Love to travel and explore new places with my lovely wife Rachel in Heimo, our Hymer motorhome. You will find Heimo is always well stocked with cheese and fine wine, enough for any eventuality!
  • Day84


    July 29, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Tickets bought months in advance we were really looking forward to an amazing weekend of music and culture at the Y Not festival near Matlock in Derbyshire. We had arranged to go with our friends James and Natalie Pearson, who live in Monmouthshire and have a campervan of their own. We had agreed to meet up at a pub near the festival, but the traffic from Wales, coupled with a later than anticipated departure meant James and Natalie were a couple of hours late and we ended up getting on to the site as the act they wanted to see on Thursday evening finished.

    We parked up next to one another, pitched a small tent that they had bought along between the vans and put up two wind brakes and our flag pole, which immediately blew over! Despite that we decided to walk down and take a look around and it was immediately obvious that the heavy rain over the last few days had taken its toll on the footpaths and the ground was boggy, making it tough to get around.

    We went back to the vans after slogging our way around the site and compared food and drink shopping, between the two families we had enough wine, cheese and other snacky things to last a month! Without further ado we open a three bottle box of wine and pulled out an assortment of cheeses and biscuits, we listened to music and chatted till about 2am, when it began to rain again. It rained constantly all night and we took a team decision to go down to the festival site in the afternoon. By then the footpaths were more like mudslides, the tent camping areas looked like something out of a World Was One movie, everyone was up to their ankles in sludge and walking anywhere was a struggle....and still it kept raining.
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  • Day1

    Tintwhistle Traffic jam

    May 7, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Research done, Heimo packed we left Carlecotes at about 5.45 and decided to head off to Anglesey with a stop over somewhere in Flintshire. Without a great deal of thought as to the consequences we headed out of Carlecotes towards Dumford Bridge and dropped on to the A628 heading towards M67 intending to go south around Manchester. We made great time until just after Crowden when we came upon a line of stationary traffic with cars turning around. Convinced there was no way it was an eight mile queue we trundled along expecting to see roadworks any moment. By the time we had spent an hour in the queue and travelled about 5 miles to Tintwistle, Rachel had lost patience (Nicks patience had gone almost an hour earlier). Anyway the navigator gave the instruction to turn off left and so we headed off down to Hadfield and on to Glossop.

    A change of plan was on the cards, it was nearly 7.30 by the time we got to Glossop, options were reviewed and the beauty of being in a motorhome dawned us, we can stopover wherever we feel like! A quick check on the map and we decided to cut through Marple and head into Cheshire via Wilmslow and onto Alderley Edge, our target was another BritStops pub called The Egerton Arms in the village of Chelford. We arrived feeling really quite tired, despite a relatively short journey in miles, but the landlord was super helpful and kind and made us feel very welcome. The food was delicious and we quickly gave up plans of a one course meal, the dessert menu was a treat. Steak pie followed by a fab apple and rhubarb crumble and the most amazing honeycomb cheesecake all washed down some excellent real ale and red wine and we were fit to burst!
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  • Day1

    Dodging debris...

    May 7, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    We had pulled Heimo up in a field behind the pub car park, something of an overflow, but as the pub was quiet it was just Heimo and a few pigs in the nearby field. We had a lovely night's sleep and headed off the next morning at around 11 having decided to forgo our usual omelette breakfast as we were too full, though Alfie was disappointed for certain. With Rachel at the wheel we moved sedately but safely in the direction of Anglesey.

    We left Chelford and quickly dropped on to the M56 heading towards Wales. Rachel was driving and by now were fair zipping along at about 65mph, we were following an old motorhome with a mobility scooter attached to the back, when suddenly a large metal bracket fell off their vehicle flipped a few times on the road as we approached it, then went under Heimo with proper clunk before attacking other drivers behind us! We slowed down but thankfully nothing felt untoward and when we passed the old couple in the disintegrating motorhome Nick tried to let them know, but they were so fixated on the road and didn't notice or simply ignored him hanging out of the window gesticulating at them!

