Adventure Overland show 2017

 

 

The end of September again means only one thing for me. My annual visit to the Adventure Overland Show held on Stratford upon Avon racecourse. This year I visited on my own some. The Extreme Knitter had other commitments.

The show gets better each year with many varied trade stands, displays and so many interesting vehicle in the camping and parking area.

As always, I will just leave a few of the photos for you to digest.

Landrover 1963 Series 2A forward control camper

This beauty was a work in progress. It just oozes classic Landy.

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Just a little electrical work that needs tiding up. One of those five minute jobs

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Nice Arse end

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Xplora Overland were showing their new Ford Transit conversion. If only I had the money.

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I’m trying to convince the Extreme Knitter that we need to tow one of these buggies behind our campervan.

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VW  T5s LTs T4s

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Ex Military Trucks were well represented

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Series One Landrovers

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Our Old Series One Landrover

I do regret selling our Series one Landrover. The beauty of hindsight.

Landrover series one

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Like a night in the Forest

After leaving Castle corner caravan site we headed into the Galloway forest area on the A712. Along this road are various stop offs, like the deer park, the goat park, Bruces stone and the visitors centre.

The Goat Park

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I eventually turned off the A712 on to a dirt track. Two miles along the track is the payment machine and after paying our £2 fee we were driving “The Raiders road”, basically 10 miles of forestry track.

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Halfway along the track is Otters Pool with a toilet and parking area. This was to be our overnight stop for the night, but it was teeming with day visitors who departed about 5pm, leaving behind the remains of their picnics, litter and broken chairs. There was a group of lads who were camping out in a tent with a large fire. It was obvious that they were there to party the night away, so we decided to move on further along the Raiders road and found a car park at the end of Stroan Loch.

Otters Pool

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It’s a shame that Otters Pool is so neglected and the main culprits are the locals. It will eventually lead to camping restrictions like the ones being enforced in the Loch Lomond area. (sorry, rant over)

The Otter statue and Ruby

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We were alone in the parking area at Stroan Loch and the sun was setting  across the Loch. The forest area is a designated dark skies area and as night fell I scanned the sky, but unfortunately the clouds blocked my view of any stars or galaxies.

The sunset over the Loch

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Sunset on Loch Stroan

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We woke to find an eerie mist sitting on the water. All was quiet as the road doesn’t open for visitors until 9am. Two red kites circled above the Loch and a couple of walkers stopped to have a chat. Life doesn’t get any better than this.

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It’s good that we are comfortable to rock up in a pitch black forest, miles from anywhere without any radio, TV, internet or phone signal and have a peaceful nights sleep. We have an agreement that if either of us feels uncomfortable with an overnight stop, we will move on to find somewhere else.

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Puffin covered in dust from the track

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We seem to have fallen into the habit of having a lazy start to our days, just being, without any pressing commitments. It was getting near midday when we pulled on to the forest track to continue our journey, so it came as a surprise that I had to brake hard to avoid an owl that swooped down in front of the campervan.

The forest area is amazing and well worth a visit despite the minority of inconsiderate visitors.

 

Having a crafty Peak

We snatched a couple of days off and on Sunday morning headed North to Derbyshire and the Peak District. Our camp site for the trip was Ilam hall the National Trust property.

Ilam Park Caravan site is a beautiful green oasis nestled in the grounds of Ilam Hall, about 5 miles from Ashbourne in the southern end of the Peak District National Park.

The hall was built in 1827 and was destined for demolition in 1930. Three quarters of the hall had been demolished before Sir Robert McDougal (the flour magnet) bought it for the National trust to be used as a youth hostel.

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Ilam Hall

I found it rather grand sleeping in the grounds of a Victorian hall, but of course the Extreme knitter being a Lady herself takes it in her stride.

https://escaperoutetales.wordpress.com/2015/12/27/lady-extreme-knitter/

We took the drive away awning with us, but the strong winds meant we couldn’t put it up.

We spent the afternoon wandering around the extensive park land admiring the hall and the river.

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Yes, we had meat balls in homemade tomato sauce again, but we have decided to alter our first evening meal for future trips. Just need to decide what to have instead.

Ruby came with us on this trip although she had some dental work carried out in the week. Yorkies are prone to having dental problems, so she had a clean and descale at the Vets. Unfortunately she had to have three teeth removed, one being a baby tooth that hadn’t popped out in her youth. We were concerned that she wouldn’t be up for this trip after the anaesthetic, but she was back to her normal self the following day.

