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First Timer – Let’s get started

This is the post excerpt.

Today I updated my Facebook status:-

Sat here with a glass of cider, in the beautiful sunshine getting excited, and ready, for our upcoming trip – might start work on the blog tonight…!”

So I thought I’d better make a start.

The main reason for starting a blog is our year off travelling around the UK (mostly) in our motorhome in 2017.  Before that (30th May 2016 to be precise) we’re off to France for 5 1/2 weeks.

So I thought I’d get a bit of practice in before next year (bearing in mind I have no idea what I’m doing…)

Currently we’re making sure that everything is in place before we leave.  We’ve spend the past couple of months starting every weekend agreeing that we must get some ‘stuff’ done.  So, here we are with just over 3 weeks to go, and we’ve finally got started!

Okay, so we’ve done a few bits and pieces.  Mainly buying in extra provisions – such as rice and high juice.  Yes, I KNOW they have shops in France but last time we were there we found that it was impossible to find certain items, or when we did they were insanely expensive (for instance, I got a hankering for chocolate spread – no, I don’t know why either – and although we found it, it cost about £4)

Today, Calvin has made a space in the back cupboard to hang a couple of storage containers in – we can keep shoes, loo rolls and other provisions in there.  He’s also modified the bike rack so that we can fit our new bikes on without scratching them.  He really is very useful!

Oh yes, of course, we bought new bikes a few weeks back.  Electric bikes… meaning we can go a little further on them (rather than me always wanting to turn back before Calvin does).  I’d taken a couple of months to finally make the decision to buy.  Calvin decided in 2 minutes flat while I was making a final decision on which bike to buy.  So, we’re looking forward to making good use of them on all those cycle paths & routes in France (particularly in the Pyrenees).

So far we love them (went out for a short 6 mile ride this morning actually before coming over to the van).

Tomorrow we’ll carry on emptying out the cupboards and getting rid of anything that really isn’t needed.  I’ve already filled up 1 cupboard with books, and another with DVDs.

Next week we’ll give the van a good clean, and finalise the modifications to the bike rack.  We will also check if we can get the NOW TV box to work as long as we’ve got WIFI – if anyone knows if this is likely please feel free to share 🙂

Finally I have just 3 weeks left to lose all that weight that I promised I would lose some months ago.  I’ve failed miserably so far, so must try harder!

In my next post I’ll share our route through France.

 

 

 

 

Day trips to Hull and Beverley. Surprises all round :) If you think you don’t want to visit Hull – it’s time to think again!

As we were within 30 miles we knew that we had to visit Hull, it being the European City of Culture for 2017.  Our expectations weren’t great but we wanted to go anyway.

Before Hull though we decided to visit Beverley, for which our expectations were higher.  And it was nearer to where we were staying of course!

We parked on the road by the police station and 1st impressions were great as we walked into town.  Lovely, big houses lined the route + some very unusual smaller properties.  Approaching the town centre we found the only remaining town gate, North Bar (which is Grade I listed) – the streets leading up to and from it are called North Bar Without and North Bar Within…

There were originally many more gates, bars and ditches protecting the town, but all that are left nowadays are some wonderful street names – Newbegingate, Lairgate and Keldgate .  There is also Flemingate, now a regenerated area of shops, cinemas, bars and restaurants.

It was market day so there was a lot going on in the town centre.  As well as the minster itself there is another beautiful church, St Marys .  I’m sorry but it’s impossible to write about Beverley or Hull without mentioning a church!  I’ll keep it short and just show you via photos 🙂

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St Mary’s, Beverley

When we made it to the Minster itself we couldn’t actually go in straight away as there was a wedding in progress.  Once we were able to go in we could see what an amazing venue this was for such an occasion!

A little more wandering and we found the guildhall and some almshouses and also the bandstand became more visible as the market packed up!

The following day, Sunday, we headed back out to Hull.  With low expectations we were very, very pleasantly surprised by what awaited us.

