Countries/territories visited: .it, ch, .de, .lu, .be, .fr, .eng, .scot, .wal, es, .pt
The New Year begins with many walks in the Nature reserve and along the coast. It is sometimes pretty rough.
We get to see Ospreys from the Naval Air Station Sigonella from time to time.
On the beach as the sun rises.
And my new look. It was a bit wild. €13, still not as good as the ladies in Albufiera.
Some days it is simply a privilege to be here, on the beach.
One of the campsite owner's lady dogs has a litter. There is a suggestion that Zoa has been involved....
With friends I head up the hill to Donnafugata where there is a palace
a number of relaxed, sleeping dogs
and also good food, seafood risotto and orange and fenel salad...
I need a rest afterwards
On the 15-FEB we leave Luminoso and have a last coffee with good friends. Some shopping at the Santa Croche Camerina market and then off northwards on the road up to Ragusa - a lovely view of Etna in the clouds and on to Brucoli.
|Brucoli Cliff Parking||Just free Wifi, but a great view.||37.28424||15.18623|
17-FEB off to Camper Cantarella to have the freezer fixed. Then a few days back at the Eden site.
Walks on the beach at Recanati
27-FEB and we are off to the west coast. Such a lovely sunny day on mainly re-surfaced roads and viaducts with views of the hills, gorges and rocky escarpments. The night is spent at Mazara de Vallo by the port.
|Mazara de Vallo port Parking||A bit busy in the evening then very quiet.||37.65044||12.58747|
In the morning a lovely, warming coffee, before heading off to Masala and the salt pans north of the town.
|Isola di Mozia Café Parking||Very quiet. The "owner" said we could stay on the private carpark overnight for free.||37.86331||12.48493|
There are local tours and any number of businesses offering free parking for motor homes
A flamingo flies by and just look how they keep the salt from being washed away...
1-MAR, we arrive in San Vito Lo Capo where the wind is up.
|San Vito Lo Capo Parking||A quiet place to park not far from the lighthouse by the port.||38.18328||12.73207|
And the deep red poppies are out.
5-MAR, and we move to the campsite under the big hill for a few days. The wind is still up.
|La Pineta Campsite||Reasonable facilites and Wifi included at a reasonable price. €13.||38.17186||12.74800|
And then we decide to go for a little walk - upwards.
10-MAR We leave and go to Scopello which is the other end of the National Park. There is a great view, but nothing much else as dogs are not allowed in the park.
And a couple turn up - just newly married.
The sun also goes down below the hills early in the day, so off we go to Segesta.
|Segesta Official Parking||No facilities (there is a café with toilets) but the people are very friendly. €7 and we can stay the night. Free shuttle bus (no dogs) to the temple and theater.||37.94810||12.82747|
In the morning I take the bus and visit the sights, with a lot of wind and carpets of wild flowers, borage and of course fenel.
Then it's onwards back to Mazara Del Vallo where there is a sports event taking place along the promende, so a bit tricky parking, we have to wait. There are a lot of people about - maybe it's just Sunday evening, or maybe one of those many Italian holidays?
And .... I see an amazing sight - a Maserati hearse!
|Mazara de Vallo port Parking||A bit busy in the evening then very quiet.||37.65044||12.58747|
12-MAR I go and try the museum which is good with a video about how the Satire was brought up from the drink.
We then go overland through impressive hills to Montreal where we get some rain and hail. At this time the windscreen wiper decides to give up the ghost - wonderful! Then it's on into Palermo to the same parking we visited in 2011.
|Green Camper Parking||Not cheap, €20 with toilets and hot showers (€1) and free Wifi.||38.11023||13.34297|
The sun comes out and we walk down the main drag, which is a pedestrian area in the afternoons - most refreshing when compared to the majority of other busy town streets.
14-MAR and after a final day in Palermo we board the ferry to Genua.
Today we hear that Fiona has left us. A very sad day, especially for her close family.
