Musings about wanderings

Month: July 2012

Summer Holiday 2012 Pt2 – Durham Grange CC Site 5JUL12 – 8JUL12

Up bright and early for the second part of my summer holiday. I packed the van and got the awning put away and said goodbye to Whitby.

The journey to Durham was to be broken by a stop for supplies at a big Sainsburys at a retail park in a place called Pity Me. In addition to the food, I bought a small brush for the van. The grass had been cut the previous day at Whitby and I’d managed to drag it all through the van. Durham Grange Caravan Club Site was 30mins across town and just off the A1M. Parked up, got the electrics on and then wrestled with the awning. I had taken care to pack it away neatly but somehow in transit, it had tangled itself up. But I got the thing up then went for a shower as the day was getting hot and humid. Sure enough, there was a downpour but this passed and the ground dried quickly. The shower block is of the usual CC standard and looks pretty new.

The afternoon was spent reading the paper, mostly about the Higgs Boson and the continuing fall out from Barclays. Plans were hatched to visit the Beamish museum. Then dinner, an episode of Sherlock and bed time.

First full day in Durham dawned with torrential rain. This was the cause of some extra snoozing but by 7:30am or so it was off and I ventured out for a shower. The shower block has only 4 showers so there was a bit of a queue.

Showered, breakfasted and teeth nice and clean it was time to head in to Durham proper. He easiest way in was via the Belmont park and ride. However, this involved crossing a dual carriageway that despite the footpath was still a bit scary. But soon I was on the bus and lost. I got off at a random stop and by sheer luck was close to the centre. I found my way to market square hoping to visit the tourist information. Only to find it was gone, replaced by a couple of guys with umbrellas. I wandered round the shops, picked up a couple of DVDs then headed for the Cathedral and Castle.

Durham

Durham

The Castle is part of Durham university so access is only by tour and I missed the sole tour that day. So it was into the Cathedral. Very impressive structure. Massive inside with an amazing pointed arch roof. Apparently the very first in England. No tours available so I wandered round. No cameras allowed inside either. I saw the shrine of St Cuthbert whose followers founded Durham while looking for somewhere safer than Lindesfarne. The story goes they found the location by following a milk maid who was looking for a lost cow.

Next stop was the university’s archeology museum. This was the prehistory of Durham from stone age to the Romans. Then onto another museum which told the story from the middle ages through to the present.

The weather had stayed reasonably good so lunch was eaten in Market Square then I found the right bus stop to get back to the park and ride, crossed he roads to get back to the campsite and made it back before he rain.

Another load of washing was required as I’d managed to drop both tea-towels on the floor. No breakage occurred and there was just enough time to squeeze in a nap before dinner.

DVD was one of the new ones I bought Scott & Bailey. Then time for bed to the sound of more rain.

Second full day in Durham dawned with overcast skies but with the rain having burnt itself out overnight. Plan was to go to the Beamish open air museum. With that in mind, I was on the bus into town at 9:30am. There is a direct bus from the bus station to the museum on a Saturday and I made the 9:45 one. 40minutes later I was at the front gate of the museum and completely forgot I got a discount with membership of the caravan club.

The museum is massive and incorporates its’ own tramway, two villages, a farm, a coal mine and a large house. The idea of the place is that you take the tram to each part then see people in costume working in the various areas. The staff are amazing and really know their stuff. They’re willing to discuss aspects of life from the early 20th century/late 19th century. So much to see and hear about. Spent ages here and the weather was fantastic.

Beamish Museum

Beamish Museum

Beamish Museum

Beamish Museum

Beamish Museum

Beamish Museum

Beamish Museum

Beamish Museum

Beamish Museum

Beamish Museum

Back to the van via Tescos. As the weather had been good, the awning was dry and this seemed to be an opportune moment to take it down.

Dinner then a few episodes of the Big Bang Theory then bed.

Up the next day, showered, breakfasted it was time to break camp. Did this by 9am and was on the road north. Journey home was uneventful apart from getting stuck behind a refrigerated lorry that dripping refrigerant all over the road and a couple of other lorries that were doing 35mph on a 60mph road.

Home, unpacked it was time for dinner and to think about a holiday that was interesting and that the rain didn’t really spoil.

Summer Holiday 2012 Pt1 – Whitby Holiday Park 2JUL12 – 5JUL12

First part of the summer holiday and it was off to the seaside. Whitby in this case. The van was packed the night before so it was a few clothes to be added then off via Sainsbury’s for food and the Asda at Dunbar for diesel. The price of fuel has dropped quite a bit recently so was pleasantly surprised at he cost for half a tank.

The road to Whitby was down the A1 with it’s fun alternating dual and single carriageways. As usual, the Sat Nav and I had a difference opinion as it wanted to take me via the Tyne tunnel and the A19 where as I wanted to stay on the A1(M) as far as possible. I won. The road wasn’t too bad though some of the ups and downs on the road approaching Whitby over the moors were fun and the last mile or so included a hill that I could only take in first gear.

Checked in and found my sea view pitch. This is the first site I’ve stayed on with grass pitches. Electrics hooked up it was time to put the awning up. As suggested by a friend, I pegged the windward side down loosely first before putting the poles in. This made all the difference and it was up in about 1/2 an hour.

Whitby

Whitby

I settled down to read for a while and then it was fish and potatoes for dinner, this time actually cooked.

The dish washing area isn’t bad though there was the usual forgetting of washing something.  After the dishes were done, Dr Who (pirate planet) was watched and then down to bed for the evening.

Day two of the holiday dawned with bright blue skies despite rain overnight. First task of the day was a shower. The toilet block a Whitby holiday park is pretty well appointed but strangely missing the stools you get in the showers of the Caravan Club or Camping and Caravan Club so there is nowhere to put your clothes. Also, unusually, they started cleaning the block at about 9am. Breakfast was eaten and the day being so nice, it was time to head into Whitby proper.

First stop was the abbey. Pretty impressive place and English Heritage had done a good job both preserving the ruins and providing a visitor centre that was illuminating. Many photos were taken.

Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey

Next it was down a steep slope into the harbour area. I’ve never seen a concentration of fish and chip shops like it. Loads of them and plenty of seagulls waiting to take their pick as well.

After hitting the visitor centre and picking up a map it was time to try the Dracula Experience. Bram Stoker had an association with the town and part of the story is set here. For most of it, it was your average ghost house type thing. But just at the end there was a guy in a werewolf suit and he gave me the fright of my life. So £2 well spent. Next up was the Lifeboat museum. The heroism on display was touching. It was amazing to see the stories of people who put their lives on the line to save others. But it is the price we pay as an island nation.

Lunch was eaten overlooking the harbour. With a hungry seagull overlooking me. Kept my sandwich though and headed for a wander through town.

Last was Captain Cook museum. He had quite an association with the town and some of his famous ships were built here. He museum was small but told his story.

Back to the van for a snooze then dinner, Dr Who and bed. Day stayed nice throughout though he wind was threatening the awning.

Second full day in Whitby dawned a bit overcast but no rain overnight. The wind had died down during the night as well. Up breakfasted and showered, the plan was for an easy day. Started with a walk into town to get some supplies and then back to do some washing. First attempt at the laundry was aborted when I broke the machine. No idea what I did but it was not accepting money. Waited for a bit then got the load on and dried. Most of the day was spent reading the papers. The nice part about being away is that time is available to read and digest the news and with the Barclay’s thing going on, there was something to digest.

Also on the reading list was Surface Detail by Iain M Banks. I had read it before but it would be my favourite of the Sci Fi Culture novels.

The day passes slowly in a relaxing and unhurried way. Dinner was had and an episode from Season 2 of Sherlock was watched. Then just before bed, I was rewarded with the most fantastic sunset. A bright red-orange sun, setting over the headland.

Sunset Whitby

Sunset Whitby

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