A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: InvictaMoto

Meriden Birthday Weekend

It seems a little early but today I had to pay the outstanding balance on the Somers Wood campsite at Meriden. I had already paid the £20 deposit and so there was the remaining £46 to pay.

That was done easily so we are committed to going!!! ;)

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Posted by InvictaMoto 13:09 Archived in England Comments (0)

Awaycation Summer 2024 - Spain

Another update!

I have been relying on the MyRouteApp <https://www.myrouteapp.com/> website to plan where to go and this will tie in with the additional Navigation App when I pay for it. For the simple A to B trips I can still use the Ohrex as normal.

Of course I am hoping that the Navigation part of MyRouteapp will work okay and it is supposed to allow the downloading of maps so that it doesn't need to use the internet to work. I have a 30gb allowance on my mobile phone but don't want to eat that up with the navigation.

At the end of the last update we were in Avila where we are staying for two days in the new aire near to the city walls. I opted for a EHU space and hopefully we can charge everything up.

From here we have a decision to make. We will have 12 nights left before we return to the UK via Eurotunnel Le Shuttle at Calais. So which way back? Do we go north of Madrid or south of Madrid? I still like the idea of heading up through Aragon and taking the Somport Tunnel, with maybe an overnight at the new aire at Canfranc Station. Either way around Madrid will bring us eastwards.

One of the recent vlogs we have watched shows a stop overnight an Consquerga where there is a castle and the Don Quixote windmills of La Mancha. I thought this looked more like a stop off rather than an overnight. The nearby town of Alcazar de San Juan has a couple of aires that look pretty decent. It does look a "dead" area for campsites though.

From there? East! I have booked three nights at Camping Valencia.

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It's owned by Sandaya and I was able to use the credit from last year gained by amassing loyalty points to get 3 for 2 nights. It works out at about €25 a night including the €5 a night for Reggie! I doubt he'll use many of the services or the pool!

From here I think it will be time to look at it nearer the time!

Posted by InvictaMoto 12:57 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Awaycation Summer 2024 - Spain

Since the last update I have given up pretty much on looking for raw food for Reggie, and have concentrated on a few more overnight stops and scenic drives around the Basque and Cantabrian mountains.

Distances on the map turn out to be far less when transferred into the satnav app and into the Ohrex satnav.

One thing I am going to look at is using my phone in conjunction with the Navigation app that comes as an extra to the MyRouteApp that I use, and have for years, on the TomTom for bike trips. The TomTom 410 was also used in the car before we got the Nissan with the built in navigation.

I have read that some people have used this app successfully on their Android tablets.

I had already booked two nights at Playa de Regatón on the coast between Bilbao and Santander. This was basically to recover from 30 hours on the ferry from Portsmouth and the Bay of Biscay!

The plan is to try and locate a Tienda Animal store to see if they have any raw food. I have also found a motorhome parking area that should give us a chance to see the Guggenheim and the big flower dog statue (https://www.guggenheim-bilbao.eus/en/the-collection/works/puppy).

After Regatón? I have mapped out an eastern loop that will bring us to Ramales la Victoria and so I booked a site overnight there with EHU.

The following day we have a second mountain loop this time of the central mountains, ending on the coast again at Camping Oyambre. Two nights here with EHU. A chance to charge up everything and try out the beach ⛱️. It's allegedly dog friendly.

The next day another loop, this time a longer one around the western Picos d'Europa and then via Potes ending at a small site near Cervera la Pisuerga. One night. Another with EHU.

We stayed at the Parador there in 2014 when we were on the Triumph Explorer on our way back to Santander and the ferry home.

From there to Avíla. We have been before and it's a place I'd like to see again. We stayed in the Parador there too! There's a relatively new "area autocaravanas" opened near the northern walls. I have booked two nights there. It's €18 per night inc EHU.

That's as far as I have got. I was thinking about simply going and looking for a stop "on the hoof". There are plenty of free aires but the reviews are mixed. Plus, even though we have the Bluetti AC70 for those off grid off EHU moments, I am still not attracted to dusty car-parks with no services...

I am hoping that as we work our way around the loops that there will be places to stop and take in the views and simply enjoy what we are doing and seeing.

Posted by InvictaMoto 13:17 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Awaycation Summer 2024 - Spain - Basque Loop 1

Over the last week or so I have been looking through the atlas to check out the roads marked with the green "scenic" lines and the places along it (POI) to stop and be amazed by the views and the sights/sites.

I made a list of a loop through the eastern mountains to the south and south east of the first overnight stop in Laredo. Without stops it worked out (on Google maps) at just under 3 hours. Today I have been on the laptop and checking some of the roads and POI.

The first two, Pozalagua Cuevas and the nearby Dolomites Museum are closed except for weekends. This is fortunate for us as we leave Laredo on Saturday morning.... The loop will bring us back towards the coast again. I have also looked at some miradors (viewpoints) and waterfalls/cascades.

Altogether there are 10 waypoints in the MyRouteApp route. I have planned it there as the latest upgrade allows routes to be created for motorhomes.

It would mean using the phone instead of Ohrex and that should be no problem at all. The additional cost can be paid monthly. I am tempted for £3.95 and use it only in May whilst we are away.

With stops it becomes more like 5 and a half hours. So not to rush I looked for a campsite and found Camping Ramales that is nicely at the end of the loop. It's on ACSI and is €21 per night with electricity charged on top. I booked one night only here.

So that's three days in Spain that are accounted for!

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Posted by InvictaMoto 14:40 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Awaycation Summer 2024 - Spain

With the Norfolking About trip over I am now starting to look at the main summer holiday trip to Spain and France.

Altogether we are away for 22 nights. The first two will be spent on the ocean wave going to Bilbao.

I have the next two nights booked in a site on the coast at Laredo. This will give Reggie a chance to recover from the trip. He has been on a ferry before but only for a couple of hours. This crossing looks to be more like 30!

What then? I have been looking at the "scenic" routes on the map book. These are lined with a green line. In particular the routes through the mountains taking in viewpoints and places of interest.

What looks to be long distances in the "AA Road Atlas Spain & Portugal" is in fact around 60 miles.

The scenic routes criss-cross the mountains and the Picos d'Europa.

I am using Park4night and Search4Sites to get an idea where there are parkups and camp sites.

It does look like that area is well served with both.

After that? I am thinking of a loop around to the north of Madrid and towards the Pyrenees.

By mid to late May I expect the winter will be well behind us. I would like to head up through the Somport Tunnel, the pass didn't look 7m x 2.9m x 2.3m motorhome friendly when we went over it in 2022 on the bikes, and check out the scenery.

The only fixed date is the return Le Shuttle train home and the night before overnight stay at Guines.

We will have to get Reggie's worming and passport 🛂 stamped between 5 days and 1 day before we arrive on UK soil.

Where to do that? I like the vets in Cavignac to the north of Bordeaux. We have also used others in Abbeville and Neufchatel en Bray.

I am leaning towards Cavignac at the moment.

It all depends on when we cross from Spain into France.

Neufchatel and Abbeville are a little too close to Calais and the already booked overnight in Guines.

More to follow as the trip gets ever closer.

Posted by InvictaMoto 18:44 Comments (0)

Norfolking About! Day 5

After a quiet night at Nelson's Patch we set off.

We were going to meet Claire's sister, Sally, at Snape Maltings for lunch, and to have a look around the craft shops and art galleries. Well, they were. Reggie and I were having lunch and then would have a mooch around the site.

The cafe was dog friendly but few of the other places were. Maybe the pub?

The drive down would take about an hour and forty minutes according to Ohrex! And it was pretty much spot on. We did overshoot the entrance to the car parking as I thought from the view on Google maps that it would be on the right and not the left. In the end we got parked right at the back in the overflow parking that was almost empty when we arrived.

Lunch over they went to look around the aforementioned establishments and we had a walk around. My phone ran out of battery and so we returned to the van to put it on charge and to get the Canon DSLR out!

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Then it was time to leave as we still have about three hours to drive home. With the M25 and Dartford to contend with we didn't want to be too late. As it was the traffic on both sets of roadworks on the A12 weren't too bad, and neither was Dartford in the end.

It was just before 1800 that we rolled onto the drive. The problem with getting home is the unpacking. We did most of it straight away but left a lot until the next day.

Another trip is over. We don't have anything planned now until our big trip to Spain and back up through France in May.

Posted by InvictaMoto 22:47 Archived in England Comments (0)

Norfolking About! Day 4

Monday.

