Wednesday, 29 April 2015

A Different Location...

Monday morning saw us pack up camp and move a few miles north west to a different location.....


Arriving at our new Location
The site that we are now pitched on is a new site...It is only in it's second season and all the reports that I have read about it have been five star so I thought that a visit would be worthwhile.....

Everything about the site looks, as you would expect, brand new.... 
The gravel road around the site looks almost white it is so new.....  
All the shrubs, that will eventually form dividing hedges between each of the various pitches, are still in their early development......
The shower block and all the other facilities really are quite stunning...
Our new pitch...
When we arrived it was a bit windy....we positioned Eva on the pitch and then had something to eat, hoping that the wind would die down a bit before we attempted to erect the awning.

Ahh.... the awning!!
It's great once it is up as it doubles our living space.... It is almost like having a nice conservatory, but putting it up needs a degree in tent and marquee erection.... 
Well not quite, but you get the idea.

I have been around tents all my life....I've put up tents on mountains in storms and gales and all forms of bad weather including snow and torrential rain, but the awning.....that thing is in a different league...

It's not so bad in calm conditions , although all the sections of poles is a bit like a complicated puzzle... a Rubik cube of a nightmare....
I have colour coded the poles with tape and that has made things a bit easier.... 
But....if it is windy!! Well you might as well forget trying.

Anyway...after we had lunch the wind was still blowing strongly....
Like lambs to the slaughter Anne and I still attempted to put the darned thing up.....

It took ages.... I do mean ages!!
Even though this was the third time we had erected it, it took us the longest time yet... I don't dare tell you exactly how long it actually took..I would be too ashamed, but just let me say I was exhausted by the end of it......

However...... it was really worth the effort as the view from our awning shows... We have a great view looking out over the carp filled lake.

One thing I have decided though... 
If the wind is blowing next time, we will not even attempt to try and put the awning up...we will wait until the wind dies down even if we have to wait a day or two.



The Sparkling New Toilet/Shower Block

Worth the effort or not?  The view from our awning. 

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Wally the walker.....

I've not mentioned yet our mascot for our trip... 'Wally the Walker'.
When we left Purple Towers he was one of the things that we didn't have the heart to get rid of.

Anne bought him for me years ago.... she had seen him in a charity shop and just couldn't resist buying him...
Here he is standing guard at the entrance to our awning.....


On Guard!  Wally the Walker.

Close up of Wally.
Wally has a walking pole in his left hand and a map in his right. 
He is carrying a backpack on his back and I suspect that he has been finding some of the hot weather that we have been enjoying a bit too much with his woolly bobble hat and scarf....mind you he is woollen all over anyway :-)

I have to admit that bright green walking boots wouldn't exactly be my choice but Wally is obviously the kind of guy that likes the colour of his clothes to make a statement...
He also wants everyone to know where he comes from so carries two large union flags on the top of his backpack....

Wally the Walker will be popping up now and again throughout our journey......

Tomorrow we will be packing up and moving camp. We have been here now for seventeen days and it's been a month since we left Purple Towers..... the time seems to have flown by.
We are not going far, just a few miles north west. We are moving on to a site that I have read some very good reports about so we want to give it a visit.....

The weather has now changed...It's colder and we have had some heavy rain...
My next post will be from our new campsite.


Friday, 24 April 2015

My last visit was forty years ago........

The other day we had a walk to Castle Drogo and back......

The last time I visited this, the last proper castle built in England, must be about forty years ago.
Unfortunately the castle is currently undergoing major structural repairs even though it is only 100 years old and is covered in scaffolding, so I was unable to obtain a photo of it worth sharing with you.

Since it was built it has always suffered with structural problems causing water leaks and damage throughout the building.
After a huge fundraising appeal a five year building project started in 2012 to put right all this damage.

If you are ever in this part of Devon it is well worth a visit and for us it made a good lunch time destination for our walk....

Pretty outward route to Castle Drogo
 Again the weather was brilliant for this walk. I just cannot believe how lucky we have been as far as the weather is concerned  for the start of our trip..... 
However, according to the weather forecast things are likely to change as we approach the weekend so we are making the most of it..... 

