The Long Haul To Sun Peaks And A Book Dilemma

The Long Haul To Sun Peaks And A Book Dilemma

Our annual snowboarding trip had arrived and after looking initially for a week in Europe, then comparing prices to our favourite destination, Canada, we found that for a little more, we could have 10 days, two for one lift passes, which is worth around £400, and snowboarding in one of the best destinations in the world, (in our opinion, who, by the way, hasn’t been to that many snowboarding destinations, so has no real authority to comment).  No brainer, Canada it is, again, 4th year running, you only live once right?.

IMG_7205Honestly, travel gets better every year due to technology advancing rapidly.  We checked in online 24 hours before travelling, including having printed our own boarding passes, with seats already allocated, sent to our phones.  For us, it started with a 3 hour drive to London Heathrow where parking was booked online and consisted of a very easy process from the moment we pulled up, to 20 minutes later being inside Heathrow standing at a self service machine where we were putting in our flight details and printing out our bag tags, then walking up to where we say, “goodbye, please be there a million miles aways at the other end of the journey,” to our bags and realising we hadn’t queued for anything yet.

Security was next, where there was ‘some’ queuing, but to be honest as you zig zag round all the strategically placed tape and bollards, we didn’t stop moving.  We soon got to the security area where shoes come off, belts off, coats off, everything out of bags and put in trays ready to be scanned?  No, none of that anymore, just coats off and bags with contents left in, on a tray and through the scanner they go while you walk through the human scanners and hope you don’t beep.  I’ve never got through security so quick and easily! Eh Voila, we were in the main hub of departures looking for somewhere to have lunch.

I honestly think Heathrow is a fabulous airport, there are so many choices of places to eat, and it’s like being in a large shopping mall.  You think you have hours to wait before boarding your plane, but that time soon goes.

My book dilemma

A good lunch, a few items from duty free purchased and my favourite thing to do in a departure lounge…losing some time in the book shop, choosing that holiday book, or in my case, three!IMG_7308

I had decided to have a change to my normal genre.  I normally love and have recently read two Tudor based novels The Kings Curse and Three Sisters, Three Queens both by Phillipa Gregory, which have been excellent, but I seriously need a break from the dark Tudor days and well, they were brutal in those days, weren’t they?  I’d normally then reach for a gripping thriller or Continue reading “The Long Haul To Sun Peaks And A Book Dilemma”

Exploring Kirroughtree Forest

Exploring Kirroughtree Forest

IMG_9008Back in November 2019, we decided to take Polly, our camper van and do some touring of Scotland, initially around the Dumfries area, then we’d see where Polly would take us.  We were also on the hunt for, not only some great walking, but some good mountain biking trails.

Our first Brit Stop seemed to be just a car park off the beaten track in Caerlaverock, near Dumfries.  It was late and very dark so we didn’t really know what our surroundings were.  Little did we know that we’d stumbled upon a beautiful nature reserve.  I wrote about this here, where I also explain what Brit Stops are.

From there we were heading towards Newton Stewart, then north toward Galloway Forest, in search of a mountain biking trail we’d heard of at Kirroughtree.

After only a few hours driving and of course the enjoyment of Scotlands beautiful

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The start of our forest walk, whilst above me was the end of the mountain biking trail.

scenery we found ourselves pulling up at Kirroughtree Forest Visitor Centre.  A quick tour around the centre familiarised us with what was on offer and we were excited.  There were various walks around the forest and what looked like a great mountain biking course, in fact it was one of the 7 Stanes courses, which in the mountain biking world are well sought after as they are award winning trails, eight to be precise, dotted around south Scotland and you don’t have to be an expert to ride them as they have varying skill levels within each trail.  Jon was happy, I was happy and the dogs were so excited as they were first on the list to enjoy a big long walk and explore in the forest.

We set off walking one of the harder trails of the forest and it didn’t take us long before we were walking in what seemed to be an enchanted magical mysterious forest, as everything was covered in moss.  It was so very still, quite eerie, and stunning in a strange kind of way.  It was a fantasy story waiting to be written, my mind was running wild with fairies and goblin’s. Continue reading “Exploring Kirroughtree Forest”

What Is A Brit Stopper?

What Is A Brit Stopper?

“What is a Brit Stopper?” we asked, while chatting to a couple who had parked their camper van in the car park of a pub.  We were staying in a nearby campsite at the time and had visited the pub for a meal.  “You just buy the annual Brit Stop’s book and all the places you can park are listed, it’s great!” they said.

As soon as I could, I got on the Brit Stops website and ordered our book, £28 I believe it was, which is around what you’d pay for one nights stay at a campsite.  Don’t get me wrong, campsites are brilliant with the facilities they offer and security, but sometimes, especially while travelling in a camper van, all you need is a safe parking space, knowing you’re not going to get moved on.  That’s exactly what Brit Stops’ is all about.  They’re businesses such as pubs, restaurants, shops, farms, vineyards etc offering you the use of a parking space on their land for the evening.IMG_6389

Some Brit Stops offer facilities, such as being able to fill up with water or get rid of grey water, toilet waste or rubbish, but sometimes its just a welcome parking spot.  All very helpful and it’s manners to maybe have a few pints of their best beer, or tantalise your tastebuds with what they have on offer from their menus or take a peek in their shop.

With Polly the camper van packed up, the Brit Stops book in hand and route, more or less sorted, we were heading north toward Scotland! Continue reading “What Is A Brit Stopper?”

Cruising UK Canals and Avoiding High Waters

Cruising UK Canals and Avoiding High Waters
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All packed up and ready to go!

During July we, (myself, Jon, our two dogs and two cats) set off again, on our annual cruise from our mooring in South Yorkshire, in our home on the water.  Last year, we travelled up to York and loved every minute of it.  This time, we said we’d like to explore other areas of the canal system, but with Jon’s work primarily being around the York area this summer we decided to head up to that magnificent city again, and why not?

The whole journey is fabulous from the South Yorkshire navigation to the Aire and Calder River, onto the beautiful Selby canal, braving the rapid Ouse river toward Naburn and then a sedate trip into York.

There’s always so much more to explore there too, especially as I’m a bit of a history lover so York again?  Absolutely!  Who knows, we may just head up further along another stunning stretch of water, the Ripon canal which leads to the heart of Ripon, if time allows, well that was the plan…

As we set off on a glorious, late afternoon one Friday, our first mooring wasn’t too far away. Continue reading “Cruising UK Canals and Avoiding High Waters”

We Made It To York!

We Made It To York!

Last Summer we took our first big cruise from South Yorkshire to York in our floating home.  By car it would take around an hour to get to York from where we have our permanent mooring in South Yorkshire, but on our canal boat last summer, we enjoyed a leisurely week or so of cruising, with a few exciting moments and experiences along the way, a truly enjoyable cruise along, approximately 19 miles of the industrial South Yorkshire Navigation, 6 miles of the very straight, yet interesting New Junction Canal with it’s, quite different swing and lift Bridges, then 9 miles of the Aire and Calder Navigation with it’s stretching views over the English countryside.  We then met the tranquility of the Selby Canal, with it’s 5 miles of Continue reading “We Made It To York!”

How Arriving In Fernie Became An Education – La Niña Who?

How Arriving In Fernie Became An Education – La Niña Who?

 

Ever heard of a Polar Vortex, El Niño or La Niña?  They’re words I’ve heard of, but until now, not really known the meaning of.

View from the top of ‘The Bear’ chair lift

As we landed in Canada on our snowboarding holiday, we expected more snow.  We came here last year and the snow was incredible, it was the powdery snow skiers and snowboarders dream of and apparently here in Fernie, it was pretty much nailed on to be the same every year, because on average they get up to 37 feet of snow falling every year. Continue reading “How Arriving In Fernie Became An Education – La Niña Who?”

No Excuses – Lets Just Do It!

No Excuses – Lets Just Do It!

 

I learnt how to snowboard in my early forties.  One of the main reasons for me was because both my sons were learning to snowboard at that time and they were naturals, making it look so easy.  They took to it like a duck to water and as I watched them from the viewing area of the indoor ski centre, strap on their boards and slide down the slope with grace, ease and without fear I wanted to be out there with them, it was something we could do together.  Oh the holidays we could have, I was quite excited at the thought.  I remember approaching Jon with the idea knowing he wouldn’t hesitate because he’d be up for the challenge and Oh yeahContinue reading “No Excuses – Lets Just Do It!”

A Slow Meander to York – Part 4 – Enjoying Naburn and On To York

A Slow Meander to York – Part 4 – Enjoying Naburn and On To York

Here’s Part 4 of our ‘Slow Meander to York’.  

 Naburn Lock to York

We enjoyed a great cruise from Rotherham to York.

If you’d like to catch up with our big canal journey then below is;

Part 1 – A Bumpy Start

Part 2 – A Challenge On The Selby Canal

Part 3 – Tackling Our Tidal Fear – The River Ouse Continue reading “A Slow Meander to York – Part 4 – Enjoying Naburn and On To York”

A Slow Meander to York – Part 3 – Tackling Our Tidal Fear

A Slow Meander to York – Part 3 – Tackling Our Tidal Fear

 

Here’s Part 3 of our ‘Slow Meander to York’.  