With the weather continuing to be good we set off from Wells. Pretty much backtracking along the A149 to Sheringham.

We once again had hours to cover 30 or so miles. So we decided to stop off at another National Trust site at Fellbrigg Hall. We have been here before. I set the satnav to take us there when we were half way along the road.

We had thought to simply use Google Maps but one of the turns looked too iffy for the van.

In the end the Ohrex took us on a weird square trip off the main road down the muddiest single track road. We encountered a 4x4 coming the other way with just enough room to squeeze past each other.

Then we were back onto the same main road around 200 yards from where it made us turn off! It hasn't ballsed up like that before.

The right turn into the hall's long driveway was only about 400 yards further up!

We parked up by backing into a space, separated from an Autoquest 185 by a fence. He had been luckier than us and avoided muddy lanes. The 185 was spotless. Ours is filthy.

With it being Monday there were far fewer visitors and we got a nice sunny table in the courtyard.

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After a coffee and a sit in the sun we decided it was time to get going.

We were able to get in to Nelson's Patch, our last overnight from 1300. We wanted to get there early so that we could enjoy the time there and then have a walk to the beach at Walcott.

I had chosen pitch 13. Nelson's Patch has all the pitches named after Admiral Lord Nelson and the ships that took part in the Battle of Trafalgar.

Norfolk has lots of references to Nelson as he was from that area.

Pitch 13 is Dreadnought. Over the centuries since 1801 when this ship was launched, there have been many ships taking the name.

HMS Dreadnought

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Once settled in we had a visit from the site owner who came to mow the lawn. He chatted with Claire for a while.

We went out for a walk. We left Reggie behind as he didn't want to go far from the van. He had been good for the three days before including long walks on the beaches.

We wanted to go to the local shop. Once we got to the beach we went down on the promenade and walked along to where we thought the shop was .. only to find it wasn't!

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There was a pub. Luckily to brighten the mood there was an ice-cream van. A 99 was consumed sitting on a bench overlooking the sea.

As we walked back we found the shop! It was about 50 yards from where we went down to the promenade! We went in and bought a few bits and pieces and bread.

Back at the van we had dinner and another quietish night watching the TV.

Tomorrow we leave for home.

(Photos to follow)

Posted by InvictaMoto 22:19 Archived in England Comments (0)

Norfolking About! Day 3

A little rain in the morning and we were late setting off. we had over two hours to do about 30 miles and so we needed somewhere to stop on the way.

The National Trust gardens at Sheringham Park was almost on the way. So once we had done the chores etc, I set that into the satnav and off we went. This part of the journey was pretty much straightforward and we easily found the place and parked in the coach parking area. There seemed to be space for two coaches next to the electric car hookup spaces. As usual, there were cars parked in the coach spaces! Why? The car-park was about 50% empty but there were few spaces to accommodate a 7m long van.

As is our habit we tried out the cafe first and were lucky enough to get a seat under cover as it was still drizzling. There were plenty of people there as it was a weekend and also lots of dogs. Reggie ignored them all.....

We decided as it was drizzling to do the shorter "yellow" walk. The park is full of rhododendrons and other trees. The rhododendrons were beginning to flower but not all at once. Another bugbear is when you see a sign that suggests that dogs should be kept in a lead in the park, and you are constantly getting approached by dogs running wild, it does p*** me off. Not everyone wants your dog running at them or jumping up at them. Reggie doesn't like being crowded and looked over by bigger dogs! Rant over.

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The second part of the journey took us from here to the coast at Sheringham and then all along the A149 coast road via Cley next the Sea and Blakeney. It's very narrow in places. It's very bumpy in places too. I think I handled it okay though. :)

I missed a turning in Wells and we went around the block and approached the harbour from the opposite direction but I don't think it costs us more than a minute or two. We checked in at Pinewoods about 1430. After the barrier opened for us I went straight on into the static caravan and glamping part of the park. The left turn that the receptionist told us to turn looked like a car-park behind reception. It wasn't! DOH!

In the end we found our pitch, no3. All pitches are fully serviced and so we have water clean and waste as well as electricity on the pitch. I need to get a waste pipe to connect to the outlet on the van so that we can make use of the drains for the grey water. It would save having to use the motorhome service areas and time. Note to self: check that out!

