Friday, 20 December 2013

York Rowntree CC Site

18th –20th Decemeber

18_12_2013-17_50_53-1523-Xmas in York

Our last trip away for 2013. I managed to finish work early in the week and after suprisingly finding that the York Rowntree site had a few spare pitches left we booked for a last minute getaway and an Xmas shopping trip.

19_12_2013-17_35_41-1577-Xmas in York


Our Camper couch was packed – see my last blog – along with a set of solar 50 LED Xmas lights.  We arrived at the site on a dry Wednesday afternoon. It had been raining for the last week on and off and the river was higher than normal.  In fact on the day we left it had risen even more. We were lucky and had a very large spacious pitch.

We had a walk in to town where there was a Xmas market. Along with lots of festive stalls there was also a crepe van which did fantastic sweet and savoury crepes.

18_12_2013-17_19_07-1517-Xmas in York

18_12_2013-17_33_41-1521-Xmas in York

19_12_2013-17_06_45-1544-Xmas in York19_12_2013-17_07_02-1545-Xmas in York19_12_2013-17_08_26-1546-Xmas in York19_12_2013-17_08_42-1547-Xmas in York19_12_2013-17_09_34-1548-Xmas in York19_12_2013-17_11_02-1550-Xmas in York19_12_2013-17_11_59-1552-Xmas in York19_12_2013-17_12_50-1554-Xmas in York19_12_2013-17_23_28-1563-Xmas in York19_12_2013-17_31_25-1571-Xmas in York19_12_2013-17_32_02-1572-Xmas in York19_12_2013-17_35_50-1579-Xmas in York19_12_2013-17_38_16-1582-Xmas in York

The Rowntree site has a back pedestrian gate which leads to a nearby parade of shops, takeaways and cafe/ restaurants. We have enjoyed fish and chips from there before but on this trip we decided to get a takeaway from the Indian restaurant which was very tasty and had good sized portions.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Camper Couch Competition

2nd December 2013



Well we have had some very exciting news today. A competition that we entered at Best French Campsites has resulted in a win.



trottybrandWe have won a personalised Monty Motorhome CamperCouch from Trottybrand.

It’s a superior quality all-weather sofa manufactured using tough 600D polyester fabric with matching carry bag and a powder coated steel tube frame, it is built to support a total weight of 225kgs. Yet only weighs 5kgs. Its a logical alternative to the familiar single chair as it folds to almost the same size,  yet provides double the accommodation. 

It arrived on the 11th of December. Wow even better than our expectations. Very light yet very sturdy and well built. Looks great in Navy and with the white lettering on it ties in with Monty’s body colour.  This meant now we would have to try it out properly with a trip away – see our next blog.

19_12_2013-14_24_24-1541-CamperCouch                       19_12_2013-14_18_42-1526-CamperCouch    19_12_2013-14_19_37-1530-CamperCouch

Sunday, 10 November 2013

York – Rowntree Caravan Club Site

1st – 3rd March  &  8th – 10th November

2013-11-08 17.41.49              02_03_2013-10_38_36-0581-York minster

02_03_2013-10_45_37-0587-York minster

York  is a walled city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence. The city offers a wealth of historic attractions, of which York Minster is the most prominent, and a variety of cultural and sporting activities. Delve into the city's vibrant cafĂ© culture, take time out to enjoy some of the country's most talented street entertainers or simply watch the world go by while sipping a drink by the river. With hundreds of attractions, museums, historic buildings, tours, shops,restaurants and bars within the compact walled city you’re never far from an awe inspiring moment.

The city was founded by the Romans under the name of Eboracum in 71 AD. It became the capital of the Roman province of Britannia Inferior, and later of the kingdoms of Northumbria and Jorvik. In the Middle Ages, York grew as a major wool trading centre and became the capital of the northern ecclesiastical province of the Church of England, a role it has retained.

In the 19th century, York became a hub of the railway network and a confectionery manufacturing centre. In recent decades, the economy of York has moved from being dominated by its confectionery and railway-related industries to one that provides services.

