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Southwest2010

South West Tour 2010 (and lots of other bits)
 
Actually this should be the South West and east quite a lot and then east and north even more tour 2010.
This tour at the end of the summer 2010 over a month or so takes in The Forest of Dean, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Salisbury, Henley on Thames and then good old Flamborough.
As I write this in March 2011 and remember back to the beginning of October 2010 its the last time I remember feeling warm outside!
 
 

 

It’s September and the summer will soon be over. After the superb trip in the spring to France it’s time for another long road trip. We decide to stay in the UK and head off down to Devon and Cornwall again via the Forest of Dean which is kind of on the way.

We book onto a CL about 6 miles south of Coleford and its £3.50 a night! It turns out to be a lovely large field with nice views and you just wonder how they can possibly make any money but long may it continue I say.

We have booked on for two nights but we end up seeing pretty much most of what we wanted to see in an afternoon. Symonds Yat is lovely but the rest of it is rather bland. I mean what’s so exciting about forests anyway. You can’t see anything for the trees.

We leave in the morning and don’t bother to ask for a refund for the second night!

Devon

We end up in Ilfracombe. The first CL is a bit noisy and not level so we end up at another one around the corner called Spreacombe Lodge farm which is fantastic and we have it to ourselves. It has a sea view and is I think £4.50 a night. A mile down the road is a Caravan Club site which is packed, no views and I suspect considerably more. Are these people mad? Well let’s hope this is a sign of things to come. We did wonder if it would be busy but so far the CL sites don’t seem to be.

We infiltrate the CC site and do a raid on their chippy van. I manage to get away and roar off on the bike before I am spotted as leader of the anti campsite brigade. It’s obvious I don’t belong there as A. I have a motorbike and B. I’m not wearing sandals with white socks and shorts.

We never got to do the north coast of Devon in last year’s winter tour as we couldn’t get there so it’s all new and interesting.

Lynmouth, Lynton, Ilfracombe and woolacombe are all very nice and the bike gets a good airing. It’s still warm and sunny and we are loving the late summer weather.

Bike Disaster

Luckily on the visit to Lynmouth and Lynton we take the van most of the way and just drop down the last 2 miles to the coast on the bike. An interesting place and well worth a visit but as we leave, right at the bottom of the 1 in 4 or 25% in new money hill we have a rear tyre blow out. It’s a good mile or so back to the van. I park the bike somewhere safe and decide to thumb a lift up the hill. Nobody stops despite me clearly limping with a walking stick. Eventually we make it back and drive Hank down the steep bank to pick up the bike. I block the road for a minute to put the bike on and at the same time the police turn up. They are very friendly and don’t mind me stopping the traffic!

We are soon recovered and on our way. We decide to move on after a few days of seeing this lovely part of Devon and head via Barnstaple where we have the tyre replaced to a smashing CL called Atlantic View just south of Bude which turns out to be in Cornwall.

Cornwall.

If you ever go to Atlantic View CL in Cornwall please please follow the instructions on the CC website and not your sat nav if you’re heading south or you will never get there and it is unlikely you will ever return as well. The roads to the CL the proper way are bad enough but the other direction has 1 in 3 or 30% hairpin single track hills!

It’s a lovely spot though and again we have it to ourselves and indeed there is (just) and Atlantic view. Indeed there are great views in every direction. We park smack in the middle of the massive field, get the beers and guitar out and have a party!

Bude is a scary 6 mile ride along the narrow coast roads up and down 1 in 3 twisty hills. It’s a real test of the 100cc scooter and Mrs D is not happy on some of these bends and slopes as we hang on for dear life. The bike screams up the hills and it just doesn’t seem possible that such a small bike could haul such a load up such a steep hill but he does no problem.

Bude turns out to be a nice place and we visit a couple of times. We manage a trip to Boscastle and it turns out that they have cashed in on their flood fame and even have a museum dedicated to it. This is the first busy place we have come across. Unfortunately 3 coach loads arrive the same time as us. It’s actually hot here and we have a walk down to the harbour and harbour entrance which is one of the most difficult harbours to navigate a boat in or out I have ever seen.

We work our way slowly down the coast to places like Tintagel and Port Gaverne and end up at a place called Rock

Its nice touring like this moving on every few days and seeing new places all the time.

Nothing’s really planned although I do book the CL 24 hours in advance when I can be bothered.

Eventually after meandering along the north coast we end up all the way down at the very narrow bit near St Michaels Mount at another lovely CL which for once has a few vans on it. It even has hookup this one and when I eventually remember how electricity works we treat ourselves and use the big telly!

