Camp site                Corfe Castle

In search of the ‘Yetties’
(For the uninitiated the Yetties are a folkgroup from Dorset)

by Colin Burchett

Holiday 2006.

We left home on Saturday 8th July at 12:30 p.m. with the sun beginning to come out again after several days of wet. Reasonably uneventful journey – not too much traffic after we got through Hastings/St.Leonards/Bexhill and we arrived at Hunters Moon Campsite in Wareham, Dorset at 5:40 p.m. On reporting to the reception the lady in charge knew immediately who we were because we were the only ones left due in that day. Unfortunately when booking the site I hadn’t informed them of our disabilities and the site reserved was not satisfactory. They put us on the emergency pitch for the night immediately adjacent to the toilet block which was a godsend. It teamed down with rain throughout the night. Typical start to a Burchett holiday. As we had not eaten on the trip down we went to a local pub called The Silent Woman for an excellent meal and a glass or two. In the morning a pitch immediately opposite became vacant so we were able to move across, with a little help from ‘our friends’ (other residents) and by midmorning we were off to find the paper shop. We also intended to investigate Wareham itself but were very disappointed that a lot of the area was no parking and the parks themselves meant a considerable walk to look at the shops. I did manage to park in one of these parking areas and after a fair walk, Brenda would not have been able to cope, I found a shop which sold maps so we could find our way around the area. The roads themselves were quite full of parked cars so we could not even go on a double yellow line and use my Disability Parking Card. We returned to The Silent Woman for a midday Sunday meal of Roast turkey etc and for me apple pie and custard and Brenda lemon meringue pie and ice cream, again washed down with a glass of pineapple juice and a diet Coke – extravagant aren’t we!! Had a disastrous water leak which turned out to be from the Heater pipe in the caravan so called out Mobile Repairer who came immediately and did the job for £59 but no more leaks.

On Monday 10th the weather was miserable. After ablutions and breakfast we trotted off to find Corfe Castle, Corfe village and Swanage. Disappointment all round. Although good car park near the castle no way we, unable to walk any distance, could negotiate the steep road to the castle upon which no vehicles were allowed. Even Brenda’s ‘buggy’ would not have made it to the top. The village was little better. Extensive traffic on both sides of the road so no parking spaces near a pub or restaurant to eat. On into Swanage and from Corfe the road seems to have been built up with houses since I was last here (in 1953) . Of course there are many roundabouts now which did not exist then but on arrival in Swanage we encountered similar problems, it appeared that several roads had no access and however we tried to get to the sea there was always an obstacle to stop us. Again parking was the problem, yes, there were places but we could not get from them to a café or pub. Finally we gave up after we found the pier park was about half a mile from the pier so we went off to Studland Bay. This was an even worse nightmare, there were several areas and we went for one which had a car park and café. On arrival at the car park we were informed there was no access to the beach other than on foot. Similarly the café was down a lane on which no vehicles were allowed. Off we went to a second section but this time although we followed instructions we could not find either the park or café. We did not attempt to find the third section (I believe this was the nudist beach) but thought a trip to Lulworth Cove would be interesting. How wrong we were. If there had been a Yetti no way could we have found it. First we were in a maze of country lanes to nowhere – or at least not the places we wanted. Finally we found Lulworth Cove blocked by road closures due to the Army firing ranges being in use with tanks. We got into Lulworth Cove eventually by taking other little roads only to find once again a car park then a walk to the Cove. I don’t believe Dorset has any severely disabled people! We turned round in Lulworth and found a road to Durdle Dorr and having heard of it some years back decided to go and look. Well, that was fine when we found the car park through a holiday camp. The park was fenced off so you could pull up and enjoy the view – except there wasn’t one because of a thick sea mist. Nothing. So we needed to find food again. Exiting from the area was bad enough and all roads seemed to be signposted to Swanage although in different directions. We found the outskirts of Swanage and this time thought we had cracked it. Driving right through the town where we had been previously still unable to stop we came out of Swanage on the way to Wareham. On the outskirts of Swanage we found a nice little Fish and Chip Shop with a parking area. We stopped here and had a nice fish and chip lunch out of the paper and it went down a treat. Not too difficult to find our way back through Corfe and into Wareham and got back to the camp site about 4 p.m. Great difficulty with TV reception and whilst talking to the warden discovered the site had booster plugs for TV on the same pole as electric hook ups. Quick trip to the site shop for 25 metres TV extension lead, back to the caravan, plugged in and excellent reception. Unfortunately lousy programmes on all four channels but it is there should we need to look at something special.

