Exmouth & Budleigh Salterton

Thursday 30th May 2019

Well today we are venturing off to Devon for a long weekend. Last week the weather forecast said these four days would all be sunny and warm – but by the time we left they had amended it to mostly cloudy with some showers. I think we will rename them the ‘Works of Fiction’ (as another blogger we follow – thanks Eric).

Exmouth is the place we selected – on a campsite a little way out of town with the slightly odd name of Prattshayes –   it was a very friendly old farm. We booked a large touring pitch with electric which turned out to have water as well. The main attraction for us was not only the location but that the large barn is now a bar/club house (called the ‘Cow Shed’) where we could socialise with some of our neighbours.

There are a good couple of fields with a mixture of Motorhomes, Campervans and Caravans as well as many tents of varying sizes. The facilities are reasonable (going to be refurbished this season apparently) and the wardens are very friendly and helpful.

After getting pitched up we set forth on the 2Gs to the nearby village of Littleham where we found a couple of Pubs and the pretty Tythe Cottage Restaurant – lovely looking with a thatched roof.

LHam rest

I’ve been promised a meal out this trip and so far this looked favourite.

We trundled on to the Sandy Bay Haven Holiday Park which has a public footpath running through it which joins the South West Coast Path. We explored a small section of it and took some lovely pics of the cliffs below.

We did consider going a bit further but had been advised there were a couple of kissing gates (a showstopper for us) so returned to site using the pavements and lanes.

LHam boat

After our meal we spent a lovely evening in the Cow Shed having a drink and watching the kids running around having fun.

cowshed slf

Friday 31st May 2019

It rained a bit overnight and stayed very cloudy this morning with a very chilly wind – not what we were hoping for – but you have to go with what you get so after breakfast we set off for a trundle to Exmouth town.

After about a mile we were by the beach on Queens Drive and there were a few hardy souls braving it on the sand.

We progressed toward the town proper diverting off the prom following signs to Manor Gardens – it’s good to see some flowers. It turned out to be a pretty small park but worth a few minutes.

exmth twn 1exmth twn 3

On to the centre where we found the usual stores as well a few independents but nothing exceptional. We explored a few of the back streets looking for any interesting architecture – a nice church but nothing else jumped out.

exmth twn 2

After an hour or so we decided to call it a day – may have been better had we not been so cold. So we just trundled back the way we came – got back to a nice warm Voyager. Had a nice lunch and a short siesta.

About three o’clock we noticed the clouds were clearing and the sun streaming in but it was still windy – we decided just to chill out.

Saturday 1st June 2019

Sunshine with just a few wispy clouds – now that’s more like it. I made a packed lunch while Nigel did the outside chores then we were off.

site v slf 2
Our friendly neighbour took a snap of us – and a floating Voyager

Goggle maps had shown a section of NCN 2 between North Littleham and the edge of Budleigh Salterton and we love cycle ways (especially old train lines because they are pretty flat). The path itself was mostly tarmac and had occasional views through the trees as well as some lovely flowers and bushes.

RW ln 2RW ln 5RW ln 4

Some old bridges and odd brickwork where the only remnants from the line that closed in March 1967 (Beeching again).

RW ln 3

At the end of the line we had another mile to get into town along good pavements. We had a look at the shops and then followed the signs to the beach.

We found an empty spot where we stopped and had our lunch with a lovely sea view an almost cloudless sky and the sun beating down on us – lovely.

Then a further exploration along the prom

before going back along the High Street, getting a few things in the Co-Op and a rather overpriced ice-cream before heading back to Voyager.

Dsc02726
View from opposite the start of the cycleway – back to the coast

We had a little rest then it was into my posh frock, Nigel his suit and off for a too rare night out. We had decided on the thatched restaurant and trundled off down the lane.

I’ve been so looking forward to a meal I didn’t have to cook myself but thought I’d play safe and just have fish and chips – Nigel opted for the Steak & Ale pie. Freshly cooked to order the menu said but we were both disappointed with what we received – freshly cooked oven chips and fish you get in a box from the freezer. Any ale in the pie had evaporated with no hint it was ever there. I think we will be finding a good Fish & Chip shop on our next trip.

We stopped in at the Cow Shed bar on the way back to Voyager – a couple of spritzer’s took the edge off my disappointment.

 

Sunday 2nd June 2019

A restful start to the day today – due to the heavy showers. Typical British weather one nice day several bad.

After lunch we decided to just go for it so set off to Exmouth town. It was dry but still very windy and as we descended the hill to sea level we could see that the kite surfers where making good use of it. It was good to see but I don’t think I would have been brave enough to try it even when I was young and fit.

We progressed and found a convenience store where we bought ready meals for our evening meal (I was still feeling disappointed by yesterday’s fiasco and didn’t feel like cooking!)

We checked out a few things we had missed the other day before starting the return journey. On the way the heavens opened and even though we had put on our emergency ponchos we both got absolutely soaked. Back at Voyager we hung our coats in the bathroom and put our jeans around the heater (our airing cupboard). In warm dry cloths with the heating turned up we just chilled for the rest of the day.

Monday 3rd June 2019

Homeward bound today and guess what – the weather is glorious – Typical!

Bakewell 0 – Castleton 1

Sunday 5th May 2019

Bakewell was our 2nd C&CC rally and we have found the social aspect of both to be non-existent – it may be some time before we try another. So today we made the decision to move on.

We tried but couldn’t find a site that wasn’t fully booked (Bank Holiday I guess) so I had resigned myself to staying on the boggy show ground field for another night but my clever husband rang our next site at Castleton to see if we could arrive a day early. They said they had only one narrow pitch available – we jumped at it.

As we had been using our LPG for heating, cooking and running the fridge freezer for the last couple of days we checked our levels and decided we needed to top up on the way. This meant a rather big detour to a Shell garage near Derby but better to be safe than sorry we thought. It’s a good job we did as it turned out – we put in 36ltrs of gas (42ltr tank) so were pretty near empty.

We had a late lunch in a lay by and arrived at the C&MC Castleton site at about 4.00. They were very friendly and we found that (due to someone breaking down) a full sized pitch had become available for our now 4 night stay, so we wouldn’t have to move when pitched.

We did a quick trundle around the site picking up a few things in the Information Room before I let Nigel loose on our evening meal.

He does a pretty good job on a one-pot-wonder and after the washing up we just chilled and watched TV (happy to be on hookup again) before settling in for a good night’s sleep.

Monday 6th May 2019 (Bank Holiday)

The weather forecast warned of sharp showers from lunchtime so another early start (leaving the outside chores until our return later).

We trundled the half mile or so into the village of Castleton, stopped briefly at the little general store for a few postcards –the local pork sausages looked so good Nigel couldn’t resist –so that’s tomorrows breakfast sorted.

Onwards on the rather narrow pavement passed old cottages and a couple of pubs and Hotels. There were a lot of walkers/ramblers all with stout walking shoes and some with sticks heading in various directions – some toward the Castle others to Mam Tor –

we could see both but even though the Castle is maintained by English Heritage it’s only accessible on foot and you’re pretty fit. It was a struggle on the 2G’s to even get to the Visitors Centre but Nigel did – just to get a fridge magnet.

We explored the rest of the village finding the ‘Emporium’ (Antiques / junk) in what was originally the Rope Makers cottage and workshop.

Various other artisan shops for Jewellery and silk goods as well as the ‘Best Fish & Chip Shop’ – all were closed – for the Bank Holiday presumably.

There is a lovely brook running through the village which afforded some nice pics.

All too soon the clouds started to build and the cold started getting to us as well. We opted to get some fresh bread and return to Voyager for a warming bowl of soup – which we ate to the sound of drumming rain and hail on the roof.

Between showers Nigel emptied the grey and refilled the fresh tanks and dealt with the Toilet cassette. Now some Bloggers and You-Tubers seem to get away with emptying their cassettes twice a week – it must be all the medications we take that means we have to empty daily. That and Nigel refusing to pee in a bottle – unless he’s in hospital he says.

The rest of the day was relaxing – TV reading etc.

Tuesday 7th May 2019

The weather has improved (doesn’t it always seem to after a Bank Holiday) so today we are off to visit Chatsworth House and Garden. On the way we did another shop at Morrisons in Chesterfield – it took a bit longer than normal as we were not familiar with the layout.

Then as we left their car park Nigel noticed a warning light on the dash board. It was orange and in the shape of a bulb. We pulled over & Nigel jumped out to check the exterior lights were all working. They seemed to be so we pushed on. When we were parked up in Chatsworth Car Park (no cost for Blue Badge users – bonus) Nigel got out the laptop & looked up the lights meaning in the Fiat manual – basically an exterior light –  so we checked again and still couldn’t find any failure.

I sorted a quick sandwich for lunch while Nigel got the 2G’s out and ready for our exploration of the gardens.

We headed to the house first (not sure how much we would be able to see) and were met at the ornate gate by a couple of volunteers. We parked up our scooters behind their hut and borrowed a wheelchair for the house. Nigel pushed me up the fair incline to the entrance and in to the pay desk. No reduction for disabled or carer here – but we were quickly told that with use of the lift we could see the entire house (all 4 floors) the same as able bodied people so paying full price seems fair.

All the rooms and collections are very impressive and the guides in each of them are more than happy to pass on addition odd facts – I won’t spoil it for you but if you visit pay particular attention to the violin in the music room.

After the house we did the gardens (quick return of the wheelchair & pickup of the 2G’s first)  – very large with

a gravity fed cascade as well as statues,

Selfie 1

flowers,

trees,

a maze

maze 1

and a rockery bigger than most houses with a wonderful waterfall feature.

rockery 1rockery 2

There is something of interest around every corner – truly amazingly breath-taking.

A wonderful day – and loads of photos and video taken.

