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Saturday, 3 July 2021

Tour of North Yorkshire and Northumberland

I'm posting through the week in a family group on Facebook but I won't publish these blog posts until we get back next weekend. This holiday has been a while in the planning. We were originally going to take a week in April to experiment with a whole week's holiday using BritStops. However, Covid kept us all in restrictions and many of the pubs weren't open and it just didn't feel like the right time, so we postponed it until now.


I should probably explain what BritStops is and how it works. Various businesses sign up as BritStops, which means they are happy to have motorhomes and campervans stay over for a night in their car parks. In theory, you don't pay anything and don't have to buy anything, but they hope you will have a look at their offer and spend a little in return for the free night's stay. You also usually have to pay if you want electric hook-up, but only a handful of places have facilities, as they are not campsites.

Each February, the BritStops book is published. It costs £28 at the moment, which sounds like a lot if you're not sure about the whole idea... but that is the average cost of one night on a campsite, so I think it's good value.

The book is divided into areas of the UK and then, within each area, there are many places (pubs, garden centres, farm shops, etc) that are listed with a code number. On Facebook, there is a BritStops group, where members post reviews. The reviews are strictly checked and have to be approved before posting. You can't mention the name of the place, only it's book number, so that there is value in getting the book. The advantage of this is that each place is contacted annually and the book is updated. If it was all for free (say, like searchforsites) you wouldn't know whether each place was still allowing stopovers or what facilities they had.

So, in keeping with the rules, I won't be mentioning the specific places in my blog posts. 

Our Tour

We have planned a circular tour, with day trips and stopovers. Originally, it was going to be all BritStops but we ended up having to make a couple of last minute changes because of the ongoing restrictions and the 21st June becoming the 19th July and all that. 

As I said, I won't mention our BritStops by name, but roughly speaking, here's the plan:

Sat 26th June - Wolds Village and then a pub stopover on the coast, south of Scarborough.

Sun 27th June - Scarborough and then a pub stopover north of Whitby.

Mon 28th June - Beamish Museum and then a pub stopover nearby.

Tues 29th June - Holy Island and then a night at the Beadnell Bay Camping and Caravanning club site.

Wed 30th June - Alnwick Castle and then a night at the Bellingham club site.

Thurs 1st July - Chesters Fort and Hadrian's Wall and then a pub north of Barnard Castle (no eye tests planned).

Fri 2nd July - Hiking around High Force Waterfall and then an ice cream shop just off the A1.

Sat 3rd July - Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Gardens and then home.

Mostly, in keeping with the theme of this blog, my posts will focus on accessibility of the days out and venues... how this kind of holiday works for me as a wheelchair user... maybe a bit about how coming out of Covid-life is going... that kind of thing. 


I'll leave you with a photo of a pre-holiday visit. Our motorhome doesn't use Calor Gas, where you empty your bottles and then exchange it for a new one. It has a system called Gaslow. It has two yellow cylinders and a fill up point on the side of the van. You have to find an LPG filling station (there's plenty around at the moment) and it's a little like filling up your car with fuel, only the machine is a bit quirky. 

They're all a little different but you attach a hose to the van, remember to open the gas bottles (which should have been closed whilst driving there) and then hold a button to fill it. When it's full, you release the hose and it makes a big whooshing noise, like a mini-explosion. No matter how much you know it's coming, there's always a moment of mini heart attack when it does it. 

The advantage is, you can fill up any time. You don't have to be on empty... and it costs less. We had used about £4 worth of gas since last September, using it for cooking and hot water on every trip. That's really not bad! 

So here's our filling point:

On the left is a rather ancient looking filling point with various tanks around it. On the right is our motorhome.

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