    Rachel decided we needed to pull off the motorway and properly check the underside of Heimo, so we came off the motorway and passed about twenty stopping spots, mostly because Rachel felt she was going too fast to pull over by the time she spotted them! Eventually we found a dirt lay by and pulled in, Nick crawled about under Heimo and judiciously declared all was good. With renewed confidence Rachel drove on and we eventually swapped when we stopped to stock up on coffee and cakes near Prestatyn, a sad place full of retired Scousers (so Rachel said with conviction).

    With Nick back on the helm and Rachel navigating (Nick gets sick just thinking about reading a map while motoring along) we quickly got back on to the A55 and made good time past Conway and on to Anglesey. We drove along the north side of the island eventually arriving at our intended destination, a car park overlooking a the bay at Lligwy. There was a small cafe at the top end of the parking area with a path down to the beach, we promptly drove to the other end and popped Heimo up on the blocks to level up a little, also providing a better view across the bay, and what a view that was!

    The evening was spent walking bare foot along the beach, while Alfie chased after every other dog he saw. Later that evening Nick rustled up some chilli con carne, which was just a little too spicey for Rachel, but was washed down with a bottle of Rioja and some sparkling water, not all together obviously. By 10pm we were all tired and Alfie climbed on to the drivers seat, ignoring his bed under the table, and promptly started snoring.

    We were woken up on Sunday morning by the sound of seagulls and children, Nick checked the time and realising it was only 7.30 rolled over and went back to sleep. By 9am the sun was well and truly high and the van was warming up inside. We opened a couple of roof lights to let some air in and boiled the kettle. Nick took Alfie out on the beach for a quick run around, there was no way either of us could put up with any more of his whining. Breakfast around 10 was Nick's new motorhome specialty, something he calls 'Messy Eggs' - basically an ommlette with cheese, onion and fresh pepper, flipped so it is cooked both sides - because we don't have a grill.

    By the time we had washed up it was nearly 11 and Alfie was beside himself in anticipation of a good long walk. We headed off down the coastal path, enjoying the amazing views and stopping to take a few pictures. The weather was sunny and warm and there were clouds of huge flies that seemed determined to dive bomb us each time we got near to a field. The tide was most of the way out but even so it was impossible to climb down to the beach and work our way back along the rocks, so we turned around and headed back along the coastal path. When we could safely to do so we dropped down on to the beach and walked bare foot across the bay, enjoying the sand and surf.

    When we got back to the cafe at the top end of the car park we decided it was time for a coffee and some cake, the cake was really excellent. Nick then pulled out a chair and rolled it right back and spent about an hour sunbathing, it was a bit too hot for Rachel and Alfie who spent the time in the shade of the van. By about 1.30 we agreed Nick's face was looking a bit pink and anyway it was time to head back. Rachel had been busy and had mapped a rather convoluted route via the centre of Snowdonia, finding a route that avoided any motorways and promised to be a test of van driving skills, with many more interesting things to see as we trundled home.

    On the way out of Moelfre we called in to a Tesco Express and picked up some nice things for lunch before heading back for the bridge on to the mainland and the climb up in to the mountains. The journey was lovely, it was so warm and sunny and everything just looked beautiful, the trees were all in full leaf offering a myriad of shades of green to the backdrop of towering rocky mountains on each side of the road. The traffic wasn't too bad, but there were still plenty of people on the roads and we passed a few other motorhome owners, most of whom gave us the traditional wave.

    On the way we found a lovely car park / picnic area just off the A5 and stopped to enjoy the food we bought earlier. It was such a peaceful spot we were both tempted to pull up and stay for a few hours but we needed to get on home. The rest of the journey was pretty uneventful, we took it in turns driving and managed to not get lost virtually all the way back, at least until leaving Glossop! Somehow we ended up leaving Glossop via Snake Pass heading towards Sheffield, we turned around at the earliest opportunity and eventually headed out of Glossop towards Woodhead and from there home. We arrived back about 7.30pm to a starving Dan who, despite there being food to cook, had run out of snacks and was demanding to be fed!

