Bristol Part 1 – Harbour Delights

Morning everyone – at least it is at the time of typing – from the Caravan Club site of Baltic Wharf in Bristol. It was raining earlier – when the blinds were still down, then the sun came out – briefly, but now the skies are darkening again. So we’ve suspended sightseeing activities for a little while so I can chase letters around the keyboard again in a probably vain attempt to produce something interesting. Still, we’ll see how it goes.

So, what’s happened in Legs Down land since Christmas? Well, we’ve dipped our toes in the swirling shark infested waters of vlogging! Legs Down now has a channel on You Tube and there you will already find Patsy’s Places – slide shows of some of the sites we’ve graced with our presence – and Know before you Tow – video’s showing the journey to a site so you know what to expect. Take a look and Subscribe if you can. We’ve also tried appearing in front of the camera too – an position that, so far, I’ve not found entirely comfortable. Having said that our introductory vlog – Hello from Rich & Trev – rapidly turned in to a giggle fest. We will be concentrating on the slide shows and arrival videos but will no doubt pop up in front of the camera every now and again. You have been warned!

It was last Saturday that we made the 180 odd mile journey west from East Sussex. The sensible thing would have been to go straight home after finishing work Friday night – around 7pm – have a bite to eat – and get packed ready for the off. Instead we went to the pub…

No matter though. Silly o’clock starts during the week meant we were still up early and over at the storage yard by 7:30am and pulling out just after eight.

I drove the first stint with Trev taking over after we’d stopped at Membury Services on the M4 for some overpriced artery clogging fodder. A word to the wise here – if you stop here with your caravan, don't follow the initial caravan signs – they are out of date and you’ll get a tour of the main car park. Head straight for the lorry park – that’s where they want you.

Having not stayed at the site in Bristol before I made careful not of the instructions given by the caravan club – and they were excellent, guiding us in from the M5 and under Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge. Soon after 12:30 we were pulling in to the site have had a very smooth journey. Rosie clearly didn’t like the cold weather much however as she could only manage 27mpg.

With set up – and a very quick rinse down of Patsy’s front and rear – completed we cranked the heating up and enjoyed a much needed siesta. Later, with friends, and friends of friends already on site we headed to the nearby pub called The Cottage – just two minutes walk out the back gate – for grog and grub, both of which were very enjoyable.

20170212_114544Sunday and there was no rest for the wicked as we boarded the ferry – handily placed adjacent to the pub – to head into the city and to get our bearings. You can buy tickets for individual journeys or day tickets but we opted for the weeklies – unlimited travel for twelve quid – and we’ve already had more than our monies worth, it really is excellent value. Check out Bristol Ferry Boats for more information.

We had a good wander around, recalling some of the sites from our visit back in 2013, but the DSLR stayed back in the ‘van in readiness for subsequent incursions. We stopped for some er, liquid refreshment – just the one mind – and missed the next ferry back. So, in the interests of research we called in to another pub – just for the one – and missed the next ferry too. Eventually we got back to welcoming warmth of Patsy though and other than a brief excursion for a forgettable takeaway – that’s where we stayed.

Monday brought with it a much brighter if somewhat hazy day and we headed first up to Clifton Downs for a view of the magnificent suspension bridge – designed of course by one Isambard Kingdom Brunel who sadly never got to see it finished.

It was pretty hazy as you can see but the Downs is a lovely area – a massive open space with great views down to the Avon gorge below too.

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The area surrounding the bridge had a lovely genteel feel about it - this was undoubtedly Bristol’s moneyed area but they certainly get a nice view for their cash.

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Having driven across the bridge – a quid each way, change available – we parked up the car and walked it too. It’s not as big as it looks but even more impressive up close.

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With Rosie juiced up and back at rest on site, we joined our friends and once again jumped on the ferry, taking in the whole of it’s circuit all the way to it’s furthest point and the Temple Meads railway station before jumping off back in the city for a sandwich – and yes, since you ask, a pint too. Ok, two then…

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A circuitous route back to the ferry saw us take in the lovely Queen Square and a very inviting looking selection of pubs that we somehow resisted.

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Back at ‘our’ end of the harbour and not five minutes walk from the caravan site is Underfall Yard. A visitors centre tells you all about the history and workings of Bristol’s floating harbour and you get to see the pump room – once supplying water under pressure via pipes all around the harbour to power hydraulics that opened bridges, sluices, operated cranes and so on. We were just in time to see one of the pumps operating – and they're pretty impressive, particularly given their age.

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The Matthew took explorer John Cabot across the Atlantic from Bristol to Newfoundland in 1497 and a replica can normally be seen in the harbour as a tourist attraction however it was in dry dock here having some work done which at least meant we got to see it up close.

The Cottage was our destination for the evening for another excellent meal and we managed not to disgrace ourselves in the quiz either thanks to a great deal of guesswork.

Right, the word count is up so we’ll call a halt to part one. There’s lots more to come though, so check back soon.

Cheers & Beers

Rich & Trev

P.S. If you have a moment you might want to check out the video’s below:

Approach & Arrive – the route from the M5 to the site

Patsy’s Places – Baltic Wharf Caravan Club Site

On the Ferry – around Bristol harbour

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