Le Coups

Lollys parents have a second home near Argentat and this would be our home for the next four nights. Ian and Lindi bought essentially a shell of a property and have worked really hard to turn it into somewhere they can come and stay, enjoy rural French life and be part of a small French community, it was lovely to see different residents of the commune including the mayor in his tractor stop by and say hello despite speaking very limited English and doing their very best to understands Lindi and Ian’s French which is way better than most, certainly better than mine! 

The day we arrived it belted down with rain all day so we did all out washing and I gave the van a bit of a clear up and charged up the leisure battery, we pretty much stayed at home all day bar a brief trip to the shops (chicken and veg for an awesome roast) and a small walk with the dog, the house sits adjacent to a beautiful wood covered in fern, when the light filters through the view is quite magical. 

  
The weather the following day looked equally as damp so we decided to go see some caves, en route there was a bit of a commotion ahead and then there were sheep, lots of sheep!! 

  
When we reached the caves it seemed most of France had the same idea, a 2 hour queue from where we were standing in the rain, sod that, we chipped off and headed for the historic town of Rocamadour. 

Vive la France !

In less than 2 weeks we’ll be packing up the van and heading over the pond to spend three weeks driving and camping around France.

We were planning to go to Ibiza but the ferry cost is ridiculous, 650 quid return which I reckon is more than the fuel cost of our entire 3 week trip around France.

Over the last few months we’ve been researching places we’d like to visit and locations we’d like to stay in and as you can see in the picture below a route has been loosely planned.

FullSizeRender

 

Our first port of call will be Mont St Michel, from there we’ll be making our way down the atlantic coast to Biarritz, stopping off at Il de Re, Soulac Sur Mer and Arcachon, a night in Bordeaux and St Emillion, then across to Lourdes, inland to Argentat to hang with the Coups and finally homeward bound via Puy De Dome and Chambord.

We’ll be staying at campsites, my in-laws and Aires we’ve found using this awesome book.

FullSizeRender

It’s going to be an epic trip!

By way of preparation some work has been done on the van, new timing belt and water pump, air filter, the old one is below, not great, i’ve seen worse…

IMG_4503

I’ve also invested in a tried and tested diesel treatment that should increase our fuel efficiency by 10% and clean up the injectors, expect a seperate report on that!

I’ll be updating the blog throughout the trip as often as I can for those that follow our travels and we’ll be keeping an eye out for fellow dubbers!

Thats all for now, planning and packing for the next week or so!

Friday Night @ Firle

IMG_0480_1_2_tonemapped

As i’ve mentioned before, there is something really quite nice about finishing a week at work, jumping in the van and buggering off away from the smoke for a night or two.

Lolly and I were new to the whole wild camping thing but once you get your head round it all then as Arthur Daley would say, “the world is you lobster”, especially if your life allows you the spontaneity to head out at a moments notice without having to worry about things that require your absolute care and attention, pets and children for example!

Our destination came about from a chat we’d had with a fella we met at a boot sale who complimented us on our van, a long conversation followed covering all sorts of van and boot sale related topics, one of which was about wild camping on the south downs and Firle, a favourite location for our new friend.

Neither of us had heard of Firle so Lolly did a little bit of investigation on the interweb and discovered a good spot for wild camping would be Firle Beacon, a Marylin (hill over 150ft) which is situated on the south downs between Newhaven and Eastbourne.

Soon as I got back from work, Lolly had the van packed and we made our way to the M23 and then on to the A27, traffic was average but we arrived in good time and parked up.

IMG_0463_4_5_tonemapped

From the picture above you can just about see the sea, you can also see a couple of of other vans, one of which referred to herself as a van dweller which for no explainable reason made me chuckle! At the very top of this post is a picture that says no overnight camping, this sign (amongst others) is located on the opposite side of the road to us with a couple more near the other vans and in the car park behind us that you can’t see from this photo. There are none on the side we parked on and I suspect (don’t qoute me) the odd night here and there is accepted and overlooked but any kind of semi permenant camp would attract the authorities. We did get a visit from the police, they came up, sat in their car for a bit probably checking registrations and then left, last we saw of them.

As with all our little excusrions, food and a few drinks were on the menu so we got our Cobb BBQ going and knocked up some Wagyu burgers Lauren picked up from Aldi, they’re massive and really quite nice. After some food  and lovely rocky road that Lolly made we went for a walk across the fields and took in the lovely view of the south downs, we also encountered Cockchafers.

Maybug

Mad as these things look they are in fact completely harmless and if you come across one you should feel privileged, they only come out of the ground every 4 years because thats how long it takes them to grow from a larvae and they have a lifespan of about 6 weeks, there are loads of them at firle and they really like vans !

After our walk we returned to the van, put up the thermal blinds, setup the bed, put a movie on and settled in for the night. Over the course of the evening a few cars passed us but we had no hassle and woke the next day to glorious sunshine!

The photo below is looking the opposite way to the coast and over the south downs.

IMG_0470_1_2_tonemapped

The field in front of us had also been besieged by cows.

IMG_0495_6_7_tonemapped

My funniest memory of this outing is Lauren telling me how calming cow watching was which she spent some time doing!

Alas time was against us and we had to leave at around 9 in the morning, other plans for Saturday meant we could only stay one night but we will definitely be coming back with the bikes so we can go on a proper explore!

Hello summer 2015 !

Hello readers, hope life is treating you well!

So it seems the good old British summer has finally arrived, scant periods of sun and warmth enveloped by mainly cloud,rain and school holidays!

Things have been a bit quiet on the adventure front since our return from Scotland with only a handful of trips and a single one nighter!

I’ve spent a bit of time building up a new mountain bike and the majority of our trips have involved exploring the south downs, specifically Peaslake, Leith Hill and Devils Dyke.

FullSizeRender

The next big trip for Bumblebee is the Le Mans 24 hour race, about 20 blokes, 2 confirmed camper vans, a convoy of cars and beer, shaping up to be a cracking stag do!

24h-le-mans-june-2015_272x220

The van has spent some time abroad with it’s previous owners but none with us, i’m really looking forward to making the trip, the only downside is that Lolly will miss out as it’s a stag do, not for girls!

I’ll post up a full report of how the van copes with the trip to le mans and in the mean time i’ve posted up our first wild camping experience which can be found in the travel section under Devils Dyke 2015