The Caravan Club’s Rowntree Park site is situated by the river and close to the centre of town, just ten minutes walk to the heart of the city. The area is prone to flooding so the facilities block is very sensibly built above flood levels and is accessed by stairs or ramp and a walkway. The showers and toilets are impeccable. Otherwise there is little distinctive to what is overall a very boring site. Staff were efficient but rather more brisk than friendly (not very “Yorkshire” of them!)
We settled in and then walked the dog down river before we walked into town in the other direction. York was of course heaving with Christmas shoppers. We went to Pizza Hut for lunch, picked up a few items in M&S opposite, then bought a small non-oil-filled Dimplex radiator for the van and gave up and went home. York did not see much of us.
Friday morning saw us up and about relatively early. We had time to kill before landing in Pocklington and filled this in at the McArthur Glen outlet, where we surprised ourselves by actually buying things (shoes, mainly – not just cheap but “free” as we used more of the Retirement Vouchers.)
Friday night saw us sleeping on a family driveway.
On Saturday we aimed ourselves at Scarborough and took the scenic route there, over the Yorkshire Wolds. Parking at Seamer, we took the Park and Ride bus into town. Lunch was Fish and Chips from Smallfry on North Road. We had been waiting years for these and were not disappointed – they remain the best overall Fish and Chip experience to be had anywhere.
After a walk on the beach with Nell we enjoyed that other Scarborough Experience, the Lemon Top and a walk along the harbour before picking up Vincent and driving up to Scalby. We stayed at a lovely little Certificated Location at Hay Brow and had the place to ourselves. Our hosts were charming and friendly and the whole place was full of quirky charm. Unfortunately we could neither empty or fill and much as we should like to return we think the site not suitable for our van.
Quite disappointed when the site turned out not to be the single toilet promised to be on site
Facilities are basic, there is one toilet in an old wash house in the stable block, but a new facilities building is under construction. 16 amp hookups have been installed and operate from cards paid for on top of the site fee. The pitches are level-ish but narrow, as is the access road and we could not avoid churning up the grass.
The Elsan point was inaccessible to us, as was the fresh water. All in all, expensive for what we had from it but a very pleasant and quiet night’s stay nonetheless. Nell was made very welcome and asked to be on the lead only if in the field when sheep were present.
There is a lot of luck at Hay Brow
The site being so quiet we had been told that there was no hurry to be away on Sunday. When we finally got off, we took the route via Whitby over the moors towards Teesdale, where we planned to wild in the car park at Bowlees. We hoped to give Nell a run at Scaling Dam.
Unfortunately when we arrived at Scaling it was dogs-on-leads-only. Back in the van we approached Teesside. The SatNav had some strange ideas about the route to Teesdale and took us a long way North before coming South again via Sedgefield. Eventually we found ourselves approaching Staindrop and back in control. As we drove up the Moor Road out of the village I suddenly recalled that The Moorcock at Eggleston is a stop from a book of sites I am not supposed to connect it with in public. Bah! Anyway, I suggested that we try there instead of going to Bowlees. We did just that, and spent the night on their car park after a good dinner followed by a twiglight stroll on the Teesdale Way with Nell. We had one other vann for company overnight – they were heading South, home to Southampton.
We were headed home too. On Monday morning we set off up to the high dale, towards Alston – the scenic route again. Stopping outside Middleton-in-Teesdale in what has long been my favourite lay-by and viewpoint, I was disappointed to find the normally stunning views obscured by a light mist.
As we passed Bowlees there was a Pheasant Shoot on. I was very relieved that we had the prescience to change our plans the night before.
Climbing ever higher up the dale, the clouds came ever lower to meet us. The scenery had in fact gone missing.
No, really, the Teesdale scenery is stunning. You will just have to believe me
There was snow on the verges. Vincent took all in his stride…. hills, hairpins… nothing was too much trouble.
The scenery was apparently all on the Cumbrian side and as we topped the hill, we saw blue sky awaiting us and a hint of sunlight on the dale in the distance.
As Vincent and Mr Snail were doing their best to avoid a dog walker with several Labradors I asked if maybe he hadn’t seen the yellow diversion sign. What sign? The one that said the road ahead in Alston was closed and pointed to a road on the right…
As we drove into Alston there was traffic going in ahead of us. We even saw three cars pass by the next Road Closed sign. It must be okay and after all he SatNav wasn’t telling of any problems.
We now know that Mr Snail can back Vincent out of a narrow hilly street when faced by a giant roadsurfacing machine, even with cars parked on both sides of the road. This was a manoeuvre that Hank could never have attempted.
The detour took several miles to get us to the other side of the roadworks, perhaps 25 metres away, but it was certainly scenic.
The remainder of our journey passed uneventfully. We stopped at Gretna for a (very) late breakfast and visited the outlet there in search of a mattress topper for the van. We had a great success and another voucher purchase.
One final stop at Kilnford Barns farm shop before we returned to base.