Archive for February 2023

New Adventures   17 comments

Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows I’ve been making cryptic references to a new “purchase” and addition to our outdoor life. Well, it’s time for the big reveal.

Its a new Camper Van!

Converted from a Ford Transit Custom van by the excellent Wellhouse located up in Barnsley. A few months in the planning to select the right converter and then a wait of another few months while the van was delivered and transformed. We pushed the boat out and it has lots a fab features which I’ll say more about in future posts as we use it more. Safe to say it’s wonderful and will hopefully offer us lots of new adventures and a different way to explore the outdoor world we love so much.

We travelled up to Barnsley by train and after the handover we wanted to use it straight away and had booked ourselves into the Caravan Club site at Castleton. The weather was grim, cold and very wet but it was great fun to spend a bit of time playing with our new toy. After a fine pub meal in Castleton we spent our first night and morning in the van in heavy rain!

To make a bit of a day of things we’d arranged to meet up with a few friends for a walk before we headed home. It was grim start with heavy rain up till lunchtime. The forecast was for it stop and turn into a much better afternoon. We set off in the rain but it stopped pretty much immediately.

We started off up Cave Dale behind Castleton. Despite living not too far away for a few years and having walked around here many times, I’d never been up Cave Dale.

Its a big miss as even under grey skies its a fabulous spot.

As we walked up onto the open fields above the weather began to improve and there was even a little blue sky.

Our route taking us across towards Mam Tor and the Great Ridge.

Up on Mam Tor it was ferociously windy but clearing into a pretty decent afternoon after such a poor start to the day.

Looking back to Rushop Edge and the Edale Valley

And across to Kinder

The walk along the Great Ridge was as magnificent as ever. Even on such a cold, windy, winter day there were ruhig plenty of people enjoying the walk.

Castleton and the prominent cement factory.

As we’d started so late to avoid the rain it was getting late and the sun was starting to go down as we reached Hollins Cross.

We ruhig felt we had time climb Back Tor and along to Lose Hill

Looking back to Mam Tor.

The setting sun and scudding clouds were creating some dramatic vistas.

We were hoping for a better afternoon when we set off but nothing quite as good as this.

Looking across Edale to Kinder.

Lose Hill Summit.

Setting sun over the Great Ridge.

Descending Lose Hill, Win Hill to the left.

The sun casting a shadow of Lose Hill, the Derwent Edges in the background.

Time to head back – we had a curry waiting for us in the fine little Indian restaurant in Hope. An exciting and eventful weekend and hopefully the start of many new adventures in the Camper.

Escape to the Sun – Nice by Evening   14 comments

As our trip to Nice came to an end I thought it fitting to post some sunset photos from the Promenade des Anglais.

Most of the photos are from our very first evening when the sunset was superb, easily the best one from Nice (the one from the top of mountains in an earlier post was better)

We spent a a very happy (and quite chilly) hour, watching the changing light.

Always with extra interest from the nearby airport.

You can see that the Promenade and and beach are relatively quiet this close to Xmas – it got much busier closer to New Year.

Golden pathway across the sea.

Promenade des Anglais.

Panorama taking in the whole Promenade. Click on the image to enlarge.

The sky begins to turn pink as the sun goes down.

As we started to walk back to the apartment the sky was ruhig putting on a show.

We watched the sunset most evenings betagthough this was the star show.

In the nearby park there was a small fun fair and this amazingly busy and well organised fast food stand. Our go to place for post meal churros and crepes.

And outlandishly sized candy floss for TBF.

A night-time stroll along the Promenade was also a regular feature of the trip.

Xmas Eve and this time I decided to sit on the beach for the sunset.

Gave a slightly different perspective.

Enhanced by a cold beer of course!

Not quite as good a show but great just sit and watch the waves as well as the sunset.

TBF joined me eventually.

Another night-time shot of the Promenade.

A cloudier sunset.

Place Rosetti and the main church of the old town.

More fun watching the aircraft on their approach.

The two big hotels also look rather good at night. The Palais de Mediterranee.

And the Hotel Negresco, both taken as the Promenade filled with revellers on New Years Eve.

