I posted last weekend about our first day camping in Olive, the 1979 VW Campervan we hired from Sweet Campers in Darlington. As there were so many lovely photos I thought I would split the weekend down into a number of blogs, rather than trying to cram everything into one!
We woke up early Sunday morning to heavy rain and wind. It was quite cold in Olive, although a heater was provided. We couldn’t use this as the Green Dragon had no electric hook up, and we were thankful we’d bought a decent sleeping bag. The shower facilities for me were good, albeit lacking in the electrics, but Raf said it was dire for him. After getting ready we took the opportunity to visit Hardraw Force, which is located behind the campsite, and was included in our pitch price. We’d seen photos of Hardraw during the summer months, so seeing it during heavy rainfall was a shock. We were suitably impressed at the highest single drop waterfall in England, although I didn’t want to venture too close. As you can see by the photo, we got quite wet standing at even a safe distance!
We decided to have a hot drink in the pub to dry off before our day trip into the Dales, and got info from the landlady about where to visit locally with the terrible weather. The pub’s cat was sat quite happily under a lamp, basking in the warmth of indoors, and I couldn’t blame her. Our plan had been to drive to Whitby, but I hadn’t anticipated the fuel consumption of Olive and how difficult it was to drive her round the country roads. Staying in nearby Hawes seemed like a much better option, and thankfully I’d kept info on my phone about another site in the area. I made the booking for Street Head, and headed off on more adventures. So much for my best laid plans!
After a full day visiting the Wensleydale Creamery and the best seafood restaurant in the UK (separate blog posts to follow!) we retired to the caravan site for the night. As we were both so tired we decided not to visit the adjacent pub for a nightcap but to spend some time using Olive’s facilities. Having a good cuppa is very important to me, and I took along some Teashed goodies to use. Graham ensures the basics like tea and coffee are stocked in the van, and there’s even a fridge for your milk and sausages. We slept ‘downstairs’ on the Saturday night, and Raf wanted to try the bed in the roof, but I was worried about the rain and the wind through the night. I’m a very light sleeper, and often can’t settle anywhere other than my own Tempur mattress. When Raf went off to the shower block I made the bed for the evening, so I got the final say 🙂
The site at Street Head was far better organised and proportioned, but the shower facilities weren’t as good for me as those at the Green Dragon. I spent the whole time trying to avoid stepping on the wet floor, which is something my colleague warned me about. Next time, flip flops! Because I’d experienced glamping historically at Herding Hill, which had heated floors in the shower block, I’d been quite spoilt. There were also no working hair dryers or sockets here so no hair washing for me again. This time my hair had to be tied up, which is unusual for me. I didn’t feel clean at all, and I was a little grumpy because of it. I was looking forward to my warm bed and a good shower. At least I had my tea! I always thought I was high maintenance in these respects, but maybe I’m mellowing in my old age. I certainly didn’t need to pack my straighteners and hair dryer, which I’ll remember for next time. I’m starting to think about a festival, but that may be beyond my capabilities just yet!
We had a breakfast BBQ on the Monday morning with some Northumbrian sausages brought from home. With Raf’s Brazilian background I left him with the meat and fire while I stayed in the smoke free van. Once he’d finished cooking we sat on camping stools I’d bought from Asda for £2 each (bargain!) to eat our sausage sandwiches. The bread we’d bought during our trip to Robineau worked a treat. We had to leave the site early as Olive needed fuel and she had to be dropped in Darlington early so Graham could spruce her up for the next renters. I was sad our adventure was coming to an end, especially as by the 3rd day I was starting to feel more confident in driving her.
Hiring Olive was certainly an experience and I’m pleased we tried it out. The bag of sweets we got was a nice touch from Graham, and I enjoyed scoffing the Parma Violets on the drive home. In hindsight, I should have added Raf to the insurance over the weekend. He has more experience of driving left handed vehicles and, although he has barely driven in the time I’ve known him, has more years under his belt than I. It would have also taken some of the pressure off me. At times I got upset with how rude and impatient other drivers were towards Olive. It is not easy to drive round twisty and steep country lanes, and I’m not surprised so many accidents happen with the erratic driving I witnessed over the weekend. It’s given me a new found appreciation for how easy to drive Minnie is, and how I should be more tolerant of other drivers in the future.
The sites we stayed at totalled £31 for the two nights. This wasn’t bad, although I found the facilities disappointing. I can’t be the only woman who needs to wash her hair and use a hair dryer! I think a holiday like this for a family would be a great idea, and I feel disappointed Jnr didn’t want to share this adventure with us. There were a few cross words through one thing and another, but I think we’re close enough to brush some of this off. Plus to be in such close quarters of each other 24/7 means you have to be pretty comfortable together, if you know what I mean! It is a weekend I don’t think I’ll forget in a hurry.
For more information about booking Olive visit the Sweet Campers website here.
More posts about our trip will follow over the coming weeks, including some child friendly activities and restaurants to visit if you happen to be in the Yorkshire Dales area.
Thanks for reading,
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