Travels in the UK 2023

Henley 2023

Sunday 14th May. Hard to believe that it’s been more than six months since we were away in the motorhome. Various things have got in the way. The van needed some attention last November and was at the dealer for a few weeks, a booked trip to Chatsworth was cancelled because of bad weather. Come the new year Margaret had a cataract operation which prevented any trips away until she got new glasses. In February we had a new bathroom fitted at home which again restricted our ability to get away and on top of that various routine medical appointments that were put on hold due to COVID have started to come through thick and fast. So, at long last an opportunity came to go away for a few days away in mid-May.

For a short break away we like to keep the distance to the destination between 50 and 100 miles so Henley on Thames seemed an ideal distance. Sunday 14th May and we were ready for the off. Lucky with the weather as it seemed to be on the change to being slightly warmer and the sun was shining. We reverted to our road atlas to plan the journey as the sat nav wanted to take us down too many rabbit holes! We knew there were issues with the roads around Oxford so we decided to take the M 40 south from Bicester. The M40 is a quite attractive motorway in many parts traversing some very attractive countryside. And who can forget the bridge, at Stokenchurch, in the opening shots of the Vicar of Dibley to the strains of the Lord is my Sheppard! Before we got that far we did make a coffee stop at the Oxford Services. The only problem coming this way is that you have to navigate through Marlow and the road from there to Henley is a bit tight in places.

We had chosen to stay at Swiss Farm rather than the nearby CMC site. Price wise there was not much difference and we got a fully serviced pitch into the bargain. It is also further back from the busy road so far, less, traffic noise. We have stayed here before but the last time was during the 2012 Olympics as we used it as a base for visiting the Rowing events on what later became known as super Saturday.

Monday 15th May. Rain overnight but it dawned a lovely sunny day but with a stiff northerly breeze. We think we have discovered a big potential problem! When getting a bottle of water out of the fridge we noticed it had quite a lot of ice in it. Earlier I had had a yoghurt which seemed frozen but that often happens if they are stored too near the freezing elements. What Margaret was worried about was her spare insulin which is stored in the lower section of the fridge. Although when we looked at it, it did not appear frozen there was a worry that it might have been and as such would be useless. So, first job today was to walk into Henley to visit a pharmacy. It does just highlight all this nonsense about pharmacists being able to prescribe things, because even if true, it is very limited! Boots weren’t unhelpful but we would need to phone our surgery and get them to electronically transfer a new prescription to them. The second pharmacy, smaller private, was a bit more useful as he thought that the insulin was probably OK and hadn’t been frozen, and in all probability, would be fine! He did say that without a prescription you could always buy the insulin but at £80 a pack we declined. By now you are all probably wondering why we had the problem in the first place? After all it’s not the first time that we have been away in this motorhome. Well, it transpires that when it was in for service the dealer clearly put the fridge of maximum setting the test the fridge. We failed to notice this and as a result ended up with things freezing the fridge! Hopefully a lesson learnt?

After all that excitement we did have a good wander around the town which for those that have not been is well worth a visit. Plenty of shops ,cafes and restaurants. Down by the river they are getting ready for the Regatta with all the marquees being put up. Margaret loves to look at the Estate Agents to see the local prices. We expected the house prices to be high but what was interesting was the rent prices. Over £4000 a month in some cases, more than we paid for our first home!

Tuesday 16th May. I walked about three and a half miles yesterday which I appreciate for many is not a particularly long way but with all my knee and hip problems it is. I can only say that I suffered last night when it was difficult to get comfortable. I have taken one of my strong painkillers today so that we could go for another walk. It was only down to the river bank which is probably as far as walking into Henley. There were a few boats on the river including a trip boat and a very old cruiser which one could have imagined making the trip to Dunkerque! More evidence of them getting ready for the Regatta with pile drivers marking out the Regatta Course. On the way back to the van we stopped at the excellent café they have at Swiss Farm for lunch. It was so good I somehow doubt we will need much to eat this evening!!!

Wednesday 17th May. Our last day here before going home tomorrow. We had the intention of taking the bus into Marlow but by the time we were ready the bus service seemed to be hit by cancellations meaning a wait of about an hour for the next bus. We got as far as the site café and decided that rather than mess around with buses we would just have a coffee and a pain au chocolate. The café here does really excellent coffee so it was no hardship. We wandered back around the site including the tent field. Through the trees we could see the CMC site which just illustrates how much further back from the road Swiss Farm is. So, we have missed out on the traffic noise but unfortunately the ground staff, for all the time we have been here, have been mowing and strimming which probably is a bigger nuisance than the traffic noise we tried to avoid! Obviously had we been off site we wouldn’t have noticed? Without doubt this is a beautifully maintained site but the cost seems to be noise, so much for no mow May!

