One thing that happened while we were away on our UK tour was the failure of my wooden construction within Betty for our lounger chairs. For most of our trip we had to put said chairs on top of the scooter seats, holding them in place with bungies. This was OK but a bit of a pain as they had to be removed before we could get the scooters out and then put them back in while we did our thing.
Obviously we needed somewhere they could reside that wouldn’t cause all this bother. Mary came up with the idea of putting a box on Betty where we could store them.
So I have constructed a box using aluminium extruded angle as the frame and the same Dibond sheet Aluminium Composite that the rest of Betty is made of. It fits over the spare wheel at the front (so provides protection for that as well) with room for the chairs in front of it.
It remains to be seen if this is a good idea – but it looks good so far.
Well it’s all over now but we need to get all the boring but essential information into one place. I hope this may be useful to others.
The distance cost information was a surprise. Getting an average of 27mpg was higher than I expected. Most of the miles were with Betty on the back – just a few excursions without – but no figures on these miles.
Still we did travel a lot of miles and saw some interesting scenery and some lovely places. It is just the beginning of our adventures in Voyager.
The site charges we knew before starting having paid most of them ahead of time.
Because Mary is a member of both English Heritage and the National Trust we don’t have to pay to see any of these properties (I get in free as Mary’s carer). But the annual cost for both is about £100 so it has to be considered with the attractions. Most places we visit are in the £7 – £14 each price range so joining both was a no brainer really.
The weather shows our overall feeling that this trip did not have the best – but what can probably be better described as normal English summer weather.
After we woke this morning we found that Voyager had done well to have practically dried out.
Nigel took the washing to the Laundry to wash and dry.
The rest of the day was a complete wash out – it didn’t stop raining at all. So I did some sewing and Nigel worked on the blog. He also did some research on Ebay about getting a sign to use as a marker when we leave our pitch for the day. We have seen some other Motorhomers leave them – anything from an ‘In use by Motorhome’ to one looking like Santa with the van reg on it.
Nigel did the meal tonight – Spanish chicken with rice – Very nice it was too.
And the rain persists.
Wednesday 12th July 2017 – Continuing South
Well after all the rain now it is sunny but it is windy. Just when we are moving on. Mind you we didn’t find much to see or do at Woodall Spa not that we looked too far with it only being a few days and our other experiences. This stop had been primarily for family visits but that didn’t work either – well maybe next time.
The drive today is a long one for us so we have decided not to stop at any attractions on route – just to do the necessary.
Our first stop was in Lincoln for fuel and another larder and freezer restock then onward until Newark. We thought it was time to stop for lunch – good idea but the next two laybys were full of large articulated Lorries – presumably their drivers were having breaks as well. We did find one in the end and lunch was lovely.
We pressed on for another two hours to Northampton – the Billing Aquadrome site. It is a large site combining touring pitches, static holiday caravans and owned holiday homes as well as some purely residential park homes. The guy on the gate gave us our pack and directions – unfortunately Nigel missed the first turn and we ended up in the middle of the site totally lost. Luckily a passing site worker in a large 4×4 showed us the way.
We were on a field called Puddle Duck – it’s kind of how we felt the other evening and sort of sums up a fair bit of this trip.
While Nigel is setting up I get going with the meal – tonight it is Shepherd’s Pie with green beans. I have just realised I have not been outside the van for two days (shopping doesn’t count).
The scooters are out of Betty and had a good wipe down. Their mats are still sopping wet so are pegged up to drip dry. Everything looks good.
The pie turned out really good – I’ve definitely mastered the oven.
So time for some fresh air and explore – the sky looks clear but we are taking no chances now – the skylights are all shut and emergency ponchos are in the scooter backpacks.
We are next to the river Nene and there is a lock just by us. We can see the barges going up and down. A little further into the site there is a large lake with swans and ducks. There is a ‘site supermarket’ like a SPAR shop of our youth – a little bit of everything but all at the highest prices. We bought ice creams and ate them while watching a heron preening itself and then fly off chasing another of its kind the other side of the lake – it didn’t want any competition for food I guess.
