NORTHUMBERLAND ADVENTURE – DAY ONE – EMBLETON

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Today we set off on our first campervan adventure since the beginnning of November last year. The van hasn’t been totally idle during that time; it’s had several minor runs out, and a couple of ‘battery check’ quickies, so it was a surprise to find the van battery flat yesterday, when we came to change the vehicles over in the driveway.

It’s the first time that’s happened since we bought it, but a quick call to the RAC to book a home start put our minds at rest, and we were relieved to have chosen to change the vehicles over the day before setting off, and not on the Monday morning. As we sat waiting for the recovery van, Tracey asked if plugging the External EHU would also charge the van battery as well as the Leisure battery, the answer to which, I didn’t know, but it prompted us to go and plug it in anyway to see if it would do just that. Amazingly, after only 10 or 15 minutes, I went out to test it… and it worked.

Needless to say, we promptly cancelled the callout and left the electric plugged in to give it a better charge, with a plan to take it for a run to top-it up further, and we’d be sorted.

I don’t want to relate blow-by-blow what happened next, because that would become tedious, but suffice to say… things weren’t okay.

In retrospect, it was totally my fault, for turning the engine over to start it, while the electrics lead was still plugged in. Everything seemed fine until I returned from the short run and checked the state of the leisure battery, only to see flashing red error lights all over the place. It turned out – after much anxious reading of the manual (on Tracey’s part – not mine… I was convinced we’d simply broken it big-time, and the trip would be off) – that a small fuse, situated right next to the leisure battery, that we hitherto knew nothing about, had blown.

So… before setting off on our new campervan adventure, the first thing I had to do this morning, straight after breakfast, was to pop out and buy a collection of spare fuses (we’re fortunate enough to have a good auto spares shop nearby). Once the blown fuse was replaced, everything went back to working normally, and the panic was over.

Our destination today was a small CL site on the outskirts of a small village called Embleton, on the North-East, Northumbrian coast. We arrived in time to eat our lunch at the site, and then set off for a short walk over fields to Embleton Bay.

Other than being a little on the windy side, the weather conditions were very pleasant. Once on the coast, we enjoyed views of Dunstanburgh Castle to the South of the bay (our target for tommorrow), and spent some time rummaging around the rock pools on the beach before heading back towards the campsite. We were also attracted to the Newton Pool Nature Reserve, nearby, which had a bird hide. Unfortunately, it was all locked up due to the coronavirus. One thing that did take our eye was the number of very posh huts dotted around the coastline by the beach where we were. I say ‘posh, because they were clearly more than just your bog-standard, kettle-and-a-chair beach huts. They were more like little wooden bungalows. None of them appeared to be occupied at that time, but it did prompt us to wonder who owned them, and how much they might cost. They were clearly all privately owned, since they were all decorated very differently, and were in varying states of repair… Not a bad place to go and spend a weekend, though… when the weather’s a bit warmer, perhaps.

CL’s (Certified Locations) are small caravan/campervan sites with no more than five pitches. This one seemed quite new and is very well-appointed, with EHU (Electric Hook-Up) point and water at every pitch, and grey and chemical waste stations nearby. We were particularly impressed by how generous they were with their spaces, with plenty of room for an awning if required, although we weren’t bothering on this occasion. It’s just nice to be out and about again, and sleeping in our trusty van… bliss…

Tomorrow, we’ve planned a walk to Dunstanburgh Castle…

Peter Woolley

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