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We had lunch and then set off for a walk to Holkham Beach. There is a gate at the back of the touring park that takes the walker to a path alongside the nature reserver and to the beach. I had expected to arrive on the beach and then walk along the sand to the car-park on the end of the river and then get back to Pinewoods. In the end we did a curious loop and ended back on the same path we went out on. If we go again, we'll know better. The cafe and shop at the public car-park was closed by the time we got there in any case.

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Another night of eating and watching stuff on the Firestick. We found a series on Prime starring Alfred Molina as a French Canadian police officer in Quebec investigating murders and the running story is that of the missing First Nation women and girls. A scandal of huge proportions along with the forced removal of children to be "educated" away from their heritage.

Tomorrow, we are moving again. This stop was simply a taster for for site and we might come back.

Posted by InvictaMoto 19:18 Archived in England Comments (0)

Norfolking About! Day 2

Before we set off, the weather forecast for the weekend wasn't looking too good. On the way up it had rained until we left Essex and had brightened up. A little spit of rain as we approached Cromer but that was all.

This morning after breakfast we got our gear on, walking boots, and set off to find the beach. It was much easier than we had made it the evening before. Part of the route goes between two static caravan parks and there is no traffic, but eventually there's a 50m section of so that meant Reggie had to put up with the cars and buses! There are bus stops right outside the site entrance and so with our senior citizens bus passes we could have used the bus for free.

East Runton has some shops and the de rigeur fish and chip shop and a cafe. Ideal for the holiday maker staying a little nearer than we were. From the road there's a hill past the car park. Half of which has a height barrier (at the back) and the front half without. Guess where the cars were parked? Yep. In the bit where it was possible to park a camper over 2m high!

At the bottom are a couple of fishing boats and the tractors that pull them from the sea.

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Talking of sea. It was quite a way out and was popular with surfers and some swimmers. We turned right and walked along the harder sand, dodging the occasional wave that came up further. The walk to Cromer Pier is about 2 miles? We didn't let Reggie off the lead, but he was on the longer 8m extendable lead should he want to run about. There were so many other dogs on the beach that we needed to keep an eye on him. As he has got older he tends to ignore most dogs unless they "rush" him.

Once at the pier we went on and found a cafe for a coffee and a sit down. It's quite a workout for the calves walking on soft sand. It was quite warm and the cafe had glass windbreaks that did an excellent job. Claire wanted to go into the town to look for an art cafe and so once we had "done" the pier and she had looked in the RNLI museum and shop we headed up into the town. I had the Canon camera with me and took a few photos as we waited for her in the shop and museum.

(I'll add these to both blogs as soon as they are published and editable - this update is emailed in from my phone)

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We found the cafe and while I waited outside she went in for a look. Then it was back to the beach. We stopped and chatted to a couple who have a patterdale cross as well. Their dog was in their car as at 17yo he was already tired out! Reg is only 13.5yo!

Walking back was more tiring than expected . The tide was still out but of course the damp hard sand of earlier was now drier and fluffier.

We basically retraced our steps earlier on our way back to Molly. Dinner and an evening of watching the TV using the Firestick.

Tomorrow, we move on to Wells next the Sea and another campsite. Only for one hight to check it out for maybe a longer stay another time.

Posted by InvictaMoto 15:17 Archived in England Comments (0)

Norfolking About! Day 1

Friday. We finished loading the van up and set off about 1030 or so. We had to navigate the Dartford Crossing and given that it was Friday, we were expecting a tough crossing.

For some reason there are four lanes of traffic that approach from both sides. The Bridge coming south and the tunnels going north are also four lanes. So why doesn't the traffic simply get in lane and drive through without miles of tailbacks on both sides? There's a 50mph limit and that shouldn't cause any problems, but it does.

Maybe the drivers that use it are too stupid for their own good!

Anyway although there was some traffic building up it wasn't as bad as we have seen it in previous occasions and we were through reasonably quickly. We usually stop at the services at Thurrock just after the Crossing but we had already planned a farm shop stop at one that had been recommended by The FrenchiesMotorhomies on YouTube.

To get there the Ohrex satnav had decided that we would take the M11/A11 route to Norwich and so this found us stopping for a comfort break at Birchanger on the M11. It was okay getting in, but bedlam getting out as the roadworks around the junction allied with poorly timed traffic lights meant hardly anyone got out again onto the large roundabout each time they went green!

