Tuesday, 9 February 2016

A Few Sleepless Nights....

This past weekend the storm that was named Imogen arrived.... I cannot lie....we did have a few sleepless nights.
First there was the noise of the wind that was pretty well constant... then there was the strong wind gusts that could be heard travelling towards us for up to 20 seconds or more before they hit our caravan.
As if this wasn't enough we also had torrential rain and hail that sounded like boxes of marbles being tipped on our roof....

Once we had been woken up numerous times the worry would set in and that didn't help with trying to get back to sleep....
What were we worrying about??

Well first was our concern that the awning would get ripped off the caravan and blown across the moor...so I would go outside to check the storm straps and pegs etc.... 
All the straps seemed OK, but then I noticed that the slight ditch that runs along the rear of the caravan between the electric hook-up point and our pitch had turned into a fast flowing stream....

With all the rain that we have had since we arrived here in November the grass is now so sodden that it can't absorb anymore rainfall hence the stream that had appeared. Luckily there is a slight slope here so the rain just sailed along until it reached the tarmac inner site road where it linked up with the rain that had been pouring off the moor and into the site entrance. 
Unfortunately it then all headed in the direction of the site office and shop where it cause quite a bit of flooding......

Anyway in the end we managed to avoid any damage to our caravan, awning or car.
The mini stream that had appeared behind our caravan has now disappeared and the site managers have cleaned up the office and shop and it is business as usual....

I don't know if it is just my imagination, but since it was decided that we would start giving these storms names we seem to be getting more storms. 
I think I preferred it when all the storms were anonymous.....

Anyway to finish this post, as promised, below I have included some images of my favourite of the Torbay towns..Brixham.
The weather was a lot quieter then, probably the calm before the storm.....

Replica of the Golden Hind
Fishing boats in the Harbour
A view of the working quay
View from the quay back to the town
Harbour view

View across the harbour

The Marina
The Harbour Wall

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Another short break.......

Anne and I have just got back from another short break away from the site....
This time we decided to spend three days in Torbay...often called the English Riviera.
It wasn't exactly Riviera weather, it's the wrong time of year for that, but...... we did have some reasonably dry weather and the sun came out too......

Consisting of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham, Torbay is one of the premier English seaside resorts...
Apart from when I walked the South West Coast Path some years ago, it must be about thirty + years since I spent any time in the area......

Paignton is looking a bit tatty around the edges and could do with a bit of a spruce up.... 
It's probably passable on a bright hot sunny summers day, but at this time of year even with the good weather that we had during our stay, it just made me want to get out a paint pot and brush and brighten everything up.......

Torquay was looking a lot better and more effort seems to have been made to keep everything bright and smart....
All the usual shops are to be found in the town for those visitors that feel the need to spend their hard earned cash and there were a number of coffee shops and restaurants for people like me who like a coffee and cake occasionally....

As it was, our choice of coffee house was a small independent one down in the harbour area.... No Costa-Lot or other large multi national over priced coffee for us.... 

Below I have posted some images taken in and around the harbour and in my next post I will post some images from my favourite of the three towns that make up Torbay and that is Brixham.....




Tuesday, 26 January 2016

One for the Road........

When we were in Barnstaple recently I noticed THIS....!
 see the image below....

One for the Road.......
 The can of Fosters had been opened so it looks pretty certain the driver had been drinking whilst driving......
No matter how many don't drink and drive educational messages are sent out on TV and in the media it seems that with some people the message will never sink in..!!

The driver must be pretty thick anyway, as driving around with a can of beer on display is just asking to be pulled over and breathalysed by the men in blue.....
Note the high banks .....
Still on the subject of things vehicular.....
I took the above picture in one of the many lanes around our campsite..... 
Just imagine driving along this lane with it's high banks and no passing places for a long...long...way with your caravan in tow. Then you meet a tractor coming towards you with a trailer stacked  with hay bales higher than the banking.....
It could be a bit of a nightmare.... :-)

Monday, 18 January 2016

It Arrived....Well just a Little Did..!!

In my last post I predicted that some snow was likely to arrive in our area....
Well it arrived..Well just a little did..!! 
It wasn't a huge dump of snow which you can get sometimes up here on Dartmoor, but it was certainly more than a dusting.....

The snow actually fell overnight Thursday/Friday....
When we woke up on Friday morning the temperature had dropped further since the overnight snowfall.....

All the snow that had fallen on our awning had now frozen solid and it took me quite a while to remove it..... It's important to remove it if possible, because the weight of it all could eventually do some serious damage to the roof of the awning.

The empty hard standing pitch next to ours was a solid sheet of ice and the internal campsite road was too icy to attempt to walk on initially....
However it wasn't long before our campsite manager had spread salt/grit around and the site road turned back from a skating rink and became useable again....

We didn't venture out of the site on Friday as the reports we heard concerning the condition of the moorland roads made us feel that it would be more sensible to stay put even with a 4X4.

On Saturday it was Anne's birthday so we decided to venture off site to have a meal and a drink........
We set off up onto the top moor around Princetown and what surprised us was that although some of the snow had by now melted away, the roads were packed with cars parked everywhere. Lots of people had decided to visit the moor for a walk and a play in the snow..... Vehicles were parked up on the banks at the sides of the road and there were snowmen in almost every field.
Cars parked at the side of the moorland roads 
A lot of the snow had now melted
Although there wasn't much snow left it had proved to be a real visitor magnet.... 

According to the Dartmoor Ranger all these visitors had caused a major field invasion.... Although there are acres of access land that people can walk and play on, lots of these visitors chose to just park anywhere and enter fields where they had no right to be....

One farmer on entering one of his fields with his tractor to feed his sheep, had to avoid lots of loose dogs and children running everywhere only to find that his sheep had been scattered and had to be gathered and moved  into an area two fields away.....
Result... One very disgruntled farmer....

Most of these visitors seemed to be be 'Townies' who seemed to think that they could park and go wherever they wanted.
 Just a pity that they hadn't bothered to double check where they could in fact go.......
More vehicles parked everywhere
 As well as lots of cars being parked up at the side of the road, the moorland car parks were all packed solid and even 'Willy's' Ice Cream van was parked up at the car park above Pork Hill...

All the Moorland Pubs were packed solid too and it eventually became clear that we were going to be very lucky to find somewhere to shoehorn ourselves in and get a drink and a meal.....

The Plume of Feathers in Princetown itself was packed solid..... more like a Friday night than a Saturday late lunchtime.......
In the end we headed back down into Tavistock and had a very nice meal there.... Also I eventually got my much waited for pint (or two) of beer.
I chose a pint of Dartmoor Breweries Jail Ale which apparently is the best selling pint in these parts......
Princetown...The Plume of Feathers Pub on the right
My Pint- Darmoor Brewery Jail Ale

Thursday, 14 January 2016

A Few Days Away.................

We had a really good Christmas and New Year on site, with the site managers arranging a couple of events over the holiday....
On Christmas Eve we had a mulled wine and mince pie get-together with other campers and on New Years Eve a barbeque and bubbly meet-up.

Anne and I were really surprised how many people were camping out over the holiday period the site being almost half full over Christmas and every useable pitch in use over the New Year.

Since then Anne and I have spent a few days away from site on a visit to Ifracombe on the North Devon Coast....

