Updated: Jun 29
Things turned out to be much less fractions on Monday morning, our day of departure. This development was partly due to many 'revellers' upping sticks late on Sunday afternoon and evening, resulting in fewer mobile homes remaining on Monday. And in addition, many had a leisurely start to their day, leaving 'the field' wide open for us to saunter out unimpeded at 11:00 after our ablutions, coffee and other morning rituals!
Once on our route to Hastings on England's south coast, we encountered a fallen tree and telephone wire on a single-track back road, evidence of a storm we somehow missed! As we were too early for our next campsite, we stopped in the town of Battle, an area of outstanding Natural beauty. The town is the site of, and named after, the Battle of Hastings, where William, Duke 0f Normandy, defeated King Harold II to become William I in 1066, the famous battle during which Harold is said to have died from receiving an arrow in his right eye socket (possibly, as there is much debate as to the veracity of this claim!) we enjoyed a leisurely stroll around the town. We topped it off with a tremendous double scoop of local ice cream, just what was needed in the post-storm humid heat. We were also quite surprised that house prices appeared to be pretty reasonable, given the location.
And so, we were soon on our road to our Hastings Campsite, where we were allocated a pleasant, hardstanding, electric hook-up spot not too far from the toilet block, kushti! As it was still only mid-afternoon, we decided to walk to the local bus stop and recce the route for our meeting with Nadia's long-time friend and her husband, Pauline and Neville, the following day. It turned out that it was lucky we did, as our designated meeting pub on Tuesday was shut until Wednesday! However, we found a suitable nearby alternative and advised Pauline accordingly. Back at the camp, after a pleasant but uphill 20-minute walk from the bus stop, we relaxed and had a peaceful night.
The following evening, we retraced our steps, and we were soon sitting in the revised pub, looking forward to catching up with old friends and an inevitable curry! The evening flew by, and the blether, company and meal were very enjoyable; we also had the added bonus that we discovered that the campsite was on Neville and Pauline's way home, so they dropped us at the gates at the night's end.
Our next stop turned out to be a fabulous small field on a farm on the outskirts of Peldon, a village east of London in the Colchester borough of Essex. On our arrival, Vicki, the owner, offered us a choice of park-ups, and we chose the secluded option, which gave us the feeling that we were there on our own! Once set up, we walked the fifteen minutes into the village to look around, and we found the local pub, where we enjoyed a beer in the late afternoon sunshine in the pleasant beer garden before moving indoors, where we were served a lovely dinner.
In the morning, we drove south to the Isle of Mersea and had a walk along the beach and a coffee and bacon roll in a seaside cafe. During our breakfast, we discussed where we would head next on our way home, and we chose a family-run site on the outskirts of Boston, Lincolnshire, a couple of hours or so up the east coast. This part of England is exceptionally flat, and the roads go on for miles in a straight line as there are no natural features to have to get around! I found this rather tedious, so, with great relief, we pulled up at the campsite in the late afternoon, where we could find another secluded part of the site to hunker down in for the night!
By now, we had worked out our final stopovers en route back to Glasgow, and the penultimate location was another great field in a working farm with a wonderful adjacent farm shop. The farm was just outside of the North Yorkshire town of Helmsley, where a good friend of mine, Steve, lives, so we arranged to meet him that evening for a catch-up. However, before we get to that, we had to endure more boring Lincolnshire roads as we left Boston and headed north. Our route took us past the Drax biomass power station in North Yorkshire and then onto one of these long stretches, where we saw a superb display by the Red Arrows flying team. What we saw of the routine lasted about 15 minutes, and the planes did their acrobatics left, right and centre up ahead of us as we made our way north towards Lincoln. It indeed broke up the boredom of driving! You can view the video in the latest trip under the Our Trips tab.
As luck would have it, our landlord, the farmer Mark, offered to drive us into Helmsley that evening, and we arranged to meet Steve in the Pickwick Bar in the Feathers Hotel on the delightful town square. After a couple of jars there, Steve took us to the town's microbrewery, where we sampled a few local beers before moving on to the local Indian restaurant for a lovely curry. Unfortunately, we forgot to book a taxi back to the campsite, and when we finally remembered, it was too late, so Steve offered to have us sleep over at his cottage and drive us back in the morning.
So after a peaceful night's sleep, we returned to the farm and had breakfast in the Farm Shop before getting underway again for our last night on this trip. And so, precisely two weeks after our initial stop at the Pheasant Inn in Cumwhitton, we returned for our last night and enjoyed our last meal there. Finally, on Sunday morning, we set off on our last leg back to Glasgow with 1,257 miles under our belts and many happy memories to look back on from another great trip in Iona
To see our route, click the link below: