since we’ve been on the wonk – not enough to warrant using ramps though. Most of the hardstandings were taken as the site was quite busy. Work has started on the area where we used to pitch regularly, sad to see it like it is now. Lots of trees removed, I wonder where our little robin is now 🙁
Picked Cath up from the station, luckily her train was running fine as Friday was a rail strike day. We didn’t venture far, simply soaked up the good weather and enjoyed being outside again.
Date: 2nd June 2023
Pitch #: 68
GPS: 54.795747, -1.530499
Posted inTouring|Comments Off on Durham Grange Caravan Site