Although we were going away with the caravan, this trip was more about seeing friends than a holiday break. If you have read any of my previous posts, you may recall we have some friends, Pete and Julie, who were the catalyst for us starting this caravan malarky. We had gone to stay with them for a couple of days where they live in the wilds of the Yorkshire Moors and they had not long since returned from a three-month winter trip to Spain & Portugal…. the tales of their caravanning escapades got us interested and the rest as they say is history.
We had met up a couple of times on various sites – Barnard Castle, Oxford etc. and had been due to meet at Brathwaite Fold but this got cancelled (long story) and were planning to try and meet up again soon. However events overtook us. Julie was diagnosed with Myeloma and was currently in The Castle Hill Hospital. As the trip from their home to the hospital would have been a couple of hours each way, Pete was staying at a site near the Hospital. We promised to go over to see them ASAP. We were booking at very short notice but after a brief search came across Burton Constable Holiday Park and Arboretum which is set in the grounds of Burton Constable Hall, and had space for us.
Monday 8th July
We picked up the caravan and by 9:50 we were on our way heading east via the M62. Traffic was light and we only experienced a slight delay as we passed through Hull on the A63. Going under the Humber Bridge it seemed rather full… for most of its length. We later found out that this was the first day of the ‘improvement’ works to the toll system and it was taking around an hour to cross the bridge!. The weather when we left Manchester had been clear blue sky’s and hot, but by the time we arrived at Burton Constable – 12:45, it had clouded over a little and there was a cooling easterly blowing.
The site is on the edge of the grounds to Burton Constable Hall and is split into several areas. To enter the site you pass through the entrance arch and gate lodge to the hall – the reception is located in the gate lodge. We were told to drive through the site to the lakeside bar and we would be met by a warden who would show us where to pitch. The main site is static caravans, which looked fantastic and all were well kept with some stunning little gardens and raised decks. You pass through these to reach the touring caravan area which overlooks a big fishing lake with the hall just visible through the trees in the distance.
The warden asked where we would like to pitch and if we wanted to drive round to find a spot that suited us. We drove round the road and chose one of the hard standings at the back edge of the field. Sue wandered over to the warden to let him know where we had chosen and he said that was OK.
That evening Pete came over after visiting Julie in hospital to let us know how she was faring. The entrance and exit are controlled by barriers that require a tag to operate. As it was after reception office hours, I drove over to the main gate and picked up Pete from the car park. Officially I guess we should have had to pay the “visitors fee” (£3 I think) but as the office was closed and Pete left his car in the car park at the entrance I hoped it would be OK. We sat outside for a while and could hear a group playing 60’s music in the bar. It wasn’t too obtrusive… especially as they were quite good!
Just as the last light was fading I dropped Pete back at the main gate on the way passing the bar which seemed to be quite busy. The temperature had dropped to the dew point and the lake and adjacent fields were developing their own little fog bank.
I was stood outside the caravan as the last vestiges of light disappeared. I hear the band announce that this was their last song and they starting playing “Mustang Sally”. Dead on 11:00 they finished and it fell silent. I couldn’t even hear noisy patrons leaving the club bar.
Tuesday 9th July
It was already warm when we got up. We had nothing planned for the morning and we were due to drive over to the hospital to see Julie in the afternoon. Sue caught up on some reading and I had a wander round taking a few pictures….
The Sat-Nav indicted it would take about 40 minutes to drive over to the hospital so we set off around 12:45. We spent about an hour with Julie, who isn’t very well at all and ended up driving back to the site mid afternoon. We had arranged to meet up with Pete after the evening visiting period at a pub called The Nag’s Head in Preston for a drink and a meal. Unfortunately it was darts and dominos night and all food stopped at 7:30. A quick dash back to Sproatley and into The Constable Arms… only to find they had stopped serving food as well!. Back in the car… not much choice it would have to be a take out… back again to Preston and a quick stop at the local take-out before returning to Pete’s caravan for by now, much-needed food!.
Wednesday 10th July
Julie had started her radiotherapy and chemotherapy and rather than visit and tire her even more, we told Pete to come over to us in the evening after visiting and we would cook him a ‘home cooked meal”. Overnight the cloud had moved in and it was a noticeable 10 degrees cooler with the easterly breeze back. After a slow start to the morning we decided to follow one of the walks printed on the handy map included in the paperwork when we booked in. We started by a wander round the site… well it’s always good to have a quick nosey at other caravans!
After our once round the site we headed over the bridge to the other side of the lake and followed the lake side path……
The bridge is actually a wier between the two sections of lake….
The upper lake has masses of water lilies that looked as though with another couple of days of sun they would explode with bright yellow flowers.
The view of Burton Constable Hall from across the lake
Hiding along the edge of the lake the local ducks seem quite happy with people wandering past. No doubt though if you get too close they will head straight into the water quacking with annoyance!
The small island in the middle of the lake has a well kept summer house on it… surrounded by ducks.
At one end of the lake, the woodland had been cleared back a little and it seemed like a good place to roost!
Mum and her offspring setting off towards the water.
Pete came over that evening and Sue picked him up from the main gate. My alter ego “One Hairy Caravanner” had assembled the Cadac and hidden his identity behind his apron and cooked sliced pork loins in a mexican sauce with pan fried chilli and garlic potato slices and broccoli…. and a green leaf salad for Sue. We sat out for a while and chatted with Pete and got the latest on Julie’s progress. As the light disappeared again, Sue dropped him back at the main gate while I cleared up outside.
Thursday 11th July
The well rehearsed packing up routine kicked into action only to stop briefly to feed the three ducks that had visited us a couple of times each day since we arrived and had provided us with endless entertainment settling down next to where we were sitting to preen themselves…..
By 9:50 we were hitched up and off up to reception to hand in our barrier tag and loo key before heading down Sproatley Rd and back to the A63 and eventually the M62. The weather was gray as we left but the further west we got, the thinner the clouds became until eventually by the time we got to Hartshead services it was blue sky. We arrived back at the compound two hours thirty minutes after setting off.
Burton Constable Holiday Park was not one we would have chosen if looking for sites. We chose it this time as it was close to where we needed to be. Neither of us knew what to expect, but both of us were pleasantly surprised as to what we found. It was clean, with all the facilities you need. We were used to the layout’s favoured by the two main clubs but this was more akin to what ‘rallyers’ are familiar with I guess. The site is a family site, but the children were all well-behaved and hardly noticeable.
We didn’t get chance to explore the area and knew very little about what was round there. Hornsea is just up the coast and a bit further north is Bridlington. Of course, you can’t miss out Burton Constable Hall which is just a short walk from the site. Looking at the list of things to do around there it’s firmly on the list of places to re-visit. I think that the area around there is one of those gems that people miss.
Till next time – safe caravanning