We'd been to Kielder Forest briefly before but not for a week. We set off, full of excitement, towards the Camping & Caravanning Club's site at Bellingham. But we left home early on Friday (Chrissie had no work) so thought we'd try a stab at, what's known in motorhoming circles as, wild camping, ie finding somewhere free to spend a night. Our knowledge of the Dales suggested a likely spot close to Buckden by the side of the fast flowing River Wharfe.
The van's heating system runs on gas, mains or both. Gas operation is very efficient so we were toasty warm inside as rain rattled on the van roof.
The dogs had already become quite accustomed to motorhome life. You can see why we needed those nice long sofas.
Dixie proved that there's plenty of room on a front seat for a sleeping boxer.
While Tilly prefers a little more room.
We explored Kielder, taking the van along gravel tracks.
And into far flung corners of the forest. Spot the stealth van.
And enjoyed some gloriously quiet walks.
And, on our way home, discovered another wild camping spot above Hawes. This one's become a favourite; we've used it again since this trip.
We had some problems with the water pump on this trip; it stopped working at least twice. And we also kept finding water on the floor of the washroom. We couldn't figure out where it was coming from.
Returning home we took the van to Spinneys. They replaced the pump but couln't find any water leak. They did find a crack in the shower tray though and arranged to get a new replacement.
Our first week away had been great fun and whetted our appetites for more.