Tuesday 11.7.06 Today the weather has improved. We decided to retrace yesterday’s route to find Lulworth Cove etc. Well, that was not so difficult, the only thing I missed today was the naked rear end of a young female in the back of a car which was parked on the side of the road, obviously to look at the view but because of the fog had to find alternative entertainment. Still the same problem – unable to get to see the sea without a long walk. Prior to this we found our way to Kimmeridge Bay and was able to take photos of the sea and bay but not get down to the beach. There was a sheer drop with steps almost vertical. Another place we could not explore but we had a snack in the local café. After Lulworth it was off to Durdle Dor again. Through the holiday camp to the car park with a view. Although parking spaces for disabled were supplied we would still have to pay. And again a beautiful view – not Durdle Dorr itself – long steep sloped path so had to leave there. Riding back home found an excellent area both sides of the road so stayed and took in the breathtaking view. We came right back to the caravan and went out again about 7p.m. to the Halfway Inn towards Corfe – very nice meal, well presented, fairly expensive.

Wednesday 12.7.06. Today we wanted to visit a nearby caravan spares stores at Winterbourne Whitechurch. We got an electric kettle, a waste water container and a microwave oven – all as intended. THEN ‘WE’ (THE ROYAL WE) INSPECTED THE CARAVANS. We then went to lunch at a local pub and discussed the vans we had looked at and after our meal went back to the Lady Baileys Park. GUESS WHAT! We are now the proud owners of a 1998 Avondale Mayfly. After service it will be delivered to the campsite on Tuesday 18th, allow us time to transfer all our goods and chattels, and they will collect the Compass Merit 340/2 in the afternoon. As it was such a shock to the system we went back to Hunters Moon via the shops and relaxed for the evening.

Thursday 13.7.06. We needed to get the saddle portion of the anti jackknife device off the old caravan but as usual I was incapable. With the kindness of the Warden on site the piece was removed (by him) and we delivered to Lady Bailey Park. We spent an hour gloating over our new van and decided there was nothing further required so no additional expense. We had our lunch in the same pub as yesterday and the food was excellent. Back to the site for a rest and chill out for the remainder of the day.

Friday 14.7.06. We went out late morning and found Portland Bill. Ended up at the prison and took some good photos – excellent views. We ate at Stokeford Inn.

Saturday 15.7.06 Trip to Poole. Very heavy traffic. Found difficulty as usual to park up so came out of Poole, deviated from main roads and found the Lambs Green Inn. Extremely busy.

Sunday 16.7.06 Weather too hot for long ride. Nearing 90 degrees F. Lunch at Silent Woman – excellent meal – dogs enjoyed dust bath as we ate outside. Spent rest of day in caravan. Uno got heatstroke.

Monday 17.7.06 Apart from trip to the site shop for paper temperature again too hot to travel so stayed ‘at home’ till 5 p.m. then took dogs for their daily run in the forest then back for a meal in the van.

Tuesday 18.7.06 NEW CARAVAN DELIVERY! A whole day of hard slog transferring all the clutter from the old to the new. Very pleased with our new acquisition. Down to the Silent Woman for a meal to celebrate. Very good night’s sleep.

Wednesday 19.7.06. Today we have arranged to meet cousin Joan and her husband Brian for a trip on the Steam Train from Norden to Swanage and return. We met them at 11 a.m. Unloaded Brenda’s buggy from the car so that she could travel to the station, not too far away. We got on the platform and the staff decided we would be best travelling in the guards van so when the train arrived a ramp was laid down for Brenda to drive up. Needless to say it was too steep so help was needed to get her in the van. I stayed with her on the trip and was able to take pictures on our travels through the window. Brian and Joan sat in the carriage adjacent, much more comfortable. We did not get out at Swanage but stayed on board for the return journey as there was nowhere we could go and we had the dogs with us. When we got back to Norden again the ramp was put down but this time it was too steep for the buggy to straighten up at the bottom so a bit of juggling before we could get her on to the platform. We then went back towards Corfe and had a meal in the Halfway Inn. Once again because of the lovely weather we were able to eat in the garden and enjoyed our meal. Then we all went back so that we could show off the caravan to Joan and Brian.

Thursday 20.7.06 Decided on a very quiet day and enjoy our new van so stayed at the camp site all day except for a quick trip to give the dogs a run in the forest.

Friday 21.7.06 This is the day Alan and Michelle are going to visit us. They arrived with their friends and we then went down to the Silent Woman for a meal. Afterwards we followed them back to Poole so that we could visit their static van. We had a look round, then went down to the harbour from their site, but once again no parking. We returned back to our caravan at 9.15 p.m.

Saturday 22.7.06 We left for home a day early from our allotted time and finally arrived home at 1.30 a.m. so just left the van attached and went to bed.

On Sunday we had to manoeuvre the vehicles round and get the caravan into its resting place which took a bit of effort on our own. We decided there and then to have a remote mover fitted and made the necessary arrangements to have the work put in hand, this was done on 14th August.

Overall we had a pleasant time, mainly because the holiday was free with site night vouchers earned through our credit card expenditure. Whilst the site was second to none it was not our cup of tea – much too regimental, we prefer a CL where there would only be five vans, and usually the dogs are allowed their freedom.

We took advantage of this thought and arranged for a trip to Orford, this time to a site where there was electricity available. We went on the 9th September for a week, a great site, all we desire and we did this time chill out. Everything was peaceful, dogs were able to run around, right in the middle of the country, watching the farmers getting in the crops. Much better, and the caravan – heaven.