Thursday, 28 December 2017

Cali has been to Cirencester for Christmas

When we had our caravan we never went away for Christmas, mainly because we didn't fancy towing on winter roads and also because there were very few sites open over winter.  We've found that a lot more sites are now open all year round as well as those that stay open until January so decided to go away for Christmas this year.  We enjoyed our visit to Cirencester Park Caravan Club Site in September so returned for Christmas.

We travelled up on Saturday afternoon and had a walk into Cirencester.  Christmas Eve was a lazy day in Cirencester and a fabulous lunch at The Crown.  In the afternoon the Wardens invited everyone for wine and nibbles in the Reception which was a lovely start to Christmas.

Pitch 122 Cirencester Park

After breakfast and opening our presents we spent Christmas Day walking on the Bathurst Estate.  It started to rain around midday so we took shelter at Horse Guards for our lunch and then returned to the site by the quick route through the Estate.

Horse Guards towards Cirencester

The weather on Boxing Day morning was bright and sunny, a real contrast to the previous day.  There was a lot of activity on the Estate as the horses were arriving for the Boxing Day Hunt and we walked to Sapperton for lunch.  Unfortunately it started to rain heavy on the way back and the ground was also very muddy after all the horses had been around the Rides.  Back at the site we bagged all the wet and muddy clothes and settled down for the evening.

During the night it became very windy and when we looked out of the window there was a couple of inches of snow - we hadn't expected that.  The site looked so pretty the next morning and another first for us and Cali - camping in the snow!

Cali in the snow

All too soon the holiday was over and it was time to head home.  It may have been our first Christmas in Cali, but it certainly won't be our last.  We also know that she's very warm and comfortable for winter camping, so are planning some time away in January.

23-27 December 2017

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Cali has been to Brighton and Swanage

As we're currently limited to when we can go away due to my work, we went away for the October half term. We booked four nights at Brighton Caravan Club Site and four nights at Haycraft Caravan Club Site.  Brighton is a new site and we've previously stayed at Haycraft for one night.

We arrived at Brighton just ahead of Storm Brian and set up on pitch 12, lovely sheltered pitch behind a bank and near some small trees. It took us a little longer than usual to set up as we sheltered inside Cali when there was torrential rain and thunder and we decided not to raise the roof on the first day because of the high winds. After setting up we walked down to the Marina to see the huge waves crashing over the sea wall - amazing!

We had a great night's sleep away from the wind but woke the next morning to find Cali and our pitch covered in bird poo from the pigeons who seemed to like the trees around our pitch.  The wardens were happy for us to move so we drove across to the opposite pitch.

Pitch 13 Brighton

As it was our first time in Brighton we walked from the site to Hove Lagoon one day, from the site to Saltdean another day and then had a day pottering around Brighton and a fabulous lunch at Food for Friends.  The weather was wild the whole time we were there, windy with very high seas.

Brighton Marina from East Pier

After four nights we moved to Haycraft and after a long journey of holdups on the road, the sun came out and we got setup on  site.

Pitch 20 Haycraft

The first day was a little overcast, but we then had fabulous sunny weather for the rest of our holiday.  There was plenty of walking from the site - the first day we did a circular walk to Langton Matravers and Worth Matravers and on the second day we walked along the top of the downs to Corfe Castle.

Towards Studland and Brownsea Island

The Swanage Steam Railway stops at Harman's Cross Station which is only a ten minute walk fro the site so on our final day we had a lovely journey on the steam train to Swanage and spent the day walking through the Country Park and along the seafront.

A fabulous holiday with better weather than we had on our summer holiday in Wales!

21-29 October 2017

Monday, 9 October 2017

Cali has returned to Burton Bradstock

The forecast was good yesterday so we decided to head back to Burton Bradstock for the day.  We got there quite early so were able to park in the last space on the front of the car park, over looking the sea.

Steve planning next year's holiday

We were both in need of a lazy day so didn't go too far but spent time reading and planning next year's holiday in the Yorkshire Dales.

