Hawick and Kielder Forest

We had a very quiet night in the Hawick car park. 

Hawick Aire

The following morning after bacon butties, we visited Morrisons to use their facilities again before we set off for Kielder Water arriving at the start of the forest drive, a 12 mile long gravel road through Kielder forest.

I had read all the warnings that the forest road was only suitable in a 4×4 vehicle , but I worked on the basis that if the track became impassable we could turn around. The track was a toll road with a payment machine costing £3 and a notice warning about the need for 4 x 4.

I really enjoy driving these forest tracks

Kielder Forest Drive

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A stop over at the six mile point for food and beverages

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The 12 miles of track came to an end near a main road, so we turned around and went back along the track to travel another 12 miles doing the return trip.

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As can be seen from photos the road is a fairly level gravel surface with some steady gradients that you could drive along in your Granny’s Fiat 500 without any bother. Not as challenging as I would have liked, but certainly an enjoyable drive.

It was starting to get late, so somewhere to overnight was a priority before it got dark. There was a pub that allowed motor homes to over night in their car park if you had a drink and a meal in the pub, but It didn’t appeal to us.

I had heard that overnighting around Kielder water including the forestry drive was banned and checked by the forestry agents. All the parking areas had barriers across the access.

We gave up after driving around aimlessly and decided to head back to Hawick car park for another night.

You’ll note that this was the third night we had stayed off grid

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Monnow Bridge

Sunday lunchtime saw us headed off down the M50, destination Monmouth.

We were trying out a small site beside the River Monnow in the town.

The entrance to Monnow Bridge caravan site is odd because it’s between two houses and would be quite tight for caravans and larger motor homes.

The appeal of this site is its location, being very close to the town centre. After parking up on the camp site we walked the short distance to Monmouth town centre via the Monnow Bridge with its Gate house dating back to the 14th century.

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As we wandered around the town in the late afternoon with most of the shops shut the extreme knitter was making mental notes of the shops she wanted to visit the following day. The days are short and darkness started to fall, so we walked the short distance back to the campsite. The campervan was wrapped up for the evening with its insulating blinds on the windows and because we had an electric hook-up we were able fire up the fan heater and save on our gas supply.

Of course we ate our traditional first night meal of meatballs in a tomato sauce and pasta with a chunk of crusty bread. A small Bacardi and coke helped keep the chilly evening at bay

The outside temperature dropped, but we had a cosy night in the camper.

Our morning started with a full English breakfast. Even though we were in Wales the ingredients had been purchased in England.

Then we hit Monmouth’s main street.

Ruby and I stood outside various shops waiting patiently for the E knitter to appear with her spoils.

Eventually as the day progressed we needed to warm up and have some food. We found the White Swan Café in a small courtyard that welcomed dogs, so in we went. We had Tuna sandwiches with a pot of tea while ruby sat quietly under the table. It always seems odd being able to take our dog into a cafe when most places ban them

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I found some ordnance survey maps in a charity shop for a pound each, so I bought some Scottish ones to add to my collection.

Amazingly the Extreme knitter didn’t any wool.

After another toasty night in the campervan and a bacon sandwich for breakfast the next day, we drove home discussing where to go for our next trip away.

 

The Camper Van Bible

Fame at last. Today, whilst browsing around Waterstones book shop I came across Martin Doreys new book “The Campervan Bible” published by Bloomsbury.

Low and behold on page 422 I found a short quote that I submitted for the section called “what does a camper mean to you”.

http://martindorey.com/product/camper-van-bible/

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