Selby Lock to Naburn Lock

If you’ve read parts 1 & 2 of our cruise to York, I would firstly like to thank you for persevering, reading my ramblings and secondly, you may have realised we were not looking forward to The River Ouse part, because we’re wimps?  Yes maybe, but also because we’d heard many boaters speak of their own experiences which ranged from being enjoyable to having to be rescued by the coastguard, (more of that story in a later post).  Other boats were doing this run everyday, (well probably not in extreme weather conditions unless they were totally nuts) so we kept saying, “If we want to take the boat to York, we have to cruise the Ouse – Let’s do this!” Continue reading “A Slow Meander to York – Part 3 – Tackling Our Tidal Fear”

A Slow Meander to York – Part 2 – The Selby Canal & Our First Challenge

A Slow Meander to York – Part 2 – The Selby Canal & Our First Challenge

We bought ‘Head in the Clouds’, over sixteen years ago, she was an empty rusty shell and has been transformed into our home.  There are still many things needing to be done to her, but we were able to move aboard last October and so far, we love living the boat life.

You can read this post, ‘It’s time to sell up and live on a boat where I explain a little more about her and the transformation so far.  Although we’ve had her for so long, we have only, so far enjoyed short journeys, so we thought it was time to try a bigger trip and venture up to York, which was always one ‘cruising‘ journey we wanted to do.  We were quite excited about the trip, it was a big deal for us because:- Continue reading “A Slow Meander to York – Part 2 – The Selby Canal & Our First Challenge”

A Slow Meander to York – Part 1 – A Bumpy Start

A Slow Meander to York – Part 1 – A Bumpy Start

Since selling up and moving onto our boat October 2017, it seemed to take quite a while to get ourselves settled in, which meant it took quite a while before going out  for a cruise, although we did have our first Winter on the boat, survived, loved it and were toasty warm.  Jon was also busy doing quite a bit of maintenance work on the boat which included booking her in to dry dock to get her bottom blacked – sounds painful, I know, but it’s just something that needs doing every few years, consisting of the boat being out of the water in order for us to check the hull, do any repairs or welding jobs and re-paint.  We were booked in for the end of July 2018, so we thought we’d take the opportunity to spend early July cruising up the Selby Canal and the River Ouse towards York and maybe beyond and as our neighbours were on their way to Knottingley to have their bottom blacked, we thought we’d join them for the first part of our slow meander.

The first leg of the journey would be a days leisurely cruise from Rotherham to The New Junction Canal just past Barnby Dun, where we’d be mooring for that evening, but it was to be a disappointing start for us. Continue reading “A Slow Meander to York – Part 1 – A Bumpy Start”

A Good Excuse to go back to Canada!

A Good Excuse to go back to Canada!

Going to Whistler last year, was supposed to be a one off ‘special’ snowboarding trip for us and although we had a great time, we certainly didn’t think we’d be going again soon as it was a little on the expensive side, but of course it was fabulous and it left us feeling that we’d just love to see a lot more of that beautiful country, so of course we would have to add more of Canada to our never ending travel wish list or so we thought.. Continue reading “A Good Excuse to go back to Canada!”

An Unexpected Day in London

An Unexpected Day in London

I was in London for a flying visit to meet my youngest son from his three months away in Canada, but as I woke up excited in my hotel room, looking forward to seeing his face, the morning soon turned out to be a disappointment to hear that his plane had been cancelled and he was now due the next day.  So, there was a day to kill… a tootle about London it was to be then.

It was nice though, because it meant I had a bit of (very rare) quality time with my eldest son Continue reading “An Unexpected Day in London”

#Throwback Thursday – A cheeky little canal cruise to Sprotbrough – And relax…

#Throwback Thursday – A cheeky little canal cruise to Sprotbrough  – And relax…
Millie modelling her life jacket 🙂

I wrote this post last May, before we’d sold the house and moved onto the boat.  We are so looking forward to cruising soon as work commitments and other practicalities have delayed us, but in the mean time it was nice to have a look back at one of our favourite trips.  It was also our cats maiden voyage…

Posted May 2017 – With a long Bank holiday weekend behind us, Jon and I had asked ourselves the question…a short jaunt in Polly the camper van or a little trip out in the canal boat? Continue reading “#Throwback Thursday – A cheeky little canal cruise to Sprotbrough – And relax…”

#Throwback Thursday! It’s time to sell up and live on a boat!

#Throwback Thursday!  It’s time to sell up and live on a boat!

(First posted 5 Mar 2017)   This was more or less a year ago now and when I think back to the amount of work which went into actually achieving this I’m really quite amazed it only took a year.  From selling a business and a house, to packing up, I wrote another post on de-cluttering, storing everything we couldn’t take with us to the boat, then moving on, (doesn’t actually sound a lot does it?) What a year!! Just made me smile when I read this again, we’d just come back from our first visit to Canada and during that holiday had made a BIG decision…   It’s time to sell up and live on a boat