We had another chance for a few days away mid week again and decided to visit another Tranquil Touring Park site in Wales. Daisy Bank Touring Caravan Park is located almost on the Wales England border in Montgomery, Powys.
Monday 9th June
I’d uploaded POI’s for the site and some of the attractions around the area and checked the route. It should only take just over two hours to drive the 95 miles from home to the site so it was an easy start to the day. Thankfully the light rain had stopped while we loaded up the Freelander. We pulled out of the storage compound just before 10:25 and headed for the motorway to take us west towards Chester. It was a busy day for caravans and motorhomes… every other vehicle passing us in the opposite direction on the M56 seemed to be one or the other. By the time we reached Preston Brook the on again off again rain had stopped, and looking west the clouds were clearing and blue was becoming the prominent colour.
Skirting round Chester and south towards Wrexham on the A483 was the cue for the sun to come out at full strength. The traffic was fairly light and apart from a few minutes delay just before Pant (yes that’s right… look it up!), the A483 and A490 crisscross the border between England and Wales. It seemed that just as we passed a sign saying “Welcome to Wales” the next sign said “Welcome to Shropshire” followed by “Welcome to Wales again…. hence the question kept being asked…’Are we back in Wales now?” We eventually arrived at the site about 12:40… and it is definitely in Wales!.
We booked in, only a simple visitors book to fill in with our details, and were shown to our pitch. We were given the run down of the site and the location of all the facilities and if we needed anything just to pop into reception.. quite simple really. We were also given leaflets about the site and a number of discount vouchers for local establishments.
The pitch was a fully serviced pitch and the tap and drain conveniently lined up nicely at the side of the caravan and allowed quick and easy connections. (To see how we easily connect the drainage on serviced pitches see “Connecting your drainage on serviced pitches…“) The 16 Amp EHU was a little further away and the 10 metre lead wouldn’t quite reach so we had to use our 25 metre EHU lead. The pitch was level side to side and sloped down gently towards the front but two or three turns on the jockey handle soon sorted that out!
While putting up the Fiamma sun shade I discovered the centre pole rafter wouldn’t extend. You are supposed to twist it to unlock it, slide it open into place then twist it again to lock it… well it wouldn’t twist. We didn’t really need it as our canopy is one of the small ones so we could do without. I will give it a course of looking at back home.
As it was warming up nicely, my alter ego “One Hairy Caravanner” set up the Cadac and rustled up a couple of pork steaks done in garlic & chilli sauce with spicy potato slices… and of course a green leaf salad for Sue!
Tuesday 10th June
Tuesday started off fine and not having any definite plans for the day we thought we’d call in the local shop about two miles down the road for a few bits and pieces before setting off exploring. Now, you know when you loose track of time… well that happened to us. “Tuffins Emporium” as it’s described on the Daisy Hill web site is well worth a visit. It’s one of those shops that seems to go on forever in a haphazard and disorganised manner. Amongst the things we picked up was a selection box of ‘O’ rings for a pound… a washing line sock organiser for a pound… and some local cheese, fresh baked bread, pate and wine… not for a pound!. Tuffin’s is really worth a visit. It’s more than a supermarket, discount shop, garden centre… it’s an Emporium!
We spent so much time in there we decided to head back to the caravan for a spot of lunch… the fresh bread smell had worked its magic and the lunch time nibbles had struck!. As it was clouding over we sat in the van and had a makeshift picnic of fresh bread, cheese, olives and pate. The first few drops of rain turned into a torrential downpour of monsoon proportions.
Sue asked me if I had closed the roof vent over the bed…. DOH!. It was then I discovered that the rain had been driving along the roof of the van and had entered the roof vent above the bed and we now had a rapidly growing puddle on the duvet!. Shutting the roof vent stopped the flow of water and using a towel to stem the drips partly solved the problem of dripping water. However, the duvet cover was soaking. We stripped the cover off the duvet and a big thumbs up to the Jonic duvet… it shed water quite easily, the hollow fibre filling seemed not to be wet. First thoughts were to see if the site had a tumble dryer… then I had an idea. Sue has a hairdryer that I think in a previous life was a hot air paint stripper. Throwing the cover over the bathroom door and giving it 10 minutes of going over with the hair dryer set to “blast furnace” sorted it out… dry as a bone. The actual duvet wasn’t too bad and a further couple of minutes work with the hair dryer again had it feeling like it had been pegged out in Death Valley. The roof vent needed some attention now… just as the rain had stopped. A good wipe down with a towel got most of the water but the fly screen seemed to hold on to it and it was like looking up at a swimming pool. The hair dryer trick worked again and 30 minutes after discovering it everything was dry again. It’s a good job we decided to come back to the caravan for lunch or it could have been soaking in for a good few hours. Lesson learnt… shut the bloody vents when we go out!
