Tag Archives: Wild Camping

A windy night and learning how to motor home….

We woke reasonably early in Playa Blanca after a very windy night, as we’ve come to find they aren’t joking about the wind, if you’re by the coast it’s windy, it doesn’t let up either…

On the plus side however we did wake up to the sound of the ocean (twinned with the sound of howling wind) and the sun was making a concerted effort to break through the cloud…

It was shortly after taking this picture we discovered there were no mugs in the van and no kettle either (first world problems) so we made some tea in a massive saucepan and shared it, we also discovered the van water tastes rank so it’s boiled bottled water for tea from now on…

The previous nights visit to the supermarket was a grab and dash affair so we concluded we should visit another supermarket and stock up on supplies to last us at least a couple of days, buy some mugs and tea towels then head on to Corralejo.

Stella had a much better time at the supermarket

Corralejo is up near the Dunes of Corralejo national park and we had this notion that we’d be able to park up by the sea, have a bbq, watch the sun go down but that wasn’t to be, there is only roadside parking to access the dunes which probably isn’t a bad thing as this motor home would have got stuck in the sand anyway, we carried on to Corralejo which is my idea of hell, it’s like your typical Spanish tourist sea side town except it’s set back from the sea because of the wind, loads of sunburnt people sitting in English bars with their beer guts on display, sky tv everywhere and loads of shops similar to home, I spend every day in a busy city and the last place I want to be is in a busy town, there were also zero parking up options, on the way into town we saw a couple of big hotels with roads down to what we thought was the beach so we headed there looking for somewhere to stop.

The first road we turned down wasn’t a bad place to stop but we thought we’d check the road by the other hotel, tuned out to be a much better option, in no time at all we were parked up..

If you are here motorhoming and looking for an overnight stop over, this isn’t a bad option, there are 2 small supermarkets within a couple of minutes, one sells mugs and the other tea towels and BBQ’s amongst other things, the road is quiet the beach is only a few minutes walk away, it’s also inland enough not to be so windy…

As you can see it’s quite a big beach, it’s also a very windy beach not that it bothered Stella.

We tried sheltering behind some sunloungers but were pretty much sand blasted so we headed over to a beach bar to grab some shelter and a beer, they let us buy a beer as they were closing up so after about ten minutes we had to leave, we took a walk along the beach getting blown about all the way till we found a little crater, we sat down in there for a bit and it was much less sand blastery….

We mooched back to the van to feed and bath Stella, put her to bed, then make some food and test the shower out, we also had some booze and for a short period of time I convinced Lolly to wear a colander while cooking…

Right by where the van parked is a massive mobile phone mast that in the day looks quite ugly, however, with a lovely sunset and the mountains in the background it looks a bit like Tatooine…

Next morning we faffed about getting ready to leave and I made breakfast, it’s been the same thing for the last couple of days but it’s really nice, spicy meat crisped in the frying pan, then eggs scrambled in the oil from the meat served on some bread and butter as we don’t have a toaster with a slice of tomato on top..

Our destination for the day was Playa de Majanicho solely because the lady we hired the van from said it was nice. Before we got there however, we headed into my least favourite place to fill the van up with water which you do from petrol stations, some charge a euro for a timed amount of water, some don’t, some also have limited water which the Disa in Corralejo does so we had to abandon that and head out, not before Lolly saw a shoe shop and successfully purchased the pair of trainers I promised her for Christmas, I also had to pick up a lead for the satnav as I’d broke it, incidentally, if you are looking for a good satnav I can highly recommend the Garmin Nuvi 1390, you can pick one up from eBay for about 40 quid and it covers the whole of Europe inlcuding where we are now, do update it though as there are a few new roads over here which will through you off course as it did us trying to find the petrol station to fill up with water.

Before filling up we also had to empty, something we don’t have to do with Bumblebee, there are various locations across the island you can empty your grey water and toilet cassette, the owners of our chariot gave us map locations for each one which I will post up at the end of the blog. We found the service stop fairly easily and proceeded to empty the tanks.

