Saturday, 16 July 2016

CHEDDAR GORGE AND HOME

We stayed one night in the lovely Elm Tree Farm. My initial worries about wild camping and keeping my batteries charged was unfounded. I awake, checked the geeky control panel and the batteries were topped to the brim with lovely sunshine juice. Them solar panels are amazing! We surveyed the local area and decided we would visit Cheddar Gorge before heading back North. Not only is this place famous for its cheese but it's stunning natural landscape carved into the rock over 1.2 million years ago.


 


The initial climb up is very steep and is covered in shiny, slippery boulders making it very hard work!



Top of the Gorge, its a long way down!

Spotted these two nutters perched on the edge!





Friday, 15 July 2016

DOC MARTIN, RICK STEIN, DARTMOOR & SOMERSET

Friday morning came very early, our first real wild camping experience was cut short by my worry about getting the van stuck on the way out. So I told Mand the early morning plan, she wished me luck and turned over in bed. With everything secure in the van I attempted the previous nights maneuver in reverse. It did take a bit of jostling around the tightest bend but with a yelp of "We've made it", I was on the home straight. Not much appreciation came from the back of the van, just a little snore. Mand subsequently told me she was hiding under the duvet, hoping for the best. Anyhow we were out, I took us to the car-park we had poo pooed the night before and celebrated with a cup-o-tea and some toast.

Free from all work constraints we thought we would head a little further South and visit that little village where they film Doc Martin, Port Isaac.



I hadn't learnt my lesson from the previous day and typed our destination into Maps.me. Without checking it I set off,  we entered Port Isaac on the narrowest, steepest road possible!

Thankfully nothing came the other way!

The Chemist from the series, although its actually the local sweet shop!

The cafe, isn't a cafe, its someones house!


Finally the school is actually a restaurant!



We left Port Isaac at 9am after securing a bag of Cornish pasties, shortbread biscuits and an assortment of fudge. Where now.. Padstow we though, its only about 10 miles away and Rick Stein has his chippy there! We arrived at Padstow before the crowds ( as we like it ) and quickly found the perfect parking spot.

How you squeeze a 7.5m van in a 5m parking spot!

Yummy!


Fresh crepes in the harbor!

Where now? We had been told my Mandys friend "Two Bridges" in Dartmoor was amazing and worth a visit. So.. back in the van.. lets go East!

We are parked in the middle of the picture, can you spot us?

We arrived in Dartmoor, it was idyllic, the sheep seemed not to bother about the traffic and just amble about in their own world. The scenery goes as far as the eye can see and it really is stunning. We stopped at the Badgers Holt for a bit of free parking, lunch and a cream tea. I know .. even the gent who served us said "Fair play ta ya" when he collected our empty plates! Prices are very good and the food is stunning!

Lunch

more lunch



We then headed off for a walk and to take in the blustery hilltop air.





We considered wild camping here but apparently you're not suppose to anywhere in Dartmoor.So we phoned a CL in Somerset. Elm Tree Farm CL.. here we come.


It was an amazing spot, Chris was very helpful and for £5 a night, we were happy bunnies.. Its been a long one.. nighty night!




Thursday, 14 July 2016

BOSCASTLE, TINTAGEL & TIGHT WILDCAMPING


Ill be honest, I have got my days round my neck. This may be due to the quantity of bottled beverage I battled through or it could be an age thing. Either way I have reached that point in life where I don't let it worry me. What will be will be and what wont be , can be forgotten with a cheeky glass or two!

Today if my cloudy memory serves me right was a day I was left to my own devices while Mand worked the day in Holsworthy. I decided after seeing Mand off to work like the good husband I am, I would get my bike out of Bernies boot and go for a pootle around Bude. It was indeed very nice although I felt I had left my lungs somewhere in the Costwolds.

Twat in a hat!

Its a Bike Baz, no ones interested!

Bude harbor

I only cycled about 16 miles but  it felt a lot more. I had to get back as we had to be off the site by 12pm. I had to hoover the van, fill up with water, shower and all that jazz before I changed into a pumpkin. Once off the site I needed somewhere to relax while I waited for Mand to finish work. Out came Maps.me and I found a nice little wild camping spot just up the road.

Tucked away on my own!


Once I picked Mand up we decided to head towards Tintagel castle as it had a couple of wild camping spots and a beach. We stopped in Boscastle for a bit of tea. I would thoroughly recommend the Stilton and mushroom tagliatelle dish if you don't want any Stilton in it! Apart from that it was a lovely stopping off spot en-route! Back behind the wheel we navigated a few hairy hairpins and arrived at Tintagel. We opted for the £3.50 a night car-park which was grassed and pretty quiet. 

Tintagel, more than just a brewery.



After taking a walk along the coast we, or I, decided I would be able to navigate the ridiculously tight "Vicarage Hill" to get us to an amazing Wild camping spot overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Tintagel Castle in the background, tis windy!



The steep steps up to the castle ruins

The guard house ruins

 The fact the Google car only ventured halfway down this road is a bit of a clue as to how tight and narrow some of the bends were. At one point I couldn't see my wheel arches, back end or front bumper as they were all buried in foliage, I knew there was a dry stone wall in there, it was just luck and pure skill ( cough) that I manage to get round the bend that Google didn't! We reached the car-park just as the sun set and my bottle of locally brewed Merlins Muddle wore off. 

Note: no one else in the "hardly used" car-park!

Ill be honest, I didn't get the best nights sleep as I was convinced I couldn't get the van back out. My plan was to rise early and attempt it before any other traffic would be on the little lane. Worst case scenario... no one would see me dismantling a 400 year old dry stone wall at 5am in the morning!

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

WIDEMOUTH, BUDE AND A CHOPPER

After another Prosecco fueled sleep we squeezed in a trip to Widemouth bay, which is just south of the famed Bude. We drove through Bude en-route and realised we had made the right choice, very busy and lots of kid friendly pubs.. not our cup of middle aged tea! I use an app ( for you dinosaurs that's short for application ) Maps.me to find a parking space before we set off.  It works when you don't have a internet connection on your phone. It also plots routes for you like TomTom only not as good ( See last post! ) and shows you carparks, shops etc. It also allows you to save POI (points of interest), I have loaded all the UK wild camping spots, CLS, Taps, Toilets and National Trust locations. This means where ever you are, you can find a spot to park, sleep or top up your water. Anyway, enough of the sleep therapy, Widemouth bay was great, quiet, clean and worth a visit, you may even get the local chopper land next to your van peppering it with gravel to compliment the scratches you got the day before :)

Well its the beach just south of Bude, Widemouth bay.

Tinks not carrying her own weight again!




The pepper mill. Hats off to them, they took an elderly lady up , up and away!

View from the Bay View Inn after lunch and a little glass!

Maps.me view of Bude with all my Wildcamping, CLs etc on it.












TITCHBERRY COAST AND ROADS TO AVOID!

We left Fosfelle farm and decided to head towards Holsworthy in Devon which is where Mand needed to be for work. Again using Mandy's geographical prowess we decided to visit a few spots on route. After visiting the following places I have learnt a valuable lesson.  

"Do not trust your satnav, it will lead you up the garden path!"

During our visit to Titchberry we took a road that was so inappropriate words cannot convey just how bad it was. Once we turned into "E Ball Hill" I knew we were committed to a make or break rollercoaster ride of  Epic North Devon proportions.



As we descended the screech of  branches scraping against the sides and top of the van was worse than the sound of a dentists drill. I imaged the creaking sounds the Titanic made just as she sunk beneath the icy water. Surely it couldn't get worse. We were doing about 3 mph downhill , the road got so narrow we had to pull the wing mirrors in, not due to the greenery, we knew that had some give in it, but the cottages on either side of the road were less forgiving. I knew we had made a mistake as Mand went very quiet. My escape plan, as flaky as it was, was to reverse back up the hill with no wing mirrors! It was never an option but it gave Mand a sense of relief. Anyway we made it after what felt like an eternity. We had, more scratches than a kittens play thing but arrived in one piece.. just! Petes told me about some magic cream that will take all the scratches out .. happy days!

POINTS LEARNT
  • Run TomTom and Maps.me together and review them both before you set off.
  • Trust TomTom over Maps.me... just!
  • If there is a sign intimating something nasty, keep going up the nice big road your already on!
  • You cant reverse uphill, round corners without wing mirrors!
We eventually arrived at a nice little National Trust carpark in East Titchberry, perfect for Wildcamping ( staying the night ). We parked Bernie up with her new war wounds and took a lovely walk along the Devonshire coastal path. From here we headed to Burnt Farm in Holsworthy, very quiet, strict recycling regime but a lovely spot!


More narrow country lanes!

Perfik!

Nice little spot at East Titchberry, distant shot to hide the scratches!

Our porky little friend!

Shipload Bay.. Ohh Arrr!

Barley bay, Air traffic radar station in the distance.




Keep your dogs on a lead, even if they are in their bed next to the van!