Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Forests’ Category

I wanted to write a review from the viewpoint of a wheelchair user because unless you are in a wheelchair others cannot fully grasp the sometimes minor and sometimes major challenges we face.

The resort can be booked for 2, 4 or 7 nights and our 4 night stay started on the Monday night.  I am so grateful for @marvellousmrsp for giving us the spare room in their lodge because it was such a wonderful experience going away with a few friends to such a gorgeous place.  The resort is divided in different areas like little suburbs around the main Bluestone village.  I can still manage to push myself much of the time but if I was booking a lodge for myself I would request one with an entrance more level to the road.  This wouldn’t be any issue if you had one of these amazing chairs from @trekinetic and they tell me that I can upgrade my Trekinetic K2 if necessary – ūüéČGTE-parked

The lodges are spread out so you don’t feel as if you are on top of each other like in most static caravan parks and the forest and trees all over the place make for a truly beautiful site with wonderful views of the lake and the Preseli Mountains.

I had plenty of space to store my wheelchair and walker in the entrance hall without cluttering up the lodge and the carpet in the entrance was designed for cleaning plenty of muddy boots and wheels.

img_0755

The space was bright, open and airy and we immediately felt at home….

I had the downstairs bedroom which was next to a very spacious bathroom with a wet room shower and a full bath.  I was able to wheel myself around without any issues and right up to the basin.  Our bathroom didn’t have any grab bars or aids so you would need to enquire if any lodges have them if you needed them.

img_0747

The kitchen cupboards were all on the low level and open-plan and accessible with everything you need to make meals if you don’t want to eat out.  The resort has a great selection of restaurants and small eateries to choose from if you prefer to not cook at all.

As a wheelchair user I was allowed to keep my bus outside the lodge and use it to get around.  All other guests are required to remove their cars to the car park for the duration of their stay.  Golf buggies are available to hire and are everywhere and looked like so much fun.  Remember to consider this when saving for your holiday as the site is in the hills and quite extensive so anyone who struggles to walk any distance would need one – or just want one for the sheer fun of it! There is an on site bus and train that is free to use as well – after all, at the end of a day swimming and playing it is nice to be driven home.

Bicycles with trailers are also invaluable as well as the wheeled and collapsible cart I took with.  @tootsiestalesuk loved it so much that she immediately added one to her shopping cart.

 

The many and varied willow withy artwork around the resort are gorgeous and add to the whole magical forest theme.

I definitely built up a bit of extra muscle and got a fair bit of exercise during our stay. The surroundings are so lovely that you want to get out and explore / which is what this place is all about. There is also a beach and many other activities nearby if you want to explore further afield, but we found that there was so much on site we didn’t need to or want to go anywhere else.

The swimming arena isn’t just for swimming, but has a river, slides, obstacle course and waves. We spent a very happy afternoon poolside and although the main lift was broken on the day we went, there was an alternate lift we could use to gain access to the change rooms and the pool. I was asked if I needed the pool hoist, which I don’t, but it was good to know one is available.

There are plenty of great coffee houses and kiosks around the resort and we made good and frequent use of them for our daily coconut latte fix ūüėĀ.

Everywhere we went we were met with the friendliest staff imaginable. They went out of their way to help and provide assistance. One lovely lady even offered to push me up the hill from the Village to our lodge before they realised I didn’t know I could use my car – great customer service is invaluable, and it abounds at Bluestone resort.

A well deserved award for a resort that is beautifully maintained and is thoughtful to the environment.

If I could sum up our stay in only one photograph, it would be this one which I’ve titled ‘Free Range Kids’, as per @bluestonewales manifesto….

img_0745

img_0845

After our four nights stay, we had made new friends, seen wonderful things, been on wheelchair adventures, enjoyed lots of great coffee and generally had a fantastic time.

Would I come here again? Would I recommend it?

Absolutely, definitely, 100%!

