A couple of weeks ago we decided, between us, that it would be good to have a short early winter break away in the motorhomes and caravans. As we didnâ€™t know what the weather was going to be like, we decided that our destination shouldnâ€™t be very far from home. After a bit of searching we discovered that the Caravan Club site at Bolton Abbey had plenty of space and so we booked for the Friday and Saturday night. We had been to this site before in our last motorhome but I wasnâ€™t looking forward negotiating the infamous narrow archway in our new â€“ wider â€“ van. I became even more nervous when I approached the arch to find a tractor and trailer wedged under it! However, after a few clever manoeuvres, the tractor driver and his load managed to get through. It was my turn next and I managed to get through with about an inch to spare either side of the wing mirrors. I had intentionally not told Adrian about the arch and Iâ€™m surprised that he didnâ€™t take one look at it and turn around!
When we arrived Tim and Dave were already pitched up and there were spare pitches around them, so it looked like the old gang could camp together. It didnâ€™t take long for us to get settled and get the kettle on. Out came the TV and the lead to the on-site aerial booster, but could I get a picture? I tried several outlets without any success and then tried the motorhomeâ€™s in-built aerial. Still no luck. It turned out that this site could only get an analogue signal (even though I thought all analogue had been switched off months ago). I decided to try the satellite dish, without holding out much hope as the site is in a hollow and surrounded by enormous trees, but the Oyster system locked onto the satellite straight away and we could breathe a sigh of relief at not missing Strictly Come Dancing or The X-Factor (Sam Bailey to win!).
We also realised that there was no phone signal at all and that the Caravan Club wireless was playing up. So we were almost completely cut off from the outside world. I broke with tradition on this trip. I had not brought along my famous (or infamous) lasagne, instead opting for a variation â€“ spag bol! And so as the heavens opened we were cosily ensconced enjoying a hearty meal while watching a DVD.
The rain was torrential and managed to wake me several times during the night â€“ no wonder I didnâ€™t emerge from my bed until 10.00am! To make getting about a little easier, we had brought the Chrysler with us and so after a traditional breakfast of bacon barms, we set off to Skipton for a look round the market and to buy some of my favourite pork pies. If you are ever in the area, check out Farmhouse Fayre, just round from the market. They have the best pork pies and an excellent selection of sausages.
We had some friends coming to visit us later that day and as Adrian had stated heâ€™s never been on a steam train we were going to call in at Embsay Station and take a ride on the heritage line. Poor Adrian still hasnâ€™t been on a steam train as trains were only running on Sundays.
A change of plan meant we took a drive to Ilkley. I have to say it was not what I was expecting. Ilkley is a picturesque and affluent market town which gives the feeling of a smaller version of Harrogate. It even has a Bettyâ€™s Tea Rooms!
We had just time for a cup of tea when we got back before our visitors arrived and talk of classic cars took over. Later it was Adrianâ€™s turn to cook and we enjoyed our meal â€“ complete with a hot pudding, while watching â€˜Strictlyâ€™.
On Saturday night the sky had cleared and temperatures plummeted. We woke to a thick frost and the roads around the site were like an ice rink. Dave and Tim wisely decided to stay another night but the rest of us had to break camp and set off on our journey home. Will we have another weekend away this year? I hope so but it all depends on the great British weather.