There is a new build swimming pool complex near the site entrance. ‘The Venue’ is where you can get food or just have a drink on the sun decking area. It looks pretty good but didn’t appear to be open passed about seven in the evening. I guess it will be when the school holidays start – when the place is fuller. There are adverts for a ‘UB40 Tribute band’ on Saturday – kind of glad we will be gone by then – must be getting old.
Back to Voyager for a good night’s rest.
Thursday 13th July 2017 –
Today is a better day weather wise – just a few wispy clouds but mostly clear and no rain.
After a good breakfast we decided to go to Castle Ashby Gardens – it’s not too far to drive – just up the road.
The house (which is not open to the public) and gardens were really nice.
The family that live here have a long history. You can see from the lake that Capability Brown had a hand in creating the garden.
We followed the path through the arboretum walk which was lovely – some very old large trees here.
Back into the garden proper past the Italian garden – very formal – through some long boarders that look like they are being re-done – or maybe the modern fashion of leaving some areas for the wildlife. If you ever wonder what to do with an old tree this is worth a thought.
We found the small menagerie with Meer cats, Guinea pigs & rabbits etc. Nothing too exotic except for a few Marmoset monkeys one proud mum with her two babies crawling all over her.
It was lovely couple of hours – well worth the money.
It was such a good coach park here (we generally use them because we are so long with Betty on the back) we had lunch. Normally we try and avoid eating in Car Parks.
When we got back to site a few more tents had appeared – Puddle Duck seems to be mostly tents with only a few having electric – we’re a bit too old for that type of camping.
We decided to have a fish & chip supper from the Billing Chip shop. It was very popular so while Nigel queued I was checking the people who clicked ‘like’ on our blog. We are surprised we have readers around the world – we thought two oldies in the UK would have very limited appeal but Canada and USA as well as India, Ireland and even Denmark and Finland appear – thanks to you all.
After eating we went out on the scooters – further exploring along the river bank, past another lock seeing more of the park homes – some really well maintained and others not so. Swans seem to think they own the place nesting right next to access roads. The mums very protective of their fluffy off spring. Nice to see as long as you don’t get too close.
All in all a very good day – completed watching the TV with a glass of wine.
Friday 14th July 2017 –
This is our last full day and we have a choice of where to go (one National Trust and one English Heritage). Both are about 25 miles away but in opposite directions – both look interesting so we decided to leave it to a coin toss.
It was tails – so Kirby Hall & Gardens (EH). For such a short journey it is surprising how many bad drivers you can see. We also hit a queue which delayed us by about 30 minutes as we crawled along for just over a mile – and the problem was – a 50m coned off lane just before a roundabout. No evidence of any work being done at all – very frustrating.
When we got there we found a partly ruined manor house – it had been neglected for many years but English Heritage have started to renovate the great hall and some rooms in one corner.
It was very interesting to see what it would have been like in its day. The gardens are set out very formally and there are several Peacocks roaming free in the grounds. The boys had full tail feathers but weren’t showing – we think the ladies were not interested.
The journey back was un-eventful except that Nigel took the wrong exit on a roundabout because he was concentrating on the cricket on the radio and not the sat nav instructions – oops. Luckily just an about turn at the next roundabout so not a big deal.
After getting sorted and pitched up we decided to go out again on the scooters – I think Nigel was after another ice cream – but he didn’t get one because we found a Chinese restaurant which seemed very popular with the locals. This is generally a good sign – so as we haven’t had one in ages we studied the menu and then ordered a takeaway. The pork chops we had defrosted will go back in the fridge for tomorrow.
We scooted quickly back to Voyager and really enjoyed this treat.
There are even more tents, trailer tents and a couple of Motorhomes that have appeared today – lots of young kids around – some better behaved than others. I think we will be glad to be going home tomorrow, but on the whole it has been a good last day.
Saturday 15th July 2017 – Home
Today we go home – the weather is cloudy and there is some rain in the air.
The kids were up early so I think it’s good we are moving on.
It’s also the British Grand Prix weekend – our route home would normally take us pretty close to Silverstone so we have decided to go a slightly longer way but hopefully not have any congestion – well that was the hope. We were in no real hurry to get home – I will be washing and cleaning when we get there – but it will be nice to see how things are in the garden – suspect a jungle of weeds.
