Our first Twittercamp of 2017 headed north - and took place for the first time in Yorkshire in the lovely little village of Markington. On a site behind a pub - The Yorkshire Hussar Holiday & Caravan Park.
We arrived mid afternoon on the Friday having travelled up in convoy with Twittercamp stalwart Alison from Kent. We'd both overnighted near the M25 to get a bit of head start and met up eventually at Cobham services a little later than planned after Alison's SatNav took her on a mini tour of Surrey and West Sussex!
Friends and regulars Neil & Dave were already on site having arrived the day before. Their reports of 'research' expeditions to the pub were extremely encouraging - Timothy Taylor's Landlord was on. Lovely.
The other early arrival was newcomers Barry & Christine. We'd been talking on Twitter for a while but it was great to finally meet up and put faces to the Twitter name.
Not far behind us was Boss, aka David, with a 100% Twittercamp attendance record and for once the shortest journey rather than one of the longest. Car and caravan - Elvis II - were of course gleaming and put the rest of us to shame.
Needless to say, it wasn't long before the gong for beer o'clock sounded and we repaired to the pub to lay the dust, returning to the 'van only to get showered and freshened up, then heading back for a delicious meal and rather too many ales. They went down well at the time though.
This was to be very much - to use a much maligned phrase - a Back to Basics meet. Few activities were planned but breakfast around our 'van every morning in the shape bacon and sometimes sausage baps and tea and coffee thanks to Cover4Caravans who has kindly agreed to sponsor Twittercamp for another year.
There's plenty to do and see in the area to folks went their separate ways after breakfast while we headed to the supermarket to procure provisions for the Sunday BBQ.
A number of us gathered for a meal in the pub Saturday night, but not before Vicky & Lesley surprised us with an appearance. Keen campers that we hadn't seen for a couple of years and it was great to catch up. We could have invited them in to the 'van for a cuppa, but of course we didn't heading over, once again to the pub where we had a great chinwag. Caravanner of the Year Star David Bird popped in to and joined us in the pub.
We had the opportunity too, to test some new kit supplied by Solwise for review - a WiFi Booster Aerial and Router system. It worked extremely well and is going to be so useful for us. My written review can be found HERE and our video showing set up and installation HERE
Sunday brought with it more sunshine - although a slightly keener wind - but more importantly the Twittercamp BBQ. Neil & Dave got the chance to use their new Cadac and we were delighted to welcome for the afternoon David B again and Andi & Rob who we'd met briefly at the NEC. It was great too to finally meet David's Mum Julie and husband Bill.
The Monday morning gathering for bacon rolls was a chillier affair thanks to the absence of the sun and no sooner had the gang dispersed then it was time to gather again for a run into Harrogate - destination, the famous Betty's Tea Rooms for a delicious Yorkshire Cream Tea. The inevitable debate ensued about what goes on first - the jam or the cream. The atmosphere was very congenial and it was very busy, though thankfully we didn't have to wait long to be seated. A very pleasant experience enjoyed by all and just the sort of thing our sponsorship was designed for.
Time certainly flies when you're having fun and it seemed no time at all until the Last Supper Monday night. With the kitchen closed in the site's pub we ventured out a few miles to The Chequers Inn & Restaurant. Those of us that had the steak certainly struck lucky. Christine opted for the last remaining Hunters Chicken which they managed to forget. Rather than wait, she opted for something quicker which arrived clearly hurried and overcooked. Trev's persuasive tongue eventually negotiated an acceptable discount out but it did take the shine off an otherwise pleasant occasion. Normal service was resumed back at the on site pub.
Breakfast was served for the last time on Tuesday and it was soon time for the inevitably sad good byes. Alison had the longest journey in front of her - on her own too - all the way back to Kent. Neil & Dave were making the much shorter run over to York and David was heading back to West Yorkshire. Barry & Christine were staying, like us, for another night and after a few hours doing chores around the 'van, we had a run into Ripley for a look around before returning to the on site pub for a meal. An indication that our time was up came in the form of the delicious Landlord running out for the last round. We'd had more than our fair share over the weekend though!
So, another meet over. Smaller than of late but holding a meet in the north we did get to welcome to Twittercamp some newcomers which was great, as well as catch up with friends we hadn't seen for a while.
The site was fine - many pitches were fully serviced and the location was great. If you are thinking of visiting - and there's plenty to do near by - then our Site Arrival Video may be of interest. For a look around the site and village check out our Patsy's Places slideshow too. The pub was excellent. Superbly kept beer and great tasting food. Everyone ate there at least once and everyone agreed it was fantastic.
Twittercamp heads south-west for the next gathering - at the Camping & Caravan club site at Devizes in the Autumn - from October 20th. It would be great to see you there.
Thanks to everyone for coming - not just those who stayed but those who turned up for the day too. And thanks as always to Richard at Cover4Caravans for his generous sponsorship. It is appreciated by all.
Rich & Trev