Troutbeck Head CAMC

Sat: Not exactly an early start as we’re only going to the north lakes, but all went to plan collecting the ‘van and heading west along the A69. Our usual stop at Southwaite services, enjoying a sausage roll and coffee and then on to the site, arriving at 1.00pm on the dot! Pleasant greeting from the warden and then we headed for the inner circle, where we were pitched last time. Not many campers here, but it is ‘out of season’. After some clear skies on the way down on the M6, rain pursued unfortunately. We did pick up a nice little Christmas tree from reception however, which sits nicely at the front of the ‘van.

Sun: Erm, it’s still raining – but we enjoyed our anniversary!

Mon: Still raining! Despite this, we went to Penrith to buy some bird food and also fill up for the return journey, The temperature outside was 4 degrees, but we still had a BBQ tea in the rain :O

Tue: It’s not raining! We had a little walk around the site, deciding not to do the longer dog walk because of the recent weather. There are only 6 other units on the site, quite empty indeed. Then the rain and wind started 🙁

Wed: Raining and very windy.

Thu: Ditto.

Fri: No rain in the morning but still windy, so we took the awning down as it was dry. We were all set for another stay-in, but on venturing out to the games room, we were collared by the farmer doing his rounds on his quad bike, trying to muster up some business for some live music he had booked for the restaurant. So later on, we ventured out across the field donning our head torches, passing the sheep and eventually landed at ‘Rookin House’. We were the only ones there, apart from the owners! Still it turned out to be a good evening, certainly not planned or expected. The walk home we made via the roads, as I’m sure we would not have found the gate to the campsite again across the field! It was cold, but a slow and steady walk saw us back at the ‘van.

Sat: Departure day. All went as usual, apart from I missed the exit from the M6 to head east alone the A689! So we had to travel to the borders of Scotland, 6 miles further on in order to turn around! Muppet!

It’s been a relaxing week, with no car journeys, just relax time inside the ‘van. The weather all week has been abysmal, probably the worst we’ve had in all of our caravan trips. But you’ve got to take the rough with the smooth. Next trip will now be 2023! This is the first time we’ve used this ‘van in the ‘winter’ – and the heating has done very well. It has no problems raising the temperature by 20 degrees and I’m sure will do more. The Alde heating in our Clubman struggled to raise 13 degrees, so blown air wins on this occasion. It is slightly noisier, but more controllable and more heat in my opinion.

  • Date: 19th November 2022
  • Nights: 7
  • Pitch #: 133
  • GPS: 54.616943, -2.956263
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Durham Grange Caravan Site

Another weekend away at our local! Weather was about right for Autumn, although we still managed to cook outside with our new set-up, so that’s working well. We suffered a lot of condensation inside the awning on this trip, so this has prompted me to invest in a roof liner, to see if that will help matters.

Still a few happy campers about, which is nice to see. Enjoyed the trip as usual, looking forward now to our trip to Troutbeck CAMC in a couple of weeks.

  • Date: 4th November 2022
  • Nights: 3
  • Pitch #: 38
  • GPS: 54.795747, -1.530499
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Southport CAMC

Sat: The journey to the site was a pleasant one, despite us both being unwell. Using the A69 and M6 we made our usual stop at Southwaite for a bacon buttie and then continued on to Southport, passing switch island junction at the end of the M58! This was the only place on the trip where we got held up in traffic. I don’t know if it’s always this slow, but it took a while and there was a lot of traffic. After a pleasant drive along the coastal road we soon arrived at the site. No queue, so straight in and paid up. We opted for the newer section of the site, which is more open and spacious. We plumbed for pitch #173 which is at the far end of the site, nearest the seafront, nearest the wind! And boy, was it windy – the new awning was a real struggle to put up, not helped by the fact that the pegs wouldn’t hold strong enough. In the end I ended up putting 4 pegs into some ladders! Then the rain came, so all in all – the poor new awning had a real beasting of an inauguration outing! No alfresco tea today, a cooked meal inside was in order.

Sun: The awning survived one of the roughest nights we’ve ever had, gusts of wind reaching 40mph and lashing rain. Just a few pegs to firm back into the ground and all was good. We managed breakfast outside at the back of the awning, which worked out quite well. The wind died down by the afternoon, much to our relief.

Mon: A new breakfast on the menu! We made omelette, beans and waffles. This worked really well and made good use of the tapas dishes we recently bought. This will stay on the meal planner! Following this we headed out for a walk into Southport itself. We started on the promenade, then the pier, back through the park and finally back at the site – circa 5 miles in all. The first obvious thing of note was how far the sea goes out, you literally can’t see it from the promenade. The pier is apparently Britain’s first iron constructed pier and was a popular attraction back in its day, for a one-legged man who used to jump into the sea from the pier! Nice to see some rail tracks on the pier still, when the trains still ran in their heyday back in the late 19th century. The park has a lot of attractions including: boats, skate park, playground, bowls, miniature railway, golf, as well as all of the amusements and rides. All seems well kept, there was even live singing at the waterfront pub – this was a Monday dinnertime – impressive! Back at the site, we got battered by the winds all afternoon again.

Tue: A glorious day, no wind hooray! We spent the day on-site, with only a walk to the supermarket to pick up some more orange juice and post a card to break the day. This was the local Morrisons, just down Rotten Row Road! From here I found Lord Street, where I managed to track down a red cylinder, namely a postbox. On the return journey, we made our way through Victoria Park, which was a nice expanse of green land, where they seem to host events on a regular basis. We made the most of the outside, as the winds are due to return.

Wed: Winds are back and the sunshine has gone, another on-site day.

Thu: A little walk around the site was in order today as we haven’t done that yet. The site is emptying quite a bit, no doubt to fill back up for the half term next week. The older part of the site is much ‘tree-ier’ if there’s such a word and the pitches look smaller, although this may just be an illusion. Certainly we prefer the newer part of the site, much more open and spacious. Toilet block is of new spec, complete with service toilet – about time!

Fri: Filled the car ready for the return journey tomorrow. We relaxed for the day, as we usually do on the last day. We decided to take the awning down as it was nice and dry, but as we were doing so, the heavens opened, so that was that, a morning take down it was going to be!

Sat: Everything packed away and we made our way home. We received a phone call from the site asking if we’d left any keys behind in the ‘key box’ as they had found some upon inspection. Thankfully, they weren’t ours! A quick stop at Southwaite for a coffee and then we completed our trip, all to plan. A nice site and good area to visit. We will return, probably in the summer to take advantage of more walking through all the parks and promenade again, nice not to have to do any driving on your holiday!

  • Date: 15th October 2022
  • Nights: 7
  • Pitch #: 173
  • GPS: 53.641813, -3.024247
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Durham Grange Caravan Site

Deja vu really on this trip – back to Durham Grange, same pitch as last time – although no pick-up required from the train station this time! We arrived in the pouring rain, so I got a bit wet during set-up. Got everything ready and then realised I had forgotten my laptop charger, so a quick trip home was in order to rectify the situation. Funnily enough, the weather cleared to a sunny sky on the return journey, so we did manage to BBQ!

Saturday & Sunday were better days weather wise, so we enjoyed the outdoors more whilst enjoying the ‘darker’ nights back inside the ‘van. The awning has leaked a lot during this trip, so we’ve decided to replace it with a new one. Monday, back to storage and onwards to the next trip in a fortnight.

  • Date: 30th September 2022
  • Nights: 3
  • Pitch #: 38
  • GPS: 54.795747, -1.530499
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Durham Grange Caravan Site

During the hectic month of September, it’s nice to just get away and relax – this is exactly what a caravan is for and indeed is what we did this weekend! No trips out, just say onsite and chill.

It was another 3 night weekend, with Cath getting the train from work again. So I pitched the ‘van up in the afternoon, this time on pitch #38 as the site was quite full. Weather not the best, so I decided to go for hardstanding rather than grass. Weather improved for Sunday & departure on Monday.

However, that didn’t stop our alfresco eating this time, as we had purchased a couple of new products. Firstly, canopy poles for the awning, so we can cook in the rain! Secondly, to replace the Cadac – with a Teppanyaki Grill. Reasons being, it runs from electricity, so easier to site around the ‘van rather than being stuck just by the gas point. Smaller to lug about and store, easier to clean and no wind to worry about. We used it 3 times this weekend and I have to say, I wish we’d got one sooner. To be able to cook where you want and the ease of cleaning, along with a rapid heat up time, good control of heat and not having to worry about the wind blowing it out. The food just glides on the surface, no more sticking. Thumbs up from us.

  • Date: 9th September 2022
  • Nights: 3
  • Pitch #: 38
  • GPS: 54.795747, -1.530499
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York Beechwood Grange CAMC

Sat: A relaxed 10am start, picked the ‘van up and headed down the A1. Our usual stop at Wetherby Services was very busy, we ended up going nose-in to a coach spot, as there was nothing else. People parking everywhere made for an interesting reverse out, but we were soon on our way. We arrived at the site around 1.30pm and decided on a grass pitch, which gives us lots of outside space around the ‘van, perfect in this dry weather. Tesco’s failed to deliver the groceries yesterday as planned, so I had to make a trip to the local store, here I had forwarded the order to. We tried a BBQ for tea, but were thwarted by the wind, so inside for some fish & chips!

Sun: Another glorious day, still a bit windy though. We had our cooked breakfast and then relaxed for the day, followed by a successful BBQ for tea!

Mon: Following breakfast, we decided to have a day at the HYorkshire Air Museum. This is based at the airfield that was RAF Elvington. There’s lots to see in terms of aircraft and associated information, the 20 acre site also houses authentic buildings and hangars, bringing home the feel of the 1940’s. With a cafe and lots of outdoor seating, you can easily spend a day here, well worth a visit.

Tue: An essential visit was that to Pickering and namely the NYMR. Looking a nice day, we decided to head out on a Moors Explorer train so that we could explore the station and town of Goathland, home of Harry Potter’s Hogsmeade Station and Heartbeat’s Aidensfield. No steam was running due to the hot and dry current conditions, but I was pleased that our outbound train was in fact a class 37! Goathland is a very popular destination as it was packed with us tourists. We spent a good hour ambling about, had a coffee back at the station and then returned back to Pickering, via a humble DMU this time.

Wed: A day to relax on site.

Thu: A trip into Malton, as we’ve never been before. Not the best of days weather wise, but it was raining, so we headed out. We got there, had a little walk about and then returned. There really isn’t much to see or do. No parks or open spaces, just a congested high street and a dirty river! Never mind, we’ve been and at least we know now. Back on-site, the weather cleared up and turned very sunny. BBQ time!

Fri: Last day of the holiday, so the rule is we relax and do nothing! A glorious day, after chilling we packed the awning away making preps for the journey back tomorrow.

Sat: A relaxed pack-up and then headed back home. We stopped for a quick coffee at Wetherby services, it was still very busy even though it was only early morning. Caravan bays were filling up with cars, time to go before irritation sets in 🙁

  • Date: 20th August 2022
  • Nights: 7
  • Pitch #: 93
  • GPS: 53.995806, -1.027584
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White Water Park Caravan Club Site

Another train arrival weekend! This time at White Water Park in Stockton. I arrived at the site at 1.00pm on the dot and found pitch 54 free, so decided to take it, as it was quite bust being the school holidays. As I wasn’t picking Cath up until 6.30pm, I had decided to wash the caravan roof during this spare time, as I haven’t done it since purchasing the ‘van!

I set the utilities up first and then got the ladders out. It took some doing, it’s a big ‘van. But I got it looking good a while later. Following this I set the awning up and collected Cath from the station. Not much of a carpark in Darlington station! Back at site we enjoyed a BBQ and relaxed for the night.

Saturday, a little rain, but we managed a walk around the site and up to Asda.

Sunday, more rain in the morning, but then again cleared up, another BBQ for tea! Perfect time to catch up on some ‘Highway to Heaven’ episodes. Took the awning down as it was dry, didn’t want to chance any more rain in the morning.

Monday, glorious day, sunshine and no rain. Pack up time and back to storage.

  • Date: 29th July 2022
  • Nights: 3
  • Pitch #: 54
  • GPS: 54.568506, -1.286260
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Durham Grange Caravan Site

Fri: Another 3 day weekend getaway, but with a twist. As Cath couldn’t get the Friday off work, we decided that I would take the ‘van and set it up on site, with Cath following on the train after work. This worked well, I chose a nice grassy pitch as the weather was super and set the ‘van up. Then a quick trip to the station, picked Cath up and then we were enjoying another long weekend. Something else new for this trip is the fact that we’ve invited some friends over on the Saturday for some food, drinks and games! So the usual meal planning was extended somewhat with extras of probably far too many things!

Sat: Our guests arrived and we had a great day, weather was perfect, grass pitch, food & drink supplies held up, conversation was good, fab day! We must do this again.

Sun: Church in the morning, then relax!

Mon: Weather – we’re having a heatwave here in the UK for the next two days, so pleased to be leaving actually, we were dripping after packing up!

  • Date: 15th July 2022
  • Nights: 3
  • Pitch #: 66
  • GPS: 54.795747, -1.530499
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Rookesbury Park CAMC

Sat: A good journey, apart from the M25, let’s face it – that’s never going to be good! Arrived to a rather full site, only around 7 pitches free out of 157! We settled for a grass pitch which was in a fairly open space, as some of the others were rather tree encroached. Got setup with the nose well down to level. Pleased to report that mobile signals were good and TV surprisingly as well, so no problems with internet & media.

Sun: Stayed onsite all day and relaxed. Got to know our neighbours with a few good chats and an electrical problem in their ‘van. Site has emptied quite a bit, nearly got the field to ourselves!

Mon: Rain stopped play in the morning, but we headed to Portsmouth in the afternoon once the sunshine was back. The D-Day Museum was on the cards, along with the pier and castle. There’s a lot of construction work ongoing along the promenade, so not quite the walk I was expecting. We still managed to see the pier and enjoyed some chips there, whilst going to the D-Day Museum on the way back. This was a good experience, taking in the LCT 7074 (Landing Craft Tank), along with with many museum excerpts and interactive screens.

