Can we just state that at the moment we are still working! It might not look like it with all this time away and we are definitely in wind down mode to the end of the year when we both stop in anticipation of going full time, but for the time being we are fitting the travelling around work.
The van was a year old in August and as part of the warranty, it needed a check and the underneath to be sealed. As we hadn’t bought the van locally to home, we knew this would entail a trip to Norfolk and after having sorted the youngest’s move date to university (coincidentally also to Norfolk for the Norwich University of the Arts) we decided to make the trip a week and split it over two locations.
First stop was a CL at Eastwood Whelpton boat yard located in the Norfolk Broads in the village of Upton. A quiet little spot with minimal facilities but with the solar panels and extra leisure batteries we can easily do a few days without hook up. If you’re into boating and sailing it’s a good base but we’re not so we stuck to walking through the multiple paths across the Broads. A large area of the wetlands here was purchased by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust and managed back to its previous marsh state. There is now lots of arable farming (the marshes had previously been drained) and the area is home to some of Norfolk’s rarest wildlife.
We ventured into the village a couple of times and along the way bought plums and apples from outside a house – a large bag of each for a grand total of £1! There is a community run pub, the White Horse, and adjoining community shop, both of which we used and would recommend.
After the bank holiday it was a quick trip to Becks to get the van work done and get a couple of spares which we might need for future travels (not sure of the availability of Hymer spares in the depths of Alaska!). Sadly, we couldn’t get the carpets sorted (three lots from Germany and none of them fitted!) but no problem with the refund so we can go and get some made to measure. One of the reasons we went to Becks was their reputation for aftercare and customer service and although we’ve not had any major issues with the van, they have been helpful when needed.
Van all sorted, we headed off the following day to Rutland Water where we’re staying at The Paddock campsite, although only the CL field and without any hook up. It’s a very tidy, adults only site with easy access to the reservoir and our plan was for a bit more walking and, for the first time in almost two years, getting on our bikes! The nearby village has a well stocked shop (the Edith Weston Village Store) although you have to watch the opening hours as we missed it one day – not sure if it’s because it is run by volunteers or due to COVID that the hours are limited.
Having explored on foot a little of the path which runs around the reservoir, the bikes were prepped for the following day.
The cycleway/footpath is a mix of paved road and some rougher off-road patches and on the whole was gently undulating although there were a couple of short steep sections where we have to admit to getting off and walking! The total distance was about 37km and considering how long it had been since our last ride, we felt remarkably good at the end.
Certainly a site that we would go back to and even more so given the short time it took us to drive home – we hadn’t realised how easy a drive it was!