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Devon here we come

It was time for another trip in the motorhome. It had been three weeks since we’d returned from out wonderful week in Whitby, and we needed to get the wheels in motion again.

We decided on Devon for a couple of reasons. Our eldest daughter wanted to meet up with us, bringing our three year old grandson along, as they live on the south coast, it meant she wouldn’t have a long drive with an impatient toddler. The other reason was that T was playing in a golf tournament with some friends at a golf complex in Okehampton, Devon, which would obviously save him two trips to Devon in as many weeks.

We’d chosen the site from a camping club we’d recently joined called ACSI. ACSI is a Dutch based club which cost just under €10 a year to join if you subscribe for two years. The benefits are amazing, all the sites listed have a fixed price of €12, €14 or €16 per night (high season excluded), which gives a big saving on the standard price of the sites. Most of the sites are based on mainland Europe, with just thirty in the UK.

Sunday morning came, and here we were again, filling the motorhome with bags of food, dog beds, bowls, and everything else we thought we would need for our break. I’d decided I wasn’t going to get caught out with the weather this time, and grabbed armfuls of clothes, for cold weather, hot weather, wet weather, in fact probably most of my wardrobe ended up in the motorhomes wardrobe. As I jumped out of the van, to fetch some more clothes, T stepped into it with his few items, opened the wardrobe door and……………….”bloody hell fossil, how long are you intending stopping” ……………..I’d left him about two inches of hanging rail for his clothes 😳

Eventually, all packed, we set off for the M5, a nightmare of a motorway at this time of the years, as it heads straight down to the West Country holiday resorts of Devon and Cornwall. I was pleasantly surprised how quiet it was, and three hours later we were hooked up on the large grass pitch, having a cuppa.

Later that evening, after we’d eaten, we decided to walk the ‘less than a mile’ to have a look at the local beach. I had images of a beautiful stroll, dogs off the leads, down to this beach, similar to the walk along the cliff tops into Whitby from our last holiday. What a disappointment this was, it was a tarmac footpath, edging quite a busy road, down a steep hill to chavsville. There was a large grass area, with chavs everywhere, all ‘playing football for England’ and everywhere we looked there were amusement arcades. I’m not knocking this type of resort, as each to their own, but it certainly wasn’t our idea of fun.

The only thing that took my eye, was a row of colourful beach huts, but did I have my camera on me? luckily I did have my phone.

I would have loved to have taken a photo of these, lit by the sun and with a blue sky behind then, but at 8pm at night, and just starting to drizzle, there wasn’t much chance of that, and we both agreed, we wouldn’t be coming back for another look.

We walked along the sea front, hoping to find the shortcut ‘less than a mile’ back to the site, but in the end had to retrace our steps, back up the steep hill along the road. Eventually arriving back at the motorhome, we sank into our seats, looked at each other and questioned our choice of holiday resort, as we listened to the rain beating on the roof.

Waking up Monday morning, although the blinds were closed, the van appeared quite bright from the chinks of light coming through the curtains. I half opened blind and peered out, not quite the view we’d had on our last holiday, but wow!!, the sun was shining. Shell and Louis were arriving around lunchtime, how nice if the weather stays like this.

We spent most of the morning, sitting outside soaking up the sun, certainly an improvement on yesterdays first impression.

Once Shell arrived, she pitched her tent on the adjacent plot, and we all sat down to discuss what to do on this beautiful day.

We decided we’d pop down into Dawlish, a little town nearby. As dogs were allowed on part of the beach, this was the first port of call, we then walked along the promenade, where a rail line runs alongside, hugging the coast. T and I agreed, this is a ‘must’ for us to use our rail passes on sometime in the near future. We then walked into the town to the Dawlish Water, where the famous Black swans live. Guess who forgot her camera…………and her phone this time, so sorry, no photographs.

By the time we got back to Shells’ motor, it had started to drizzle , so our plans for an evening, eating outside were dashed, and we all huddled into the motorhome.

Tuesday morning, blue sky and sun again, this meant breakfast outside.

I later had a wander around the site taking a few pics. This was the dog exercise area, looking down onto the site, with beautiful views of the rolling Devon countryside in the distance.

Around midday we all piled into Shell motor and set off for Teignmouth, another coastal town at the mouth of the River Teign.

There was a fairly decent beach here, where dog were allowed too, so we plonked ourselves down to watch the world go by.

The tide was coming in, and being on the river estuary, it was flowing in extremely fast, I sat for ages watching this yacht struggle to get out into the open sea.

The opposite side of the river mouth is the village of Shaldon, driving up to the top of the road, there is a smugglers tunnel that lead down onto Ness cove beach.

This was taken from a beer garden on the Shaldon side of the river, looking across to the peninsula where the dogs and T were in the previous photo.

Back at the site, we all agreed it had been a stunning day, as we sat outside eating our evening meal and drinking red wine.

All good things must come to an end, and this was certainly true as Wednesday morning we woke to a quite an overcast sky, but at least it was dry.

We decided to return to Teignmouth again, there was a big childrens’ park for Louis to play in, there was also a skate park where he could ride his bike, and a pier that T and I wanted to have a look at, and the town looked quite pretty too.