Tue: The Watercress Line Railway was our aim for today. This heritage line runs from Alresford to Alton. We arrived at Alresford which was the best station in our opinion and caught the 10.30am train to Alton. The vista from the journey was okay, but not as good as our last journey on the K&ESR. There are museums, train sheds and shops along the line, so a good trip all in all. We returned back to the site via the usual rural roads in this area!

Wed: Back to Portsmouth today, to visit the ‘Historic Dockland’. This is quite a large area housing many museums and exhibitions, which as it turns out, takes quite some time to get through. Originally we were just planning to the visit the Mary Rose, but we decided on a full ticket so we could access what we wanted. We started with the harbour cruise, this was excellent. We were fortunate in that two aircraft carriers were docked at the time, the ‘HMS Queen Elizabeth’ & ‘HMS Prince of Wales’. These I have to say were a magnificent sight. Following this and returning to dry land, we headed for the ‘Mary Rose’ museum. This takes a good hour or two to walk through, very well laid out and lots to see and do. From here we went to the ‘HMS Warrior’. We didn’t spend too much time on this as we were worn out a little. The ‘HMS Victory’ was undergoing some extensive work so we didn’t get to go on this either. Your tickets are valid for a year, so it would be worthwhile spreading this out over a few days in reality. But alas, we only had today.

Thu: Nothing today, just relax!

Fri: Acquired a new gas bottle as we’d ran out from yesterday’s BBQ. Along with all other price increases, it was now £39! Last bottle I bought was £25. We took the awning down, as it was nice and dry, as we needed an early start in the morning.

Sat: Early start, 7.30am departure, all went to plan. We had a good journey back, making use of Newport Pagnell Services. This has allocated caravan bays, around 8 of them, so was a good pit-stop for refuelling the car and ourselves! Pleased to report that the M25 was a clear run, as was the rest of the journey back home.

  • Date: 25th June 2022
  • Nights: 7
  • Pitch #: 78
  • GPS: 50.906103, -1.163411

Approach: M27 > A32 > B2177 > Hundred Acres Road

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Bearsted CAMC

Sat: Picked the ‘van up at 7am and headed South! There will be two stops on this trip, Wetherby as usual for a bacon buttie and then a new one, namely Peterborough. This would provide rest and a refuel at a convenient point in the journey. We were pleasantly surprised, there were lots of dedicated caravan parking spaces away from the cars with clean and tidy services inside. A far cry from Grantham! From here we headed to the site, which is located just off the M20. We booked in at reception and found a nice hardstanding pitch with good views facimg the right direction for the sun. We got the ‘van all set up, enjoyed some tea and TV and then at night, experienced the best thunder storm I have ever witnessed. It was very close by and the views from the sunlights was spectacular, with matching rain!

Sun: A trip to Spa Valley railway was in order, this was about 45 mins away from the site. We took the 10.30am steam train from Tunbridge Wells West through to Eridge which takes about 30mins. There is a shop and engine shed, which you have access to. A nice place to visit for all train buffs and kids. Picked up a battery for the car key, which seems to have gone flat, pleased I had the spare with me! Glorious weather back at the site, time for a BBQ tea.

Mon: Firstly, a trip to Canterbury. Mainly to see the cathedral and also the punting boats on the River Stour. Sadly you can’t can’t see anything of the cathedral unless you pay for a visit, not even the grounds. The river Stour is mostly hidden amongst the city, so you can’t really enjoy that either, All you’ve got is shops to be honest, a bit of a disappointment. From here we headed to Margate, first to the Hornby Visitor Centre. This was very nicely staged and worth a visit, I held back on any purchases! Then we headed to the the seaside front of Margate itself. Very nice, parking in the Dreamland carpark of the fun park that still remains. We enjoyed some chips on the front, avoiding the eager Seagulls! Back to base from here. Weather still glorious.

Tue: Weather still fantastic, so a day onsite doing nothing but relaxing! Managed to sit outside later on and have a game of cards and connect 4.

Wed: Glorious blue skies again. Decided to wash the ‘van today before the noon sun melted us both away. Stayed onsite again.

Thu: A visit to the K&ES Railway was the order of the day. This is a 10.5 miles stretch of heritage railway running from Tenterden through to Bodiam. It has a wonderful vista along the route, passing many level crossings and stream bridges. There are many attractions at most of the stations and the ticket is an all day roamer. Well worth a visit in our opinion. Weather a little cooler today, thankfully, so just relaxed for the rest of the day.

Fri: As usual, onsite relax before the move tomorrow!

Sat: Usual pack-up routine, no rush as we’ve got a 10.30am earliest departure to make the 1.00pm entry on the next site. Great weather still, had a few chats with the neighbours. Onwards to the West!

  • Date: 18th June 2022
  • Nights: 7
  • Pitch #: 33
  • GPS: 51.263105, 0.603373

Approach: M20 > A20

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