We’ve just returned from our first trip in Madge. She performed well through the Lakes and the Peaks and, barring one or two minor niggles, we are impressed.
Another first for us was the night spent at a Britstops location. Having paid £25 for the book (and automatic membership until March 2013) we were determined to try one of the many free sites listed. Our options ranged from pubs through farm shops and breweries to official UK ‘aires.’ Motor homing members are welcome at every site, entirely free of charge and with no obligation to buy from the hosts. No facilities are provided other than a secure place to overnight, which is what most of us really want.
We chose the Blue Cow Inn at South Witham, Lincolnshire. The car park slopes a little but that never bothers us. We don’t carry levellers; if we are on an incline we simply change our sleeping position to compensate. This pub brews its own beer at 4% ABV, a palatable cask ale from first sip to the downing of the fourth pint (and no doubt beyond if we hadn’t reached our capacity). Food was straight forward and tasty home-cooked pub-grub with no fancy pretensions. The welcome we received from the proprietors was sincere and friendly. The Blue Cow provided an excellent introduction to the ethos of the Britstops scheme and we believe that the cost of the book is money well spent.
From there we went to Keswick and met in quick succession both the most miserable camp site warden in the country and one of the most pleasant. A booking mix-up meant we couldn’t go where we’d originally intended and had to move to the nearby affiliated site in the middle of town – a stroke of luck arising out of misfortune.
We walked on the fells (Catbells) during the one day of shining sun and bought new walking boots in town on the one day of constant rain. Then home via Saddleworth Moor, Snake Pass and Castleton, bringing our brief but interesting first trip to a close.
A small snagging list of minor issues will be attended to soon. In the meantime, we’re about to find out whether paying for a Superguard external protective coating was worthwhile. Madge is filthy, mainly because of sugar beet and potato harvesting around home.