Published: May 8th 2010April 12th 2010
Before returning to London, we spent a few days exploring the Scottish Border area and the Yorkshire Dales.
The first stop was Berwick-upon-Tweed where we had planned to meet up with a friend. Unfortunately the nearest campground was one of the huge ‘mini cities’ with hundreds of caravans jammed together in a field. The free camping options around the town looked pretty limited so we had to cancel our visit and head further down the coast.
Our search for a place to park up for the night was a bit of a mission. We made our way down to the beautiful little village of Bamburgh. It turned out to be a picture perfect little place with a cricket green underneath a castle, right next to a long sandy white beach.
The campgrounds near the village and beach were horrible places jammed packed with hundreds of ‘holiday homes’ and screaming children. Feeling quite depressed with the thought of spending a night in a place more densely populated that our street in London, we set off along the beach to see the sunset.
Before turning back, I looked above the sand dunes and noticed the roofs of a couple of
campervans. We climbed up through the dunes and stumbled across an excellent free camping spot with views out across the ocean to the castle and the lighthouse. Score!! We were stoked to have found this little spot and spent the night with six other camper vans and absolute peace and quiet - not to mention views of a castle and the Farne Islands.
After an early morning walk along the beach, our next destination was the Northumberland National Park where we left Brian at a Tourist Information Centre car park and did an excellent 12km loop along a section of Hadrian’s Wall. Despite the strong winds on the return stretch, this was a great walk that passed by some amazingly well preserved sections of the wall including quite a few milecastles.
Before setting out on the walk we visited the tourist information centre to learn a little bit more about the wall. Before this we didn’t know that Hadrian’s Wall was:
A. Built in AD122.
B. Built in just over six years.
C. 73 miles long and is the largest Ancient Monument in northern Europe.
D. Once 15 feet high and up to 10
E. Not actually built to keep out the Scots!
We were amazed to see what good condition the wall is still in - it really is unbelievable.
The following day we visited another pretty amazing place called Fountains Abbey. This turned out to be one of the best ancient places we have seen in England - the Abbey was built in1132 by Benedictine monks. We took a guided tour. The lady leading the tour really knew her stuff and did an excellent job of explaining what the ruins were like nearly 800 years ago.
Our final stop in our 16 day trip was in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. Driving through the Dales was absolutely lovely - this is English countryside at it’s best, I can see why people love it up here.
We read about a very ‘basic’ campsite situated near some really good walking country in Malham and decided to make this our destination. What a great choice! The campsite had the best location - a farm right in front of the Gordale Scar which is huge gorge with a steam running through it. Apparently there were some toilets and even rumours
of a possible shower up near the farmhouse were heard but we didn’t actually bother investigating either during our stay - feral yes but I hey, sometimes showering is more hassle than its worth when you are living in a van!
The hiking around Malham could have kept us busy for quite a few more days - it is so beautiful and varied. Hundreds of kilometers of paths cover the countryside which is littered with waterfalls, gorges, a natural amphitheatre made from limestone, sink holes and even a lake. It really is a magical spot - I can only image how it looks covered in snow or in the middle of summer.
Leaving the Yorkshire Dales was incredible difficult but Chris needed to get back to work and I needed to get a bit of school work done before the start of term - not to mention the ridiculously large pile of hiking laundry that was starting to spill out of the cupboard! All in all, we had such a relaxing 16 day break and were able to appreciate the ease of traveling with Brian-not-sexy-but-good and having the freedom to move from place to place with no fixed
Janet Foss Falls
Was a bit of a blurry photo - had to save it with a watercolour filter.
itinerary. As it turned out, travel by wheels was a pretty good option considering the number of flights that ended up being disrupted by the Iceland volcano that erupted a few days after we got home.
There are more photos below