Thursday, 8th June 2017 – Llandudno.

Today’s forecast was for sunny spells and showers so we decided to visit the seaside resort of Llandudno. Llandudno is famous as a classic seaside resort frequented by millions of people, mostly from the north west of England, throughout the 19th & 20th centuries. It is a typical Edwardian seaside town, but unlike a lot it had a real upmarket, well groomed feel to it.

 photo P1060343_zpsgyrtmaxd.jpg

Sandwiched between the Little Orme and Great Orme it is set in a huge bay,

 photo P1060338_zpsu8exaov5.jpg

We walked along the sea front and after an excellent and very reasonably priced fish & chips lunch in a café we went for a walk along the pier.

 photo P1060346_zpsdibaxc2c.jpg

As you can see it was still pretty overcast and whilst threatening to rain, it did manage to stay dry. Next it was time for ice cream and candy floss!

 photo P1060353_zpsc5oon6tw.jpg

By now it was starting to brighten up.

 photo P1060356_zpslprojokp.jpg

We were now ready to leave, but decided before heading back to Carrog, to drive round the coast road of the Great Orme headland. It is a toll road and we had to pay £3.00, but it turned out to be three pound well spent; the coast line is spectacular.

 photo IMG_3102_zpsrqvnyycf.jpg

 photo IMG_3111_zpsgsqejzas.jpg

On Great Orme there is a small chapel in a disproportionately large cemetery.

 photo IMG_3107_zpsmjcczjop.jpg

People from all over the north west of England seemed to be buried there.

Back at the caravan we had a light supper and watched another episode of Indian Summers.


Wednesday, 7th June 2017 – Portmeirion & The Ffestiniog Railway.

Today was forecast to be quite sunny, albeit deteriorating in the afternoon, so we decided to visit Portmeirion in the hopes that the sun would shine and show it off to its best. It certainly did that.

 photo IMG_3057_zpscdrsoxos.jpg

 photo P6077227_zps2ahhtbns.jpg

 photo P6077270_zpsdwad9x0f.jpg

After some lunch, we set off for Porthmadog with the intention of just having a look around. It has a port,

 photo IMG_3065_zpsalo4tkqh.jpg

but more particularly it is one end of the Ffestiniog Railway.

 photo P6077275_zpsz12vfpw9.jpg

It wasn't our intention to go on the railway but, well we ended up taking a return to Blaenau Ffestiniog.

 photo P6077280_zpscrkel7mz.jpg

 photo IMG_3081_zpsqzb17fhc.jpg

 photo IMG_3083_zpsvyev0jzg.jpg

 photo IMG_3088_zpsubmusjyz.jpg

By the time we got back to Porthmadog it was raining and pretty manky. We drove straight back to the Grouse Inn in Carrog and settled in for a few pints and a bite to eat. The Grouse Inn is not quite on a par with the Hare & Hounds at Hebden Bridge and unfortunately, J W Lees ales don't quite come up to the same standard as Timothy Taylors. But it is within walking distance and the food was ok, so we were happy.


Tuesday, 6th June 2017 – More Rain.

Today really was forecast to be wet & windy and it certainly started that way. We decided to spend the day on the site (or should that be in the van). Late morning Kim noticed that a caravan over the far side of the site had had its awning ripped up by the wind. The poor people were salvaging what they could!

By lunch time we were beginning to suffer the first symptoms of cabin fever and decided to take a ride over to Llangollen. We set off in the rain, but by the time we got there, which was only 20 minutes away, the weather was starting to improve.

Langollen is on the River Dee and has one end of the Llangollen Railway. It also is more or less the end of the Llangollen Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal. The river is particularly spectacular where it passes through the town.

 photo P1060288_zpsp40v5ire.jpg

 photo IMG_3007_zpsbsqryqhi.jpg

The railway station hangs over the side of the river

 photo P1060286_zpsdoktzd6f.jpg

and oozes heritage railway charm as they all do.

 photo P1060311_zpsjnffdw1t.jpg

 photo IMG_3017_zpss05knjld.jpg

 photo P1060298_zps7w2xvcpe.jpg

Apart from the railway and the river (we didn't actually go and find the canal), the town is pretty nondescript, boring even.

 photo P1060293_zpsb30mm4qf.jpg

Well, the bridge is quite impressive.

 photo P1060304_zpsmw1nbmqx.jpg

After that, we drove up to the Horseshoe Falls. This is a weir on the River Dee built in seventeen-something by Thomas Telford (who built the canal) as a means of diverting water to feed the canal.

 photo P1060316_zpsjse8oa8p.jpg

A few hundred meters away from the falls you see the point at which the canal starts, not that you would get any narrow boats this far up the canal.

 photo IMG_3023_zpstyzyiofn.jpg

Just as we were heading back to the car, the heavens opened and we got absolutely soaked! Once back at the site and dried off, we had tuna, rice & sweetcorn (from reserve stocks) and watched another episode of the Indian Summers dvd we have been watching this holiday. It might not have been the most exciting day but we certainly made the best of it.


Monday, 5th June 2017 – Rain.

Why do the forecasters always seem to get it right when they forecast bad weather? As feared, it poured solidly all day today and is due to get even worse overnight! But nothing deters us so after a hearty breakfast we set off to explore Chirk Castle (NT).

 photo P1060273_zps4jpfm65p.jpg

It wasn't as stunning as some we have visited but nevertheless very interesting and made for an enjoyable way to spend a very soggy day.

Spent the evening tucked up watching a video.


Sunday, 4th June 2017 – Pontcysyllte Viaduct.

The forecast for the coming week is not looking good and today was in line with the forecast – grey and raining. It was, however, forecast to clear up in the afternoon, so we decided to visit the aqueduct at Pontycysyllte.

 photo P6047147_zps6sonvyth.jpg

We were able to walk along some of the Shropshire Union Canal (Llangollen Branch) and the weather cleared up nicely.

 photo P6047155_zpshdjcgnj7.jpg

As it was lunchtime we then went on quite a roundabout route to find some lunch, eventually landing up at the Co-op in Ruthin. On the way we went over the Horseshoe Pass, which was a bit reminiscent of the Buttertubs Pass in Yorkshire, but greener. Back at the camp site it was scorching so we went for a walk along the River Dee.

 photo P6047191_zpsmrho81vp.jpg

In the village of Carrog is a 17th century bridge.

 photo IMG_2971_zps4w0asb6o.jpg

Carrog also has a railway station on the heritage Llangollen Railway.

 photo P6047166_zpsiafgulxg.jpg

Today was a 1950's diesel railcar heritage event, so we found a trackside position to watch the train go by.

 photo IMG_2987_zpsxdqll4f1.jpg

Before returning to the campsite, we decided we better check out the local pub – The Grouse, just over the river from the campsite. We sat out on the terrace looking over the view of the valley, and what a view it was!

 photo IMG_2996_zpsdtbbeowo.jpg

As it turned out, today's weather was way better than forecast, but tomorrow's forecast does not look good – heavy rain all day!


Saturday, 3rd June 2017 – On The Move.

Time to move on to North Wales. The morning was bright and dry, so we were able to pack away without any issues and got away from the site just after 10:30. We got down the twisty steep road back into Hebden Bridge and then were on our way. A week in Hebden Bridge had been enough and we were both ready for a change of scenery.

As we were passing within a few miles of Kim's friend from Sheffield Poly days, Lewin, we had arranged to meet up in a lay-by just outside his village of Appleton Thorn. Lewin and Suzanne joined us for coffee and we sat in the van chatting for a very convivial couple of hours.

Back on the road, we headed for Carrog near Llangollen, arriving at the camp site around 4pm. In spite of Kim's misgivings, it appears to be a real winner in a stunning location

 photo P6047164_zpsriulppja.jpg

As the weather was so glorious, we had a barbecue and sat out until well after 8pm. You have to take your chances while you can!


Friday, 2nd June 2017 – Heptonstall.

Today was a grey drizzly day, so we had a leisurely start and then went out to find a caravan shop so we could get some more chemical for the toilet. Exciting stuff eh? Having done that we decided to stop at Heptonstall, which is just outside Hebden Bridge on the other side of the valley from our camp site. Wendy had read about it as being a bit like Haworth without the Brontes. It was still grey and drizzly when we got there and we almost didn't bother, but we were glad we took the time. The village has a steep cobbled stone main street and was very grey!

 photo IMG_2944_zpstyw9ueqy.jpg

 photo P1060266_zps3fv89gvv.jpg

Interestingly, Heptonstall has two churches, one in ruins.

 photo P1060258_zpsrfrcbtld.jpg

 photo P1060256_zps0l0q07yc.jpg

It seems the original was destroyed in a storm in the 19th century and the local people decided to build a completely new church rather than repair the original medieval church.

Once back at the campsite, the weather improved so in the evening we walked down to the Hare and Hounds for a meal and a few last pints of Timothy Taylor's excellent ales.

 photo P1060205_zpscqghenz0.jpg


Thursday, 1st June 2017 – Gibson Mill.

After yesterday's lovely weather we were not expecting too much for today. We decided to visit the local National Trust property at Hardcastle Crags, just a couple of miles from the campsite. The weather started off grey but relatively warm and, to our surprise, proved the forecasters wrong by turning into a lovely day again. We took the supposedly easy path to Gibson Mill but went wrong somewhere and landed up on the more challenging route, clambering over tree roots and rocks, but it was a very pleasant walk.

Gibson Mill is the NT's flagship sustainability property, with h.e.p. turbines, a biomass plant and solar panels producing all its electricity. Even the waste from the loos is processed by worms!

The mill itself was actually a cotton mill in its day and still looks beautiful in its woodland setting.

 photo IMG_2924_zpsuzcpj9vb.jpg

 photo P1060242_zps8fr8awc9.jpg

We returned to the campsite via the Co-op in Hebden Bridge with enough provisions for a few days. On the way back Wendy videoed the route as a record for Kim of what he had done with the caravan on Saturday!

The weather by now was really warm but it was a bit windy up at the campsite and we ummed and aahed about whether to have another barbecue. In the end, we decided to go down to the pub and think about it there. Unfortunately, “someone” had looked up the opening hours wrongly and we arrived an hour before it opened! Although the pub is only about 5 minute's walk away, it is down/up a very steep hill so in the end we came back and settled in for the evening here. The sun was shining and the wind had dropped, enabling Wendy to have a go with the new Cadac

 photo P1060245_zpsfvfgiinn.jpg

The results were every bit as good as last night's and we spent a lovely warm evening in the partially open awning, taking in the stunning views down the valley as the sun disappeared.

 photo P1060250_zpss49hbike.jpg


Wednesday, 31st May 2017 – Some Decent Weather At Last!

The forecast for today was always for it to be glorious and it didn't disappoint. We decided to go for a walk in the morning, heading away from the site and up onto the moors and over the top.

 photo Wadsworth Walk_zpsfq0jeqd4.jpg

The countryside around here is magnificent and there were glorious views over every hill and around every corner

 photo IMG_2893_zpsfdcesqnq.jpg

 photo P1060188_zpsrnlnnbmh.jpg

We passed the Robin Hood pub at Pecket Well just after 12 noon and decided that was too early for a lunchtime pint. Unfortunately, the next pub was the Hare & Hounds next to the site, but it doesn't open lunchtimes. We did know that in advance, so not really a surprise.

Instead we had a late lunch here and then read and dozed the afternoon away before cracking open the beers and having a barbecue using the new Cadac bought at the NEC. In spite of Kim being in charge, it was a great success with everything cooked properly and nothing burned!

 photo IMG_2910_zpsiurpiklb.jpg


Tuesday, 30th May 2017 – A Lazy Day.

Today we decided to take it easy and the result was that by the time we decided to go down into Hebden Bridge it was already gone noon. Then we drove round and round trying find somewhere to park. It was then ten to two! We bought a pastie each for lunch and sat in a park before going off to explore the the town and the canal.

 photo P1060134_zpsy0bpoguq.jpg

 photo IMG_2877_zpsse6gv41d.jpg

 photo IMG_2881_zpsqlcgdunv.jpg


Monday, 29th May 2017 – Industrial Museum.

In spite of the lovely sunshine on Sunday, Monday dawned as predicted very wet and misty. After a relatively easy start we headed back towards Bradford to go to the Industrial Museum at Eccleshill. This was most interesting and informative, with so much to see and all free! Wendy found the old bobbins especially beautiful.

 photo IMG_2864_zpsuborzcxs.jpg

We managed to spend most of the day at the Museum, well, three and a half hours, such that we got back to the caravan just before five. We had a quiet night in with a meal cobbled together from non-perishables (tuna, rice & sweetcorn) and watched a DVD.


Sunday, 28th May 2017 – Haworth & Saltaire.

On Saturday we went to Haworth in the morning, saw the Bronte's parsonage home,

 photo P1060106_zpslm89wjul.jpg

wandered around the village,

 photo P1060105_zps6q5ddcxd.jpg

and had lunch in a little cafe.

In the afternoon, we went over to Saltaire, the huge woollen mill

 photo 1051_49_14_web_zpsgkssaxgt.jpg

and social housing project undertaken by Titus Salt in the late 19th century.

 photo P1060129_zpsamkj3bli.jpg

Titus Salt was an extremely wealthy Quaker mill owner who believed that his workforce should have a quality of life and housing that was fit for proper human beings rather than factory fodder. It was gratifying to see that it has taken on a new lease of life since being shut down in 1986 and is now a wonderful multi-functional space which attracts many visitors.

 photo P1060116_zpsmrsrrhuz.jpg

After leaving Saltaire we went on a trip down memory lane (for Wendy), going down Manningham Lane, Lumb Lane and into the centre of Bradford, then out past the university buildings.

As the weather was lovely we headed down to the pub as soon as we got back. The beer (Timothy Taylor's) was excellent, as were the pies, and we struggled back up the hill well and truly stuffed.


Saturday, 27th May 2017 – The Start Of Our Holiday.

After four weeks of hard graft (mostly by Wendy, as Kim was skiving off at work) and some newly carpeted and decorated rooms, the house was finally ready to go up for sale. On Friday the estate agent came round to measure up and photograph the house. So now we wait and see how long before we get a viewer.

Once the agent had left, we were then able switch to “holiday” mode and get packed up. Kim went up to the caravan and put a certain amount of gear in the van ready for our Saturday morning departure. We were on the road by 08:20 and had an uneventful journey, stopping for lunch in a lay-by just south of Grantham.

 photo P1060101_zps1dixchmp.jpg

The lay-by had been researched by Kim and made an excellent place to stop, well off the A1 dual carriageway, with a trucker's café so Kim could get a coffee (we had forgotten to bring any water with us, so couldn't make any in the van). The only down side to a trucker's lay-by, was the smell of urine! But it wasn't too bad inside the van.

Most of the journey was on motorway/dual carriageways, the last bit to Hebden Bridge was on A roads and the caravan site instructions gave a route with advice to ignore sat-navs. It is very hilly round this part of Yorkshire and the last couple of miles were a challenge for Kim, with a twisting road climbing up through a couple of villages and frequently obstructed by parked cars, but we made it. Kim said afterwards it was good job he hadn't appreciated in advance just what the road was like. Leaving next Saturday shouldn't be so bad as it will be mostly downhill.

We got to the site about 15:20 and it took an hour or so to get set up. Kim was able to put his newly acquired caravan manoeuvring skills in to practice parking the van up. It still took him two goes and he had to finish it off with the mover! It's one thing being taught how to do it with the learning centre's caravan, but you need to practice with your own own van, especially when your room to manoeuvre is restricted by other vans, walls, etc. Better luck in a week's time when we get to Carrog!

The views from the site are stunning even though, so far, the weather has been a bit grotty.

 photo P1060133_zpsgiktjckl.jpg


Saturday, 20th May 2017 – Getting The House Ready.

The last few weeks have been really hectic. After having made a good start to tidying up and de-cluttering, the whole house was turned upside down by the arrival of decorators and carpet layers! Although the new paintwork and carpets looked great and really brightened the house up, it was difficult not to think we had gone backwards.

This week, although we have enjoyed having Lucy & Liam to stay, for a few days, it has slowed down the work on the house. That and Wendy having a load of work to do!

This weekend we are making some progress – more trips to the charity shop and the tip. We have got rid of loads of stuff, but it is hard to see where from!

We are now only a week off our big trip to Yorkshire and North Wales in the caravan. Of course, we shouldn’t be going; we should be spending the time finishing off the house. But, hey!


Thursday, 4th May 2017 – Ten Years Ago.

Today would have been Emjaytoo's 10th birthday, well the tenth anniversary of us taking delivery of her. What a day that was!

Ten Years Ago

By now she should be settled on Lake Balaton in Hungary.


Saturday, 29th April 2017 – Work All Done.

This weekend is a Bank Holiday weekend, so three days. Nothing planned, except pick the van up and spend the rest of the time tidying up the house and garden ready to put it up for sale.

This morning we drove over to Canterbury Caravans and picked the van up. They gave me a demonstration of how the ATC goes through a self-checking process when you connect up the tow electrics to the car. The journey back to the storage yard was uneventful. The van didn’t feel any different for having two new tyres and the Tyron Bands will only ever make themselves known if we have a blow out, which hopefully, we won’t.

One interesting thing at Canterbury Caravans, was that during the hitch up process, the fitter made a point of going round the two wheels with me, checking the torque setting for the wheel nuts. Of course they would have torque’d the wheel nuts when putting the wheels back on. I asked about checking the wheel nuts each time you go out and the fitter said “if you’ve got a torque wrench, use it”. I bought a digital tyre pressure gauge earlier in the week, less than a tenner on Amazon, so maybe a torque wrench will be the next thing.

Now only four weeks till our holiday with the van to Yorkshire and North Wales. Next weekend Kim has his caravan manoeuvring course and then we should be ready for anything!


Monday, 24th April 2017 - The Van Goes in For ATC & New Tyres.

It was back to work today for Kim, but a slightly delayed start as he had to pick the van up from the storage yard and drop it into Canterbury Caravans who will be fitting the ATC, new tyres and Tyron Bands. Canterbury Caravans is actually out at Westbere, the other side of Sturry. By leaving home at about 8:30 he managed to miss the Canterbury rush hour and so had an uneventful journey. He finally got to work at 10:45.


Saturday, 22nd April 2017 - Castle Drogo And Underwhelmed In Wells.

We were awake nice and early on Friday so were able to get away before 9.30. Not that we were in any rush as we had rather fallen in love with the little apartment, but we were keen to get to Wells in time to “do” the sights so that we could make an early start home on Saturday.

First stop was Castle Drogo, another of Kim’s memories from 30 odd years ago and certainly not a disappointment. The castle is undergoing a massive 6 year/13 million pound restoration programme to stop the ingress of water and we were able to go up a 20 metre scaffold tower, suitably attired in hard hats and high-viz waistcoats, to see some of the work being done. This was fascinating and needless to say, Kim was in his element.

We then went inside the castle, which was built between 1911 and 1938 by Edwin Lutyens for a Julius Drewe. It has all the appearance of a medieval castle but with the workmanship of 20th century craftsman. Truly amazing, in spite of so much of it currently being - literally - under wraps because of all the work being carried out.

 photo P1060065_zpszreosvid.jpg

Kim’s memory is a bit suspect these days, but when we went in one of the bathrooms, Kim exclaimed “oh, I remember this!”

 photo DSC_0178_zpsjfjukqad.jpg

No, that is not the WC under the window! The WC was in a separate room, but looked pretty much the same. That, under the window, is a combination of steps and seats, so that, wrapped in a towel, after your shower, you can gaze out across Dartmoor. The shower?

 photo DSC_0179_zps4fpykxyk.jpg

Early 20th century high tech!

After the usual excellent lunch in the National Trust café, we set off for the Premier Inn in Wells. Check-in proved somewhat frustrating as we arrived at the same time as a coach load of people but our room was the usual Premier Inn standard.

We then set off to explore the “city” of Wells, which we found very underwhelming. Kim thought that the cathedral had had the tops of the towers cut off or they had run out of money.

 photo DSC_0195_zpsmqwfjmvg.jpg

The scissor arches inside were stunning, however, and most unusual.

 photo DSC_0192_zpsp1yhnnyw.jpg

The nearby Vicars’ Close is famous as the oldest inhabited medieval street in Europe and it is indeed stunning

 photo P1060080_zpskp6vmvkt.jpg

although rather shabbier in reality than it appears in the photos.

Then came the thorny subject of food! Wendy had identified a quirky burger place in an old electrical substation called, surprisingly enough, the Subhouse, which gets really good reviews.

 photo DSC_0213_zpsulbjom3c.jpg

We had poked our heads round the door on our way into the town but Kim did not like the look of it in case – horror of horrors – he had to sit next to someone he didn’t know (he still has nightmares about a great restaurant in Dusseldorf where we had to share a table!). So we went to a pub for a beer and had a look round and in the end Kim relented and agreed to go to the Subhouse. We had the most incredible burger meal ever! The place was buzzing and the atmosphere was great

 photo P1060083_zpsbl4l97ca.jpg

with people of all ages enjoying the great food.

 photo P1060089_zpsjnyiinwt.jpg

We know we shouldn’t have done but, in the end we both succumbed to a dessert as well and by the time we left we could barely move! The diet definitely starts when we get home!

Breakfast at the Premier Inn was very good until Wendy spotted the waiter putting the unused cutlery on the seats when resetting the table and then putting it back on the table for people to use! Needless to say we complained and our complaint appeared to be taken seriously but it did rather take the edge off things!

Our journey home was pretty good, all things, namely the M25 chaos, considered. We managed to avoid the worst of the hold-ups and arrived home here at about 2 pm. It was then a quick lunch and back to the mundane tasks of putting all our stuff away and progressing the preparations for the forthcoming house sale. It has been a brilliant week and we have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, helped in no small part by the amazing weather, which we appear to have left down in Cornwall.


Thursday, 20th April 2017 - Mugged On The Beach And Other Adventures!

As today was our last day, we chose to explore a little closer to home. There is so much to see in this part of Cornwall that a week just isn’t enough, but it’s what we have had and we think we have made good use of it.

Today started with a drive through Penzance and Newlyn before stopping at beautiful little Mousehole. The sun was shining and the town busy with a mixture of holidaymakers and locals. It really is picture perfect.

 photo DSC_0113_zps61mmhewk.jpg

We have seen lots of Cornish fishing villages this week but this has to be far and away the most picturesque.

 photo P4207096_zpsb82wceow.jpg

We then moved a few miles along the coast to Lamorna Cove, another location which Kim remembers from his visit to the area in 1984.

 photo P4207104_zpsozm7hycl.jpg

Unlike Mousehole, its history is as a port for shipping the tin and copper mined just up the road at places like Botallack, which we visited the other day.

Then it was on to a very brief visit to Lands End, surely a “must do” when in this area. However, Wendy was horrified at the obligatory £5 car park charge whether you stayed 5 minutes or 5 hours and we promptly left and moved on to Sennen Cove. This proved much more successful and had a real holiday buzz, helped no doubt by the really warm weather.

 photo P4207122_zpsh7k8vjwu.jpg

 photo DSC_0130_zpsysxp9dmn.jpg

It is known as a surfers’ beach but there wasn’t much surfing to be done today as there was barely any movement on the water.

 photo DSC_0129_zpskyzf6ojj.jpg

As ever, our minds soon turned to lunch and Kim’s week-long quest for a crab salad. In the end we settled for crab, mayo and pickled cucumber paninis which we took down to eat on the beach. They were served in boxes and we were both leaning over the boxes to eat them. They were delicious and going down really well when suddenly a herring gull swooped down from behind Wendy’s shoulder, stuffed its beak between the two layers of bread, helped itself to some crab and left – all without putting its feet down on either the box or the sandwich! Whilst initially miffed at losing a large chunk of her panini, in the end Wendy could only marvel at the sheer cheek and skill of the bird! As an aside, we saw loads of little baby shrimps emerging from the damp sand and turning pink as they were cooked by the heat of the sun – why couldn’t the seagull have eaten those?

It was still only early afternoon by this stage so we decided to go back and have another trip over to St. Michael’s Mount while the sun was shining and the place was open. The tide was still covering the causeway so we took a brief boat trip over this time.

 photo P1060031_zpsmxb1nukr.jpg

It was quite a climb up to the house at the top but well worth the effort as the views were spectacular and the house very cosy and interesting with some lovely window seats from which to look out over Mount’s Bay.

 photo DSC_0142_zps3gfzauad.jpg

We didn’t have time to visit the garden as well and had to wait 10 minutes or so for the tide to uncover enough of the causeway to walk back without getting wet. A lot of people were paddling across with bare feet,

 photo P1060055_zpstjntj52k.jpg

but we decided against that and waited.

Once back on the mainland, we headed for the King’s Arms pub which had been so packed on our previous attempt to go there. This time it was virtually empty and we enjoyed a couple of pints of St. Austell’s Tribute Ale, before returning home via the Tudor Chippy for supper and some packing.


Wednesday, 19th April 2017 – Today's The Day.

We have long been fans of Rick Stein on TV and especially his recent series about weekends away, so a few months ago we booked to have lunch at his main restaurant in Padstow, The Seafood Restaurant. Inevitably reviews vary so we tried not to expect too much in case we were disappointed, but we needn't have worried.

Yet again we were blessed with amazing weather (and this time considerably warmer) and we got to Padstow in plenty of time to see a bit of the place. As it turned out, thousands of others had obviously decided the same thing and the place was packed

 photo IMG_2812_zpskvlqecoe.jpg

but unlike Falmouth, there was a big park-and-ride facility on the edge of the town.

Padstow's location on the Camel estuary is idyllic

 photo IMG_2819_zps1l3vri90.jpg

and the colours of the water and sand looked almost tropical.

 photo IMG_2814_zpsfmg2iadt.jpg

 photo P1050986_zps1volz0jk.jpg

Then it was time for the main event:

 photo P1050988_zpsdt1zrkut.jpg

From the moment we arrived to the moment we left, it was brilliant. The essence of the Rick Stein brand – unpretentious quality. The service was efficient, attentive and friendly without being pushy and the food was just divine. We were also surprised at the size of the portions – certainly no short-measures. Even the coffees came with 3 exquisite hand-made chocolates each. We could hardly move by the time we left!

With the aim of walking off some of the over-indulgence, we then headed over to have a look at Port Isaac. As Wendy was driving and did not want to get caught up in some of the impossibly narrow streets that Cornwall seems to have so many of, we parked in the main car park and set off to walk the 750 metres to the harbour. What the sign failed to mention was that 700 of those steps were vertically downwards!

 photo P1060014_zpsyx7n5c03.jpg

It proved well worth the effort, however, as the town is indeed very quaint and picturesque

 photo IMG_2821_zpss0fwfoqb.jpg

 photo IMG_2822_zpstf1pmupo.jpg

 photo P1060015_zpssm22ihc4.jpg

We returned to the car park via a largely different route, making the climb back up seem less strenuous and rewarding us with yet more beautiful coastal views. A great end to yet another great day.

 photo P1060018_zpsn36tljwt.jpg


Tuesday, 18th April 2017 – Falmouth And Hypothermia.

As the weather forecast looked good for today again (we have been so lucky!), we decided that a boat trip was in order. Whilst sat in bed drinking our tea, we established that Falmouth would be a good place to go as they operate boat trips up the River Fal between Falmouth and Truro. The first such boat left at 10.30 so we left the breakfast washing up and set off to drive the hour or so to Falmouth, expecting to have plenty of time before boarding. Well, that idea soon went out of the window! Falmouth is pretty but relatively large and a traffic nightmare. We drove round and round and just could not find a long-stay car park, with Kim becoming increasingly miffed that he was going to miss out on his boat trip.

Wendy then came up with the idea of driving up the river to the National Trust property at Trelissick and joining the boat there. This proved very successful and the weather when we arrived at the car park there was gloriously warm – deceptively so as it turned out. Kim selected a lightweight coat from his selection in the car and we set off through the beautiful grounds down to the landing stage

 photo P4187020_zpstm4mzxym.jpg

where we spent a pleasant 15 minutes or so in the sunshine watching the King Harry chain ferry plodding back and forth across the river.

 photo P4187024_zpsumxkbjzp.jpg

The lovely old wooden cruise boat initially took us up the sheltered upper reaches of the river as far as Malpas

 photo P4187034_zpsfk6jsvek.jpg

a pretty little village as close to Truro as the falling tide would allow.

After loading lots of new passengers, we then set off back down the river, into the wind, and gradually got colder and colder. After passing Trelissick the river opened out and the wind got up. Falmouth is a busy and interesting harbour and indeed very picturesque from the sea,

 photo P4187047_zpswjgam4qg.jpg

but unfortunately by this time Kim was absolutely frozen! Even once we arrived back at Trelissick and walked up the hill to have lunch in the NT cafe, Kim was shaking so much that he could barely eat! Fortunately he thawed out pretty quickly after 5 minutes or so in the hot car!

