Ault! Who goes there?

We do! I’m afraid we couldn’t get away quick enough from Bergues, so as soon as breakfast was over we hit the road to Ault on the coast. I’ve turned Vince’s passenger seat round and am tapping away on the iPad with legs stretched out along the sofa. Although it’s cool, the sun is shining and through the open skylight I can hear the waves in the distance and the crying seagulls. Sadly there the romance dies for me as I recall my grumpy old ex-Royal Marine dad always called them shite-hawks…

We took a slow three-hour bumble down here; Mr Garmin offered us a motorway route but we elected to take the country roads instead. We drove through very flat farmland initially but nearing the coast poor old Vince was challenged by several long steep climbs. He struggled a bit as we stopped off at a motorhome service point halfway to fill up with water and fuel.

Flints at Ault
We found lots of weird skull-like flints on the beach at Ault

It’s worth explaining that we intend to stay on a mix of campsites and Aires then when we’re a little braver we’ll try some wild camping. Campsites are pretty self-explanatory, some offer fully serviced pitches where we can hook Vince up to electricity, fresh water and run a hose from his waste tank into a drain beside the pitch. These tend to be quite pricey. Other campsites offer a pitch with electricity but you drive to a service point near reception to dump water, take fresh on board, and empty the loo cassette.

Aires are virtually unknown in the UK, they are areas set aside by local councils all over France, Spain and Germany where anything from five to thirty-five motorhomes can park up. Prices range from zero to twenty-five Euros or so; services range from none, to electricity, water & loo emptying points usually for a couple of Euros. The councils know that by making space available and at reasonable charges, the tourist dollars will arrive in town by way of meals, shopping and entertainment. Meanwhile in the UK short-sighted local councils are busy putting ‘No parking overnight’ signs up everywhere. That’s why we’re all spending our money in Europe, George!

Wild camping is just parking up in a nice spot our of everybody’s way. It can be in a Supermarket car park, or a forest or a beach, whatever you fancy. Occasionally folks are asked to move on but in France particularly, it seems to tolerated – We saw dozens of parked up motorhomes along the front between Calais & Dunkirk. There are obvious risks in terms of security so we’ll wait til we’re ready before giving it a try.

Last night and tonight we haven’t spent a thing on accommodation as both Aires were free. Knowing that this one has no services, as I mentioned earlier we just stopped off at a garage beside a supermarket which had a motorhome service point and we’re all set for another night off hookup. The only downside to using Aires without services is that water runs out eventually as does battery power. Vince’s solar panel helps us keep the batteries topped up but it only delays the inevitable. So far, one night off hook-up has been fine – we’ll try two, then three to see how long we can last.

Ault, where we find ourselves now, is a pretty seaside town perched on chalk cliffs – they were so glad to see Vince arriving that their marching band paraded up and down the sea front to welcome us! Well I think that’s why the band was there… the French love any excuse for a festival so we expect to see many more on our trip. We spotted a couple of nice cosy looking seafood restaurants on our wandering this afternoon so it looks like we’ll blow the money we saved on accommodation, on eating out tonight. And why not?

Chalk cliffs in Ault
Chalk cliffs in Ault
Vince in the distance
Vince in the distance!
View along the beach at Ault
View along the beach at Ault
About Ken Tomlinson 207 Articles
Semi-retired biker, blogger and world’s best grandad. Doesn’t take life too seriously. Discovered motorhoming in 2015, sold up and downsized to fund more travels. Now with added Yorkshire.

5 Comments on Ault! Who goes there?

  1. so that’s week one over and done with…..enjoy your travels south and the onset of summer…..all the best from chilly Britain

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