What a difference a day makes!
Last night was a wet and windy one. I awoke very early to the sound of two birds chatting between each other. Quite what they find to talk about at that time of day I have no idea.
Because we were so impressed with the standard of cleanliness at our campsite, Serenity Camping just outside Staithes we were happy to have a shower in their facilities. What a treat it was to stand under a nice hot shower and have time to have a wet shave as well as a scrub down without having to worry how much hot water was being used.
We didn't hurry to leave the site eventually leaving about fifteen minutes before the required 11:00 departure time. We were heading to Goathland. We've been there three times before and love it. Our first visit was in 1999 when The Chef and I were up this way on a touring holiday with our car and a couple of large bags. We arrived in Pickering and went to the Tourist Information Office where we saw a map showing the filming locations of various television programmes on it. I spotted that 'Heartbeat' was filmed in Goathland, and I said to The Chef that it was a lovely location. So we made our way there in the hope we could find some B&B to stay in. Once in Goathland we had a look around and came across 'Rose Cottage'. We knocked but there was no reply so we noted their phone number and when we arrived at Robin Hood's Bay we gave them a call. We were so lucky that they had a vacancy and back at Goathland we were shown to a lovely room and the most amazing separate bathroom you could imagine. I didn't realise it at the time but The Chef had never done B&B before and so this was her baptism. On reflection this was to be her finest moment with B&B and from there on it would to be downhill all the way.
We learned that back in Pickering there was a 'War Years' themed weekend and so we went back there and managed to buy two tickets to the 1940's dance in the local school hall that evening owing to a cancellation. Of course we weren't in WWII dress but we did enjoy the event which featured a 'Big Band' and food like spam fritters. We vowed that we'd return the following year and dress the part.
We bought with us Rosina's older sister Dorothy 'Dot' and her husband John. They were always good company and we were sure they'd enjoy the weekend. We had again booked 'Rose Cottage' and enjoyed the stay there, with us being martyrs and letting Dot & John have the room with the lovely bathroom. On the night of the dance it was wet, it was very wet, so wet that when we tried to leave for the dance in Pickering we got stuck in the muddy grass in front of the cottage. Poor Malcolm, our host, the man who had rebuilt 'Rose Cottage' with his bare hands, a man who was about to enjoy his wedding anniversary with his wife in our absence until we knocked on the door and asked for his help. So there was poor Malcolm giving us a push and ending up covered in mud. I do hope the sight of him when he went back indoors wasn't too much of a turn-off for his wife.
So this morning we phoned ahead to the campsite on the edge of Goathland - Brow House Farm Camping Site (N54.391114° W0.723322°) to enquire what time we could arrive "Any time you like - just turn up" we were told, and so we did.
Oh my god, we've been to some pretty gross campsites in our time but this one took the biscuit. Bearing in mind I contacted these people back in March I would have thought we'd have had some kind of seniority regarding a pitch, but no. Having slowly travelled down the long ,dreadfully rough, narrow driveway which succeeded in shaking the shit out of the contents of the top cupboards, we arrived at the farm entrance. The Chef went in to do the deal and returned telling me we were to park up in the field with the tents. I kid you not, we'd have struggled to get up the incline in to a field of wet grass and would certainly have struggled to get out. The 'tents' in the field were mainly 4x4 vehicles with roof tents deployed, so you get the picture. I told The Chef that there was no way I was going to even try to get on to the field and so we left.
On arrival back in Goathland village we decided to pull in to the car park where we tried to buy a parking ticket. What a nightmare, in the end we gave up and sat there as squatters. Whilst The Chef prepared lunch I popped out and got wet whilst taking a few photographs.
Then we made our way towards Pickering where I'd booked a basic campsite and were due to arrive in a few days time, just around the corner from the railway station, the starting point of the Pickering to Whitby North York Moors Railway steam railway www.nymr.co.uk .
We couldn't contact the owner of the site in the hope of changing our booking and so ended up at my Plan 'B' site, Black Bull Caravan Park (N54.223527° W0.771278°) about a mile and a half out of Pickering with bus stops outside. Unfortunately they could only take us for tonight at a cost of a mere twenty-eight pounds.
I suggested to Rosina that as I couldn't get through to the campsite in Pickering, our final campsite (N54.249866° W0.778534°) we should go in to Pickering on the bus to see if we could meet the owner and get our arrival date changed to tomorrow, and if successful then go to the NYMR booking office to see if I can change our travel date on the railway.
No bus turned up, even the bus driver going the other way gave me a 'dodgy' hand sign as we stood there, suggesting we'd be lucky to get one going our way. That was it, we'd had enough.
Having considered all the options we have decided to call an end to this trip a week early. It is such a shame as we were so looking forward to doing a couple of long walks around Goathland which we have done before and love, together with an already booked trip on the steam railway on the 1st July from our Pickering campsite, which was probably to be our final trip on this wonderful railway, culminating in fish & chips at the award winning chippies in Whitby when we arrived. But at the end of the day, we're in peak season and everywhere is booked. Just one crappy campsite has changed everything. Never mind we have the trip to Spain to look forward to. We sail on 31st August and so will hit Spanish soil at the beginning of September to start a two month tour. We are looking forward to it, and if everything is 'normal' over there, we should be able to enjoy a cheaper, more chilled and warmer tour than we have had here in the UK.
I shall add some pictures gleened from the internet showing the Pickering War Weekend held each October. The final picture will be of Dot & John, taken during our weekend here in 2000, who sadly died last February, leaving Dot missing him terribly. Another reminder as if we need one, that we must make the most of what we have while we have it.
I shall post our trip expenditure sheet as soon as I can.
See you in Spain
........... Maybe we should have bought a sprig of lucky white heather from the caravanners back in Staithes after all.