A vivacious woman with a touch of adventure she died in a country I think she loved and where many people loved her.
16-MAR We arrive back in Zurich to visit friends and family.
And two days later we get this when we visit friends near Basel:
Any number of appointments with doctors, etc.
We also get to the mountains - twice.
We see my boys a couple of times and also a good friend and neighbour.
We pass by the dealer to have a few things fixed in Bad Krotzingen then on to Ten Haaft to have the TV replaced. Which didn't happen because it's Spring and every man and his dog needs work done on their TV systems. Still, will get a new one in the UK.
|Ten Haaft customer Parking||A bit busy in the evening then very quiet.||48.88574||08.63124|
Only drove this way to profit from their very inexpensive diesel.
28-MAR - We spend overnight at Gravelines before
29-MAR - departing on the ferry from Dunkirk
We arrive and trundle along the coast. It is so very difficult to find a place to just park and grab a sandwich in this country. I wonder why? We head on to a friend in Hastings and stay the night, most comfortable.
Then on to the Gosport area to stay a night with my cousin.
Finally we arrive in Totnes and unpack before parking Ruth in a muddy farm yard.
We do shopping, register me, the van and Zoa.
On some days the Dart looks better than on others. Devon still has a lot of mud, so Zoa is introduced to the morning "hose down", he loves it of course. Haha.
A delightful Sunday spent walking from Thurlstone to Bantham, with a pub meal thrown in too.
Also a walk to the Avon Dam.
And a visit to Torquay
And a walk through some woods near Ivybridge on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park.
Then in a local carpark....
Thomas visits on the South Devon Railway.
We also walk to Sharpham for a bite to eat.
And take the river boat to Dartmouth. Zoa isn't impressed.
As we wait for the DVLA process more walks to Sharpham with another Vizsla - Loki
And also Wembury on a cloudy day.
There are also the remains of a seawater pool which was part of a holiday camp. Brrrr...
On the bus from Totnes to Ivybridge we see this gem:
Using the Bus Pass regularly now.
And, at last the DVLA produce the goods.
12-JUN - And so, off we go to visit my old teacher from the days on Malta in Marlborough with a stay at "Camping in the Forest" - a really good place where Zoa gets to find his lust for chasing rabbits.
Then on to a quiet night at Penn where we see this "Poetry Seat" in the woods.
Then a long meeting with a long-lost cousin. What a nice lady. Before stocking up in Hemel Hempstead which has a different reputation when I lived there - obviously.
Then it's up North with a night near Sheffield on a layby with agreat view and a number of lorries too. From there we can see the crooked spire of Chesterfield church.
|Layby above Chesterfield||A great view||53.23083||01.51243|
Then to "The Angel of the North"
Then a bit farther on is the Lady of Cramlington
Next to this man-made wonder they are still digging out coal - not my cuppa.
Then we take a back road into
The bridge, very pretty, at Coldstream.
And onto an overnight stop at Prestopans, beside the Firth of Fourth
|Prestopans parking||Quiet, next to a dimantled coal-fired power station. Good dog walks.||55.96400||02.97725|
We leave and go to see "The Kelpies" in Falkirk. Impressive!
Then onwards to meet a friend at the Thomas Muir Café. (He was a revolutionary who was sent to Australia - bloody magistrates, couldn't allow the people to have their own ideas.)
Onwards to the campsite at Glencoe, and still not too many miggies...
|Glencoe Campsite||Quiet, above the village. Good dogwalk and nice attendants.||56.63474||04.82857|
We head up Loch Ness and visit friends in Muir of Ord for supper, watch the Germans play footie, and the Swiss before resting for the night.
The following day we have a coffee at Ullapool where the ferry has just left and the wind is up - poor souls on the ship, could be very rough.
Then we take a back road and the place I wanted to park is a private road, so we drive on almost to Lochinver.
This road is really not recommended, just about the width of the van but with many curves and lots of passing places. Oh, well.
|West Coast||A small, quiet carpark below the walk to the falls.||58.12148||05.25186|
There is walk up the hill to the falls at Kirkarg.
We see rabbits, deer and a fox. Sheep of course with fat baby lambs...
Then a cyclist falls over and we make them a cuppa. One of them is a bit shaken.
We then take the rest of the narrow road to Lochinver where we find a major road. Then farther north and another narrow road with passing places. On the way the sun comes out together with the rain.
|Durness (Sango Sands) Campsite||A lovely green site with vary friendly staff. It is a bit exposed (wind and rain - it's Scotland) but good services and a lovely local beach.||58.56942||04.74237|
The beach where John lennon probably used to swim.
And it really can be windy in these parts.
We then leave and head southwards on the single-track road to Inverness and a stop in Aviemore with it's lovely Railway Station... and the local steam railway
and then further down to Perth where we rest for a night at the racecourse Site for a walk to the river and in the morning a walk all around the course itself.
|Perth Racecourse Campsite||This site abuts the racecourse and is about 1 klick from the river Tay. A very nice site.||58.56942||04.74237|
The following day it's off to Stirling where I see a sign for the Gleneagles Railway Station. What a lovely building.
and visit the Wallace Monument.
|Stirling Park and Ride||No services - close to a Morrison's supermarket.||58.56942||04.74237|
23-JUN After a quite night we head into the town and park at the Linden before walking up to the castle.
and then the march for independence.....
Then it's on to Glasgow to visit family for a couple of nights. Zoa gets to play with Jessie.
And more welcoming with an old friend from the DEC days and his wife and Woody the mad dog...
We leave Prestwick and the GPS takes us through a Forestry Commission area with a single-track road. Spectacular and we are lucky not meeting any traffic.
WHat a fine time in Scotland. We have seen sheep, deer (some quite large) a fox, many rabbits are hares and even a Clough, a most unusual bird.
Then through Greta into
We end up driving a long way with stops including St. Bees - a lovely wide beach
until Windscale - now known as Sellafield - I wonder why? What a mess, all this nuclear stuff. I read somewhere there is a pipe going from this plant directly into the Irish Sea - Fish anyone?
But, just down the coast is Seascale - for the night.
|Seascale Parking||Free, no services, right on the beach||54.39553||03.48513|
Then around the Lake District to Clitheroe
|Clitheroe Campsite||Beside the river Ribble. Nice||53.86478||02.41665|
Up and we find a Sainsbury's on the way to
|Aberystwyth Parking||No services but a good spot||52.34410||04.08962|
A couple of nights lazing around and walking on the beach and the costal path. Then on to meet friends at Porrag.
|Morawelon Campsite||The basic services, a very friendly crew. A beautiful spot.||58.56942||04.74237|
So, now it's time for a couple of walks...
Parrog to Pwllgwaelod - about 10 klicks
Parrog to Porrit Sands - about 22 klicks. There are lots of ups and downs - phew.
Then the 3rd walk up the hill behind the campsite.
Up the coast again and through some of the hills to Mold for the night
|Mold Parking||Quiet, free, toilets, a supermarket and a cash machine.||53.16472||03.14301|
Then to Chester for some shopping and into the Peak District for a walk along the river Wye
and a quiet night.
|Monsal Head Parking||Quiet, not expensive. (£1 for the night.)||53.24016||01.72423|
07-JUL - Then on to see friends in Sheffield. And what a wonderful experience that was. Nice people.
We chatted and walked around the "failed" housing estate which is now under heritage protection. A number of the flats have been refurbished,
others await their turn.
Some days later an article appeared in the Guardian.
The following day we head on to a CL campsite which is quiet and we get to do a good walk in the countryside and meet another Hymer owner.
|Springvale Farm Site||Quiet, no services - £8 the night.||53.40461||01.27621|
9-JUL - we head to Minster Products Ltd. Where Ruth gets a screen cover. And very nice it is.