09_11_2013-13_19_35-1498York CC Rowntree

09_11_2013-13_19_24-1497York CC Rowntree

York Rowntree Park Caravan Club Site  offers level pitches located on the banks of the Ouse. Attractive hedging and glades provide not only a scenic treat but also ensure your privacy. The caravan park is within easy walking distance of the beautiful and historic city of York and also makes for an excellent base from which to explore the Yorkshire area. York itself has so much to see and do that you'll find the time can slip by all too easily.  That’s probably why trying to get a pitch on this site is so hard due to its popularity.  Again with the caravan club the amenities block is modern, warm and very clean.  It’s raised off the ground because the site suffers with flooding from the nearby river Ouse.

The Rowntree site is ideal for those wishing to visit the lovely Minster with its dazzling stained glass windows or  a walk to the city walls and the Shambles to get a feel of the old city with its medieval timber framed houses. You must call in at the Jorvik Viking Centre and take a time-car, which will transport you back to the city’s distant past. Train enthusiasts of all ages won't want to miss the award-winning Railways Museum. When  we went the Great Gathering of steam locomotives was on display. I believe this has now finished.

09_11_2013-11_06_34-1482Great Gathering YRM

09_11_2013-11_08_02-1483Great Gathering YRM 09_11_2013-11_09_15-1485Great Gathering YRM

Regular visitors to York Rowntree Park will know that this site is in two parts, separated by a warehouse. In mid February 2014, this building will be demolished in order for The Club to improve and enhance the site and its layout, which is planned to be completed by the beginning of August. Rather than shut such a popular site, they have decided to partially cordon off some areas and close the Riverside section of the site during this period. During the demolition phase (anticipated start is end of February for approx 1 month), there is likely to be a level of disruption due to noise and dust on site.


Xmas window displays2013-11-09 09.25.15

09_11_2013-10_29_42-1474Shops in york

Monday, 14 October 2013

Barnard Castle

11th –13th October

2013-10-11 17.51.33

Barnard Castle is a market town in Teesdale, County Durham, England. It is named after the castle around which it grew up. It is the main settlement in the Teesdale area and is a popular tourist destination. Set on a high rock above the River Tees, Barnard Castle takes its name from its 12th century founder, Bernard de Balliol. It was later developed by the Beauchamp family and then passed into the hands of Richard III.Barnard Castle sits on the north bank of the River Tees, 21 miles south-west of the county town of Durham. Nearby towns include Bishop Auckland to the north-east, Darlington to the east and Richmond in North Yorkshire to the south-east.

12_10_2013-10_53_42-1451Barnard Castle

Teesdale Barnard Castle Caravan Club site where we stayed for the weekend on a serviced pitch is set in open countryside that is designated an Area of High Landscape Value. The site is fairly new and eco friendly. The amenities block is very clean and modern and up to the high standards of the club, with heating from a ground source heat pump, hot water from the solar panels and rain water used in the toilets from rainwater harvesting A very eco friendly building.  A mobile fish & chips van arrived on the Friday – excellent fish and the size and portions for the price were brilliant.

From the site, you can enjoy a 10- minute walk (the CC list this as a river walk) along the road on the grass verge, covered with a plastic matting, down hill  and across the river and then up the hill to Barnard Castle. A delightful town, home to the renowned Bowes Museum, a 12th century castle, an excellent visitor centre and a great choice of pubs and restaurants. Also a Morrison’s supermarket is located in the centre of the town along with a Co-op and many small shops. It also marks the entrance to Teesdale which offers spectacular scenery following the river up to High Force and a series of other waterfalls to its source beyond the Pennine Way and Cow Green Reservoir.


12_10_2013-10_39_39-1444Barnard Castle

12_10_2013-10_59_01-1458Barnard Castle

12_10_2013-12_04_11-1470Barnard Castle

Above, the view from the bridge on the 10 min walk from the CC site.

12_10_2013-11_21_41-1464Barnard Castle

12_10_2013-11_27_08-1467Barnard Castle

Old butter market above.

Sunday, 1 September 2013



wideangle view from pitch

Our trip this time took us to Keswick as the title suggests and a site that we have tried for some 4 years to book into but has always been full on the the dates we required.  At last we got a reservation. 

28_08_2013-13_57_40-1302Castlerigg Hall

28_08_2013-13_55_50-1301Castlerigg Hall

The place is Castlerigg Hall caravan and camping park. Just 1.5 miles from the town of Keswick in Cumbria, just north of Derwent water. Castlerigg Hall is set in an elevated position in a scenic area just outside Keswick. Castlerigg Hall enjoys exceptional panoramic views of Derwentwater & Bassenthwaite Lake set against a dramatic backdrop of the surrounding fells.


