….no not wine, although that is always welcome, or sun tan, but will need that soon after a few weeks back in Blighty, but this time it is jet noise that is required.
It is only two months since our last noisy airshow at Shoreham, although we have been to so many places and done so much since then it seems much longer than that. Apart from a few helicopter movements around home and the odd French Air Force Alpha Jet whilst in France (why does FAF sound so appropriate for the French air arm???) we haven’t seen or heard much in the way of aircraft for ages so it must be time for a return trip to Lincolnshire and particularly RAF Coningsby.
An email to a favourite site, Oaklea CL at Woodhall Spa, to check if they have room for us gets an unexpected and shocking reply. We have been regular visitors to Oaklea for a number of years, ever since they were awarded the ‘Best New CL’ prize by the Caravan Club and Piotr and Pamela have become friends rather than just site owners. This time Piotr replied with the awful news that Pamela had died suddenly but peacefully a month previously. However, he could fit us in and would be glad to see us.
So it was with rather heavy hearts that we arrived at Oaklea (GPS 53.150767° -0.184594°) on Monday afternoon to a warm welcome from Piotr and after chatting with him and another couple who were staying on the site got ourselves settled in.
The next three days were spent at the Coningsby viewing area watching Typhoons, Tornados and E3-D Sentry AWACS aircraft, as well as a number of visiting aircraft, coming and going. We certainly got that much needed dose of jet noise.
The original plan had been to leave for home Friday lunchtime after flying had finished for the weekend (Friday being POETS day in the RAF, P— Off Early Tomorrow’s Saturday) but that changed while we were having supper the previous week. Anyone who has had the stamina to read most of this blog might remember that earlier in the year we spent a few days in Yorkshire after the Waddington Airshow. While there we visited the Wenslydale Creamery and bought some of their fine cheese that we just happened to be eating that evening. How about going back to Hawes to stock up with more Wenslydale? Why not go on from Lincolnshire for a few extra days?
The Caravan Club website showed that there was space at the Hawes site from Sunday onwards but that Friday and Saturday were full so I looked for somewhere between Lincolnshire and Hawes for the two nights and found space at Clumber Park, somewhere we hadn’t been to before.
On Friday morning we stocked up on supplies in the excellent butchers shop in Coningsby, their sausage rolls and pies are brilliant and set off on the short journey to our next stop.
The entrance to Clumber Park is rather impressive as you go through an ornate stone entrance archway and down a long driveway lined with double avenues of lime trees. You would be amazed to hear that it’s called Lime Tree Avenue. The Caravan Club site (GPS 53.283416° -1.057305°) is large and was very busy when we arrived, being both half term and Hallowe’en. As is often the case the site is completely surrounded by trees so there are no views out. It seemed good for families with children who could enjoy the play area and surrounding woods and there were plenty of dog owners who could walk for miles. It is not somewhere we will feel the need to rush back to.
Sunday morning and we are back on the road heading north up the A1. A stop for victuals and fuel on the edge of Doncaster and then an easy drive to Hawes in bright weather. As we climbed the thirty miles from the A1 up into the dale the hills looked wonderful lit up by the sun.
This is our first time at the Caravan Club Hawes site (GPS 54.306756° -2.190068°) and we are pleasantly surprised. Previously we have stayed at Bainbridge Ings site which is situated higher up on the side of the dale and has great views whereas the CC site is by the river at the bottom but closer to the town. As usual there are lots of trees hiding the site but through the gaps there are pleasant views of the hills, river and from our pitch a very attractive stone bridge. A large group of ducks waddle around the site visiting every pitch in the hope of some tasty morsels. The site is also an easy walk into the town and a little further on the cheese factory. One just can’t come to Hawes without a visit to the cheese and gift shop at the creamery and as usual we are tempted by the many tasty samples that are piled up as an encouragement to buy. With so many lovely flavours to try we come away with a good selection. There is also an excellent butcher in town and we are tempted by the pork pies for lunch which are really first class.
Hawes is nearly 1000ft above sea level and it can get a bit chilly at night so it was just our luck that the day we arrived the weather changed from balmy southerly winds to a northerly airflow which bought the coldest weather for many months. Although it was 0°F at night we put the Silver Screens over the cab windows, turned the heating up and were as snug as bugs.
On Wednesday it was time to head home and a lovely drive back down the dale with the sun lighting up the hills once again. Once back on the A1 it was an easy run in light traffic and with a coffee stop near Newark we were home in time for a late lunch.
To date this year we have spent 109 nights in the motorhome, just one short of our record. We definitely need to get another night or ten in before the end of 2014.