Anyway we did avoid the racing fans which made us feel good – unfortunately we did not know about the Stow Cotswold Festival taking place today in Stow on the Wold – a two mile queue slowed us to a crawl for 45minutes – but hey hoe – we are still on holiday – for a couple more hours.
Well after last night’s hell with rain, thunder and lightning today was going to be a lovely day.
So after breakfast we got on the scooters and headed down to North Bay of Scarborough beach. We had to go down a couple of steep hills but they were no problem.
We got to the bottom and went all the way around the bay on the promenade to South Bay where the town is. It was a long way but a lovely drive. We could see seagulls nesting on the cliffs and making a lot of screeching. We also went quite quickly on the areas of prom that had lots of white spots.
As we were going along the tide was out and there was a pungent smell of sea weed – a smell we both remember from childhood holidays.
We got caught by a couple of girls promoting the RLNI to join their £3 per month club. We gave them £3 and told them we would think about it.
We arrived at the marina – all very nice – there were several boat trips to be had from here – 20 minutes around the bay in a pirate ship or Ride the waves in a speed boat.
It was time for the first ice cream of the day (yummy – if a bit naughty).
We tried to find some olives ham and cheese for lunch but it seems it doesn’t exist this far north. So we ended up with a mixed meat baguette which we ate at the Queen Victoria statue at the top of the cliff, next to the Central Tramway funicular railway. We came up from the prom via a winding path in a park next to it.
After lunch we decided to head back to the site. Dolly was fine while on the flat but when we tried to go up the hill she just cut out on me. Nigel thinks she got too hot. Anyway we stopped for a while and then went on with Nigel pushing me like we did on the hills in Devon. We got to the top but then she did it again. Again we waited before continuing back slowly. We made it but I must admit I’m worried about Dolly.
For dinner tonight we had Fish & Chips from the site shop. They were OK although we’ve had better chips. Then we watched the England South Africa test cricket highlights.
We are both tired, from all the sea air I guess, and a bit sun burnt as well so off to bed.
Saturday 8th July 2017 – Bridlington
Today is again another hot sunny day. What a change from last weekend.
We have decided to drive to Bridlington today. The trip was uneventful but when we got there we found that the Town Fathers have decided that any vehicles over 2.1m high would have a hard job finding anywhere to park – with height barriers on all the car parks. We decided to visit Sewerby Hall & Gardens as we could park OK and anyway we do like gardens.
On our scooters we paid our money – it entitles you to access to the Hall and Zoo as well as the gardens but we only did the latter. Lovely they were too – just the paths being a bit narrow in places – but little stops us these days. We met a couple while we were eating an ice cream in the courtyard – they were very interested in our scooters and our setup – they went away chatting excitedly – I think we gave them some ideas for their retirement.
The gardens were good but we found we could leave them near the Cliff Top Cricket ground (and the terminus of the Land Train) to go to the promenade and sea front. There is a fun fair and again lots of people – many of them looking very red. We tried again to find our kind of lunch but it seems Fish & Chips, Burgers and Hot Dogs are the primary street foods available in this area. We did decide to have our pudding before lunch – a very good whippy ice cream – Nigel had a lemon vanilla and I had chocolate vanilla. Then we returned to Voyager where we had Olives, Feta, tomatoes and Melba toast.
When Nigel came to put the scooters away he found that Dolly had gone into error mode again so he had to put her into Betty manually. He said that when in neutral she is not too difficult to get up the ramp but it is a worry – will she make it to the end of our holiday?
Any way we are off tomorrow – quite a big journey to Lincolnshire.
Sunday 9th July 2017 – Onward to Woodhall Spa
We didn’t move on too quickly today as Nigel wanted to finish the blog and get it posted before we left. We had a good breakfast because we knew we had a long drive. The trip over to Woodhall Spa was OK – nothing to report and we didn’t kill anything on route. We decided to have lunch just before we got to the Humber bridge so found a lovely layby and had a simple lunch.
It cost us £1.50 to cross the bridge – with nothing off for disabled. Oh well not like the Severn Bridge where we get free crossings with the blue badge. The Humber and the old Severn Bridge are very similar in appearance though.
