A travel and style blog

Yes, I Went Motor-homing & No, I've Not Retired

There are two things to note. 
1, I recently spent 4 nights in a motorhome taking in the sights of Northumberland. 
2, I am not getting a perm nor taking early retirement. 

You heard it here first, people will be ditching their VW campers by the droves, in favour of a Sunlight T69L before you can say purple rinse.

This wasn't our first time holidaying in a mobile home, so don't be fooled by the 'McRent' emblazoned on the bodywork. No siree. Oliver and I went away in one early last year to Scotland. We were getting a bit tired of samey city breaks (life's tough I know) so we decided to try something different. For a laugh really, but turns out we loved it.

On this years trip some friends hired one too so we set off, convoy ahoy, to Northumberland for a mixture of wild camping and on site camping. The first thing people tend to ask is, are they difficult to drive? I'd have to answer that with a no, not from the passenger seat. It's not unknown for me to phone Oliver from outside our house in need of assistance parallel parking my mini, so driving a T69L is not up there on my to do anytime soon list. Fortunately for me Oliver quite enjoys driving one.

The size of the thing can have its draw backs. Plans for lunch in the village of Craster were aborted due to difficulties finding anywhere suitable to park on a busy Saturday. I'd say with a little bit of advance research though most places wouldn't be a problem. 

On the first night we wild camped at Spittal Point which had beautiful views of a beach and a lighthouse fit for a Virginia Woolf novel. As the sun faded and the dog walkers gradually made their way home we were left just us and the sea. We rustled up a 'gourmet' meal in our cute little kitchen, despite a temporary set back of realising only one van had been equipped with a clicker to light the gas oven. That's the beauty of a convoy for you. 

It was so nice to wake up the following morning to views of the sun rising over a deserted beach, and what a treat to be the only ones standing on the sand to watch it. For me personally, I think watching the sun rise over a different spot each morning is my favourite thing about staying in a motorhome.

The next day we visited Berwick-Upon-Tweed for a nice little wander. Good to see, having never been before, but you'd struggle to kill more than a couple of hours there. After a coffee stop and a nosey in a vintage store we made our way to the next nights destination, a campsite called the Barn at Beale. 

The campsite overlooked rolling hills and the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. Complete with restaurant, cafe, bar and showers it was quite a luxurious affair. Luxurious, bar the port-a-loo that temporarily replaced the ladies loos which were undergoing a spruce up. There was of course, always the loo in the motorhome, but one can easily resist the urge to use it when one has to empty it oneself afterwards. 
I did in fact empty the 'cassette' or toilet, as the non-two times motorhomer may refer to it, and found it a gross humbling experience. I genuinely think it would do everyone a bit of good to empty their own cassette at least once in a lifetime.

We awoke the next day to another beautiful sunrise which just puts you in the best mood for the day and makes the odd port-a-loo here and there seem all the more worthwhile. We headed to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne (which comes out in my head very Father Ted-esque every time I say it). 

There's only one road to get to the island which can only be crossed when the tide allows. Perhaps all the fresh air was getting to me, but I found this exciting. I liked that you could only get there at certain times of the day, makes it a bit different doesn't it. The local tourist board needn't scratch their heads for too long on the old USP side of things.

The Holy Island itself reminded me of a Cornish village. Pretty, with cute art galleries, coffee shops and my most favourite of all, gift shops. We picked up a tea towel because we certainly know how to live (no I'm still not getting a perm) and a couple of samples of the local alcoholic beverage, Mead, which I've only just realised is thought of as an aphrodisiac. Remind me to have a word with Oliver. Imagine the wires that could've been crossed when we knocked our pals van later that night bearing Mead.

On our third night, now off the Holy Island, we decided we'd wild camp again because well, free spirited aren't we. Finding a spot proved harder than anticipated. Although there were a few pretty spots along the coast in the Alnmouth sort of region, not all allowed for overnight stays. The spirit of adventure seemed to fade as did the sun, when we found ourselves in a pickle down a single lane dirt track. The only route ahead was covered by the tide. 

It's a slow and tense process reversing two rented motorhomes back up a winding dirt path, even from the passenger seat.

This, followed by what was an almost stay in a rugby club's car park, complete with view of McDonalds, meant that our wild camping went out the window. We arrived as night fell to another site called Pippins Park. Found at the last minute, it had nice enough views, very welcoming site owners but no showers or any other such amenity. It did the trick though and we were all ready to enjoy the peace, whenever the trains weren't passing by on the line that we soon discovered was a stones throw from the site. Heaven...for train spotters.

Our final day took us into the small but pretty village of Alnmouth for a wander and a slab of Victoria sponge in the Old School Gallery. We did our usual, if we could actually afford to buy any art which would we buy browse, then wandered along the beach and stopped for an obligatory Cornet, or a 99, that has long since cost only 99p. 

We took in the sites of Bamburgh Castle and strolled along the huge beach before heading to our final site, a couple of hours drive away, Herding Hill Farm in the heart of Northumberland. An all singing all dancing camp site, with showers and wait for it... baths and wait for it... a sauna albeit at an extra cost of £15.00 per hour. I didn't take any photos of our final campsite for some reason. Dazed by the prospect of a bath I suppose.

Now you might still not be convinced that the T69L is what all the cool kids are using to summer this year, but trust me it's brilliant. Stock it up with booze and food, throw in a few chunky knits and you're set. Nanna in the making or free spirit? You decide. 

It's such a laid back, relaxed way to see new places. Sightsee through the day, then twist those front seats round to face the dining table at night and hey presto. Pass me a mead pal I'm on my holidays.

As always, thanks so much for reading.

Elaine x

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