Lots of people are attracted to this area because of the free roaming Red Kites which, apparently, were reintroduced to the area some years ago and have grown in number exponentially ever since. Whilst these birds are magnificent to watch as they swirl on the air currents I just wonder if such schemes go a bit wry? As numbers grow so will the demand for food which means many other species suffer as a result. Even eating a sandwich in a park puts you in danger as I have witnessed in the past. I wonder if the people who support these schemes actually ever think about the consequences? 

Thursday 18th May. Time to head home. We decided to retrace our route back to MK as we had read lots of reports of problems and delays on the A34 around Oxford. All was going well and we stopped for a coffee at the Oxford Services. The fact that the M40 seemed quite quiet should have set alarm bells ringing. It wasn’t long before what traffic there was came to a standstill. A quick check of Google informed us that there had been an accident between junctions 9 and 10 and the motorway had been closed. All I can say is that we were glad we were in the motorhome will all facilities at hand! We worked out that we were either stationary or moving only yards at a time for just over five hours! Even when we managed to get off the motorway at junction 9 at Bicester it was chaos as the queue coming out of Oxford could not get onto the M40. Once we got moving it was slow but we were making reasonable progress. We had fully expected to be home around midday but because of the delays it was actually 6.30pm by the time we got home. In hindsight we should have checked road conditions whilst we were still in the services. If push came to shove, I am sure it would have been quicker to go to the M25 and then the M1 back to MK.

Skegness and Yorkshire



Sunday 4th June. Start of our second trip of the year but slightly longer at two weeks duration. We are heading up the east coast starting at Skegness today before moving further north into Yorkshire.

Although we spend days getting ready it always seems a bit of a rush in the final hours before we leave. Just so jealous of those that just chuck everything in the van and head off without a care in the world. Having checked, this time, that the fridge was at the right setting we were ready for the off and left exactly at 11.00am. We header out around Bedford to the Black Cat roundabout where we joined the A1 north. We made a stop at the Peterborough Services which seems to have expanded its parking since our last visit in 2022. Caravans and motorhomes are directed to a new coach/HGV area. However, where you should park is still confusing as there are dire warnings of £150 charge for parking in the coach bays which don’t seem to be marked as such! The one advantage of this area is that it has direct access to the services catering. I notice there was even a laundrette.

Having been refreshed by our coffee we set off through Peterborough on their Parkway system, passing the wonderful Cathedral en route. TomTom had not been too bad on this journey so far but we did manage to sidestep one short cut he wanted to take us down. In Boston we followed the road signed for Skegness rather than TomTom and got it wrong! We did turn round and get back on the prescribed route although the road from Boston to Skegness is not the best. We arrived at the site around 3.00pm, a bit later than intended. Been a nice sunny day today but the nearer we got to the coast the colder it became.

Monday 5th June. A very grey and chilly start to the day. It seems the East of the Country is in a bit of a grey Ground Hog Day! We decided to explore the site today, which not only includes the touring site but a much larger static area. One way to describe the touring area of Skegness Sands is more like a large motorhome Aire rather than a traditional campsite as there is little grass in the hardstanding areas. We noted the price on new static caravans which seem to start at around £50,000. A big investment unless you absolutely love the location. Since arrival we have been wondering what the very large brick-built building that abuts the campsite was for. It turns out to be the old Derbyshire Miners Convalescent Home. It has a suburb location overlooking the sea. Apparently, it has now been sold, awaiting some change of use?

Having checked out the site, we venture outside and up to the beach which is pretty close to the entrance. There is a nice prom along the sea shore looking out at the many wind turbines that now populate the East Coast. There are, of course, acres of sandy beach but apart from the odd dog walker, not being used much today. At the end of the road from the campsite is an amusement arcade which also contains a greasy spoon café complete with genuine plastic tablecloths! Across the road is a nicer looking café/bar/restaurant called The View where we had a coffee before venturing up the main road to check out the bus stops.  

