January and February was made up of building the Van. In March travel began. U.K by van was a go. All together I went to 17 different towns and cities and enjoyed the experiences of 20 different places. Yep I get around and why the hell not.
I climbed Snowdon, with its snow covered Summit and rapid change in weather conditions. Hard work and cold but absolutely awesome. Stayed by the sea and slept to the sound of crashing waves, Dont get to say that every day. However to get to these places I also drove along some of the most amazing roads around offering some of the most amazing views possible. Yeah yeah its all been amazing but I have had a few break downs along the way, some character making others have tested my love for this van to the limits. Yeah still love her though.
Enjoying time with my nephew, sharing special moments with my girlfriend along the route, and enjoying some down time on my own to sit and think. Exactly what made March so great and definitely why I built this van in the first place. U.K by van is definitely the way to see it.
First trip out and off to Woking
Ooooo so excited! the van was almost done and ready for it maiden voyage. Location was woking for a basket ball game. Got loaded up and set off on my travel’s. Bedding in, clothes sorted, food packed and water loaded. I was good to go.
My first trip out was some what funny and expensive. More expencive that funny but now looking back at it some stuff just cant be made up.
I had a Wheelchair basketball game on the Sunday so thought i would go up on the Saturday night. It snowed and I am an idiot! the game got called off due to the weather and i am now snowed in on the side of the road in Woking.
Okay not exactly snowed in as such but there was about 10 inches of snow on the van and it was bloody freezing. Lesson 1.) I need a heater and possibly a onesie.
The journey back was interesting. This is where a mix of cold weather snow and stupidity all meet. Not leaving out the fact that before i even set off in the first place i had locked my keys in the van in Tesco carpark and had to call out the GreenFlag to come and let me back in my own van. I should have really stopped there.
Driving the M4 in snow is no fun, tiring and very interesting. Well the speed of other drivers and the stupidity they show with acts of sheer madness is the interesting part.
Stopping at the services is another very expensive mistake. Yes i went over the 2 hours rule and got fined £100 although I did fall asleep! With my lights on! And the van wouldn’t then start sooooo…. Had to call out GreenFlag again. But not before wondering off to try and find a set of jump leads. I even visited a 24 hour break down service centre behind the services that was bloody SHUT!! honestly WTF..
Oh yeah lets not forget the little short cut I took that seen me fall knee deep in sewage. Not just any sewage but that fatty horrible stuff that seems to come out of chip fries, mix in some water or in my case snow and there is no denying it….. absolutely horrendous.
When the guy from GreenFlag arrived and after he diagnosed my battery as completely dead even he commented on the awful smell in the area. Was rather amused when i told him my tale of adventure in the snow.
He did get me on my way and I did make him a coffee so actually it was not so bad after all. then on the way out some guy drove out of the fuel station and slammed into the side of me. Yep that really did happen and by this point i was wishing i had stayed at home.
the next day
After a good night sleep and rest I purchased a new battery. £145 later, add that to the fine for going over 2 hours at the services, £100 and with fuel and food; looking ata nearly £300 trip.
- I needed a heater as the van gets cold.
- Something to cover the front window to offer privacy.
- Dont leave the lights on.
- Dont stay in the services for longer than two hours.
- The bed was comfortable.
- She drove well, even in snow.
- The cooker worked well.
- The van stayed dry.
Not so much U.K by van, more like park van up and get wallet out. Thankfully this did not put me off and my next adventure was soon upon me.
I had been promising my nephew a road trip as soon as the van was finished and it was a promise I kept. How do you keep an overactive 15 year old entertained in a van? Easy teach him to cook! Coffee and breakfast every morning! WINNER!
We climbed Snowdon just after the snow. It started off hot and as we got higher it got hotter by the foot. The views where something else. I have climbed this mountain several times. I had completed the 3 peaks challenge twice. The problem with a challenge is it timed so you never really stop and just appreciate the place.
We watched a herd of mountain goats go about their business, tried to sneak up really close but they aint stupid and soon moved away from us. Some of the view are just breath taking. I believe that when you climb any mountain its not a case of beating the mountain its a case of if the mountain allows you to pass.
Just after the pass the remaining snow was getting thicker. Out came the cramp-ons to help with grip underfoot. These are basically spikes that you wear on your feet but at first site they look like something out of fifty shade of grey. Once on they are an absolute god send. Although i still managed to fall on my arse. And more than once.
The summit was completely white and thick with snow. The Walk up took us through snow drifts up to my shoulder. The experience was just awesome, here I was with my nephew. Two of us working together looking after each other. I was teaching him a few skill of mountaineering. Showing him how quickly it could turn and he was there absorbing everything. Smiles all round.
Dol Idris parking
Free parking over night with toilets and great views. Not much else needs to be said. my U.K by van adventure is full of these little gems.
Now this is a mountain that never lets me pass with ease. I have attempted this climb many times. Once I even sat on the grass and cried because the pain was so bad I didn’t think I would get off. Once you summit it makes it all worth the effort.
When my nephew and I attempted this climb the weather was against us. We first climbed the never ending steps through this forest. Heavy rain made things a bit miserable. We emerged through and into sun. Then we was greeted with natures humour by sending bellows of snow our way.
Unfortunately we made the correct decision to climb back off, some risks are just not worth it. First lesson I ever learnt about mountains is to know your limits. Worst thing was we where only 95 feet from the summit.
Yeah it sucked but it will be there another day.
Molifor Farm Beach Park
I dont need to say much here. My U.K by van next overnight stop was just fantastic. Sleeping with the sound of the sea cashing against the beach. peaceful and tranquil. Perfection! And no Signal. My nephew had to read!!
And then there are the regular places
What a month! amazing time and some fantastic experiences. Some great new places explored and some good old regular hangouts. Glastonbury is always a favourite of mine. A place where you can just be yourself. everyone seems to get along. great places for food and just very unique. Ogmore is another place. Very close to my heart with great memories of days out with my parents as a child. Tinern Abbey always gives me a great closeness to my late father and sometime i will simply drive down there, park up and have a brew. Why not I am after all in a campervan.