Hello to all you fellow motorhomers and welcome.
I hope you get as much fun reading this as I do writing it.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

An Experience

Well did you guess where I was. Yes I was in Cheshire. I stayed on the Delamere Forest Camping and Caravanning Club site. At the third attempt I finally managed to get there. It was such a lovely place I booked in for an extra 2 days.
However things did not go according to plan.
What an experience it was!
My visit started well and Pearl enjoyed her time exploring the forest which was accessed directly from the campsite by not one but THREE gates.

Then it all happened.

1. I started out on the short walk, testing out my OS map app. I just got started when I dropped the paper map.  I quickly realized it but even though I went back to look for it very shortly it was gone. Not surprising really considering the number of people about due to a fund-raising fun run.  What a good job I had the app. Meeting another walker from the site encouraged me to give up my effort and return with them to the visitors centre and get another map. I feel naked without a paper map.

2. On a suggestion I went to Chester for the long walk. The train journey was so quick and easy except I thought I had dropped my phone on the train. Lots of stress hunting for it only to find it has
slipped down to the bottom of my pocket. It was a good choice going to Chester.  Lots for humans to see and lots of place to take dogs for a run.

3. Whilst at Chester there was an accident at the campsite. One of the electric transformers blew. Some say a small fire ensued and the site had to be evacuated. Fortunately I was not there at the time. But on my return I was told there was no electricity on the whole campsite. All the facilities were closed and of course I had to use the gas heater.  It is definitely not as efficient as the electric one I have. It was a cold night.

4. I was going to move on to a site in Lancashire. The weather forecast was for heavy rain over the next 5 days.  It brightened up when I had to leave for an important meeting here in Bristol. Choosing another campsite was difficult because of the general bad weather forecast and because I did not have the relevant maps. Next time I will be better prepared.

So I decided I did not want to spend another cold night in the motorhome so I came home.
Despite everything it was a wonderful campsite. Lots of different places to walk and because of the close proximity of the train station so many places to go and see further afield like Liverpool and the Wirral. A place I would like to go back to some time.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

An Event

Although I make plans to go out in my motorhome I do not like to commit myself until the day I actually set off. As a result I only phone the campsite the day of departure to check they have a pitch for me.  Very occasionally I will phone the day before.

Even when I am going to mainland Europe I don't pre-book campsites. I book a ferry passage between 1 and 3 weeks before departure. This allows me to be flexible.  If I particularly like the campsite I can stay longer. If it is not so enticing I can move on. This is precisely what happened when I went to Luxembourg and Switzerland last summer. I booked the ferry only a couple of weeks before I set off.  The first proper campsite I stayed at in Luxembourg was excellent value and its location was fabulous. I ended up staying there several days. The walking was amazing. 
From Luxembourg I checked out the weather. I decided to head straight to the mountains in Switzerland as it was forecast to be sunny for a week and then rain and thunderstorms  Again I stayed longer than I originally planned exploring various mountain walks. I moved on only when the weather broke. Again I had a marvellous time.

But I digress. 
The Event?
I have booked a campsite 11 days before I intend to visit it.
I need to visit this campsite for my research.  The last time I planned to go I waited as usual before actually booking a pitch. When I eventually tried to reserve one I was astounded to find the campsite was full and in February. I am worried this may happen again so I thought it best to book to ensure that this time I can go. 
So off I go in a couple of weeks.  Hope the weather app is correct and there are at least a couple of fine days.  We shall see.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Ordnance Survey Maps

Whenever I am out walking, unless I know the route already, I always take an Ordnance Survey Map with me. I prefer the Explorer series with the orange cover. Without one I feel like I am walking in a fog; uncertain of what is ahead which makes me extremely anxious. Of course this totally ruins the whole experience.

Also I always use a paper version. So I have a shelf full of OS Maps. As I do more walks researching for my book "Canines, Campsites and Campervans; Rambles with Rover" so the number of maps increases.

But whilst doing research for the chapter entitled "Keeping Safe" I thought I ought to investigate the easy and effectiveness of the digital version. So I have been spending the past few days playing around with Ordnance Maps on my laptop and phone. Like anything new it does help if you read the instructions first. As you use the item and become more familiar with it so it become quicker to operate.

I have to say using the map on my phone is similar to using a Sat Nav when driving. As you walk so the marker moves across the map indicating where you are. It is very easy to see if you are deviating from the path.

This would be extremely useful when entering a large field and being unable to see the exit gate or stile. Which ever direction you set off across the field the app would indicate if you are going "off piste".  This would save you having to walk around the field trying to find the exit. Wonderful.

I have tried the app out on a few short walks around home. Each time I use it I get more and more excited.

I can't wait to use it on one of the walks to be included in the book. I envisage it allowing me to be even more specific in my instructions. But and it is a big but I need to do more research to ensure my fledgling idea is viable.  If this proves to be the case I will then have to re-walk those I have already done.  Lots to do out and about in my motorhome.

Despite the easy and convenience of the Map App I will and everyone should also take a paper version.

The disadvantage of using the app on a phone is the speed with which it drains the battery. If the phone goes dead because the battery is out of juice there is a big problem.

When I am walking, the taking of photos and making notes means I am out for long periods of time. Therefore I am looking into getting a powerbank so I can recharge my phone without direct access to an electric supply.

More technological equipment to carry about.

There is no reason why I should include this photograph except it is one I took on one of my "research" walks near home. I thought it was rather atmospheric. If you look very carefully you can just see, through the cloud s, the line of trees on the horizon.