Down back towards Devon and we spend a few hours on the beach at Westen-Super-Mare
before finding a good place to park up for the night at Burnham on Sea.
|Burnham on Sea Parking||No services.||51.23384||02.99636|
This is a rather run-down place which has the feel of Skegness with its penny arcades. A shame, it was probably a bustling seaside towwn when the railway first came along.
We get back to Totnes and Zoa gets to spend his first nights in a "doggie hotel" as I take off for London by coach
for the Trump Demonstration
a lot of walking and the concert in Hyde Park with Bonnie Raitt - a bit too bluesie for me - James Taylor - always the same, but with less and less hair -
and Paul Simon who wasn't IMHO opinion what he could have been. Why do artists feel they have to change the timing of their songs so that the audince cannot roll along with their anthems?
Back in Totnes and time for some physical work, my sister's decking is rotting so,...
6-AUG and off we go again. To Morthoe, North Devon.
|North Morthoe Farm Campsite||No electric this time. A beautiful spot.||51.19080||04.19929|
Then on to Burnham on Sea for the night again before going to Bath to see an old friend.
Ruth gets new curtains - how lovely.
Then to get some now sunnies in Slough before heading to a campsite for a few nights.
|Horsley Campsite||Not over friendly. Many families but good services and dog walking area.||51.28557||00.45143|
Not the friendliest of "hosts" and the site has a strange feel about it.
Then on to visit good friends in Hockley Essex. This included great walks in their local woods,
but also time spent by the water at Shoeburyness where I couldn't see the chimney of the Kingsnorth Power Station, (where I installed a few updates to the H20 computer in 1972,) because it was demolished in May-2018. Lunch in Southend-on-Sea and a visit to Hadleigh Castle which is close to the Salvation Army Farm.
From there to an overnight stay in Milton Keynes.
|Milton Keynes Stadium Parking||Clean, but noisy.||52.011799||00.732769|
The plan was to visit The National Computer Museum at Bletchly Park. However, in spite of this being a national resource, they don't allow dogs, even in parked vehicles.
"Dogs: The National Museum of Computing’s landlords, the Bletchley Park Trust, does not allow dogs on site or to be left in vehicles on site. Registered Assistance Dogs are permitted on site."
So, onto Oxford.
|Oxford Campsite||Not over friendly. Many families but good services and dog walking area.||51.73688||01.25201|
What a mess large numbers of humans cause. So many people one has to step into the road to pass.
Still, it is England with:
19-AUG On to The New Forest for a couple of nights.
|Verwood Campsite||Nice green site with good facilities. Dog walk from the site.||50.88649||01.90580|
Then back to devon for a wek or so, before taking my sister to LHR - the world's worst airport. An overnight stay in the carpark in Windsor with a couple of walks by the Thames.
|Windsor Parking||An occassional train, but otherwise quiet. £2 the night.||51.48513||00.61711|
Then to Cornwall for a few days.
|Camping Trewince||All facilities but too far from the beaches||50.16589||04.98961|
The weather is cloudy, still the Summer has been fabulous.
We get to the lighthouse at the Lizard, not a great deal to see.
We put in a stop at Michael's Mount.
Then, via Penzance to the campsite, fog means we see practically nothing.
|Camping Sennen Cove||All facilities but again, too far from the beaches. This is a new site.||50.09005||05.67026|
Until the morning, with brilliant sunshine, time to walk to the coast.
Lady of the Rock
And, the following day the weather has changed again, watch the video.
We leave and take the coastal road from St. Just to St Ives with a walk on the way with this great view.
The beach at Gwithian is for dogs and a splendid time is guaranteed for all.
Then after exercise we end up parked here:
|"The Rockpool" restaurant Parking||No facilities, but on the beach £10 a night.||50.22945||05.38677|
The following morning it's up towards the headland and back on the beach for a meeting with several dogs again.