We then set off on a quest to recreate a photo Kim had taken nearly 40 years ago of the church at St. Just in Roseland on the other side of the river. We took the ferry and drove the short distance before parking up and walking down another steep hill (there are a lot of those in Cornwall!). Needless to say, it was not as wonderful as Kim remembered but it was pretty nonetheless and the exercise was good for us.

 photo P4187061_zpsjxadghop.jpg

 photo DSC_0090_zpso8uny8dj.jpg

As we were so close, we decided to then visit Mevagissey. This turned out to be quite a busy working port, though with quite a buzz around the quayside, providing for lots of photo opportunities.

 photo DSC_0097_zpss3spbqjf.jpg

 photo DSC_0101_zpsvxpuoirg.jpg

 photo P4187080_zpspkdm4uiq.jpg

 photo P4187083_zpslyr4paxk.jpg


Monday, 17th April 2017 – The Cornish Coastline.

The first part of Saturday was spent on practicalities, namely shopping. We are lucky enough to have a giant Sainsbury's just up the road so went there and stocked up on enough (we hope!) to see us out for the week.

In the afternoon we joined the throngs of tourists and headed over the causeway to St. Michael's Mount.

 photo DSC_0002_zpsscykrwbs.jpg

We were amazed at the plethora of languages and nationalities we encountered and at how crowded the local car parks were. This is obviously a real tourist magnet – even though neither the castle nor the gardens open until Monday! We were a bit disappointed as we wanted a good walk but eventually walked back along the beach in the other direction before returning home for a cup of tea and a piece of cake in the garden.

On Sunday we set off towards Kynance Cove, stopping on the way at the lovely little village of Portleven.

 photo DSC_0018_zpsbojbs7kh.jpg

The wind was still a bit chilly but out of the wind, with the glorious sunshine, it was a scorcher. We had a good look round from both sides of the harbour before moving on to find Kynance Cove.

Wendy had read about Kynance Cove in advance but nothing could have prepared us for this.

 photo DSC_0027_zps5hl9yy3z.jpg

A beautiful place stacked out with Easter tourists! We scrabbled our way across the stones and up the steps (why are there always more ups than downs??) and eventually reached the café and the most enormous Cornish pasties we had ever seen. We then made our way back to the packed car park the easy way, i.e. no steps, and moved on towards the Lizard.

What we hadn’t bargained for was the volume of traffic on the tiny little lanes, leading to considerable bad feeling as people were forced to back up and allow traffic through. Having eventually made it to the Lizard, we were rewarded with some stunning scenery. The stark whiteness of the enormous lighthouse complex against the blue sky was impressive enough

 photo P4166943_zpsasdspjh6.jpg

but the views from the coastal path were stunning.

 photo DSC_0035_zpsrzilz0x8.jpg

 photo P4166947_zpspbrytdnr.jpg

 photo P4166949_zps0antzpsk.jpg

We walked quite a long way in the end, returning back across the meadow behind the lighthouse.

 photo P4166957_zps4r1wnrzh.jpg

As we were so close we decided to go to Gweek, a small village at the head of the Helford river, once quite a trading port until the river silted up. However, any expectations of being able to walk along beside the river were soon thwarted so we moved on to Helford and our final (4th!) walk of the day.

Kim's proposed walk turned out to be 3 miles and Wendy was initially not at all sure as we had already walked a long way and we had no drink with us. However, the effort was more than rewarded as we saw Frenchman's Creek (well known to Daphne Du Maurier fans) with the tide coming in

 photo P4166959_zpsfrs8tl80.jpg

and then the beautiful Helford River in the evening sun.

 photo DSC_0053_zpsszxepvrq.jpg

A brief stop at the Shipwrights Arms

 photo DSC_0047_zpszhglsijx.jpg

on the way back to the car restored stamina and liquid levels and fortified us for what turned out to be quite a hairy trip home. The sat nav took us on an obscure cross-country route down the narrowest of twisty lanes with steep banks on either side. Fortunately we only met one car and he was going slowly but it wasn't easy to get by each other, even with both sets of wing mirrors retracted!

By the time we got back to the apartment and had eaten a light supper, we were more than ready for bed, having clocked up a creditable 9 miles of walking.

It goes without saying that we had a leisurely start on the Monday morning before setting off to explore the industrial northern coast made famous in the Poldark novels/TV series. We parked at Botallack and set off from there to the Levant mine, where there is a restored early beam engine.

 photo P4176991_zpsf0ntfw1c.jpg

All along the paths there is evidence of vast amounts of industrial buildings and shafts from the days of tin/copper mining from the 18th century until relatively recently.

 photo DSC_0068_zpsiwiuavnk.jpg

It was unfortunately bit cloudy when we arrived but this only served to heighten the sense of desolation.

 photo P4177013_zpsawdulr78.jpg

The old mine at Levant was relatively well preserved and very interesting, not least as a result of the man lift, an early form of paternoster which enabled the miners to get down to the mine shaft which went out over a mile under the sea. The original beam engine has been beautifully restored and we spent a most interesting time chatting to the volunteer and watching it in operation.