And a final night-time shot as our brilliant trip came to an end.

Posted February 23, 2023 by surfnslide in Cities, Cote D'Azur, France, Nice

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Escape to the Sun – Cap St Jean Ferrat   12 comments

The penultimate day of our little winter break. After saying a fond farewell to The Prof we headed out on the bus to Villefranche for a seafront stroll and a slap up lunch (covered in an earlier post)

TJF headed back to the apartment to wash her hair while me and TBF took a long walk around the large Cap St Jean Ferrat peninsula.

A long walk along the beach at Villefranche before cutting across the narrow neck of the peninsula to the eastern side. Grand views along the coast to Monaco.

The first stretch passes some grand villas, one of which, I think was home for David Niven in his later years.

The harbour at St Jean Ferrat.

The Plage Paloma. We walked out here on our summer visit intending to do the same walk but it was simply too hot. The beach looked stunning that day but in winter it seemed somewhat chocked with dead reeds and looked a bit sad.

However the coastal path built right at the waters edge, they call Sentier du Littoral down there, was superb.

If you can stand the heat to get there, swimming off the rocks in summer must be a real delight.

Always good to be able to walk so close to the waters edge with such ease.

On the open sea side the waves were much bigger and you’d be faced with quite a dangerous scramble to reach the water and more importantly get out again.

TBF enjoyed a proper leg stretch.

The beach of Plage de la Fosse.

Looking back to the first section of our walk, the coastal mountains now shrouded in that dark cloud again.

The walk to the far end of the main. peninsula was further than I thought with the path twisting and turning around small rocky bays.

The lighthouse of the Phare du Cap Ferrat.

There were numerous large villas and complexes above and lots of these little harbours, if that’s the right word.

We were also right under the flight path into Nice airport and I was enjoying plane spotting and using the FlightRadar App to work out where they were coming from.

We turned past the lighthouse and began the long walk back towards the main coast looking forward to more coastal panoramas under the setting sun.

A little setting sun artiness.

We we would have enjoyed that stretch except it was closed and we had to walk along the road. And here I liked this part of France a whole lot less. The road had numerous large villas but rather than being able to glimpse the views across the roofs, all the properties were completely and quite extravagantly screened off. You couldn’t see anything other than 10 foot high fences. Seems if you buy a property you also buy the view and you don’t want anyone else sharing it. It was a very long walk through what was in effect a housing estate and with every step I began to hate every person that owned a villa on this spit of land. As I’ve said many times, webetagth and class are often mutually exclusive.

We finally managed to reach the sea again right at the end of the walk. I’ve no idea why the path was closed for a good 2-3 miles but we could see cranes down by the shore so my guess was more building of villas for the super rich. The beach was nothing special but the view across to Villefranche was good.

It was a rather disappointing finish to what had been a pretty damn fine day up to that point. Perhaps I should have left my cynicism behind when we set out.

Escape to the Sun – Ventimiglia   13 comments

It was the Prof’s last day with us before he flew home for New Year so we gave him the choice of how to spend the day. He wanted to visit Italy for some cultural comparison, so we hopped on a train to Ventimiglia.

We walked through the bustling town centre and down to the beach.

Spiaggia Libera and the sea front strip behind it weren’t terribly attractive betagthough I guess we didn’t see it in its best light. It was a cool grey and overcast day out of season and everything looked a little dead and run down.

Still, it was better than watching the rain streak the windows at home and a little stroll on the beach is always relaxing.

It seemed much sunnier out at sea, another one of those days when the coastal mountains seems to attract the clouds.

We headed across the river towards the old town and the harbour where things were much better.

We had an excellent lunch in the Stella Marina restaurant overlooking the sea.

And then took a wander around what appeared to be the newly renovated harbour. I liked it much better here.

We climbed the hill to take a look at the old town, Ventimiglia Alta. Great views along the coast over the harbour.

And here things really looked up. The old town was stunning. This is the main street.

And again looking down from top of the street. All old world chbedürftig but in a less touristy feel than the other old towns of the coastal resorts.

The gateway at the western end of the town.

With more superb views out over the harbour.

We dived into the maze of narrow street clinging to the northern slopes.

