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Published: March 25th 2013
Llanbedr Dyffryn Clwyd
In the snow - the start of our drive to Derbyshire
Suzy is firmly staying put on the drive. She is still waiting for Wesley to come up and make Kathrein better. Alas no phone call nor e-mail today. Perhaps tomorrow or Wednesday when he says he is coming to Gloucestershire . At last our holiday seems to be coming upon us. We are counting the days down like excited children. Sion of course is getting even more eager and knows it is only 29 more sleeps until he gets away from this snowy weather and goes in search of the sun. Last year he managed to visit 13 countries on his travels and this year is looking forward to adding Bosnia to his list. He is over excited to be honest as his best friend Woolly has only 7 more sleeps until he goes on a boat to France. He has made up his bucket list of things to do and told us already that there is a railway museum in Ljubljana he wants to visit, he fancies a ride in a pletna boat on Lake Bled, and he wants to be carried around the walls of Dubrovnik. And thats just for starters. His list goes on and on. So much
to do and only a month to do it in. We shall have to try our best and make the most of the time we have.
The snow still hasnt completely gone. The drifts along the main road from Ruthin to Mold are about six foot high . Sculptured by the wind and the snow ploughs they will take a long time to defrost. Side roads are still semi impassable and drives completely impassable. More of the white stuff has been forecasted for the weekend. Will it ever end?
Our plan today a gentle 5 hour round trip to Derbyshire. Which way to go - now that was the question? We had little idea what the roads up there would be like which is another reason why Suzy stayed at home. Derby and the long way round - with hindsight it probably would have been the best choice as it was main roads all the way. But then when do we make the right choice. WoodHead Pass was closed. We saw signs telling us that fact on the overhead gantries of the motorway. We guessed that Cat & Fiddle would beclosed as well. So we chose what we
thought would be the easy option. To Chester first,main road all that way and then up the motorway to Stockport. Easy peasy- the roads were thick with snow initially but by the time we arrived in Cheshire they had cleared. We hardly saw any snow just a light dusting on the fields. Totally different to back home. And the further north we got the less snow we saw. The white stuff replaced by green fields.
So far so good! Next stop Chapel en le Frith and over Dove Holes . A slight covering on the snow on the hillsides lulled us into a false sense of security and the first hint that things were going to deteriorate was the closure of the road through Dove Holes to Chesterfield due to snow. Diversion along the Buxton Road which was now covered in thicker snow and the snowdrifts on the side of the road resembled those back home. Fields covered in white, sheep barely noticeable hidden in the snow, dry stone walling coping stones covered thickly, trees white over.
And then we hit the problem, a line of traffic not moving. There seemed little sign of a problem on the
The Goyt Valley
road but when you can only see half a mile in the distance and the queue goes on and on its hard to work out what was happening. Very few cars came the other way and none stopped to tell us what the problem was. As the roads had been gritted we assumed that it wasnt the snow that was causing the problem. We could only guess at first road works. But then as time went on and still we didnt move we started to think that maybe there had been an accident. In the end we turned turtle and headed back to Buxton to Morrisons to take a much needed loo break (this is where we miss Suzy with her on board loo) and to buy breakfast/brunch/early lunch and wait.
After a suitable time had elapsed we hit the road again only to find after a few miles the queue had not gone down but had increased in length. If it carried on it would stretch back to Buxton itself. So that was it - thwarted by something but we had no idea what. There is no other way round unless you travel miles out of your way
Sion spotted his distant relatives in the snow.
and by now after 3 hours or so of driving and sitting we were just fed up and decided to head home. Only problem which way. We tried Cat and Fiddle and she was indeed well and truly closed as was the road back to Leek over the moors. The only other alternative was back to Chapel over the Goyt Valley which we hoped would be open to traffic and through Whaley Bridge.
What a lovely drive over the moors or at least it would be in summer. It looked the sort of place that you could spend time walking and enjoying the peace and quiet. In the valley bottom was a large reservoir with a road over and a pretty building which housed equipment to maintain the reservoir. No sign of a drought this year. The water level was high. What a difference a year makes.
As Suzy is just over a year old we have pondered on what we could do different. A lottery win might have given us the money to buy a more expensive motorhome but then we have everything we could wish for in Suzy. We would buy local and probably not from
The Goyt valley - dry stone walls
a show. Experience has shown us that you need to factor this in when things go wrong as they surely do. I dont think we could have read any more than we did and we learned a lot from reading articles and blogs. We would like a bigger shower room and a bigger garage/outside locker but then compromise is the key. You cannot have everything and we are well pleased with what we have bought. Having joined both the Caravan Club and Caravan and Camping Club we feel there is little difference between them. Both have good, clean and tidy sites in various locations. However we feel that the CC still gears itself up to caravanning rather than motorhoming. It would be nice if they acknowledged just how much motorhoming has moved on in Britain. We have found just how unfriendly some towns are to motorhomers with barriers preventing access to parking. It's about time they realised that we bring money in when we shop or eat in the cafes and restaurants. We have started to look at Britstops, France Passion and no doubt will use more of these in the future. We have become more flexible , walking, using trains and buses to get from A to B. After being stuck in Venice with the Icelandic Volcano eruption we love the flexibility the motorhome gives us. We can wake up to different views each day and when we get fed up with place and have seen all it has to offer we can move on. We can change plans at short notice . If we dont like what we see we can pack up and drive finding somewhere else. If we love a place we can stay on for as long as we like. And to top it all we have everything including the kitchen sink in Suzy. What a lovely life .
The photographs a selection of views of the snow starting in North Wales and ending in Derbyshire.
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