It’s not an exciting business emptying dirty water and essentially a bucket of turds into a cesspit but it was made slightly more enjoyable by the squirrel army who are incredibly tame, every one of them came over to me, nibbled my hand to see if they could eat me and then retreated, the nibbling didn’t hurt and we gave them some dry weetabix and a breadstick Stella had chucked on the floor.

Happy squirrels.

From here we made our way to the garage to fill up on water and this is when we discovered I should have updated the satnav, we missed the new turning to our destination and ended up on a 30 minute detour, It was approaching 15.00 and we’d spent the whole day in the motorhome, this isn’t what we’d come away for. We found the garage and spent about an hour there filling up, letting Stella play outside and stocking up on beer, this is the garage, it’s in La Oliva and charges 1 euro for a good amount of fresh water.

Finally we were off and on our way to our last stop, it’s was a long and empty road…

We arrived in Majanicho to discover it’s a tiny collection of shacks frequented mainly we suspect by surfers and kite surfers, to date this is the windiest place we have been, it’s very pretty but also very very windy to the point that is’t bloody freezing outside.

This was not to be our final stop, we concluded it was not the best place for an overnight so decided to head inland up into the mountains where there is much less wind, we did take Stella to the beach before we left and I took a pano of the beach.

As you can see the beach was very quiet, everyone had been blown away.

Our stop for the night was to be a car park at the foot of a track that leads to a lookout, it’s a quiet road and car park with a stunning view of the island, particularly a sacred mountain called Tindaya.

We also constructed our first camp washing line, always travel with para chord 🙂

I tired to film a time lapse sunset but the go pro blew over half way through, I was also intending to take some Astro photos but ended up drinking loads of beer and eating a lovely fish pasta Lolly made us, we settled down for the night in a not to wind blasted van..

Next morning we woke up to sunshine and a herd of wild goats, I didn’t sleep that well as it was cold and I didn’t put the heating on, it wasn’t that cold when we went to bed.

We took Stella up to the view point, the view is much like the one we have from the van only slightly higher.

You can just see the van in the distance…

We’re now back in the van ready to eat some breakfast and head off somewhere else, most likely El Costillo….

Tagged , , , , , ,

A mobile home adventure in Fuerteventura

As our regular readers know, nearly all the holidays we take are in our van, Bumblebee. We wanted to get away before Lolly’s maternity leave expired and ideally, somewhere hot, that ruled out anywhere in England and a good part of France. We had thought about getting a ferry with Bumblebee to southern Spain with a stop in the Pyrenees to do some mountain biking, problem is, at this time of year they are still covered in snow, not ideal and definitely not hot..

Also, with Stella at the age she is we are limited to 2 hours travelling time as that’s about the max she can spend in a car seat so the “experts” say so we wouldn’t really get very far and certainly nowhere that warm before we had to turn back and come home…

Thankfully, Lolly had a plan, how about we fly to the Canary Islands, rent a motor home and spend 10 days exploring the island, then be back home for my birthday so I could go out somewhere on my downhill bike, I’d made a big deal about that last bit so bless Lolly for coming up with a solution that meant we could all go on holiday somewhere hot in a van / motorhome and I could still go out on my bike, she’s the best.

Lolly did all the research and it came down to 3 motor home providers, 2 established companies and one who to us seemed like the small business who we would much rather give our money to, the company we chose is called Ventura van, the cost for a proper motorhome with shower, wc, baby seat and pickup / drop off at the airport was about £990.00 GBP, flights with easy jet from Gatwick for all 3 of us was £440 GBP return.

Lolly booked it all and once that was done it was time to do some research about motorhoming on the island which brings me to why I’m writing about a trip not in Bumblebee. There is very little information about the motorhome experience on Fuerteventura other than a few blogs saying how expensive it is to get your van / motorhome there. There are no recommendations of places to stay or park up so I thought if I write about our experience it might give others not not an insight but inspiration to do the same.