    Lesson learned, next time we leave him at home there needs to be more snacks and less cook able food!
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  • Day4

    Speedy trip home

    April 11, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    The following day we had to be off the site by 12 and so decided to drive back through Glossop, we got a bit lost and end up coming out at the top end of the M67 and so trundled slowly through Tintwhistle and on home in time to light the hot tub for an evening soak.Read more

  • Day2

    Chatsworth House

    April 9, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    The following morning, after another good night of sleep, Nick offered to make tea and coffee and cook breakfast. It was not until the onions and pepper were finely chopped and simmering gently did Nick realise he had forgotten to bring any eggs. There was no dispute on blame, Nick packed all the other ingredients, he just forgot that to make an omelette you have to break eggs! Alfie, who has got a bit accustomed to any left over omelette on a morning was clearly disgusted!

    It was a very pleasant steady drive, through some of the narrowest roads Rachel could find, Nick was convinced this was some kind of a test. We stopped off to do some sightseeing en-route and enjoyed some great views across the Peak District. It is easy to understand why this was Englands first National Park.

    On the way down to Bakewell we went exploring a potential overnight spot to 'wild camp' - that sounds fairly exciting but really it is just an off road place you can stop the night and not have to pay anyone for the privilege. Rachel had read about a spot high in the Peaks with great views and when we got there we were not disappointed.

    Having stopped to pick up some eggs we headed off to Bakewell where we parked up in some huge car park, with loads of spaces and no one near us. It was funny but by the time we got back two other motorhome owners had pulled up next to us. Perhaps other motorhome owners have some kind of need to flock together? Anyway we didn't spend too long in Bakewell, long enough to pick up a spicy cheesy Austrian pork sausages that we both really like.

    Before we left Bakewell we spent some time gawping at some of the fattest river trout Nick had ever seen, they get fat as tourists feed them from the bridge so they just float there stuffing themselves. From Bakewell it was only a few miles up the road to get to Chatsworth House, where Rachel had booked us on to our first official overnight campsite, with electricity, showers and all mod cons. The site itself was quite pleasant, each plot plenty big enough for a caravan and a car side by side with room for an awning and chairs. A medium sized motorhome like Heimo took up no room at all.

    The site is an old enclosed wall garden about 20 minutes walk from the main house and once we had ourselves hooked up and everything settled we decided it was time to open a bottle of Champagne and properly christen Heimo. After the bubbly we needed a bit of a kip, much to Alfie's annoyance as he was clearly expecting a walk. An hour or so later we got up and left the enclosure of the walled garden and in to the main parkland, which is huge and full of weird horse jumps. The house itself is very impressive too, fabulous big colonnades and loads of rooms. We sat out the front by the river enjoying some warm sunshine before heading back to the campsite.

    We enjoyed a light meal of rice and tuna with a bottle of Malbec, unfortunately there was something wrong with bottle, it can only have been half full, luckily Nick had packed a decent Rioja just in case. We spent the evening chatting, planning more trips with Alfie and Heimo and drinking red wine with cheese and biscuits, it was great fun and after three bottles of alcohol we were both quickly asleep.
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  • Day1

    Short hop to Birch Vale

    April 8, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    For our first proper trip we decided it might be wise not to go too far and with so much beautiful scenery on the doorstep we really could have parked up in the campsite at the top of the village! In the end we decided that a trip to the Derbyshire Peak District with an overnight on the Chatsworth House campsite was a good first trip.

