Grafham Water Deliverance

Trip  9:

The drive down to Grafham Water was easy and trouble free. We were not allowed on the campsite until 2.00 pm so we went to the car park by the Grafton Water visitor centre, here we had lunch and people watched. At 2.00 pm we headed back to the Shooters Hollow campsite.

The site is approached down a farm track and into a yard, however we had followed a tractor with a huge hay turner on the back. He went into the yard to turn around and we had to manoeuvre so he could get by. The farmyard was typical of one that had long since seen daily use. However there were a few newish cars parked about so maybe it was still being worked.

We were met by an elderly lady who explained that the contractors were Polish and they drove very fast so we should be careful if we went out. There was a toilet but Sue and I declined to enter because, rightly or wrongly, we judged it on the state of the surroundings. The owner lived in a static caravan next to the old farmhouse. She reminded me of Grotbags from the children’s TV programme. The Elsan point was basically a lid into the septic tank, gross. The water point was OK.

After filling the water I drove Iona to the pitch, passing under some willows and into an open space where five pitches were marked. In front of me were some leylandis which were about 50’ tall. I picked a pitch, no-one else was here, surprise surprise. The compass came out to check where the sun was and sure enough the leylandi cast a shadow from 3.30pm, so no solar in the afternoon.  Now I wanted to turn around and leave but Sue wanted to give it a try, and she thought is was highly amusing. I am now banned from picking sites without her approval.

Behind us were our neighbours in the form of Caravans stored by the stream. Some had not seen an owner for years. I could have sworn I heard duelling Banjos in the distance and the sound of pigs squealing.
Apart from the lack of sun and the rundown appearance, the site was sheltered with plenty of birdsong. I have been persuaded to stay at least a night here, although I told the owner we were here for two, possibly four nights depending on a phone call. I may have to ring myself tomorrow and ask myself to come home. Typically we have limited solar power yet despite being surrounded by trees and in a valley, we have plenty of TV stations and wi-fi available. The wi-fi has enabled me to find an alternative site if required.
We sat out until about 10.00pm and when I got up to go in it soon became apparent that I had had too much to drink. Sue went to bed and I tried to get on the Internet, but it took several attempts to put the password in, I blamed Sue. I went outside to check the chairs etc before going to bed but somehow I managed to fall backwards into a tree. The result was a cut elbow and grazes, I cleaned it up and went to bed.

Day 2:

I woke up this morning with a very sore elbow and shoulder. Sue applied some anti septic cream and found my shoulder was grazed as well as my elbow. We were planning a walk so Sue put a bandage on me because the cut kept opening when I bent my arm.

The walk took us along some field margins and through a mixed wood some of which looked ancient woodland, we then left the wood and followed the footpath around fields to eventually meet a cycle path which lead to the main road. We crossed the road and we were soon on the path that went around Grafham Water. The path took us across the dam which is about a mile wide, and we ended up at the visitor centre again. We walked around a bit of the shoreline passing the remains of a huge trout that some bird had feasted on. Before we turned back home we saw another two large trout and a carp all partially eaten.

We left the visitor centre and retraced our steps home, stopping on the way to eat the lunch Sue had made for us. Once back at Iona we had walked just over six miles. We sat outside in the sun and watched and listened to the wildlife, a few pheasants , a jay eating cherries, a white cat put in a brief appearance until it saw us.

Sue is cooking Paella on the cadac tonight.

Day 3:

Today it is breezy with sunny intervals and I think we will stay around the site. We were joined by a hen pheasant that seemed remarkably tame and took no notice of Sue as it wandered around Iona.
We have decided to stay for the full four nights so I went and paid the owner. I also checked the toilet which is in an outhouse, it was clean enough but the room had leaves on the floor and cobwebs on the asbestos roof, a typical farm building but not quite what you expect on a campsite.
The weather was breezy with breaks in the clouds so we stayed around the motor home until it was in shade and then we went off for a walk. We followed the same path as the other day but we only went for a couple of miles and then turned back. I showed Sue where the toilet was and we had a nose about the yard. At one time it must have been busy judging by the three huge grain sheds and other buildings. There are a lot of pieces of old farm machinery about and a selection of old ploughs in a lean-to. I wonder if someone does vintage ploughing matches because there was also a restored Massey Ferguson T20 tractor on the back of a lorry.

Tonight we had a bar-b-que , as usual cooked for three, but we managed to eat it all and finished with a burger and blue cheese.

Day 4:

The forecast today is full sun. I got up fairly early and sat outside reading. By 9am I was looking for some shade. It is going to be hot today. From a blog point of view a very boring day, we stayed by the motor home and read our books. We had another bar-b-que for tea and sat outside until dark.
Trip 9: 117 miles, 27.4 mpg, 40 mph, 2.54 hours

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