Holidays and Other Excursions

Tag: back roads

Salcombe – the Jetty – and Home

Thursday 25 May 2017

The sun is out again as we again drive down to Salcombe for lunch at the Jetty which is part of the Alex Aitken chain which has appeared out of almost nowhere in the last couple of years.  We went to the Jetty in Guildford (it is also in a Harbour Hotel; as far as I know there are no actual jetties or harbours in Guildford) about a year ago and if anything this meal is better.

The sun is beating down and we choose to sit indoors in the air conditioning but the outside tables are fairly well occupied and allow us people watching time – and some possible cases of sunburn (no hat or cream hence our choosing indoor seats).  Parking at the Harbour Hotel can be tight – but I think we got away with it!

This is my starter which is a Taste of Salcombe Crab and very tasty it was too.  A good start to the meal.




Jackie had this stunning looking crayfish and prawn combination to start.  I am told it was tasty.





This is my main course –  a nice piece of sea bream on spring vegetables and risotto.




And here is Jackie’s main course of fish and chips which does look rather good.

Food photographs once again come from Jackie’s resourceful iPhone – much better than the two of us both trying to out photograph each other!

Now it is time for the drive home.  I follow the road signs rather than have the sat nav telling me what to – so do not take the most direct route (which would probably have been faster).  Instead we wind back to Buckfastleigh and rejoin the main road.   This twisty bit follows the South Devon Railway which we visited at the start of the holiday and although I hear a steam engine we have no sighting of it!  We swap driving duties at Exeter and then again near Salisbury Plain.

However there is another reason for coming home a night early – apart from getting a better night’s sleep.  One of our guest dogs is coming to stay this evening and we are at home to greet him rather than our daughter doing the honours.

Distance from home to Salcombe is about 190 miles and we did some driving around narrow back roads (and some main roads) so total mileage was probably around 500 miles for this particular holiday.

Next up is a tour through large chunks of Europe which is largely by train!



Tuesday 23 May 2017

We do not sleep overly well.  This is not unusual for the first night in a strange bed – but the bed does not feel comfortable.  There is of course the usual restricted space in a caravan around the bed (it is almost impossible to get to the “wrong” side, which is my side) and the thin pillows mean my  head is not high enough so my neck hurts.  There is however a nice view out of the caravan across the park to the adjacent hillside and to the right we can see the sea as we are quite elevated over the main site.  You win some and you lose some!

We are off out this morning for breakfast at the Winking Prawn on the water front in Salcombe.   It is found without too much difficulty and we arrive just before the self service breakfast is available – so we have a few minutes wait.  A nice substantial breakfast and my third cooked breakfast in less than a week, so it will not help the supposed diet!

Not as bright today as expected so we drive into Salcombe itself, park and find a newsagent to buy a couple of items.  Then meander up and down the High Street – and get away before our one hour parking expires.  Whilst I have been here before a long time ago I do not really remember the town at all.

There are some photos here.

Our next destination is the Sharpham Estate shop as we plan to buy some cheese.  Being lunchtime we have a glass of wine as well as you do.  Beautiful scenery along the Dart estuary towards Totnes as we drop down into the estate – which took some finding along some back roads.

Our return route takes us through some more of the outstanding scenery as we initially head towards Totnes and then swing west before reaching the town and tracking back towards Challabrough for a quiet afternoon resting.

We do some reading before we head out in the evening to the Millbrook Inn at South Pool which once again is a little bit of a drive along some narrow roads to reach our destination.  The route requires that we have to go through Kingsbridge, then cross Bowcombe Creek, pass the end of the Frogmore Creek (as it is not bridged) and the pub is at the end of the South Pool Creek – all these creeks are part of the Kingsbridge estuary.

The pub dining room has a fire – not too near us – but the room goes from hot (doors closed) to cold (doors open) very quickly.  Anyway to the very good food – with Jackie’s photos as usual (I cannot quite bring myself to take photos in a restaurant):

My warm duck gizzard, pigs feet and other nice things!

And we get home in the day light despite the tiny back roads we are using!

Devon and the South Devon Railway

Monday 22 May 2017

With the football season over we can take a holiday without missing a match – so this is an inexpensive Monday to Friday break.

We are taking another cheap(ish) and this time short holiday.  It is Monday to Friday courtesy of the Daily Mail special offer which including a few extras has cost about £80 for a caravan at Challaborough which is on the coast on the western side of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, west of Kingsbridge and south of Ivybridge.

Unfortunately we are badly held up on the M3 due to an accident near Basingstoke.  Heading west means the dear old A303 and it is a bright sunny morning which is a great start to any holiday but as we were held up we have to move along at the speed limit.  As it is on the way to our eventual destination I have planned a trip on what is now known as the South Devon Railway but when I first visited the line in the late sixties it was known as the Dart Valley Railway.  When we do arrive Jackie is unimpressed by the catering offering as she gets some sandwiches for us to eat during our rail journey.

The railway looks nothing like that early visit or even a subsequent trip in the early nineties.  On that first trip it was possible to walk around the out of use stock and nothing was undercover.  Like other preserved railways, it can no longer pretend to be a quiet bucolic branch line as patronage is now, even on a sunny but non-holiday Monday, vastly greater than the passenger numbers pre-closure.

The trains now run to Totnes Riverside and here the changes are even more dramatic; flower beds on the platform and sign posts to attractions as well as clear routes to the mainline railway; I don’t think we even went that far on the first visit.  Working of the branch line into Totnes itself proved too costly and the railway retrenched to their own station.  My photos of the railway are here.

