Delamere, Delamere. Delamere, let me go…

 

The season is now properly underway, so it would have been rude not to book somewhere for Easter. It’s always tricky knowing where to head – the sites get full quite early before Bank Holidays and certainly before the weather forecast can be relied upon.

We plumped for somewhere in the North West to avoid a long M6 journey but where to go? We finally picked a Camping & Caravan Club site in Delamere Forest in Cheshire. It looked great for long forest walks with Bozzer and was very close to Delamere train station which has regular trains towards Manchester and Chester. (The naming of towns is interesting isn’t? You can imagine the good burghers of Chester being very pleased with their name, until their uppity northern neighbours decided to add a bit and call their town Manchester. Lord alone knows how they in turn felt, when, over in the East on the banks of the Ouse, the Cambridgeshire town of Godmanchester appeared).

Every year, it always takes a while to get back into the swing of things to make sure we don’t miss anything when we’re packing. Fortunately, Alison is a great list maker so we seemed pretty well organised for this trip.

We’d booked from Thursday until Monday, to avoid the Bank Holiday traffic, so the drive to the site was uneventful and we even arrived in the Forest ahead of check-in time. A word of advice here – when you’ve booked a C&CC Site they state quite clearly that you can’t check in before 1pm. It’s tempting, when you get there at 12.30, to think, “Oh, it’ll be fine” but actually the staff have others things to do (sometimes they might want to eat their lunch in the lull between pitches being vacated and new arrivals turning up, or be tidying up before you’ve got there). For the sake of 30 minutes, just pull over somewhere, make a brew and chill – the site will still be there when you turn up.

We killed an hour by parking at the Forest Centre car park down the road and having a sandwich, before letting Boris stretch his legs. It got us into holiday mode and meant we arrived at the site around 1.30pm.

Sandwich stop at the Forest Centre Car Park

 

We were given a choice of two pitches and chose the one closest to the gate into the Forest. It was ideal for taking Bozzer out and we were soon pitched up. We’d travelled light with just the Puck Buddies sun awning (isn’t it great?) and the small pop up tent for storage.

Brew time

 

Dog’s eye view

The weekend was one of rain and some sunshine. We spent our time walking in the Forest, chilling in the van (and we may have indulged in a couple of boxes of red wine in the evening).

There’s plenty to do in Delamere Forest including Go Ape, lots of cycling and walking trails and  Segway hire. You can also hire bikes at the Forest Centre which has a handy cafe too.There’s also a cafe at the nearby train station.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the way to the Forest Centre I spotted some birds in the trees and it turned out they were Waxwings. I last saw some during the harsh winter of 1963 in our garden on the outskirts of Middlesbrough when I was 8 – my late Dad and I were thrilled then and Alison and I were equally excited this time around. The photos are terrible but I’m including them anyway.

 

 

 

On Saturday, we walked down to the Station and caught the train to Northwich. It’s only 3 stops down the line and, I’ll be honest, we expected a bit more from the town.

 

 

 

Northwich prospered in the past by producing salt. Apparently, the wich suffix, found also in Middlewich, Nantwich and Leftwich, relates to the production of salt in Norse times. Unfortunately, because we had Boris with us, we weren’t able to go into the Salt Museum, but we did wander through the town and found a riverside walk which was great in the sunshine.

 

 

 

 

Heading back into town we walked down to the large Canal Boat Marina, adjacent to Waitrose, where Alison bought some things for an impromptu picnic. She didn’t have her My Waitrose card with her (she never does) and the assistant was most surprised that she was prepared to pay for two coffees. If you’ve ever been in Waitrose you’ll understand why – the recent controversy over the change of rules regarding free coffee has shaken middle England to its core.

 

 

 

We stocked up on wine and bread from the supermarket then walked through the town to catch the train back, spotting this old cinema on the way.

 

Alison had bought a couple of DVDs in the town so we settled down in the van in the evening to watch Leonardo DiCaprio star in The Revenant – an appropriately named film for an Easter weekend. It was OK, although with so much of it shot with winter scenes of snow and ice, it didn’t do anything to warm us up, on what was a very cold night. Thank goodness we’d taken an electric fan heater.

Keeping Warm in the Slpy

 

Sunday was forecast to be very rainy in the morning so we hunkered down with hot cross buns, coffee and The Archers omnibus edition (how Rock’n’Roll are we?), before venturing out in the afternoon to walk some of The Sandstone Trail.

I can thoroughly recommend the trail, although we only managed a short section. I’m sure we’ll be back to do more in the future.

 

There’s a brilliant view point at Delamere Old Pale – I shot a video on my phone but it’s not very good I’m afraid:

 

 

 

Liverpool Cathedrals in the distance, from Delamere Old Pale

 

 

 

 

Boris was bushed by the time we got back – he’s not getting any younger (gulp!) – the sun was out so we managed to sit outside the van with a cuppa but not for long as the heavens opened again.

Here’s a few more random shots of the weekend.

 

 

When you can’t see the wood for the trees…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The forecast was dry for Monday but they were definitely wrong this time. We packed away in light drizzle and had to dry everything when we got home, in guess what? Yep, bright sunshine!

There’s a full set of photos here: FLICKR

Things we’ve learned:

It’s all very well remembering the code for the toilets, but if you’re a lady, it’s best not to go into the gents*
Just because the rules say no ball games, it doesn’t mean your neighbour’s kid won’t kick a ball about for hours
It’s impossible to be Atkins compliant at the van (at Easter!)
There are still plenty of places to visit within 50 miles of home
Having the right to just chill and do nothing is really important

*this is something that Alison learned

Finally:

1.Why do caravans have to be white?

Green, amongst a sea of white

2. I knew I should have rung ahead and told them I’ve lost a stone since January:

 

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