It’s Coming Home (or is it?)

It’s Coming Home (or is it?)

We didn’t originally have anything planned for this weekend, but the weather forecast was so good that it would have been foolish to stay at home. We’d visited The Cud Life a couple of years ago; it’s a brilliant little site in Killinghall, between Harrogate and Ripon, so it seemed like the perfect destination. We’d even planned a Camper meet there in October 17, but the ground was so wet we had to cancel – there’d be no chance of that happening this time – we had wall to wall sunshine all weekend.

It’s a trip of less than two hours from our house, across the Pennines to Killinghall and we’d decided to stop on the way for some lunch. Alison left it to me to decide where, and I had somewhere in mind, but our plans were scuppered by a diversion at Skipton, because the A59 at Blubberhouses was closed. The diversion took us through Ilkley and Otley which were both equally busy on a Friday afternoon. Maybe I should ave’t tek me ‘at off in Ilkley and they’d have let this Tyke through more quickly.

As it was, the detour added quite a bit to the journey time, but the good news was I spotted a Red Kite in the sky (always a favourite) and we found a lovely country pub for lunch in Beckwithshaw, called The Smiths Arms. We managed to get parked close to the pub and had a very relaxed lunch and a quick pint. Perfect.

We were at the site by about 3pm and were greeted by the lovely Tanya, who sorted out our pitch in no time. It was good to catch up with her again – a hard working entrepreneur who deserves every bit of her success.

We soon had Absinthe ready, so, before we cooked tea, I decided to fly my drone, as it was quiet. I’ve had the DJI Spark for a few months and I’m still not brilliant at using it, although I thought I was getting better. Imagine then, after a few minutes in control, how I felt when it suddenly started to fly off on its own, across the fields towards the viaduct in the distance. Panic set it in and I disconnected the iPhone I was using from the controller and hit the Return to Home button. Nothing happened and I was resigned to losing it. I sat down with my phone to search YouTube to try and see if I could find a way of tracking it down, but then, after about 10 minutes, I heard a whining sound and was amazed when it reappeared and landed on the spot it had set off from originally. Boy, was I relieved. Maybe it is coming home… (see what happened next in the Drone drama at the end of the post).


I was in need of a drink after all that shemozzle, and gin seemed to be a good idea on such a hot evening. Fortunately, the site has a freezer near the washing up area which has a supply of ice – just what we needed.

A few words, then, about the site itself. I’m not known for effusive praise, (‘appen as I’m from t’North Riding), but I’m happy to stick my neck out and say that The Cud Life is probably the best small site at which we’ve ever stayed. It’s kept immaculately, has a tea room on site and a cook shop full of delights (I suspect Tanya had brought a few green items to the fore, knowing we were visiting…). The showers are brilliant – they’re big enough for two (the block is Unisex), have ample room to get dressed without your clothes ending up as wet as you, and enough hooks on the doors to satisfy anyone. There’s a hairdryer available, as well as a radio to listen to, and books to borrow and read.

The outside washing up area has hot water and plenty of room to drain your pots as well as an adjacent honesty freezer, with ice, marshmallows, sausage and bacon. Did I mention marshmallows? They’re to eat whilst you sit around the central campfire on Saturday night with your fellow campers. Tanya’s husband, Dave, arrives with a loader bucket full of logs and tips them next to the fire pit – you don’t see that at many campsites.

On Saturday we planned to watch England vs. Sweden in the afternoon on the TV in the van, so I had to make sure it was tuned in correctly. It took a while but I got it sorted in good time. We had a leisurely morning, with sausage butties for breakfast, before setting off on a walk across the fields to the small village of Knox. There’s not much there except a beautiful packhorse bridge and a ford across the river and it looks like an idyllic place to live. We saw another Red Kite too which was great, as was the Barn Owl that flew across the camping field on Friday night.

We walked up the lane for a while before heading back up the hill to the A61 and eventually back to the site. A couple of soft drinks and a potter around the cookshop were just what we wanted, before heading back to the van for the game.

Tanya is a great VW fan – she had one at her wedding and look what she’s done to their caravan.

Back to Absinthe for us to watch the game, which was tense to begin with, but Harry Maguire’s superb header relaxed us into the second half – what a great victory and we can’t wait for the next game on Wednesday.

Unfortunately, Boris was at his most anti-social all weekend, so we didn’t join in around the campfire on Saturday. There were quite a few other dogs on site and he spent far too long barking at them. He enjoyed his walks, though, and was chilled on our bed during the night.

Sunday was, if anything, hotter than Saturday. We’d paid £5 to have a late check out, so it was bacon butties this time, before slowly packing up and heading home via Pateley Bridge and Grassington. Whilst Alison did the washing up, I thought I’d have another go with the drone. Big mistake – it took off again and this time didn’t come back. I used the Find Your Drone section of the DJI app, but it showed it at the point when I lost control, not where it had gone. I was bit crestfallen and kicking myself for trying it again after Friday’s issues. I’m in two minds as to whether to replace it, as I’m not very good at flying it and wonder if it’s worth trying again. I might think on it for a few months. Meanwhile, if anyone finds a red DJI Spark between Killinghall and Harrogate, there’s a reward waiting for you.

This footage is from the first time, when it came back, but is very poor quality because I had to grab it off the phone, not the card in the Drone. You can see when I lose control after about 2 minutes. It seems to have missed the pylons – just as well, as I’m glad I didn’t plunge the village into darkness.


Things We’ve Learned

I’m never going to be a plane pilot

Yorkshire in the sunshine is as good as anywhere on Earth (Yorkshire in the rain takes some beating too)

Good service and caring about customers brings its own rewards (other sites could learn so much from The Cud Life)

A detour may be annoying but it can suprise you with new places you’ve never been before

This long hot early summer is something we could get used to…


There’s a full set of photos here: FLICKR






  1. Tanya

    Loved your second blog of the cud life and so pleased you enjoyed your stay again. We will all look out for your drone 😉 Tanya and Dave x


  2. Pete

    I used to drive past there every day on my commute from Ripon to Harrogate every day. Lovely part of the world, and bar tat would have destroyed the cool of that beauty, Martin!


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