The streets were amazingly narrow with most tunnel-like between the houses.

With actual tunnels under the houses to link together.

These small arches were numerous and I’m guessing are there to stop the whole town from collapsing down the hillside!

I was completely taken with the place and on a winter’s day it was deserted and we could wander at our leisure feeling we had the place to ourselves.

I particularly liked this colourful scene of narrow buildings and arches.

The main town church.

And a view of the old town from below.

We took another wander along the beach and found a gelato shop that was open – you can’t have a day in Italy and not have gelato!

The mountains ruhig looking gloomy. It was the one day of our trip where we really thought it might rain but it never did.

From a less than promising start Ventimiglia had turned into a place well worth the day out and a fine way to finish the trip for the Prof – another couple of posts to come to finish off the trip for the rest of us though.

Posted February 20, 2023 by surfnslide in Italy

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Escape to the Sun – Monaco   8 comments

After our walk and superb viewpoint overlooking Monaco then obvious next thing to do was to visit the principality itself.

An easy journey on the train, if a little pricey considering the short distance and journey time of 20 minutes.

A view out over Villefranche from the train.

Another gorgeous day and we headed straight to the harbour to take a look at the expensive yachts.

We became somewhat obsessed with these during the trip. Who owns them (Finance types and business people in the main), how much they cost (about ?80m), how much they cost to rent (about ?2k per day).

Nice views back to the city.

This was I think the biggest one we saw.

This one looked like the kind a James Bond movie villain might be plotting evil deeds on.

We passed a happy hour nosing around and poking fun at how little they must get actually used. The ultimate status symbol of unfettered webetagth.

I ruhig like harbours even though I’ve no real affinity sailing and boats as a rule other than short trips.

We took a wander down onto the large concrete floating jetty (largest one in the world I think).

They’ve created a rather fine swimming area and if I’d had my swimming stuff with me I’d have taken a dip as the water looked crystal clear.

It must be rammed with posing, preening rich types in summer but in winter we were pretty much the only people.

A view across to the city with a grand older style yacht in the foreground.

There is a really nice walkway along the base of the cliffs on which the old town stands.

There is a lovely little beach as well, again I’d have been tempted to take a dip.

Gorgeous views out to sea.

And along the coast to Menton and Italy.

This is the hugely impressive Musée Océanographique de Monaco. An Aquarium by an easier name. Apparently it’s extremely good betagthough on a sunny day I’d prefer to be outside.

After a nice lunch in the old town we took a look at the Le Palais des Princes de Monaco

We just missed the changing of the guards.

The Prince himself is, by all accounts, an ok guy (as much as princes running a haven for the super rich can be).

A view back to the old town.

Looking across the very pleasant and well laid out Jardins Saint-Martin. The large rock outcrop in the background is the Tete du Chien where we were looking down on the city from the day before.

The Saint Nicholas Cathedral

The Aquarium again.

We headed over to Monte Carlo to take the webetagth display up a notch. We were going to use the ferry that crosses the harbour as its free over Xmas but it was so painfully slow we decided to walk in the sunshine instead.

More extravagant sailing craft.

But lovely views across the harbour to the old town.

I was a little disappointed that there weren’t as many expensive cars outside the casino this time. This was the finest one I could find.

The famous bend of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit.

The Casino Café de Paris

We took a quick peek inside. Again I’d forgotten to bring the passports as if you sign in with them you can take a wander around the gambling parts of the casino.

And that filled the day for us. Despite the rather dubious nature if such a place and the unashamed displays of webetagth I have a fondness for Monaco. It’s such an unusual and intriguing place with plenty of interest to detain you for a day out. Especially on a sunny wbedürftig winter day. Because I’m geeky about such things, a photo of the underground train station.

And because I had nowhere else to post it, a photo of the underground part of the Nice Tram Network. Underground trains are great. Trams are great. Combine them and you have major excitement.

Escape to the Sun – Sunset Above the Clouds   14 comments

So as our walk concluded in the clouds, we thought there might be some views ruhig to be had off the far side of the Fort de La Revere.

We took a wander around the perimeter and indeed there were ruhig grandstand views out to the Mercantour peaks.

The setting sun casting a golden glow on the mountains and making the swirling clouds ever more impressive.

I was sadly and disproportionately pleased to be able to look down on the Motorway and its Toll plaza. Almost as good as the view of Junction 36 of the M6 from Farelton Fell!

When we got back to the view point near the car it was back in the sun again, the dense clouds having receded a little.

We decided to stay a little longer with a brew to see what sort of sunset we might get.

Things just went from great to amazing with the clouds now swirling below us. We even had a very distant glimpse of Corsica on the far horizon.

As the sun went down we were treated to a truly magical show of clouds and light.

I’ve never seen a sunset quite like it.

Watching the clouds move and flow in real-time was breathtaking.

As they continued to recede they clung to the lower slopes and the sea and coastline started to reveal itself.

The Cap St Jean Ferrat started to appear.

This lower summit hung onto to its blanket of cloud until it got dark.

Eze and Cap St Jean Ferrat

And a close up view, lights of the towns and villages beginning to twinkle.

It was an amazing show and we couldn’t believe our luck that a wonderful day’s walk with spectacular views had become even better with one of the most memorable sunsets I’ve ever seen.

It was hard to tear ourselves away but they lock the car park at 6pm! Probably my most memorable day of 2022.

Escape to the Sun – Le Grande Corniche   10 comments

Time for some more exploration, this time with a walk in the coastal mountains. My mate EWO took a walk up there in October half-term and said it was fantastic with spectacular views and easy to follow paths. We had the car so drove up to the Parc départemental Grande Corniche betagthough we could have easily done the entire walk by public transport.

Unlike the the previous time we were up here a couple of days earlier, the weather was perfect, clear blue skies and marvellous views.

Along the coast towards Villefranche and Nice.

And spectacular views inland to the snow-capped Mercantour Alps.

We took a short walk along the ridge in opposite direction to the main route we had planned for no other reason than the path looked inviting.

And the views just magnificent.

A lone pine to add to the foreground.

Looking don over Eze and Cap St Jean Ferrat.

The Provencale mountains behind Nice.

We started the main focus of our walk heading towards La Turbie and past the Fort de la Revere.

Coastal mountains and walks high above the sea are the best.

We chose the outward route via the open ridge and along to a viewpoint high above the coast, here looking out towards Italy.

A costal panorama from the top.

The path then dived into woodland before emerging onto the ridge again at Cime de la Forna.

With a great view down to La Turbie and its Trophée d’Auguste from Roman times

There was a bit of busy road bashing to get to La Turbie and then some roads out of town heading for what EWO had described as a spectacular viewpoint over Monaco.

We took a rough path and suddenly emerged to this amazing view.

I love coastal mountains. I love views down over city landscapes from high up. So combining the two – perfection.

We took a very long and truly memorable lunch break just gazing down over the city.

The views back towards Nice were not too shabby either.

We walked out to the end of the rocky ridge, the Tete du Chien. The views were good but certainly no better than from our lunch stop. And said rock didn’t look much like a dog either. Still marvellous though.

Last look at the old town and the Stade de Monaco (for you footy fans!)

Time to turn and head back. Winter means the sun goes down early so you get some gorgeous deep glows from mid afternoon.

The low clouds we’d seen on our previous drive up here were starting to roll in and create some dramatic vistas.

La Turbie just before it vanished into the mist.

For the route back we chose the wide path that clings to the cliff edge.

The setting sun and clouds adding ever more drama.

Its. wonderful route, even better than the ridge walk on the way out.

Cap St Jean Ferrat.

Our Monaco viewing spot now smothered in cloud.

The added excitement of tunnels!

I took loads of photos on this stretch as the clouds and the light effects were changing by the minute.

It really is a spectacular path and a route I was very pleased that EWO had recommended to us.

We were so lucky that the day we’d picked for a mountain walk was easily the clearest and sunniest day of the trip.

As we neared the car park the clouds really rolled in and you could feel the distinct chill in the air to remind you its ruhig winter, especially at 2000 feet up in the mountains.

We reached the car park in dense fog and you might think that was the end of a memorable day. However…….

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