Cenarth – Carmarthenshire

Tuesday 15th September 2020.

Tonight we are staying in Cenarth after a busy and enjoyable day, there is no WiFi or telephone connection here so this post will be delayed.

Our first stop of the day was Abaraeron, a town with a long history as a fishing port, in 1805 plans were laid out to construct a harbour at the mouth of the Aeron River. This led to the town being developed and it now has the air of a charming Georgian Town, many of the houses are painted in bright colours. For a period of time it was a thriving boat building centre.

From here we drove the short distance to New Quay, a picturesque seaside town with sandy beaches and a sheltered harbour, there are various references around town to the fact that Dylan Thomas lived there during 1944/5. New Quay has a special place in my memories as a place that for many years was part of my social life even though it was 120 miles from home.

We found a large car park at the top of the town with a dedicated parking area for motorhomes, you can even stay overnight for a fee.

Our stopover for the night was at Cenarth, by the side of the River Teifi a few metres from this bridge.

Cenarth is on the border of Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion, the focus of the village is Cenarth Falls, a series of small waterfalls and pools on the River Teifi with a well known salmon leap. There are two good pubs in the village, an ancient water mill and a coracle museum. The bridge over the river was built in 1788 with a series of peculiar circular holes which were designed to reduce the weight of the span of the bridge whilst maintaining its strength.

When I took Layla for a walk around the campsite this morning I came across a tree with signs attached to it, related to floods, they show that at least half of the site would be under water when the river floods.

Aberystwyth – Ceridigion Wales.

Monday 14th September 2020.

Today Homer has brought us through the Welsh mountains to Aberystwyth.

The journey was 110 miles, a slow but steady plod, we were held up at times by slow travelling motorhomers. We are staying tonight at Aberystwyth Rugby Football Club for the hearty sum of £10 per night.

Fellow motorhome buddies Alison and Peter arrived just after 3 pm and after a quick cuppa and catch up on news we walked the short distance into Aberystwyth .

We headed straight for the sea front and walked along the promenade to the base of Constitution Hill which rises to a height of 97m above the town, at the top there is a cafe, a two lane bowling alley and a camera obscura.

This afternoon the temperature reached 27 degrees and as a result we chickened out of walking up Constitution Hill and instead caught the cliff railway.

The cliff railway has 778ft of undulating track and is reputed to be the longest of its type in the UK. We paid for a return ticket each and travelled at 4mph to its summit, the views on the way up were superb and once at the top looking in the other direction you could see the Lyn Peninsular, Bardsey Island and Mount Snowden.

When we returned to the bottom we walked back along the promenade past the pier and the original university buildings to the grounds of the ruined castle which gave good views along the coast to the south.

After an evening meal the weather was pleasant enough for us all to sit outside until it got dark.

Bidford on Avon.

Tuesday 8th September 2020

The weather today has been warm and sunny all day, a pleasant change.

This morning we took a public footpath across fields adjacent to the river to Bidford-on-avon, our round trip including a walk around this small town was about three miles.

The footpath brought us out at the end of the ancient pack horse bridge into Bidford, thankfully the traffic across the bridge is controlled by lights so you can walk speedily into one of the safety spots.

Prior to the construction of the medieval bridge there were three fords across the river, one of which was “ Byda’s Ford”. The town was on an important military route for the Romans and linked to the Fosse Way to the South.

The bridge was built by local monks in the 15th century and has undergone many repairs, during the English Civil War King Charles 1 had the bridge demolished to cover his retreat from Worcester, it wasn’t rebuilt until 1650.

The town has a few shops, cafe and pubs with a small co-op on the outskirts of town, enough for day trippers but I would imagine locals need to travel further afield to do large shopping. There are lots of moorings both private and for passing boats so I would imagine there is a steady trade from these travellers.

We spent the afternoon in relaxation mode and again enjoyed a drink, this time outside the pub, all in aid of chilling out of course.

