The early May Bank Holiday was looming and I’d tried not to be my usual anal self by not booking a site for our weekend away. By Thursday, though, I go a bit twitchy and decided to contact a couple to see if we could get in. My first choice was Masham but they were full. I tried several more in Yorkshire but with no luck.
Ok, I think, let’s try the Lakes. Again; full, full, full. I finally found one near Bassenthwaite and provisionally booked.
Then, I checked the weather forecast which seemed better further south so I left Alison to see where she could get us into on Thursday evening. She struggled too, so, eventually, we booked to go back to Arrow Bank Park in Eardisland, Herefordshire. We’d stayed there last May Day weekend and went to the Antique Fair in Builth Wells so it seemed like a good idea to do the same again. The site has decent amenities, a great dog walk and a couple of pubs nearby.
We left about 11 and stopped at a quaint tea room for a spot of lunch in Clungunford, Shropshire. The Rocke Cottage Tearooms are fantastic and we had good food and brilliant service. I’d recommend it to anyone in the area.
We were at the site by 2pm and soon had the awning up. There were a couple of other VWs on site and a few more arrived before the end of the weekend.
It was pretty cold on Friday night and we had some rain as well. Boris slept on the bed – I’m sure he’s bigger when he’s asleep – he doesn’t half take up some room!
Saturday started dull but gradually got brighter during the day. We drove to Builth Wells and spent all day at the Fair, only buying a couple of things and grabbing a pizza for lunch.
We popped into the White Swan in Eardisland on the way back to book a table for an evening meal. When we got there later, about 7.45, there was only one table occupied so we probably hadn’t needed to bother. The meal was fine and the landlord was his usual eccentric self. When we left he shook our hands and thanked us for going in!
Sunday was bright and sunny and we drove to Eastnor Castle for the Chilli Festival.It was very busy but good fun, trying the various chilli based food. We bought some chilli peanut butter to take away and some food to eat whilst we were there. I had a Thai pork curry and Alison had a Falafel wrap. Yummy!
Back into the Festival to grab a pint of organic cider each (no chillis this time) before buying a couple of cakes and taking them down onto the grass to listen to the band. I had a Caribbean cake with chilli in it. I gave a bit to Boz and his tongue wouldn’t go back in his mouth! Alison had to go and buy a bottle of water for him, to cool it down.
We drove back to the site at Eardisland and had a drink and a snack before going back into the village for a few pints; one at the White Swan and a couple at the Cross Inn. Jan, who runs the Cross is quite eccentric as well. She even got Boris some ham from the kitchen to eat whilst we were there. She knows how to keep a good pint though; the Wye Valley Brewery’s Butty Bach was great.
Back to the van and some radio before bed – Boz still taking up too much room. What wth that, and my snoring, I’m not sure Mrs B has had much sleep this weeekend.!
On Monday, Alison suggested driving back through Wales. We stopped in Llandrindod Wells for some supplies and a spot of lunch.
What a beautiful part of the world this is on a sunny day. There was hardly any traffic and the views were ace as we headed for Dolgellau. We stopped above the Llyn Clywedog reservoir and took some pics. Glorious!
Onwards through Blaenau Ffestiniog, towards Betws-y-Coed, with only one small traffic delay along the way. We stopped for a brew in the Coed y Brenin Forest and saw Dippers and Brimstone butterflies in absolute peace and tranquility. The sun was shining, I had a cup of Yorkshire Gold and Boz was paddling in the river. Add in a sighting of my favourite bird (Dipper) and I’m pretty much in heaven. Incidentally, we’d seen a couple of red kites during the weekend – fantastic birds of prey and so good to see their numbers on the increase.
We stopped next in Betws-y-Coed, which was very busy as always. It seems to be more like Liverpool de Pays de Galles everytime I go. We pottered around the shops for a while before making salad sandwiches – a Bellamy family favourite on a sunny day (Heinz Salad Cream is essential, as are radishes for Alison).
We didn’t leave until 6.45pm and headed back towards the North Wales coast to pick up the motorways home. Inevitably there was some heavy traffic but it wasn’t too bad and were home for 9.30 ish.
Another top weekend away – we’ll definitely do Wales again – I like the Pembrokeshire Coast so we’ll probably try and find a site near St David’s.
There is a full set of pics here: Flickr (but not as many as usual as my camera battery ran out and my phone also died. Next time I’ll remember to pack the chargers!)