At last we got to the site even though we missed the sign again and had to turn around – Nigel practicing his reversing skills again.
We got all set up and spoke to Sophie on facebook – she just missed us as she had been at the spa just down the road – still we will see her soon.
Spent the evening watching TV and relaxing.
Monday 10th July 2017
We woke again to a lovely day. The sun is shining and it is warm. After breakfast we had a good clean up – Nigel did most of it – I just sat in the sun.
We had a look around the site on the scooters – hunting out the kiddies play area etc.
We got back and Dolly seemed to be running fine after her exploits the last few days – maybe it is something to do with her getting too hot. Even so I’m a bit nervous about going too far on her now.
We had lunch outside Voyager – with the awning up – it’s lovely to be able to sit out all day and not be cold. We sit and watch the mad campers trying to get their tents up. It is meant to be a quick job these days with modern fabrics and air inflatable tents. One man told me he was meant to be able to get his tent up in 20 minutes – he was still at it four hours later.
RAF Coningsby is just down the road from this site and Nigel enjoyed the sight of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight practicing for the display they are giving for Prince William tomorrow. Two Spitfires, two Hurricanes and a Lancaster Bomber made several circuits. He managed to get a few good shots too.
It has been a nice day just chilling out on the site. Andrew, one of the wardens, said he had something for us – he said he’d pop back. It took him a while as he was busy sorting pitches for the new folks arriving but when he did he gave me a speeding ticket. I thought he was serious – it said I was clocked doing 5.2 mph round the site and it would cost me a giant mars bar – he should be so lucky.
Only trouble with lazing around is I have been nibbling all afternoon and I don’t feel hungry at tea time. I made us a prawn salad though thinking it would be a light meal – trouble was only one of them made it to the table. I stood on the top step and as I was holding the plates my foot slipped and I slid down to the next step – all my salad hit the grass below and I hurt both my arms stopping myself from falling completely out.
Well my Nigel, ever the gentleman, shared his dinner with me. He did say though that he will be fitting a child gate at the entrance to stop it happening again.
After we ate and cleared up we thought it would be nice to explore the local area on the scooters. So off down the road we went. It was lovely at first but when we had gone a couple of miles it started to spit with rain (it had been threatening for a while). We kept going and when it got heavier we stopped under the canopy of a closed Petrol station. It really chucked it down for a while as we waited in the relative dry. We realised we had left the sky lights open on Voyager but there was nothing we could do. We had also forgotten to replenish our emergency rain poncho’s after using them at the Black Country museum a couple of weeks back so all we had was a couple of bin bags. Nigel put a pedal bin one on as a hat and I did my best with a dustbin one over a bit of me. The level of rain diminished so we set forth on our return – the first passing car went through a puddle and drenched Nigel and then the rain started again at full force – we kept going we were both drenched anyway. It took a while to get back – most of the drivers who passed us did so slowly and tried to avoid the really big puddles. Dolly behaved herself with no issues I’m pleased to say and by the time we got back the rain storm was coming to an end. One of our neighbours had kindly put our lounge chairs under the awning – which was good of them. Unfortunately the rain had collapsed the awning and when Nigel tried to straighten it out again the collected water deposited itself all over him – I didn’t laugh then but we have laughed about it since – at the time it did not seem funny.
We used towels and dirty clothes to clear up the water in Voyager and had the heating on full through the night to dry everything out. All in all she hasn’t suffered too much – which is good.
We slept well if a little steamily – so are ready for the start of our last week tomorrow.
We had a lie in today – it was 8.30 before I even woke up.
Well its weigh in day today – I stayed the same and Nigel put on a couple of pounds which is OK – we are still on target.
The rain is coming in hard today so after breakfast another secure pack and the usual waste emptying we drove to the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle. I have to say it is a very interesting place to visit on a very wet day. It’s also fully accessible to wheelchairs so we had no problems seeing the entire displays over three floors. There were all sorts of things to see and learn about. Josephine Bowles was a forward looking women.
She discovered she and her husband couldn’t have children so she endeavoured to fill her time collecting and filling the house for the public to be able to see. Her idea was that they would live on the upper floor. Neither her or husband lived to see it completed but they left money in trust so that it could be finished.