Then on to Blue Hills
|Cross Coombe Farm Campsite||A simple campsite run by a white-haired man. £15 a night with showers, water and chemical toilet.||50.32299||05.18674|
Up and a run on the beach at Newquay
before driving to Tregurrian for a few nights.
|Tregurrian Campsite||A very good site, friendly, helpful staff too.||50.45025||05.03189|
We walk the coastal path to Watergate Bay
and also to Bre-Pen.
Thanks to the National Trust so much of the coastal path is available to everyone.
9-SEP Onwards past Tintagel - a serious tourist trap towards Bude.
|Bude Campsite||All the services, but isolated.||50.71850||04.58575|
We walk down to Crackington Haven via a number of fields.
Then back via Mineshop and Rosecare - phew!
The following day we leave for shopping in Bude itself and then on to Appledore, but first a run on a beach with a number of dogs and happy owners at Instow Beach. Nice!
|Appledore Parking||Toilets and a quaint old village. £5 for the night.||51.05550||04.19248|
Then back to Instow for a romp before driving around to Crow's Point and a long walk around to Saunton Sands and back down the American Road - 25'000 steps - phew.
You don't often see one of these.
Then back to sleep at:
|Instow Parking||No services, adjacent to the dog beach and a dog-friendly café just off the beach.||51.05550||04.19248|
Then on the way back home we spend a few hours on Exmouth Beach where we also see a rare sight
and of course a romp on the dog beach
before driving to Teignmouth for Fish & Chips and to stay the night.
|Teignmouth Parking||Quiet and free overnight, great spot.||50.541801||-3.497720|
Zoa gets me up early to see this.
Back we go for a few days in Totnes before time back in north Devon at Instow, Appledore and a Viz Whiz event at Crow Point.
To end the long weekend we spend time overlooking Plymouth Sound at Jennycliff.
|Jennycliff Parking||Another great spot. With toilets and overnight parking too.||50.351898||-4.119710|
On the way back to Totnes we stop in Kingsbridge because I haven't been there for a while and find a delightful new coffee place:
Then back home and a trip to my favourite spot - Start Point
The journey to .pt begins with a chat and coffee with a friend near Bristol and on to Devizes campsite.
|Devizes Campsite||All facilities, friendly staff and river adjacent to the Kennet and Avon Canal.||51.35555||-2.07275|
In the morning we walk into Devizes along the Kennet and Avon Canal starting when it is still dark. What a delight!
There are 27 locks in the flight up to the town, some of which have their own reserve pools to ensure a good supply of water.
We also meet other dogs.
Then onto London, well Hertford to stay with old friends. Good chats and walks with Zoa on The Mead.
Then a few hours parked up waiting
|Ewell Parking||A park, for dog walks||51.14691||01.26674|
to board the ferry - DFDS to Dunkirk.
3-OCT - We spend a few hours at Gravelines before heading to
Poperinge and the Talbot House where WWI servicemen rested before and after their time on the front.
The person in charge encouraged the officers to stay here
and took a cut to pay for the expenses of the Talbot House.
In the yard (one of the huge) local churches is the post used to shot deserters at dawn.
Too many men killed by their own side. 346 British and Commonwealth, 600 French, 48 German, 750 Italian, 35 American and 12 Belgium. The Australians refused to participate in this brutal practice.
One sad case was a black soldier who didn't speak English. He was cold and went back to his rest area to get his coat. He was shot.
Then back to
and a walk around Hawthorn Ridge. The first "big Bang" of the Battle of the Somme. So many people died here.
|Hawthorn Ridge memorial||Very quiet, just a carpark||50.08576||02.64838|
Then via Amiens (very tall building dominates the city) for coffee and then on to Hourdel on the coast.
|Hourdel Camper Van Parking||Free, right beside the seashore.||50.21435||01.55209|
The beach is wonderful.