    We headed off about 6pm on Friday evening, it was only a short drive to a pub Rachel had found from the BritStops book she had bought, a list of good pubs that let you stop overnight in the carpark, while using their facilities for food and drink. Our destination was The Sycamore Inn, Birch Vale and we arrived with plenty of time to walk Alfie before going in for a meal at 8pm. The food was fine and, once the 100's of leather clad motor bikers who had the private function rooms to celebrate someone's birthday had roared off in to the night, it was really peaceful.
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  • Day3

    Wellington Heath to Carlecotes

    March 26, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 11 °C

    We drove up the motorway and crossed in to Wales, following the River Wye up towards Chepstow. On the way we pulled in a Tintern Abbey, a beautiful, well preserved site that back on to the River Wye and the border with England. We left there and meandered up through Monmouthshire and on into Gloucestershire and our destination The Farmers Arms in a little village called Wellington Heath. We pulled up in the car park, having sought permission beforehand, and had a hot drink before heading out for a walk.

    The village was accessed up a steep windy lane and backed on to woodland and open fields. We followed the public footpath, meeting a few dog walkers on our way, and strolled down across the fields and long the side of a stream. At one point we met a couple out running and Nick asked if the walk looped back in to Wellington Heath - they assured us it did and that it was only about 45 minutes. A 45 minute walk wasn't the problem, it was the fact it was up a very muddy trail, it was getting dark, we were tired and getting we headed back to Heimo and changed for supper. The meal was excellent, we enjoyed some good food and wine and by the time we got back to Heimo we were really tired and were quickly asleep, despite the occasional guest leaving the pub after closing time.

    The next day we headed off about 10am, having enjoyed breakfast and a hot drink. We meandered slowly up through some stunningly beautiful scenery, lovely little country villages, picture postcard stuff, up through the Wyre forest, passing Kidderminster and cutting across the M6 above Stafford, on to Mayfield. We stopped for a break near Mayfield, enjoying a coffee and some cake and then headed up through the Peak District national park dropping in to Glossop and then home.
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  • Day2

    Meeting an old friend

    March 25, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C

    The following day saw us decide that the mattress definitely needed a topper of some sort, but we had slept well and confirmed that the bed was just about long enough for Nick. We headed off to Somerset Motorhomes for some further help with a couple of minor issues we had, which they easily fixed, before heading of to meet with Nick and Tracy Boyland, Nick worked with Nick when they were both living in Germany and they hadn't met up since 1984! It was like they had not been apart and the two of them just picked up where they left off and we all had a fun few hours chatting over lunch.

    When we came to leave Heimo would not start, but we were still in Taunton and we rang the guys from Somerset Motorhomes and they sent a mechanic over who tested the battery and decided we should have a new one. He went off and picked one up, fitted it and checked it was all working fine. It should be said the al round buying experience and support from this company has been excellent throughout and we would certainly recommend them to anyone.

    After leaving Nick and Tracy, who had gone off for a spin in Nick's Jaguar XK soft top, we headed north for our overnight stopover near Hereford.
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  • Day1

    Collecting Heimo

    March 24, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 8 °C

    Train down to Taunton - let the adventure begin.
    After much research and a couple of test drives Rachel and I decided on the Hymer T522 for our first motorhome and it was with great excitement that we caught the train from Penistone to Sheffield and on to Taunton in Somerset to pick it up.

    We arrived at Taunton station and went out the wrong exit, hanging around in the cold wind for about 30 minutes wondering if Somerset Motorhomes had forgotten about us and the T522 was just clever way to get us to pay over a lump of our savings! We finally got word that our lift was on the other side of the station waiting for us so we traipsed across the station and loaded out case and duvet in the boot and headed off.

    The handover itself was informative, Rachel videoed the only remotely complicated bit on how the heating system works, the rest seemed pretty straight forward. Nick was his usual impatient self and just wanted to jump in and drive off! Eventually it was time to head off to a local site for our first overnight stop to test things out ahead of a final handover the next day.

    The site was clean, but close to a motorway with the constant drone of passing cars, something we don't hear a lot of in Carlecotes! We pulled up, hooked up the electricity and turned on the gas, played with the cooker to heat some water and promptly opened our first bottle of wine to be consumed in the van, we suspect the first of many!
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