Back to Voyager – drive back to site – get pitched up again – outside chores for Nigel while I sorted our meal.

Unload all the cameras to the laptops – and a quick scroll through the pics we took – looks good for a nice video on our YouTube channel as well as here.

TV & bed.

Wednesday 8th May 2019

Rain all day – so a total chill day with diary stuff for me and a bit of video work for Nigel – well a start anyway.

Thursday 9th May 2019

Our data expired on the 3 network SIM in the MiFi – Nigel thought we had another somewhere but we couldn’t find it anywhere. So just mobile data on our phones until we get another one.

That’s OK as its return home today – my next Dental appointment looms – as well as a pile of washing, then ironing and a bit of sewing on the fitted bedsheets so they fit better.

Oh and Nigel’s little grey cells had been pondering on our warning light issue and suddenly realised that he hadn’t checked the number plate lights –  and one of them was out. Now both replaced with LED ones from EBAY.

Ironbridge & Bakewell

Tuesday 30th April 2019

Off again for another few days before my next dentist visit. This time we are going to a Camping and Caravanning Club ‘meet’ in Bakewell for the May Day weekend but to break up the journey we are stopping first at the Caravan and Motorhome Club site at High Onn for a few nights.

The journey was pretty uneventful, apart from some road works on the M5, until we got to within a mile of the site in the little village of Marston. There, as we turned a corner, we met a big sign in the road saying ‘Road Closed Ahead’. We stopped’ put on the hazard flashers while Nigel walked past the sign to find out if we could get through. He found a workman after a couple of hundred meters who said ‘You might be able to’ – very helpful. We had no option really so went for it hoping that we wouldn’t have to turn Voyager and Betty around in the lane only just wide enough for us anyway. We were lucky! When we got to the end of the designated section we found a large gang of workmen preparing the top dressing machine – with just enough room for us to get past.

We arrived just after half three. The site wardens were very friendly booked us in and took payment efficiently and pointed out the site facilities on the site sheet. It’s a bit basic, just water and emptying facilities no amenity block – but that’s OK as we have our own anyway. We were offered a selection of pitches so picked one with a good view for the satellite dish as well as of the view out the side windows.

High On pitched

So pitched up, levelled and electricity connected it was out with the 2G’s and off for an explore around the site – interesting ‘Air Raid Shelters’ in the adjacent field

(a note on the site map suggesting there is a Health & Safety nightmare if you dare to try and enter them) so out with the camera.

We found lots of good stuff in the Information Room some copies of local walks and Bike rides. The wardens advised that all could easily be handled with our scooters except the steps to the towpath mentioned on one of the walks – if we can’t find a way around we will just forgo that bit.

We decided on the shortest of the walks and set off towards Little Onn where we could check our accessibility to the tow path of the Shropshire Union Canal. On the way we passed old RAF buildings left over from the wartime airfield of Wheaton Aston. Now defunct and owned by a pig farm the remains of the Control Tower are still recognisable.

RAF Control Tower

I suppose they can’t all be turned into Museums but I think there should at least be a plaque or notice board placed to preserve the memory.

The trundle was good – only about an hour – some good pics and confirmation of the warden’s opinion – only step access to the canal tow path.

A couple of lived in Canal narrowboats moored by the bridge were good to see.

Back at Voyager it was a quick meal and a bit of TV before bed.

Wednesday 1st May 2019

After a quiet and restful night we awoke fairly early. The sun was trying to break through quite a lot of cloud – but the forecast is for rain later so we are up and away double quick today.

We are visiting Ironbridge Gorge where there are several museums and sites of interest. It is in fact too much for one visit so our plan is to do Blists Hill Victorian Town first and play it by ear from then on.

Parking Voyager in the Coach Park – the 2G’s were out and we set forth to the entrance – hanging back a little to let the coach full of school children get in first. The staff were very friendly and helped us through the entry process. Although all doors were big enough for the scooters some of the angles were very tight but we managed with not too much difficulty.

Once out into the ‘Town’ everything was great – it was like stepping back in time. Shops displaying things from the past – with prices to match were well done. Most were open with ‘assistants’ inside who were very keen to talk and pass on little snippets of further information.

The site is quite large and made up not only of original buildings (Iron works, Blast furnace etc)

but there are many buildings that have been brought in and rebuilt around the site. These have been done with much thought and skill and all look as if they had been there for years.

They complete the story of the time in a much smaller area which makes for a very interesting experience.

All of the shops, cottages and workshops had roaring fires inside so were very welcoming on a cool day.

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The knowledgeable staff, all dressed in period costume, were happy to chat.

There was even an area set up as a Fairground with a steam engine powered Merry Go Round.

In fact the only down side was the predicted rain that brought our visit to a premature close.

We did get annual ‘passports’ so can revisit on a better day if we are back in the area within the next year.

Lunch in Voyager then we drove the three or so miles to see the very impressive Ironbridge itself. The rain was still about so we just stopped in the car park for a few minutes and took some photos.