8 October 2017

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Cali has been back to Woolacombe

Last Friday we checked the weather forecast and as it was good for the weekend we booked Saturday night at Willingcott Caravan Club Site.  We travelled to Woolacombe early on Saturday morning and parked at the Marine Drive car park (£4.00 all day) for breakfast with a fabulous view over Wooolacombe Bay.

Marine Drive towards Woolacombe Bay

After breakfast we walked the coast path around Baggy Point to Croyde Bay, stopping at the Sandleigh Tea Rooms for tea and cake on the way.  There's also a NT car park (free for NT members) which we'll remember for the next time we're in the area.  The weather was lovely and sunny - perfect for walking this stretch of coast.  On returning to Putsborough we walked along the beach back to Woolacombe.  The town was very busy as there was a Scooter Rally so we decided to go to the site.  As we know it is a very windy site but we found a lovely pitch behind a Devon Bank which gave us a lot of shelter for the night.

Pitch 123 Willingcott

The following morning it started to drizzle as we were packing up so we headed back towards Tiverton and went to Knightshayes (free parking and entry for NT members) for a walk through the woods and gardens before returning home.

23 September 2017

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Cali has been to Swanage

As the evenings are getting darker and cooler, we've decided that most of our Cali weekends will now be overnight stays on Saturday rather than going away after I finish work on Friday.  This weekend we went to Studland Bay.  We left home early on Saturday and stopped at a layby on the road between Corfe Castle and Studland for breakfast - amazing views!

Breakfast layby looking towards Poole

We had a lovely walk in the morning from Knowle Beach, past Agglestone Rock and across Ballard Down before returning to Cali for lunch.  We were going to have another walk in the afternoon but due to torrential rain we decided to go to the site mid afternoon.  We had booked the last pitch at Haycraft Caravan Club Site.  As it was still raining we were glad they had one hardstanding pitch left as the grass pitches were very muddy.

Pitch 15, Haycraft

The facilities block was spotlessly clean, although it was looking in need of an upgrade.  It's only a small site and was very friendly with several people stopping to talk to us about Cali.  A lovely site, plenty of walking in the area and the steam railway passes nearby.  We're going back at the October half term for another three nights.

9 September 2017

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Cali has been to Cirencester

We decided to have a long weekend in Cali before I went back to work and decided to return to Cirencester Park Caravan Club Site - another site we visited when we had our caravan.  It's a lovely site on the Bathurst Estate with the usual exceptional facilities of a CMC site.

Pitch 120 Cirencester Park

The weather was glorious on Friday so we had a lazy afternoon.  Saturday was also very sunny so we had a walk through the Park before having lunch at Jesse's Bistro and then a riverside walk in the afternoon. 

Bathurst Park looking towards Cirencester

It was very wet on Sunday so it was just a quick walk into Cirencester and a beer in The Hare before returning to Cali.  The Wardens were happy for us to stay until early afternoon on Monday, so after another walk in the Park it was time to head home.

Cirencester Park is lovely and the town is full of character.  We enjoyed our weekend so much we have booked to stay at the same site over Christmas!

1-4 September 2017

Friday, 25 August 2017

Cali has been to Pembrokeshire

Cali has visited Pembrokeshire for our two week holiday.  This is our first two week holiday in Cali and we decided to split the time between three sites.

The first five nights we stayed at Morawelon Camping and Caravanning Site, a private site near to Newport Sands.  Although we hadn't stayed at this site previously, we have walked in the area when we stayed at Fishguard a few years ago and knew the site would be in the perfect location for our walking.  There's also a good local bus service along the coast.  We arrived on a lovely sunny afternoon and went to Reception (a till at the back of the cafe) and were shown to the top field where we could pitch.  On our way we passed flower pots of weeds and dead flowers, weeds growing around all the paving slabs and overflowing refuse bins - a general air of neglect on the site.  Pitches aren't marked but we were allocated 'a spot' near the road on the top field.  We kept a decent space between us and the next campervan, sadly when the next person arrived next to us he parked so close we felt like we were on a car park.  We did have a brilliant view from our pitch but had to put the windbreak up to stop people from driving and walking too close to Cali as we were right next to the road

Top field at Morawelan

As we had a lot of rain during the five days the site got very muddy as vehicles churned up the grass trying to get up the hill.  The toilet block was grubby and didn't appear to be cleaned regularly, the gents were so bad that Steve wouldn't clean his teeth there as they were so smelly!