This campsite is stunning and fairly basic in a good way, it’s a bargain at £16 per night with electric hook-up.

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Our Morning View

The facilities are housed in an annex of the hall which a fair trek from the camp pitches, so a trip to the toilet has to be preplanned. It’s no good waiting until your bursting.

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Ye oldie toilet block

This slight inconvenience (see what I did there) is a small price to pay for the privilege of using this site. There is however a well sited fresh water, waste water, chemical toilet disposal point and refuse bins situated bang in the centre of the site.

During a late night trek to the toilets I could hear footsteps following me, so I stopped and looked around, but there was no one there.

I carried on and the footsteps started following me again. At this point I was having visions of a mad axe man/woman ready to murder me. After looking around and finding nobody, I finally realized that I was hearing my own footsteps being amplified through my new hearing aids.

Monday morning and Ruby woke me up to go for a wee. The rain was torrential at this point and she didn’t hang about outside for long. We eventually dragged ourselves out of bed and cooked a full English breakfast to set us up for the day.

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Our Corner Pitch

Calamity!!! The electric power supply tripped. A quick reccie showed that rain water had entered the supply socket and tripped the circuit breaker. No problem, the site rangers were sorting it out later for us as we were going out and we didn’t need it until we returned.

Unfortunately, I disconnected our supply cable then I promptly slid down a muddy embankment on my back.

I was covered in mud and feeling embarrassed I quickly got up as if nothing had happened, as you do. I changed my clothes while the Extreme knitter hosed the mud of my rain coat and we finally set off for Bakewell.

Following the sat nav directions, is always a risk, but we got to see some beautiful countryside whilst travelling down some narrow country roads.

We have visited Bakewell before on a previous trip and experienced the Bakewell tart/pudding wars.

https://escaperoutetales.wordpress.com/category/derby/

Well, because I couldn’t decide which was the best back then I just had to have a rematch. Funnily enough even after a tasting session I still couldn’t decide, but I must say the lemon/coconut version of the Bakewell tart was scoring a 10 out of 10, but technically it wasn’t the original recipe so it didn’t count.

Parking in the farmer’s livestock market car park was a little muddy and I had to walk very carefully as I didn’t have another change of clean clothes if I decided to slip over.

The walk in to the town took us across the footbridge covered in padlocks.

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Padlock Bridge

We drove back to the campsite via Matlock Bath which has gained a reputation for being a landlocked seaside resort. The river creates the focus for the visitors to promenade up and down and during the autumn they have the river and road illuminated similar to Blackpool.

Tuesday came around quickly meaning we were heading home. This campsite is run by National Trust and staffed by volunteers. We couldn’t have wished for a better pair of site rangers as Colin and Jenny. In fact in all the years we have been camping we have never met such a pleasant and helpful couple. We will return.

Of course our trip home would be incomplete without a visit to a wool or sewing shop and as always, the extreme knitter had located two shops in the same street in Darley Dale.

I will say that she is a dab hand at sewing/knitting etc.

Many years ago I asked for a pair of trousers legs to be turned up. “Put them on the sewing pile” she said. A few years later I found my trousers still at the bottom of the pile. I tried them on and found I had grown in to them.

High on a hill

At last we were travelling again after a long lay off. The Malvern Hills in Worcestershire being our weekend destination.

Campsites that are open this time of year are few and far between, so we opted for the Camping and Caravan Club site at Blackmore.

We arrived on the Friday afternoon and settled in. Club sites can be a little regimented, but this one has a lot of grass pitches that make it seem more natural. Ruby was treated to a good walk on the campsite dog walk and we spent the afternoon reading and listening to the radio then settled down for a quiet night in the campervan. The meatballs made an appearance for our evening meal along with my customary Bacardi & coke.

I know it seems like we eat nothing but meatballs in a homemade tomato sauce, but we only have them on our first camping night because it is a easy meal that can be prepared at home to make life easy. There can be weeks or months between our trips, so it was 2 months ago when we last dined on meatballs.

Saturday morning started slowly with a full English breakfast then we set off to Great Malvern and parked in Waitrose to take advantage of 2 hours free car parking. After a wander around the town taking in the farmers market we returned to Waitrose and purchased goodies for our evening meal.

p1120795Farmers Market Great Malvern

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The Extreme Knitter having a meaningful  discussion with some geezer called Elgar who wrote a few party tunes. 

