Friday, April 24

The Camargue

Easter and a return to the South of France, it was such an invigorating trip last year we decided to return, not to the Cote D'azur but The Camargue. We did a one day visit last year and that was enough to entice us back to Saintes Maries de la mar.

Our van under the stars.

Managed an early escape on the Good Friday afternoon and got as far as Strathclyde Park campsite, which meant I could once more take part in the Parkrun there. Then off to Cambridge to find the certificated site I had booked there was totally inadequate, we were in danger of getting bogged down and not getting to the ferry next day. The 3 horseshoes inn in Madingley said we could park in the carpark if we bought a meal and that was very good of them, it was nice and quiet there. Next day, Easter Sunday off onto the ferry and over to France, made it as far as Floret de'Orient, an ideal stopping off point, so well positioned we stopped there again on the return.

Planned to stop over for a couple of nights in Arles but a big festival was on and the had built the fun fare right on top of the camping car parking, driving round the city was a nightmare so decided to go on to Saintes Maries instead.

The Colosseum, Arles.

On the way we passed hundreds of cars heading into Arles, no idea where they thought they would get a park. A couple of nights on an aire but then went onto Camping de la Bris for another 5 nights, we were so comfy and layed back, kept putting off moving and exploring further.

Found there was a bus that went into Arles, 1 euro per trip, Arles has lots of great Roman ruins so had a good look around the Colosseum and theatre, was able to collect a few more medals the French government produce for the various landmarks and antiquities.

The auditorium, Arles.

Took a boat trip onto The Camargue, see the Bulls and White horses

Bulls and white horses

Generally I spent my time walking or cycling, even a little running around the area as well as managing to claim a few geocaches.


The last couple of days in the South were spent at Aigues-Mortes a fantastic place dating back to the Crusades.

We camped at Les Poisson D'Argent, very unusual aire as the price of camping included the right to fish. This was different in itself as it was a salt water lake. Think the restaurant had quite a good reputation as well, but we never partook. Took a walk along the main road into Aigues-Mortes.


On the way back to Calais called in once more at Floret D'Orient, what a difference 9 days made, trees now in leaf or blossom, and 30c this time around.

Khali enjoying the warmth, blossom and bird song.

Khali fitted in very well, enjoying the warmth as she seem to be a bit of a cold critter, this was her first trip abroad and her longest, she was a little star.

Looking back it seemed to be a very foodie holiday with the cordon bleu meal at the 3 horseshoes, Bull steaks in Sta Maries and ending at Au Côte d’Argent in Calais.

Wednesday, December 24

Still running

I have been running now for about 3 months, not continuously of course. The dark nights make it quite difficult to keep motivated but I have been doing the 5K Parkrun on a Saturday morning and some indoor exercise's in the evening, just half an hour of light weights and stretching.
Too keep thing moving I did a Santa run for charity, raising £130 so far and signed up for the 10K Balmoral run after Easter.

Friday, November 14

Autumn break 2014

Alnwick Gardens

We spent a week of out October break in Northumberland, near to the coast. Met up with a couple of friends we hadnt seen for a few years, Alnwick Castle gardens

Alnwick Gardens

Visited a few little villages along that coast, doing a few geocaches in the areas, end of the day we had a walk around the foot of  Bamburgh Castle.

Had a full day on Lindisfarne, walking around most of it, again doing a few of the geocaches on there.

Boat huts

Had a whole day walking around the ground and house of Cragside, very interesting place with some installation art on show, connected with light.

Joseph Swan inverted the light bulb.

A quick visit to see the kids on Teesside and off home via Edinburgh We had a couple of night in Edinburgh, at our usual stopping off point, Mortonhall, however, it seem to have changed hands or at least the restaurant/bar on the site. Just not the same, food wasn't as good as before, we were even getting to know some of the staff after years of visiting. Dont think we will be going back, probably start using the Caravan Club site on the other side of the city, better site anyway, just no bar.

Will miss these guys at Mortonhall.

Khali cat has really taken to the camper van, well behaved and very much at home and I managed to keep up with the running.

Friday, October 31

I started running

The end of the summer break and back to college, we had a few weekend visits up to Banff links camp, Khali's first trip out in the motorhome and she took to it like a duck to water, really calmed down over the last month or so, catnip helps.

