Friday, June 13

South of France, Easter.

A very sad start to this holiday as Felix passed away a few days before our departure, he will be sadly missed especially on our camper van trips.

Took a day to travel down to Cambridge after stopping the night we got an early start for Dover and the ferry, we then travelled for a few hours to reach the village of  Bellicourt, a commune in the department of Aisne in Picardy in northern France. We used the aire outside the tourist information center. 

 The area was the site of numerous intense combat actions and battles during World War 1 and an interesting area to see the St-Quentin canal, the canal at this time formed part of the Hindenburg Line, a German defensive position built during the winter of 1916–1917.

Off again, next stop Chalon-sur-Saone to pay homage to Nicéphore Niépce with a visit to the photography museum. Had enough time to visit the museum and a bit of a walk around exploring the area and do a few geocaches.

Then a dash all the way down to the South coast and Agay, a campsite that once set up we had half a dozen step to the beach and a couple more to the Mediterranean sea, below is a view of the site from across the bay.

Had a few walks around the area, one around the bay of Agay.

Two more in the hills above the town

A day trip to Nice with a walk along the Promenade des Anglais, a trip around the old city on a mini train, but most of the time was spent on the hill above the city, looking and photographing around the old graveyards.

At some point towards the end of our stay, Germany's schools seemed to have kicked out and they descended on us, the campsite became a lot more noisy, so we decided to pack up a day early and go off to the Camargue.

Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, "Saint Marys of the Sea", is the capital of the Camargue we stopped for one night on another Aire. Getting the early afternoon we seemed to squeeze a lot into 18 hours. A walk around the town souvenir hunting and a visit to the panoramic church fortress, back to the van and an hour or so fishing as the Aire was right on the beach, an early evening stroll around part of the marsh seeing Flamingos and White Egrets. Out on the town later for a meal meeting the only English people on this trip.

On our way back now to Calais, stopped off at Bellville Rhone for the night but still found time to walk around another clean and tidy town, a final french geocache or two. The Aire was just a car park but quiet and safe.
Got to Calais early evening for the ferry first thing in the morning.

After a short visit with the kids, called in at Scone for the weekend before getting home.

A fantastic trip just at the right lime of year for the weather. 
A trip of around 2800 miles over 2 weeks.

Next year will do something similar but travel via Hull and Zeebrugge, taking in Bruges.

Thursday, January 16


On the banks of Loch Ness

Since the campsite at Cullen on the Moray coast went over to the dark side ( statics only ), we have been looking for a substitute, we loved that site. We found Banff links, right on the beach with a fish and chip shop close to and  a do able dash on a Friday evening after work from Aberdeen.

October break took us to The Lake district, weather was terrible, raining most of the time, but I did manage a good walk out of the C&CC site at Keswick onto Skiddaw.

Once the dark nights came in and the fact that most sites close after the October hols, we moved our weekend get away to Stonehaven, the new Caravan Club site there is very good. Its a plan for next year to hopefully see the fireballs celebration there next year.

Christmas break was at another new site at Loch Ness, again very wet weather kept us in doors a lot of the time, but good views of the Loch. A very scary drive home in extremely wind conditions.
A few days at home over Christmas itself  before taking off for the New year on Teesside.

Lower Falls of Foyers, nr Loch Ness

New year on Teesside a bit of geocaching with the kids, before returning home, again calling in at Mortohall to break the journey up. Had the opportunity to go into Edinburgh and partake in the last few days of the festivities, as well as having a bit of fun on a ghost tour.

We went on the big wheel.

That's it 2013, I have had trouble keeping up to date with this blog so to try help I thought I would make a travel journal for 2014.

Collaged Travel journal.

Autumn in The Lakes


On the Old Man of Coniston.

It rained a lot in the week we were here, I climbed Skiddaw from Keswick and went part way up the Old man of Coniston.

Kids in the camper, watching Mars Attacks

Also had a few days in the northeast of England having a night out with the kids in the campervan, did a little geocaching around Whitley Bay

Monday, November 25

Friends on Skye

August 9th and I was off to Skye for a few days, meeting a couple of friends who recently move onto Skye and another who was just visiting.
Always happy to visit the island especially to do a bit of fishing, not a great deal of luck in that area but I did get put onto a possible spot for the future.
Camped on Steve and Helen's drive for the night before going on a nice lone walk to see macleods maidens .

Camping at one of my favourite site on loch Greshornish. I had decided to do a walk from one of my many guide books, The Islands, pocket mountain series. Up Ben Tianaveg offering views over Portree and on to The Storr. On the way up I met a French guy, said his name was Fred ! and he was from Paris. Anyway he was looking at another guide with a little bit of a different route, his was just up and down mine, was a little more convoluted, he joined me on my walk. We got lost a little along the way, but my navigation skills got us through in the end, but a 2.40 hour walk turned into a 4 hour one. We had explored the area more than we might have and I hadn't expected to take in a scramble, saw 5 white tailed eagles, one came very close, oh and no rain.

Jane needing some first aid from Helen.

Monday, October 21

France July 2013

Waiting to embark.

Its been a couple of months since our adventures in France came to an end, memories are fading so I'd better get them down.
Start off on the 16th of July we took a couple of days to get down to Dover, calling off at Hayfield in the Peak District for the night, wanted to visit a friend there, then Canterbury so we were in a good position for the ferry. Record breaking temperatures in London as we were sitting on the M25.
On arriving in France we headed off for Honfleur, never seeing a hint of Calais, picking up where we left off last year, stopping at the Aire there, finally after a year of waiting we had our meal in a restaurant by the quayside, bliss.