In no time at all our departure day was upon us, we’d just returned from a weekend in Chichester where it had snowed for the entire weekend, England was very cold so a trip to somewhere warm was most welcome.

We’ve never taken Stella on a plane before and personally I was dreading it, I had visions of her screaming all the way and us upsetting every passenger on the plane, I was also worried we might not get on the flight as while we were in Chichester she broke out in what we thought was chickenpox but was actually hand foot and mouth, anyway, I couldn’t have been more wrong about the flight, Stella took the whole thing in her stride and raised lots of smiles every time I took her for a wander up and down the aisle, as you can see, Stella was having a lovely time..

The flight was about 4 hours and as I mentioned earlier was with EasyJet, I have to say, it was a great flight and the staff at EasyJet were fantastic, they helped us check in all our baggage and extra items correctly and I’d like to think made sure we had 3 seats to ourselves when we’d only paid for 2.

On arrival our home on wheels was still on it’s way so we grabbed a quick beer and remarked on how windy it was, the sun was out however so who cares about the wind!

Our ride turned up, introductions took place, the owners of the van talked to Stella a lot in Spanish and she just smiled like she usually does, we hopped in and made our way to a car park in Puerto Rosario where we were briefed in how to work the motorhome, given a list of places we could empty the grey water and toilet cassette, handed over the cash deposit and then told good luck, see you in 10 days…

This is our chariot….

Now what???

There are no campsites on the Island, not one so it’s ten days of wild camping, for those of you not familiar with what that means, basically find somewhere safe to stop for the night and hope you don’t get told to move on. One of the things I had read about the island is that wild camping is massively encouraged because there just aren’t any campsites and it’s the best way to see the island, sure you can rent an apartment and get a car but at the end of the day you will always have to drive home whereas this way you can get your driving done early doors, park up and stay for a day or two and head to the next place.

I had researched a few places to go but after the flight and being handed the keys to a behemoth vehicle I had never driven on the wrong side of the road in I did’t really fancy venturing far, we’d seen a few vans parked up by the sea so agreed to head to the supermarket, grab some food and then find a spot to stay. At this point poor Stella was shattered and we dragged her round the supermarket as we had to get food for us and her.

As soon as we got out of the supermarket we strapped Stella into her car seat and before Lauren had finished strapping her in she was soundo…

We headed back toward the airport as that is where we saw the vans parked up by the sea, before we saw them we saw a sign for Playa Blanca and swerved in there. As you come off the motorway there is a sizeable hotel, if you turn left at the roundabout before the hotel there is a dirt road with plenty of places to park up which is where we stopped, rear door facing the sea. We had planned on making something lovely for dinner but it had been a proper long day so we put Stella to bed and settled for bread, Aioli and beer, we shut up the van, set the bed up and crashed for the night…..

Tagged , , , ,

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!

Tagged , , , ,

Great stone beach, Dungeness and more wild camping!

When the sun comes out there is nothing Lolly and I like better than heading to the beach. If you live in London or Greater London as we do, the beach usually means Brighton. We like Brighton, we got married there but the beach itself isn’t all that, it’s made of pebbles, if the suns out it’s rammed, getting into town is a slow process and it’s easier to solve a rubiks cube on acid than it is to find somewhere to park. You can however go by train, it’s very well connected and the town is a cool place to be, we didn’t want to be in the town, we wanted a beach.

I can’t quite remember when it was we discovered “our” beach as we like to call it, I suspect it was Lolly’s doing as I never bother looking these things up but it’s our go to spot for sand, a few drinks and a bbq, the beach itself is called Greatstone and it’s not far from Dymchurch in Kent, I like to call Dymchurch grim church because in my eyes it’s pretty grim.