The gardens are also lovely but today we only looked at them through windows – from the second floor you can get a fair view of the front formal lay out.
We stayed about two hours which for us is good for a museum. On the way back to the site we saw a Police car with blues and two’s going – he had to wait while we crossed the single width bridge as our pulling over would not have helped him.
Back on site and it looks like a few people have left and a few more have arrived – It seems to us that most campers only stay on a site for three or four nights before moving on – we are doing the same so are obviously fitting in with the crowd all ready.
It’s still raining on and off but Nigel keeps saying ‘It’s brightening up’ mmmm we will see.
We had dinner and settled in for the night – watched the kids running around and playing – they don’t seem to mind the rain – but then I guess we didn’t when we were young.
And it was American Independence Day – didn’t see even one alien though.
Wednesday 5th July 2017 – Yorkshire Dales
We woke again to the bl**dy wet and misty rain. We weren’t sure what to do but Nigel has worked out a circular trip with a couple of possible places to stop if ‘it brightens up’. Just took the wheelchair.
Breakfast of poached eggs, bacon and mushrooms – we are trying to be good and always start the day with good intentions.
Anyway I put all the names into the sat nav and off we set. Now sat-navs are wonderful things but they can be a bit literal sometimes. It got us to the middle of the first village and then told us to turn around and go back the way we came. It was getting Nigel a bit confused especially when it sent us down a very narrow lane, over some small bridges only to take us to a dead end where it told us to turn around. We resolved to ignore some of her odder instructions and continued on.
Its Brightening Up
We came to the Yorkshire Dales – there was a big sign welcoming us – I wasn’t too concerned. There were some nice views – we could see the mist clinging to the tops of the high hills – made it look a bit eerie.
When Nigel said we were going to the top I must admit I was a bit worried. It wasn’t too bad at first – I was happily taking photos – then we began climbing higher and it was only a single track road with passing places. Luckily we didn’t meet too many cars coming the other way. The scenery is amazing – we saw sheep and goats at the side and on the road, were passed by a couple of quad bikes one having a couple of working dogs as well as what we assume was a modern day shepherd off to tend his stock.
We drove through small villages, very neat little hamlets – all with stone cottages.
One thing I have learned today is that the Yorkshire dales are not flat but it was lovely to follow the River Swale running through the valley.
We stopped for lunch a bit lower down – a layby with a nice view – and had beans on toast with egg. It was nice to be able to stop and have something warm on a cold and damp day.
Still it was a lovely drive really – Nigel said I was very brave – I said ‘You ain’t seen my knickers yet’. lol.
We got back to Barnard Castle and went to Morrisons to stock up for the next few days. Then back to site and dinner of steak and chips. We were just sitting down to eat when the Fish & Chip van turned up – still we stayed on plan and the steak was delicious.
We spent the rest of the evening relaxing and watching TV with the windows closed – the farm down the road is a bit smelly.
Thursday 6th July 2017 – Onward
The weather wasn’t too bad when we got up Nigel said he slept till after eight and that his alarm didn’t go off. It did though and I turned it off – he didn’t hear it – just slept right through it.
Anyway we thought a light breakfast of scrambled eggs would be OK as we need another secure pack – moving on again today.
After the usual tasks we are off – just took a couple of pics of the squirrel that has been visiting us most days – its only a grey but it is nice to see.
Nigel had planned the route so we could take a short detour at Middlesborough to see the Transporter Bridge – the one that featured in Auf Wiedersehen Pet – (for our younger readers that was a TV series about Northern Brickies taking a bridge to America).
We headed on – found a layby at the top of a hill where we stopped for our lunch. While there a man stopped by us (we thought he was doing the same as us) but he got a couple of baskets of pigeons out – he sat with them on the ground for a few minutes then released them. Homing pigeons I guess. A little while later as we were leaving a white van turned up and did the same thing. It must be a northern thing – I will say that neither of the men wore flat caps. The birds looked amazing as they flew off in formation.
Whitby was our next stop – we found a place to park in the Coach Park. Off on our scooters for an hour – Nigel was after another ice cream. There were a lot of other people about (not suprising really as it was a nice day – and at least two of the coaches parked must have had school kids on summer trips) it was hard getting along the pavements. We took some pics, bought a fridge magnet and small gift for our neighbour as well as getting some salad stuff for our evening meal. Then back to Voyager and onward to our next site in Scarborough.
The sat nav got us very close but we still managed to miss the sign for the site – realised a few yards past it – we could see all the campers through the trees. We had to go another mile before we could turn around – but it was OK – we got to see how we would get to town on our scooters.
The weather was OK – cloudy but dry – as we pitched up. We decided to check out the site gates we were told off (as well as the local Carvery – an option for our next meal out). We were only out for half an hour but it started to spit with rain so got back and packed everything away. The thunder and the odd lightning strike were about as we did. Then came a steady rain. I shut all the windows and sky lights – the real rain started and we looked out as the roads became rivers and the flatter parts of the field became lakes.
All this water gave me the urge but my visit to the bathroom reminded me that there is another sky light in Voyager which I hadn’t shut – I’m so glad it’s above the shower tray – but it still took a while to clear up. Won’t forget that one again.
Sunday 2nd July 2017 – Barnard Castle via Darlington
We woke this morning to more blue sky with the sun out – lovely.
We had breakfast of mushrooms, bacon, fried potatoes and scrambled eggs. After the washing up we do another secure pack – getting very used to it now.
Today we are leaving the Railway Inn site. I set the sat-nav for Morrisons Darlington which is the recommended place to park to visit the ‘Darlington Brick Train’. Handy really as we needed to restock the fridge and pantry while there.
The drive was OK (a bit busy around Gateshead which surprised us as it was Sunday) but it didn’t take too long. We did the shop first, using the wheelchair then got the scooters out and went looking for the train. You’d think it would be well sign posted but we managed to leave the car park in the wrong direction and had to go around the back of Morrisons through a small industrial estate until we found a gravel path. Then onward through what could be good if it was better maintained – nature was trying very hard to reclaim it. Didn’t quite need a machete but it was close in places. Anyway at the end of the path we found the Brick Train – it was worth it – even went to the top via the rough path. Took some lovely pics. There is a plaque telling you that David March designed it – and a poem as well.
As time was getting on we decided to lunch in Morrisons car park – just in case you thought Nigel treated us again (funny).
We headed on to Barnard Castle – the weather seems to be better the further south we go although it is very windy. It’s no wonder they have loads of wind turbines up here.
As we approached a roundabout during the drive we think we may have added to the roadkill figures as we saw a little weasel run across in front of us and then turn round and head back for the verge – Nigel thinks he made it – I’m not so sure.
We got to the site about 3ish (after turning into the wrong campsite a mile or so down the road from ours – apparently this happens a couple of times a day so we are not the only ones to get it wrong). As the weather is good and windy we did our washing and hung it on the communal rotary line.
We then had our evening meal of Spanish Chicken pasta. Nigel made it for us and very nice it was too.
There are a lot of campers pitched here – it’s a very busy site (90 pitches). It was amusing to watch a couple putting up a tent beside us with the wind doing its best to prevent them – Man against the elements – they succeeded in the end but it reinforced our decision to not get involved with tents or for that matter awnings.
After dinner Nigel went and got the washing – it was nearly dry but we have found we can pack it around the water heater and it will finish it off.
TV then bed – this holiday lark is so tiring.
Monday 3rd July 2017 – Barnard Castle
Our first full day here – it has been raining on and off all night but after breakfast it started to brighten up.
Its Monday again – we did the washing yesterday so it’s big clean day for Voyager. Total strip clean of the bathroom as well as the lounge kitchen area. Then after that it had to be shower time.
Now you would think that we would have learned by now to check the cleaning times – but no we arrived at the shower block half way through its closed time. Oh well we are not really in a hurry – we are on holiday so nothing is going to phase us. Well nothing until we returned 15 minutes after they were supposed to be open again only to find the showers for those able bodied were open but the disabled was still locked. It was a further 15 minutes before we could find one of the staff to get it opened.
Next time we use the camp showers we will get in early. We never have this problem with our own shower – in fact the only problem we have had with that was when I was getting changed in the bathroom and I accidently turned on the shower – I looked like I was ready for the wet T-shirt contest when I emerged – I had to forbid Nigel from taking a picture.
When we arrived at site yesterday Nigel picked up a sheet detailing a picturesque walk to Barnard Castle using Rights of Way. He asked if it would be OK with our scooters and was told there was one short section that was very steep so would not be. In the past we have done many things on our scooters that we have been told we can’t so we decided to give it a try any way.
The tarmac road to the Farm yard was great. The tractor track between horse fields was OK. The first 50 yards on the trail through the woods was OK – just a few tree roots. But then we came to the steep bit – I’ll tell you if I was fit enough I wouldn’t even go down it on foot – maybe on my bum at a pinch. So we turned around and went by way of the road to the Castle. That was a lovely little journey as the road was not too busy and was wide enough for cars to pass easily.
The Castle is English Heritage so no charge for us – good to see the old Towers and a recently added Sensory Garden within the walls. Great that it was very accessible for our scooters.
We had a look around a bit of the town – did a bit of shopping, just a few odd things.
I was a bit worried on the way back as my battery was getting a bit flat when going up hills but with a little help from Nigel pushing at the rear we got back OK.
For dinner I did roast pork – it seemed to cook really quickly – it might be I’m getting used to the cooker and the timings.
We had a couple of new neighbours today in the Ready Camps (family tents) two families with young kids. They did run around a lot but the noise wasn’t too bad.
We spent a relaxing evening – it has been a lovely day.
Well it’s the start of our second week and what a difference – when we left home we had brilliant sunshine with an afternoon temperature about 32C – today we have heavy rain (puddles everywhere) with forecast temp of 14C. I guess it must be summerJ.
Breakfast over we both weighed in – Nigel seems to have lost 5lb (how with all the goodies he’s had) and me 1lb. Still it is a loss and on holiday as well. Slimming World does work!!
We are off again so another secure pack-up – Nigel got on the waterproofs and wellies and we set off around the site one way system to empty the toilet cassette and grey tank then hitched up Betty and we were off.
Our route took us around the edge of Newcastle so did a slight detour and stopped at Morrisons. We refilled the fridge. Then onward – we stopped for lunch in a layby on the A1. Even with the levelling pads down you still get shaken by the fast passing Lorries. Still we had a nice warming bowl of Mug-shot (and a cream desert for Nigel).
We got to the Railway Inn site about 3ish – it is a small site (only 22 pitches) and not busy. We chose pitch 14 (Nigel checked there were no trees blocking the satellite this time) and we got everything setup.
I will tell you that when we got here I did have a little nap (about an hour) leaving Nigel to his own devices. He did get the toiletries out in the bathroom as well as the TV sorted and the iBoost logged onto the pub free Wi-Fi.
We were not surprised to find a road and Railway track beside us but I knew it wouldn’t worry us as we are sleeping so well.
I cooked our Posh meal tonight – Steak, chips & mushrooms. There was meant to be sweetcorn but I forgot to dish them out so was still in the saucepan. Still we both enjoyed it.
The rain continues so it is a night of TV and computer.
Wednesday 28th June 2017 – Newbiggin-by-the-Sea
We had another good night’s sleep. Nigel made breakfast of scrambled eggs and coffee.
Even though we are staying for 5 nights at this site we did a secure pack and hitched up Betty and travelled the coast road. South at first to Newbiggin-by-the-Sea – a small port but was the third biggest in its day. We parked OK and dollied to the promenade. Have to say it was very cold and windy but then we are on the North Sea. We did go into the Maritime Centre – very interesting Lifeboat and fishing museum (and warm too). Nigel did scout it out first – making sure I could get around easily with the scooter – we’ve learned from earlier experiences!
We left there and went north on the coast road – stopped at Druridge Bay Country Park for lunch. We parked in the ‘Water Sports’ car park (one canoer and several dog walkers) and I made an omelette of ham cheese and tomato, followed by strawberries and yoghurt and of course Nigel had his chocolate cake bought in Newbiggin.