We go across to the mount but it’s an arm and a leg to get to the top so we don’t bother. I’m sure it used to be free. Penzance is a bit uninteresting but Mousehole is a lovely ride for lunch.

We cut across the thin bit of Cornwall to the North coast in less than 20 minutes on the bike (with a following wind!) and end up in St Ives. Everyone seems to be here for some reason.

Our next stop working back along the south coast westward is a place called Feock not far from Falmouth. The CL is placed in a quiet spot within spitting distance of the sea and inlets and the King Harry Ferry which we wish to use.

The King Harry Ferry is an iconic part of Cornwall’s history. Established in 1888, it connects St Mawes and the Roseland Peninsula with Feock, Truro and Falmouth by avoiding the alternative 27 mile route through Truro & Tresillian.

Sadly there are only 5 chain ferries left in the UK and we are sure we have been on most of them.

The area around Feock is fabulous. It seems to be a bit of Cornwall that’s been bypassed. Lots of little inlets and narrow roads to explore and once again the weather is great.

Once we have explored Feock area we take a trip on the King Harry ferry to explore the Roseland Peninsula and St Mawes. On our return waiting for the ferry we are not the only scooter. An elderly couple well into their 70’s are also waiting on a rather posh scooter. I wonder if they are motorhomers so strike up a conversation. It turns out they are locals but spend lots of time travelling on their scooter. They have even been all over France on it! This is the spirit. We share stories until the ferry arrives.

Over the days we work our way down the coast visiting Mevagissey, Charlestown and Fowey. At Fowey I managed to get a bad case of Gout, run the engine battery down with my laptop and get surrounded by thick fog on a not so pretty CL. Strange how it all just goes wrong all at once. Still we can’t complain it’s been superb. We manage to bike into Fowey but I can hardly walk. The one Tugger with a car fails miserably to jump start our van so the AA is called. Me thinks we need a new battery.

Moving back into Devon we revisit the haunts we loved last winter. The superb CL at Salcombe, Hope and the Dartmouth area. It truly is stunning here and we see a bit more with it being a tad warmer than January! Eventually we end up back at Beer but on a different CL with great views and only £4 a night.

Regrets?

Beer is where we started the tour in Devon last Christmas and we know there is little of interest for us further east. We have noticed a pattern in longish touring trips where you suddenly run out of places to visit on the list with perhaps a couple of weeks left. The question always arises. Should we stay where we are where we love it or move on where we think it might not be so nice. We always end up moving on and it’s never as nice!

Somehow we end up in Poole. The CL is £12 which is more than double what we have been paying and Poole is a dump. I don’t know why we ended up here. We manage a look around Bournemouth which is ok but now what?

We have a night near Salisbury and then a night near Marlborough which are interesting rural places and then we head for Henley on Thames and Marlow. We know things are going downhill when the only option is to book onto a campsite. Wild camping is right out here as I’m not even sure stopping at all is an option in any vehicle. The campsite is ok if you like that sort of thing. We don’t. I have fond memories of the Henley area (I won’t explain why but it was before I was married and I was much younger) but it’s just too busy. Yes Henley and Marlow are very regal and majestic but are totally spoilt by the number of vehicles everywhere. We even have trouble parking the flipping scooter in Henley FFS!

A brain storming meeting is held and the outcome is that we leave the south behind and leg it 260 miles in one slog all the way back up to Flamborough! (see blog) and our favourite CL with our Donkey friends. We love it here. We can walk, cycle, chill out and have lunch at the Golf club. We love touring but sometimes a week or so in your favourite place is just what you need.

Sometime towards the end of October whilst in Flamborough Winter arrives. Just like that. It’s suddenly cold. When we got here we were in shorts. Now a few days later it’s cold. What we don’t realize is this is the start of the longest hardest winter in my living memory. After 9 days at Flamborough we reluctantly start to head north and west. We have one night on a CL at Fryup when I get an emergency call which sees me back at work the very next day!

Christmas next!

View from Symonds Yat

And again

View from CL at Spreacombe Lodge farm

Ilfracombe

Lynmouth

Lymouth to Lyton cliff railway

View near Atlantic View CL on the way to Bude

Bude

Boscastle

CL near St Michaels Mount

St Michaels Mount

Feock Area (Point)

Waiting for the King Harry Ferry

Ferry on its way

Tall ships at Charlestown Harbour

Back at Beer again

The Thames between Henley and Marlow

The wild campers didnt understand the campsite bay.

Back at good old Flamborough

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