Sunday 11 July 2021
Nido's nestled in a very quiet and scenic meadow between Clitheroe and Pendle Hill. We're on the CL at Angram Green, a site we visited almost 6 years ago to the day. It was such a lovely, peaceful stop last time, we vowed to return one day. As it's on the way to Northumberland, it provided an ideal stopover for a couple of nights. Last time we stayed we had it all to ourselves, but today there's another campervan and two caravans, although the field is large enough to give us all plenty of room and private space. There's no EHU to connect to, so we can all pitch where we fancy.
This is the longest trip we've made since we spent a month in France in 2019. Our other trips since then have been only for a couple of nights, with the exception of 6 nights in Pembrokeshire. It's taken some thought to get back into the swing of a slightly longer trip. For just a few nights away, I'd either cook or take all the food we needed, noting we'd normally stay on one site for the whole time, usually in some remote location. But this trip. we'll be travelling around, so they'll be opportunity to buy food as we go, hopefully making use of roadside fruit and veg stalls plus small, independent shops to support the local community.
When planning this trip, my initial thought was to just head off and rely on the opportunity to wildcamp, use pub stops or book into CLs at the last minute. But over the past weeks, reading about other's trips and checking various forums, it became obvious there would be little opportunity for impromptu stopovers. All of the club main sites I checked were fully booked for several weeks. Even some of the CLs I called were booked solid through to the middle of September. So this trip - as is now the norm in the UK - needed some research, planning and advance bookings. This CL was therefore booked in advance, plus one close to Hadrian's Wall and a pop-up campsite not too far from the Northumberland coast. Aside from that, I've planned a couple of stops found on the Search for Sites website, including a free parking spot courtesy of Scottish Forestry, pub stops and a couple of C&CC Temporary Holiday Sites. This should give us a mix of certainty and flexibility on where we end up staying. It's not the same as just turning up at a French aire, but it does mean we don't have to worry too much about upsetting people by wild camping at a time when campervans and motorhomes are being ostracised for all sorts of reasons.
The journey here was relatively painless - mainly motorway - and we arrived at 1pm. We decompressed with a cup of tea sat outside under cloudy but warm skies. Salty was a bit stressed by the journey, although we'd moved his safety line to allow him to lie on our bed for the trip, which seemed to help. But a walk of a couple of miles through fields and quiet lanes, with new smells and sights calmed him down and he's now snoozing next to me, having eaten his tea, plus some of ours!
All's quiet now - a very still evening with only the birdsong and lambs breaking the silence.
Monday 12 July 2021
It's a still afternoon, raining steadily but it's warm. I'm sat outside under the awning, watching the rain and listening to a blackbird in the large tree next to us, competing with the sounds (and lovely garlicky smells) of Cathy cooking dinner behind me in the van. After a good walk and lunch, Salty is snoozing on the driving seat. I have a glass of Portuguese red wine from the Doura region. I'm enjoying my day!
I'm a bit set in my ways. Normally, if it's raining I wouldn't chance putting the awning out and would close the door and stay in the van. But I decided to try it, mainly to see if it stopped the rain coming into the van with the side door open...and it does! So I'm enjoying the al-fresco experience and we'll do it again.
It rained throughout the night but the site here is flat and drains well, so I'm not worried about getting away tomorrow. The other campervan left as we were having breakfast, so it's us and a couple of caravans now. I chatted to the couple in the smaller caravan yesterday - an old but well loved caravan about the size of an Eriba. They come here about three times a year as they love the peace and quiet. Normally, they'd be in France from May for a couple of months but there's no chance of that right now. Like us, they're not a fan of the Club main sites, preferring these small, tucked-away CLs. They have a basic, open awning up and lots of fairy lights and seem very content with their lot; I reckon they have it right.
The last time we stayed here we completed a 10 mile walk. Six years on, we're not so fit so I planned one half of the loop for today, taking us along the foot of Pendle Hill, back towards the village of Downham (where we walked yesterday), along the base of Worsaw Hill and down to Worston village before walking back up the lane to the campsite. We lucked out with the weather; thankfully the rain held off, although it was a bit misty over the hills. Salty enjoyed the new smells and took the opportunity for a paddle and a drink when we came across streams. Back at base, we sat under the awning with a pot of tea and coffee, reading or catching up with what everyone else is doing today. I watched a couple of YouTube videos from The Urban Motorhome and Camper-Vibe.
The rain's getting heavier, but we can still sit outside in the shelter of the awning and dinner is almost done, so that's it for today. We move on tomorrow, heading to the North Pennines.