I haven't been to Ilfracombe since I made a trip to Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel a number of years ago.
I wanted to go back for another visit as I had heard that Damien Hirst had arranged for one of his sculptures to be placed there....
As the sculpture has the same name as my daughter (Verity) it had found it's way on to my 'must visit' list.
View of Ilfracombe Harbour
 The harbour at Ilfracombe makes a very attractive scene as can be seen in the image above.
Unfortunately during our visit we had some very heavy rain but it didn't spoil our visit too much.....
Lobster pots stacked up in the harbour area
Ilfracombe harbour is a working harbour and as we walked down from where we had parked the car we passed lots of lobster pots all stacked up waiting to be used....
Our first view of Verity on the harbour wall
 As we walked from the car park we had our first view of Verity standing on the far harbour wall.....
Verity is 20.25 metres tall and is situated at the entrance to the harbour and she looks out over the Bristol Channel towards South Wales.
Verity - A closer view
 The statue is made from stainless steel....bronze and glass fibre reinforced polymer.
She is on a long term loan from Damien Hirst to North Devon Council and is an allegory for truth and justice.
She stands on a base of scattered legal books and holds the traditional symbols of justice....a sword and scales. 


Verity - Another view.
 She arrived in Ilfracombe in three sections in October 2012 and she took a week to assemble on site and was hoisted into position with a 250 tonne crane...
Unlike my daughter, Damien Hirst's Verity is not the prettiest female I've seen and as a sculpture might not be to everyone's liking but she was certainly worth a visit.....
A general view of Ilfracombe town
We enjoyed our visit to Ilfracombe very much in spite of the continuing wet weather....

Now we are back at Eva the Eriba  the rain has stopped and it has now got a lot colder... they even had a dusting of snow today up at Princetown just a few miles up the road from our campsite.....
I wonder if we will be getting snow here next....?

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

A Message for all Purpletraveller Followers and Friends......

animated-merry-christmas-image-0275

I hope that all regular and not so regular readers of the PurpleTraveller blog have a great Christmas and a truly Peaceful New Year.......

I will start posting on the blog again from early January. 
Anne and I will hit the road and return to actual touring in Eva the Eriba from early April........

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Scary Rocking and Rolling.....

Over the past nine days since my last post the wet weather has continued..... 
Luckily for us the area we are in has not suffered any flooding unlike some places in the north of the country......
We heard that one of the camping sites that we know well in the Lake District has suffered badly with flooding. We saw some images of the site following the floods and it was staggering to see the damage caused by the flood water.....frightening to see how easy a caravan can break up with the force of the water.......

What we have had though have been some strong winds.....
The pitch we are on is quite well protected from most normal winds but a few nights ago we had quite a major storm with some huge gusts of winds that caused Eva to do a lot of rocking and rolling.....
Tucked up in our beds it was a scary experience..... You could hear a gust coming before it hit us..... It sounded like a locomotive as it roared over the moor towards us and we held our breath as a few seconds later the gust would hit the caravan with a bang......
No damage was done to either us or Eva but it was an uncomfortable few hours.....

We still have the awning erected as it is a four season model and we do have it pretty firmly anchored to the ground. 
We have two sets of sprung storm straps across the entire roof, three porch tie down storm straps and also wall ties with bungee cords as well as all the normal pegged down fittings ......
So far we have not even had a peg pull out.....
The Awning Fully Anchored Down...
Where the sprung webbing storm straps go over the awning poles at each side as well as the centre ridge I have used  plumbers pipe insulation as a protective measure. 
The idea is that as the straps have springs at one end so that there is a bit of give in the wind, they will move within the tube and therefore avoid any abrasion damage being caused to the awning material....
Another use for Pipe Insulation....
One other tip that is worth remembering when using storm straps such as these is to put a couple of twists into the webbing before pulling it tight.... this stops the webbing vibrating in the wind and causing a noise like a machine gun in strong winds.......

When we were staying at the site in Verwood, a motorhome on a pitch near to us had his awning out and held down with some webbing straps, but because he hadn't put any twists in the webbing the noise the straps were making in even a light wind became very annoying and we were about fifty feet away from him... the noise inside the motorhome caused by those straps must have given him a few sleepless nights....

Today we had a wind and rain free day and the mild weather we are experiencing is pretty amazing for this time of year so we are enjoying it for as long as it lasts....