There was a slight problem before we set off though. Shells’ van keys had gone missing. She was certain she’d left them on the table in her tent, but they weren’t there.

We searched her tent, we searched the motorhome, we looked on every inch of grass outside, even the neighbouring caravan occupants were looking. Eventually she phoned her boyfriend, to ask him to courier the spare set over to her.

We still continued looking. In a final desperate attempt, she removed every item from her bag, shaking each item, suddenly they keys fell out from a rolled up towel. How did they get in there? ………….you can probably guess the conclusion we all came to.

Finally two hours later than planned, we set off for Teignmouth.

The pier, which looks quite impressive, was accessed through an amusement arcade. Dogs were allowed though, so we wandered through and to the end, turned round and wandered back.

On the pier looking down back into the town.

We had a wander around the town, then met back with Shell and Louis.

Shell had promised T a belated Fathers’ Day meal, but first we went to the little beer garden for refreshments. How different could two days be, Tuesday, we’d sat there in skimpy tops, sun beating down, relishing the refreshing cold drink. Wednesday, we sat there in wrapped up in warm clothing, wind blowing into out faces, and the cold drinks glasses chilling our fingers as we held them.

After the meal, we drove up to have a look at the smugglers tunnel, which was the only entrance onto……………………

Ness Cove Beach, I wonder if smugglers really did land on this beach.

Shell, Louis T and Jasper making their way back up the smugglers tunnel.

By the time we got back to the motor, the heavens had opened. Not wanting to go back to the site quite so early, we thought we’d have a drive along the coast to the next town. I never realised little coastal towns had a rush hour, but they do, and we got stuck in it. Needless to say, we never got to the next town, in nose to tail traffic, as soon as we got to a roundabout, we did an about turn, and headed back towards Teignmouth…………..and it’s rush hour. 😮

Arriving back at the site, laughingly we all agreed, at least it had killed a couple of hours.

No dinner outside this time, the rain was torrential, so three adults, one child and two dogs, sat for the rest of the evening, listening to the rain hammering on the roof, in the small confines of our motorhome.

Thursday, the rain had hammered down almost all night, only easing off about 7am.  today was the day T was going to Okehampton.

The plan had been for Shell to take him to Exeter motorway services, where his friends would pick him up. Then Shell, Louis and I would spend the day together, Shell had planned to leave Friday morning, and if the weather was miserable, I would too, otherwise, I was going to stop until Sunday so I could pick T up after his golf tournament.

This is what greeted us when we opened the door in the morning, our very own personal swimming pool. In fact, it had receded quite a bit from the previous night, when I’d taken the dogs out for their nightly ablutions, as the black mat had been completely submerged.

The forecast for the next few days, was rain and more rain, Shell and I had both decided we were going home, so it was all hands on deck, Shell was frantically trying to un-pitch her tent before the next downpour hit, T and I were getting everything packed away into the motorhome, as I was now taking him to the services en route home, and we needed to be there for 11am.

Everything packed away, we said our goodbyes, and set off.

I left T at Exeter services, and continued up the M5 back to the midlands. Certainly not a pleasant journey, three hours driving in torrential rain, with spray from the trucks, and the repetitive beat of the wipers on full speed, I breathed a sigh of relief when I pulled onto the drive at home.

Looking back at the holiday:

Did I enjoy it?……. it was OK.

Would I go there again?……. NO!

Did I take enough clothes?…….The majority of them went straight back into my wardrobe unworn…………they enjoyed the trip though 😆


7 thoughts on “Devon here we come

  1. Well … you did get quite a few, beautiful pictures. I love that type of rolling, green countryside, that I often see in pictures from England! That was quite funny, about the keys … at least they showed up 😆

    • Thank you Reb. I agree the countryside does look good, especially when bathed in sunshine.
      The key incident is something Shell will look back on an laugh about in years to come, though we weren’t laughing at the time.

  2. The site and the location look nice. I think the C&CC had fixed prices depending on the category of site but I doubt they were as cheap as those. The last time we camped (five years ago) in Spain it cost nearly 40€!!!!!! for one night. Camping is very expensive here. I guess the weather is pretty much guaranteed though. Looking at your wet pic just reminded me of camping in the rain in the UK and the thermarests swimming when we woke up in a leaking tent. Not a fun experience. So easy to forget the bad times and only remember the beautiful countryside…..

    Those seaside shots look so British!! Love the shots of the yacht and the next one of T and J. Felt claustrophobic just looking at the smuggler’s tunnel 😦

    And why does your iPhone take far superior pix to mine? 😉

    • We’ve joined the C&CC first, but they are fairly pricy compared to ACSI.
      France with over 800 has the most ACSI sites, but there are 157 in Spain, might be worth you having a look if you ever get the urge to go camping again, as 40€ is ridiculous 😮
      I’m very claustrophobic if the roof is low (caves etc), but this tunnel wasn’t too bad, and there was a really strong wind blowing up it, which made it feel quite open in a weird sort of way.
      Only the first two pics were from my iPhone, the rest were from my Canon Ixus.

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