Well it’s been nearly 10 years since we were here last, and this weekend saw us back to a Saturday departure – so a short weekend again!
Journey to the site is straight forward, only held up by the roadworks on the A1. The way back will be the A19 I decided. We arrived to the access road and with a little juggling of vehicles we got through the single track lane and into the site. We couldn’t remember much of the layout of the site, only memories of a nature walk and the river itself sprang to mind.
The site was full, so only a few pitches to choose from. We settled on #23 and set camp up. The weather was good for the day and we were able to enjoy some sunshine before retiring for the night. TV signal is poor, but there are TV points on the bollards which pulled in a perfectly good signal. Mobile signals seem fine as well. We took a stroll around the site to capture the nice weather, but didn’t get on the nature walk.
Sunday, weather wasn’t as good and brought us some rain. Shame, we would have liked to get on a walk, but we stayed in all day and relaxed. Monday soon came around and we departed for home. A shorter weekend with no BBQ – seems strange after enjoying our new longer weekends. Never mind, next one will be back on a Friday departure!
Date: 11th September 2021
Pitch #: 23
GPS: 55.445108, -1.920858
Approach: A1 > A697
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Fri: The road(s) to hell. That’s the best way to describe our journey. To date, this has been the worst journey in all of our caravanning expeditions. A1 / M62 – delays all the way. M6 – closure due to accident, 3 hour detour. Arrival at campsite, not looking good.
A pitstop was scheduled on the M62 at Hartheads, but due to the delays already endured, it was more of a case of – run to the toilet, scoff a sandwich and then get back driving, not relaxing to say the least. Hitting the M6 we were sent on a diversion which wasn’t clearly marked. Indeed it seemed other diversions were in place as we encountered numerous diversion sings which didn’t seem to tally with our route. I carefully navigated through the diversion, although this was a bit stressful, thank goodness for GPS maps in the car! The queues were immense in all places and trying to change lanes was a challenge, as no one wants to let a caravan in 😐
We eventually made it back on to the M6 and ploughed onwards to the site – we were in contact with the site wardens who were brilliant. We were resigned to the fact that we wouldn’t hit the 8.00pm deadline for arrival and were prepared to stop over-night with the trucks, but the wardens kindly said to keep coming – they had a pitch reserved for us that they would let us have when we arrived – which we duly did at 9.15pm, not before getting stuck behind a combine harvester on the A44 just before arriving at the site however, you couldn’t write it any better honestly! They even made us hot drinks upon our arrival, warned our neighbours that we were arriving late – I can’t say how amazing Steve and xxx were – it goes beyond the call of duty. Needless to say we pitched up with the basics and then slept. This has been an 8 hour intense drive, with just one brief stop.
Saturday: After a good nights sleep we enjoyed a bacon sandwich on the cadac. as is now becoming the norm. We then erected the awning and took a trip into Broadway village, where a show was taking place for the weekend – a car show, with apparently a flyover from a Hurricane place, but this didn’t transpire! The village was packed and was quite a spectacle – although we found it a little too much and didn’t stay for too long, crowds are still a little uncomfortable at the moment it seems during these covid days. We returned back to the site and enjoyed some fish & chips for tea from the onsite visiting van.
Sunday: Another relaxed start with a bacon butty and then a trip to Evesham. What a lovely place this is, very picturesque. Set by the river Avon, there are plenty of grassy spaces, playgrounds, abbey grounds, canal boats, shops, cafes – everything for a relaxing visit. We enjoyed a couple of hours here and then returned to the site. A bit of cleaning of the ‘van followed by a BBQ tea and we were set for the night.
Monday: Following breakfast we headed for Broadway Tower, a short drive from the site. There’s a good amount of parking here, but the overall pricing was a bit pricy we thought. £12 to access the tower, £4 for a picnic, £3 parking – that could add up to quite an amount for the day. We paid the parking and kept to public walking after that. There’s a few cafes here which is nice and some stunning views across the Cotswolds. From there we drove to Chipping Campden to see one of the stunning villages which this area is renown for. The buildings are stunning, beautiful, thatch roofs, Cotswold stone, quaint shops, narrow streets – all lost in time. After stopping here for a while we returned back to the site. A couple of DIY jobs were in order, fixing the door blind and putting on the new table. The door blind didn’t take too long, however the table needed drilling – so that’s a job for another day!