Irnbrg 1Irn brg CPIrn brdg twn

The journey back to site was OK mostly but the last couple of miles on the very narrow lanes was a challenge with many local cars trying to use them at the same time. It was interesting to see three small cars reversing ahead of us around a corner to a spot we could pass them.

We eventually made it back and had a quiet evening checking the photos and video we took along with a bit of TV before bed.

Thursday 2nd May 2019

Well today we had planned to have a good trundle around the lanes but the rain had other ideas. It showered for most of the day so it ended up a lazy one inside with a bit of cross stitch and Blog work for Nigel.

Despite the weather we decided to have a tapas lunch with the heating turned up for that Mediterranean feel.

After our evening meal the weather improved no end so we thought a bit of fresh air would do us good. We went for a trundle up the lane  to check out High Onn itself – found a house of the same name

High Onn Hse

– and using Google maps found the Onn as well – it was just a bit of raised ground (may have been something defensive in earlier times)

– took pics but they are pretty uninspiring.

More TV and sleep.

Friday 3rd May 2019

We are on the move again – with a top up shop on the way. The journey was a little fraught with road works and a ten minute down pour as we left Morrisons – just long enough for us to get soaked getting back and into Voyager. By the time we had everything loaded into the fridge and cupboards it was all over.

We arrived at the C&CC Rally at Bakewell about 3.30. It was in a field near the town but because of all the recent rain things were rather boggy. My impression was that it is not that well organised – they were quick to take our money but there was no information pack. They were siting motorhomes around the peri-track road with their front wheels only just off it – so getting off again would be easier.

Nigel did well reversing Betty into position (almost in line with Voyager anyway). He put wood blocks under each of the levelling pads to spread the weight and we settled in for three days wild camping.

The rain was a bit on and off but we did venture out for a short trundle after our evening meal – just to get the lay of the land and see the best way to get into town. It was pretty short though as another rainstorm caught us – we returned wet and cold but Voyager was warm so we were soon happy again.

We didn’t watch much TV tonight so as to preserve our batteries.

Saturday 4th May 2019

After a good night’s sleep we showered (we are more confident with the slightly unusual procedure now) had breakfast and while I did the washing up Nigel did the outside chores- emptying the toilet cassette and grey water – needed a trip over to the far corner of the field.

We finally got away for our trundle about 11.00 (no rain today – well maybe a shower later the forecast says) heading into town.

Bakwl brdg 3

According to Nigel you can’t visit Bakewell without having a bit of Bakewell tart – so that’s the first stop. The town was very busy with tourists and locals but we soon found the cake shop and Nigel bought a tart – I was expecting a curd one but it was an iced frangipane one (like Mr Kipling’s).

We decided there were just too many people about town so made our way across the bridge of keys and onward to the start of the Monsal trail.

This is an 8 mile disused railway line with several tunnels and a viaduct which has been tarmacked for the most part. It is great for walkers, cyclists and us on the 2Gs.

It would be ideal on a warm sunny day but we had a cold sunny one – I had two pairs of gloves on and although Nigel had jeans on his knees were soon getting cold – I must make that knee warmer I’ve promised him.

We didn’t get as far as we had hoped turning back after a couple of miles – not even getting to the first tunnel. We will save that for our next trip – hopefully it’ll be warmer.

We got back to Voyager before the showers and found the solar panels had done their job getting the leisure batteries back up to 100%.

So after our evening meal and a good slice of Bakewell tart each we settled down – downloading pics and videos – diary stuff and PC Blog work – and some TV too (now that we know we are OK with 270Ah’s of leisure battery power and three 100W solar panels).

Winchcombe – Castle & Steam

Sunday 14th April 2019 – (continued)

We arrived at Winchcombe at about 1.30 and within half an hour we were watered up pitched up and connected to the electric.

I always find travelling tiring so Nigel insisted I have a couple of hours siesta – it gives him time to get the satellite and Wi-Fi set up without me getting under his feet (as they are up on the seat under my new quilt.)

So it was about 4.30 when we ventured out – first a quick wiz around the site then to the Information Room – were we found a few pamphlets for local attractions and some info on walks and cycle routes. We then popped into Reception to check if any of them were no good for us – kissing gates, styles etc. It turned out that most of them had something that would stop us – all that is except one – although the wardens didn’t know if we could manage it as they described it as covered in rabbit holes and muddy in places.

 Well you know us – never say never – so off we set to test it out. We found it well within the capabilities of the 2G’s even if we would have to give the tires a good wash when we got back. We only went as far as the country lane it joins tonight – just to prove we could use it for a good trundle to Winchcombe town tomorrow.

Back at Voyager we had a lovely meal of gammon with new potatoes and veg. Then did a bit of laptop and kindle ‘work’ before bed time.

Monday 15th April 2019

We set off pretty early, taking a packed lunch with us, using the rabbit holey path we checked out and then on using the country lane into Gratton where we saw a nice old church

Gratton church

and tucked behind a couple of thatched cottages a very old tower (privately owned and in need of some restoration).