Dinas Head

The site is perfect for walking the coast path as it passes the entrance.  On our first day we walked from the site to Dinas Head - unfortunately by the time we reached Dinas Head the rain was almost horizontal as it was so windy!  We had better weather during the rest of our stay and had a lovely walk around to Newport Sands and into the village and spent some time on the beach too.

Overall our thoughts are the site was in a fabulous location but the facilities were awful - definitely not a site to use again.

After leaving Newport we stopped in Fishguard to top up supplies before heading to St David's Lleithyr Meadow Caravan and Motorhome Club Site for five nights.  We visited this site many years ago when we had our caravan, so know the area quite well and also know that as it's a CMC site the facilities would be good.  We weren't disappointed and found a lovely pitch behind the hedge which gave us some shelter when it became windy.  The site also has laundry facilities so I could wash our walking clothes and also dry our jackets after a very wet day in St David's.   The pitches are all grass so after the heavy rain there were plenty of puddles on the site, but these soon drained away and it never got muddy.

Pitch 5, St David's Lleithyr Meadow

There's a local bus service that stops outside the site that we used it on a couple of days so we didn't need to move Cali and it also enabled us to do 'one way' walks. There are also plenty of walks from the site, including a circular walk to Carn Llidi.

Carn Llidi towards Caravan Site

Carn Llidi looking north

A great site, fabulous quiet location and spotlessly clean facilities. Due to the weather we didn't do all the walking we had planned, so we'll definitely return to this site.

After leaving St Davids's we replenished supplies at Haverfordwest before heading to Freshwater East Caravan and Camping Club Site for the last four nights. This is another site we have previously stayed on when we had our caravan.  Although walking in the area is a little limited without taking Cali off site, we wanted to have a Spa Day as part of our holiday and booked ourselves a Revive Spa Package at Lamphey Court Spa.  As the weather forecast wasn't too good we chose a sheltered hardstanding pitch on the lower part of the site and decided against using the awning.

Pitch 28, Freshwater East

Our first day was very windy, but dry so we walked from the site to Barafundle, a beautiful beach that can only be accessed from the coast path.

Barafundle Beach

On the second day we took Cali off site early in the morning as I had to visit the dentist in Pembroke - it was surprisingly quick to pack away and were were on the road in less than 15 minutes.  After my dental appointment we headed to the Spa for a morning of pampering and lunch.  The weather forecast for the final day of our holiday wasn't too good so we took Cali off site again and drove into Pembroke so we could walk around the Castle and Millpond.  We had a heavy downpour in the middle of the day so returned to Cali for our lunch and to read the papers until the rain eased off - it beats trying to find a cafe!

This is another great site in a lovely location with excellent facilities.  However, as there is only one bus a day and limited walking from site we probably wouldn't return again.

5-19 August 2017

Monday, 17 July 2017

Cali has been to Tavistock

We decided to have a weekend away and stayed at the Tavistock Camping and Caravan Club site as there's plenty of walking from the site.  It's a pretty site, well maintained with lots of lovely flowers but it is by the B3356 which is a busy road.  Pitches are allocated and we had a smallish corner pitch next to the road, so it was quite noisy during the day but thankfully it was quieter at night.

Pitch 22, Tavistock

On Saturday we had a lovely circular walk from the site across Dartmoor.  It was very misty with low cloud, but even so the views were stunning.

Feather Tor

Although the site is very well maintained, it's not one that we'll return to as the road is very busy and noisy.  A friend recommended Langstone Manor so we made a detour on our walk to have a look at it and it was very well maintained and in a quiet spot too.  In spite of the weather and the noisy site, we had a lovely weekend.

14-16 July 2017

Monday, 3 July 2017

Cali has been to Burton Bradstock

It's been another lovely weekend so after a busy 'jobs day' on Saturday we decided to go out for the day on Sunday.  We've not been to Burton Bradstock for a while, so thought it would be a great place for breakfast, lunch and a chill day.  It's another National Trust car park, so we also had free parking for the day.