Tuesday: A trip on the GWSR railway was in order today. The station is literally just across the road from the entrance to the site. They are running steam all of this week, so a trip on 7903 Hall Class was just the ticket. Talking of tickets, adults are £25 for a return journey to Cheltenham Racecourse. Broadway station was reopened just 3 years ago back in 2018, platform 1 is operational, but platform 2 and the bridge are still undergoing construction. The line is about 14 miles in length and takes you through the gorgeous countryside, along a viaduct and through a tunnel – not bad for a heritage line! The ticket price is a ‘roamer’, so you can hop on and off as you like all day.
Wednesday: Following yesterday’s railway trip, we passed a station called Toddington, which looked rather interesting. So we decided to head there by car today, it’s only a 10 minute drive from the site. There’s quite a lot to see and do at this station: narrow gauge railway, book stalls, cafes, shop, information boards scattered around the site. The GWSR also store their locos at the depot located at this station. It’s well worth a visit if you like trains! Following our visit, we headed for the local Coop in Broadway, to pick up some supplies for another BBQ tea! There must have been a power cut at home, as the alarm went nuts and rang me 15 times whilst we were watching ‘Braveheart’. The phone was on silent, so I didn’t hear it. Hope the neighbours didn’t mind 20 mins of the alarm blaring at 10pm at night!
Thursday: A walk into Broadway again and a visit to the quaint essential church that is St. Eadburgha’s Church. They were setting up for a wedding, so we didn’t get inside, but the grounds are beautiful. Broadway itself was a lot quieter than the weekend thankfully, but still quite active, which is good to see. I picked up a new train caravan mug, as my old one was deteriorating fast. We enjoyed more good weather back on-site and relaxed as we watched people come and go!
Friday: Final day of the holiday, so time to relax all day on site.
Saturday: Rain! Yes the pack-up in the rain routine. The journey back was slow as well, no accidents this time, but still a lot of congestion.
Grass pitch and no wrist bands – that about summarises this trip!
We arrived at tea time for this trip, as Cath had to work a full day due to staff holidays. As I paid my dues at reception, I was then given the map as usual, but this time with a choice of 3 pitches! Yes, only 3 left and our usual #36 was not to be today. All pitches left were grass only. Well this is a first for us, we’ve never been on the grass at Durham Grange. But we pulled on and backed up onto pitch 74. Luckily the weather has been hot and dry for the last few weeks, so the ground was firm and no rain had been forecast for this weekend, so we should have a nice time on the grass! Friday soon turned into night as we finished setting up and enjoyed a sandwich for tea. Weather was very humid however, never sweated so much putting the awning up.
Saturday, a nice bacon and egg butty from the Cadac started the day nicely. We’d arranged to visit Carole and Kevin today, to have a natter and a cuppa. We joined them at noon and stayed for a couple of hours. Returning to he site, we enjoyed more outdoor weather. I’d purchased a new chair last weekend, to replace our trusty old folding camping chair. It makes a big difference as it is far more comfortable. Cath got a new sun lounger, but she didn’t try it out this weekend. The wash blocks are now back to normal, with no band restrictions in place – hooray! It felt quite strange going in without doing the band ‘thing’, having it all open again with free access was quite strange, who’d have thought it!
Sunday, another bacon and egg butty early doors prior to leaving for church. The service at church was the first live music and congregational singing since the pandemic struck, so was quite a key affair. Good to be back doing what I do best! Back at base, we relaxed for the rest of the day.
Monday, still very warm, everything packed up – we headed back to storage. A nice weekend break and nice to experience a different pitch!
