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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Trip report : Christmas in Cornwall

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sabconsulting

High Wycombe, UK

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Posted: 12/28/13 03:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We've done Christmas at home, just the two of us, Christmas with family, but we've never had Christmas away. This year Sally decided we should try the latter. I initially objected because I thought she was talking about flights, hotels, etc. which would be expensive. Then she said she wanted to take the truck camper - Now we are talking.

Christmas in the UK is rarely the white Christmas of the movies. Due to the Gulf Stream and our Atlantic position it is more likely to be a warm, wet Christmas, and this year was no different with gale force winds, heavy rain, flooding and temperatures up to +12C.

Not many campgrounds are open over Christmas, but some are and Sally found one just inside Cornwall (the south-western tip of England jutting out into the Atlantic). The campground had AC hookup, hard-standing and hot showers. Usually I am happy with pretty primitive facilities, but in winter we definitely need the hook-up and the grass was like a swamp from all the rain.

The nearest piece of coast was Widemouth Bay, about 1 mile from the campground:

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Calm it was not:

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The camper was cosy though. I bought some Christmas lights from Walmart - they were AC powered, but could be used outside - however I wasn't about to go out into the horizontal rain to try to fit them. Also visible below is the de-humidifier. I had been using it in the camper on the run up to the trip, but it occurred to me that we were likely to be returning to the camper with soaking wet clothing after our walks as well as cooking in the camper and that drying things and avoiding condensation would be a real problem. The solution - take the de-humidifier. The campground were charging £4 per day for electricity, so I might as well use it (together with using the electric toaster, electric heater, AC powered compressor fridge, computer and multi-stage battery charger, all running off the hookup) - what a difference it made.

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The storm worsened during the night. I actually re-positioned the truck part way through the night to be face onto the wind so we weren't buffeted as much and the noise was less. We weren't really planning for 70mph winds when we booked the campground.

The next morning we drove some of the narrow and steep coastal roads - many were no wider than the camper and up to 30% incline with water pouring off the fields and down them. Much of the time I left the transmission in low ratio, reducing the stress on the clutch and other components from steep hill starts at full payload weight.

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We visited Boscastle. I had never been there before, but much of this pretty fishing village had been damaged during floods following similar storms a few years ago.

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If the above pictures are a bit out of focus that is because of the rain streaming over the camera lens. We returned to the truck soaked and rewarded ourselves with a home-cooked curry:

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Christmas is a time of huge amounts of food in Britain, especially Christmas day where the traditional goose has made way for the American Turkey which is now the staple Christmas lunch. Being on a campground and only having a gas stove + electric toaster the chances of preparing such a lunch ourselves was minimal. Instead Sally found a pub by the coast that served Christmas lunch. However they did not serve it on Christmas day itself, so Sally booked it for the 24th.

The pub was about 1.5 miles from the campground, so no point in driving (since that would also limit alcohol consumption [emoticon]). Plus we would need to work some of the food off afterwards, so the walk would do us good. We walked to the coast and then along part of the coastal footpath:

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For someone who can travel the world in one night it seems to me this was not the best location (considering the weather) to choose for a bit of pre-delivery surfing:

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Santa also didn't get a great deal of board time. I'm not sure the long board was the right tool for the job, but if you are transporting your boards on a sleigh then you may be limited on the selection you can carry. I guess Santa had been watching too much Apocalypse Now.

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It is always a struggle to keep Sally out of the surf too even if she isn't really dressed for it:

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Several days of gale force winds had sculpted the sands - looking out of the window of a 747 somewhere over Saudi Arabia revealed identical images - funny how the landscape looks the same if you close one eye regardless of whether the dunes are an inch high or 100ft high.

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The chosen pub:

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Waiting for my food with a customary pint of local ale - a very nice one as it turned out so I felt it necessary to have another afterwards:

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Wow - that was a lot of food they gave us. I couldn't finish it and was almost in pain afterwards. Sally complained she was suffering from "food baby".

We returned along the coastal path hoping the exercise would help our stomachs feel more comfortable:

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In the distance you could see the satellite dishes of the Government Communication Head Quarters listening station north of Bude:

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We walked below the cliffs - plenty of interesting geology there:

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We had to double-back though to avoid being cut off by the rising tide.

The next morning was Christmas day. We had only brought presents for each other - not enough space in the camper for presents from family:

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Sally's presents from - a home made card (a picture of us on camels, since I forgot to buy her a card before we went away), a couple of South African candles covered in ostrich eggshell, a flag sticker and an offroading DVD. Good job she isn't into expensive jewellery [emoticon]

Next, off for a Christmas walk. We head down the coast to Tintagel, site of many an Arthurian legend.

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Travelling around I love the different types of stiles used to allow walkers to cross walls and fences. They are often made of whatever materials are available locally, and here that is slate:

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We then retired to the camper for a pleasant evening and a not very seasonal chilli con carne.

On the morning of the 26th I was relaxing in bed when I got a call from a couple we offroad with regularly. They were at her parents' for Christmas an hour from our location and invited us over to meet up. We then all headed off for Dartmoor for a walk:

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It was stunning weather:

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The weather started to close in again so we retreated to a local pub for a drink, then back to her parents for a fantastic buffet dinner. The bad weather was back so we decided to forget the hour drive back to the campground and simply drive home, arriving just before midnight. It had been a fantastic day and actually a very good Christmas break.

Steve.


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Tiger4x4RV

Inland Empire, Southern California

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Posted: 12/28/13 04:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great trip report! I'm viewing it from sunny San Diego, California, and still somewhat wishing I could be on your cold wet exciting trip.


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usmohls2@yahoo.com

CA

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Posted: 12/28/13 04:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

All I got to say is: WOW!!





Steve S

Langley B.C Canada

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Posted: 12/28/13 05:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great pics! It makes me want to move back home! What an excellent trip!


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whazoo

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Posted: 12/28/13 05:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Steve and Sally, that's incredible, incredible, incredible. Did I say that three times? That's because this trip report is three times the best trip report I've seen...making cold rainy days look like good fun. Thanks Steve, what's up your sleeve for New Years lol.

* This post was edited 12/28/13 07:24pm by whazoo *

clikrf8

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Posted: 12/28/13 05:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The English countryside/seaside is so beautiful. As a photographer, I drooled over the old buildings and the seascapes. I spent Christmas in London many years ago and the only place to eat was an East Indian curry restaurant. Tasty. One of your photos with the sea stack is very reminiscent of the Oregon coast. Thank-you for sharing your wonderful Christmas.


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pa traveler

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Posted: 12/28/13 05:49pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Very nice,thanks for sharing.

hedgehopper

Denver

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Posted: 12/28/13 05:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for inviting us along on your holiday. Thanks for making the wind and rain look so appealing. Thanks for a great trip report.

jmtandem

western nevada

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Posted: 12/28/13 05:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It is fun to read trip reports from other continents. Well, other continents then North America. Thanks.


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lizzie

Unaka NC &Sopchoppy FL

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Posted: 12/28/13 06:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing. lizzie

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