About Me

My photo
Hi! I'm Eunice and I live in Bolton, Lancashire, with my two dogs Sophie and Sugar and an assortment of cats - well it used to be Sophie and Sugar, now it's Sophie and Poppie. I first began camping back in 1997 when my then partner took me to Anglesey for my birthday weekend. We slept in the back of the car - a hatchback - using the cushions off the settee at home as a mattress, and cooked and brewed up on a single burner camping stove. The site was good, the views were great, the weather fantastic and I was completely hooked. Following that weekend we got a two-man tent and some proper accessories and returned to Anglesey two weeks later, then over time we progressed to a three-man tent followed by an old trailer tent, then a new trailer tent, a campervan and finally a caravan. When my partner decided that the grass was greener on the other side of the street - literally - in April 2009 and I suddenly found myself alone after fifteen years, I decided there was no way I was going to give up camping and caravanning if I could cope on my own. This blog is the story of my travels, trials and tribulations since becoming a solo camper - I hope you like it

Saturday March 26th 2016 - Rain, rain, more rain and wind

I woke that morning to the sound of rain on the tent and a very cloudy grey sky; it seemed that the sun from the previous day had decided to go awol. The first dog walk of the day was a very quick one down to the site entrance and back then after breakfast, and with nowhere to go in the rain, I settled down to watch one of the dvds I'd brought with me. By lunch time though I'd had enough of being cooped up in the tent so I decided to drive down to Corwen village and have a look round the few shops. I needed to get a replacement plastic tablecloth for my camping kitchen unit and thought the home-and-hardware shop in Corwen might have one; I was out of luck though, there wasn't a plastic tablecloth to be seen, so I drove back to Llangollen to continue my quest there.

With the rain showing no sign of stopping I dodged in and out of various shops but still couldn't find what I was looking for, though in one of the charity shops I did find a 4-dvd set of a tv series I used to watch years ago; it was new and only £1.99 so I got it to watch later then returned to the van and drove back to the camp site. It was early evening when the wind started - huge and prolonged gusts which roared through the trees surrounding the site and battered the tent from all sides. With the continuing rain I felt like the dogs and I were completely marooned but the tent was pegged down as securely as it could possibly be and it had survived high winds on other occasions so I didn't let it worry me too much.

After another very quick dog walk I settled down to watch my new dvds - and for anyone who's never seen The Golden Girls then you don't know what you've missed. I don't usually like American sit-coms, I don't find them remotely funny, however The Golden Girls is somehow different. Okay, so it's an old series from the 80s/early 90s but it doesn't seem dated and it really is funny; I watched all the episodes on the first dvd before it was time to take the dogs for their pre-bedtime walk. The wind was still howling but the rain had slackened enough for us not to get too wet; I'd just timed it nicely too as not long after we got back to the tent the heavens opened with another deluge, though snuggled in my bed later on I didn't really care what it did. I was disappointed that I hadn't been able to get out and about and take the photos I'd wanted to but tomorrow, as they say, was another day.

Friday March 25th 2016 - Easter at Felin Uchaf

A sunny morning at 8.30am saw me leaving home for my first break of the year at Felin Uchaf, the peaceful little camp site where I stayed at Easter last year. Traffic on the roads was surprisingly light for the first day of the bank holiday weekend and the drive down to North Wales was very pleasant in the sunshine. 

I reached Llangollen just before 10am, and as I'd left home without even so much as a cup of tea I parked in the town centre car park and went in search of some breakfast; the Courtyard Cafe provided me with a toasted teacake and a mug of good coffee then after a quick look round the shops I grabbed the camera from the van and took the dogs for a walk along the riverside. Even with no leaves on the trees it looked just as nice as it was when I last walked along there two years ago and I got some lovely photos.

Back at the van I gave the dogs a drink then set off on the last eleven miles of the journey, arriving at Felin Uchaf a few minutes after noon. With only a couple of caravans on the site I had a choice of pitches so opted for the one next to the end, and leaving the dogs in the van I set about building my home. There was a bit of a breeze blowing but it wasn't enough to interfere with putting up the tent so it wasn't too long before everything was set out out inside and the kettle was on for a brew.

Since my stay at Felin Uchaf last year I'd found out that there was a lake not too far from the site and while paying my pitch fees I'd asked Nan, the site owner, how to get to it. It was only about a quarter of a mile away and just a straight walk up the lane behind the site so after my second coffee of the day I clipped the leads on the dogs and set off to explore. It was a fairly steep uphill climb but eventually I came to a track on the right and I could see one end of the lake; it wasn't a very big lake so it only took a few more minutes to reach the far end. 