Tuesday 6th June. Unfortunately, there has been no change in the weather on the east coast. It is still cold and grey although there are rumours of heat permeating up from the south by the end of the week. We took the bus into Skegness today from the handy bus stop at the top of the road. The bus came into the town via the coast road and it was clear to see how much it is geared up to the tourist trade. We alighted near the well-known  landmark the, Clock Tower. We wandered down to the sea and the lovely sandy beach before heading into the town. The shopping centre is quite comprehensive but don’t expect designer shops! Much of what is in offer seems geared up to the main school holidays when I imagine the demographic of the town changes dramatically.  Outside of those times it seems to be the preserve of mobility scooters and walking sticks, mine included! During our stay we had contemplated a trip by train to Boston but despite the relatively short distance in miles it takes about three quarters of an hour so have decided against it. The buses back to the site are pretty frequent so we didn’t have to wait long. The problem when using unfamiliar services is making sure you get off at the right place. This is where Google Maps on my Smartphone comes in handy!

Wednesday 7th June. Still dull and grey although there have been a few hints of sunshine somewhere up there behind the cloud. This is our last day at Skegness Sands before moving further north tomorrow and after yesterday’s exploits in Skegness, we have decided to have an easier day today. We thought we would explore the static site a bit more.

We often wonder, when we are fed up with touring, whether a static would suit us. This is a nicely kept site so one imagines it would be somewhere like this we would want to have a static. It’s certainly not a cheap way of having holidays with new static caravans costing from £50,000 upwards. Then you have the ongoing costs which at this site seem to be in the region of £3500 a year! Then there is a question of where in the country do you purchase. I think it fine if you have somewhere in mind where you could regularly visit without getting bored and you could use it enough to justify the money and running costs invested. Probably what would be ideal would be a partnership with other family members but I suspect getting a group of people to agree could be difficult?



Thursday 8th June. Getting fed up with seeing all these stories of heat wave approaching the UK as we experience yet another day of March temperatures and gloom in June! We are heading up towards Scarborough today to our next site. This involved a cross country drive to the A15 and then north to the Humber Bridge. It’s a long time since we have crossed the Humber which is a much wider river than you imagine. Even more surprising there were clearly people walking, cycling, running across the Bridge. There is a toll on the bridge but at about £1.50 it seemed quite reasonable to me but then I am only a very occasional user! We plotted our own route today. With all this talk of AI, I don’t think I will believe in it until a sat nav can intelligently organise a route without trying to take short cuts down unsuitable roads!

We stopped in Beverley at the Morrisons for some shopping and a coffee before starting on the last leg of the journey to Cayton Village where we are staying for four nights. We last stayed here in 2019 but since then it has been refurbished. Yet to see the full effect of the refurbishment.

Friday 9th June. A fairly lazy day today after the journey yesterday. Still grey and chilly but sun trying to break through. We had a wander around the site today to look at the facilities. Found an EV charging point. How caravanning will cope with electric vehicles over the coming years is yet to be seen. Given the inclusion of static type accommodation on this site it could be a nod to that? We had a walk round to where we had pitched on the previous visit and I think where we were pitched is now a Service Point! Nearby we found the gate out into Cayton Village. There are a couple of small shops in the village including one selling rather nice sausage rolls, so that was lunch sorted!

Saturday 10th June. Our first day of proper sunshine and a useful rise in temperature but not yet anywhere near the Continental ones we have been warned about! We took the bus into Scarborough today; a handy service runs from right outside the campsite. You can also go to Filey and Bridlington should you wish. It only takes about ten minutes to get into the centre of Scarborough, right outside the Station. The town was busy with shoppers and even more when we headed down to the beach. We found a viewing point behind the Grand Hotel and did think about the path down from there but slopes and dodgy knees don’t go together! We knew the funicular was just round the corner so we made our way there. The beach was quite crowded but despite the lovely sunny weather it did not seem hot enough to strip off  but that could be southerner bias on my part? Eventually we made our way back into town and decided to have a cheap meal in the local ‘Spoons before making our way back to the bus. Quite a high step count today so no doubt will pay for it tomorrow!

Sunday 11th June. Suns out and it looks as if a lazy day is on the cards. I did a turn around the site to take some photographs as I think I will have to change my site report quite a bit from our previous visit. As to be expected a few units have left the site today but there are still quite few here. Given that this site is very large I somehow doubt its completely full on many occasions?


