This weekend for Mandy and myself happens to be a long one with us both having the Friday off work. As our month long trip to Croatia looms ever closer the pressures to organise the locations / campsites increases. For months we have been consistent in our promise to organise the trip as each weekend passes, we have also been equally consistent at not doing so, due to the distractions of home life.
So our main aim of this micro stop over at a local campsite was to do as little as possible other than get us into camping mode, and plan our holiday.
We have broke the camels back in as much as we have booked our ferry crossings and two nights in Bruges to start the vacation. We also have our eyes on two very nice campsites on the shore of the aptly named Wolfgangsee Lake, and have earmarked some really nice campsites but on the coast of Croatia.
So this single nights stay has been a success. We are a little more relaxed (which is always the case after staying in idyllic surroundings in the van), and looking forward to our main 2019 holiday with enthusiasm, instead of trepidation.
The campsite we chose for this single night stop over was just about as local as it gets. Ashbourne is about 30 minutes from our home which was ideal to maximise our stay and limit fuel. I have stayed here in the past for a couple of nights on my own when recovering from a shoulder injury. It’s surrounded by pine tree and has a cosey feel to each pitch. It’s well maintained with excellent toilet & shower facilities.
The weather has been pretty bonkers for a February. It’s at the same time last year we were exposed to the Beast From the East, and now were hitting 21 degrees which is a record. It’s still officially winter, at least for the next month! The low sun casts long shadows, but it’s surprisingly easy to find the rays of sunshine, and when you do its positively warm. Mandy had some holidays to use up as we approach the end of the financial year, so dotted a day here and there to make sure she didn’t lose them and I found myself with a flexible day off also.
The forecast was good for the foreseeable meteorological week, so we agreed to get the van out and book into a local campsite we had stayed at back in 2015. We knew the views were nice, and we could only commit to one nights stay so we couldn’t consider going too far afield. So i collected the van on Saturday and gave it a good wash. Preparation was pretty minimal and we just had to consider a days worth of food.
So sunday morning we set off for Matlock Bath and managed to get a parking spot on the main road before the bikes engulfed them.
We were just killing time as we couldn’t get on the campsite until post 12pm. So we found a cozy little coffee shop to chill in until we had reach the 1 hour parking limit imposed on the main road. It was always nice to spend time in Matlock Bath, but even in the midst of summer there is always shade, and the winter’s must seem really long in the valley to anybody that lived there.
So coffee drunk we got in the van and drove through Matlock and up the steep hill towards Tax Farm. We were still far to early to check in to the campsite so found a secluded spot to pull into and read for a while. The odd car passed and a few cyclists, but other than that it was really peaceful. As it approached 1pm we headed towards the campsite and drove down the steep incline onto the lower teer.
The afternoon was spent enjoying the views, reading and listening to the radio and eventually settled down in bed to an hour or two of Netflix.
The clear night meant we awoke to a frost, but as a result there was an amazing sunrise with mist filled valley towards the Two Dales / Darley Dale. This was enjoyed over coffee and breakfast with the night heater whirring away to keep us warm. The morning followed a similar pattern to the previous afternoon, but we had to vacate the pitch before 12pm. So as late morning approached we dropped the roof and prepared the van for the road. Matlock was only a mile down the road and as the sun was still very much in play, we decided to spend a couple of hours in the town before heading home.
Why go to Bristol again I hear you say when we have been there four times already? Explanation is fairly simple. The first time we did a Park and Ride for a day, and it wasn’t until we realised on the way back to the van on the bus that we had missed the best parts of Bristol. No such excuses for the second, third or fourth time, but it’s just about as good as a winter vacation in a campervan gets location wise!
The first week of 2018 we spent at York, Rowntree, Caravan Club site mainly because we had stayed at Baltic Wharf in 2017 and the year before in 2016 . However, after making an early booking at Edinburgh Caravan Club site, we decided that Bristol would be a much more local venue giving us the flexibility we needed if the weather took a turn for the worst.
Anyway, we were not disappointed. We chose to take in lots of free attractions right on our doorstep such as the M-Shed museum, and although the week long break started unseasonably mild (shorts and T-Shirt), the temperatures soon dropped to sub zero towards the end of our stay. That said, the Webasto night heater kept us warm so the stay was a great start to 2019!
Baltic Wharf Link is below for anybody that wants to stay at this location. You must me a member of the Caravan and Motorhome Club site.