Friday 28th February
A murky, grey and cold morning with thick mist shrouding the hill tops as we prepare to leave the Peak District. We have very much enjoyed our few days at Castleton and will certainly return. The weather forecast looks fairly positive so we are going north to Barnard Castle for the weekend. There are very few sites open at this time of year and our intention was to go to the Yorkshire coast near Bridlington but by the time we decided the weather looked good the site was fully booked…..quite amazing for the end of February. So, north we go to the new CC site at Barnard Castle (GPS 54°32’47.21″N 1°56’28.37″W) On route we needed food and fuel and there was a Morrisons listed close to our route through Sheffield so a small detour to the old Hillsborough Barracks and a packed carpark where we had no chance of finding a space big enough for our 26ft truck. We were glad to get away from Sheffield, which must be the home of the pothole, and on to the M1 for a smoother drive north. Just outside Leeds we made another small diversion to stop at a Sainsbury with a huge car park and plenty of space for us to park and take on supplies.
So many sites, both at home and abroad, are surrounded by trees or shaded by them which makes them feel claustrophobic and enclosed. This new site at Barnard Castle is very open as the new planting has not yet reached any great height. Unfortunately there is not a lot in the way of views from the site, unless you appreciate the architectural beauty of the Young Offenders prison which is visible through the trees. We chose a pitch that at least looked over a field and woods and wasn’t too close to the road. Despite the lack of nice views it is still a pleasant site with good level hard standing pitches that are well spaced. It is also an easy walk into town, which is what we do on Saturday morning.
Barnard Castle is a pleasant and attractive town with its wide main streets and stone buildings, dominated by the remains of the castle perched on a crag above the river. When we were there a farmers market seemed to be doing good business.
We drove 191 miles from home to Castleton and another 116 miles to Barnard Castle so 307 miles so far at 24.5mpg.
We had intended to walk back into town on Sunday to go round the castle which is now looked after by English Heritage. It was a chilly morning and one shower was soon followed by another until they became what the weather presenters call ‘joined up’. In other words it peed down for most of the day. We stayed warm and cosy in the motorhome and read and played silly and time wasting computer games.
Monday 3rd March.
Back on to the A1, this time going back south, then turning east towards York and on towards the coast near Bridlington. We are going to the site that was full for the weekend and we couldn’t get onto a few days ago. The Bridlington CC site (GPS 54°06’41.37″N 0°09’28.48″W) is another new one and is between the resort and Flamborough Head in fairly open countryside. A long entrance drive off the road means no road noise although there is a little light background hum from the nearby maltings during the working day. It is the usual competent and tidy CC site with all hard standings set out in several small groups. However, the place seems soulless and lacking in any sort of character to us. It is surrounded by scrubby woodland and tall hedges with no view out, good for protection from the wind no doubt if you are a ‘tugger’ with an awning. The roads and hard standings with tiny slivers of grass in between pitches makes the view out of the windows a bit like being in the middle of a car park. We often stay in a glorified car park and love it but it happens to be in the south of France with glimpses of the Med on one side and tied up yachts in the marina on the other. Oh, and it is usually hot and sunny, unlike East Yorkshire.
On Tuesday we drive to Flamborough Head and park in a large car park by the lighthouse with lovely views out to sea. Parking is £2.80 for the day and there are no height barriers. A walk over the cliffs gave us an appetite for burgers, chips and a pint at the cafe/bar right by the car park.
Wednesday 4th March.
Do we go home or spend a couple of days in Lincolnshire watching aircraft?
There are loads of jobs that need doing at home now that the weather is improving so we really should resist the temptation of ‘jet noise’ and head back to Suffolk.
Looking at the map shows a couple of alternative routes home so I ask ‘Mrs Garmin’ which way to go and she says via the Humber Bridge and Lincoln. That means the A15 past RAF Scampton, but are the Red Arrows there or in Cyprus training. Last time we used that road, about three years ago, the Reds were just taking off as we drove past the airfield and we managed to stop and watch them display. We would have to keep our eyes peeled this time in case they are practicing for the new display season.
We crossed the Humber Bridge (£1.50 toll) and eventually joined the A15 heading south down that long straight Roman road, all the time keeping a watch for coloured smoke in the sky. By the time we reached the kink where the A15 diverts around the end of the Scampton runway it was time for a brew so we turned into the ‘old A15’ which leads to a viewing area.
Blow me! As we turned off the main road the Reds were taking off for a practice display, only the second time all nine had flown together this year…… what a treat. Considering this was only the second day they had all practiced as a nine ship they were fantastic. Lots of new moves for 2014 and we both particularly liked the ‘Palm’ where all nine climb vertically and then break with smoke on to form a palm tree. What a great way to end a lovely few days away!
After a bite to eat we continued on our way and with no hold ups arrived home to a nice warm house well before dark. How was an empty house warm? Well, a few weeks ago we had British Gas install a new control system called Hive to our heating and hot water. This means I can control the whole thing via my phone or iPad. If we leave home and forget to turn things off I can do it from anywhere in the world. So, instead of coming home to a very chilly house as happened last time we went away I went on-line before we left Yorkshire and switched the heating on. Result……toasty warm house and a tank full of hot water. Simples!
Our drive home was 222 miles and the total for the trip was 646 miles @ 24.8mpg. Total mileage on the clock is now 15163.