March Mini-Bimble



I am trying a new format this month which is hopefully more useful as a reference and information tool! Do let me know your thoughts..
Places visited : Lyme Regis, Dorset;           Beer, Devon.
Car Parking: Lyme Regis- excellent. Both the Charmouth Road and Holmbush carparks have dedicated spaces for motorhomes. £2 per day at this time of year. Both are up hills though.
Beer – motorhomes can use clifftop carpark £1 in winter. Railway shop at Pecorama has its own carpark.
Overnight: A Britstop Farm shop – excellent.
Eating Places: The Penny Black cafe in Lyme Regis – excellent.
Activities: Walking the Undercliff path at Lyme Regis 8/10; visiting the model railway shop at Beer 7/10

Our main purpose for this trip was to visit the Peco model railway shop at Beer. We set off on a glorious March morning and decided to visit Lyme Regis and do the Undercliff walk.

Lyme Regis is a lovely place to explore, and it was sheltered from the Northeasterly wind, so we had a lovely picnic sat in the sun of the promenade! Our lunch was some excellent sandwiches from the Penny Black café which is tucked behind the Post Office in the main Street.

Then we walked west, heading into a lost world known as the Undercliff nature reserve, which is one of the most important wilderness areas in Britain. The overgrown landslips form a jungle-like habitat which is fun to explore: a path leads from behind the harbour up a steep flight of steps into the woodlands of the Undercliff, riven with streams and valleys, and sudden open grassy areas affording dramatic sea views. There are rare plants here, lots of birdlife, and the temperature is usually 3 degrees higher than the countryside around.

We walked a total of 6 miles out and back – you cannot continue to Axmouth at the moment due to a landslip, but they are hopeful the full path will reopen by mid 2016.

Lyme Regis is also an excellent place for Fossil hunting, and there are several museums who organise workshops and walks.

After the walk we sat in the sun – inside Boris – enjoying the sun and reading. Then off to a local Farm Shop which is part of the Britstops scheme. We have used this for several years to find free places to spend the night. membership is just £27 per year – we make or money back in 2 nights.

The shop was excellent , containing a vast array of fresh produce, much of it local or home grown. Also much in evidence was genuine French produce, the product of regular trips to France.

After a very peaceful night, we awoke to discover the temperature had dropped to -3.5 degrees. Thank goodness for a thick duvet and a hot water bottle. We were lovely and snug.

The next morning we headed off to the objective of our visit – a visit to the Peco model Railway shop at Beer. Chris is building a layout and he wanted ideas about design, tunnels etc. I however bought 5 teeny boy scouts with a hand cart, some 1950’s schoolboys and some gates – all 00 guauge.

Playtime over, we headed back home on what was now a very grey and cold day indeed.

4. The very long night…

This is not the title of the next Jilly Cooper novel! Sadly, it only relates to our stint at Trailtrekker for Oxfam.

We were on Checkpoint 3 – this is 42 miles into the course. It was in a tiny village in beautiful (but remote) e, in the Yorkshire Dales. Most people were expected through here between 10pm and 5.30 am so our shift was 11.30pm –!

We drove up there Saturday morning to find a good spot for Boris. Unfortunately good = the least squelchy part of the field we could find! Even on mats we could see poor Boris sinking slightly! 20150822_102132

Still ….we had a free day so we did a super walk up over a large hill and down into the next dale where we hoped to revisit an old haunt – The White Lion…only to find it closed for refurbishment 😦   4 miles later we found the wonderful George at Hubberholme  , which more than made up for it with a great pint of Black Sheep Ale for Chris, and super Fish, Chips and Mushy Peas for £6.95! We then managed a doze in the early evening but then , as we played Rummikub the heavens opened. For 90 minutes a massive storm raged all around, and all we could think of were the 700 walkers out there somewhere.

When our shift started we were told that the walk had been put on hold, with everyone being held at the checkpoints and waterstops because the roads were flooded and the high paths were too dangerous. Then we heard that the river had burst it’s banks so some of the footpaths were underwater. Amazingly – most people at the checkpoint were just getting restless because they wanted to get going again.

Eventually they were given the all clear, but at the stop before us, where the river had flooded the paths, people had to be rescued and brought to us by minibus.

Still, the vast majority wanted to carry on, despite sodden clothing, blisters, aching joints etc. Despite what this sounds like, the safety was excellent, and they were all given the opportunity of medical checks etc. It is a tribute to the organisation of the event that everyone was safe, fed and watered and able to continue if they wanted to. At times, the huge tent felt like a war zone! 20150823_045055We all mucked in doing anything that was required – a lot of work with endlessly emptying bins,  and teas and coffees (yes you did read that right!), as well as being a mentor, confidante, first aider and general person to lean on! Every team has a support crew that drive and meet them at the checkpoints. The well organised ones have huge boxes of dry clothes, spare footwear, plasters etc. The less prepared ones look on enviously and say…we’ll do it better next time!

We were awed by their drive and determination, and the total event should raise £750,000!  That is staggering…. and most of them will be today!

So – 6.30am…. back at Boris… and, like every other vehicle on the field we had to be towed out of the mud! Then down to a car park in Skipton where we managed 2 hours sleep before driving home! Now we are back at Sopers Lane a day early……. so – what do you do in those circumstances…. you change your ferry booking and go on Monday instead of Tuesday!

So – bedlinen is changed, Boris all cleaned and prepared. Yorkshire clothing and maps removed and French and Spanish supplies installed!  Yippee!  A demain!