Cool Stuff Archive

A New Trophy for Mollie

At the weekend we went along to a new VW show that was taking place in Pickering, which was VW Gathering, and with it being not so far away we organised for a club stand for the Harrogate & District VW Club that I help run, and got a convoy arranged for early on Saturday.

We met up with the convoy, that had started in Knaresborough, just by Dishforth and headed off to Pickering. The biggest challenge for normal vehicles and drivers on the way to the Coast, let alone old vehicles, is Sutton Bank just outside of Thirsk. It’s very steep, very long and very twisty. I wasn’t too concerned as I knew Mollie the Samba that I was driving would make it, and Bob the Campervan had been up it a few weeks before, but I had a slight concern going in convoy in case someone else had issues. As we went up, and got to a steep incline, the T25 in front of me had a bit of a gear change issue, basically I saw reverse lights come on and brakes… so I went onto my brakes, which meant that I had in fact stopped on a really steep bit. No worries, I’d put my handbrake on and do a hill start and get going. Hmmm… that would have been nice but Mollie’s handbrake isn’t the best so I was in fact just rolling back each time I tried to get the handbrake on, into Bob. Now that wouldn’t be good to crash both vans.

I was positively stuck on the hill with my foot on the brake trying to figure out how we’d rescue the situation. Dave jumped out of Bob who was behind me (fortunately Bob’s handbrake held) and after waving on a few cars that were hanging around I got coaching through the window. By now my knees were trembling, but had to concentrate on keeping my foot on the brake, while accelerating, while releasing the clutch and then the handbrake. Phew.. I did it, but that was nerve racking to say the least!

Here’s the convoy at the top of Sutton Bank taking a breather. We seemed to be nearly in the clouds.

the top of sutton bank

After the adventure of the hill, we got to Pickering and met up with more club members for the day at the show. (These are just pictures I took with my phone which aren’t brilliant, but I can’t seem to work out how to upload the ones Dave took on his big camera as he’s in London at the moment after speaking at SMX London today so these will have to do.)

harrogate and district vw club

And here’s Mollie basking in the sunshine before the showers came

mollie the samba

There were lots of cool VW’s at the show and it was a good turn out for a show in its first year and with the weather forecast being very wet. I know its not a VW by this was cool.. the General Lee. When it left towards the end of the day it did its horn, which was awesome!

the general lee

There was a Show and Shine contest that Mollie was entered into .. and hurray, she won Best Bus, how brilliant. It was great to have her at a show all gleaming and to see people smiling as they walked around her. People were even taking selfies with Mollie…love it!

mollie best bus vw gathering

After the show we had a small convoy home, cruising along and turning heads through the villages. We stopped off at the Hambleton Inn at the top of Sutton Bank, which I have passed many times but never been in. We got parked up only to find the pub closed, but the super landlord opened up for us. Perfect! It was lovely inside, really cosy and a place we will definitely have to go to again.

hambleton inn

A great day out at VW Gathering with old and new friends.

A Walk from Ripon to Studley Royal

The sun was shining this morning at the start of a Bank Holiday weekend, so what better way to clear the hangover that was lingering from a bigger than expected session at the rugby club last night than to go on a long walk. I’d normally go out walking with Cooper at the weekend on my own for a big stomp but today I had Dave’s company.. so off we set to Studley Royal. We’ve very lucky to have the World Heritage site of Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal on our doorstep.

This is a great walk to do as a loop which takes in some stunning scenery, open countryside, woodland and rivers … perfect for spaniels to have lots of fun. I took my pedometer with me today and we did nearly 13,000 steps and walked 8.7km which is 5.5 miles. Here are a few pictures of the adventure we had.

This is Cooper when we got through Studley Roger and crossed Studley Royal Deer Park. The deers were out of sight so Cooper could enjoy a big run.
studley deer park

I love this view of the driveway which is perfectly in line with Ripon Cathedral
ripon cathedral from studley

Here’s Dave and Cooper when we reached the lakeside. Cooper didn’t want to pose for his photo as he was too busy eyeing up some swans.
dave naylor

We treated ourselves to some refreshments at the tearoom which was delicious .. you can’t beat a scone with jam and clotted cream.
scone & jam

We set off again to head back to Ripon via the Seven Bridges
becky naylor

We saw two batches of baby geese which were very cute
baby geese

and a big swan (you can see the tearoom in the background)
swan at studley

The big lake then feeds water into the River Skell which carries on its journey after being diverted through Fountains Abbey and the Water Gardens
studley lake waterfall

Once we got passed all the temptations for Cooper he was away again
cooper at studley

The Seven Bridges section of the walk is as it suggests, and you cross over the bridges as the river meanders along.
seven bridges walk

It was surprising that the river had run dry though in one of the sections, but hopefully they will push some more water through
dry river skell studley

We then headed up through Brown Cow Wood to join Whitcliffe Lane, then through Spinney Woods to head onto Hell Wath, across the fields and joining the river again.

What a great walk… I have tried to map it out below – Blue blobs out, red blobs back. Next time we do it we’ll reverse it I think.
ripon studley walk

Weekend Away in the Dales

This weekend we went away with family, kids and dogs to Garsdale which is half in the Yorkshire Dales and half in Cumbria. We arrived in Friday evening, unpacked and settled straight in to the amazing cottage that is IngHeads.

ingheads garsdale

When we decided to go away this weekend we spent some time researching available holiday cottages that would tick our boxes. With us having Cooper and Mand & KC having Polly it was important for the dogs to be OK in and around the house, so we needed an enclosed garden… tick. With the kids its good with something for them to do.. so this house had a cool games room….tick. Then for the adults its always great to have a dip in a hot tub late at night with a cocktail or two …. tick. And what we were all after was a place that oozes character… tick. This place was superb, and being an hour and a half from both Ripon and Manchester it worked out really well. It had been renovated to a really high standard but retained all its original features.

back of ingheads hot tub

This is the cool games room complete with pool table, football table and a juke box

games room ingheads

and here’s the kids when they had a dip in the tub

ingheads hot tub

We had a lovely relaxing weekend, with great home cooked dinners, and lots of laughs. On Saturday we challenged ourselves to walk to the pub which was about 2 miles away by road, but we went cross country using the O/S Map in the cottage.

Stunning scenery on the way.


Lots of sheep and Spring lambs

spring lambs

Babbling brooks and meandering rivers

river in garsdale

and the stunning Dandry Mire viaduct on the Settle to Carlisle railway line just outside Garsdale station

dandry mire viaduct garsdale

“I can see the pub from here” … we had to go back into North Yorkshire to get a pint.

heading to yorkshire to the pub

and the sun was shining at the Moorcock Inn

pint in the sunshine moorcock inn

Another brilliant weekend … now what shall we do next weekend?

Easter Break Away

It was a bit of a last minute decision to go away for the Easter weekend, but with the weather looking good I got on with the search of where to go. With us now having Cooper there was an extra criteria to look for, normally we just need to find a hotel with a family room, but this time we needed a family room but also a dog friendly hotel.

As I had left it a bit late quite a few hotels in different areas were fully booked with it being the Easter weekend, but then I stumbled upon The Black Swan at Helmsley. We have been to Helmsley quite a few times, mainly to stop off on the way to the Coast and its in a great location to get around the area. We decided that we would take Bob, so got all packed up on Good Friday and headed off.

After a steady drive, stopping off at the top of Sutton Bank we arrived in Helmsley, and got parked up outside the hotel.

Miles and Ethan Helmsley

Here’s The Black Swan in the sunshine – can you spot Bob

The Black Swan, Helmsley

During the afternoon we went for a stroll around Helmsley, stopping at Thomas’s of Helmsley for lunch, and then heading to the Castle, wandering alongside the beck.

Helmsley beck

We didn’t go into Helmsley Castle, but headed to Helmsley Walled Garden which was stunning and had great views of the castle too.

Helmsley walled garden

It was lovely and warm, and everything was looking so good bathed in the sunshine. There was just blue, green and yellow everywhere. Dave and I popped to The Feathers in the afternoon for a few pints in the sunshine, where we soaked up the atmosphere.

At the Black Swan we enjoyed amazing food in The Gallery restaurant where the kitchen is headed up by chef Paul Peters. We failed to get any pictures of the unbelievable meals as we were so swept away with the impeccable service in the hotel and restaurant, but here’s Dave and Miles in the lounge before dinner.

the lounge

On Saturday we were well fed at breakfast and then headed to the Coast. We decided that we would keep away from the busy resorts and headed for Filey. I hadn’t been there before but it looked like it had a big beach when I was looking at the map.

This is a view out of Bob’s window on the journey… more blue, yellow and green.


Wow, so Filey was impressive …a huge expanse of beach.

Filey beach

Dogs aren’t allowed on the beach between May and September so we were lucky that we could take Cooper onto the sand. This was his second time on the beach and he absolutely loved it and ran and ran. The kids were loving playing a bit of rugby too.

cooper and the kids filey

Cooper wasn’t quite sure what to make of the waves 🙂

Cooper Filey

Once Cooper had dried off and we had filled up on fish and chips we headed down the Coast to Flamborough. Again another place I hadn’t been too, but a place that my Dad, when he was a kid, and his parents (The original “Cooper” family) regularly went to for holidays.

The lighthouse at Flamborough was gleaming in the sunshine and we got a good parking space for Bob.

flamborough lighthouse

And here is a shot over the cliffs at Flamborough. Its such a different coastline to that further up north, but more rugged and I loved the white cliffs.

flamborough shore

After a long day we were looking forward to getting back to the bar and relaxing before dinner. On the way back to Helmsley, Bob decided to let go and it turned out the alternator had broken. We had to pull off the road and wait to be recovered. When you have old vehicles you expect this sort of thing to happen so you just have to take it in your stride. It wasn’t long before we were back on the road again…well with Bob on a tow truck and all of us in the cab, being taken back to the Black Swan, just in time to get quickly changed for a pre-dinner drink 🙂

bob on a tow truck

We weren’t quite sure how we would get home on the Sunday, but that was something to work out after a lovely meal and a good nights sleep. In the morning after breakfast it was back onto Greenflag for a second recovery to get Bob to Dubtricks garage to be fixed and for us to get home. This time Bob travelled in style on a flat bed. It caused quite a stir in the hotel car park in the morning getting Bob loaded…with one person thinking thats how we transported him from place to place! Er, no… he’s properly broken down!


And that was Easter! Brilliant time had, and what was best was that it felt like such a long weekend.