Read Full Post »

We woke to the most glorious, crisp winter day. Having arrived at around 5pm the evening before it was our first opportunity for a bit of exploration….and to find a coffee shop – coffee is extremely high on my priority list and we needed to see if by some remote chance a coconut milk latte was possible in the Welsh wilderness.

Our walk down from the cabin was stunning and we had plenty of opportunities to get some great pictures.

Who doesn’t need a picture of themselves taking a selfie of themselves…

The head….

And the tail of the Welsh dragon…

We arrived in the village and had a quick wander around….

I found it….Ty Coffi….the village has a coffee shop (jumps for joy)…

The best bit? They served a very fine latte with coconut milk so our week here is going to be just fine. Lovely place and even lovelier people serving us. We got our ‘free with your first drink’ reusable cups which we will most definitely make use of each day with a 10% reusable cup discount – better and better.

Next we headed further downhill through the forest trail to see the festive lights. They did not disappoint – even in the daytime. Here are a few of our favourite pictures….

My trusty steed never disappoints and got me down and back up the green route – the easy option, but not for anyone of faint heart and weak pushing arms!

A lovely lady gave me a push over one of the uphills and between my pushing the wheels and Maryam pushing from behind with her walker, we managed the slow ascent eventually collapsing onto a bench at the lake. What’s the saying about the blind leading the blind?

A short bus trip back up the hill was definitely required because no way was I able to wheel myself that distance and elevation. Free bus or train trips run every half an hour and it was no time at all before we arrived back in Preseli View ready for a cuppa and a rest.

Read Full Post »

Take 4 ladies of varying nationalities, each with their own unique cultures and origins,

2 children,

2 cars,

1 wheelchair,

1 walking frame,

3 walking sticks,

and a smattering of health and disability issues.

Put them together in a log cabin in the wilds of Pembrokeshire, Wales and you are bound to have an interesting holiday!

Day 1 and after a drive from Lancashire for one car and another from Milton Keynes we were so happy to be greeted by the friendliest staff at the reception gates.

In no time we were checked in and directed to our cabin at 43 Preseli View.

We’re in a lovely four bedroom cabin with 3 big bathrooms, open plan living, dining and kitchen and a nice big entrance that acts as a mud room where we can store all the shoes, coats and mobility equipment.

After unloading all our stuff Using our trolley to help with the load and fewer trips, I headed off to find out how I could move my car off site and then get back to the cabin. When I was told that because I’m disabled and have a blue badge I could keep and use my car on the site I was overjoyed because you should see the hill we are staying on!

The choice of bedrooms was between a twin downstairs and 3 bedrooms upstairs so that was an easy one because the South African wheelchair lady and the Iranian knee replacement lady both don’t do stairs, AND there is a lovely big bathroom next door; one that I can get my wheelchair or my walker into.

An early night was definitely in order and the impeccably clean white linen was calling very loudly by this point.

Read Full Post »

A good story needs a good opening lines doesn’t it? So,….

An Englishwoman, an Irishwoman, an Iranianwoman and a South African woman descend on a resort in Wales.

What could possibly happen? Keep coming back over the next few days and you may find a few stories to entertain and inform.

Read Full Post »

I woke up this morning to a new year…in fact, my 53rd year, therefore a birthday outing was in order. ¬†Hubby and I had planned a trip to Saarbrucken for the day but for whatever reason whilst I couldn’t sleep properly last night I¬†had plenty of opportunity to think about what I have enjoyed this holiday, and therefore would love to do for my birthday. ¬†I realised that a large number of my best memories have been wine tours and vineyards, so surely that was the better option for my day out – hubby probably wouldn’t mind either! ūüôā

I planned a return trip to the Bad Durkheim region which was a couple of hours away, but during my route planning the points of interest on my satnav showed a huge tract of land a much shorter distance north of us which also has a wine region Рwho knew!  Exciting new vineyards to explore on the Moselweinstrasse.

When hubby woke, I posed the question about whether he would mind skipping our original plan for a wine tour – guess what his answer was?

We headed north towards Trier and hoped to find somewhere nice for breakfast on the way. ¬†Not 20km later we noticed signs for Villeroy & Boch…and then some more….they were following us, and it would appear rude not to follow the call of the famous pottery works. ¬†It turned out to be a great decision because the town of Mertzig is on the Saar river, and has Villeroy & Boch, and boat trips, AND great places to eat – what’s not to love.

IMG_4550

Breakfast consisted of all sorts of beautiful and fresh continental goodies – a real treat….IMG_4552

DSCN6680

We decided to go on the boat trip tomorrow as I had my heart set on the wine route today. ¬†It was a lovely drive through valleys along the Saar and Mosel rivers and into more vineyards than I have EVER seen in my life – and that’s saying a lot from a girl who has lived in South African wine country.

The scenery was magnificent….

DSCN6610DSCN6634IMG_4574

Then we stopped at the gorgeous village of Trittenheim on the Mosel river. ¬†Here we met a third generation wine farmer who has scaled down his operation to a mere 10,000 bottles of wine per year in his later years. ¬†What wonderful stories he had for us, and what wonderful wine hubby tasted. ¬†Needless to say, we came away with another 8 bottles of wine; but more importantly, with wonderful memories….

DSCN6623 IMG_4568 IMG_4563 IMG_4571 IMG_4573

Happy and satisfied with another wonderful day in Germany, we headed back to Campingplatz Siersburg…..

…and the question of whether I’m any wiser now that I’m a year older? Perhaps not nearly as wise as I would like to be, but definitely wise enough to know that spending a glorious day with my amazing hubby is priceless!

IMG_4567

Read Full Post »

…the Black Forest, and more wine country!

Our next stop was near Sulzberg on the edge of the Black Forest.

Not too long after setting off, it was time for a pitstop, and hopping off the autobahn we stumbled across a little jewel with the best beer garden ever…IMG_4082

IMG_4084

 

Sitting amongst the vines with a pretzel and a cappuccino in the sunshine was perfection!

IMG_4079
Today’s campsite promised more than it delivered I’m afraid because after the previous site, this one seems a lot more ordinary. ¬†Don’t get me wrong it is still nice, but it had a lot to live up to after our previous site.

No disabled toilet or bathroom to be found – despite the claims in all the literature. By this time of the day we can’t move on, so we decide to stay only one night and move in the morning.

IMG_4092

We set up our campsite and headed to the local store for some dinner. On our return we followed a sign for another campsite a few kilometres away. What a lovely surprise, and I believe we have found our next campsite.

Read Full Post »

4th October 2015

We left Kamping Alte Saghmuhle with a bit of sadness because she will be missed.  We did however make a slight deviation from the route to stop and get a ‘not so little’ memento of our time in the Black Forest….meet Wald – that’s German for forest – because Wald is a log which used to be a member of the Schwarzwald or Black Forest.  Hubby thinks I am mad, but I wanted a reminder of our wonderful times in the forest and I also needed a log for chopping my kindling for the fireplaces at home.  Here’s Wald doing a magnificent job of hosting the camping kettle…

IMG_4510.JPG

…and here, the flowers from the camper van….IMG_4518

…he wasted no time at all settling in to camping life and making himself useful!

Read Full Post »

Setting up in our first day was a bit of work because we were so tired by the time we got to the campsite – Camping-Freizeitzentrum S√§gm√ľle in Trippstadt, Germany. ¬†We decided to have a meal in the campsite restaurant which would have been much less stressful if the provided a ramp rather than the steep steps! ¬†No options to get inside, so if you are unable to climb a few steps this is not the campsite for you…unless you don’t ever need to go to the restaurant of course. ¬† The bathrooms here are brilliant, and on a crisp morning brushing your teeth standing in a heated floor is rather special.

