A Tale of Three Car Parks

A Tale of Three Car Parks

As you may know, if you read our Blog, we are finding harder and harder to stay at home at the weekend.  Even as I type this, on Tuesday, I’m thinking, “Where can we go on Friday?”.

So with UK holiday season still in full swing many campsites I’d like to have visited, in the New Forest, were either full or charging silly prices (£34 a night..in a Forest..with no facilities?  Really?).  With that in mind I looked on the Motorhome Parkings website and saw that a pub, very close to us in Cholderton, was fine with Motorhomes staying over.  Without further ado we were heading down the A303 to Cholderton (about 12 miles).  The pub has a big car park and, more importantly, Beer and food!!!

After some fine Beers and wine..and evening meal, we headed back to Humberto for the night.  Success.  I love it when an otherwise expensive campsite fee can be diverted to my Beer fund instead.

(Click for larger images)

The Crown in Cholderton. Note. There’s a lovely Farm shop cafe just 500 yards away.
Just us and a French Couple. It’s amazing how the internet and Motorhome stopover web sites have made so many places accessible.

 

On Saturday we headed off, pre-breakfast, to try and get to Stourhead as early as possible.  Stupidly, for someone who lives so close to Stonehenge, I got caught up in the ever-present traffic jam there.  I realise that you can’t complain about traffic when you ARE traffic but the issue of Stonehenge traffic has been an issue for most of my life.  Having a Motorway (M3) funnel into a dual-Carriageway (A303) all the way from London that suddenly becomes a single carriageway to the West Country is a recipe for disaster.  I’m sure everyone reading this will have had many hours subtracted from their holidays because of it.  On the plus side you do get plenty of time to stare at Stonehenge from a distance.

Anyway, we got to Stourhead car park about 11am and did the breakfast and make-up (Angeline, not me) thing there.  Hats off to National Trust for superb coffees in their cafe.  It topped off my bacon sandwich perfectly.  We’re National Trust members so Stourhead is a superb free morning out.  It’s different every time you visit and we got some breathtaking views.

Monument at the entrance to Stourhead gardens

 

This is REAL it’s not a painting. Stunning.  We can really do a garden can’t we?

 

The view across the lake

I really want to go back in “full Autumn” when the colours are at their peak.  Timing is everything so we’ll see.

Once we were done at Stourhead we poured over a map for a while and decided to head to the Kennet & Avon canal near Devizes in Wiltshire.  It’s somewhere we visit a lot but have only stayed at camp sites.  This time we thought we’d try the Caen Hill car park.  I’d learnt about it a few months ago and it appears on my Motorhome Parkings app.    After a trouble-free drive we arrived about 5pm on Saturday.  The carpark was pretty busy but we managed to cram into a space until the dog-walkers and Narrowboat-watchers had driven home.  Once there was space we moved to a spot with a nice view.  It turned out we were a British Motorhome between 4 Dutch Motorhomes.  Clearly the phone App (which is Dutch) is successful.

Sunset over the K&A canal. You can see the Motorhomes in the car park. It’s a nicer spot than some camp sites….and cheaper.

The 24hr parking fee is paid at the nearby Cafe (200 yards behind me in the above photo).  That’s how I know we arrived at 16:50…because the Cafe closes at 17:00 so I ran with my £8.  It says you can pay by phone but I have a poor success rate with those systems.  The cafe simply takes your £8 and writes your Reg. number in a log.  Done.  Get the dinner cooking.

I set the alarm for 6am on Sunday because I wanted to fly my Drone at sunrise.  Just like most photography the best times are first light and last light.  Also It means I’m not disturbing anyone.  If anyone is around then I always ask if it bothers them (The folks on the Canal boat were fine about it and wanted to know where they could watch the video…they now have Humberto’s card).

A still image from the Drone, showing the car park and the amazing location.

 

A Dutch houseboat (double width) starting the long, slow descent.

 

I like this photo. It gives a true sense of just how much water is involved in the process of navigating a flight of Locks.

 

Some more permanent residents next to the cafe. There are worse places to live.

I headed back at 7am and waited for Angeline to wake.  We headed to the Cafe for cofffees at 10am and returned for a cooked breakfast.  Once we’d finished it was back home.  The nice thing is that it only takes about an hour so we had most of the day left.  That concluded another weekend adventure.  It’s simply amazing just how much you can pack into a weekend when you have a Motorhome and are willing to use car parks.

It would be nice if the UK villages adopted the French Aire system though.  Anyway..until they do..it’s car parks.

Finally here is a short video from my Drone of the Caen Hill Locks.

 

Lee at Go Humberto !

4 thoughts on “A Tale of Three Car Parks

  1. I really like the drone videos. Keep on filming! Now you have your home on wheels why arnt you out full timing (you know you want to) 🙂

    1. Thanks. I’m getting more confident with the drone, it’s a hugely technical piece of equipment with more options than I can deal with when it’s flying.

      With respect to full-timing, I’m working on an “Exit Strategy”. House will be up for sale in the new year, my Wife is quitting her job to allow her time to do all the admin & prep involved in leaving a “normal life” for one on the road.
      The plan is to full-time in Scandinavia and Europe for a year or so, basically until we’re tired of it, then buy a place in France. It’s all theory right now but we’re just about to start making proper plans.

      Lee

      1. Hi Lee, We went full time from May this year and let our house out so the rental provides us with some of our spending money rest coming from our pension plot (max 3.5% withdrawal per year so as not to deplete the pot). Our plan is for 2 years away initially then decide on future (maybe run house as airbnb style rental on selected weeks for say 20 weeks a year). All a bit fluid but we racked up 100 continuous nights in moho recently, toured 8 countries and now squatting in friends house for a week with van back in storage! The possibilities are endless! Good luck and hope we meet on the road sometime.

        1. Hi John.
          I’m just starting on the process of transferring my pension funds from my company pension into a private Draw-Down.
          Hopefully we can use a cash lump sum to buy a small rental house and draw-down 4% or so of the remainder.
          Our house sale will hopefully provide funds for a holiday business at some point.

          This is all assuming North Korea don’t do something silly of course.
          I also sense the possibility of a market crash, due to badly handled loans and huge debt. Will we never learn?
          Maybe I’ll ask that my funds be invested in something safe and stable for a while.

          See you out there (I’m going to get a Go Humberto sticker made for the van, to make it easier to spot us)

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