450 – Wednesday 17th August 2016: Up to the Lakes – Eventually
I took Oscar to the vet for his Rabies jab … he gave a non-manly, wimpy yelp. Then the plan was for me to leave the car on the Aged P’s drive and James to pick us up in the van, as it is not easy to get it in and out of my parent’s drive … too many overhanging branches and an oak tree half way up, which I know only too well! Many moons ago I reversed up the drive with the driver’s door open … it did not stay attached to the car!
However, J had managed to get hold of the right person at Viscount Motorhomes near Southampton, as we wanted the leak from the fresh water tank sorted … they would squeeze us in if we brought the van straight down. So about turn and, not knowing how long they would keep the van, we took the car down too. As it happened, Chris saw us straight away and, despite his suit trousers, crawled underneath and managed a sort of Heath Robinson fix. And all for £20 cash. Highly recommend Viscount! The overflow pipe had come unattached and a proper fix would mean dropping the water tank. He thinks that this will hold, but as we are heading off to Spain and Portugal for the Winter, we’ll get Family Leisure Travel in Bristol just to check it out in September when Chard makes a visit to them.
We then drove back up to Ash Vale to finally drop the car … it was gone 3.00 p.m. by now. Choices, do we drive till about 6.00 and stop or push on through and get to near Alderley Edge in Cheshire as was the original plan? We hit rush hour traffic approaching Birmingham, so we made good use of the 2hr motorway services free parking time limit. We cooked supper, washed up and had a nanny nap. By the time we set off again with 5 mins to spare before incurring a ‘you’ve outstayed your welcome’ massive fine, the traffic had all cleared and we felt refreshed. We drove on to about 12 km from Alderley Edge to an off road lay-by listed by wild camping.co.uk …. we drove in and straight out. 5 solitary men all waiting for a female to arrive, and it weren’t gonna be me!!!! Fortunately there was another off road lay-by half a mile away. This one was frequented by a couple of trucks, who were settled for the night without fee paying company! Much more peaceful!
451 – Thursday 18th August 2016: Alderley Edge (WORK) Walk
A short drive, passing the East Cheshire Hospice in Macclesfield, where a fellow motorhome blogger’s (manlyferry.com) wife was with cancer. He blogged later that she passed away the next day.
We parked up in the Alderley Edge National Trust car park and followed a walk I’d found on the internet … it took in a real mix of scenery: the Edge and its rock formations, fields and some of the most expensive real estate I’ve ever seen … footballer territory. Some serious renovations / extensions going on. A Porsche next to a Range Rover, both with 16 plates was not uncommon! Lovely rolling views across the Cheshire scenery.
Alderley Edge: we did not add our own names to the graffiti.
A very classic Jag, followed by a Porche – no point us checking out price houses here!
A random bunch of flowers on a bench … has to be a story here.
Soup in the van and then we did a couple of hours work! Yes, really WORK! That dreaded word that J retired and I fled from. J had been approached by a former business contact … would he be the critical friend on their bid to manage the transfer of the Severn Bridges back to the Government? At a rather day good rate! J read through the bid documents … he’d even written most of the bid spec! I wrote his CV and Pen Portrait for the bid document … amazing how much he’d done that sounds really REALLY good in his career. If anyone else is interested in using him as a ‘critical friend’ … in his specialist areas of construction, PFI, bridges, concession agreements, Gaelic Football and, of course, red wine … let me know and I’ll send you his most impressive CV!
There was an ice cream van in the car park and for once, it was not a Mr Whippy, but proper scoop flavours … we deserved it after doing WORK!
We packed up and headed on up fairly close to the Lakes. We stopped along a pretty valley in the Trough of Bowland … never heard of it before. Very rural and a lot of sheep. In for a really quiet night … we thought. We watched a tractor towing a box on wheels with a couple of youths in it. 20 mins later it returned overflowing with youths. We twigged …. A Level Results night + a few tents in the field next to us + drunken youngsters DOES NOT = a quiet night. So we washed up and drove a mile up the road, where it was quiet. We made the observation that both Maddy and her friends were ALL hitting the night clubs, but here in the country they camped around a bonfire … know what I’d rather do!
452 – Friday 19th August 2016: Ravenglass for a Week
Wet, wet wet! And not a boy band! Grr! I needed to return a 12 volt light strip to the eBay seller as I’d actually ordered a 12 volt fan … they would send me the fan free of charge, if I returned the light strip. We stopped in Ulvertson, put on all our waterproofs and I printed the return label in the Library. I am now the proud owner of a Cumbrian Library Card … I had to join as a member to be able to use the computer for all of 3 mins to print the label! Being wet and miserable, there was nothing for it but to repair to a Trip Advisor recommended hostelry for lunch! A new experience for us … we had to sit outside with the smokers due to the dog.
We’d booked a 2 bed with en suites cottage for a week with the Aged P’s. We originally had planned to travel to France on 15th September when the Aged P’s were to be in the States (again!), so this was an opportunity for us to spend some time together. Little did they realise at the time that we’d end up seeing quite a bit of us! A really comfortable cottage on a working farm. The owner had fingers in lots of pies … beef calf raising, firewood deliveries, holiday cottages, and bed sits … his family were just about to move out of dairy … farmers receive 13 pence per litre, but it costs 23 pence to produce. Only downside of the cottage was the kitchen which lacked essentials so half the contents of Chardonnay’s kitchen ended up inside. 2 km walk down to the estuary and then across to Ravenglass. A handy location just off the main A595.
453-458 – Saturday 20th – Friday 26th: Aged P’s First Lakes
Given my parents travelled all my life. I know no-one else who has been to all the States in the USA (bar Hawii, which they don’t fancy). They have now hit the 100 counties visited. Yet, they had not been to the Lakes! J lived and worked up here for a while and we’ve visited together about 4 times and love it … we really wanted them to love it too. But the start of the week was not propitious to generate a similar feeling in them. It rained. And rained some more.
On Saturday, we took delivery of our week’s food … Tesco delivery from 27 miles away … what good service. Mum and I knitted! And then she unpicked what I’d done! A few days ago,I’d discovered she’d nearly finished her own jumper so I’d taken her to the local wool shop … she’s knitting me a thick jumper with a pattern and what are little hernias or nipples, depending in where they land! I’m being supervised on a very simple poncho, where I still manage to fail to count 8 stitches accurately.
In between downpours I walked to Ravenglass and then the Aged P’s ventured out. We all got caught and came back drenched, down to our knickers! J had bolted back to the house at the first hint of a raindrop, but stayed dry!!!
On Sunday, it was still raining. J and I pulled out the trusty wet weather gear and packed a picnic. The plan was to catch the ‘Lil Ol Ratty’ steam train up and walk the 9 miles back. But the train had suffered a rain induced land slip and was not running. In fact there had been so much flash flooding that a number of stations and roads were also closed. We went to coffee and cake whilst we considered walking halfway up the Eskdale Trail and then back again. We bumped into the Aged P’s who’d driven round to Ravenglass …. their boots were still wet from yesterday despite newspaper being stuffed in them and the heater and hairdryer from the van, and they did not fancy another drenching. They put us onto the right path and off we set … stripping layers as the weather improved. We turned back as I sunk up to my knee in mud and bog where a tree had blown over.
The rain did clear but it largely remained misty.
Our spirits were not dampened!
This path is impassable!
A very high tide covering the path back from Ravenglass. J sporting his multipurpose sun / rain hat.
Monday saw us go to Hilltop, the National Trust home of Beatrice Potter. This was her home before she married the local solicitor. She kept the house as her work studio. She purchased a lot of land and farms and being passionate about farming and left it all to the National Trust, some of it in her lifetime.
Beatrice did all the drawings; she had a Scientist’s eye.
‘Satisfactory in every way’ – Quite a warm commendation for a Victorian!
Peter Rabbit must be around the corner.
Tuesday boded changeable for the weather so we headed up to Cockermouth to see Wordsworth’s birth house. Another new dog experience as J and I had to take turns to go in. We had a picnic on a thoughtfully supplied table and benches along the river. A local explained how the diggers were there to dredge the river as part of the flood prevention measures, but it had been too wet to put them into action. She’d lost most of her possessions in flooding two years ago.
“I wandered lonely as a cloud
that flies on high o’er hills and dales
when oft upon my couch I lie
in vacant or in pensive mood”
Childrens’ poetry amongst the apples in Wordsworth’s birth house.
On the way home we directed Dad (who did all the driving, as we’d never have got Chard down some of the lanes) along Wast Water to Wasdale Head. This is J’s favourite lake which he introduced me to … the deepest in England and a good starting point for a climb up Scafell. Although Mum and I had designated today a dry day … there was pub and the sun happened to come out so we sat on a bench admiring the bucolic scenery (water, hills and sheep) consuming a drink followed by an ice-cream for us and chocolate for them. Lovely … so pleased to show them this area.
The sheep on the other bank were being rounded up at speed.
Wednesday was due to be fair so we directed Dad up Hardknott Pass and Wrynose. The wheels did scrabble on a couple of hairpins. We tend to think of the fells rather than the lakes. And this is the Lakes at its best. A number of hairy passing ‘situations’ including a blonde in a BMW jeepy thing who did not know her edges and very nearly took the wheel arch off the Aged’s car, totally ignoring my instructions. The motorcyclist, held up by her incompetence, had a few words to say about idiots in cars too big for them!
James had been threatening to get me to run up Hardknott and a few months ago, I would have given it my best shot, but I’d had a nasty touch of food poisoning recently and not been running … that’s my excuse anyway! James, what’s yours?
Up at Hardknott – it would have been a killer run. Whoever thought I’d be grateful to food poisoning!
We picnicked at the south of Grassmere water … very pretty and again a generously provided bench. Grassmere is the burial place of Wordsworth so we viewed the grave and consumed an ice cream … Mum didn’t you consume most of a bag of fudge??? I managed to consume two pairs of shorts and a pair of walking trousers in the Mountain Warehouse epic sale for £28! The trousers alone should have been £50. Love a bargain! Can justify the spend with a bargain!!
Mum and I walked from our picnic spot to the southern point of Grassmere Water.
Thursday: Dad had been doing all the driving and tomorrow would be the long drive home, so today we decided would be a no drive day … other than we cadged a lift to Ravenglass to catch the steam train up. Actually being the first train of the day, (yes we were up and at ‘em in time for the 9.25 am departure) it was diesel and we got 10% off :). A pretty ride up and we managed to prevent Oscar from leaping from the moving doorless carriage! Coffee and cake at the top. The Aged P’s had a walk and caught a train back down. J and I headed off to do the complete Eskdale Trail. The place where I’d sunk on Sunday had largely dried up. An excellent walk and really well signposted.
On the narrow gauge railway.
Other than the amendment to our EuroTunnel booking … this is Oscar’s first ticket.
We stopped to chat to a local near the house at the end of the walk … an exhausted Oscar found a soft spot of verge and went to sleep!
Being the Bank Holiday weekend, we all decided to leave really early on Friday to avoid the holiday congestion. The Aged P’s left about 7.00 and we were 30 mins behind them as we had to try to de-fluff the house a bit … we keep seeing white fur balls from Oscar! Seeing accidents is always unsettling, and sadly we saw a 7 car nudge up and then later a more serious rolled car … not a good start to the Bank Holiday. We’d decided to stay at the Aged P’s as it is really handy for the station and J was catching the train on Saturday up to London to see his two daughters and granddaughter.