We had a quiet start to the day and did a few a bits and pieces around the van and the campsite. Just after 11am George and Maria arrived. We sat in the sun and had a catch up, I opened the bottle of Prosecco that Maria brought with her but it was a little lively and so I got quite damp and Maria had a light shower over her. We continued chatting and eventually we persuaded the girls that it was time for lunch. We were going to stop at Southern Motorhomes which was just on the A4 near the site, unfortunately when we got to their premises we found that they had moved to Bracknell and so we decided just to go for lunch. We went to The Blue River Cafe, which was recommended by the campsite, located on the Thames by Maidenhead bridge. We decided to sit on the terrace by the Thames and when we eventually got served and our first course arrived we were plagued by wasps and so decided to adjourn inside to eat. We had an average lunch and then returned to the campsite to continue chatting for a short while before George and Maria left us for home. It was really good seeing them again and catching up, it was only after they left that I realised that I hadn’t taken any photos of us all together. We did some packing up in the early evening as we are leaving in the morning.
We were up early today, packed up and I had to reverse partway down the drive to dump the grey waste and then drive back into the site to do a U turn and then we could leave at 9.15. We went a short way down the A17 back towards Spalding and then turned on to the A151 and eventually joined the A16 towards the A1. There were lots of speed cameras across the fens and we saw one multi car accident at a crossroads being dealt with by the Police. We joined the A1 and were having a great run until we got just past St Neots when the A1 became stationary, we crept along and then stopped right by a junction so I decided to turn off and to let the sat nav re-route us. Initially it wanted us to turn around and rejoin the A1 but I continued and found a B road running parallel to the A1 and took that and then the sat nav re-routed and we sailed down the bumpy B road for about 10 miles and then rejoined the A1 and it was a clear as anything. Looking later on Google maps there are major roadworks on the A1 between St Neots and Sandy. We stopped at Baldock services for coffee and whilst there we heard the news of a serious accident on the M25 with the motorway closed clockwise near where we would join it. We turned off the A1 and onto the A414 at Hatfield and joined the M25. Unfortunately due to rubber neckers and a broken down vehicle on our carriageway the motorway was down to two lanes. Hundreds of vehicles ignored the red lane closed signs and sailed on at crazy speeds and there was no sign of any enforcement, I wonder if the gantry speed cameras do anything about it. The remainder of our journey on the M25 was subject to variable speed limits of between 40 and 60mph but we eventually made the M4 turn off. Down the M4 to junction 7 and off onto the A4. We stopped at a large Tesco about 10 minutes from the site and stocked up on provisions, this took best part of an hour. It has surprised me than none of the UK supermarkets that we have visited have large parking bays for motorhomes unlike French and Spanish ones.
After the shopping we made our way down some local roads and on to a single track lane down to Amerden Park campsite right by the Thames and unfortunately right next to the M4 so it is a bit noisy. Reading, some washing, writing the blog and a bit of TV took up the afternoon.
We got up had breakfast and then finished packing up and just as we finished it started to rain initially the fine misty type and then as I was dropping the grey waste it came down much heavier. We drove a couple of miles down the road to the Tesco supermarket and fuelled up and left the fuel station at 10.15. We joined the A64 all the way to the A1 and then travelled south down the A1 and just before we turned off onto the A17 we stopped for coffee. During today’s journey we saw well over 100 caravans being towed but less than 20 motorhomes which seems to be the norm in the UK. We continued down the A17 to Holbeach, it was fairly busy but flowed freely all the way to Holbeach. We followed the sat nav a short way off the A17 and straight to the campsite Delph Bank.
This campsite is an absolute credit to the owners, neat manicured grass, large gravel pitches, spotless toilets complete with plugs, cloths for wiping the bowls out after use, nice liquid soap, smellie sticks and even a hair dryer in the gents. We thought that the best one we had ever been to was Briarfields in Cheltenham but Delph Bank has raised the bar even higher. We had a quiet evening in with just scrambled eggs with serrano ham on toast and then vanilla ice cream for pudding, a bit of a let down after yesterdays meal.
We had a quiet day today and stayed at the campsite, pottering reading and cleaning. At 7pm we were collected from the campsite by John a friends son who is a cabbie in York. He took us in to York to Ambiente Tapas a restaurant we have been to before whose general manager as another friends grandson. We had an excellent tapas menu, it had changed since we were last here, 2 years ago to the day but it was just as nice. We were well looked after by Jim and the rest of the staff. The recommended sherries with desert were both superb. After coffee as it was such a mild evening we went for a walk around the area and then called John to take us home. Unfortunately, he had another fare and was a way out of York and so we used a different taxi service to take us back to the campsite.
This morning after breakfast I took a trip to the local dentist to try and sort out my toothache. It was a 30 minute walk from the campsite and once there he took a look and an x-ray but couldn’t find anything wrong and suggested keeping on with the pain killers and to see my own dentist when we are back home, a waste of £48. I walked back to the campsite and met up with Ingrid. We had coffee and then rang for a cab to take us in to York, £6 wasn’t a bad price for the fare. I popped in to Nationwide for some cash and then into the Vodaphone shop to sort my phone out as I couldn’t get 4G service, it turned out that as my sim card was over 20 years old it wasn’t 4G enabled. A free new sim soon sorted it though. We had another coffee in a nice coffee shop on The Shambles, followed by a mooch around market stalls and in to the various shops along The Shambles and surrounding area.