Monday 12th June. We left Cayton Village today and initially headed for York, or more precisely the Tesco on the northern side of York so we could fill up with fuel and do some shopping. From here we headed up the A1M before turning off on the A684 towards Leyburn and the CMC site caller Lower Wensleydale at Harmby. Strange little site, sort of rustic.  Anyone coming here expecting the usual manicured CMC site will, perhaps be disappointed? But it might grow on you. It’s been very hot and trying to cool the van down, especially when approaching bed time has been difficult but thank goodness for the MaxxAir roof fan we have.

Tuesday 13th June. Not that we should complain but the hot weather continues, although perhaps not quite as hot as yesterday. Rather weird to remember that a week ago the temperature was half of what it is now. We often feel exhausted after a day’s travelling so we decided to have a lazy day. We did have a wander around this strange little site. I think it has grown on me but not sure Margaret feels the same?  Dotted around the site are large tubs of Hosta’s. A member of the site staff said that the lady that caretakes the site over winter is responsible for the Hosta’s. When we looked for the pedestrian access out of the sites there was more evidence of these plants and I wondered if the lady in question lives in the adjacent house?

Wednesday 14th June. Well, we bit the bullet today and decided to walk into Leyburn. The optimists suggested it was only a mile but the reality was that it was half a mile more. OK not quite Proclaimers territory but with dodgy knees and hips the extra matters! Just as well I took a big yellow painkiller before we left! It was lovely and sunny but fortunately there was also a nice breeze. En route we called into Leyburn Station which is on the Wensleydale Heritage Railway. Our visit coincided with two coach loads of pensioners, one coming and one going. With all those walking frames it took about three years to get onto the platform, but there for the Grace of God, etc, etc! We have visited a lot of heritage railways around the country and I can’t say this was one of the best. The diesel train looked well past its best. Although the station had a shop and tearoom there wasn’t much else which was a bit of a let-down.

Onwards and up the hill into the town. Attractive enough little place with views from some places right across the Dales. Interesting shops as well. A well-deserved coffee and for me a bacon bap, at the Posthorn Tea and Coffee House. Having looked around the town the decision to be made, do we wait for the bus or cast caution to the wind and walk? We decided to walk, firstly it was mainly downhill and secondly, we could visit the Chocolate Factory which we had passed on the way in. When we got there, Molly the dog was not so keen for us to follow the indicated route but fortunately her owner was at home and she reluctantly allowed us to pass. I have to say this is no Cadbury’s, more of an Artisan establishment. We get to the point where we should turn off towards the campsite but like a mirage in the desert the Pheasant Inn is within grasping distances so we walk on and enjoy a bitter shandy for Margaret and a pint of Theakston’s for me. Not quite an “Ice Cold in Alex” moment but pretty close!

Thursday 15th June.  Another lovely day here in Wensleydale. After yesterday’s excitement we were too exhausted to think about doing anything so had a lazy day, that was until the alarm went off warning me the waste water tank was getting full. One advantage of a motorhome is that they generally have fairly large fresh and waste water tanks which is fine for two or three days but beyond that, action is required. The seemingly easy option is to take the van over to the waste point which is only 50 yards away but that means unplugging, removing the screen cover so generally too much bother. In such events you resort to manual means which sort of defeats the larger tanks but it saves moving the van which is a bother! Our last day here at Lower Wensleydale before moving south tomorrow. One interesting aspect of this campsite is that it was a former quarry. The Lime Kilns are still in evidence on the site having been restored. It seems that making lime on this site goes back to around 1840.

Friday 16th June. We were up and away fairly early this morning when in reality there was no need, as we were in danger of arriving at Clumber Park too early. That was until we got onto the A1M! The overheads were showing various messages saying that there were delays of 90 minutes, that junction 44 was closed. So mixed messages! We made a stop at Weatherby services for a coffee. Wanting to avoid the situation we found ourselves earlier in the year on the M40 we started to make contingency plans. This involved old fashioned technology called a road atlas! The plan was to head towards York and then take the A19 south towards Selby and the M62. Somehow, we ended up going around Drax power station! Eventually we got to the M62 and then one junction onto the M18 which took us back to the A1M, albeit many miles south of the problem. To cap it all I made a mistake at the final roundabout and headed down the A1 instead of the A614, fortunately we found a cross over point so we arrived at Clumber Park before 2.00pm. It somehow seemed worth the extra 30 miles to avoid slow or not moving traffic.  

Saturday 17th June. Funnily enough it actually dawned quite dull, they first time since Skegness! It is however, quite humid. The original plan was to have a walk into Clumber Park but by the time we got to reception it was spotting with rain which put an end to that ambition. Another reason for going to reception was to use the WiFi hotspot which is the only place on the site with any form of internet connection! The Club are currently doing a substantial upgrade to its site WiFi but it means whilst that work in going on, sites only have a hotspot and even that connection is not that good. Clumber Park has always been a phone signal black spot, not quite sure why? After all Worksop is not that far away and the main A1 is also near. Is it the phone companies unwilling to invest or the Park ownership not keen on providing space for masts? There are parts of the Park that do have some signal but it’s a particular problem at the campsite. Given at peak time there could easily be 500 people on the campsite the lack of signal could be dangerous. They have food vendors on this site and we treated ourselves to a couple of Pizza’s done on a wood burning stove which were very nice. Interesting how they had a signal on their card reader!

Interesting experience being here at Clumber Park over a weekend. Clearly parents think it must be a safe places for all their little ones and seem to completely disassociated themselves with their offspring. In many ways it is a joy to hear the youngsters enjoying themselves but if your intention was to have a quiet weekend you either don’t come here or you find a quieter spot near the perimeter. Likewise, the chap next door doesn’t seem to think the rules about keeping his dog on a lead applies to him as the only time it’s been on a lead was when it was taken off site! It does seem that attitudes at Clumber Park are more laxed than elsewhere. Not blaming the site staff but it does seem a different culture applies here?

Sunday 18th June. We were away quite early from Clumber Park not having really enjoyed our stay. It is a strange thing to say but the cliental on the site over the weekend seemed different, perhaps more self-centred than you usually get on CMC sites. Perhaps a lesson to learn for future trips?

The trip down the A1 (A1M) was relatively uneventful, although a silly 40 mph speed limit north of Peterborough (with no work going on) was rather frustrating. We made an attempt to call into the Peterborough Services for a coffee only to find that the lovely new area we had used two weeks before had been closed off so we have to park with the lorries and make do with a soft drink! It’s possible they were doing some work on it but because it was the weekend there was no evidence of it. We stopped, as usual, at the most convenient Tesco in MK  to fill up with fuel. Disappointing to find that diesel is 5p a litre more expensive in MK compared to York. To cap it all I used my NatWest debit card to pay rather than my Tesco credit card so no Club Card points!

Cambridge 2023

Sunday 16th July. We are off to Cambridge today, to the C&CC site on the west side of the City. We tend to alternate between the sites of the two Clubs. With it only being 50 miles from home and with the 13.00 hours arrival curfew there is usually a lot of hanging around at home. We are obviously getting a bit careless with our departure regimes as I forget to plug in the dash cam!  

It is a well-worn route from MK to Cambridge and in recent years we have tended to use the Junction 13 to A1 dual carriageway on the A421. In the past we went via Chicheley Hill and Stagsden to Bedford on the A422. With several new roads opening in the area, it’s possible to  bypass much of the main route which we rejoined south of Bedford and this was today’s route. Before we got to the Black Cat roundabout on the A1, we stopped at a parking area to basically, while away some time so as not to arrive too early. On the road again and rest of the journey uneventful and we arrived at the site at about  four minutes past one. We quite like the C&CC site as its nice and open and this time we have a pitch not far from the entrance. Interesting that the last time we were here in 2019 the price is virtually the same which given everything that has happen in that time is quite remarkable?

Monday 17th July. Weather better than predicted, at least no rain and quite sunny most of the time. We wandered down to the Scotsdale Garden Centre this morning. We had a coffee and a scone in their restaurant and noticed that where their plants are normally sold from is being demolished ahead of reconstruction. So, whilst they still had a good selection of plants it was more restricted than normal. On the way back to the van we called into the little general store for a few bits. Interesting to note that  two walls of the shop were taken up with booze, perhaps a lot of student accommodation roundabouts? In the afternoon we actually got the outdoor chairs out! Last time we were here in 2019 we actually experienced record temperatures which we found a bit much so enjoyed the cooler weather.

Tuesday 18th July. We decided to take the bus into Cambridge today. Traffic into the city seemed manic and the place was crowed beyond comfort. Headed into the Grand Arcade and had lunch in John Lewis. Afterwards had a wander around the shopping centre but as the day was both overcast and humid, we soon decided to head back to the campsite. At least our bus passes saved us £8 which almost paid for lunch! The campsite seems pretty full most nights. Nice to see a fair number of European plates on site. I think their summer holidays are a bit earlier than ours.

Wednesday 19th July. Very lazy day today.  Weather not been so good  with a lot of cloud and some rain. Campsite not quite so busy today but still fairly full. Our last day here and off home tomorrow.

Thursday 20th July. Time for the journey home which basically retraced our journey here. One point of excitement verging on the potential disaster was whilst driving along the A428 near Cambourne when, suddenly a Deer appeared on the edge of the road but fortunately decided to disappear back from where he came. Had he not done that I think we would have had a dead deer and a badly damaged motorhome! Otherwise, the journey was uneventful and we arrived home around midday.


Sunday 3rd September. It seems quite a while since we have been away but in reality, it is only five weeks. The weather forecasters have suggested that the next week will be a sort of Indian Summer which seems like a bonus. We set off from MK just before 11.00am and we are heading for Glastonbury. Not because we are hippy’s or taking a leaf out of the Scott McKensie playbook but just as a base for exploring that area. The journey, was in the main, over familiar territory. A stop was made at Bicester to fill up with fuel and then onto Oxford where fears of massive delays proved unfounded. Across country to Swindon and the M4 with a stop at Leigh Delamere services for a human refuelling stop. I quite like this Service Station as the retailing divides the car parking from the lorry parking so there is no long walk to get a coffee.

Back on the road again and heading out towards the M5 south. Slightly slow between the M32 and the M5 but otherwise OK. Fearing the sat nav would take us all over place we were prepared to follow our pre- defined route with Atlas in hand. We left the M5 at junction 23 towards Glastonbury and Wells on the A39. Like a lot of UK secondary roads, the route varied between a well spec’d road and a country lane! We were heading for the Isle of Avalon campsite in Glastonbury. Unfortunately, not too well signed and no POI on the sat nav! Eventually we found a sign and soon arrived at the campsite. It had been a long, hot, journey of 160 miles and we were glad to set up camp

Monday 4th September. For a change the weather forecasters are right. Temperatures more associated with the South of France have hit us. I had it all planned out what we would do during our four night stop here but when we tried to walk into Glastonbury today it was so hot and uncomfortable, we turned round and came back to the van. Margaret is struggling a bit at the moment with back/hip/knee problem. She has had a scan but we are awaiting the results. Pointless forcing yourself to do something when it makes you feel worse!

Had a look round the site today.  The beauty of it is its closeness to the town and the transport  links. Quality wise OK, pitches seem and bit close together and there are a lot of seasonal vans which I never feel add to the ambience   of a campsite but perhaps that is just me. There is obviously a keen gardener with something to do with the site as the flowers outside the toilet block are superb. Strangely the site seems to attract what might be described as older hippies if the hair styles are anything to go by! From the entrance of the site, you have a clear view of Glastonbury Tor which can be reached from the town. Any slim chance that either of us would have been tempted to climb up have somewhat evaporated with the hot weather!

Tuesday 5th September. We have made the decision today to cut the trip short as Margaret is continuing to have problems with her hip and we feel we need to go home to get the results of her recent scan. We will stay here and leave on Thursday as planned. It’s a shame but pointless trying to go on when you have difficulty moving.

Wednesday 6th September. Another blisteringly hot day, it’s been late twenties all the time we have been here. Margaret managed a walk around the site today but the heat is energy sapping, not quite what we expected for early September. As we have sat around for most of our time here, we have done a lot of observing, perhaps not such a good idea? I noticed that the majority of outfits are of the older variety compared to say a CMC site. Is there a divide I wonder? This campsite hire out wood burners to campers. Not sure how much but they come supplied with the materials needed. Why in this blistering heat anyone would want to use one I have no idea but of course someone had to! Some people clearly only think of themselves and regardless of how hot it was with everyone needing to keep windows and roof vents open someone wants a fire pit. Fortunately,  by the time we went to bed most of the smell had dissipated so we were able to reopen vents. A few years ago we had a MaxxFan installed which is operated by 12v and either sucks air in or out and it has proved invaluable. We can even leave it on overnight as on the lower speeds it is quite quiet.