Our route took us along some very pretty woodland paths.........
We also had some great views over the Teign Valley .....
View over the Teign Valley near Castle Drogo
The walks around this area our quite strenuous...... we seem to be walking across the grain of the land.... it is almost constantly ups and downs with hardly any really level walking.
Mind you, as with my cycling, I love hills and anyway the views certainly make up for all the 
effort......  
On the path above the Teign Valley about a mile from the castle we saw an Adder sunning itself in the brilliant sunshine......
As we got closer to it, it slithered away into the undergrowth.....

View of Drewsteignton on return stage of our walk
We had our lunch in the grounds of Castle Drogo and after a look around the estate we had a Devon cream tea at the visitors centre near the car park before heading back to the campsite....
Almost back...our campsite is behind the trees to the right of the buildings.
Struggling up the last hill on the walk back to our site we did regret (a little) the indulgence of the Devon cream tea..... but once back at Eva the Eriba both Anne and I agreed we had enjoyed another fantastic day out walking.......

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

A look at the site...

Before Anne and I set off on this long term trip a number of people asked me to show some details and pictures of the various sites we will be staying at.....

As we have been at our current site for about twelve days now I thought that it would be a good time to post some images and our thoughts on where we are staying....

Site Entrance and reception office.
 The site we are staying at is the C&CC Teign Valley Barley Meadow site near Crockernwell about ten miles from Okehampton. It is on the northern edge of Dartmoor and is within the National Park....

Access to the site by road is easy as it is not far from the main A30 route.... It is also only about half a mile from the Two Moors Way....  When I walked the 2MW route a few years ago this site was one of my overnight stops......

Backpackers/Bikepackers have a very nice secluded pitch away from the main area of the site to the right of the short entrance drive (slight slope but not enough to cause a problem)...... So for backpackers peace and quiet and a good nights sleep is almost guaranteed... (see image below)
Secluded Backpackers pitches....
The Payne family who hold the franchise for the site are very friendly and keep the site looking extremely neat and tidy....
The reception area/office is also home to a small shop which carries a range of items from a box of matches to local produce including Free Range Eggs.....Homemade Honey and Jams...Milk from the local farm and some really good Award Winning Devon Ice Cream which comes in a range of flavours.... I am currently trying to work my way through all the various flavours....
View of site....

View of site

View of site
The toilet and other facilities on site are a little dated but all kept very clean and tip top by the Payne family and are adequate for the size of the campsite.  
The toilets could be under pressure during busy periods, although this wouldn't be a problem for most caravan owners, with on board toilets and washing facilities/showers. 
Overall the site has 65 pitches so is not massive....some of the caravan hard standing pitches have little hedges around them in the style of a lot of continental sites and we have one of those. 

Would we revisit this site....
Yes we would......
This is an ideal first site for us to have started our trip.....

Sunday, 19 April 2015

A visit to Fingle Bridge....

Since we have been down here in Devon we have been getting out a lot on various walks....
There was a time a few years back that any days off that I had from work I would spend walking.....
I would use almost all my time off walking and backpacking various trails and it's nice to get out and do some walking again and even better to be able to share the experience with Anne...

The destination chosen for a walk the other day was from our current campsite to Fingle Bridge and back....

It was a very hot day...but hey... I'm not moaning about the heat as it has been really nice to start off our trip with such marvelous weather...

We used part of the Two Moors Way again as well as a short section of the Dartmoor Way for our route...
We had a few drinks at the Fingle Bridge Inn and then had a picnic lunch in the woods overlooking the river....

On the return route we climbed up a path at the side of the gorge which ascended very rapidly, but is was worth the effort as the views from the top were simply stunning....
No photos of that fantastic view here I'm afraid as no photograph that I took could do it justice, however I do have some other images taken that day.....


View of the river Teign at bottom of gorge.

Fingle Bridge

The Fingle Bridge Inn... I only had a few drinks..honest!!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

What is it......?

On one of our excursions along a section of the Two Moors Way the other day we came across this at the side of the trail...
"What is it?" asked Anne.....


At the side of the trail.......
About ten years ago I walked the entire Coast to Coast Two Moors Way but I never saw this object..... probably because I was walking south to north and this was facing north......also when I was walking this section of the route then, it was at the end of a very long day and I was intent at just getting to my camping spot so would never have noticed this..... 

Anyway, Anne expected me to be able to answer her question but I couldn't.....

The object appeared to be one half of a round granite boulder....it was about chest height and seemed to have been drilled with holes about two inches deep each one the diameter of my little finger. But what it actually was for remained a bit of a mystery.

When we got back to the caravan that evening I checked it out on the internet. 
What I found is that a Sculptor by the name of Peter Randall-Page lives and works close by and that this particular object is an item of his work......

He produced two of these from one large granite boulder, each one being a mirror image of the other.
This one was placed where we saw it at the side of the northern Dartmoor section of the Two Moors way and the other apparently is placed along the trail on the Exmoor section....

When I did the walk all those years ago I didn't see that one either.........!!
It just goes to show that every time you do a walk you can learn and see new things....

As if to prove the point, when we walked along that same part of the trail today we saw another item of Peter Randall-Page's work...again set alongside the trail.
This object was placed in its own niche set in a wall and under the roots of a large tree.....

Another item of Peter Randall-Page's work.



Tuesday, 14 April 2015

An Interesting Walk....

Our first weekend in Devon found us spending time with Anne's family...
One of the reasons for making our first camp in Devon was so that Anne could visit her Mother who is now getting on in years. 
The village of Petrockstowe where she lives is only about 16 miles or so from our campsite so we are well placed for a few visits whilst we our down here....

On Monday, Anne and I decided we would walk a short stretch of the Two Moors Way.... the route crosses the road about half a mile from where we are staying....

Drewsteignton Church and Pub
We followed the route for a few miles to the village of Drewsteignton..... The plan was to walk...lunch at the pub.....visit the church......walk back....
The weather was stunning and lunch at the the pub was terrific....in fact I even had an extra pint before we moved on to the church.......
Large wooden panel above the entrance in the church.
 Looking around the church was interesting......
Just inside the church entrance there was a large wooden painted board.....further investigation told us that the panel was first placed there in 1559 in the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st.

Although Elizabeth was a protestant herself she tolerated the Catholics provided they didn't plot against her... She wished for a religious settlement....
She thought that it was important that everyone in England knew of this decision and to that end painted boards showing her Coat of Arms were placed in churches.......
The board in Drewsteignton church is one of the very few original panels to survive....

The settlement established the Church of England with the Monarch instead of the Pope at it's head and the bible once more read in English....

Exterior view of Drewsteignton church.
After our visit we walked back along the route we had come, although as it was mostly uphill on the return leg, we were walking a lot slower.........

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Home is where the wheels stop....

Wednesday saw my daughter and family return from the USA.... 
Seems like they had a great time over there and we enjoyed a couple of days catching up with all their holiday news...

Yesterday saw Anne and I leave the comfort of their drive...... :-)
With Eva the Eriba hitched up we headed west....
The traffic heading East appeared to be horrendous.... it seemed almost nose to tail traffic coming the other way for a good chunk of our journey...
I think that a lot of people had decided to return home on the Friday following their Easter extended break..by doing so they had probably hoped to beat the traffic...sadly it hadn't worked out for them..

The traffic travelling west like us was light in comparison....
We had a good journey and Eva towed like a dream...my biggest problem seemed to be keeping my speed to within the legal limits as it was easy to forget that Eva was on the rear of the CRV.

We are currently staying at a site on the North East edge of Dartmoor not far from Okehampton....
From now on it really is a case of 'Home is where the wheels stop'.

All set up on site.....



Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Easter was busy.....

For us Easter was busy...
We have been sorting out everything in Eva the Eriba.... 
Testing the refrigerator ....Testing the heater unit and thermostat as well as the Television etc...etc.....

Tyre pressures needed to be checked as did the final noseweight...
We also had to make all those difficult final decisions about what we would actually take with us and what in the end we would leave at my daughters house.....

Anyway, all those last minute checks and decisions have now been made and we are almost ready...
My daughter and family return from the USA tomorrow and we will be heading off to Devon on Friday morning.

A number of people have asked me how I am transporting my bikes...
Well one of the options that I had fitted was a bike rack that sits on the A-Frame between the car and the caravan...
The rack can be used on the car (when not towing) where it attaches to the towball and it can be transferred to the caravan if towing. An extra towball was fitted to the A-Frame (see below).

Hopefully my next post will be from our first campsite which is just on the nothern edge of Dartmoor in Devon...

Extra ball fitted on the A-Frame for Bike rack.

The Tifosi on the rack. (In use the bikes are protected by a cover).


Cabin Fever .......

 Sorry for this week's posting being three days late but like the rest of the UK last weekend saw the arrival of storm Ciara and our in...