Thursday, 1st June 2017 – Gibson Mill.
After yesterday's lovely weather we were not expecting too much for today. We decided to visit the local National Trust property at Hardcastle Crags, just a couple of miles from the campsite. The weather started off grey but relatively warm and, to our surprise, proved the forecasters wrong by turning into a lovely day again. We took the supposedly easy path to Gibson Mill but went wrong somewhere and landed up on the more challenging route, clambering over tree roots and rocks, but it was a very pleasant walk.
Gibson Mill is the NT's flagship sustainability property, with h.e.p. turbines, a biomass plant and solar panels producing all its electricity. Even the waste from the loos is processed by worms!
The mill itself was actually a cotton mill in its day and still looks beautiful in its woodland setting.
We returned to the campsite via the Co-op in Hebden Bridge with enough provisions for a few days. On the way back Wendy videoed the route as a record for Kim of what he had done with the caravan on Saturday!
The weather by now was really warm but it was a bit windy up at the campsite and we ummed and aahed about whether to have another barbecue. In the end, we decided to go down to the pub and think about it there. Unfortunately, “someone” had looked up the opening hours wrongly and we arrived an hour before it opened! Although the pub is only about 5 minute's walk away, it is down/up a very steep hill so in the end we came back and settled in for the evening here. The sun was shining and the wind had dropped, enabling Wendy to have a go with the new Cadac
The results were every bit as good as last night's and we spent a lovely warm evening in the partially open awning, taking in the stunning views down the valley as the sun disappeared.
Friday, 2nd June 2017 – Heptonstall.
Today was a grey drizzly day, so we had a leisurely start and then went out to find a caravan shop so we could get some more chemical for the toilet. Exciting stuff eh? Having done that we decided to stop at Heptonstall, which is just outside Hebden Bridge on the other side of the valley from our camp site. Wendy had read about it as being a bit like Haworth without the Brontes. It was still grey and drizzly when we got there and we almost didn't bother, but we were glad we took the time. The village has a steep cobbled stone main street and was very grey!
Interestingly, Heptonstall has two churches, one in ruins.
It seems the original was destroyed in a storm in the 19th century and the local people decided to build a completely new church rather than repair the original medieval church.
Once back at the campsite, the weather improved so in the evening we walked down to the Hare and Hounds for a meal and a few last pints of Timothy Taylor's excellent ales.
Saturday, 3rd June 2017 – On The Move.
Time to move on to North Wales. The morning was bright and dry, so we were able to pack away without any issues and got away from the site just after 10:30. We got down the twisty steep road back into Hebden Bridge and then were on our way. A week in Hebden Bridge had been enough and we were both ready for a change of scenery.
As we were passing within a few miles of Kim's friend from Sheffield Poly days, Lewin, we had arranged to meet up in a lay-by just outside his village of Appleton Thorn. Lewin and Suzanne joined us for coffee and we sat in the van chatting for a very convivial couple of hours.
Back on the road, we headed for Carrog near Llangollen, arriving at the camp site around 4pm. In spite of Kim's misgivings, it appears to be a real winner in a stunning location
As the weather was so glorious, we had a barbecue and sat out until well after 8pm. You have to take your chances while you can!
Sunday, 4th June 2017 – Pontcysyllte Viaduct.
The forecast for the coming week is not looking good and today was in line with the forecast – grey and raining. It was, however, forecast to clear up in the afternoon, so we decided to visit the aqueduct at Pontycysyllte.
We were able to walk along some of the Shropshire Union Canal (Llangollen Branch) and the weather cleared up nicely.
As it was lunchtime we then went on quite a roundabout route to find some lunch, eventually landing up at the Co-op in Ruthin. On the way we went over the Horseshoe Pass, which was a bit reminiscent of the Buttertubs Pass in Yorkshire, but greener. Back at the camp site it was scorching so we went for a walk along the River Dee.
In the village of Carrog is a 17th century bridge.
Carrog also has a railway station on the heritage Llangollen Railway.
