Where has the year gone?

You’d think with all the to-ing and fro-ing between Home and Harrogate we’d done over the previous months, that when my mum’s house sale was finalised, and the dreaded drive up the M42/M1/M18/A1 motorways were behind us, we’d choose a different direction for a holiday.

June

T had decided I needed a holiday, the last year had been a stressful time to say the least, so after arriving home on 19th June, he booked us onto a campsite for a week from 24th June.

We’d had a glorious week at this site in May 2012 that had left us with some wonderful memories –

Yes, anyone who has read my blog will realise this was Whitby Holiday Park, and yes, it meant another dreaded M42/M1/M18/A1 again – but I’d got to the stage I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do anymore, I didn’t want to go on holiday and I didn’t want to stay at home.

I know T had meant well when he booked the holiday, he knew how much I’d enjoyed it before and he also knew how I’d felt my Yorkshire roots had been severed when I finally pulled the door to on my mums house, which is why he’d decided on Whitby.

The 24th arrived, but I still couldn’t summon up any enthusiasm for the holiday, I felt as if I was trapped in a bubble, so apart from putting my clothes in the motorhome, T did everything else. IMG_0401_1 Four hours later we pulled into the holiday park.

Everything looked exactly as it was the day we left in 2012, even the sun was shinning as it was then, my mind immediately drifted back to Jasper, had his spirit joined us I wondered.

This holiday followed almost the same pattern as our previous visit, though we didn’t venture offsite with the van this time.

The walk down onto Saltwick Bay was easier, as both Sal and Cindy took the steep slope down in their stride. IMG_0409_1 Looking down to Saltwick Nab from the Cleveland Way footpath. IMG_4990_1 We walked into Whitby a couple of times, along the Cleveland Way. IMG_4994_1 Parked just outside Whitby Abbey, this was just screaming out to have it’s photograph taken, an old series ll/llA Land Rover ice cream van 🙂 IMG_4997_1 A monument to Captain James Cook, b.1728, the famous Yorkshire Explorer looks out over Whitby harbour.

On the Saturday we decided to visit the picturesque fishing village of Staithes.

So another walk into Whitby along the clifftop, then down through the town to the bus station.

Im sure every dog and his person had decided to do the same thing, I counted seven dogs (with their people obviously) waiting in the queue with us.

It was certainly worth the trip, as I got my first ‘Big Hairy Dog’ fix while sat outside the Cod and Lobster pub, from an enormous German Shepherd Husky cross.

This dog could moult for England, and after a ten minute cuddle, he had donated most of his coat to me, the rest was floating around the harbour  like snow 😮 IMG_2075_1 Staithes Harbour. The Cod and Lobster is the cream building in the centre of the photo. IMG_5002_1 An artist at work in the harbour. IMG_0402_1 We were treated to the wonderful east coast sunsets again, and by the end of the holiday, I’d started to unwind a bit, typically, just in time to go back home.

July

A month later we were packing the motorhome again for another holiday revisit.

This time it was Charmouth in Dorset.

I had bitter sweet memories of this holiday, last year as it had been Jasper’s last holiday, so I wasn’t sure if it was a good thing or not. Last year’s holiday site was fully booked sowe’d decided on another one just outside Charmouth. IMG_2150 A beautiful well maintained site, but a major drawback with its location.

We usually hook the motorhome up, then either walk or use public transport to get about. We knew we were a couple of miles from the beach via road, but had hoped there may have been a shortcut via a footpath, but no such luck, and the nearest bus stop was over a mile away.

The walk wouldn’t have bothered T and me, but the temperature was in the 30’s and Little Sal, who had recently been diagnosed with kidney disease, had slowed down considerably.

So the next day, we unhooked the motorhome and set off for Charmouth

Could things get any worse, our holiday last year had been in June, and we’d spent some quality time on the beach with the dogs, but here we were, confronted with big signs everywhere NO DOGS allowed on the beaches July and August.

We went for a short walk along the cliff path, but both dogs were struggling, so we went back down and sat on the grass at the edge of the River Char.

IMG_5051_1 Looking down at the dog UNfriendly beach.

Luckily Michelle our elder daughter and Louis her son, had arranged to join us later in the week, so the next day we decided to just chill on the site.

Michelle arrived on the Friday morning.