We had a nice pannini in a cafe and then walked round to Go Outdoors to look at the Cadac BBQ’s and other camping bits. Ingrid bought herself a fleece in their sale. We then did some food shopping in the Sainsbury’s next door and then phoned for a cab to take us back to the campsite. We had nice fresh spaghetti from Sainsbury with some home-made meat sauce be brought frozen with us from Spain for dinner.
We got up this morning to bright sunshine and we finished packing up and just as we left at 9.45am it started to spit with rain. We routed back around the northern Carlisle ring road and back on to the M6 at junction 44 heading south back towards junction 40 and t times the rain was quite heavy. We turned off at junction 40 to head across the Yorkshire moors towards the A1M on the A66. This road was a mixture of single carriageway and dual carriageway, it was heavy with traffic particularly lorries but it kept moving at the speed limit. At the junction with the A1M at Scotch Corner there was a service area where we stopped for coffee.
After coffee we joined the A1M heading south and again it was fairly heavy with traffic but flowed well. There were a couple of sections of reduced width with 50mph speed limit. We continued on towards the junction with the A59 and then on to the A59 and in to York. The route in to York was exactly the same as we took when we visited here a couple of years ago and some of the route was a bit narrow at times but without issue and on to Manor Farm Campsite. We checked in and parked up on a nice pitch in a large field with a few other caravans and motorhomes. I have an appointment with a local dentist tomorrow morning first thing to sort out my toothache. We had a quiet afternoon reading and relaxing. Today we saw more motorhomes on the road than we had at any other time so far in the UK and less caravans.
A quiet day today that was far better weather wise than was forecast. We went out locally with mum after lunch and then back to her new house for dinner. During the later afternoon the rain started, heavy at times. We went back to the campsite and shortly after we arrived the heavens opened with really heavy rain.
We woke up to fine drizzly rain that was soaking everything and even though it was raining the ground staff started cutting the grass, it was a good job we didn’t want a lie in. The rain continued on and off throughout the morning, Dave and family were packing up to head off in the direction of York, we were impressed at the speed and ease of collapsing their Quest gazebo. We said our goodbye’s and they set off just before 12 noon. Mum arrived a little later and we went into Dalston to the Post Office and then came back for a late lunch BBQ. By mid afternoon the rain had stopped and everything was drying nicely and then it started again so we hurriedly put everything in the garage so it didn’t get too wet, given that tomorrows forecast is for heavy rain all day. I will stow it all properly tomorrow between showers.
Mum left at tea time and we tidied up, washed up and settled to the first real evening of TV since we left home.
We finished packing up and left Capesthorne Hall just after 9.30am. We turned left out of the gates and followed the sat nav and the road signs to the M6 but we stopped and fuelled up at the first petrol station that we came to. We joined the M6 and started heading north and surprisingly the motorway was busy but flowing very freely. There were a couple of sections of roadworks with 50mph speed limits but they flowed well. The traffic started to thin out once we were past the Liverpool and Manchester junctions. There was light rain and heavy rain along this section of the motorway, at times the wipers were on full speed and we slowed to around 50mph to ensure we had suitable visibility. We had a long stop for coffee at Lancaster services parking in the lorry park with lorries and other motorhomes and caravans. We rejoined the M6 and continued north, we saw and passed a lot of caravans and very few motorhomes on this journey. We routed to the north of Carlisle and followed the ring road around before heading south again back towards Dalston and we turned into the campsite. Our pitch was next to Dave who had already arrived.
After lunch we compared the differences between our two Adria Sonic SC’s and there were a lot more than either of us expected. Dave adjusted a couple of my touch latch door catches and hopefully they may have fixed the problems. My mum arrived during the afternoon and we then went next door to the hotel for dinner, mum’s and Ingrid’s was excellent mine a lot less so. After dinner mum went home and we stayed up with Dave and family for a few drinks.
We packed up and left in light rain at about 9.40 this morning. We left the campsite and went a short way on the A40 before joining the M5 north towards Birmingham, the rain varied between light and pretty heavy. There were a couple of sections of roadworks with 50mph speed limits including the junction of the M5 and M6. We then joined the M6 and had heavy rain started to fall. There were lots of sections of roadworks and some with 50mph limits and at least 1 with a 30mph speed limit. We turned off the M6 at junction 17 towards Congleton, as we went over the motorway we saw that it was now stationary traffic on the northbound M6, lucky we left here. On the outskirts of Congleton we found an Aldi supermarket that was open and we eventually found somewhere to park and did some food shopping. It was pretty busy and so we spent some time queuing up to pay. We then continued on our journey to Capesthorne Hall arriving at about 12.30. We had a pre-allocated pitch and made our way to it. In the wash block we found a letter addressed to us with all the site information in and our receipt. Very efficient and no staff required.
After lunch we took a walk around the grounds and took some photos of the stately home and its grounds.