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Tuesday, 31 August 2010

6 'u' turns and a flat battery

Set off around 10:00 heading north up the M1 M18 A1M arrived Rothbury Northumberland, after many u turns finally tracked down Nunnykirk caravan site, problem was the - Booking Conformation which I printed out had no post code, so I just typed Rothbury in my satnav like an idiot, thinking 'how easy can it be to hide a caravan site'?

Very easy as it turned out, drove into Rothbury saw a sign with a symbol for a caravan and thought 'yeah a piece of cake' but then saw a sign saying 'Riverside campsite' and with a sinking feeling suspected I had not not found Eldorado.

Went into the Riverside estate office and showed the man my Booking Conformation, "you are in the wrong place mate" he said. "Go out of the gate, turn left on the main road, go past the school, keep going and its on your left, you can't miss it" - yeah, I did go past a school and I kept going and going and going and going, after about 5 miles, started to get gripes of anguish, the countryside was turning into moorland, with nothing that resembled the sort of environment that caravans live in, what I recall of my many years on the road is, if you are going in the wrong direction, the longer you leave it, before a 'u' turn the worse it gets.

Then the thought hit me, perhaps he meant the main road - like the main road that runs through the middle of Rothbury so I did my second u turn, the first being in the Riverside campsite. Drove about 5 miles back to the main road, turned left and after about 2 miles and coming to a place with a different name, realized there was another 'u' turn was coming up, asked a local where the Nunnykirk site was, he said you have to go back to Rothbury and turn right, yeah I thought, that is where I have just come from, back I went, I saw a sign pointing in the opposite direction to the Riverside campsite to a campsite with a different name, headed off in that direction, yeah you guessed it, yet another another 'u' turn.

But a local seemed to really know where the Nunnykirk was, "you have to go past the Riverside site, pass a pub on the left and it is the next on the left" he said with a knowing air.

Away I went, past the pub, but also went past something that looked suspiciously like a caravan site, but thought there was one caravan that looked very derelict, not the sort of thing you would normally see at a Caravan Club site, so carried on. still no sign of anything that looked remotely like a caravan site, carried out yet another 'u' turn and went back to where there was caravans parked, plus the derelict caravan, not a soul in sight I sat and pondered my fate as a caravaneer.

Then I did something I should have done in the beginning, looked up the postcode, the address on the Booking Conformation was a pile of 'do do'. I had a Caravan Club site book in my caravan, would that have the post code of Nunnykirk in it?

Bingo NE61 4PZ I let my trusty Tomtom take over and arrived at Nunnykirk after a grand total of 6 'u' turns parked up and typed this, no internet in Nunnykirk, so all being well, you will read this when I get to Edinburgh.

A few shots of Nunnykirk it was not just the middle of nowhere, it was in the middle of the middle of nowhere, still having said that, very lush, green and peaceful. Had a couple of beers, watched TV on BBC 4, all about Blackpool and hit the sack.

Broke camp and headed north for 'Auld Reekie' (the Scots nickname for Edinburgh).

Not many people live in in Northumberland

Goodbye England.

Hello Scotland.

Many years ago over thirty years at least, in my days as a truck driver, I worked for a company called Edward Allsop and sons.

I can't for the life of me, remember what the load was, that I set out from Leicester with, or where I took it, but I do remember the load home, it was 20 tons of potatoes, because I had run out of driving hours, I had to find somewhere to park up for the night, in the days of yore, there were no such thing as sleeper cabs for a trucker, so the form was, you found digs.

I ended up with bed and breakfast in a pub, in a small border town called Jedburgh the thing that stuck in my memory, was how scenic this small town was.

I parked car and van, in the same carpark, that I had parked at with truck and potatoes, with this amazing sight of the wall of a ruined abbey.

Getting close to Edinburgh, which lies behind the hill, just visible on the horizon.

Getting closer, the hill mentioned in the last comment, is now on the right-hand side of the picture.

Edinburgh at last, seems like there are lots of churches here, religion in the past must play the same role as advertising does today, like give your dog Twested and you will go to heaven.

Just turning right onto Princes street then immediately left you could see more of this famous Edinburgh street, if I did not have lots of mirrors.

The lovely thing about caravanning, is once you get through the trials and tribulations of getting there, you uncouple, drop the legs and you are home. Here I am at Edinburgh Caravan Club Campsite.

The reason I had bought my scooter is, so I can go and explore Edinburgh, have a couple of pints and not worry about being breathalysed.

The law is, as regards invalidity scooters and alcohol, keep below 4 MPH stay on the pavement and you are considered a pedestrian.

Found this cycle path, that took me from the outskirts of northern Edinburgh into the centre.

The Telford path

Arrived at the centre and went for pint, sausages and mash and got this shot from Princes street of the old town.

I went to Edinburgh kind of on the spur of the moment, I tried to book the caravan site for the Saturday and Sunday but they were fully booked so only managed to get Monday bank holiday and the Tuesday, so did not really get to see any of the Fringe, saw one very long queue for something but it was fully booked, there was Fringe stuff here,

But it was all a bit late, next year I hope to plan everything and explore Edinburgh and the Fringe more.

It was getting a bit late so decided to make my way back to the caravan, about three quarters of the way back, my mini nightmare began to start, my scooter began to go slower and slower and slower, oh no, not enough battery to get me home.

Thing is with my disabilities (COPD + minor stroke) I can walk distances, but with great discomfort and lots of stops to get my breath back, I don't so much get out of breath, but start to fight for breath.

It was about 5 miles from Princes St to my caravan and I estimate I was able to get about 4 miles before the amount of electric in the battery was no longer able to transport me, but there was enough to move the scooter with me walking along side of it, walk a bit, sit down get breath back, walk a bit more, became the routine. I was so glad the last bit was down hill. I finally got back to the caravan at 1 am and estimate that the last mile must have taken me around 2 hours and I arrived totally exhausted, I shall organise things a bit better next year.      

Did not go far Tuesday night just a ride down to the Firth of the Forth which was next to the caravan site.

Got this shot of the Forth rail bridge poking above the trees at sunset.

Wednesday morning strapped wrapped and ready to roll south, homeward bound.

One of the ways I used amuse myself when I was a trucker, was to count the cars on car transporters, going the other way on the motorway, the point being is, because they were passing at a joint speed of over 100 MPH, usually there was not time to count the cars individually, but to take a mental snap shot as I went past and try to concentrate on the mental image and count them that way. On my way up to Scotland, I saw some enormous transporters and could not make up my mind whether they were carrying 10 cars or 11.

As luck would have it one of these enormous wheeled car parks, overtook me.

Having a careful look it seem like this behemoth is carrying 11 cars.

Finally walk into my front door 8 oclock Wednesday evening.

So that is all folks till I make my next trip, either Amsterdam for a week, or Berlin and Poland, hopefully two separate trips to both.

Any constructive criticism about this blog gratefully received.


  1. Funny thing about the u-turns, good old tomtom, it knows, just give it a postcode and you are away, much better suited for your purpose than for urban navigation...Have a good time. Drive patiently

  2. I like your photos Dad, good trip and the sun was shining too!

  3. I love Edinburgh. I am jealous!!!!

  4. Thanks both, it makes me happy to share my trip, my write up of the Edinburgh trip is not finished yet, I have some more photo's and mini nightmare to share. I hopefully will work on it over the weekend.