Instead Shaun booked us a "staycation road trip" starting at Slindon, travelling to Salisbury, then on to Cheddar, Devizes and back to Salisbury.
I actually put pen to paper every day we were away - here's a few snippets and some photos.
Day 1 - Tuesday 7th July - Newhaven to Slindon, West Sussex
We decided to make our first part of the journey a short one, mainly for Archie's sake. We love the Slindon C&C site - it's small, quiet and there are some great walks for the dog around the Slindon Estate, and we managed to get onto our favourite pitch - 33. It was a lovely sunny day, not too hot but the wind got stronger, so much so Shaun had to take the newly acquired Shade Sail down before it tore apart. We also had to have dinner inside as it was a bit chilly. Thankfully C&C provide "Site Wifi" - 2.5GB for a week for £10 so we could watch the Tour on the laptop.
Day 2 - Wednesday 8th July - Slindon to Salisbury
Woke up to a very damp, grey day and it took us a while to get going - no great rush as we couldn't arrive at Salisbury until 12 o'clock so after a couple of cups of tea snuggled up in bed I slung some clothes on and took Archie out for his morning walk while Shaun had his shower (no facilities on site!) We didn't go very far as it started to rain. I jumped in the shower while Shaun rushed around and got ready to go. It was only then that I realised I'd left a bag of clothes at home containing shorts, leggings and pair of jeans. I had 1 pair of shorts to last another 7 days! We decided that instead of going home to get the bag we'd carry on to Salisbury and stop at the big Tesco at Chichester to buy some shorts & leggings. Not quite the £40 I'd expected to spend but at least I now had clothes to wear.
We finally reached Salisbury at around 2pm. Just in time to get set up on our very sloping, not very sheltered pitch and sit and watch the Tour. Shaun took Archie for a walk around the Iron Age fort (Old Sarum).
|The little black dot is Shaun & Archie playing ball!|
Day 3 - Thursday 9th July - Salisbury
Today's weather was much better - lovely warm sunshine! We used the site facilities to shower this morning and had a cooked breakfast of scrambled egg & smoked salmon on toast with a cup of coffee from the Tassimo (as we're on electric hook up). Archie washed up the scramble pan!
We had a lovely walk into the City. We bought some sausages from the Salisbury Sausage Shop - don't think I've ever seen so many different varieties of sausage! After a wander round the cathedral
we stopped for lunch at The Market Inn which was recommended by a fellow Tribby owner. We each had a sandwich (which came in the most enormous slices of bread) and a glass of cider.
Shaun wanted to show me the Iron Age fort so before dinner we took Archie for another walk.
|Think the dog's tired!|
Day 4 - Friday 10th July - Salisbury - Watersmeet Farm, Axbridge
After what seemed like ages to get packed up and moving on to our next site we finally made it to Watersmeet Farm - a lovely "basic" site with 15-20 pitches - grass with EHU for us. A small toilet block and 1 shower, there weren't many people on the site so it was fairly quiet. You can hire a fire pit and wood during your stay - we would but I can't stand the smell of woodsmoke in the van! I stayed at Tribby while Shaun went out to explore the footpaths with Archie.
Day 5 - Saturday 11th July - Axbridge
Woke up to rain this morning but by the time we'd had a cup of of tea and got ready it had cleared over and we started out for our yomp to Cheddar. Shaun had sorted out our route - only 5k, but what he hadn't told me was that most of the fields on the way were occupied by cows - great, I'm not a massive cow lover and we have been chased out of fields before! Going over was fairly easy though, the cows in Somerset don't seem as interested as Sussex cows. By the time we got to the village it was close to lunchtime so we stopped at the Riverside Inn and had a Brie & Cranberry Ciabatta and Archie had a packet of Cheddars (when in Cheddar, Cheddars are a must!)
|Waiting for Cheddars!|
& then started walking back down and back to the campsite. Shaun had found a slightly different route on the way back - and yes more cows!
|Nearly back at the site - that gap in the skyline is Cheddar Gorge!|
Day 6 - Sunday 12th July - Axbridge
What an awful day - it started raining heavily in the night and hasn't really stopped all day. We got soaked walking Archie both this morning and this evening. Inbetween we've spent the day reading, doing crosswords, drinking tea and watching DVDs and snoozing. A very lazy, wet day. Thanks to the weather though we've found a leak in the sliding door window - need to get that fixed!
Day 7 - Monday 13th July - Axbridge to Devizes
Woke up to another joyful day of rain, and the hills covered in mist!
Shaun's thinking we might do the one night at Devizes and then go home rather than go back to Salisbury. We're finding it hard to dry everything out, it's just as bad as being in a tent when it's raining! Archie went the whole way sitting on his own on the side seat instead of cuddled up on my lap today - major leap forward for Mr Scaredy Pants.
We got to Devizes at around 1pm when it had finally stopped raining. This is a lovely big site with EHU on hardstanding pitches (not the most comfortable but you are allowed to use the pitch the best way it suits you. Really we should have pulled up sideways, but it's only for 1 night so we'll stick with the traditional!
The site is situated by Kennett & Avon canal so once we'd set up we walked along the towpath to the Caen Hill flight of locks - even though I'm not a great lover of boats (we did the Thames about 20 years ago!) I've always been fascinated by lock systems. This one is particularly amazing as it's 16 locks all in a row - or a flight! We got absolutely soaked again as it tipped it down whilst we were watching narrowboats negotiate the locks.
The weather forecast looks better for tomorrow, so we're heading back to Salisbury to finish our road trip.
Day 8 - Tuesday 14th July - Devizes to Salisbury
It's only an hours drive from Devizes back to Salisbury which was good, so we left at 11am to get back for 12 o'clock check in. slight detour on the way as Shaun spotted Hartley Farm Shop - we needed some provisions for dinner anyway!
Our pitch at Salisbury was right by the burger van which Archie loved as the guy who runs it kept bringing him bits of sausage and in the evening he bought us a cone of chips to eat whilst we were watching the TDF highlights on the laptop! We walked into the city to stock up on sausages (made a great gift idea for Mum & Dad for looking after the dog for the next few days). Internet time ran out halfway through watching Joanna Lumley's Trans-Siberian trip to Moscow!
We actually love the site at Salisbury, it's perfect for dog walking with the big field, the walk into the city and no doubt some places we've yet to find.
Day 9 - Wednesday 15th July - Salisbury to Home (via Parents)
Luckily Shaun cleared up the awning and windbreak last night - not much fun putting everything away wet again!
Shaun had breakfast from the van this morning (Archie got a little bit of sausage - we weren't looking forward to that coming back). A couple of hours back to my parents to drop Archie off, then time to head home, unpack Tribby and re-pack our clothes for our luxury adventure break in the New Forest tomorrow!
We've had a lovely time away and this is the longest we've done in Tribby. Not sure I'd want to do more than 2 weeks, storage for clothes is limited (even if you do forget half your stuff), but at least we know we can do it - even better if the weather is good.
Can't wait for our next adventure!