Thursday 7th September. We were not looking forward to a long journey in this heat, although of course, we had the advantage of cab air conditioning which will make us more comfortable. Good progress was made and the only slight delay was around Bristol where the M32 goes off. Another stop at Leigh Delamere. Slightly different layout from the other side but we found a shady shot under some trees. Likewise on the outward journey we were concerned about Oxford but again it proved OK albeit a little on the slow side. You can now bypass Bicester to the west of the town. Trouble was that two sections around this bypass there was a road closed sign! Why not put this on the main road? Having done a tour of the town we got back on track and were soon back in MK. Filled up with fuel, over 30 miles to the gallon, so not bad, never got that towing!



Sunday 8th October. After our previous abortive trip to the West Country, we are off to Cromer today. Margaret has been diagnosed with a dodgy right hip (not a medical term!) which at some stage will need to be replaced but at the moment she is trying to manage the pain with pain killers and hopefully a planned trip to a physio will also help. The beauty of where we are going is that we have the choice to walk or to catch the bus so hopefully that will reduce the impact on the hip.

We tried to be a bit more relaxed about our setting off process by not setting the alarm at silly o’clock. It seemed to work as were still away before 11.00am. It’s quite a long drive, well 140 miles seems long to me! It was, at least,  over a familiar route. At long last the go ahead has been given to the Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet dual carriageway which is the last remaining section of two-way road between MK and Norwich. Unfortunately, it won’t be ready until 2027. It would have been a year earlier without those pesky complainers had not delayed the approval.

On the south bound A11 we have discovered quite a good service area which we have used a couple of times. Looking at Google Earth we noticed one on the north bound carriageway thinking it would be just as good. How wrong could we be. Other than outside the shop, perhaps half a dozen spaces and no good for motorhomes and caravanners there were double yellow lines everywhere. There were four  spaces for HGV’s. We did find a spot but were uncomfortable as we were not sure we should be there!

We arrive at Seacroft, the CMC site at Cromer, at about 2.30pm. Given the price for a serviced pitch, over £40 in October, we decided just to have a standard pitch. We had a choice of two, so almost Hobson’s Choice! Other than the grass pitches which are mainly out of use at this time of year the site seems to be fully booked.

Monday 9th October. The good weather continues although, perhaps, not so hot in this corner of Norfolk because of the sea breeze but very pleasant none the less, especially for the middle of October. We needed a shortish walk today to test out the old limbs! Last time we were here we walked to West Runton which wasn’t too far. Perhaps the only downside, it meant walking along the main road path. This time we noticed a gate, almost opposite the campsite, signed for the Norfolk Coast Path, so we went that way instead. The path emerges on the access road to a couple of static caravan parks. At least you are out of the way of the traffic and it’s interesting to see the static vans although according to a for sale notice they are not cheap, £50000 seemingly the going rate. The path brings you out at the start of West Runton village where you take a right down to the beach. I left Margaret to sit on a bench whilst I went down the ramp to the beach. There were a few fishing boats out of the water but interesting to see there is still fishing going on. Not sure what they catch, perhaps Cromer Crabs? The beach looked very nice and you can see Cromer in the distance and a reasonably easy walk from here. I found climbing back up the ramp quite a challenge and needed some recovery time to catch my breath!

There appears to be a coffee shop on the main road but unfortunately it was closed today! We had a wander around the West Runton Stores which is a bit of an Aladin’s cave. We took the same route back. At the rear of one of the statics there was a massive Sunflower seed head which I am sure the birds will enjoy.

The site continues to be quite full which tends to acknowledge its popularity. We like it because of its location with its easy transport links. However, just recently, there seem to be an increasing number of negative reviews. Although we don’t use the toilet block, this has been where most of the  negativity has been aimed. I think there is also some question marks about the size and spacing of some pitches on the original part of the site. Without knowing what is in the club’s mind it is difficult to work out but the site does seem in need of a major refurbishment?

Tuesday 10th October. Weather still nice and unseasonably warm for the time of year. Before we came away it looked as if the whole week would be the same but it seems that from tomorrow on until Saturday it will be raining! Any hope they have got that wrong?

Bit of a late start today, still recovering from the Grand Prix on Sunday when Channel 4’s coverage ended well after midnight! Anyway, once we were up, we decided to take the bus into Sheringham. We like Sheringham as it seems to have a feeling all to itself and different from other seaside resorts in Norfolk. Some might think I am being a bit snobbish, but that is fine for me as I like a place with some je ne sais quoi. Although there are nods to being a seaside resort there are more hints of it being a bit more special. The shops tend to give it away a bit where there is a good mix between the two. First off, we had a look around the platform on the North Norfolk Steam Railway. No steam today but a rather nice-looking diesel rail car was waiting at the platform to carry today’s enthusiasts on their journey. Margaret wanted to find the strange old book shop we found last time we were here and it’s just down from the station. From there we started to look for our favourite coffee shop in Sheringham which is in the Arcade which meant we had to double back up the main street. Refreshed we wandered down to the seafront where we sat for a while. Because of her hip problem Margaret has started to use a walking stick. She says it helps. This issue has come on quite suddenly, well at least in the last three months.

