Meet Bubbles….

First holiday in Bubbles. British made and designed, first one on the road, the second one to be built (the first is touring exhibitions and showrooms). She made her debut in Moreton on the Marsh in the Cotswolds and was the star of the campsite. Will be blogging her adventures as we go!!

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Postcard from… The last few weeks on the road

Starting the very slow route home by moving on around Cornwall, back into Devon and along the Dorset coast. Happily we were joined by lovely friends for a week in Cornwall – we just might have got a teeny bit fed up of each other by now! Bubbles is looking disappointingly tatty for such a young lady and is in desperate need of a face-lift.

The last 5 months have reinforced my view that we’re so lucky to live in this amazing country. What a coastline! We’ve met some beautiful people, ate scrummy food, and discovered a lot of new beers, gin, and other odd assorted alcoholic delights. Planning the next trip now….

Here’s some pics:

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Postcard from… back in England

From wonderful Wales to brilliant Bristol. Bubbles, Theo and I spent a week in a lovely little campsite in the very centre of Bristol, then down to Devon for a family holiday.

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Here’s a picture of Damien Hirst’s Verity on the seafront of Ilfracombe.

Cornwall 1

We’ve been in Cornwall now for a few weeks, no one told us that August is a dodgy month for weather here and its been mizzling most days. Had to hide away in the Jamaica Inn and eat a cream tea on one particularly wet day.

Cornwall 3

We have managed to do some walking and cycling, and I’ve tried to capture the lovely heather and gorse along the coastal path, but we’re desperate for some sunshine now.

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We have another 3 weeks to go around the edges of Cornwall, hopefully the sun will come out.  Looking forward to a week with friends in St Austell soon. Seems very odd to be sorting out broadband, council tax and other bills for when we get back. (sad)

Postcard from Wales…

What a month!  I remember going to Wales with my parents as a child – Rhyl is probably the nearest sea from the Midlands, but I’d forgotten how beautiful it is.

We’ve cycled on the ricketty Barmouth to Dolgellau bridge, followed the Acorn along the Pembrokeshire Coastal path, scrambled across to Worms Head on the Gower peninsular, cycled Mumbles to Swansea, kayaked from Solva to Newgale, and so much more.

We’ve enjoyed crab and lobster prepared by an old lady in her house in St Davids, eaten so many welsh cakes and tried lots of local ales along the way. Its been a real delight to experience and all this is on our doorstep.

Next and last phase coming up. Our tenants leave on 16th September, we’ll be slow travelling home via the coast of Devon and Cornwall, ending up, appropriately, in Dorset, on the site where I used to go on holiday in my mum and dad’s caravan. Before then I’m looking forward to a week in Bristol doing family things.

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Postcard from…The Highest Mountain in Britain.

This is what the top of Ben Nevis looks like:

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Top of Ben Nevis

It’s a lunar landscape and absolutely knackering to get up there. After complaining of the cool and cloudy weather all through the Highlands, it was 30 plus and scorching on the long and tortuous walk up Ben Nevis. No shade throughout the whole 9 hours it took to get up and back. Never did a beer taste so good when we finally limped into the Ben Nevis Inn about 6 o’clock afterwards.

 

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Walking back down Ben Nevis

Glad we started early as the 3 peak challengers started their ascent with groups leaving every 10 minutes from about 4pm. I thought the bagpipes and cheering at the base were to welcome us back down, till I realised it was for the 3 peakers just setting out!

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Last look at the Highlands

So, we left the Highlands with a twinge of sadness, and will miss the grandeur and beauty of the mountains and lochs.

Had our first taste of traffic jams and motorway holdups since April, and the hills of Cumbria seemed positively tame. Arrived here in Carnforth in Lancashire late yesterday and did a massive midge clean-out of Bubbles. We were so tired after climbing Ben Nevis yesterday that we forgot the importance of keeping the door closed in the evening, midges got in while we were going in and out, result, one very disturbed and bitten night.

We’ve chosen to call here specifically to do the Bay Cycle Way, which starts here in Carnforth and goes all along beautiful Morecombe Bay. Tomorrow we leave to drive to Wales and the start of our month long tour of the coastline there, looking forward to walking part of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, the Gower Way and lovely St David’s.

Postcard from…NC500 road trip

Cold wet but oh so beautiful.

June 18-1

 

Travelling the west side of the NC500. Its a circular route which  starts and ends in Inverness, we’re only doing part of it, very slowly, from the Orkney ferry at Scrabster down to Fort William. It really is a ‘Grand Tour’ of the wildest parts of the Highlands. We haven’t adapted to the almost permanent daylight, even though Shetland and the Orkneys were the same. It was broad daylight until after 11 last night and the sun was fierce in the van at 3.50 this morning. Unfortunately that’s then it for the sun for the rest of the days, which without exception have been windy cold and rainy. Thank goodness we have heating in Bubbles.

We’re loving the space though, the population density up here is extremely low, and neither the tourists or the midges are out in force.

Walking is a challenge, because of the weather, the still painful foot and the wild terrain.

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Kyle of Lochlash and Isle of Skye next, weather forecast is for cloud and showers, so no change there!

Couldnt resist this shot of a baby bubbles!

June 18-3

Postcard from… Shetland and Orkneys

Shetland was truly special, very Norwegian, hard to understand the language and deserted. What do you do when there’s no shop for miles around and you have sweet craving? Go to a cake fridge of course!

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Theo at the Cake Fridge!

Huge fridges, stuffed full of home baked goodies and placed in the middle of nowhere with an honesty box. Perfect.

It’s such a beautiful island and feels so very far away from everywhere.

Next stop was the Orkneys – definite feeling of returning towards home as it’s just a few hours from here to the Scottish mainland. Spent a happy evening in ‘Wrigley’s and the Reel’, pub full of musicians who just wandered in to play a range of instruments with their pals.

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Welcome to Shetland!

 

Freezing
‘Old man of Hoy’, blooming freezing
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A Shetland pony.

Postcard from… Dundee and Aberdeen

Theo, myself and Bubbles spent a few days in Dundee, cycled across the Tay Bridge and spent a few hours in the Discovery museum ship, the vessel that took Scott on his expedition to the Antarctica.

 

The Tay Bridge
The Tay Bridge

 

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The Discovery Museum

After Dundee, spent a day with relatives in Aberdeen then got the long overnight ferry to the Shetland Islands. They lie about 340 miles north of Aberdeen and are nearer to the Arctic circle than to London. They’re a unique mixture of Norwegian, Germanic and Gaelic Scotland, with a strong Viking history. Beautiful cliffs sculpted by the north and Atlantic seas, and wild rugged coastlines. Here’s a photo of Theo cleaning freshly caught scallops for our tea:

Theo cleaning scallops
Theo cleaning scallops

 

Today we’re planning to drive further North, taking 2 ferries to the furthest island in the Shetland group. From Unst there is only the uninhabited Muckle Flugga in the wild ocean before the Arctic. Going to take all day and be a mission, but to stand on the tip of Unst looking Northward will be worth it.

Pics of the Shetlands

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Postcard from…. Northumberland Coast

Blue Sky
A big blue bowl of a sky

We left the beautiful Northumberland coast yesterday, after a goodbye trip to Holy Island. Cycled across the causeway and planned a lovely 2 hour hike around the Island for our last day. Looking at the tides to plan our return off the island, we realised we were due to leave the caravan site  in Berwick today, not tomorrow as we had thought

A quick call to the campsite confirmed, they are fully booked and we have to be off at 12.00 noon. It was 10.30am and we were an hour away on Holy Island.

Castles and flowers along the Northumberland Coast
Castle and flowers along the Northumberland Coast
Castles and flowers along the Northumberland Coast
Another castle and flowers along the Northumberland Coast
Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve
Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve

So, crazy fast cycle back to the car, and threw everything in Bubbles, and off we went again.

Very pleased to have completed the 63 miles along the Northumberland Coastal path, from Cresswell near Morpeth up to Berwick. It’s a virtually deserted coastline, the sky is huge and the people are friendly. The cities up here are small but perfectly formed, the air is clean and roads quiet. And the kippers are delicious.

Bridges across the Tweed
Bridges across the Tweed

 

Bubbles now travels on to Scotland, starting at Dundee.

 

Bubbles goes to Scotland
Bubbles goes to Scotland

 

 

Postcard from… Northumberland Coastal Walk

AONB mapWe’re halfway through walking the beautiful coast of this part of Northumberland and what a treat it is. The whole walk is an AONB, wide empty sandy beaches, Cliffs covered in yellow gorse at this time of year, and everywhere you look, castles and rocky islands.

Dunstanburgh Castle between Craster and Seahouses
Dunstanburgh Castle between Craster and Seahouses

One of the highlights was visiting Craster and enjoying a Craster Kipper from the last surviving smoke house – very delicious.

Craster Smokehouse
Craster Smokehouse

We’ve walked/cycled about 9 miles a day, and on our days off have visited the Farne Islands, full of puffins, seals and other seabirds, as well as had a day out in small but perfectly formed Durham. I loved Newcastle but I think Durham is my favourite city so far, with the Castle and Cathedral fitting snugly inside the curve of a beautiful river. I was envious of the students who attend the university.

Birds on the Farne Islands
Birds on the Farne Islands

It’s been mostly cold, seems strange to read and hear about the high temperatures in the south while we still have the heating on in Bubbles and wear woolly hats in the mornings.

Today we move up (therefore colder) to Berwick, and hopefully complete the second half of the coastal walk, which involves driving back down to Seahouses and walking the latter stages up to Berwick. Days off will be cycling over to Holy Island, and visiting Edinburgh, which is only 45 mins by train from Berwick. Dundee next stop.