Journey No 21

Journey No 21 – 26th November – 18th December 2012

This journey was our longest yet – 23 days, 2,966 km/1,854 miles.

Our route was Carrick Castle,  Glasgow, Beamish, York, Leeds, Frome, Wells, Saltash, Weir Quay, Dartmoor, Stonehenge, Walton-on-Thames, Chatham, Canterbury, Dover, Aldington, Dungeness, Brighton, Hove, Bramber, Steyning, Singleton, Clitheroe, Glasgow, Carrick Castle. We used 75.88 gallons of diesel giving us 24.43 mpg for the journey. The main purpose of the journey was to go to the wedding of Douglas’ daughter, Gemma, in Steyning on Friday 14th December. Before and after the event Liz and Douglas visited many interesting places plus friends and family en route. We took over 400 photos on the journey but just a few are shown here!

My daughter Gemma married Vassos on 14th December 2012

Click on any photo to enlarge it…

We departed Carrick Castle on Monday 26th November 2012 and headed via Glasgow to an overnight stop just short of Beamish south of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.  On the 27th, Tuesday, we visited Beamish – the Living Museum of the North, an industrial recreation set in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the layout in 300 acres that includes a town, colliery, school, railway station, garage, farm and much more and linked together with a tramway and period bus service – a great day out…

Old bus at Beamish





Trams at Beamish

Colliery at Beamish

Liz & Douglas receiving mince tarts freshly baked at Beamish









Beamish – the town









Cooperative grocery store









Beamish – the Railway Station

















The above photos give a flavour of Beamish and its scale.

That night we stayed in not the best layby however we still slept well…

Harrie parked up for the night











On Wednesday 28th and Thursday 29th November we visited York.  We parked up in the free motorhome parking area during the day and used the excellent Park & Ride into York at just £5 for the two of us return.

Our first visit was to York Minster where we where given a very interesting guided tour of the cathedral.

York Minster















Later that morning and in the afternoon we visited the Yorkshire Museum and the National Railway Museum, the world’s largest railway museum, and saw some of the floods that surrounded York.

The Yorkshire Museum









The flooded river at York

Douglas & Liz on Mallard No 4468, the record-breaking steam engine reaching 126 miles per hour

Douglas standing alongside Mallard 4468


The next day we visited the Jorvik Viking Centre (where photography is not allowed) and did some Christmas shopping in York before heading off to Leeds to visit Liz’s friends, Jackie and Tony for dinner.

Liz on her mobile in old York

On Friday 30th November, we drove south to Liz’s sister, Gwyneth and Ian’s house at Great Elm, near Frome, Somerset. We stayed there eating very well and walking around the countryside for a couple of days until 3rd December. We stayed in Harrie in someone’s driveway, with their permission!

Liz and Gwyneth laying across an old railway track…

Liz & Gwyneth at Nunney Castle

Gwyneth, Ian & Liz at Nunney Castle


Harrie parked up at Great Elm









Harrie parked up at Great Elm













On Monday 3rd December, we drove first to Wells Cathedral (c. 1230) in Wells, Somerset and then on to Saltash, in Cornwall to visit Douglas’ friends Tony and Caroline.

Wells Cathedral









Wells Cathedral Canon’s houses















We had dinner with our friends that night and the following day, Tuesday 4th December, they gave us a tour of Plymouth and its dockyard before we headed off to Weir Quay to see more friends in Devon.


Douglas & Liz in Tony and Caroline's garden in Saltash

Douglas & Liz in Tony and Caroline’s garden in Saltash

Harrie No 21 191

Tony, Caroline & Liz in Plymouth

Harrie No 21 197

Plymouth victuling buildings in the old dockyard

































We arrived late afternoon on Tuesday, 4th December at our friends, Mike & Kathy at Weir Quay, Devon.

On Wednesday 5th December, we had a long walk with them in the quiet countryside with a pub lunch and then drove to Dartmoor and stayed high up in a large car park overnight where the Dartmoor ponies visited us.

Kathy, Liz & Mike at Cott, Weir Quay, Devon

Kathy, Liz & Mike at Cotts, Weir Quay, Devon









The River Taymar from Weir Quay looking towards Saltash

The River Taymar from Weir Quay looking towards Saltash









Harrie parked up for the night on Dartmoor

Harrie parked up for the night on Dartmoor












Dartmoor pony visits Harrie

Dartmoor pony visits Harrie
















Thursday, 6th December we drove to Stonehenge, dating from 3,000 – 1,600 BC.















After our visit to Stonehenge we drove to Hersham, by Walton-on-Thames to visit more friends – Alan & Diana and had dinner with them.

Alan & Diana

Alan & Diana













Douglas & Alan (friends since the age of 9)

Douglas & Alan (friends since the age of 9)











The next day,  Friday 7th December, we drove to Chatham Dockyard, Kent for a visit, however having previously looked it up on the Internet, it showed it open at the time but it had now closed until February 2013 so we drove on to Canterbury.

Chatham Dockyard (closed)

Chatham Dockyard (closed)











Canterbury was not an easy place to park. We did find signs for motorhome parking and spaces set up alongside coaches, however, we thought £10 for a couple of hours was excessive even though you could stay there for 12 hours (not over night) so we parked in Sainsburys car park alongside, visited the Cathedral (dating back to 597 AD) and King’s School and did some shopping in Sainsburys…  There were plenty of spaces for motorhomes but not one was parked there – Canterbury City Council review your charges for short stays and you might fill the motorhome bays! We parked up that night 5 miles outside Dover.

Douglas visiting his old school (King’s) in Canterbury Cathedral precincts

The Norman Staircase, part of King's School, Canterbury

The Norman Staircase, part of King’s School, Canterbury























The next day, Saturday 8th December, we visited Dover Castle and all the underground tunnels. It took us 6 hours to see everything including having all the tours – an outstanding place to see.

Dover Castle and the Roman lighthouse

Dover Castle and the Roman lighthouse









Douglas standing by the Dover Castle Keep

Douglas standing by the Dover Castle Keep












Inside Dover Castle Keep

Inside Dover Castle Keep









View of Harrie parked up in Dover Castle and the Dover ferry port

View of Harrie parked up in Dover Castle and the Dover ferry port


















That night we returned to a similar parking place 5 miles outside Dover. In the morning, Sunday 9th December, we drove across to Aldington, Kent to our friends, Sally & Jeremy where we had a walk and a wonderful dinner party with Douglas’ friends from the past as he used to live in the house next door in Aldington. The following day we visited Dungeness and had a walk around RSPB Dungeness and the next morning attended an Art & Music lecture in Aldington village hall with Sally & Jeremy.

Harrie parked up at our friends house in Aldington for three nights










Harrie No 21 321

Douglas’ old house when he was neighbours with Sally & Jeremy

Douglas & Liz at the dinner party given by Sally & Jeremy with friends, David & Gilly, Nick & Liz and Jeremy M

Dungeness power station and bird sangtuary

Dungeness power station and RSPB bird centre











On Tuesday afternoon, 11th December, we drove to Brighton to stay with Douglas’ son, Graeme and his wife Anne for a couple of nights (11th/12th) going out with his daughter, Gemma, during the day. These nights were the first on this journey when we couldn’t stay in Harrie as she was parked on the hill outside their house. We did some last minute Christmas shopping in Brighton and visited Lewes as well.

Graeme & Anne's house in Brighton with Harrie parked outside.

Graeme & Anne’s house in Brighton with Harrie parked outside.












On Thursday 13th December we headed over to Bramber where we stayed in the Old Tollhouse Hotel and had a Locke family and friends pre-wedding dinner. Liz and Douglas visited the Bramber Castle and church in the afternoon. We had an excellent dinner in great company!

Bramber Castle (or what's left of it (c.1067)

Bramber Castle (or what’s left of it – c.1067)












Family & friends at the dinner

Family & friends at the dinner












More family and friends at the dinner

More family and friends at the dinner
















The next day, Friday 14th December, was the big wedding day for Gemma and Vassos at Wiston House, Steyning, Sussex. Their photo is at the top of this journey text.  It was a wonderful wedding, wedding breakfast and ceileigh in the evening enjoyed by around 100 guests.

Graeme, Simon, Gemma Douglas & Gillan (Douglas' children with him)

Graeme, Simon, Gemma Douglas & Gillan (Douglas’ children with him)












Liz with her son, Calum

Liz with her son, Calum










Liz in the Orangery

Liz in the Orangery












Liz & Douglas

Liz & Douglas
















On Saturday 15th December we had lunch at Graeme & Anne’s house with Simon & Rika, Gillan & Angela and grandsons Dan & Toby. We then drove to Goodwood where we parked up for the night before visiting the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum at Singleton near Chichester, W. Sussex on Sunday 16th December. The museum was established in 1967 and rescued many very old buildings that had to be removed from their original locations because of new motorways, reservoirs and for various other reasons. It takes a few hours to walk around the area where 47 buildings, barns and the like have been re-erected.

Weald & Downland Open Air Museum by Singleton, Sussex

Weald & Downland Open Air Museum by Singleton, Sussex










Liz having a rest in one of the museum's houses - it was a long journey!

Liz having a rest in one of the museum’s houses – it was a long journey!














That night, we drove up north, stopping at Pilliton Priers (near Stratford-upon-Avon, we think) for our final wild camping night in Harrie.

The next day, Monday 17th December, we continued north to Clitheroe where we stayed with Liz’s friends, Helen & Keith that night. Finally on the last day, Tuesday 18th December, we continued driving north stopping in Glasgow to collect Calum and reached home in the early evening.

Summary: Although this was a long journey of 1,854 miles, we had a great time seeing some of the many places we had always wanted to see and of course seeing lots of our friends en route too. Although we saw the floods in York and the Somerset Levels, we were barely affected with just a few minor areas where we had to drive though a bit of water. Weatherwise, we were extraordinarily lucky with it being mainly dry for most of the journey as the photos show. We did have heavy rain at times, either when we were driving or at night. Harrie behaved herself – a great drive and our best fuel consumption to date of 24.43 mpg. Don’t work out the cost – that is not so appealing at around 140 pence per litre! We were lucky also to find a wild camping place to park up each night so never had to go to a camp site. There were two places en route that were rather narrow. Coming down from Dartmoor a bridge ahead said it was 2.3 metres wide – we were 2.2 metres wide – we made it with out touching the bridge…  Again in Brighton cars were parked on both sides of a road and the Harrie just fit though – phew! A most enjoyable journey, a great wedding, great places to visit and so good to catch up with our friends who we don’t see that often. We will be on the road again – not sure when, not sure where we will go next but we love our motorhame – Harrie!

Total mileage for the trip: 2,966 km / 1,854 miles.
Total mileage to date: 123,935 km / 77,460 miles.
















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