Wednesday 11th June
The forecast was to start overcast but clear through the day, and so we planned to visit the Welshpool & Llanfair Railway.
Raven Square Station just to the west of Welshpool town centre is the start of the line. Originally the narrow gauge line used to weave through the houses and main street of Welshpool to what is now the Old Station Building station and connect with main line services before the station was moved.
The line was operated for a time by GWR and subsequently British Railways, with the last train operated by them on the 3rd November 1956. The line and buildings were then left to decay. By 1959 a group had formed with the intention of trying to preserve the line and work started to clear the line while negotiating with British Railways to lease the line. In 1962 the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway Preservation Company Ltd. was formed and they leased the line from British Railways.
The whole story can be read in the book The Welshpool & Llanfair Railway Travellers Guide available in the station gift shop (available for £4). It’s well worth getting for the history and the commentary and photos for the journey up to Llanfair Station.
The trip takes around an hour and passes through some wonderful scenery and a few level crossings. By the time we arrived at Llanfair the station tea rooms were calling and we headed in for a cuppa… and a slice of something squishy. It was about an hour before the train returned to Welshpool which gave me a chance to wander round and take some photos and Sue to stock up on some local preserves… and buy a piece of coal. Don’t ask!
By now the sun was shining and a late lunch and lazing around back at the caravan seemed appropriate. After misjudging the one way system in Welshpool and doing a second pass through the centre we headed back to the caravan… calling in at ‘Tuffin’s Emporium’ en route just in case we missed anything the previous day!
Now they always say things come in threes… first it was the Fiamma pole sticking, then the Niagara falls through the roof vent and the third fell in the category of “it could only happen to me”.
Sue had wandered down to look over the hedge at the dog walk and the sheep in the field opposite and in one of those rare artistic moments that photographers sometimes get, I though that would be a nice photo… I’ll just change to a 70-200 zoom lens.
I took the 17-40 lens off and put the 70-200 lens on the camera body. Went to frame the shot and there was a black blob moving in the view finder. Taking the lens off again I peered in to the camera body and sat on the mirror was a green insect about 8 mm long. I gave it a gentle blow expecting it to fly off but no it decided to wander about checking out the black matt lining of the mirror housing. I tried wheedling it out with a bit of paper but this boy was tough, instead of flying away the sodding thing decided to investigate my camera further and I’ll swear it stuck two legs up at me before it went through a hole where the lever to operate the mirror comes out and disappeared into the dark internals of the camera body.
No amount of shaking, blowing or verbally threatening it with grievous bodily harm would persuade it to come out. So at the moment I have a Canon body that I can’t use due to the fact there is a lodger sat somewhere in the delicate internal mechanics that operate the mirror and shutter blind in front of the sensor. Once I get this thing out it’s going to receive the thrashing of its life from a particularly heavy rolled up copy of “Landrover Owner” magazine.
Thursday 12th June
Why is it the day you are going home the weather is always perfect? We woke late and opened the blinds in the caravan…. yep sun shining, breakfasts being made on Cadac’s, the mouth-watering aroma of bacon and sausages wafting through the camp site. We were packed and ready to roll at just gone 11:00 and pulled in to the caravan storage compound at 1:15pm. Another mini adventure over.
What we thought of Daisy Bank Touring Caravan Park…
Located on the border between mid Wales and Shropshire it’s a great base for exploring the area. The site is well laid out and the pitches have plenty of space around them. The site is divided into four areas and for us, two of the areas “Roundton” & “Camlad” were a little bit buried within the trees, however this might suit others. There are two facilities blocks and the one serving “Kerry” was clean and well presented. The 4 showers were ‘wet rooms’ that each contained a wash basin and toilet and there was plenty of hot water through out the day. What we did like was the fact you could adjust the water temperature of the shower and it was a proper tap… not push button operation. Generally the noise was non-existent, although we could hear a chain saw somewhere a couple of fields away going all afternoon, but you have to remember the area surrounding the site is all working farm land and some noise is expected.The serviced pitches each have a tap and drain located within a few feet of pitch on the off side.
Would we go back? – YES, there is so much to see and do in the area.
Places to visit: The Welshpool & Llanfair Railway - The Space Guard Centre -National Near Earth Objects Information Centre RAF Museum Cosford - Bala Lake Railway - Ludlow Castle - Kerry Vale Vineyard - Rheilffordd Talyllyn Railway - Snailbeach Lead Mine - Corris Mine Explorers - Corris Railway -