Then on past Pourville where people are swimming in the sea.
to Etretat for a few views and a quiet night by the railway station.
|Etretat Station Parking||Free at this time of year, quiet and next to Le Flic.||49.70842||00.21512|
Then on around the coast to the Pegasus Bridge
On to Ouitstream for moules Frites
Then we go on to Arromanches and subject ourselves to a storm, Ruth the van rocks and we leave after midnight to seek a quieter place to sleep.
|Arromanches Parking||€6 per night, wind included||49.33929||00.61403|
With the wind still blowing we head towards Mount Saint Michael for a very calm day and night.
|Mount Saint Michael Parking||Free, great view||48.65667||01.44510|
Then to Le Port Du Bec. but no restaurant, so on to the peninsular and the night at Gois
|Route de Gois Parking||
Free, with a wonderful swamp area full for birds.
Onwards to stay with family in their converted farmhouse in L'Absie. From there it's the ferry from Royan.
And a night on the beach by Soulac-sur-Mer
An aire right next to the beach. €3.8 per night.
Then we head to Montalivet for a walk, coffee and to confirm this was where I actually wanted to spend the night again. Now it is a "Camping-Car Parking" area.
Where HMS Tuna landed some commandoes.
We continue down the coast on the "slow" road to Arcachon for a drink on the beach and then take the motorway into
Where we imediately hit a traffic jam - only 2 toll booths open at around 22:00 in the evening.
Onwards past Bilbao and into Burgos after midnight to park up and sleep.
A free carpark close to the old town. Quiet at night.
The main road (free) down to Madrid and heading south (also free) is flat and hot.
Past Jean and Granada and on the new motorway to Motril
All facilities, close to the beach and dog walks.
We spend 10 days or so on R&R with friends. Nice people and with a new rescue dog - with a strong voice. This includes a visit to the castle in Salobrena
Then it's on to Torrox for few days, well nights. I think I have become addicted to Boquerones.
A large area close to the dog beach and not far from the first roundabout of the town from the East.
Someone else likes them too...
Then on to Cala de Mijas for a few nights and to meet friends.
|Cala de Mijas Parking||
Free parking beside the main road with fresh water.
Before on to Gibralter for one night of rain.
|Parking opposite Gib||
A great view of The Rock if it isn't raining. Frech water and duming too.
and a few days on the beach at Tarifa
|Tarifa Nature Park Parking||
On the beach strip with a few cafés. Great dog walking, and if the wind is right, a lot of Kite Surfers.
before going towards Sevilla with a night in a small village El Palma
|El Palma Parking||
At Hildago to have tests done on Ruth the van then a day in Sevilla for a walk around for Zoa's first real visit.
No fcilities, but central.
before heading to the Columbus Center in Huelva.
A large area next to the Center
Because I need to fly to Zurich to close out a chapter of my life, we go back to Cala de Mijas where Swiss has a daily direct flight.
|Cala de Mijas Parking||
Free parking beside the main road with fresh water.
After a few days we check into Cabopino and meet friends.
A full service site next to the dunes.
to clear out my furniture and give it away to friends and a charity. Boy, do I know some nice people, and of course my two great sons....
I do like "Lucy", the lights in the Bahnhofstrasse.
We hang around Cala de Mijas and then head up towards Ronda to help some people with picking their 15 olive trees.
Then back to Cabopino Campsite and the huge carpark in Cala de Mijas before we head down the coast to Estepone and Gibraltar before driving cross-country to Rota for a few nights besdie the beach - lovely weather and grand walks on the beach.
Free parking beside the beach with water and grey water dump.
Roses on the side of the road, in December. What a lovely colour.
From Rota it's on to
At our usual place...... We meet a few people who are confused because Ruth the van now has UK plates.
Free parking beside the beach with water and grey water dump.
This time of year...
Sunday luch at the Louisiana
Bling on Ruth the van.
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