Ag a do & the Birdy song I think.

We drove towards British Camp situated at the southern end of the Malvern Hills where we had sandwiches for lunch whilst parked in the visitors car park.

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Suitably fuelled we tackled the long steep pathways up to British Camp that are the remaining earthworks of an Iron Age fort built about the 2nd Century BC.

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Getting nearer to the top of British Camp

The walks around Malvern are hilly and it had an impact on us all. The three of us had chicken for the evening meal and promptly collapsed for the night totally shattered.

Sunday morning and we were leaving the campsite heading for home. We decided to take the pretty way home firstly calling into Upton on Severn.

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The Dog poo Fairy

These vintage wreckers have stood for sometime at this garage in Upton.

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Pershore was our final stop off before we finally headed home.

Well I’ll be a bananas uncle

I’m sharing this recipe from a blog that I follow, so all credit to them.

https://familyoffthemap.com/2016/10/31/plantains-and-sausage/

When I read their post I had never heard of Plantains, so my curiosity got the better of me. I started searching the UK for them in shops and supermarkets, but the only ones I could find were sold on line with a hefty price tag.

I had all but given up of ever tasting this elusive vegetable/fruit when by chance we visited the local Morrison’s store in Redditch and there they were a great big pile of the banana look a likes, green as green could be. Now, you know I like to push the boat out sometimes, so without any thought of cost I purchased two Plantains for the princely sum of 84 pence. I do like living on the edge.

It now appears that everyone I speak to has heard of Plantains, so it seems it was just me that was off sick from school when that little nugget of information was given out

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/plantain

The plantains were green and my research told me that they are better left until they ripen; in fact they would be just right when turning yellow / black.

I panicked a little because one was ripening faster than the other.

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One plantain was ready, ripening after two weeks sitting on the window ledge

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I cuts some chicken breasts  into thin strips.

I fried the plantains in a little vegetable oil, the pineapple chunks were added to the mix a little later. The strips of chicken were put in the pan and everything browned off nicely.

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The plantains gained a caramelised coating and the results were delicious.

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The combination of the individual ingredients complimented each other and the plantains didn’t taste like banana, more of a sweet potato type of thing.

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One plantain left ripening. I might try this again, but with some smokey bacon bits added.

The pressures on

We use a large 8 litre capacity pressure cooker at home that is great for large quanities of stew or soup to freeze. Large meat joints are so succulent when cooked this way. 8 litres is big and also a bit of a hassle when you only want to cook a small amount.

We started looking at small pressure cookers that would serve as a useful everyday size for the kitchen at home and double up as a utensil for the campervan.

The advantages of using a pressure cooker are low running cost with a vast reduction in the gas used and the food retains its flavour in the enclosed pot as it is steamed rather that boiled.

Research highlighted the Indian manufactured Hawkins range and I started to look for a 2 litre capacity Hawkins original cooker as made by the company since 1959.

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Luckily, the guys from the Betty Bus Blog told me about their Hawkins Futura model and that’s what I purchased.

https://bettybus.wordpress.com/

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http://www.hawkinscookers.com/1.1.8.hawkinsSS.asp

Although a 3 litre would have been a good size for home use unfortunately it wouldn’t fit in the campervan.

The quality is exceptional, with its hard anodised finish and clever mounting of the pressure weight. It’s flowing modern design has earned it the accolade of being the only pressure cooker in the world to have been displayed by The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

We use it on a daily basis at home as it’s ideal for two people, so it will be ideal for our campervan trips.

Our world is collapsing around us

 

As any campervan owner will tell you, size matters. The storeage space is so limited that it takes some creative thinking just to pack the essentials let alone any luxuries.

We’ve taken the Silicone collapsible route that up to date includes

Outwell collapsible bucket with lid

Outwell collapsible colander

Outwell collapsible kettle

An assortment of collapsible storage containers with clip on lids

A collapsible dog bowl.

 

The bucket is used to transport the washing up to the campsite pot wash. It collapses in sections so it is low enough to be placed under the waste water tank outlet to collect the grey water and used for any bucket duties.

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The colander

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The kettle reduces in size to allow it to be stored under the grill thereby saving valuable cupboard space. The Outwell kettle has an ergonomic handle making pouring easy.

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The storage containers come in various sizes being ideal for packing food into the fridge particulary our first night special (meat balls in tomato sauce) and take up little space when not in use.

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Anything that reduces to a third of its size for storage has to be a benefit.