Emily and Thor – 2012 Travels
Places we went 2012
Lynton & Lynmouth – Devon
- Lee Abbey
- Wring Cliff
- Valley of the Rocks
Devizes – Wiltshire
- Kennet and Avon Canal
- Caen Hill Locks
Teign Valley – Dartmoor – Devon
- Two Moors Way
- Fingles Bridge
Bude – Cornwall
- Bude Canal
- South West Coastal Path
Charmouth – Dorset
July 2012 Tour
Newent – Gloucester
- Three Choirs Vineyard
- Severn Smokery
Much Wenlock – Shropshire
- Much Wenlock
Broadway – Cotswolds – Gloucester
- Broadway Tower
Youlsgrave – Peak District
- Bradford Dale
Aberbran – Brecon – Wales
Trewethett – Cornwall
- Sutton Hoo
- Clumber Park
- Carsington Water
Leek – Peak District
New Forest –Hampshire
Wellington – Somerset
- Grand Union Canal
- Nynehead Boat Lift
Tredegar – Newport – Wales
Well we finally did it – after months of looking, reading and generally getting really confused we ended up buying a van that was up for private sale ‘just down the road’!
I really thought we were never going to find something that was clean, tidy, and relatively inexpensive – lets face it we didn’t even know if we would like this motorhoming lark.
Emily was a Swift Gazelle with a rear L shaped lounge, overcab bed, technically a 4 berth and in immaculate condition.
Our First Trip Out – Lynton and Lynmouth Camping and Caravan Club Site – May 2012
When I think back to our first trip in May 2012 I remember the sheer panic of “are we going to remember how to do everything”. When Bernard (the previous owner) explained to us how to hook up, fill with water, empty the grey waste and black waste, the heating, hot water etc etc I couldn’t take it all in but now it is just second nature.
We decided to not travel too far on our first trip and went to Lynton and Lynmouth in North Devon to a Camping and Caravan Club site.
Fortunately the warden helped us put water in the van and level her as when we arrived we stated that it was our first trip and we were really nervous (now it all seems so silly). We couldn’t get the electric to work so I went to the warden’s hut to ask for his assistance. I remember his wife came to the door and she was a very sour, big voiced lady who frightened the life out of me (how absurd is it that some people can have that effect straight away) and very abruptly told me that he was having his tea.
The warden came out to sort it out and it turned out to be the site supply not being switched on at the bollard.
Well we were in and settled after all that unnecessary worry – why!
We had eaten before we left home so it was just a case of walking the dogs down the lane before bed and then settling down for the night.
We went to bed in the ‘Luton’ but it felt really claustrophobic and hot. Every time we moved we would bump the sides of the roof and Freddie would bark. After ½ hour we gave up and made the bed up across the lounge , much better, so big a bed, there was room for us and the dogs and probably half the campsite and it became our permanent bed in future.
Breakfast went well a full English if my memory serves me right and just by cooking it allowed me to get more organised and work out where I really wanted to put things.
We decided to walk into Lynton and Lynmouth and were advised by the warden to walk down the lane into town but to walk back the coast path because it isn’t so steep!
After reaching the town of Lynton we then took the cliff railway down to Lynmouth. The two towns have been intrinsically linked for centuries but the obstacle between (the cliff) was a very steep climb. Supplies needed to go up and down the cliff mainly fish from the port and the pack-horses did not last long in their profession. With the advent of tourism those who arrived in Lynmouth had to hire a donkey for the climb or take a horse and carriage.
In 1881 the idea of a tramway was muted and it is still in extensive use today.
We walked down to the beach to let the dogs off, and they ran around like children it was fun to watch, the river was running fast probably from all the rain and floods of the last few weeks.
Talking of floods we went to see the exhibition of the 1952 flood that happened in Lynmouth killing 30 people and destroying many houses. My mum was camping on the hill with the Girl Guides when this happened ; fortunately they all survived thanks to the initiative of a local farmer who gave them shelter in a barn.