There are many nice things about Greatstone beach, parking is easy and not massively expensive, it’s never that busy and it’s a proper sand beach with dunes which is where we usually head to as the beach itself is always a little bit windy, the dunes give you a bit of shelter, there is also well maintained toilets and an off-licence / general store that sells all sorts, we bought beer, biscuits and a mallet. Generally when we are there the sea is about a mile out so we often ditch paddling and just eat, drink and people watch, with that in mind, we cracked open some booze and got the Cobb BBQ on the go.

IMG_4338

Believe it or not that is actually on the go, the cobb doesn’t look like it’s doing anything but the reality is there is some lovely harrisa chicken cooking there and it’s a good job the cobb has a lid, it was windy and near enough everything we took to the beach got covered in sand except the chicken.

While we were cooking I took a quick panorama with my phone so you can get an idea of what the beach looks like and how busy it isn’t.

IMG_4331

The chicken was lovely as was the bean salad Lauren made, we munched, we drank and once i’d reached my limit of what I could have and be within the legal limits to drive, I convinced Lauren we should stay the night wild camping style so I could drink more booze, I love my wife, she agreed and said drink as much as you like!

We’d brought our bikes along as we’d discussed earlier about maybe going for a bike ride. I’d had a good few beers and thought riding on the road probably wasn’t the best idea so I championed the idea of riding across the compact sand, Lauren wasn’t convinced especially as she would have to carry her bike across the loose sand to get to the compacted bit, I think she agreed in the end just to shut me up, we took everything back to the van, grabbed the bike and headed off along the sand.

I’ll be the first to admit it wasn’t quite as easy as i’d thought but it wasn’t too hard either, it was really nice riding on the beach and the further away we got from the van the closer the tide came in, as the beach turned to shingle which made riding almost impossible and the sea was right beside us we got off and went for a paddle.

We had agreed that we would ride to the headland, as this was now not possible via the beach we carried the bikes up on to the road and continued to follow the coast road eventually arriving at a nice pub called The Pilot Inn. The pub was heaving with diners and drinkers, we had now left Greatstone and were in Dungeness, we stopped for a drink and surveyed our surroundings, we spotted a light house and decided to take a look, a helpful sign said it was one mile away.

This is were we discovered our new favourite place, Dungeness Nature Reserve, it’s not your typical nature reserve on the basis that it’s made mostly of shingle but it’s a truly remarkable place. The maddest thing of all is there is a nuclear power station and dotted all around the area are little plaques with details of what to do should the plant go tits up. There are also the most quirky and unique properties, some made out of old train carriages, some that look like run down fishing huts and others that wouldn’t look out of place on George Clarkes amazing spaces, there are also a couple of lighthouses, one of which drew us there in the first place.

IMG_4345

That one doesn’t emit a light but there is one round the corner that does, the first one was built in 1904 and was replaced by the second one in 1961 becasue when they built the power station it obstructed the original lighthouse beacon, I learnt that from another blog written by a T4 owner wild camping in Dungeness!

As I mentioned earlier, i’d had too much drink to drive home and we had planned to stay in the car park by the beach, the nature reserve however looked like a much better option, there were a few motorhomes parked up so we rode back, grabbed the van and parked up for the night next to another T4 and watched the sun go down.

IMG_4347

It should also be noted that we were parked quite near the power station which looked really nice when the sun went down and it was all lit up although the picture below doesn’t really demonstrate this!

IMG_4348

I drank the last of my beers, Lauren had a decaf tea and we got our heads down for the night, more wild camping!

We didn’t bother putting the thermal blinds up so we were woken when the sun came up as our van was flooded with daylight, Lauren did her best to rouse me so I could observe the beautiful sunrise but I wasn’t really up for opening my eyes for a little while yet.

I eventually got up about 7, we made some tea, put the bed away and headed off back to Croydon, i’d really like to go back there again, it was a cool place to stay and there is a load more to explore and photograph, i’ll bring my DSLR next time!

Tagged , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: