2023 first trip of the year – first stop Barnard Castle

Another year’s adventures begin. A bit later than usual as we were away in February chasing the sun and also had a couple of things to get fixed on the van. All sorted now.

30 minutes outside of Barnard Castle, we stop in a lay-by for a sandwich and a cuppa.

Barnard Castle is on the bank of the River Tees .

It was tough to find a campsite within walking distance of the town at a reasonable price so we ended up in the carpark of the Red Well Inn at no cost other than a commitment to buy food or drink.

We park up and then wander into the town. It’s an easy walk in and takes us straight to the castle which we know is closed today.

A few photos later we wander across the very bijou bridge that crosses the river. We can see a weir in the distance so walk back along the river bank for a closer look. The weir was replaced in 2014 with a fish and salmon friendly one that allows them to travel upriver to spawn. The river is fast flowing and churning looking very brown and lively.

Next stop is the town itself which is full of cafés and gift shops. We’ve been here once before a few years ago on a visit to the Bowes Museum, but didn’t see the castle. We walk as far as the unusual Butter Market in town, a circular building in the centre of the main road, and its looking like it needs some love, full of mould and pigeon droppings.

Time for our first mini pub crawl on the walk back to the van. We visit the Commercial Hotel which is very busy with punters enjoying the Cheltenham festival on the telly. I double the number of women including the barmaid! Onto the Coach and Horses followed by the Cricketers Arms where we chat to a couple just finishing the NC500 in a week, with some great photos of the recent snow. It took us three weeks!

Back at the van we wander to the pub and eat. Food is well cooked standard pub fayre. Charge the laptop and spend time sorting out where to stay near Durham which is our next stop.

Back into the comfort of Luci with our gas heating on, it’s Armageddon time on the DVD as we can’t get any TV channels and our router won’t work without power. Chosen by T obviously! A good start to our trip.


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