Cottage of Content Pub Campsite – Barton, nr Bidford-on-Avon.

Monday 7th September 2020.

Homer’s restless wheels have today carried us to a tiny village of Barton outside Bidford-on-Avon, all of 37 miles from home.

Before setting off today we visited our local LPG filling station, the last time we topped up the gas tank was in November last year. It cost a huge £6.16 to fill up, 45p a litre and we took on 13.7 litres, that will keep us going until next year.

This site is to the rear of a pub in a very old building, is has a new modern toilet and shower block adjacent to the pub for camp site use.

The Cottage of Content Pub.

The purpose of this trip is to have a little chill out session, we have both been very busy lately and the bones are creaking so time for a rest. It only takes minutes to set up, out came the chairs and books and I began to relax. It takes Michelle longer to switch off so she took Layla for a walk through the adjacent field which leads down to the River Avon.

Weir with a lock for boat navigation behind.

Michelle’s circular walk took her past the pub and upon her return she decided we should have a drink to help with the relaxation process, off she trotted and returned with a beer and cider.

The medicine seemed to work and we began the slowing down process. After our evening meal we took Layla for a walk and explored the little local village, as we walked along we were surprised by the fruit in the hedgerows, big fat blackberries( ours have finished at home) plums, damsons and apples were all in abundance.

Shrewsbury.

Sunday 23rd August 2020.

Today with Peter and Alison we spent 5 hours wandering around Shrewsbury a medieval market town in Shropshire close to the Welsh border. The town has over 600 listed buildings including a Castle and Abbey, it is known as the birthplace of Charles Darwin.

There is a large park “Quarry Park” adjacent to the River Severn where you can go on a river trip or hire canoes. We followed the walk along the river from English Bridge all the way back to the campsite.

The town has a good selection of shops from well known high street stores to smaller individual shops, we investigated a few but as is current at the moment having to wear a mask all the time is a little restrictive, I find it especially annoying as my glasses steam up. We had lunch outside underneath the market hall building served by staff wearing face visors.

Apart from the annoyance of the acorns on the roof (unfortunately we couldn’t move pitches) we had a good weekend. The site feels a little run down but much of this is due to huge floods earlier in the year but it is evident work is going on to get back to normal, with its close proximity to Shrewsbury we would certainly use the site again.

Shrewsbury County Showground.

Friday 21st August 2020

It is extremely windy today, we took a route here that avoided dual carriageways and exposed motorways even then we were thrown around by the wind. We had pre-booked a hardstanding pitch with electric hook up and where we are is fine except we are underneath several mature oak trees and we have been peppered with acorns since we pitched up.

Alison and Peter arrived within 5 minutes of ourselves and took the pitch next to us fortunately for them they aren’t under the oak trees.

This site is huge and there are a large number of tents, caravans and motorhomes pitched up but because of its huge size no one is on top of anyone else. The site is bordered by the River Severn and is a 15 minute walk from the centre of Shrewsbury. We have chilled out since arrival and apart from taking Layla for two long walks around the site we have done very little else.

Since we got back from our recent trip to Wales where we had problems, we have purchased two new leisure batteries which I have wired up in parallel and all being well this will give us increased capacity to stay at places without the need for electric hookup.

During the course of the evening the wind has died down and all being well we will have a quiet night.

Brecon

Wednesday 12th August 2020

When we went inside Homer late last night we noticed the warning light for low power from the leisure battery was flashing, we turned off all non essential items using power and left on lights so that we could read.

We made the decision to risk moving on today and drove the 20 miles to Brecon where we had identified another car park on the edge of town next to the river and a large area of parkland.

It has been 30 degrees for most of the day and so we have relaxed for most of the time in the shade reading. We walked into Brecon about a 10 minute walk and wandered around town, splashing out on a couple of T shirts each. We would have had a drink but the only pub we found worked on the principle of downloading their app and ordering drinks which they brought out to you, I couldn’t be bothered with the faff so we walked back to Homer and drank our own. Layla has enjoyed a few dips in the river and as the afternoon went on there were loads of people swimming, using paddle boards, canoes and inflatables. It was a good atmosphere.