Date: 23rd July 2021
Pitch #: 74
GPS: 54.795747, -1.530499
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Sun: A smooth relaxed pack-up at Beechwood and we were underway to our next destination, Bridlington. A straight forward route, albeit a bit of a twisty one and we arrived at the site and joined the queue, the longest queue we’ve ever encountered at a campsite! There must have been 10-12 units in front of us, but the wardens worked swiftly and we were soon in. We opted for the new section of the site which is more open. We found a nice pitch which offered good sun opportunities most of the day and quickly set-up. Weather was very hot and humid. Feeling a little hungry we had a late breakfast on the Cadac and then relaxed for the rest of the day,
Mon: Weather still good so we decided to walk the promenade of Bridlington. We parked in the North Beech carpark and walked to town centre from there. What a lovely place it is, it reminded me of Cleethorpes a little bit, very well kept and a nice offering of attractions to keep everyone entertained. We plan to go back later in the week and maybe make more of the attractions, but for today we settled on a coffee and some chips by the sea. Following this, we returned back to the site. I made a little outing to Tesco to pick up a magazine and then we relaxed for the rest of the day.
Tue: We took a trip info Flamborough today, to visit the lighthouse and to see the ‘Drinking Dinosaur’. All very pleasant and very busy.
Wed: The weather has turned, so we spent the day in the ‘van.
Thu: Another trip to North Beach was in order, to sample the model village there and also to get onto the pirate ship! We did both, even though the weather was a little windy and overcast. The Bondville model village was first on the agenda. This is accessed straight from the car park and is quite modest in size. But hosts a cafe and all day access with the entrance fee. We then strolled down to the harbour and took a trip on the pirate ship. This is a short 10 minute trip along the coastline of Bridlington in an open sail ship type boat, but engine driven! Following this, we’re back at the campsite for the rest of the day.
Fri: As usual, last day of the holiday and we spent it onsite. Weather was back to being very hot again, so little bouts outside and then even more inside! Filled up with fuel ready for the return journey tomorrow.
Sat: Usual pack-up routine, all went to plan. The only hick-up was that there was an almighty queue at Weatherby services, so we didn’t stop there and continued on without a break 🙁
Fri: We began our summer 2 week holiday after work, we picked up the ‘van and headed South for York, namely Beechwood. We’ve been here once before, it’s a nice site with good transport access into the centre of York itself. We arrived around 5pm in the rain, following weeks of dry sunny weather and were given the choice of around 5 pitches. We chose our pitch, which was next to where we pitched last trip and began setting up, in the rain! Never mind, once done we relaxed with a bite to eat and settled into the evening.
Sat: The night had some interesting wildlife cries, what with ducks and crows, I think it’s the first time I’ve ever been disturbed and awoken in the caravan. We were enjoying some nice weather again though after yesterday’s blip, so we deployed the new BBQ and cooked bacon and eggs. A quick wash of the ‘van following this and then I headed for Tesco, to pick up an order, mainly of BBQ requirements. Some signes in the car park would be useful – Tesco’s. Simply marking two parking bays as click & collect on the ground is not helpful, when you have a whole car park to navigate with no signs! A little rain finished the evening off.
Sun: A nice lie in and another cooked breakfast. Quite relaxing, a bit of a change from the days of France, where Father’s Day would be spent doing the last leg of the France route, driving for around 6-8 hours! The site got a lot quieter today, with many departures. Weather doing okay but a little cooler.
Mon: Weather a bit miserable, spent the day on-site in the ‘van.
Tue: Glorious weather, BBQ breakfast, then off to York city centre. We took the bus via the park and ride at Monks Cross, very handy. We strolled around but didn’t visit any attractions as most are still pre-booking only. And to be honest, we still felt a little cautious being in the crowds again, so in the heat with our masks on, we called it a day after walking around most of what’s on offer. Returning to the site we enjoyed a paella tea on the Cadac and soaked up the sun for the rest of the evening.
Wed: Superb weather again, in fact a little too hot for me. Stayed on-site all day.
Thu: More relaxing, more good weather.
Fri: Weather a little cooler today but a welcome break for me. Took a trip to Asda to replenish stocks of skin care products, as I’ve done my lobster special again and burnt my legs 🙁
Sat: Picked up the shopping for the second half of our trip to Bridlington tomorrow. Weather glorious again. Site has been full most of the week. It’s a nice site, good facilities and lots to do. We will be back.
Date: 18th June 2021
Pitch #: 86
GPS: 53.995806, -1.027584
Approach: A64 > A1237
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Another 3 night weekend escape. Back to the lovely site that is White Water Park. We like it here, it has plenty to offer: great walks from the site, Beefeater and supermarket within walking distance from the site, good access to the coast, shops nearby and a marshalling yard for doing some trainspotting! We didn’t venture far this time, simply relaxed.
Date: 21st May 2021
Pitch #: 27
GPS: 54.568506, -1.286260
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Another 3 night weekend away – still impressed by the extra time, arriving Friday is making such a difference. Weather not brilliant, site the same as always, although the band system has changed for Covid – it’s now 4 in a bucket of Milton, rather than individual bands, as it was on our last trip here.
No time for BBQ breakfasts this time, but the next trip should sort that out. What was different this time however was the fact that we had changed storage sites over the weekend, so would be returning to a new but old place. We are in fact returning to our first storage site, now under a different company however.
Date: 7th May 2021
Pitch #: 36
GPS: 54.795747, -1.530499
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Departed at 7am, a little slower than usual when hitching up, as it has been 7 months since our last outing! A nice simple drive arriving at our inevitable M6 service station, southwaite. We took a break and enjoyed a Greggs bacon buttie and coffee before continuing on our way to the the site. We arrived at the site soon after and were soon setting up as we have done some many times before, although this seems a little bit of a distant memory presently!
The site was open from 9am due to the lockdown, so we arrived suitably at 10.30am, and just as well, as the queues of campers continued to build thereafter! We found our pitch and enjoyed setting up on such a beautiful day. It was a real joy to be back caravanning after such a long break. Everything went well and we were soon enjoying tea, drinks and night time routines!
A bit cloudier today, but we still managed a cooked breakfast outdoors whilst enjoying the stunning views of Blencathra. TV signal is practically non-existent, so I put the satellite dish up and enjoyed the numerous Freesat channels.
Another beautiful day, breakfast outside again and a walk around the site, following the dog walk and then back along the A5091 returning to the site. A modest walk of about a mile, but enough for today!
Stunning weather, breakfast outdoors again – the egg rings are working well! We went for a walk around Derwent Water, simply beautiful, views to die for. This was a good 3 mile hike, thoroughly enjoyable. we returned to base following this and lapped up the sunshine, well Cath did at least.
Sounding a bit like France this – but another glorious day! Before the sun became too strong I decided to clean the van on the outside, whilst Cath did the inside. Following this we had our bacon and eggs again, perfection has now been achieved with the egg rings! We did the dog walk again as a bit of exercise and then relaxed for the rest of the final day.
We managed to find our ‘pack-up’ routine and proceeded to do a good job of getting ready for the return journey home. Only one little mistake made, we forgot to put on the towing cover! Realising this as we were just exiting the site, I pulled back in to reception to put it on. Then kindly asked the wardens to let us do a farewell drive back through the site – then we were on the way. Southwaite again, this time a Costa breakfast. Very nice, but bloody expensive :-O
The site itself is one of the most beautiful on the network I would say. The views and tranquility make it a perfect getaway. with the weather we had as well, it made it almost feel France like. The toilet blocks are bang up to date, plenty of service points, friendly wardens, good access to Derwent water, Ullswater, Penrith, Keswick – perfect. A great and most welcome start to 2021.
Date: 12th April 2021
Pitch #: 135
GPS: 54.616943, -2.956263
Approach: A66 > A5091
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The first 3 night weekend getaway, hopefully the start of many more. Weather not good this weekend, so we stayed in the ‘van all weekend, bar doing the All Souls service. BBQ breakfast was had as well, even in the rain and wind!
Date: 30th October 2020
Pitch #: 36
GPS: 54.795747, -1.530499
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Sat: The weather was attrocious, we picked up the caravan and headed off. The journey was straight forward, A69 > M6 along with a stop off at Southwaite services. A bit different to the France runs of years previous!
