So, after several attempts at understanding the secret language of motor homes and to decide that our ideal van was an A-class with drop down bed, and a fixed rear bed over a garage. (To garage or not to garage?) But, oh the cost. How much? We contemplate a caravan!
That’s right, we are contemplating becoming a couple of towers.
Thursday 10 April 2014
We wake oblivious of what lies ahead. A trip to the gym and afterwards a simple remark of “let’s visit Ebor Leisure World on the A64. We had no intention of buying but we thought “let’s check out the layouts and quality to familiarise ourselves with caravans”.
Our friends had just spent £38000 on a second hand motorhome and were on the way to Cromer for their first trip out. We already decided the cost was too high and we weren’t prepared to go cheaper on quality and age of a van.
Mike had no idea what he thought as we looked at used vans but gradually we became very impressed with a second hand Bailey Unicorn Valencia (brand new to all appearances) – because someone had made a mistake, bought it, taken it out and then changed there minds. How kind of them to pay the VAT on our preferred van. 😉 we knew we had to snap this up or else someone would buy it. Deposit paid and a collection date sorted.
Bank holiday Monday 21 April 2014
It’s pick up day (and a queen turned 88)
Excitement ran through the house and we were up and away far too early and got to Tesco at 9am. We purchased a couple of things then realised we had to go back to the flat for the tow bar key.
Strange, but, driving to Ebor leisure we were suddenly aware that we could recognise other brands and styles of caravans, very weird.
Adam (the salesman) relieved us of the balance £15940 (heck) and then we went for a few extras…….
Chairs, BBQ, kettle, crockery, tow bar lock, leveller, glasses, fluids, pipes and hoses, bin, tow ball weigher, awning carpet, gas bottles!!! £500 thank you very much. A run through all the necessary detail and we were off. Straight into a traffic jam on the A64, a bit of luck really as it gave Mike a little time to adjust to a different kind of pulling!
We are storing the caravan at York Caravan Park and Storage and decided to stay there for our first night. 9 miles to The site and then the dreaded REVERSE into a pitch. Pretty damn good Mr T with perfect success on the third attempt.
Unpacked everything, connected and hooked up to make it cosy then our friends Pat and Tim arrived with gifts and nibbles. We opened a bottle of champagne and she (yet to be named) was christened. This really is luxury camping and we are going to enjoy it immensely, I can tell.
The first trip 21 April 2014
Up early and hitch up for 10am. The storage spot is a perfect distance away. Checks all around and tentatively we are off to Chatsworth Caravan Club Site (mike driving as I am not ready). The journey was surprisingly relaxed as we got used to the slower pace… no stress for us, but the people following? lol
The site is very well arranged down a 1/2 mile pretty lane. Pick up a map from reception and go and find a pitch. Number 38 next to the access gate for Chatsworth grounds. Pat and Tim managed to get next to us on pitch 37. All those trees and the twitter of birds was beautiful. And Sunshine!
We had 2 tame robins one quite happy to go inside the van and pick up crumbs on the kitchen floor. Ducks and even more ducks everywhere.
We had a meal in Bakewell at a French restaurant la Mistral, (Pat and Tim had been before), very nice. Unfortunately no longer trading.
Set up for bed and sleep.
28 April 2014
Awaken at 4.15am (the dawn chorus) and drift off again. A lovely day pottering till lunch and then a walk to Chatsworth House across the stunning grounds. What a house and setting! We made a note to watch the film The Duchess (based on the duchess of Devonshire) when we get back.
They were filming in the library; a piece called ‘girls night out’ about the Queen and Margaret going out in London during the war. Mike saw Rupert Everett.
A hot sunny day (who’d have thought it). Meal to be cooked by the Holmes’s with wine and cheese. Camping is growing on us.
29 April 2014
A dawn chorus awakens us to another nice day. Pat and Tim decide to stay an extra night. Chatsworth farm shop do some lovely things. It was our turn to cook tonight and £35 later we were cooking chilli (or Mike was). We then went to Bakewell and had a look around. Sat in the hot sun and had a coffee. Walked by the river. Back to the site and prep for the evening. 5.30pm we went for a walk through the estate to Baslow, looked around the village and had a drink in the Devonshire arms then back for our meal.
30 April 2014
Pat and Tim pack up and leave. We take the opportunity to pack our awning up whilst it is still dry. (A good move). Then off to Derby to see friends. We get back to the site at 10.45pm. Tea then off to bed. Another dry day 😉
1 May 2014
We wake up to horrid rain. Pack up and drive home. We definitely need some waterproof leggings! A very nice 4 day break. We are planning Bolton Abbey next week 5-8 May.
The second trip 5 May 2014
Bolton Abbey Caravan Club was full! We decide on Wharfedale Caravan Club Site further up the dale. Set up is getting more organised and we realise what those rings were for on the awning. Bugger, the mallet head broke off (it’s what happens when you buy cheap). The nice people who run the site lent us one. Then, no power, battery or mains. For 30 minutes we tried to figure out the problem. We rang Adam at Ebor Leisure – he had no idea, and we checked everything so many times??? We will have to go home:(
THEN….this lovely man asked “are you having a problem boys? Yes, was the reply “we have no power”. Oh, you need to twist the power cable connector to turn it on, it’s a thing with the caravan club supply. Hurrah! Set up finished we walk to Grassington across the fields. What a lovely place. Will the rain stay away?
We have a drink and buy 2 brollies and set off home. Pasta and sauce brought from home.
Rather than stay in we decide to go to Skipton for a drink. Boy, not much happens there on a night. Home and sleep.
6 May 2014
Up early and into Skipton. Nice weather! We park near the canal, and ask a Narrow Boat hire firm if we can look inside a 4 berth. They let us. Very basic and £800 for a weeks hire. Would enjoy a holiday on one, one day. We look around Skipton Castle (very interesting) buy a new mallet and a 10m aerial cable for TV reception on the site.
Lunch was Skipton pie and peas shop who came 2nd out of 111 on tripadvisor. We sat outside and understood how good this basic food was. Then a drive (with the roof down) into the dale ending up at Malham. We walk into the village then across the fields to Malham Cove. Stunning! The RSPB were there monitoring some peregrine falcons on the cliffs. We got some great views through their telescopes. Thanks guys.
Back to the car and a drive back to the caravan. What a wonderful day and evening. Mike uses the new BBQ and we have a great meal with Gin and Tonics, Ice and lime.
The rain starts at 10pm
7 May 2014
Rain, and more rain today. I decide to get bacon and baps – turned out to be a good idea. Our friends Laurie and Catherine come to see us. We all decide to drive to Kettlewell for lunch. Rain and more rain. We go into the Kings Head and have an amazing lunch! I even recommended it on tripadvisor. We head back to the van through more rain. Our guests depart and we settle down for the night.
8 May 2014
Up early to try to pack up in a dryish period. It never happened, so we pack with a view to drying things in York. It was all surprisingly easy. Mike was so good and getting more confident with his driving. Another great trip away and we really enjoyed it.