Today was a 1950's diesel railcar heritage event, so we found a trackside position to watch the train go by.
Before returning to the campsite, we decided we better check out the local pub – The Grouse, just over the river from the campsite. We sat out on the terrace looking over the view of the valley, and what a view it was!
As it turned out, today's weather was way better than forecast, but tomorrow's forecast does not look good – heavy rain all day!
Monday, 5th June 2017 – Rain.
Why do the forecasters always seem to get it right when they forecast bad weather? As feared, it poured solidly all day today and is due to get even worse overnight! But nothing deters us so after a hearty breakfast we set off to explore Chirk Castle (NT).
It wasn't as stunning as some we have visited but nevertheless very interesting and made for an enjoyable way to spend a very soggy day.
Spent the evening tucked up watching a video.
Tuesday, 6th June 2017 – More Rain.
Today really was forecast to be wet & windy and it certainly started that way. We decided to spend the day on the site (or should that be in the van). Late morning Kim noticed that a caravan over the far side of the site had had its awning ripped up by the wind. The poor people were salvaging what they could!
By lunch time we were beginning to suffer the first symptoms of cabin fever and decided to take a ride over to Llangollen. We set off in the rain, but by the time we got there, which was only 20 minutes away, the weather was starting to improve.
Langollen is on the River Dee and has one end of the Llangollen Railway. It also is more or less the end of the Llangollen Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal. The river is particularly spectacular where it passes through the town.
The railway station hangs over the side of the river
and oozes heritage railway charm as they all do.
Apart from the railway and the river (we didn't actually go and find the canal), the town is pretty nondescript, boring even.
Well, the bridge is quite impressive.
After that, we drove up to the Horseshoe Falls. This is a weir on the River Dee built in seventeen-something by Thomas Telford (who built the canal) as a means of diverting water to feed the canal.
A few hundred meters away from the falls you see the point at which the canal starts, not that you would get any narrow boats this far up the canal.
Just as we were heading back to the car, the heavens opened and we got absolutely soaked! Once back at the site and dried off, we had tuna, rice & sweetcorn (from reserve stocks) and watched another episode of the Indian Summers dvd we have been watching this holiday. It might not have been the most exciting day but we certainly made the best of it.
Wednesday, 7th June 2017 – Portmeirion & The Ffestiniog Railway.
Today was forecast to be quite sunny, albeit deteriorating in the afternoon, so we decided to visit Portmeirion in the hopes that the sun would shine and show it off to its best. It certainly did that.
After some lunch, we set off for Porthmadog with the intention of just having a look around. It has a port,
but more particularly it is one end of the Ffestiniog Railway.
It wasn't our intention to go on the railway but, well we ended up taking a return to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
By the time we got back to Porthmadog it was raining and pretty manky. We drove straight back to the Grouse Inn in Carrog and settled in for a few pints and a bite to eat. The Grouse Inn is not quite on a par with the Hare & Hounds at Hebden Bridge and unfortunately, J W Lees ales don't quite come up to the same standard as Timothy Taylors. But it is within walking distance and the food was ok, so we were happy.
Thursday, 8th June 2017 – Llandudno.
Today’s forecast was for sunny spells and showers so we decided to visit the seaside resort of Llandudno. Llandudno is famous as a classic seaside resort frequented by millions of people, mostly from the north west of England, throughout the 19th & 20th centuries. It is a typical Edwardian seaside town, but unlike a lot it had a real upmarket, well groomed feel to it.
Sandwiched between the Little Orme and Great Orme it is set in a huge bay,
We walked along the sea front and after an excellent and very reasonably priced fish & chips lunch in a café we went for a walk along the pier.
As you can see it was still pretty overcast and whilst threatening to rain, it did manage to stay dry. Next it was time for ice cream and candy floss!
By now it was starting to brighten up.
We were now ready to leave, but decided before heading back to Carrog, to drive round the coast road of the Great Orme headland. It is a toll road and we had to pay £3.00, but it turned out to be three pound well spent; the coast line is spectacular.
On Great Orme there is a small chapel in a disproportionately large cemetery.