Khali in the camper.

I decided to try to take up running once more and started the Couch to 5K program, happy to say it went really well and I am now running continuously for over 30 minutes, completing the program.
On our final outing I did a little beach fishing, I didnt catch anything but met another fisherman who taught me lots about making traces and casting.

View one morning from Banff links.

So the main season finishes after the October break and Banff will close till next year, sadly.

Tuesday, October 28

Stac Polly Conquest

So after the disappointment of Skye and a brief time back in Aberdeen, off again to the West coast and Assynt, much quieter here as was glad to find. I tried a new site over there, Clachtoll campsite and its idilic white beach, a real gem, even the drive up to it from the main road outside of Lochinver was a treat. Had a wild night as the remains of hurricane Bertha his us, tents blown down and the van rocking from side to side. In the morning the sky cleared and it became such a lovely day if still a little breezy, took a bike ride out onto the peninsula and played around with the video facility on my new camera.  
I didn't have much joy with the fishing around the camp site area itself but after a geocaching walk just outside Lochinver I tried my luck in the harbour, 18 mackerel in about 20 minutes and I nearly hooked a seal.
After a few days at that site I went over to my favourite site at Altandu, did some more exploring on my bike as well. No joy on the brown trout fishing, still after one of those little devils in the lochans above the campsite. After a few attempts over the year, this time a eventually made it through the maze of towers to the top of Stac Polly, a hairy scramble at times, I later celebrated at the Am Faran Bar.

Stac Polly


Friday, October 17

Skye is full

For the last few weeks of my summer break I did the usual and went over to Skye. Even though the weather wasn't that great it was full of tourists. I have noticed it getting more and more popular over the few years I have been visiting, but this summer it was terrible, so many people. Every where I went was inundated and it got to me in the end.
Started with the usual stop at Loch Greshornish, a few nights and a visit from a friend (Helen), she was quite happy to sit in the quiet of the camper, drinking coffee, as all she had heard in the croft was the constant stream of traffic going passed.

Walk into the Cuillins
Not the best of days weather wise, blowing quite hard and rain on and off, mostly on. So been out and got very wet despite being togged up. Poor light for photography. Hill tops were always covered so no views to be had up there. Just had some very nice scallops for my tea. Had a nice walk but failed to make the tops, had an idea I may take up running to help with stamina.
Had a day fishing on the North of Skye, I caught another species new to me a wrasse which was different and a couple of little pollock, but no mackerel.
Went off over camping at Glen Brittle.

Loch Brittle and headland.

Well this evening will stay with me for a while. Got all set up then had my tea, omelette made with the lovely eggs Helen's chickens laid,. then I went out for a walk, doing the other thing I like, looking for lost tupperware. I took my fishing rod as well. After a 2+ mile walk out onto the headland I found said tuppaware and wanted to continue to the end. Going was very hard, the path disappeared and all the area just turned into bog, the midgies came out and I tell you skinsosoft did nothing much to ease the situation, I was up to my knee on one occasion and I do know how to work my way over such terrain. Anyway gave up trying to get to the head and made my way back, again very difficult and kept coming across bog. I made it back to the path with the help of the GPSr and started back to camp, it was getting on a bit but as I was a mile or so from the camp site and I saw a possible fishing spot so thought I would give it a quick go. You see the guy in the campsite shop said the further up the headland you can get the bigger the fish, that why I wanted to get to the end. First cast and I caught the biggest fish of my life, I tell you I didnt know what I had, I thought it would jump out onto the land and start beating me up, like the pike in the Tom and Jerry cartoons. That is one big Pollack
I turned up at the Quarang, couldnt get a park, The Stour was the same, fortunatly I had plans to explore some less well known areas. The breaking point came when I visited the fairy pools and the place was inundated, at that point I left Skye and went home. The moral of this story, dont bother going to Skye in June, July and August, it could be full.

Tuesday, October 14

Princess, Khaleesi or Khali.

Well we couldnt resist, Felix had left such a hole in our lives we had to get another cat. Her previous name was Princess but neither of us fancied shouting that out loud, we toyed with Khaleesi after the Princess of Game of Thrones and shortened it to Khali.