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Showing posts from August, 2017

Catgill Campsite at Bolton Abbey

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The beautiful Yorkshire Dales was our Bank Holiday weekend destination, far further north than we'd usually venture, and we booked in at Catgill Campsite, found through Cool Camping.

We arrived at 1.30pm on Friday and grabbed one of the last level pieces of ground. The site continued to fill up with campers and around half of the tents and campervans had to pitch on sloping ground or squeeze in ever more closely to other camping units. We perched ourselves on top of a hill with space for another unit either side of us. Our two neighbours arrived before sundown and it felt cosy but not uncomfortable.
The campsite has stunning views and great facilities and on a less busy weekend could probably be recommended. On August bank holiday though, it was overfull. Just four showers in the men's block was woefully inadequate for that many campers and we opted to get up at 7am rather than queue for ages later. This image shows the state of the refuse bins by Monday morning.
On our two f…

Colmar camping and cycling the Alsace wine route

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Having been as far south as central Italy on our three-week campervan road trip we were on our way north again and our final stop before home was Colmar.
We'd previously enjoyed a week-long city break in nearby Strasbourg and Colmar promised similar with its 13th century Renaissance and classical architecture. Huttopia's Camping Indigo chain has a campsite in Colmar and it's a chain we trust implicitly. We thought nothing of booking for three nights.
Wikipedia will tell you Colmar is one of the driest cities in France, but when we arrived the site was wet and muddy. We pitched as best as we could so we weren't sitting outside in a wet bog. Our pitch had a view of the river L'ill.
We were midway between two facility blocks, one of which was clean and new and the other dated and grimy.
The site is two kilometres from the historic city centre of Colmar and suffers road noise and sound from the nearby industrial areas.
I have to say after visiting about 14 Huttopia a…

Cycling and hiking around Lake Como

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We found the northern end of Lake Como, where we camped four five nights, to be pretty good for cyclists and hikers alike.
We were based in Sorico and cycling to the east and anti-clockwise around the lake was enjoyable, with the terrain mostly flat and cycle lane almost all the way. The only times we had to use a busy road was across bridges.
Heading anti-clockwise from Sorico we found a quiet stretch of beach with two small coves where we were completely alone. You'll cross two rivers flowing into the lake, following cycleway parallel to the second river into some woods, where just before Colico Piano there's a small path to the lake edge and the larger stretch of beach. Lock up your bikes and walk to the right and you'll find two smaller and coves just across a grass clearing. We spent a quiet afternoon laying on the beach here with an occasional dip in the lake to cool off.
If you're feeling particularly energetic then I cannot recommend highly enough cycling nort…

Camping La Riva - Lake Como

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We were spoilt on the first two weeks of our Italian adventure. Tuscany gave us a pitch with fabulous views and mainly sunny weather. Going further south to Umbria we found ourselves on a five-star campsite and 40 degree heat.
Our third week required that we started heading back north and we chose the Italian lakes. A few years ago we stayed in a hotel on Lake Garda. This time we decided to give Lake Como a try and booked Camping La Riva on the northern tip. I say northern tip but that's kind of stretching it a little. It's on the river slightly before it flows into the lake.
We had a warm welcome by the site owners and were shown to our pitch. I'm afraid this isn't the kind of site we enjoy. Firstly it has semi-permanent caravans that have what I can best describe as wooden shanty towns built around them. Secondly there are just too many camping units crammed in. Our pitch was between the road and the river, but the pitches are two deep, so in front of us, obscuring …

The varied cooking requirements of campers

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Dinner is bubbling away and smells amazing. We purchased a bag of dried beans from an Italian Lidl and added a third of a chorizo sausage, onions, garlic and a yellow pepper, plus a carton of tomato passata. A little squeeze of harissa paste added for a spicy kick, and a low simmer for a couple of hours (might as well use the electricity now it's paid for). More beans are soaking ready for breakfast of eggs, beans and spam!

Meanwhile the couple in the 'campervan' next to us with the two kayaks are having Pot Noodles and cigarettes.


Campsite Il Collacio - Preci and Castelvecchio - Umbria

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Heatwave Lucifer hit Italy just as we travelled south, for eight nights at Campsite Il Collacio in Umbria. Temperatures were around 35 to 39 degrees C and so we made the most of our campsite's two swimming pools for much of our days.
My family flew out to join us for seven nights. The trip was a surprise for my mum's 70th birthday. All she was told was that Dad was taking her somewhere hot that wasn't by the sea. She thought my brother Ben and his family were only taking them to the airport and so the first surprise was revealed when they parked in the airport's long-stay car park and joined them on the flight to Rome.
At around 4pm in the afternoon their car pulled up at Il Collacio. Tony and I were sitting by the pool and saw them, over the hedge, getting out of the car. I'd told Mum we were in Lichtenstein and was even checking in to places on Facebook to throw her off the scent. She was completely surprised to see us and the birthday surprise even made her cry…