We added a coin into their collection – just a little to help.

Gratton hs
Old Houses in Gratton
Hill view
View from the top of the hill on route to Greet

Progressing on another mile or so to Greet

(a pretty small village – with a mix of old and new) where we found the Railway station. It is one of the middle stations on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway – a 14 mile heritage line running steam trains on most days – unfortunately not Mondays.

We progressed on to Winchcombe town itself – plenty of old buildings in the centre with quite a bit of new build on the edge – and a very large senior school (sorry Academy) on our approach road – it had its roof covered in solar panels – so a power station as well!

school
I prefer the older School building!

We stopped at a nice looking café in town, thought we could have a warming bowl of soup and a coffee and to use their facilities of course – why do you need to go every 2 hours when we get older?

Cafe selfe

No soup available so just a coffee. Then on towards Sudeley Castle – only as far as the gate house entrance

Sudeley gt

where we stopped for our packed lunch – in a nice sunny spot although still a chilling wind.

Then back on our return journey via Budgens for a top up of shopping – back just before 4 so a short late siesta for me before cooking the Pork Escalope meal. Chores then TV until bed time.

Tuesday 16th April 2019

Today there are showers predicted and one arrived just as we were about to set off – so a slight delay to our trundle – we still aimed at getting to Winchcombe station in time for the 11.00 train to Cheltenham Race Course.

We had to deploy the emergency poncho’s on route when another shower arrived but even so we made it – and even with a que at the booking desk were well in time for the train. We left the 2G’s on the platform (the Station Master said he would keep an eye on them) and boarded the train.

It only took 10 minutes to get to Cheltenham  with a short stop at Gotherington on the way – where there is a well preserved old station with flowers. We alighted at the terminus while the loco was watered and moved to the other end of the train (they always like to pull apparently). Back on we retraced our steps through Winchcombe and on to Toddington where we got off again – there is another station at Broadway but there is a lot more to see where we stopped.

We dodged the rain drops a bit while having a slow stroll around the exhibits (and making use of the facilities – getting older means more planning in this respect).

Then as the rain became harder we went into the Waiting Room (more like a small museum library) where we sat on the old bench and ate our lunch.

All done and when the rain eased we ventured toward Platform 2 for the southbound train back – but first we had to go up – across – and down the iron bridge –

rail brdg

the steps were a struggle for me but Nigel was very patient waiting for quite a while as I recovered in the middle – he did get some good pics – so worth it.

Only a short wait for our train

and once on-board only a few minutes before we were back at Winchcombe. The 2G’s were happy to see us and they were eager to take us back to Voyager past lots of lovely flowers along the roadside.

I like that we can’t go too fast (max 8mph) because we see odd things as we travel – we get to stop and snap a bit of sculpture in the corner of a farmers field – all too easy to miss even if on a bicycle.

scuplture

Cows, or in this case a Bull, can also provide an unexpected snap.

bull

We were back at Voyager in time for a nap before dinner.

Wednesday 17th April 2019

Back home today – only relatively short trips at the moment (six dental appointments in two months plays havoc with holidays).

We had a last look around the site, did a bit of camera work, and we went and told the staff what a lovely time we had here.

Our journey home was event free – just a short shopping detour to Tesco – and once all parked up it was time for —– the washing – oh well it had to be done!

MCC Rally

Thursday 11th April 2019

Today is the start of our Motorhome trips for this year. We have spent the last few days getting Voyager and Betty sorted – hopefully we haven’t forgotten anything.

We decided to have a go at Rallying this year so we can make some friends as well as picking up tips etc. To that end we have joined the ‘Motor Caravanners Club’ who have rallies all over the country on most weekends of the year as well as a few in Europe.

Our first is near Banbury – so not too far – but an area we have only previously driven through. So we found ourselves in the rally field of Barnstones Caravan Park in Great Bourton at just after 3PM.

VoyagerRally 1

We did the usual explore finding water and the Recycling area and got chatting to a couple sitting at a picnic table near where we were pitched. We were joined by another couple shortly after and spent a good half hour chewing the fat. In the first few minutes I decided that if all rallies were like this we would be attending many more.

We retired to Voyager for our dinner (my famous sweet chilli prawns) followed by a bit of TV. There was a lovely sunset and we did venture out into the cold to take a few pics but they weren’t the best – still never mind there will be more.

Sunset 2Sunset 3

Friday 12th April 2019

We woke to a lovely spring morning – a hoar frost on the grass but the sun soon burned that away although it did remain chilly in the shade. Nigel was out and about doing his outside chores while I cleared away the breakfast things.

We then set off on our planned trundle to the next village. On the way we wanted to find the Village Hall where we were all to meet up later. We missed it and were out into the countryside in no time.

Country View

After a mile we found Cropredy which turned out to be a sleepy old place but well looked after.

CropredyCropredy 2

We needed to find a shop to get those few things we had forgotten. Luckily we found a tourist map on a notice board which showed where it was.

