UNITED KINGDOM
WEEK 1 - 19 TO 25 OCTOBER - UNITED KINGDOM

Weather: Cold and wet most of the time.

We arrived at Heathrow early in the morning and ... would you believe, instead of parking at a terminal, the plane parked on the tarmac and we were all herded onto a bus then into the terminal. Go figure...

After collecting our luggage and getting some advice on where to stay and how to get there we took the train to Paddington Station where we jumped into a taxi which took us to a hotel in London. The taxi driver was sooo rude. He thought he should have been given a tip, but honestly - no conversation, no help with the luggage (yeah, he just sat there while we juggled our bags in and out of his cab) and we paid for our fare - what more did he want?

Our room wasn't ready so we had morning tea and tried to stop ourselves from falling asleep. We were finally allowed into our room where we dropped into a sleep for several hours.

Went for a walk to Oxford Street and joined the living throng of pedestrians up and down both sides of the street. Dinner was somewhere nearby along with a couple of beers somewhere else nearby (you know what it's like... lost, etc.)

The morning saw us pack up and catch another taxi this time to Waterloo Station where we boarded a train to Shepparton to meet the guy we were hiring the motorhome from (we orgaised this the day previous).

This was to be our home for the next 20 or so days...


So...where to go?

Here's a map of where our travels were to take us over the next 20 days.

20 October - London to Southampton
First stop was a petrol station where we picked up a road map. I navigated while Kevin drove - it was a good deal :) Went around in circles until we found ourselves on the road to Southampton. We stopped and did some shopping (stocking up on food and grog) then got lost again looking for a caravan park. We finally found our way to Hamble Le Rice where we parked for the night and ate cold sandwiches because we didn't have any gas to cook anything!!! At least the heater worked :)

21 October - Southampton to Brokerswood
We left Southampton after a huge 11 hour sleep and meandered our way to Stonehenge. It rained some of the way but it stopped while we got out and walked around the formations (very considerate, we thought).

We stayed the night at Brokerswood where it continued to rain. After weeks of eating aeroplane and restaurant food it was a nice change to be able to cook our own meals.

22 October - Brokerswood to Brecon (Wales)
Another 12 hour sleep!! We crossed the border betwen England and Wales at the 2nd Severne Bridge and headed to Brecon in the Black Mountains. Oh... beautiful part of the world here :) Loved the stone fences that criss-cross the countryside. Another thing about Wales was that all the road signs were printed in 2 languages - Welsh and English.

Had lunch at Brecon and posted some postcards then headed to Brynich Caravan Park, part of the Best of British chain of parks.

We were into a routine by now. Kevin would hook up the power and fill the water tank while I inspected the facilities. Most of the parks we stayed in (especially BoB parks) were all first class, with heated ablutions and piped music. The only down side was that it was so bloody cold the heating wasn't very effective. Most times I had the shower block to myself (was I the only mad tourist who was silly enough to shower of an evening?!?!?). By the time I returned to the van Kevin had it all under control including having turned the heater on :)

We didn't have TV so most nights saw us play Yahtzee followed by Euchre after dinner before turning in for the nights.

23 October - Brecon to Preston
Stopped at Shrewsbury Abbey on the way - a 1,000 year old chapel in the process of being restored. It hailed along the way (when it wasn't raining!!) but we finally found a park near Preston and parked up for the night.

24 October - Preston to Borgue (Scotland)
Now we were getting into beautiful country. Scotland! After another huge 11 hour sleep we headed further north where it was COLDER... brrrrr! Passed through Lancaster, Penrith and Carlisle and through Dumphries. Drove through Shap which is at 14,000 ft - saw snow but it was in the distance.

25 October - Borgue to Lake (Loch) Lomond
More rain but we didn't care - the countryside is most spectacular. We had fine bits in between :) We went via Turnbridge where Greg Norman won the British Open some years ago (1987???). Looked through the club house and bought a golfball for the collection. Continued to head north and without knowing how we did it, we ended up lost in Glasgow. It was getting dark and we knew we were going to run out of time and light before we found somewhere to park for the night but we managed to find Lomond Woods just before dark.

Go here to follow our adventures during the second week in the UK.