We wanted to use the February half-term to try a longer trip, as all our travels with Vince to date have been for only one or two nights. It got a little complicated as we had to be in Saltaire on the second weekend of the break in order to meet our daughter Claire’s fiancé’s parents for the first time. There are no Vince-sized parking spaces anywhere near them so we decided to do four nights away in the van, a night at home then head oop North in the car for the weekend.
Ken was working on the Saturday morning, so rather than rush around we decided to leave on Sunday. This gave us plenty of time to load up with food & clothes, to give Vince’s tyres a top-up and to check the engine fluids. We are getting much more used to driving now so our Sunday run up to Croston was very straightforward with only a brief pit stop at the motorway services. We were heading for the Royal Umpire Caravan Park near the picturesque village of Croston near Leyland, Lancs. We found the site on Pitchup.com – after setting criteria like “near a pub” (very important!) and “open all year”. There seemed to be plenty to see and the site reviews were mostly favourable.
The site was quite busy as there were other folks on their half-term travels, but this wasn’t a problem. We had less space than we’ve had on earlier trips in Vince but we weren’t planning on winding out the awning or setting up an outdoor dining table in the freezing conditions, so that was fine. This time we’d had the foresight to specify a pitch with services on the right so we had water, drainage and power connected in no time.
After a quick bite to eat we walked the easy mile into the village of Croston to explore. Croston sits on the River Yarrow and is a picturesque mix of buildings dating from the 12th century up to present day. We hadn’t connected the village name with the recent flooding in the area but discovered that many of the houses and businesses in the main street were badly affected. Some still had ruined carpets or freezers outside awaiting collection, and dehumidifiers and heaters were venting through upper windows and letterboxes. The Wheatsheaf had a blackboard outside with a message thanking the villagers and emergency services for their support; it would have been rude not to drop in for a pint to support the local economy – so we did! After getting back to Vince we did a little internet research over dinner to find a walk for the following day – nothing too strenuous as we’re still getting in shape for the big trip.
The temperature really dropped during the night, so although we woke to clear skies and sunshine, we found the fresh water and drainage hoses were frozen solid! Having read horror stories of burst pipes and wrecked motorhomes we nervously awaited the thaw to see if anything had been damaged. Fortunately all seemed ok by the time we’d had breakfast so we disconnected the fresh water as the tank was full, and we used the ‘bucket under the waste tap’ method of making sure there was nothing left to freeze in the drainage tank.
We set off on our wander round the area using the directions we downloaded the night before. As we were outside the village we had to add a couple of miles to the route but that made it a manageable seven miles or so through the fields, along the river and back into the village via the old churchyard. There is a beautiful pre-school in the grounds of the church, with its access path lined with old gravestones laid flat, some of them listing four generations of families back to the 16th century. It’s a very peaceful, well maintained setting.
That evening we ate out at the local chain pub, The Highfield which was pretty average to be honest, then headed back to Vince to get the manuals out so we could find out about frost protection. It appears Vince has tank heaters for fresh and waste water, so we found the switch to turn them on…but the waste tank was empty so we didn’t want that heater burning out. More manual searching pointed out the location of the waste tank heater isolation switch which was under one of the settees. This was helpfully labelled WASTE WATER TANK HEATER ISOLATION SWITCH, but I’d much rather it had said ON and OFF – as there was no way to tell! We still have no idea if we turned it on or off so if anyone has a clue feel free to comment below…
Fortunately the temperature didn’t drop so far that night so we were spared any frozen water issues – I think we got away with it 🙂