We found our way to Princes Quay Shopping Centre to park – which cost us just £2 to park for about 4 hours (I think this was just because it was Sunday, but we were still happy with it!)  The shopping centre itself was very good and included restaurants that were open into the evening, so no problem with the car park closing…)

We emerged into Queen Victoria Square, dominated by a statue of Queen Victoria, but also with spouting pavement fountains being enjoyed by children and parents alike Continue reading “Day trips to Hull and Beverley. Surprises all round 🙂 If you think you don’t want to visit Hull – it’s time to think again!”

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Yorkshire Coastal Resorts – Which is your favourite?? Filey, Scarborough, Robin Hoods Bay or Whitby…

What a delight it’s been discovering that there are even more beautiful beaches in our amazing country than we were aware of! These resorts tend to be a little quieter than their counterparts in Cornwall – with the exception perhaps of Whitby 🙂

I thought I’d pop this poll on to see if people agree with our personal favourites 🙂

Okay, so over the course of the last week or so we have visited all 4 of these resorts from our base in Flamborough – meaning that Filey is closest to us, then Scarborough, then Robin Hoods Bay and finally Whitby.  (You might want to get a cuppa before continuing with this post!  Or read it in shifts.  Sorry…!)

The first resort we visited was Filey over a week ago now.  We were totally charmed by this place.  We parked by the side of the road in Church Ravine (there are parking charges, and make sure to keep those kids safely in the car until you’re ready to cross over to the pavement).  Walking down towards the beach one of the 1st things we saw were the donkeys taking kids for rides – it’s been years since I saw donkeys on the beach.  I also have a feeling that my own kids may never have experienced this particular delight – put me right boys if I’m wrong here!

To the left of this entrance to the beach, and the donkeys, is the area where you will find a small number of amusements and traditional seaside shops and cafes, as well as another section of beach (not quite so sandy) and the traditional fishing cobles parked up.  The lifeboat station is also here.

We turned right for a very pleasant wander along the seafront.  Along here there was a crazy golf course, a number of sculptures, a paddling pool, a hopscotch outline with fish sculptures to jump on and deckchairs & beach huts for hire!

Part of Filey’s history involves early planes taking off and landing on the beach, and an early flying school being established here.  The following information board is really interesting and well worth a read 🙂 Continue reading “Yorkshire Coastal Resorts – Which is your favourite?? Filey, Scarborough, Robin Hoods Bay or Whitby…”

Tattershall Castle, with an impromptu air display. Then enjoying a film in the Kinema in the Woods

The day after we discovered Woodhall Spa we returned to watch a film, Dunkirk, in the Kinema in the Woods.

Very close by lies Tattershall, a very pretty village with an impressive church and a magnificent castle (now managed by the National Trust).

The film was starting at 5.15pm so in the afternoon we decided to visit Tattershall first.

As we left the car park we saw that there was also a row of Bede Houses (almshouses) in front of the church.  We’re convinced that these have each been doubled in size by knocking 2 into 1, as we thought we could see where some windows may have previously been doors.   This has actually been borne out by the bit of research that we’ve done.

The church was a really open space and we were told that it was originally very dark as the windows made it so.  It’s only been relatively recently that the windows were renewed and lightened.

After visiting the church we headed over to the castle (which is accessed on a path passing the church).  The first building you see is the guardhouse which is now the ticket office.

 

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The Guardhouse of Tattershall Castle

We started our visit in front of the castle exploring the moat and what did originally stand on the green area – there were actually many more buildings on the site, including the kitchens that were separate to the main castle.

 

Then before we went into the castle itself we heard the distinctive sound of a jet overhead.  We proceeded to enjoy an impromptu display with the jet doing barrel rolls and flying over us several times in the course of the next 10 minutes or so.  When he landed another one took off!  This was from RAF Coningsby which is very nearby.

What’s left of the castle is very up together – even more so than Castle Rising.  We’re convinced that you could hook up to the electricity, pop in a bathroom and move in..!

The only thing to spoil our visit was a group of screamy kids and extremely shouty adults with them.  We just headed straight up to the roof so that we weren’t on the same floor at any time and then worked our way down..

Here’s a few pictures of the castle itself.

 

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View from the roof of Tattershall Castle

From here we headed back to Woodhall Spa and straight to the Kinema.  We went straight in (having arrived hungry and cleared the shop out of sweets…).  We were seated in Row E, about halfway back – literally.

When the adverts were finished and just before the film was to start the curtains were drawn across and then drawn back.  And there was an interval!  Halfway through the film it stopped, across came the curtains and off people went to get their ice-cream!  What a wonderful experience it was seeing a film in this iconic building 🙂

We had already decided to go into the village for something to eat, and we headed straight for the Indian restaurant.  The food was great in the restaurant but we actually wished they had turned us away as they’d squeezed us in where people normally wait for their takeaway, and then pretty much ignored us.

This was a wonderful last day however, before we moved on to Flamborough Head in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

 

Dribbling along the coast to Aldbrough and it’s disappearing road. Then Fabulous Filey the next day :)

It’s just over 35 miles from Bridlington to Spurn Head.  We set out on Sunday with the idea that we might make it to Spurn Head, but also knowing that we would be taking in several sights along the way.

Our 1st stop was slightly away from the coast at Lisset, where we had been told about a memorial to 158 Squadron who were based nearby.

This is a really unusual sculpture, and really well done.  I don’t know if you can see in the photo, but the name of every one of the 851 squadron members who died on active service.  The 7 silhouettes are designed to represent a bomber crew.

Our 2nd stop was Ulrome.  I said to Calv we can come off the main road and there’s a road that brings us back round to Skipsea and then back onto the main road….

Not anymore there’s not!!  The mapbook we have in the car is from 2008 and the road has changed slightly since then.. Continue reading “Dribbling along the coast to Aldbrough and it’s disappearing road. Then Fabulous Filey the next day :)”

Clifftop Walks at Flamborough Head – we spotted a few puffins too :)

We are staying on the clifftop at Flamborough and the views are amazing!  We have direct access to the cliffs and the many terraces full of seabirds, including guillemots, razorbills, gannets, shags, herring gulls and puffins.

On evening 1 we went out for a walk, taking our neighbour’s dog, Henry, with us.  We ended up walking about 4 miles in the mud (it had been raining for a couple of days before we arrived).  To get to the clifftop we have to walk through a field full of sheep belonging to the farm we’re staying on.

I’m not kidding you, I have never heard such noises from sheep!  Ranging from normal baa’s to sounds like they’re barking and saying ‘no’ & ‘hear hear’.  They’re clearly talking to each other as they’re quiet until people turn up 🙂

The following day we went out for a walk along the cliffs again.  This time we turned left and walked about 3 miles to the RSPB centre.  Along the cliffs here there are several platforms built for viewing the birds.  It was a really nice walk, and even stayed dry for the majority of the time we were out!  Calv enjoyed his cream tea at the café 🙂

We did find that, in contrast to everyone that we’ve encountered so far in Yorkshire, most of the serious bird-watchers we saw were actually quite unfriendly.  They wouldn’t make eye contact at all, just kept their heads down and walked on past.  We were pretty surprised by this.  There were, of course, a couple of exceptions – like the guy we met on the clifftop on the 1st night who pointed out the puffins and lent us his scope to look through (I pretended I could see something, but I’m useless at looking through binoculars – and now I know, scopes as well!)

We did see puffins!  They were at a distance in the crevices in the cliffs – but we could see them 🙂

We were trying to avoid using the car for a couple of days and so the next day, Saturday, we went out for another walk.  This time we were aiming for the lighthouse that we can clearly see from the campsite.  The owner told us that it’s a 4.8 mile walk along the clifftop.

So we headed the other way via Flamborough itself and along Lighthouse Road.  It took forever – we never seemed to be getting any closer to the lighthouse!  Along the way we passed the original lighthouse, which is now sited on the golf course and we couldn’t access it.  There’s doubts about whether the flame was ever lit at the top, partly because passing ships refused to pay the toll to help pay for it.

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The original Lighthouse Tower at Flamborough

We eventually made it to the new lighthouse on the head.  There is a very nice café here, The Headland, an ice cream kiosk and public toilets.  The lighthouse is still operational, but is fully automated.  We took the tour, £4.40 per adult, which allowed us to go to the top and see the views from there.

We went down to the beach, all the way down!  There were people in the water, clambering over the rocks and kayaking from the beach.

From here we took the cliff path, which afforded us some spectacular views on our walk back to the campsite.

On the way we found North Landing where we stopped for a drink in the bar at the Haven centre.  On the beach there were tractors ready to pull the boats that were out on pleasure trips back out of the water, people kayaking; on the steep slipway up from the beach was a lifeboat house which you can visit as well as a boathouse.  It was really busy here as well!

A little further along the cliff was Thornwick Bay, where there is a café and limited access to the beach.

You have to be careful on these beaches as it would be really easy to get cut off as the tide comes in – from the safety of the clifftop we did see a number of people scrambling back around the base of the cliffs to beat the incoming water.  It concerned us a little, but they seemed to know what they were doing…

So we’d had 3 days of lots of walking and lots of fresh air!  Very enjoyable, but now our feet were hurting.

Therefore the car came back into use on Sunday with a dribble along the coast as far as Withernsea – read about in my next post 🙂

A long walk in Lincolnshire. Discovering Louth & Woodhall Spa

We knew that there was a large reservoir, Covenham Reservoir, close by so decided to walk on Saturday to find it.  We took the canal path from about 200m away from the campsite, past the old mill – the possibilities of what could be done with that place!

We quickly came across several cows grazing alongside the canal and then went through a gate to a section where cows clearly hadn’t been grazing for some time (they were on the other side of the canal here), which made for a lot of concentration; making sure that we didn’t step in cow pats, brush past nettles and thistles or fall off the bank!

We stumbled across the correct route completely by accident; coming to a narrow bridge across the river and finding a public bridleway crossing diagonally across the fields.  From here we found a farmyard equipment graveyard lining the track down past a farm.

Again, completely by chance, we looked right at the right spot to see steps leading up the side of the reservoir and a stile to a footpath across the field.  It was quite a steep climb and at the top we sat on the wall overlooking the water (quite a feat for me trying to get up onto the wall with my short legs and lack of agility these days!) and ate our lunch, before walking all the way around the reservoir.

We were surprised at how quiet it was on a sunny Saturday in the school holidays, but guess it was due to it being the 1st weekend of the holidays with people perhaps disappearing away on holiday.  We chatted to a lad who was there with his jetski who told us it’s normally really busy.  He and his mate had the water to themselves! Continue reading “A long walk in Lincolnshire. Discovering Louth & Woodhall Spa”

The Beautiful beaches of Lincolnshire – Cleethorpes to Anderby Creek

After leaving Fulbeck we found a wonderful little site in Austen Fen (which can only be described as a small settlement) near Louth.  Actually we were told about it by a fellow camper in Fulbeck.  And it was just perfect!

We stayed for 8 nights and only had company for 3 of those nights!  There was even a resident Barn Owl that Calv was privileged to see twice – although he wasn’t able to get any photos unfortunately.  I’m sure I heard it on the roof dragging it’s prey one night in the early hours!

On our 1st day here we popped up the coast to visit Cleethorpes.  We were pleasantly surprised, it wasn’t what we were expecting at all!  Sure it was a little old fashioned and tired in places, with lots of amusements and typical seaside resort attractions.  However, it is really well kept and has a nice feel about it.  The beach was lovely too with what seemed like miles of sand in sight 🙂 Again, not what we were expecting!

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Thorness, Cleethorpes

The following day we decided to visit some of the lesser known beaches of Lincolnshire, via the market town of Alford (which was a bit of a detour admittedly…)  Although we didn’t stop in Alford it looked to be a very pleasant place.  It has a working windmill that you can visit which, of course, includes a teashop.

From here the 1st beach we visited was Anderby Creek, just a little north of Chapel St Leonards.  What a find!  Continue reading “The Beautiful beaches of Lincolnshire – Cleethorpes to Anderby Creek”