Cop map

Bridge Stores was right next to the North Oxford Canal so after completing our shop we headed down the slope (a bit steep) to the tow path – heading back in the general direction of Bourton.

We met one man fishing – he said he hadn’t caught anything – but that was all. I must admit I prefer doing Canals on week days as there is usually less people than at weekends.

Getting off the path at School Lane wasn’t so easy due to a step – I got off Grace and let Nigel take both scooters up it – but he managed OK so maybe I should have had a go.

So we headed back – stopping to take a few pics of flowers

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and inquisitive sheep

Sheep

as well as asking a local where the Village Hall was – getting back to a nice warm Voyager just in time for lunch.

Then a siesta and chill until an early tea so we could trundle to the hall to meet with our fellow campers.

We trundled down to the Hall at about 7 o’clock – finding the path to the disabled entrance at the back easily from the instructions supplied by the Rally Marshall. The doorway was well lit and ramped and led via a short corridor to an old style hall with two rows of tables and the usual pretty uncomfortable chairs.

We met some lovely people and were made to feel very welcome – the wine and nibbles flowed a plenty and many a laugh was had when recalling the mishaps and stories of trips away. There was also a quiz which was great fun – not that we did very well. All in all a great night.

We were back at Voyager just after ten so a bit of TV and off to bed.

Saturday 13th April 2019

Another hoar frost this morning but the sun has got his hat on and although still a bit chilly it looks lovely and spring like – what’s left of the daffodils are holding their heads up.

Today we are trundling into Banbury by way of some back lanes as there is no pavement on the busy main road for the first mile or so. This was a good idea as only a few cars passed us – we joined the main road at Chapel Lane and used the path into the town centre – took about an hour all together.

We found Banbury very nice – a mix of old and new like most towns. The cross (per the nursery rhyme) is now a roundabout

Banbury crs

but there is a lovely statue of the ‘fine lady upon a horse’.

Banbury lady

We had got cold on our journey so spent some time in the ‘Castle Quay shopping mall’ – not too many vacant units (a bit unusual these days) and a good mix of shops and department stores.

Banbury 9

We found a relatively quiet spot where we ate our packed lunch while people watching – with a brief chat with some of our fellow campers who had come to town on the local bus.

After a little more window shopping we heading back – stopping at the large Tesco on the way for a few things – and then retracing our earlier route. A good run with no problems saw us back within the hour.

Time for an afternoon nap before getting ready for our second evening in the Village Hall – no tea tonight as we put our fish super order in yesterday.

Now used to the arrangements we arrived in good time for our second enjoyable social evening. Even when the fish supper was a little late and our hosts started to look worried I don’t think many of the group noticed as they were all chatting and having a good laugh. The wine continued to flow and the stories became a little more elaborate but again we had a really good time. The quiz was a little obscure but it did bring much hilarity – didn’t do too well again!

We made it back to Voyager just before eleven watched a bit of TV then zonked out.

Sunday 14th April 2019

Last day of the rally – a final get together on the field with a cup of coffee (which was bring your own)

Rally end

– thankyou speech and general chat about what a good time we all had. We have really enjoyed ourselves and have even agreed to meet one of our new friends at another Rally on the first May Day weekend. It’s in Bakewell – so a bit of planning to do.

So we got everything stowed and set forth on our short trip to Winchcombe Camping & Caravan Club site – but we can’t get there until after 1PM so will be stopping on route for a leisurely Tapas lunch in a lay bye.

American Museum Bath

Wednesday 27th March 2019

Today, after a long drab winter, we are off to the American Museum near Bath. I have recently taken up patchwork quilting and there is a large display of antique ones there, as well as other things American.

The weather was good so after making up our packed lunch we set forth. Today we are using Dobby as the old manor house has access to all floors using a small lift. Nigel checked out their website access statement which showed the G’s are too big for the lift.

There is a lot of road closures around the area at the moment which meant a bit of a circuitous route but we made good time arriving shortly after they opened at 10.00. We found parking was very good and using the wheelchair for the quilt exhibition as well as the museum itself was best (even ‘Little Rascal’ would have been too big for some of it).

The Kaffe Fassett Exhibition where the original eighteenth century quilts were hung near the modern ones they had inspired was well worth the visit and gave me as a relatively new quilter many ideas for future projects.

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The three floors of the actual museum are all accessible (very unusual in a listed building) and show everything from the early settlers through to the modern age with many interactive exhibits. There were many very knowledgeable guides about the place who were only too happy to pass on extra information in a friendly way.

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After spending quite a while looking around and at their display of probably 50 odd quilts Nigel left me outside on a bench in the warm sun while he swapped the wheelchair for the scooter. We had our lunch – the only disappointment of the day was that the allocated picnic area was entirely in the shade and a bit chilly.

Then on for an explore of the gardens

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before calling it a day and fighting the traffic again on our return home.

Museums Day

Wednesday 31st October 2018

Our plans for today changed at the last minute. It was to be a visit to the seaside but I was let down – my food mixer sale fell through.

So as we had everything ready for a day out we decided to visit some local attractions that we hadn’t yet got around to. In fact as we were checking opening hours on the interweb we came across another TripAdvisor recommendation.

We set forth with Voyager but without Betty (just taking the wheelchair today) – first stop Tesco for fuel (cheapest in the area) then on a few miles to the REME Museum at RAF Lyneham. It only opened to the public in June 2017.

It turned out to be quite a find – lots of exhibits to check out and ponder over. My dad was in the REME for his National Service – spending time in Korea – but all I know is that he drove a truck. He would never talk about his time there. Years later I saw a scar on his leg and asked him about it – a shrapnel wound he said, but would not elaborate.

So our visit to the Museum brought memories of my father – we lost him in May last year – I’m sure he would have enjoyed a visit though.

After spending a couple of hours we returned to Voyager – their car park has 3 spaces large enough for Motorhomes.

It was still early so we decided to go to Lydiard Park in Swindon. We had our lunch when we arrived watching dog walkers and a few young families enjoying the fresh air as we sat in warm comfort looking through the windows.

After we had tidied up we went out for a look at the autumn colours as the trees lost their leaves.

We have visited the park several times over the years but never been into the house/Museum. Now was the time to put that right.

We spent a lovely hour or so looking around – another well maintained museum detailing the history of the house and St John family who lived there for 500 years.

The rooms are kept in their Georgian design with many Portraits of family through the year and some stunning plasterwork and fireplaces.

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Entry to the walled garden is included in the price but we left that for warmer weather – what we had seen had made for a lovely enjoyable day – which made up for the bad start.

Forest Glade

Saturday 20th October 2018

We awoke again to another lovely day. A couple of the vans that came in yesterday left early this morning, guess they were just on a stopover.

We are on the move today but before setting off we both had showers in the van. Normally we use the site facilities but here although they have a disabled shower room it is unheated and I’m a delicate flower don’t you know. It didn’t take too long and works surprisingly well – see an early blog for details of how we setup the bathroom to our requirements.

So on our way just before 11 o’clock – first stop Exeter for some top up shopping. We were going to go to Morrison’s but the traffic was bad almost as soon as we got off the dual carriageway so we opted for Sainsbury’s instead as it was much closer.

All done and put away we moved on and stopped in a lay bye on the way to Honiton. A quick sandwich and then as Forest Glade’s book in time was not until 2.30 I had an hours nap – lovely in our warm van with the sun coming through the windows.

Our booking email had provided directions and a map – with explicit instructions not to use Sat Nav – so we didn’t. We followed the recommended route deciding when about half way that if this was the good way we were very glad we didn’t try the other way because this was a bit hairy at times with narrow lanes and only occasional passing places.

When we got there the site itself was lovely with lots of things to do including an indoor swimming pool. We got pitched up with no issues and then went for our customary exploration trundle just to check things out.

We did find that most of the recommended walks were too muddy for us.  I collected a few windfall things from the ground as we toured about and did a little Facebook collage of them when we got back.

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After our meal we just chilled for the evening.

Sunday 21st October 2018

A lovely sunrise today although a bit chilly this morning. Nigel did all the outdoor chores as usual while I did the washing up after breakfast.

We went for a bit of a trundle before lunch along the lanes – not too far as there are no close villages or things to see so mainly for a breath of fresh air.

This afternoon we just chilled – we do need to have a relaxing day to recharge now and again – in fact I do more and sleep better when we are on ‘holiday’ than most of the time we are at home – which just goes to prove that more trips are needed.

Monday 22nd October 2018

Time to return home – the weather is looking OK although we did have a shower overnight and although not too damp it is definitely chilly in the mornings.

We left Forest Glade just before 11 o’clock and even after Nigel chatted with Reception were not sure which way to go. So we thought we would try to retrace our route – but unfortunately we went wrong

somewhere and ended up using lanes that got narrower and then muddier

even finding what appeared to be a cutting through a rock which showed evidence of many scrapes from other vehicles.

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Not a road for a 5 tonne Motorhome!!

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We eventually made it to a two lane road at a point which we found on the map later was less than 2 miles from where we started. We had done 6 miles of lanes to get there. We’ve noted not to use this campsite again – nice though it is.

A few miles further and we were on the M5 heading North. It was still early and we had no reason to hurry home so decided to make a little detour and check out Burnham-On-Sea as it was the start of another railway featured in episode 5 of ‘Walking Britain’s Lost Railways’ which we enjoyed last Friday.

We have skirted around its edge when visiting Brean over many years but never stopped – so today we went right to the esplanade and found a very Motorhome friendly car park with space enough for us.

Voyager Burnham

We take up 2 entire parking spaces and usually have to pay for both even with my blue badge but here ‘Disabled’ are free so we parked up got out the 2G’s and had a good trundle onto the jetty where train passengers could alight and join waiting ships.

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Then along the prom past the Pier around St Andrews Church

and back through the crowded shopping streets to Voyager. We did buy a fridge magnet and new windmill for Grace but couldn’t find a postcard of Burnham (Sold out – end of season etc).

A warming soup for lunch then we set off again this time completing our journey home with no issues on the motorway.

So that is the end of our scheduled holidays this year – until we think of another one of course.

Addendum

Since we have been home the Motorhome insurance renewal has arrived and Nigel has upgraded us to include Breakdown Recovery in Europe from mid-November so now that we will be fully covered I think a bit of winter sun may be called for. Especially with all the berries we’ve seen on bushes this week (from my childhood I remember that means a bad winter) it’s got to be warmer in Spain or Portugal in January February hasn’t it?

Lydford and Okehampton

Thursday 18th October 2018

Today the sun has returned but not the temperatures we had a few weeks back (high of 18deg) so after breakfast and the chores we set of again on the cycleway but in the opposite direction to yesterday.

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The trundle this way is more open with some wonderful views,

 

and after a mile or two we found Lake Viaduct this one is made with stone again in 1874 and is very high –

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a bit scary looking over the edge.

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We continued on and eventually got to Lydford – a small village with mostly old houses and in the oldest part a Castle and a Church. The Castle is maintained by English Heritage and is a typical Norman Keep built in 1195.

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Unfortunately the gate was not wide enough for our scooters but we were able to get some good photos from nearby in the Churchyard next door.

This 13th century church has some good stained glass and some very useful booklets and postcards with an honesty box for payment.

Nigel picked up a selection and took some photos for me to see later while I chatted with a couple we had as neighbours on the site last night and who had coincidently decided to visit Lydford as well.

It was just after 1 o’clock and as we had not brought a picnic lunch today we decided to try the Castle Inn just up the road.

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We parked the scooters outside and walked the few yards into their restaurant. A lovely old feel English Pub with a good selection on the menu.

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We decided to have the home made wild mushroom soup.

Cas Inn soup

We have been let down before with ‘home made’ food but this was indeed the real deal and probably the best mushroom soup I have ever had, really tasty and well-seasoned.

After our break we set forth following the signs to Lydford Gorge where there is an impressive waterfall. It is a National Trust site and for non-members the entrance fee is over £10 – as members we could get in for free had it not been for the fact that there is no ramped access – all steps in fact – some of which we could see from the road bridge we crossed.

Lyford Gorge 4

It’s a shame but I suppose in a Gorge you will have steep sides that need steps – we will have to wait a bit longer to find a good waterfall that can be seen from our scooters.

We returned to the cycle way and made our way back to Voyager as by now it was getting much cooler in the shade and the six or so miles would take us about an hour to do.

With the hills we have done today Nigel’s scooter was starting to get low on battery power but we made it back OK. It looks like 2 years or so is what we can expect from our scooter batteries for the way we use them.

Voyager was warm and welcoming when we got back so while I prepared our meal Nigel cleaned and put the scooters away and onto charge ready for our next good trundle tomorrow.

Meal then TV and relax before bed.

Friday 19th October 2018

Yet another sunny day so after breakfast and chores we were off on the 2G’s heading into Oakhampton, again using the cycleway over the Meldon Viaduct but this time continuing on past the station and quarry.

Following the heritage railway line and meeting more walkers and riders today – must be the sun encouraging people to venture out. On our way we saw a hawk in a tree – we stopped and got a photo

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but he was too quick when he flew off so didn’t manage to snap another – he was big though and graceful as he flew to a tree further down the path.

We had to use a tunnel under the Okehampton by-pass (A30) which seems to be very busy all of the time. On we went and as we neared the town we found a bench by the path so stopped and admired the view of part of Okehampton Castle – taking a few photos.

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The town itself is quite small and built in the valley between the rolling hills around it. We followed the signs to the centre where we found a few charity shops and independents with at least two supermarkets. We did a bit of shopping for fresh bread and fruit we were running short of before having a quick look at the Museum Courtyard and taking some pics of the Town Hall area.

We had brought a picnic with us today so followed the signs to Simmons Park which we found to be a lovely little wooded area with good pathways alongside a fast running small river way.

We found a spot in the sun where we ate our sandwiches while watching young men erect a travelling funfair just over a bridge on what looked like a car park.

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Then a further explore of the rest of the park – again the plants have started to go over but it would have been lovely a few weeks back.

Knowing that it would soon start to cool down we decided not to hang about but head back to Voyager. Up the steep hill to the start of the cycleway by Okehampton railway station which also has a museum which we left for our next visit.

On our way through one of the cuttings we saw movement in the ferns beside us and watched a fox climb the steep side only to disappear when it reached the top – it’s lovely to see the wild life so close while we trundle slowly along – you miss so much even if only cycling.

When we got back to the site we found a lot more Motorhomes and Caravans had pitched up while we were out and a few more arrived while we were sorting ourselves out and having our meal – the fine weather has encouraged them I’m sure.