The next stop was that farm shop. The butcher's shop has some lovely local meat and we bought some of their Toulouse sausages and a pork pie. Some other bits and pieces including a local beer from the main shop. Parking was easy enough.

Paddock Farm Shop, Mulbarton, Norfolk

Paddock Farm Shop, Mulbarton, Norfolk

Then we were off. The satnav then took us into the edge of Norwich on the laughingly named inner ring road. Stop/start traffic until we got out to the airport. We noticed that petrol and diesel is far more expensive here than at home. And that's unusual!

We eventually arrived at the Seacroft Caravan Club site at East Runton about 1630. Check in was simple and this is one of the sites that actually make a note of what pitches are free. As we were booked on a hardstanding but no awning pitch we had to look for a set of white pegs delimiting the pitch. We had a choice of two. We chose one nearest the entrance and less distance to walk through to the entrance and to the beach...

Once setup and the moho on the ramps and the electricity hooked up we had a cup of tea before venturing out to find the beach. We wanted to see how close it was for a day out the next day. In the end we managed to go the wrong way and ended up in a private area with the beach some 50 to 100 feet below us. At least we knew now where we went wrong.

Tomorrow we will be out earlier and find the beach and walk along to Cromer pier and town.

Posted by InvictaMoto 14:41 Archived in England Comments (0)

Meriden Birthday Weekend

One of Claire's cousins is having a 60th birthday party later in the year at a hotel in Meriden in the Midlands.

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The overnight cost would be a special rate of £80 a night B&B. Tempting. On booking dot com their cheapest room is £115.

But as we have Reggie to consider, going in the car doesn't make sense, so we will go in Molly. The hotel doesn't look dog friendly.

There's a campsite not far from the hotel. It's 3 minutes driving and 27 walking according to Google Maps.

I have booked us in there for 2 nights at £33 a night at Somers Wood Caravan Park. Obviously we'll have to cook our own breakfast both mornings.... So far just £20 deposit paid.

I emailed to see whether we can park for the party and not had a reply. Claire called and got through. We can park but not stay overnight. That's okay with us.

The party doesn't start until 7.30pm and so we have to get there reasonably on-time to park. Reggie can stay in Molly and I can pop out every so often to check on him.

Posted by InvictaMoto 00:10 Archived in England Comments (0)

Brighton Birthday Weekend

This weekend was planned for Claire's Birthday.

It's rude to divulge a lady's age....

There was a problem emailing the blog update here and to Blogger.

It arrived on Blogger but not here.

Rather than re-type it all up I have just put the link here.

https://invictamoto.blogspot.com/2024/02/brighton-weekend.html

Posted by InvictaMoto 18:41 Archived in England Comments (0)

Grimm Up North!

Back to this trip. I had already cancelled the return visit on the way back from the Yorkshire Dales at Clumber Park and was looking for a replacement.

I wanted somewhere within striking distance of the A1 and A1M for the return journey.

So looking on Search4Sites and saw a Caravan Club site near Peterborough. It's not that far from the A1 so it meets that criteria.

That night will be at Ferry Meadows club campsite.

Posted by InvictaMoto 22:56 Archived in England Comments (0)

Grimm Up North!

Two days! Yep. Just two days since I booked the return from Yorkshire and I have cancelled Clumber Park.

At the moment I haven't got a replacement in mind but will be looking later on for somewhere about halfway between Yorkshire and home.

Maybe we'll try a pub stop? Don't know yet. I decided to cancel early so that the pitch can be available ASAP to any other club member looking for a place.

Posted by InvictaMoto 17:10 Comments (0)

Chatsworth Christmas Market 2024

Well. Thanks to Amanda L on one of the Caravan Club (unofficial) Facebook pages for the reminder about booking a pitch this year.

I had forgotten about it and with the Caravan Club site being hacked and down for a few weeks it was difficult to book anyway. So I quickly checked the dates for the market, then the CAMC app and there were only two dates left. I booked them. That's £20 deposit spent and we are booked.

So that's a weekend in November 2024 sorted.

CAMC Site..

Posted by InvictaMoto 22:27 Archived in England Comments (0)

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