Barnard Castle Day One

Second daughter and I decided to hang out together and planned a road trip in The Van for a few days, basing ourselves near Barnard Castle.

So straight after work on a warm Friday afternoon, we headed north and east, arriving at the Caravan and Camping site about a mile outside Barnard. We were met by a cheerful chap who used his bicycle to escort us to our pitch. We parked up and began to nest – roof popped up, electric plugged in and a well earned celebratory cuppa. We wrestled with our new awning – we briefly got it the wrong way round and hoped our fellow campers weren’t watching in amusement. The sunny day of this morning had now clouded over and threatened rain (it had rained on the way up), but was still relatively warm. We decided to go for a walk before tea and consulting our Ordnance Survey app, deduced a circular route in the nearby woods. So off we strolled, out of the campsite and down the track. Soon we was taking a left down a farm track towards a farmhouse, when a big bouncy brown hound came across the large lawn, barking at us. As we wandered further down, he came over towards us though stopping at a polite distance to continue his barking. It was almost he was a big brave dog, but not brave enough to get really close which we appreciated. As we worked our way through the yard, he followed us still barking as if he was escorting us off his property and making sure we did. There was no vicious about him, just a dog doing his duty which he did rather well.

We crossed a field of buttercups and thistles (ouch), over a stile and dropped down onto a steep valley full of trees. It seemed quite ancient and timeless, dropping down to a large pebble strewn stream. We followed the narrow path between the undergrowth, admiring this pretty woodland. It was so quiet. The path went up and down, contouring the edge of the steep slope, with benches dotted here and there so you could stop to catch your breath and admire the trees, fauna and flora. A large tree had fallen across the valley and looked like a bridge. Daughter decided to traverse it, but only got so far before she chickened out as it got narrower and the ground dropped away. We carried on walking, across little bridges, little ridges, the path twisting and turning. It was almost Lord of the Rings territory, a mystical beauty.

We pulled up a particularly steep bit, when there was a loud crashing sound and the Daughter yelped in surprise before giggling. A squirrel scampered up through the undergrowth as Daughter explained that it had literally fallen out of the tree and hit the ground with a heavy thump before running off in deepest embarrassment. It was Squirrel Central here so no doubt there was a large group of his mates have a good laugh at his misfortune and would rib him for days about it.

The path bent round so we could head back to the campsite. It was riddled with footpaths here. Again we wandered along before coming to stepping stones across the stream. As we paused, there was a rustle in the undergrowth which wasn’t our accident prone squirrel, but a deer. We caught its back end as it scampered further into the woodland – we kept our eyes peeled, but we never saw it. We walked up the steep hill and popped out into a field with horses. It seemed to be Horse City with all the nearby fields having horses grazing. We followed the signs and headed towards another farmyard which was in fact the local equestrian centre. We negotiated our way around here (they had diverted the route, evidently fed up with people wandering through the centre of their yard) and found the long straight tarmacked road back to the campsite. Dark, brooding clouds gathered in the distance as we opened a celebratory bottle of wine and prepared a simple tea. We sat under our new awning, people watching fellow campers, as we ate and planned the following day. Maybe a waddle to Barnard town. It tried to gently rain and with it cooling off, we retreated inside, made the bed and watched a film. A perfect start to our stay!

Author: apathtosomewhere

Come with me and my dog on my meanderings around northern England and further afield, encountering all walks of life and everything in between!

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