Having sat for a while we made our way up through the town to the Tesco supermarket next to the railway station. Rumour has it that the locals would have preferred a Waitrose but obviously Tesco won the day! Shopping done we made our way to the bus stop and back to the campsite for a late lunch. Have to say the buses both ways were pretty busy.

Wednesday 11th October. Well, the threatened rain has arrived although it did have the decency to hold off until about lunchtime. Not that we were going anywhere as we are both a bit bushed from the last two days excursions. Easy to forget that as you get older you tend to get more sedentary and going away in the van ups the activity levels two or three-fold. One could say that is one of the benefits of motorhomes and caravans? At least a dry morning allowed me the opportunity to empty and fill with water, and the loo of course!

Thursday 12th October. At least the rain has stopped, even if it has left us with grey skies! No excuse for sitting around today! We caught the bus into Cromer. Previously we might have walked both ways but Margaret’s hip is causing enough pain to limit walking to the town. Once in the town we made our way to the Pier which is, I suppose the centre piece. In a strange way, it being dull, it is easier to look back towards the town as the view is often obscured by the sun! They have manged to keep the tat off the Pier which makes it a nicer destination compared to many. It is, of course the home of the famous “end of the Pier Theatre” it’s Christmas Show being particularly popular. Cromer is synonymous with crabs and I expect many a youngster has cut their fishing experience with crabbing from Cromer Pier. To that end there are useful notices on the pier with how you should go about it and also be kind to the crabs.

Along the promenade there are inserts with miscellaneous information. I noticed in one that in 1885 a certain Winston Churchill visited Cromer but seemed not to be enjoying himself! We headed for our usual coffee stop, the The Rocket, which is above the Henry Blogg Lifeboat Museum. It’s a nice cafe with lovely views along the beach and the food and coffee are not bad either! When leaving we have to remember to take the lift to the highest level as this saves a bit of a climb into the town. The High Street is dominated by the massive Cromer Church, St Peter and St Paul. The tower can be seen for miles around. There seem to be a few new shops and cafes compared to a year or two ago. Perhaps an effort to up the image of the town? Our final destination was Morrisons for a bit more shopping and back on the bus that luckily arrive about 30 seconds after us!

Friday 13th October. We fully expected a wet and wild night but it didn’t seem to happen as predicted. Certainly, the wind came up but the rain was not as heavy as predicted. Likewise, up until lunchtime whilst still windy it was dry and quite warm. This allowed me to fill up and empty whilst it was dry. We also took the opportunity to wander down to the Information Hut and deposit a dozen or so of Margaret’s read books. All good stuff compared to the pretty poor selection of books already there. Perhaps everyone reads books on their e-reader now? Most sites operate  a pound to take a book or fifty pence to swap, trouble is that site receptions closed much of the time it’s not always convenient to arrange payment? We don’t usually feel bad about that as we usually leave more books than we take!

Saturday 14th October. The rain has gone but it’s still breezy but also lovely and sunny but also much colder. Not done a lot today other than a walk around the site, but we did call into the site restaurant for a coffee. I was surprised at how many empty pitches there were on a Saturday but later in the day they did fill up again. Having been here for a week it has been interesting to note the number of leavers on particular days. I had always imagined that Sunday would always be a good arrival day as many seem to leave after the weekend but when we arrived, on Sunday, there were very few pitches free. It seems Wednesday might be a good choice?

Sunday 15th October. Going home today. Our route home was just a reversal of the route here a week ago. Usual stop at the Thetford Services. Such a contrast to the services on the other side of the road. Plenty of parking for caravans and motorhomes. I notice an area of trees had been cleared and according to the girl in the shop it was going to be a restaurant. What variety she was not sure but do we assume it will be of the fast food type? Not a particular warm day today but it was mainly sunny and we arrived home in good time. So far this year we have been away for 33 nights, which is fairly low for us. Not sure if this will be our last trip this year or whether we will get away for a few more nights?