We arrived at the site and were shown where we could pitch. The site was quite full, so the section I had intended to head for was full, consequently we ended up at the bottom of the site, where we ended up on quite a quirky pitch. In order to avoid driving over the grass I decided to use the motor mover. This is where the motor mover decided to die on me and wouldn’t budge the ‘van. Indeed the rollers wouldn’t retract when instructed, resulting in me manually winding them off. All in the pouring rain. So the ‘van hitched back up to the car, I pitched it by a bit of driving over the grass. The rest of of the set-up went as usual, once finished, clothes changed and hung to dry!
Sun: Weather much improved, so we headed out for a walk around the site and part way into Grange-over-Sands.
Mon: Weather still looking promising, so we decided to visit the railway and Windermere Lake. This was accomplished via the Lakeland and Haverthwaite heritage line, which offers tickets which combine a cruise on the lake as well as the train journey. This was all ordered online, which is the norm now during the COVID-19 period. The whole trip is very worthwhile and can fill your whole day or just a few hours, times are flexible so plan as you see fit. Following this we headed for Grange-over-Sands to pick up a few supplies from the express supermarkets there.
Tue: Weather not good, so stayed in the ‘van all day. Managed to do some electronics and consequently managed to fry the microprocessor with the wrong voltage 🙁
Wed: Not raining, so we headed for Canal Foot in Ulverston. This is a walk alongside a disused canal totalling 2.5 miles. It’s a pleasant walk, with a pub if you want to complete the outing with a meal or drink. The canal also incorporates a rolling railway which crossed the canal, allowing boats to pass as the railway rolled back into the canal side. Extra pegs were put in the awning as we are expecting some high winds tonight. The BBQ was set-up with the new pipes and connectors to use the caravan gas, rather than a separate bottle, as Campingaz is getting harder to find, so time to change! TV reception is okay here but not great, so time to put the satellite up as well – if I can get a signal through the trees!
Thu: A nice morning, so an outdoor bacon sandwich was in order for breakfast. With the weather okay, we headed for Crooklands Canal. I thought this was a working canal route, but alas discovered it was disused and not worth walking. So we returned back to base and relaxed. A little research later, I discovered that the Lancaster canal stops north at Tewitfield. So we plan to take a trip there when the weather recovers!
Fri: A trip to Asda in Kendal to restock on certain requirements. Multiple showers weather-wise, so no further outings today.
Sat: Breakfast alfresco again and then a trip into Kendal, this time to look around. We parked at South Lakes Retail Park and then walked into the town itself. I’m pleased to say that the shops in Kendal seem to be holding their own during this economic downturn, most units were still active and open. We perused a few shops before heading back, along with picking up some more bacon for those outdoor breakfasts!
Sun: A trip into Grange-over-Sands in particular to walk the promenade there. There is a car park there for this which is handy and at a reasonable rate of £1.20 for the whole day. Over the railway line by bridge and you’re there. The promenade is bordered with lovely plantation to sheild you from the railway. There are cafes there, plenty of sports and kids parks. Benches all the way, so bring a picnic and enjoy the stunning views across the bay. There is a disused Lido there, which is in the process of being brought back to life – this will simply be stunning when it’s done. Overall, a great day out.
Mon: Rain stopped play today, so a ‘van day it was!
Tue: A trip to Penrith we chose for today. The trip there was a little longer than usual as the A590 was closed due to roadworks. There’s not much in Penrith to report, so we didn’t stay too long. We did visit St Andrew’s Church however, to light a candle for Stephanie.
Wed: We tried an expedition to Tewitfield , the northern point of the Lancaster canal. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t playing ball so we called this off. We returned back to base and did some cleaning of the ‘van.
Thu: We tried the Lancaster canal again and with better success today. We walked a good couple of miles down the canal, passed some moored boats, but alas no locks! Indeed there doesn’t seem to be any locks for quite a stretch. The canal apparently, is going to be extended further north, following it’s original route prior to it being closed due to the construction of the M6.
Fri: Relax day at the site – the final day, the final bacon & egg sandwich for breakfast! A power cut in the evening was entertaining, great everything works off gas & 12v 🙂
Sat: We packed up as normal, it’s not raining at least! Journey home was fine.
Date: 3rd October 2020
Pitch #: 70
GPS: 54.216490, -2.863488
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