31_08_2013-12_59_40-1453Castlerigg HallAnd2more_tonemapped

Our pitch had views across the valley and down to Derwent water. A quick look round the site which was very tidy and well kept revealed two impressive toilet blocks.  There was a restaurant on site and a small shop that was well stocked with gifts and provisions. Certain pitches have full services and some even have views as well. There is also free wifi but only available in the campers kitchen – I have just bought a wifi extender which I have been trying out.

41dBm Mini Desktop WiFi USB Booster Planar Antenna Set


Compared to the limited laptop wifi which could only just pickup 1 bar if the wind blew in the right direction from our  pitch, the  extender offered me a choice of 6 wifi zones most with full signal, of which 4 are private and required the pass key, the others were the sites own and the other sites wifi across the road and up the hill. So I can now sit on my pitch and use wifi.  My next thing is to try and get the wifi on the laptop to hotspot to my phone and the other devices, but so far not much luck.  Any suggestions welcomed by email.


We had a sandwich for lunch and then walked down to Keswick using the footpath that runs just past the site.  Narrow in places where weeds could do with some trimming and steep sloping sections which need care. This brings you out on to  Springs Road then turn on to Ambleside road and you arrive in the south east of town.


The pedestrianized area was busy with tourists and the cafes along the street were busy. Weather was sunny and warm. After a coffee to refresh us all we headed for Derwent water and a ride round the lake on a launch. 



We headed back in to town but shops were closing.  We opted to have a meal instead of cooking when we got back.  We toyed with the idea of a taxi or bus back to the site but decided to walk off the calories!


As the weather looked better than the forecasted downpour for the day we decided to go to visit the Lake District Wildlife Park some 15mins outside Keswick, it actually took longer thanks to taking the wrong turn and heading in the opposite direction, slight misjudgement with the satnav.

Arriving at the site there was plenty of parking but some care needed to be taken on the grass verges in case of catching low hanging motorhome bits on the bumps.  Entry to the park was slightly pricey at £33 for 4 adults – adults are from 14 years of age.  The site is quite extensive with a good selection of animals, most in good size cages. 

29_08_2013-12_21_02-1361Wildlife Park

Gibbon at Lake District Wildlife Park.
Funny moment when gibbon on the swing!!

Our favourites were the gibbons, of which one was continuously putting on an aerial show. 


29_08_2013-15_10_17-1375Wildlife Park

29_08_2013-15_14_55-1384Wildlife Park

29_08_2013-15_16_51-1388Wildlife Park

The bird of prey display was excellent and we went to both performances.  As well as the fantastic birds, the show was made more entertaining by the keeper who was knowledgeable and witty.  On site there was a small cafe which we didn’t try and a gift shop.

We got back to the site and had  a bbq for tea.



Decided on a restful day. Opening the blind in the morning once again revealed our fabulous view from the pitch. Breakfast at 10 was BBQ sausage and bacon butties. Monopoly was demanded by youngest daughter (groan) so after a quick game the laptop came out and draft blog for the trip started.  Got some funny looks from passers by – maybe it was me sat with my laptop or the wifi booster or possibly the large glass of wine! Or maybe it was because it was spitting with rain?  By teatime the rain was a bit heavier so we decided to try the evening menu at the on site restaurant.


Our final full day and we opted to go in to Keswick via the bus, number 555, from the stop at the end of the road.  10 minutes later and £15 lighter for a return ticket for 3 adults and a child we arrived at the very busy bus station / Booths car park. 

31_08_2013-10_48_29-1441Market in Keswick

31_08_2013-10_37_44-1438Market in Keswick

31_08_2013-10_48_03-1440Market in Keswick

There was a market on in the main pedestrianized area with some very interesting items on sale. We then headed to the Puzzling Place which advertises its opening times as 11am till 5pm – or 10am as their website is a bit puzzling to say the least!  We arrived at 11am and hung around for 20+ minutes but the door remained locked? Puzzling indeed – enquiring with the local shops around they all said that it was open but not very regular with the opening times. We gave up and headed off to get some BBQ food and jump on the bus to return to the site.

31_08_2013-13_00_08-1456Castlerigg Hall