With the return train trip completed we motor on from Buckfastleigh, more south than west to our destination at Challaborough Bay Holiday Park.  This is at the end of some narrow roads so we get quite close to the hedges and with traffic coming the other way keep needing to find reverse gear.  And of course sometimes it is walls and not hedges so even more care is needed, especially with a couple of blind corners!

In the evening we dine at the Oyster Shack.  Finding it requires travelling along some very narrow roads, one of which is called Tidal Road alongside the edge of River Avon – and there is water across the road at various points.

I started with some breaded whitebait and here is my main course of crab linguine with spring vegetables which was very nice.

Jackie wanted hake but there was none available.  In its place she had yummy cod:

And to ensure we knew we were at the seaside here is the ice bucket:

Photos come once again from Jackie’s camera.

We find a slightly different route back with a few less back roads!

Trip to Troodos

Tuesday 28 March 2017

One of the reasons for hiring a car was so that we could do at least one trip to visit the Troodos Mountains which are no great distance from Paphos.

The car has sat nav, there are maps on the internet and there are road signs – what could possibly go wrong?  Nothing does go wrong, I am pleased to report and we have an interesting trip.

We take the main road eastwards out of town and after a few miles there is a sign for Troodos Mountains so we take that exit and now the road seems to go uphill from time to time, although a lot of it seems flat.  We pass through some rolling farming countryside and not much other traffic so an easy drive.

We follow some signs and we get onto some real back roads, including finding a bridge between two valley roads which really is single track.  In accordance with our initial aim we find ourselves in Omodos which Jackie confirms she has visited before on a coach trip.  A cup of coffee is needed.  As we wander around the village we spy a couple of reasonable looking restaurants but it is a little early for us to take lunch.  But at least one of them has rooms so we could come to Cyprus again and stay for two nights eating in both!  There are also some interesting looking art shops and so on as we wander round – coach trips obviously stop here.

We carry on reaching Plano Platres at lunchtime where again there are a number of restaurants.  We park in the main car park and we are supposed to pay and display.  But we cannot get change from the Tourist Information so cannot pay for long enough.  We ask a couple of times but are told that the car park only tends to get checked in the peak of the summer season and indeed we do not get a parking ticket.  Always makes me nervous though if I do not pay enough for parking.

We have lunch in Skylight which is a huge restaurant – presumably with very heavy demand in summer from coach parties – it also has a swimming pool!  As with all meals the Greek salad which comes is almost a meal in itself and we keep forgetting this – we really need to order one to share between us but don’t!  Here is Jackie’s picture:

I had a better meal than Jackie.  Our waitress (and possibly part owner?) originally came from Leeds but had been in Cyprus for many years.

The car is unclamped when we return to the car park and we head on up to Troodos which is the highest point around here.  We pass snow/ice blocks by the side of the road as we ascend – it has not yet all melted at this time of year.

My few photographs of the day are here.  Mainly Omodos and the view from Troodos when we briefly stop.  It is definitely a lot cooler up here than down by the coast.

The journey from here is inevitably downhill and we are heading in the direction of Limassol as we use different roads to those used on the outward journey.  What feels different about this journey is that I can tell we are going down, going down and down and definitely down all the time we are moving.  This morning it was not so obvious we were ascending, but this feels relentless – constant use of brakes and so on.

We reach the outskirts of Limassol and then pick up the main road westwards back to Paphos.  A very nice day trip.  We know we did not see all the sights (missed waterfalls and so on) – but it is all part of an excuse to return here in the future.

One more post to come on our Cyprus trip.


Monday 6 March 2017

Today turned out to be a little more interesting than anticipated – by accident.  Jackie had expressed a wish to visit Hay-on-Wye which is about an hour’s drive and as Monday tends not to be a restaurant day it made sense to go and see the book capital – even if we were not overly worried about buying books.

So we wander around and it is clearly an amazing collection of bookshops.  I take a look at the shop proclaiming to have a good selection of railway books but I manage to persuade myself that I do not need any more!  We look in some of the other shops (books and other items) as we meander around the town.

We then head into one of the cafes and decide that hot soup is needed to warm up before we make the return journey.

Hay-on-Wye is a pretty little town and exists for book buyers and tourists with a very large car park at the southern end of the town; not overly full today.  I suspect a damp Monday does not bring out the best in the town and I have no doubt it gets busier in the summer.  Our outward journey skirted the Brecon Beacons as headed northwards and the entire setting is very attractive.

The sat nav when asked gives several routes back south so I choose one which is not the main road but appears to run largely parallel to the road that brought us north this morning.  We head out of town and find the right turning and almost immediately we start climbing.  And climb some more.  And keep on going up!

I later discover we are going over the Gospel Pass. As we climb we have to be careful as there are sheep everywhere and a sheepdog trying to collect a flock at one point.  When we reach the top there are some stunning views over the countryside.  Magnificent but unrecorded and I cannot find Jackie’s pictures.

As we progress I express the view that I am glad we are doing this trip out of season as the lane gets narrower and narrower and I have no idea what we might meet coming the other way (later in the year there is a programme on channel five where celebrities take some large camper vans over this road – I am surprised they fit!).  Some wonderful trees along the road too – Jackie’s photos:

We pass Llanthony Priory but again it is getting later in the day and we do not want to stop as it is not very warm.  We shall need to return one warmer day.

Back to Penpergwm and we hibernate out of harm’s way!