After enquiring at the reception for the location of a dog friendly beach, we all piled into her car and set off for Eype. No wonder this was dog friendly, there was hardly any in sand in sight, it was full of big pebbles. Great for an athletic young dog, but not for a tiny Yorkie, who kept falling between the pebbles. Poor Sal was struggling to keep her footing too, so we called it a day and went to the pub.

Louis wanted to go onto the beach, so the next day, T stayed onsite with Sal and Cindy, and Michelle, Louis and I went down to Charmouth. IMG_5053_1 Louis befriended a young boy with a dingy, so at least someone enjoyed their holiday.

The next day we left the site early to go home. We decided August would be a no for holidays, so the next revisit was West Runton.

September

Laburnum Holiday Park really has made a mark on our holiday destinations. This was out third visit and it certainly won’t be our last.

This site is a perfect location. Five minutes walk into the village of West Runton, where there is a regular bus service into Sherringham, Cromer or further afield if you wish. IMG_5091_1 Pitched on the clifftop overlooking the North Sea. Just across the tarmac and standing at the fence…… IMG_5115_1 …..this was the view. IMG_5146_1 A ten minute amble and we were on the glorious Norfolk beaches, where, if the tide is out, it is possible to walk into Sherringham or Cromer.

We did the walk into Sherringham three times, catching the bus back to the village to save Little Sal tiring too much. IMG_5151_1   An amazing Trompe l’oeil on the seafront at Sherringham, depicting the crab fisherman for which the area is famous. IMG_5152_1 This was a puzzling sight on Sherringham beach. Had the sea lined up all the pebbles in a straight line, or perhaps it was the sea fairies.

The sun shone the whole week, we ate some good food, drank some good wine, and came home feeling rejuvenated.

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Here are a few more photos, from what is fast becoming my favourite holiday location.

Little did I know, it was going to be Little Sal’s last beach holiday 😦

 

East or was it West??

The sea was calling me, so the wheels were in motion again.

We’d been North (well graphically it was NE) to Whitby, and South to Dawlish, so we though we’d try the East to West Runton. There is an East Runton too, but I do like to cause confusion.

West Runton is a small village, on the Norfolk coast, between Cromer and Sherringham. I’d been searching through some campsites on the internet, and stumbled across the Laburnum Campsite, it bore an uncanny resemblance to the wonderful Whitby Holiday Park, where we had spent a stunning week in May.

So we booked a pitch, one of only six pitches available for tourers, and set off on the morning of Sunday 8th for the 200 mile journey.

As everyone in Britain knows, it has been a tad wet of late, and parts of East Anglia had been deluged the previous week, so, on our journey there, driving through torrential rain, I did start to wonder if we’d made the right decision. Ever the optimist, T announced, ‘you cant get flooded on a cliff top’.

What a pleasant surprise when we got there, everywhere was dry, it was a concrete hard standing for the van, we were on the cliff edge, with amazing views out to sea.

Isn’t it amazing how something so simple can lift your spirits. 🙂

I left T sorting the Motorhome out, grabbed Little Sal and Jasp and went for a wander. I’d looked at the site on Google maps, and it appeared there was a short walk along the cliff top to a slipway, where we could easily access the beach below. Ten minutes later, I was at the slipway. I couldn’t believe our luck, no struggling to get J down cliff faces, and only a small area where dogs were banned.

Excitedly, I dashed back to tell T.

“Where’ve you been” he enquired “I thought you were just taking the dogs on their ‘business trip'”

“On the beach”, I said smugly, as I continued to tell him the close proximity and ease of access to it.

Later in the evening, after we’d all been fed and watered, we went for a wander along the beach.

Monday 9th

After making a few enquiries, we decided our destination for the day would be Sherringham. This small seaside town was just over a mile along the cliff top path, with a short descent into the town itself.

This was a lovely walk, a mown footpath, cut through a meadowland of beautiful wild flowers. There were rabbits hopping all over the place, some even standing on their hind legs, watching us go past. Parts of the cliff top was void of any fencing, so, needless to say Sal and Jasp were kept on their leads, much to J’s disgust.

Dropping down into the town, we found a cafe, plonked ourselves outside on the rustic benches, where T ordered a black coffee, and me? ……………a cream tea 😳 with scones, jam and cream……….OK, OK, I was on holiday, and I did share it with T and the local sparrows 😉

July 9th July 9th

Wandering along the seafront, the concrete sea walls were adorned with some wonderful paintings, depicting typical British holiday scenes.

We walked into the town area, which was a really bad idea, as both Sal & Jasp thought all the shops smelt really nice and would be good to investigate. So we made our way up to the rail station, where we had a pleasant surprise, Sherringham is the home of the The North Norfolk Railway, also know as the Poppy Line, because of the abundance of poppies in the area. We found a bench and sat watching the world go by, while Jasp slept, building up his strength for the walk back.

With suitably refreshed dogs, and the tide on the way out, we walked back to West Runton along the sandy beach. We both agreed, we had hit the jackpot again, with our location………..and weather 🙂

July 9thas we sat and watched the sun going down………..in the East again??????

Tuesday 10th

There’s only so much you can do, and so many places you can visit with two dogs. We both enjoy walking, so we decided a walk along the cliff top heading in the opposite direction towards Cromer was on the cards. We knew Jasp wouldn’t make it all the way as it was further away than Sherringham, but we thought we’d give it a try, as we could always come back on the bus.

We set off in the direction of the slipway, crossed over it and continued along the footpath.

July 10thMore beautiful wild flowers lined our path again. Poppies are my favourite flower, and they were in abundance everywhere.

Nearing the next cliff top campsite along the route, we noticed a no access sign, unlike our site, and the others towards Sherringham, they would not allow us to pass through their site, which would have meant a detour onto the nearby road.

We decided to turn around and head back, which was a good job, as by the time we got to the slipway, it had started to rain, I left T to walk back to the van with the dogs, and popped down the slipway to capture a few photos of the inclement weather.

July 10th July 10th

Looking South towards Cromer, and north towards Sherringham.

I hurried back to the van, getting there just in time, as the heavens literally opened. It must have been fate not being allowed to walk through that campsite, if we had continued we’d have been stuck in the middle of no where and got totally drenched.

Dejected, we sat in the van, watching the rain running down the windows, hhmmm, had we spoken too soon yesterday 😦

By lunchtime, the rain had stopped, so we went to have a wander into the village.

West Runton has a very picturesque station (see slideshow), which has won several awards for the best maintained small station, all done by volunteers.

The village is also home to Hillside Animal Sanctuary, so we had a wander up to the entrance to have a look at the many rescued horses in the nearby field. Obviously having the dogs with us, we were unable to visit properly, but can imagine it would be a lovely place to view.

Some of the horses having fun.

July 10thTwo very tired dogs, but Sal still managed to give Jasps’ tired legs a massage 🙂

Wednesday 11th

T had decided he wanted a steak for his dinner, the nearest butchers was in Sherringham, so the plan was for him to go into the town on the local bus, while I took the dogs for a walk onto the beach.

I think I got the better deal, it was a beautiful morning, and the walk to the slipway was wonderful. The tide was in, so the sandy beaches weren’t accessible, besides, I didn’t want to walk Jasp too far, so once there, we just plonked ourselves down to watch the sea.

July 11thWe sat there for over half an hour, I don’t know what the dogs found to look at, unless like me, they were just taking in the atmosphere.

We meandered back, arriving about five minutes before T turned up, armed with shopping bags.

“You’ll never guess what’s happened” he said

He continues to tell me, how he’d called into the local supermarket for a few bits and bobs, and found an amazing deal on one of our favourite red wines, so he’d bought two bottles, then, calling into the butchers for his steak, while handing over the money, the bag had slipped out of his hand, and the two bottles had crashed to the floor, covering the butchers’ floor in red wine 😦

Apologising profusely to the butcher before leaving, he’d then called back at the supermarket to get two more bottles (making the wine not quite the bargain it was).

As he’s telling me this, he’s putting the rest of the shopping away……………

Suddenly he shouts “Where’s my steak”?

Thinking he’d inadvertently put it away, while telling me the wine tale, he checks the fridge and all the cupboards, even checking the carrier bag, which he had folded up and put in a drawer…………..LOL, yeah, like a steak would hide in the corner of a bag.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, it wasn’t in the van, so he’d either lost it somewhere, or it was still at the butchers. I found the butchers shop phone number (thank goodness for mobile phones and internet) and he phoned them.

The conversation went something like……….”Err, hello, you’ll probably (LOL, ‘probably‘? like the butcher is likely to forget someone dropping two bottles of wine all over his floor) remember me, I’m the chap that dropped my………” He was cut short, as the butcher finished the sentence for him. “………….yes mate, you left your steak on the counter” The butcher offered to deliver it the next day, but as T wanted it for his dinner that night, he said he’d get the bus (again) and go and collect it.

Later that afternoon, T went for his fifth bus ride.

It had turned into a beautiful afternoon, and another walk on the beach was calling. We didn’t think Jaspers legs would cope with a walk to Sherringham and back, and as dogs were allowed on the buses, we decided to go in on the bus, and walk back on the beach.

July 11thI cannot put into words how amazing the walk back was, it was literally breathtaking. Just looking at this photo again, and I’ve drifted straight back there.

July 11thThat evening we sat watching the sun go down…………in the East 😎

Thursday 12th

After all the rain we’d had over the last few weeks, this holiday was beginning to turn out far better than we could have hoped, OK, we’d had the odd shower here and there, but nothing prolonged enough to deter our plans, but I couldn’t believe my eyes when I opened the blinds, there was total blue sky above us, wow, oh wow.

July 12th The blue sky was an amazing sight, though looking inland, clouds were visible.

We decided after all the walking we’d been doing, we’d give the dogs a rest, and just pop down to the local beach. The tide was on its way in, so there was only so far we’d be able to walk on the sand, as the stones were a definite no for poor Jasps aching joints.

July 12th

This long line of breakers, runs the full length of the beach to Sherringham, protecting the fragile cliffs from the force of the sea.

Not easily visible in this photo, but all along the breaker, large pebbles were lodged in the gaps between the wood, we initially thought they’d been placed there, but it became obvious it was the force of nature, which gave some indication as to how wild the area must become in the winter.

July 12thEven the massive breakers, which looked at least a foot square, fall victim to the power of the sea over time.

July 12thCormorants were dipping and diving into the sea, then landing on the posts to dry their wings. We watched as they took it in turn to take the top perch.

July 12th

Our totally lazy day ended watching another stunning sunset over the sea.

Friday 13th

The clouds were back, but it was extremely warm and humid.

Talking to various people, many had said that Cromer, wasn’t a patch on Sherringham, so we’d been undecided whether to go or not. We couldn’t walk there, either by beach, or cliff top, we didn’t want to move the motorhome, so it meant a bus journey.

July 13th

T, Jasp and Sal, waiting for the bus to Cromer.

The bus service in this area was excellent, run by two companies, both with very friendly drivers and easy access buses. The Coast Hopper company didn’t even charge for dogs, so with T and me with our bus passes, we all travelled for free 🙂

I am so pleased we decided to check Cromer out for ourselves. It was a typical east coast holiday resort, and I really liked it.

July 13thCromer Pier. The steps up to the pier have dates engraved of RNLI rescues, and at the end is a very modern looking RNLI station.

Up to this time, neither of us had tried the famous Cromer crab, but we soon found ourselves a little seafront cafe, next door to the ‘old’ RNLI station (see link above) where T ordered himself a crab salad sandwich, temptation was too much, and I pinched one of the squares, to go with my bottle of water.

T is a very chatty person, and noticing the chap on the table behind me was wearing a Worcester Warriors rugby shirt, he struck up a conversation with him, soon to be joined by a Gloucester rugby supporter from another table. Jasper snoring under our table, and me watching the world go by, I left them to it.

Dogs weren’t allowed on certain parts the beach between May and September, but at the far end of the prom, was a dog friendly area, so we wandered along to have a look. Walking onto the sand, it was obvious that poor Jasp was suffering with his legs, so we sat down.

July 13th

It wasn’t long before Jasp, who had decided to sit on me, was totally crashed out 😆

We’d have stayed there a bit longer, but the tide was on the way in, and within twenty minutes I had to disturb Jasp from his slumber otherwise I’d have got a tad wet 😉

We made our way back up the long slope to the nearest bus stop, just in time for the bus back to West Runton.

Back at the campsite, with the dogs totally crashed out, T decided dressed crab would be good for dinner. So he made his last bus trip into Sherringham, to buy a couple.

July 13th

Our final meal at the end of another wonderful holiday in the motorhome, with one of the ‘not such a bargain’ bottles of red.

Returning home on the Saturday afternoon, we found everywhere was still waterlogged and our neighbour informed us, the whole week had been almost constant rain.

Holidaying on the east coast, we’d cracked it again with the weather 🙂

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More pics here