Our return walk to the car park proved to be a bit more adventurous than we had planned. We followed the coast path but had not realised quite how close it went to the coast, namely right along the edge!

 photo P4177001_zpsmpshqhqs.jpg

Eventually we got to a bit where it got even more narrow so decided to turn back up and find another path. This involved a hands-and-knees clamber and a somewhat disconcerting descent down a steep slope, but we made it and the views were spectacular, especially as by this time the sun was out.

 photo DSC_0080_zps0uyfaybi.jpg

Back at the NT car park, we stopped for a cup of tea and a piece of cake, before solving the puzzle of the lump of land on the horizon. We took a bearing on the island and using some sailing software which Kim still has on his iPad, established that it was the Isles of Scilly!

We got back at a much more reasonable time this evening and had pressure-cooked coq au vin, whilst discussing what to do on our remaining 2 days (assuming that Wednesday will be taken up entirely by our visit to Padstow and lunch at Rick Stein's). We can't believe where the time has gone.


Friday, 14th April 2017 – Easter In Cornwall.

We have a week's holiday and we have come down to Cornwall. We have not brought the caravan, but are staying in a holiday apartment. The reason for this is, that we booked the apartment back last year before we had decided to buy the caravan. So the caravan stays back at the storage yard and we are staying right on the edge of Marazion, looking out over St Michael's Mount.

 photo P4156884_zpsdbpio7yl.jpg

We have rented a holiday apartment, one in a complex based on an old Georgian seaside house. Ours is described as a first floor flat, but is actually the upper part of an old stone building set into a slope, thus it is the only one in the complex to have it's own private garden.

 photo P1050963_zpstzrjfsew.jpg

What with Good Friday and Kim's four day week, we got to come away on Thursday. We drove down to Honiton, where we stayed in a Premier Inn, before arriving in Marazion on Friday. By splitting the drive over two days, we were able to stop off on the Thursday and see Brancsombe in Devon. On the Friday, we drove across Dartmoor, stopping off to see the prison.

 photo P1050960_zpstcw2xpm0.jpg

Unfortunately, the Prison was closed to tourists, so we were unable to go and feed the prisoners! Apparently it was due to “unforeseen circumstances”! The mind boggles!

Once we had unloaded our gear at the apartment, we went off to explore Marazion. There appear to be only three pubs in Marazion – The Kings Arms, The Godolphin Arms and The Cutty Sark. The first looked good but was small and very busy, the second was way too far up itself, but the third proved to sell a very good pint of Doombar! On the way back to the apartment we stopped at The Tudor Chippy and picked up excellent haddock & chips.

In the evening we settled down with the telly. This is a very comfortable apartment!


Wednesday, 12th April 2017 – Ten Years Old.

Today the Blog is ten years old! On the 12th April 2007 we started the Blog with our first entry , a recap on the purchase back in January at the London Boat Show and then the long wait for her to be delivered. We went up to Ipswich to first see her on the 21st April and took delivery on the 4th May. Heady days filled with anticipation and excitement!


Sunday, 9th April 2017 – Chichester, Or Thereabouts.

This was our first trip to a Caravan Club Certificated Location. It was about 8 miles north west of Chichester. The journey down on the Friday was a long drawn out affair owing to having to negotiate the M25. It took us the best part of five hours!

Once we got to the site we both agreed it had been worth it. Certificated Locations are for Caravan Club members only and only take five vans. This one had the pitches set out such from our pitch we could only see one other pitch and that was “back over our shoulder”. It was like having the place to ourselves.

 photo P1050877_zpsxnxfxxf3.jpg

The views over the Downs were gorgeous. Of course the weather helped! As the sun went down it was quite hazy and the sun lit up the glass insulators on some high voltage pylons. They looked like they were lights!

 photo P1050878_zpsjuxdrsq6.jpg

Behind our pitch was a pond with trees and shrubs which was a real haven for wildlife.

 photo IMG_2782_zpsmcrmnowb.jpg

We saw moorhens, bullfinches, chaffinches, goldfinches, robins amongst others. Looking across the Downs we also saw one of the red kites which have been reintroduced to the area.

On Saturday we went to visit Uppark House & Gardens. This is a National Trust property, so we are getting our money’s worth from our membership. Again the weather was brilliant and we had a wander around the house and gardens

 photo P1050898_zpsahq6biem.jpg

 photo P1050894_zpstfvgcdn2.jpg

before having lunch on the lawn outside the NT café.

 photo P1050911_zpszti73ejt.jpg

We are great fans of the NT cafés.

In the afternoon we went over to Bosham, a small port within Chichester Harbour. There were plenty of people enjoying the sunshine and we walked around the little bay. The tide was out, but the view back towards Bosham was very pretty.

 photo P1050922_zps1uriehzx.jpg

Sunday morning we had a leisurely start and were off the site by 11:00. This time our journey round the M25 was relatively painless and we got back in 3 hours.

A quick update on the ATC and new tyres. We got the written quote and the van is booked in to the place at Canterbury on Monday 24th April. Next week we are off to Cornwall to spend a week in a holiday let apartment and get back home on Saturday 22nd April, so Kim will drop the van off in Canterbury on the Monday morning “on his way to work”. They will do the work during the week and it should all be ready to collect the following Saturday.


For earlier entries go to the Blog Archive

Back to the Top