Sunday, 24 June 2012

Arriving at St.Martin's - Thurs 21st

The voyage to the Isles of Scilly takes about 2hr 40mins,  more into a heavy sea. Today, our conditions were described as a slight swell, though it rained heavily and we went below. There was a tug and an empty tanker moored off Penzance.

This video clip from the rear deck gives a feel of the swell.
This plaque showing the building of the MSV Scillonian III gives a date of 1977, the same age as our narrowboat! The ferry has had a number of re-fits and improvements since then (as has our boat!).

The lighthouse and rocks at Land's End

It was still raining as we arrived at St.Mary's and awaited for the St.Martin's ferry 'Voyager' to come alongside to take us over to our island home for the month.

St.Mary's Quay!
The campsite managers bring the gear up to to the campsite in their tractor trailor – we walk. Here is all our stuff and the tent erected – facing west?!
How many bags?
It's taken a few days to sort out the internet connections – the campsite is on wifi and happily we have got a signal albeit slow (when the weather is fine!)

Everything seems OK and we have quickly settled in. I've had a swim – cold though bracing! - a bbq on a wonderful Friday evening and a very blustery and rainy night last night! Next week looks reasonable as well?

Ferry to the Isles - Thurs 21st June 2012

We packed our camping gear in the dry Exeter Services (lorry park) and were very pleased as the rain came in as we drove west. Our plan was to stop over on the Penzance car park – we had seen other motorhomes do this in the past. On this occasion we were the only van, parked near the harbour right under a helpful light. This turned out to be the spot where the local lads congregated in their cars! They had gone by 11.30pm and we settled to a good night's sleep and a £2 parking fee!
Soon morning arrived with the sound of a crane at work, lifting a small yacht into the harbour.

This was our prompt to pack the duvet and last things and move onto the quay to off-load our gear, then park the motorvan in the Cattrans secure parking for our 4 week stay on the Isles. We took a lot of gear – but then 4 weeks is also a long time! Home from home so to speak, or is that van to tent?!
The container of passenger luggage goes aboard

We last did the ferry crossing in May 2007, the excitement remains the same with iconic views of Penzance and St.Michael's Mount.

The iconic St.Michael's Mount - to be visited later this summer?

We had been up at 6, now the hooter signalled our 9.15am departure.
We're on our way!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Motorways and Mud!

We've set off on our summer holidays, our tour of the South West. Today we said farewell to Cheshire for 3 months and headed down the M6/M5 to Somerset. Arriving at 5pm, we could have gone further though our plan was always to split the drive to the SW.
Our chosen small overnight campsite is in the lee of Brent Knoll.
You see this from the M5 just south of Weston-super-Mare - this time we drove to it!
This is the prominent 449ft hill that rises from the Somerset Levels. Brent Knoll has seen human settlement since at least the Bronze Age and was also an Iron Age Camp with multiple ramparts following the contours of the hill, broken only by the main entrance on the eastern side. [History notes for Chris.]
Before the Somerset Levels were drained, Brent Knoll was an island, known as the Isle (or Mount) of Frogs, that provided a safe haven from the water and marshes.  According to legend, Ider son of Nuth, who was one of King Arthur's knights, came to the Mount of Frogs on a quest to slay three giants who lived there.

The field is still rather soft from the recent rain. Muggins here decided to find the perfect spot by attempting to drive across the field and got bogged down in the middle!! Another motorvan owner came to help and we got it to higher and firmer ground!

The muddy bit that we got stuck on!!
Anyhow, we're on our way!!
Also tried out the video facility on our camera - Mrs.W gives her view of today!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

June Excitement !

June 1st was the annual Whit Friday Marches, our Rode Hall Silver Band followed the Tameside series of venues, marching and then playing the 'Castel Coch' March we have been practising - the Band Marches!
We had great time and the weather was kind. Overall we played well and came 39th out of the 50 or so competing bands.

The following weekend has been the family coming together for the Great Grandparents 60th Wedding Anniversary - really quite an achievement! We gathered with Laura and Bill's longstanding family friends and the three children with two husbands, four grandchildren with partners/wife and four great grandchildren!
People came up from London, down from Durham and over from Lisbon, Portugal.

Chris and her sister had decorated the room and the tables and organised the '60 Years Together' Cake and flowers.
The Happy Diamond Couple!
It certainly makes me think what the future holds for Chris and I into the future?!

Here I am giving a small speech to the camera person - and yes I am also sixty (one)!
Cassandra our daughter over from Lisbon is in the background with her partner Jorge.

And so onto the next stage of our early June excitement - preparing for our West Country Tour!
Motorvan with new Awning - Drive Away type