A small river came down through the trees and ran under a stone bridge into the lake; dotted here and there were clumps of daffodils and in the lake itself was a flat stony area where it would be nice for the dogs to play in warmer weather. Unfortunately the sun was in the wrong direction and being surrounded by trees much of the area was in shade, but I did manage to get one good photo of the lake and made a mental note to return another day but at a much earlier time.

Back at the site I found that in my absence a few more campers had arrived and I now had neighbours - a caravan on the next pitch and a tent and two campervans on the pitches across. The couple in the caravan had two lovely greyhounds and I spent several minutes chatting before retreating into the tent for the rest of the day. With no tv signal on the site I whiled away the time listening to music and solving a few crosswords, then at 9pm I took the dogs for a torchlit walk down to the site entrance and back. It was a much earlier than usual bedtime walk but having been up since 5.30am - I'd actually done two hours at work before leaving home that morning - I was more than ready for my bed, and when I finally got snuggled in there it wasn't long before sleep overtook me.

Sunday March 6th 2016 - A different way to spend Mother's Day

Today I did something which has nothing whatsoever to do with camping - I went  4 x 4 off-roading, though not, I hasten to add, in my own van. After a spur-of-the-moment visit to my ex's brother and sister-in-law yesterday, during which they had said they were going off-roading today, I decided that as the venue was only half an hour's drive from home, and providing the weather was reasonable, I would go along to see what it was all about.

After a very early flurry of wet snow which only lasted a few minutes the morning turned out dry and sunny so with an extra layer of clothing on I threw my wellies and a spare jacket in the van and set off. The site was simple enough to find, though the long track leading to it from the main road had so many ruts and potholes it was almost like an off-road course in itself; meeting Alan and Louise in the parking area I swapped my trainers for the wellies, grabbed the camera, and after taking a couple of shots of the general area I climbed into the back of their appropriately-named 4 x 4 Range Rover, Mud Muncher, and off we went.

Tracks and trails snaked through the bushes and trees, interspersed with areas of open land, water, steep banks and huge mounds of earth, and everywhere there was mud, mud and more mud. Tree branches scraped right along the side of the Muncher and one area of water we went through was so deep that had I got out of the Muncher just there it would have been well over the tops of my wellies. With no set course to follow drivers could go wherever they chose; there were deep ruts in many of the tracks and more than once we came across someone stuck in the mud. At one point Alan stopped to pull another vehicle out using the winch on the front of the Muncher and when I got out to take a photo I landed in a load of thick gloopy mud which came well above my ankles.

After following several trails through one part of the site we took a break for a brew then tackled another area later on. The rough land made for some rough driving and I got thoroughly bounced around in the back of the Muncher; fortunately I was belted in, though trying to hold the camera steady and film through the front windscreen was quite a difficult task and at one point I was bounced so violently that my head almost hit the roof. Round the tracks and up and down slopes we went, with the Muncher getting so plastered with mud that visibility was almost nil and we had to stop so Alan and Louise could wash the windows.

Another steep slope was negotiated and across the far side of a level area was a huge, high and very steep mound of earth which Alan headed straight towards; I couldn't believe we were going up that 'mountain' and I didn't think we would do it but we went up in one go, and after stopping briefly on the top we went down the other side, followed the track through more trees and bushes, tackled yet another slope then finally arrived back at the parking area. Unfortunately the rough terrain had aggravated an already-present mechanical fault underneath the Muncher which meant that had we continued we risked getting stuck in the mud somewhere, so the decision was made to quit before any damage was caused, the Mud Muncher was washed off and loaded onto Alan's wagon, and after another brew and a cheeseburger we all set off for home.                                                        

This had been my first experience of off-roading and when I left home this morning I didn't really know what to expect, in fact I did think I may even get bored, but that certainly wasn't the case. My only disappointment was that other than my wellies I didn't get covered in mud - oddly enough, I'd been looking forward to that - but I'd been jolted, rocked, and bounced around in the back of the Mud Muncher, I'd been driven up steep slopes I didn't think it was possible to drive up, and I'd had a blast. I'd been unable to spend Mother's Day with my son as he was working but the off-roading had more than made up for it - I'd had the best fun I've had in ages, and having now been once I definitely want to go again if and when the opportunity arises.