Our van on the Aire at Honfleur.

Next stop was Mont Saint Michel, could see signs of the Tour de France that had gone through the area a few days earlier. Stopped in the car park over night, we were getting the hang of living off the leisure battery with the fridge running on gas. Walked along the causeway onto the island there and back. Think we did our first French geocache of the visit.

Mont Saint Michel

La Rochelle was the next port of call, first stopping off just outside at Coulon, a little village with an Aire, could have done with more time here, a little more exploring, but that could have been said of most places we visited. The main reason for visiting was that it was close to La Rochelle and if we couldn't find anywhere to stay we would go back, no need to worry we found a campsite in the city itself. Another evening on the town and we were starting to get in the swing of things, practicing the French as well as enjoying the street entertainment and taking a ride on a Ferris wheel.

Carlotta @ La Rochelle

Would certainly visit here again and have been told to go onto the adjoining island.

Off now too the Pyrenees where we spent a whole week in a site at Estaing with a visit to Cauterets-Pont d’Espagne, and Lourdes. The journey to the Bridge of Spain was very nervous, twisty with plenty of subsided roads, we were able to admire the panoramic view of the famous Lac de Gaube, praised by the famous author Victor Hugo and the Romantics, higher up in the mountains but easy accessible to us as we took the cable car and chair lift. On the way back to the campsite returning through Cauterets which like other places around midday had looked like a ghost town, was now party central, we never got used to that.
Lourdes was a place we felt we had to visit being just down the road, it was fairly interesting but felt it was just like Scarborough but without the kiss me quick hats, very tacky.

Campsite Pyrénées Natura

Carcassonne was next on our list, well worth the visit, maybe could have done with another night. Another Camping in the City site, we had been looking for an Aire but having got disoriented and taking the van on a little scrape along the ancient city walls I was glad to find this site.


Oradour Sur Glane, two nights here and a very moving visit, saw this place on the opening of the landmark series The World at War, again on an Aire, free but no electric except for very short period, by this time we were adept at living without a hook up, just off the leisure battery, running the fridge off the gas. The new village is modern of course with some nice little bars which we never got to use, pity. We had an evening walking around the area and a whole day in the martyrs village itself.

The Martyrs village

Blois is the is the capital of the Loire valley but for us was just an Aire stop off on the way to Calais and home. By this time the heat was really up there, all of us were feeling it including Felix.

Felix "chillin"

Only just getting used to the lifestyle but the heat slowed us well down, once again wanted more time here, but the three weeks was a real learning curve, in terms of how to travel over longer period as well a abroad in the van.

The van itself performed brilliantly and the cruise control was a god send as was the shower.
Now just looking forward to Easter and the Côte d'Azur.

Off home.

21/10/13 and finally finished this page sitting on a very we pitch in the Lake District.


Monday, July 15

Start of the summer.

Had a couple of days on the Applecross peninsula, Carlotta had never been and I thought it was a good opportunity to test the van on mountain roads. Great Sunday teatime meal in the Applecross Inn, Andy Murray was winning Wimbledon and there were folk musicians playing, they seem quite good. Took a cycle ride around the area and did a geocache at Sand, saw a couple of deer close up.

A couple of days later I went over to  Althandu, one of my favourite places, Took a walk out to the Suilven, a very warm day that seemed to sap my strength, took so long in getting there didn't have time to actually climb it, will try from the other side another time. Had a days fishing for brown trout, not much look there as the weather had changed becoming quite cold over on the West Coast and western isles, the rest of Britain sweltered in a heat wave.
Tomorrow we leave for France.

Suilven., Inverpolly

Tuesday, June 25

Its a Hymer (again)

Hymer Tramp GT
Well the MOT didn't go well, lots of minor things to sort out, mostly electric. Aberdeen is a pain in the arse if you want anything like this done and impossible to get it done cheap, had got a Polish auto electrician lined up to give it a look over, he went on a drinking binge apparently, 2 weeks later and he was still on it. In the end decided to cut our losses and really start all over again.
We started looking around for yet another van, we knew what attributes it needed to have and put the old one up on eBay, spares or repair. Paid a couple of visits to Perthshire as there are two good reputable dealers there and took our time, we actually missed one we really wanted but that was a blessing in the end.
When we spotted the Hymer Tramp GT it was love at first sight and Perthshire caravans we great people to deal with. We've had the van for a couple of months now and had a few little jaunts out and about along the Moray coast. Its near brand new only done 7000 miles, the interior is very smart and modern, interior décor can sometimes be a little garish but not this one. Funny thing, as you can see in the photo, it was parked right next to a Mobilvetta driver 52 which was our first camper.
My summer vacation starts next week and we have 3 weeks in France planned, making our way to the Pyrenees via Honfluer, Dover to Calais this time seemed a better route.
Interior details
Its been a poor spring, about a month late but weather has been good over the last few weeks, got out on some great walks mostly over Dufftown way up in the Ladder hills. Geocaching has been sparing, but I have my eyes on some over a few Munro's but there is still snow on the Cairngorms.
Well that us up to date I guess but really must write these things up as they happen.