We decided to drive on to Seahouses where Grace Darling saved the people on a sinking ship and hence started the RNLI. We didn’t stop as it was late and cold so leaving this for another day – I would like to dolly around it. Progressed onto Bamburgh where we could turn around (only took pic through cab window today) and then back to the Railway for our dinner. The trip back was bumpy as the coastal road is in very poor condition not unlike many roads in Britain these days.
Thursday 29th June 2017 – Total Washout
Not much to say about today – the rain hasn’t let up all day so we have stayed in – bit of cross stitch, bit of Kindle games, watching day-time TV – Nigel has done some laptop work.
The forecast for tomorrow is a little better but we have thought of a circular (roughly) route we can drive with various things to see if the weather permits – else it will be photos from the cab with the heating on.
Not what we had hoped for so for a little more fun we have decided to put our glad rags on and eat at the Railway restaurant – no cooking or washing upJ. Nigel went over at lunchtime (while I was making the bacon butties) and got the evening menu – no surprises, just the usual fare of most pubs these days – Steak, Gammon, Chicken etc.
It turned out to be very nice. Nigel had the Hunter’s chicken and I had the fish & chips – all served hot and with no long wait – for afters we both had the homemade ice cream, then espresso’s. Hopefully there wasn’t too many syns involved.
We didn’t stay too long in the pub – it was very quiet – we took a few pics and a couple of selfies.
I think I did rather well – I walked the 50 yds over to the pub and back.
Nice evening watching TV when we got back.
Friday 30th June 2017 – Circular Tour
Well at least it has stopped raining – if not sunny.
Nigel had worked out the postcodes for our route which I duly input into the satnav and we set off – only we turned the wrong way out of the site – it was 3 miles before we could turn around – oh well you live and learn.
Our first stop was Cragside House and Garden (a National Trust estate) we parked in the coach park (we are nearly 32 feet long with Betty on the back). The things we wanted to see were well spaced so it was a good thing the scooters were fully charged. We had a fare bit of climbing to do and it would have been nice to see the views from some of the vantage points but the mist and low flying cloud did restrict it a bit.
The house and garden were lovely but not all accessible to us. We did think we could go around the house on one of their wheelchairs but we found they would be great for a child or frail old granny but there was no way I could fit in one comfortably. So we skipped that – had our lunch, a warming mugshot before moving on.
Our second place was Chesters Roman Fort near Hexham. We couldn’t get to walk too close to the relics because they are fenced off (sheep deterrent) – they had kissing gates which are great for able bodied but no good for scooters. We did dolly around the outside of each of the enclosures and could see all we wanted to. The site included a short section of Hadrians wall so that item on my bucket list is now ticked off.
We didn’t make it to our last place (it got too late) so decided to leave that for tomorrow.
The last stop on the way back was to Morrisons Morpeth to stock up (Nigels wine supply had evaporated apparently).
We spent the evening watching TV – nothing unusual there then.
Saturday 1st July 2017 – Belsay and Amble
We woke up today to find the sun shining – it makes such a difference when the sun is out.
After breakfast, cooked by Nigel’s deft hand, we were off to see Belsay House and garden (English Heritage). It was a bit of a drive and unfortunately all for nothing as the car park was very small and there were already a lot of people there. The overflow car park was in an adjacent field and looked completely waterlogged. Being cautious we drove out again.
We drove back along the coastal road and stopped at Amble. We parked in a free Car Park, overlooking the sea, had a sandwich for lunch, then set forth on our scooters.
Amble is a nice little fishing port. It was rather windy but the sun came out now and again – enough to encourage us to have an ice-cream (doesn’t take much really). We found some little huts selling hand crafted items but they were too expensive for our tastes so we didn’t even buy a fridge magnet – Another one for Nigel to make when we got home.
We left after three and drove north a couple of miles to Warkworth Castle – we didn’t go in as it was getting late but I did take a few photos as we drove around the car park – it is a handsome Castle.
We didn’t take very long to get back to the Railway – it was still very full – there is a very yappy dog and a foreign couple opposite us. Nigel said she seems to be writing a diary like I do.
Meal tonight is lemon and herb fish with new potatoes and veg.
On the move again tomorrow moving a bit further south.