About 7 pm the thunder and lightning began and down came the rain, shame as we were enjoying a chat with the travellers in two other vans including another Hymer the same age as ours.

When we went indoors the leisure battery light was flashing again, as we are off grid with no mains electricity we can’t continue like this so we will have to cut our trip short and head home tomorrow. There is a local garage here with leisure batteries but they are far more expensive than I can get on the internet.

Tonight’s neighbours.

Builth Wells – Wales

Tues 11th August 2020

Homers itchy wheels have brought us to Builth Wells, this is a place we have stayed before but on that occasion we stayed on a campsite on the edge of town, which sadly is now closed.

When we were here last time we noticed motorhomes parked in the long stay car park on the edge of the park next to the River Wye and that’s where we are tonight, free to stay from 6pm until 8 am.

View from Homer.

It has been extremely hot today it was 28 degrees when we arrived, clear sky and no wind, we were quite uncomfortable and after a ramble around town we had to have a cooling beverage. We sat outside on our chairs for some time until at approx 6.15pm a thunder and lightning storm commenced which went on until 7.30pm accompanied by heavy rain. When it had finished everything felt much fresher and we took Layla for a long walk through the park alongside the river

Vanilla, nut and flake!

When we arrived back at Homer there was an ice cream van parked in the car park so we treated ourselves to an ice-cream for our dessert.

St Neots

Monday 27th July 2020

I’d love to write a glowing report of our visit to St Neots but unfortunately the weather has been pretty miserable on and off all day, heavy rain and strong winds. When I took Layla out for her early morning walk it was lashing down and didn’t ease off for some time.

When it stopped we took a walk to St Neots, unfortunately we had only gone about 400m when the rain started again, by the time we got to the town centre it was raining so heavily it made looking around too unpleasant so we headed back via a lovely riverside path through parkland back to Homer where we spent a few hours drying out, never mind we will have to come again.

We can’t fault the camp site we are on, staff are friendly and helpful, facilities are good and there’s plenty of good walking all round the site, I would certainly happily return again at some time in the future. Michelle has been greatly amused all day as people struggled to put up tents in the strong wind, it was quite evident that some people had never put up a tent before, makes us appreciate the motorhome lifestyle where within 10 minutes of arrival we can be sitting outside with a coffee.

We managed to sit out for an hour early evening until the rain reappear ed and drove us indoors

As I was sitting here writing this blog a wonderful rainbow appeared, I have taken a photo using my phone but the picture doesn’t do it justice.

Ely

Sunday 26th July 2020

After last night’s heavy rain, today started bright and sunny, we packed up quickly and were soon on the road.

We had decided to take a small diversion from our planned route and visit the city of Ely, last night we had carefully tracked down a suitable car park.When we first drove into the city we went straight past the car park, mainly because the name at the entrance was different from that on the map, we quickly backtracked, not easy in a city, and found a good spot, it was free for 3 hours and only about 200m from the cathedral.

We weren’t able to enter the cathedral but it was pretty spectacular from the outside and is one of the largest in the UK.

Very close to the cathedral is a house that once belonged to Oliver Cromwell and is now the Tourist Office.

Oliver Cromwell’s house.

After the sight seeing we walked around the pleasant town centre and came across a Food Street market where we were tempted by some goodies for lunch and tea. We returned to the van for lunch and then drove to St Neots where we are staying tonight on a camping and caravanning site. It didn’t take long to set up and we all decided to go for a walk to stretch the legs. The Great River Ouse borders the site and we walked along its banks until we reached a Weir, lock and bridge enabling us to cross the river. By some strange chance on the opposite bank was a pub and we felt duty bound to partake in a drink or two in its garden.