A lazy day at Burton Bradstock

We picked up some pastries and as we were at the car park quite early, were able to park at the front nearest to the sea.  The table and chairs came out for breakfast and stayed out all day whilst we enjoyed a lazy day reading books and recharging our batteries.

2 July 2017

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Cali has been to Start Bay

On Wednesday the weather forecast was showing a hot sunny weekend, so we booked a couple of nights at the Start Bay Caravan and Motorhome Club site.  We set off after I finished work at 3.30pm on Friday but unfortunately we were held up in long traffic queues on the A38 so didn't arrive on site until almost 6.00pm.  The site was full except for three sloping pitches - the first time we've pitched on such a slope and we were unsure of the best way to do it.  The wardens were fantastic and told us we could go onto the pitch forwards, backwards or sideways, whichever was best for us.

We chose the best of the three pitches but even the levelling blocks weren't high enough to take out the slope.  We decided to drive into the pitch as it would be better to slope front to back rather than side to side.  We had sunshine all weekend, the photo shows us getting ready for breakfast..

Pitch 84, Start Bay

It's the first time we've visited this site and we really liked it.  As a CMC site the facilities are as you would expect and the site was very well maintained.  It's only a short walk to the coast path so on Saturday we walked to Start Bay lighthouse, it was only a ten mile walk but it seemed more as it was such a hot day.

Start Point towards Slapton

A fabulous weekend and definitely another site to revisit.

16-18 June 2017

Monday, 5 June 2017

Cali has been in Cornwall for a week

We've spent the half term week in Cornwall and have had a fabulous time - it's also the first time we've been away for a week with Cali.

We went to Trevedra Farm (a C&MC Affiliated Site) for the first three nights.  The site allocates pitches and ours wasn't the best pitch on site (but neither was it the worst) as it was next to a footpath and several people cut across our pitch.  The site comprises five fields with very long grass.  We used the ground sheet for the first time and it really helped to keep some of the grass and mud out of Cali. We had used the awning on the first day, but wound it in when it became windy and wet.

Pitch 9, Club Field, Trevedra Farm

The amenities block was new this year and was very smart.  The staff all worked hard to keep the facilities clean and tidy, although it was a shame that some of the campers didn't clean showers and sinks after they had used them. There was also a small shop which sold basic food and camping items, as well as a cafe which was open for breakfasts and evening meals.

The site was only a ten minute walk from the coast path and there was plenty of walking in the area. On Sunday we wanted to walk to Land's End, but as there was an amber weather warning for torrential rain, thunder, lightening and hail - we decided to turn around when we got to Sennen Coastguard Lookout so we could get back before the weather became too bad.  Fortunately we missed the worst of the storm but we had hours of very heavy rain.

Sennen Coastguard Lookout towards Land's End

Sennen Coastguard Lookout towards Sennen

On Monday we set off walking in light drizzle and walked to St Just.  By late morning it had stopped raining and the sun came out so we had a lovely walk back along the coast path.

Coastpath looking towards Cape Cornwall

Although we enjoyed our time at Sennen Cove, we're not sure we'll return to that site so we had a look at the Sennen Cove Camping and Caravan Club site, which is a mile or so further up the road. There were spacious pitches and a spotlessly clean amenities block so we decided that when we return to the area we'll stay at that site.

When we left Treveda Farm we stopped off at Sainsburys in Penzance to replenish stocks and drove to Long Rock beach car park for our lunch.  Parking is only £1.00 for the day and it's a great place to stop for lunch with views towards St Michael's Mount.

Long Rock looking towards St Michael's Mount

We then went to the Godrevy Park Caravan and Motorhome Club site for four days.  We've stayed here when we had our caravan and it's a lovely site, again only a short walk from the coast path.  We were able to choose our pitch and as we know it's a windy site we chose to pitch behind a small hedge to give us some protection from the wind.  We also put up the sail and windbreak to make it a little more sheltered.  The wardens were also fine with us pitching 'nose first' so our awning faced the same way as other caravans.

