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

    
video

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.

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.

Summer, June break.

Started off as a very warm and sunny summer, warm enough for us, we were able to stick to the UK. First stop was the Pembrokeshire coast, St Davids. The campsite was pretty good as a point for walking and cycling with a little geocaching off course.
This holliday turned out to be a bit of a twitching / boating break, with a visit to the Isle of Ramsay an RSPB reserve. On there we caught a fleeting glimpse of a Manx Shearwater and a pair of Choughs. We extended our visit with a boat trip around the Island which was quite exciting. We were quite taken aback by the attituded of the walkes we met whilst out and about, blanking you or not even relpying when greeted, guess they were just cold southerners.
Went fishing off a rocky point in Whitesands bay, no luck.


RSPB Ramsay
We left South Wales and headed for The Norfolk broads but not before calling of in that there London for a few nights, this was one of our better ideas and we will do it again when the opertunity arises. Visited the The Natural History Museum, mostly looking at the minerals collection, on to the Saatche Gallery and took an open top bus tour, again an aquatic flavour as we took a boat trip down the Thames to Grenwich where we has a pub lunch before heading back to the campsite. Managed a geocaching walk along the river taking in The Tower of London & Tower bridge.

Saatchi Gallery
Another day visit and we did the tourist thing, Trafalar Square, Buchingham Palace and the Houses of Parliment.After trying to muscle in on the TV interview with Michael Fallon outside the Houses of Parliment, I spotted John Prescott, I did ask him if it was ok for the photo but he got a little upset when I complemented his work on ‪#‎HIGNFY‬. After that I went around seeing how many tourist photos I could photobomb until Di told me off !

John at the Houses of Parliment.

Then off again and on to the Norfolk Broads, somewhere we had both always fancied visiting, a bit flat and boring for my tastes but we hired a boat for the day and had lots of fun with that.
Diane driving the boat.

 
It was all pretty enough, great for walking and the bikes but dont think I would go again. Had a day out at Great Yarmouth, fishing off the pier and caught 3 whiting, a first for me.


The Norfolk Broads

 
The long hot spell was broken by thunder and lightning storms but only at night, never spoiling our days. We returned home calling in to see the kids on the way, I went to the South Gare off Redcar and caught a couple of good sized Mackerel. Di was eager to get back and pick up Princess ?


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.