It took 2.5 hours from waking to leaving the Black Knowl site which was just about as expected. The journey home was un-eventful and took around 1 hour and 45 minutes.
The caravan has been emptied and cleaned inside so tomorrow it needs a good wash and then it’s being put to bed for the winter.
We also spent some time cataloguing where everything is being stored so hopefully the first outing next year should be fairly organised.
CaravanRamblings signing-off for 2015… 🙁
We leave Black Knowl tomorrow so took full advantage of the nice weather to dismantle the awning and prepare for home.
We visited Lyndhurst in the afternoon and then hiked some 5 miles in a circular route from the campsite, passing nearby Aldridge Hill camping ground. We wonder whether to try that kind of “off grid” camping another year; no electric hook-up or toilet block there…
Today we cycled south from Black Knowl on a 16 mile circular route, much of which was off road. Part of the route was closed off as the horses are being rounded-up by their owners (all the animals in the Forest aren’t perhaps as “wild” as one might imagine).
Lunch was at the Rising Sun in Bashley. Moe and Sue’s desert perhaps also not so authentic.
A fine day with the weather staying dry for much of the time. In fact a nice BBQ in the evening although the temperatures are dropping substantially as summer draws to a close.
It was another very wet night overnight and the rain didn’t ease off until just after lunch. Moe and Sue spent the afternoon at the Beaulieu Motor museum (on the day Lord Montagnu passed away) whilst I embarked on a rather soggy 8 mile cycle ride through the forest.
I did however stumble across a herd of deer and whilst I managed to take lots of pictures, sadly most of them were out of focus. This was definitely one of those occasions where a proper camera would have been really appreciated. I just don’t think the phone knew precisely what to focus on.
Herd of Deer
The heavy overnight rain very much in evidence again.
Still, the weather forecast looks a little better for the next couple of days…
Another grey and overcast day for the bank holiday weekend. There may be a nice day or two sometime next week. Ever hopeful.
Moe and Sue spent the morning trekking around the New Forest on horseback.
In the afternoon we walked 5 miles on a circular trail from Brockenhurst.
A tougher ride today. The trip to the “Drift Inn” for lunch was around an 8 mile cycle ride from Black Knowl and predominantly uphill through the Forest tracks and trails.
There seems to be a bigger variety of animals roaming the Forest this year and more in numbers too. The traditional New Forest ponies, donkeys, Shetland ponies and Highland Cattle.
Variety of animals
Timing of our arrival at the “Drift Inn” was not ideal as a coach load of seniors had just arrived 2 minutes earlier. Initial service was a nightmare as they ordered their pint glasses of tap water and then proceeded to eat their pre-packaged sandwiches in the garden…
We caught the train from Beaulieu road back to Brockenhurst and then cycled back to the campsite.
Beaulieu Road Train Station
The weather stayed fine and dry for the duration of the trip but the rain started just as we arrived back on site. It’s now early evening and it’s still raining posing a question mark over tonight’s BBQ.
Today consisted of a cycle ride through the New Forest to the The Oak Inn – a Fullers pub at Bank on the outskirts of Lyndhurst. Food was quite expensive at around £8 for a sandwich and the sandwich of the day, Pastrami, left something to be desired.
Cycling to Bank
A word about the caravan club site, Black Knowl.
Black Knowl CC Site
It’s in a lovely location but the facilities are in desperate need to updating. Apparently the Caravan Club purchased the land earlier on this year so it is believed that improvements will happen.
The toilet facilities are unusual in that the main 12 cubicles are individual rooms arranged in a circular fashion, each one consisting of a toilet, wash basin and shower. Not the most efficient of arrangements.
The monsoon rains seem to have receded for a few hours and so today we took a trip to Hurst Castle.
Hurst Castle and Lighthouse
It takes a long time to walk there along the gravel covered walkway and views of the needles at the Isle of Wight are clearly visible. This is in fact the closest distance to the Isle of Wight from the mainland.
By the time we returned, we were around 3 hours overdue on the pay and display parking but miraculously there was no parking ticket waiting for us.
Overnight the heavens opened and we must have encountered around 50mm of rain and very strong winds.
Hardstanding “Lake” pitch
The awning and Sue’s tent survived relatively unscathed but our pitch at one point did turn into a lake.
By mid-afternoon the rain had subsided and the sun shone for a brief few hours. Long enough in fact to cycle into Brockenhurst and procure a few items for an evening BBQ. The previous night we had eaten at the “Snakecatcher” pub and enjoyed a mixed grill – one where you cooked your own meat on the supplied volcanic rock plate.
Here are a couple of pictures taken on the cycle ride yesterday.
New Forest Footpath
Just outside Black Knowl
This was our third trip to the Caravan Club website at Black Knowl.
Organisation for these trips is getting a little more efficient and it takes just around a full day to load everything up and swap all the caravan stuff from caravan to car and to load the bikes of top of the Sorento.
The weather forecast wasn’t good with weather warnings of severe wind and rain for much of the south of England and in particular Hampshire.
The alarm sounded at around 07:30 and by 10:15 we had hitched up and were on the road, the satnav showing an arrival time of about 11:30 and a distance of around 60 miles.
We arrived at Black Knowl at 11:50, ten minutes before the “allowed” arrival time but in light of the inclement weather we really wanted a hard standing pitch so we could also erect Sue’s tent.
View from Awning
Needless to say we weren’t by any means first as there was already a queue of vans waiting for reception to open. Still, we did manage to establish ourselves on a decent hard standing pitch and hunkered down in the van until the predicted rain and storms had subsided.