Pitch 80, Godrevy Park

There's a lot of good walking from this site too.  On Wednesday we caught the bus to St Ives and had a potter around the town before walking back along the coast path.  It was a rather grey and overcast morning but the sun came out as we walked back towards Godrevy.

Godrevy Beach and Lighthouse

On Thursday we walked to Portreath (as there were no buses in the morning) and caught the bus back to the site.  It was another lovely day and another lovely walk although we were both very tired when we got back to the site!

Walking towards Portreath

We had more heavy rain on Thursday night with a drizzly start to Friday.  We had planned on going to Godrevy Beach Cafe for breakfast but as it was very wet, we had a lazy morning with Cali and then walked to the cafe for a cream tea!

Godrevy has always been a special place for us as we've made a lot of 'life decisions' there.  It was also the place where we decided we would love a campervan, so it was only right that we drove there in Cali when we left the site.  As Godrevy is owned by the National Trust we had free parking whilst we stayed there for our lunch before heading home.

It's been a great week and we can't wait to go away again!

27 May-3 June 2017

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Cali has stayed in Cornwall

Steve went to Bodmin on a two day training course and rather than drive home he booked a pitch at the Mena Caravan and Camping Park, about five miles from Bodmin.  The site sounded very good, AA 4 star, but sadly didn't live up to expectations.

Cali pitched next to facilities block

Although the site was in a lovely location, the facilities weren't brilliant.  Two toilets and showers for the whole site (in the shed behind Cali) and they were grubby and mouldy. As Steve was the only person staying on site the lack of facilities wasn't an issue, although he did find it a bit spooky with no other people on site.  It's not a site to add to our list of places to stay.

As it was raining overnight and Steve was only staying one night, he didn't open the roof and used the Brandrup Airscreen so he could open the window for some fresh air.  It was a great success as it kept the wind and rain out whilst allowing plenty of fresh air overnight.

15 May 2017

Cali has been to Woolacombe

We decided to visit North Devon over the weekend and stayed at the Willingcott Caravan and Motorhome Club Site for one night, a drive of just under two hours,   We used to use this site when we had our caravan so, like all C&MC sites, we knew the facilities would be good. Maybe it was because the weather forecast was for a wet weekend, but there were only a handful of caravans and motorhomes on the site so we had plenty of choice.   It's a very windy site so we pitched at the bottom of the site to get some shelter and decided not to wind out the awning.

Pitch 16, Willingcott

The site is very well maintained and the facilities were spotless, but there's not too much walking from the site.  It's probably a site we would use for a one night stay if we're in the area, but not one for a longer stay as we would need to keep driving off site.

We enjoyed our overnight stay and even when it was pouring with rain, we felt very cosy inside Cali. After our stay at Dulverton we had had bought some jute bags for books, magazines and bottles and had stored those behind the turned front seats, which made the front a lot tidier.  One other thing for our shopping list is a couple of small torches as it was very dark walking to and from the facilities.

13 May 2017

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Cali has been to Budleigh Salterton

The forecast for today was good, so we called at the local shop for the Sunday paper and some pastries before heading off to Budleigh Salterton.  Although it's only about four miles from home, we knew the view from the car park would be a great place for breakfast.

View from car park over River Otter estuary

After breakfast we read the papers for a while, before putting the chairs away and going for a walk. It was great to return to Cali and pop the kettle on for more mugs of tea.

We later drove home through East Budleigh and across Woodbury Common - a fabulous 'Cali day out'.

7 May 2017

Monday, 1 May 2017

Cali has been to Exmoor House, Dulverton

For our first weekend away in Cali we've gone to Exmoor House Caravan and Motorhome Club Site, which is only about an hour's drive from home. Steve met me when I finished work on Friday and we drove to Dulverton.  The site was fully booked for the weekend and the warden asked if we would consider having pitch 23, which is a smaller pitch backing onto the river. We were happy to take the pitch and joined a row of campervans. The only downside is that the pitches are in the shadow of trees, so won't get too much sun. It's probably not a pitch we would choose again - although it's not been a problem this weekend as there has been more rain than sun!