People from all over the north west of England seemed to be buried there.
Back at the caravan we had a light supper and watched another episode of Indian Summers.
Friday, 9th June 2017 – Carrog & The Station.
Tomorrow we are packing up and going home and the forecast is for it to rain heavily! Today the forecast was for it to be dry, the evening bright & sunny. So, we set off in the morning to find a supermarket to get something for a barbecue and to also fill the car up with fuel ready for the trip home on Saturday.
We thought we had located a Tesco Superstore not too far away, but Kim had got it wrong and after about an hour’s drive we arrived at a Tesco which was not a “super store” and didn’t even have a filling station! We did our shopping at the “apology” Tesco and then found a filling station to fuel up for tomorrow’s trip home.
By the time we got back to the caravan site it was lunch time. In the afternoon we went over the road to the heritage steam railway station to look at the steam train coming in and out.
When the locomotive was sat at the platform,
we went to look into the cab and talk to the driver. He immediately said to Wendy “would you like to come up on to the foot plate?” Well, she was up like a shot! Beaming grin all over her face. Shame Kim didn’t manage a photo! She stood watching the driver shovel some coal into the boiler and marvelled at the grimy controls and grimy driver! It was certainly the high point of the day for Wendy, if not the week!
Once back at the caravan, we lit up the Cadac and had an excellent barbecue. Well, a gas fired outdoor grill really, but it does cook the food well without burning anything, so we are well pleased with it.
The last thing we did before moving inside the caravan, was to pack away the awning. Well, it was bone dry and the forecast for the morning was for rain.
Sunday, 11th June 2017 - Back Home.
Saturday's journey back home was uneventful. We cleared away from the campsite and whilst it was overcast and wet with a bit of drizzle, the rain mostly held off. Nevertheless, we were still glad we had packed the awning away the night before.
All in all it was a sucessful two weeks with the caravan with all systems working as expected and we settled into the caravan way of life really well. Two weeks is quite different from a long weekend. Having a two location holiday was definitely the right thing as after a week at each location we were ready to move on. We could have easily gone on to somwhere else for a third week, but work was hanging over both of us!
We had a couple of people view the house while we were away and whilst they said they were very interested, neither of them were in a position to make an offer as they had not sold their own properties. Still early days at the moment.
Sunday, 18th June 2017 - A Quick Dash Up To Grantham
After a couple more viewings on the house, albeit, still with no offer, we decided that perhaps we should go up to Grantham and view some of the properties we have been following on RightMove. Kim has recently pushed his four day week out to every week and so we went up on Friday. It was too far to go there and back in a day so we decided, rather than stay in a B & B in Grantham as we had done previously, we would stop off at Kim's Mum and spend Friday night with her. We could only stay one night as Wendy's son Tom and his girlfriend Cat were calling in on the Saturday to drop their dog with us, on their way to Gatwick to go on holiday.
Wendy arranged six properties for us to view and with an early start from home, that occupied our whole day. We saw one property that almost fitted the bill, but otherwise it was a bit disappointing in some respects. On the other hand since we have no offer on ours at the moment, perhaps it was just as well!
On the Saturday afternoon Tom & Cat arrived with Ben. It was a flying visit as they had a flight to catch, but Tom did have time to show Kim his new toy, a quad-copter drone with a quality camera (video & stills). They are off to Iceland and we can't wait to see the photo's. Of course Kim now wants a drone! Well, he can't afford one and the quicker he gets used to the idea, the better!
Wednesday, 28th June 2017 – Kate Is Sold!
A couple of weeks ago we got a call from a chap in Gravesend enquiring about Kate and last Saturday he came over to Swale Marina to view her. He wasn't put off by the trailer or outboard and subsequently made us an offer. It was a good bit below our asking price, but was an amount we had previously discussed as being acceptable. After a little bit of negotiation we settled on a slightly higher figure. So he is happy and so are we! He is going to keep her at Swale Marina and will take over the marina berth contract. All in all a good result. It will be a couple of weeks before it is all concluded.
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