Around the coast in 80 days ...

Or something like that.

 

I estimate the whole journey, following the coastline of the UK Mainland, including cul-de-sacs to isolated coastal places, to be around 5,000 miles.

Split in sections of unequal length ( I really do not want to write reams of flowery prose on miles of coastline consisting of petrochemical plants, container ports and refineries ) I intend to take about three years to complete. 

 Please use the index at the top of the page to go to individual sections, starting and finishing at Lands End in a clockwise direction.

 

 

The story so far!

 

(Music maestro please.....   something ever so dramatic and moody)

At Rockbeare, Devon. A stop-over on the way to Cornwall and typical weather.

1The first trip out, Albert being brand new and untested, was to Delabole, Cornwall, for the writing of the Cornwall and Devon sections.

Well, why not Crying

 

If one is going to roadtest a brand new camping vehicle and find out how everything works or doesn't work then why not do it in one of the stormiest winters in decades! It all started ok, day 1 was bright and sunny, then in came 70mph winds and torrential rain.

Albert was magnificent. Everything worked and worked well. 

 

True lovers Knot, a pub/restaurant in Blandford forum, Dorset a stopover on the way back to Cornwall. A couple of hours sunshine between torrents of rain.

There was then a gap of a couple of months as real world issues got in the way, then finally off again. 

It was in Wales that I started to truly appreciate what a go-everywhere vehicle the California is. A couple of unintended excusrions down tiny roads not intended for anything bigger than a mountain bike left me in some precarious situations. 

It might be a van but not a van as we know it ... Jim.

Pin-point accuracy of steering, sensitive movements and well-balanced four wheel drive got me out of a mess on more occasions than I would like to freely admit to.

Caravan club site at Ludlow. A stopover after 350 miles of driving! Cardiff awaits.

By May I was appreciating another characteristic of the California.  We were now in Scotland, journeys of 700 miles just to reach our last stopping point. 

Albert cruises effortlessly on motorways, quiet (once everything has been packed, repacked and packed again in an endless quest to eliminate rattles from essential camping stuff). Bags of power at a not unreasonable 34mpg for a three ton van. 

I am grateful that I opted for an automatic. VW's DSG works very well. Basically start it up, point it, let the vehicle do the work.

Now a long pause, first France in September then Scotland in October.

Torridon road to Applecross and forced to turn around further up after the police closed the road due to heavy snowfall

Finally, on our first anniversary, Albert and I returned to our finishing point. The weather was back to normal. Wind, rain, sleet, hail, lightning, snow, but just what a trip it was. The true magic of the highlands in Winter. Fabulous in any weather.

We survived 8 severe weather warnings on this trip, from Oban to the very North West of Scotland, mostly severe winds ( 91mph just north of Ullapool), severe snow (trying to get home through Aviemore), Floods (trying to ,leave England and get into Scotland!) and torrential rain (so what's new?)....

Fabulous though, simply fabulous.

Even my home West Sussex coast can get a bit wild at times.

I do seem to attract storm and tempest wherever I go!

On our second anniversary we reached home.  West Sussex, where I live.

It's taken slightly longer than anticipated, but of course no one told me when I first set off that my retirement would be sorely interrupted by the centenary of WW1, plus the Bi-Centenary of Waterloo, and even ancient historians would be dusted off and put to use as after dinner speakers.

Now, back on track again. Ahead the Jurassic coast, the wonderful South Hams of Devon, Cornwalls Southern coast. All glorious stuff.