A Little Piece of Heaven on Earth

A Little Piece of Heaven on Earth

The recent good weather was too tempting not to take the Absinthe away somewhere, and where better, than a little piece of heaven on Earth in my favourite of the Yorkshire Dales, Swaledale? The fact that we were meeting up with great friends at a super campsite, made for a perfect weekend.

Usha Gap is a farm based site that straddles both sides of the small road into Muker from the West. Fortunately, Geoff and Dave had managed to get there early (not surprising really as they live less than 30 minutes away) and grab some room on the area beside the river.

We were soon joined by Moira in her beautiful purple van, followed a little later by her husband Mike on his motorbike.

Friday night was quite cool and we were grateful for the Washing Machine Drum fire – is there anything better than sitting around a fire with friends, a drink and a van? One minute it was 10pm, then suddenly it was one o’clock in the morning. Bliss…

Saturday was a time for bacon butties before a 3 mile walk along the dale and back on the high level route to Muker for lunch in the Farmers Arms. We managed to get seats outside in the sun and enjoyed a few pints before browsing the shops and gallery, then walking back across the fields to Usha Gap. Meanwhile, Dave had driven to the nearby market town of Hawes, where he has a stall at the craft fair in the hall on the main street. His glasswork is awesome – I’d recommend popping in if you’re ever in the town on a weekend. His website is here: Nouveau Stained Glass

By the time we got back to the site, Simon had arrived in Skooby, his fantastic Brazilian van (see his Blog for much better photos than mine). After a catch up, we sat and chilled, then enjoyed a barbecue and a few more drinks. Boris was very tired from his walk and slept for most of the evening, looking very contented.

Alison had bought a couple of quiz sheets from the pub, in aid of Mountain Rescue, so we had a go at answering the questions, which, frankly, were a bit odd. We hadn’t bought an answer sheet so there are still some that we’re unsure of…

Unfortunately, the wind dropped and the midges arrived for a while, although the smoke from the fire helped to keep them at bay.

We were in bed by 11pm and had a leisurely time on Sunday morning before leaving around noon, to get home by 2.30. A perfect weekend with great friends and glorious weather – here’s to the next time!

Many thanks to Geoff Dixon, for allowing me to use some of his photos, including these from his drone:

Things We’ve Learned

The Honey Badger is also known as a Ratel

The 43rd State to join the Union is Idaho

The Matilda was a second World War British tank

Thomas Jefferson was the 3rd President of the USA

Hass is a variety of Avocado

Simon is completely hairless apart from one area

If I bend over and split my shorts, I create my own Usha Gap

Don’t leave Alison in charge of Boris’ food bowl



There’s a full set of photos here: FLICKR


  1. Geoff Dixon (internationally renowned photographer)

    Brilliant – I think you’ve summed up the weekend perfectly Martin.


  2. John Richardson


    Bloody lovely, when I was a kid we had a caravan in a field above Grinton, the trout fishing was fantastic. It’s a truly beautiful area. Best wishes, John


    1. Martin Bellamy

      Thanks John. Swaledale is one of my favourite places. My Dad used to take me to Brompton on Swale when I was a kid. I don’t remember catching anything but I loved being there with him.

      I’m making 2019 the year I get back into fishing – even Mrs B is keen to get involved. I’d love a pike master class from you if ever we’re back in Norfolk in Absinthe.



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