We went back up to Lynton and started along the coastal path back towards the campsite (as advised by the warden). It was very beautiful and thankfully sunny because we got lost and after two hours had to re-trace our steps and climb the very steep hill! We were absolutely shattered.
The fun didn’t end there as we realised we were out of water and it was leaking out the side through some grate thing! Thankfully our camper van neighbour came to the rescue. The seal somewhere wasn’t sealing and he fixed it; then we went and filled up with water again and got soaked filling up. At least we emptied the loo okay.
We thought as we were on a roll and things were going ok again we would empty the waste-water whilst we were there but we couldn’t get that to work. Another camper seen us struggle and came to our rescue; we needed to empty out over the drain instead of trying to get the water to drain up the hill via the hose attachment we had!
My blonde moment didn’t stop there; I made spaghetti Bolognese but hadn’t packed any pasta so we had rice.
I put in my diary that I felt much better after a shower and was ready for bed but did I dare get out the hairdryer? We were going to watch TV tonight but even though Marc packed the TV he forgot the remote.
The hairdryer worked and is was powerful it dried my hair in 2 hours!
We walked to Lee Abbey 1 and 1/2 miles, then down to the valley of the rocks about a mile then climbed down a cliff to Wring cliff bay, climbing down a waterfall for the last 20 feet.
It was so worth it, the views were amazing and the dogs loved running around in the sand. Marc and I took a drink from the waterfall it was so cold, and refreshing.
Devizes Camping and Caravan Club Site May 2012
A last-minute booking, the sun is shining and Keiran has played up and gone to his dads. The journey was good except for all the roundabouts in Melksham. After a great debate at the site we chose our pitch.
Walked down to The Barge Inn and had a pint of cider. The towpath was really busy and quite a few boats moored up here.
It is raining and I haven’t packed a coat! Walked to Caen Hill locks and even the in rain they look amazing. Had a Cappuccino at the top of the hill in a really nice tea room.
The walk back seemed longer and we are both very tired.
Dartmoor – Camping and Caravan Club Site May 2012
Marc picked me up from Chagford, Dartmoor after an intensive revision weekend for the OU S339. We drove towards site but got lost because some idiot put up a handmade sign that directed us elsewhere. A beautiful site and really nice wardens who found us the ideal pitch No 10 with a hedge either side on hard standing. Had fun filling up with water cos the hose is too long and a nightmare. Took a short walk down the Two Moors Way.
Spilt the tea on the bed – what a disaster as the duvet is now draped between two chairs outside and the duvet set in the washing machine.
Took a lovely walk on the Two Moors Way to Drewsteignton – beautiful village with a ‘pop up cake stand’!! Went to the local pub where you got served through a hatch and all the beers were behind in barrels, lined up on shelves against the wall.
Walked on to Fingles Bridge – absolutely stunning. Me and the dogs went for a paddle. Went and sat outside on the riverside with a pint and a baguette ‘this is the life’!
The walk back was very tiring. We seen a small group of deer – took loads of photo’s even seen another group in the forest.
Got back and picked up our strawberries and clotted cream. Yum yum.
Took a much shorter walk on the Two Moors Way to the North. Across fields and then to a small forest. Another sunny day and I have caught the sun on my shoulders and Marc his head. Put the awning out which was fun. Did some revision and sat in the sun with a glass of wine. What more can you ask for.
Bude Camping and Caravan Club Site – June 2012
Golden Jubilee weekend June 2012. Another Camping and Caravan site, rather dated and tired looking but excellent wardens.
Arrived at site in the pouring rain and filled up with water, thankfully we are right next to the water, unfortunately our new hose from towsure hasn’t arrived and so we struggled in the rain with ‘the big one’. Really windy and exposed and the van is rocking – not nice.
Took dogs for a short walk as no dog walk on site, and had to negotiate a very busy A39!!
Electric went off at approx 9.00 and the wind is really picking up and scary. The site is very tired and not nice though the wardens are pleasant. A very stormy night.
Sunshine how glorious. The wardens came round with paper crowns to join The Guinness World Record attempt for the Jubilee. We took part and had our photo taken.
Went into Bude – so so busy. Being a bank holiday everyone was out.
The beach looked packed with surfers and families. We started on the canal by the sea lock – a massive structure. The tow path was really busy and Molly fell behind and started to cry as she couldn’t see us.
After about 2 miles we cut through and forest and walked up to the South West Coast Path back to Bude. Stopped for a pint and then an ice cream. Came back to the site and whilst I studied, Marc got chatted up!
Watched the Jubilee concert – brilliant.
Charmouth Camping and Caravan Club Site – June 2012
A sunny day – what a surprise. This year has been awful – so much rain all through May and June and so cold. Given pitch 53 but a bit ‘not us’ so moved to pitch 7 – perfect. Went for walk in the woods – great.
Beautiful sunshine went down to Charmouth on the beach. Had great fun, Molly went in the sea and both of us went paddling in the rock pools. Marc joined us but Freddie stayed on the shore whining as he wanted to join us but didn’t want to get in the water.
The dogs found the only muddy bit on the whole beach! It was the side of the cliff which was very wet and heavy clay. Picked up Fred and chucked him in the sea – he can swim!
Walked into the town and went in The George for a pint.
Went down the road to Dorset Caravans a real Aladdin’s cave, then across the road in a field to the market. Went back to the site and relaxed in the sun. Did some study – my dissertation?
Sunny again – so it should be for June. Went to a small beach called Seatown Beach not SEATON and it was £4 for the car park. Said that no dogs were allowed but we went on the beach anyway. Found loads of fossils in the cliffs and paddled in the rock pools. Freddie rolled on a dead fish and smelt lovely so he got chucked in the sea – when will he learn.
Stopped for a pint at the Anchor Inn and had a lovely crab baguette and some whitebait.
Stopped at the farm shop on the way back to the site.
Cleaned the awning and sat in the sun – got very sun burnt/tanned.
The motorhome next to us broke down and as it came up the hill he spilled oil everywhere – doesn’t look like they will be going anywhere soon.
The July 2012 Tour
Sunday 1st July 2012
Went to a private campsite so we could be near to The Three Choirs Vineyard. A pleasant enough site but no dog walk so walked up the lane which turned out to be very busy.
Monday 2nd July 2012
Tried to do a circular walk but it crossed farmland with big polytunnels and lots of workings, and no signposts so we turned back.
Went to the Three Choirs Vineyard for Marc’s Xmas voucher present. We thought we would feel out-of-place but it was wonderful. We had a tour first and sampled 5 different wines. I didn’t drink a lot because of driving. Then we went to the shop and bought some wine.
We then had our Afternoon Tea. It was wonderful. It was a small sofa for the two of us with a plate three high with scones, cream, jam, two types of cake and ham, salmon, and egg sandwiches cut into fingers. It was really posh. Then we went for a walk around the vineyard.
Tuesday 4th July 2012
Off to Shropshire via the Severn Valley Smokery. Wonderful shop and bought lots of smoked eel, cheese and other bits. We were held up on the motorway due to road works so we took the A roads. Nightmare getting through Worcestershire.
Arrived at Presthope a beautiful caravan club site with a massive dog walk.
Wednesday 5th July 2012
Walked to Much Wenlock! A beautiful walk but we were so tired when we got there. Found out from the Tourist Information office that there are no buses back and this is supposed to be the Olympic town what a load of crap and to cap it all none of the pubs do food so had to settle for a Spar sandwich – not nice. Phoned several taxi firms and only one could take us because the rules are that taxis are not allowed to take dogs in Shropshire – what a joke – won’t be coming here again.
Thursday 6th July 2012
Drove to Ironbridge – absolutely stunning such a beautiful gorge. I have wanted to come here ever since I started tracing my family tree and found out that my Nan was born here. Walked along the river path and then had an ice cream. Found a pork pie shop and it was the most delicious pork pie I have ever eaten. We then went to Travel Word in Telford and the sat nat had a gay moment and took us on a wild goose chase.
Friday 7th July 2012 Broadway Caravan Club Site
Drove back towards home and stopped on the Cotswolds. A very wet day and as a lot of people are being turned away from other campsites due to flooding this one is very busy. I tried to wash and dry some clothes and the covers for Emily but the laundry was a nightmare as everyone else wanted to do the same thing. We decided to put up the awning so that we had an area that was under cover and put up my new rotary washing line that Marc got so that we could dry some things.
Saturday 8th July 2012
Walked to the village and found wonderful delicatessen/grocers that sold flat peaches that were to die for. A bought lot of bits of stuff from the deli and it was so great.
Sunday 9th July 2012
Walked the old railway track and did a triangular walk via a pub (of course). There was a stall on the road side and we bought some broad beans that we had for tea which were delicious.
Monday 10th July 2012
Walked up the hill at Broadway to the National Trust tower at the top. A steep climb but the views were amazing and we had an ice cream at the top.
Derby and Worcestershire/Hereford – July 2012
We weren’t really looking for a new van but I was getting fed up with making up the beds each night and fighting with the dogs in the process. Marc saw a Tribute 715 in one of the magazines and they had one at Geoff Cox in Derby. We seen these motorhomes at Excel and met Neil Cox who is the Managing Director at Geoff Cox and who was really friendly and helpful.; not only that but it was reduced by £5K so we arranged to go up and take a look. They booked us into a local site for the night.
We arrived at Geoff Cox at just after lunch and looked at the ‘new van’ – he is handsome and so what we need and want – just the negotiations – I left Marc to that.
Well all is well and Marc has struck the deal we pick up our new van next week (Thor).
We drove to the campsite, next to a busy road and really noisy and very basic but it hasn’t cost us anything. Walked down to the pub for food as we are both really hungry but we had also polished off 2 bottles of wine. The pub was great. Even though they had finished serving they rustled up a roast lamb dinner which was superb. Two more pints of beer.
When we got back to the site we got talking to our neighbours and had more beer, lager and wine. Went to bed at 10 – how I made the bed up I have no idea as I was really pissed!
Thor our second van
Bakewell – Camping and Caravan Club Site
1st August 2012
After picking up Thor from Geoff Cox a Tribute T715, brand new, with fixed bed we arrived at this site. The approach road was a nightmare as it was full of pot holes and really big ones as well.
We pitched up and then took a long walk to Bradford Dale which was beautiful. It is a walk along a small river that was really clear so you could see the fish. Fred and Molly took a swim courtesy of me throwing them in. There were trees all around providing dabbled shade and small waterfalls and weirs throughout.
As we approached the village of Youlsgrave the surroundings opened out into a field with a stream running right through it with cows paddling in the water. Fred decided he wanted to play football with the local lads who took it all in good spirit and let him join trying to ‘kick’ the ball.
That evening it got really dark early and we had a wonderful thunder-storm which we sat and watched. As we were high up on the campsite we had a commanding view of the valley and hills around us and spent hours watching the lighting move around the valley – it was awesome.
2nd August 2012
Having enjoyed our walk the previous day we decided to walk into Bakewell so that we could experience the Tarts!
It was a long walk and we rewarded ourselves with our first taste of gravy with chips. It was divine! The gravy was homemade along with the chips and we couldn’t believe how much we had previously missed out.
After a pint or two we headed off for the Bakewell Tart shop and bought and original ‘pie’ without the icing and in puff pastry and the modern ‘tart’ with short crust and icing. We started out journey back and a very loooooooooooooooooooooong journey it was. Once back at the site with very tired feet which I cooled off in the weir on the way back we discovered that we had walked 18 miles!!!!!!
High Onn Caravan Club Site – August 2012
We travelled from The Peak District to a site near the Shropshire Union Canal. It was a strange site set around an area that is ‘out of bounds’. It did have a massive dog walk that could be accessed across the road. We did a couple of walks along the canal but the weather turned in really horrible and so we decided to go home early.
Aberbran Caravan Club Site – August 2012
Another only £11 site set in the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park. We had a really good time here and did a massive walk into Brecon. It was really peaceful and one we intend to go back to.
Trewethett Caravan Club Site – August/September 2012
This was a last minute getaway and we took my son Keiran with us as the van is a 3 berth.
We walked into Boscastle and it was extremely muddy in places but the views of the cliffs were as dramatic as they were beautiful. We had a walk around and bought an ice-cream, unfortunately I was so keen to eat mine that when I took a big lick the whole ball of ice-cream fell to the floor and Molly ate it!!! So I had a tantrum in front of all the crowd of holiday makers and Keiran bought me another.
The next day we walked the other way and tried to find our way down to the beach but couldn’t find the way. There was a steep descent path but it looked a bit precarious so Keiran and I went down it later that day and left Marc behind. I ended up landing on the beach on my arse as it was so slippery, much to the amusement of the teenage surfer boys!
September 2012 Tour
Mildenhall Caravan Club Site
Another only £11 site set in Cambridgeshire. This is a really good site with lots of walks straight off the site.
We drove into Cambridge and found the only park and ride that would take Motorhomes and proceeded into the town with the dogs. Molly was a bit unsure of the bus but a small boy in front of us took a shine to her and kept her entertained. Upon arrival in Cambridge it was hell – so busy and manic. We tried to find our way around as I wanted to see so much of the architecture but Molly was really scared. In the end I picked her up and carried her. We stumbled upon a French style Market and bought some delicious figs and strawberries. We wanted to sit on the University College Lawns and eat them but dogs were banned and so we sat on a rather small strip of grass next to a very busy road – not a good lasting impression for Cambridge.
The following day we drove to Sutton Hoo somewhere else I have always wanted to go. It was fascinating, the Viking Masks were amazing. There wasn’t as much there as I thought there would be but it was still really interesting and makes me want to go to Scandinavia to see more.
Stamford Caravan Club Site
This is a real gem of a site as it is set in Forestry Commission land. There were many walks that we went on and all of them were signposted. We saw wild deer run across from us which was a delight. Freddie decided when we got back towards the site one day that he hadn’t walked enough and went off into the brush and ignored our calls. It took a good 10 minutes of shouting and me climbing into the thorn bushes to get him back!
Clumber Park Caravan Club site
Not really our kind of site. Really busy and full of small children but ideal for us to visit the Lincoln Motorhome show. We went into the adjacent forest with the dogs and got lost which was really annoying and we had a monsoon rain storm!
We visited Sheffield to find Towsure as the motorhome show was a complete washout and wasn’t as good as people said it was. The SatNav had a gay moment when we were in the middle of Sheffield and said the signal was lost but we found it in the end!
Carsington Water Caravan Club Site
We called in here on our way back from Lincoln. It is a lovely terraced site in the Peak District but it rained nonstop and was starting to flood so we decided to leave after one day and head home.
No Photos because I broke my camera – again!
Blackshaw Moor Caravan Club site – Leek – Derbyshire
Another site on the Peak District we visited in October/November 2012. A really nice site with amazingly hot showers. We walked up some cliffs and the dogs took a swim in a nearby stream. It was a lovely welcome break and a site that is open all year.
Setthorns Camping in the Forest Site – Camping and Caravan Club Site – New Forest – Hampshire
This is a beautiful site in the New Forest we visited as a last minute break sometime in the Summer of 2012. Really sunny and lots of ponies to smooth. Loved it, really fueled my soul.
Not many photo’s (don’t know why) but more on a later visit – link to follow!
Cadeside Caravan Club Site – Wellington – Somerset
Not sure of the date but a horrid site, the caravan club sites photos have some very big poetic licence thing going on. We did explore the line of the old Grand Western Canal which was great for me and I seen the Nynehead Boat Lift remains which was amazing and something I have wanted to see for a while.
Tredegar House County Park – Newport – Wales
An OK site but really only booked so that we could pick Larissa up from Uni for our Wedding!! We did explore some of the Newport Canal network and see some very abandoned/ruined locks.
Alderstead Heath – London
This site was only for a visit to ‘the smoke’ so that we could see family and friends as we had only wanted a small wedding and it was an opportunity to catch up, look at photos and celebrate. The site was ok – ideal for visiting London as not inspiring.