Pitch 23 - Exmoor House

On Saturday we did the Dulverton circular walk, which went along the river, through Brushford and back over the hill into Dulverton. We visited The Bridge Inn in the evening, just a short walk from the site, for a meal and a couple of drinks.

River Barle, near Dulverton

The forecast for Sunday was rain, so we popped the Cali topper on and wound the awning in before going to bed.  So glad we did as Sunday was very wet. We had a short walk around Dulverton and headed back to Cali when it started to rain quite heavy. We had often wondered how we would get wet clothes dry in such a small space, but it wasn't a problem.  Wet boots were put on newspaper on the floor behind the nearside seat, trousers were hung over a cord fixed between two hooks in the roof area at the front and wet coats hung over the seat headrests and dripped onto newspaper.

The K9 tent has also stayed dry and is great for storage - it raised a few smiles on the site when people asked us what sort of dog we have!

We had a lazy start to the Bank Holiday Monday morning and then decided to head home and get everything dry. We've had a great first weekend away and have made a list of a few things we want to get before our next trip - mainly a few bags to keep things tidy.

The site was lovely with friendly wardens and excellent facilities.  There's lots of walking in the area and also local buses that go through the town, although not too many each day. I'm sure this will become one of our weekend sites.

28 April-1st May 2017

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Cali has been to Parke, Haytor and Knightshayes

We've had a couple of day trips this weekend to get used to driving Cali and enjoy her as a day vehicle.  It also gave us a chance to see what we need before our first camping trip next weekend.

Yesterday we visited Parke, a National Trust parkland near Bovey Tracy, with lovely river walks. There was quite a lot of parking (free for NT members) and it was great to have Cali as a walking base and return to pop the kettle on for a cup of tea.  After lunch we decided to drive over Dartmoor and went to Haytor.

Cali on Haytor Car Park

The weather was fabulous and we walked up to the rock and took this photograph to show Cali on the car park.  There are several car parks along the road with good access - although there is a lot of discussion whether these should now become 'pay and display' car parks.

Haytor before we took the chairs out to enjoy the views

Today we've visited Knightshayes, a National Trust house, gardens and parkland near Tiverton. There was lots of parking (free for NT members). Unfortunately I've hurt my back so couldn't do too much walking in the woods, but we did have a lovely stroll around the gardens.

22-23 April 2017

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Cali is home!

We collected Cali this from the dealer this afternoon and had one small hitch during the handover - the registration number given to me last week was different to the one on the vehicle!  I borrowed the dealer's computer and phone to contact the C&MC insurance department who were very helpful,. They changed the details on the policy documents and emailed me a new Certificate of Insurance straight away.  The rest of the handover went without a hitch and we brought her home - she's fabulous!

We've spent a few hours 'playing' this afternoon and giving guided tours to the neighbours!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Cali is in Exeter

We've had an email from the dealer to say Cali has arrived in Exeter this morning - she's all in one piece and is to the correct specification (which is great news!).

The workshop are working on her this afternoon and the valeting department will polish her on Tuesday - ready for us to collect on Wednesday afternoon.  Six more sleeps.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Cali is in Kent

We visited the dealer this morning for an update and were told that Cali is in the Importer Compound in Kent.  Hopefully she will reach the dealer next week and we've arranged to collect her after the Easter holiday on Wednesday 19 April - only 13 more sleeps!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Cali is still in Germany

We were hoping to arrange collection before the end of the month and avoid the new VED, but have just been told that Cali is still in Germany and has been awaiting shipping since 16 March.

She should be with us some time in April so we can now start to make some holiday bookings .

Monday, 6 March 2017

Cali is being built this week!

We placed our order for our Acapulco Blue California Ocean on 19 October 2016 and were given a provisional build week beginning 6 March 2017. We just had the good news that our provisional build has now changed to confirmed and Cali will be built this week.

Our dealer is mildly optimistic that Cali will arrive before the end of March so we can register her before the new VED on 1 April.  We have fingers very firmly crossed!