Waking up to a very chilly morning with the sun just creeping into the valley was a real treat. ¬†This campsite set in the Palitinate forest is lovely and we were given a pitch on the lake…this is the breakfast view on a crisp, clear and quiet morning….IMG_4014IMG_4010

After a quick bite we headed out not knowing where we were going, but happy to simply explore. Happily this worked our really well because we stumbled across a wonderful town about 50km away – Bad D√ľrkheim – spa town with a rather unusual method of producing a seaside climate using a salination plant built in around 1860. ¬†This enormous structure is what captured our attention….

DSCN6185 DSCN6193

 

The salt water is fed by a pump to the top of the building where it trickles down through blackthorn twigs and the wind passing through creates what is believed to be a very healthy atmosphere. A truly fascinating place and one that is highly recommended if you’re ever in the area.

They also have the most imaginative water playground ever! ¬†Here’s hubby having a lovely time testing the equipment…

IMG_4027 IMG_4025

 

If this town wasn’t lovely enough already, it completely won us over because it is literally surrounded by and interwoven with vineyards – the winemaker in me was jumping for joy, and the wine drinker in hubby was ecstatic!

You are positively encouraged to walk around the paths through the vines and try out the ‘neue wein’ which is a speciality in the German wine lands….a partially fermented grape juice with sparkle. ¬†We purchased a 3 litre jug of it and hubby has been savouring it ever since!

DSCN6174 DSCN6197

 

 

 

 

IMG_4022…and their other claim to fame – the largest wine barrel in the world! ¬†Take a closer look and you will see how many litres it can hold – although it was never used as a wine barrel, but rather as a restaurant from the outset.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Having not been very well recently has affected my usual get-up-and-go (and my blogging apparently!).  In order to get away, even if it was just for 2 days, we headed off with the family to try a little camping.  It has been so long since we went away and back then we had a huge motorhome which is now a thing of the past.  The aim of the weekend trip was to see how we managed with a tent and me in a wheelchair.  The campsite we found was absolutely beautiful and so peaceful.  It had just the right amount of facilities with a couple of toilets and showers and a little cleaning area.  Only 10 tents allowed which made it peaceful and quiet (until our grandsons arrived that is!) Рjust what we needed.

My Trekinetic K2 was ideally suited to this location as it was quite hilly and the toilets were over the grass and up a stone driveway.  No problem as hubby provided the necessary propulsion because of the injury to my shoulder.

On the Saturday afternoon we took the family down to the little stream (or beck as it is called in Cumbria) along the farm ‘roads’. ¬†Going downhill is always fun, but coming back uphill is a much bigger challenge. ¬†Now for the confession – on this trip, the pictures of me are a little staged because coming down the hill I managed pretty well with some assistance but I needed both hubby and my daughter to give me a push back up again!! ¬†I was quite useful though in shouting warnings of any impending dung heaps which they tried valiantly to avoid – not always successfully. Oh well! what else can you expect when out bundu bashing and enjoying the countryside.

DSCN3861   DSCN3855

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And by the way, how come I always seem to have a child hitching a free ride??

Camping proved to be wonderful in the great weather; I think we had better try it a few more times before we decide if we can camp around Canada though.  I must say though that I think without the Trekinetic K2 a lot of campsites would be much more difficult.  Now all we need is to find a more comfortable bed and I think I could do this more often.

Definitely a worthwhile weekend experience; and here’s to many more happy camping holidays!

Read Full Post »

You might recall that we starting Geocaching recently and we thought that it might be fun to try find a treasure whilst in France.  My iPhone came in very handy for finding a local cache, translating the instructions and using the compass to point us in the right direction.  We selected one that had a very easy rating because the last thing we wanted was to get stuck in the wilds of France and not be able to speak the language to call out a rescue party!

We parked up as close to the site as we could and then it was on foot (and K-2) from there.  We had a good laugh with our non existent French and the dictionary and translation software, but eventually with a lot of pushing and shoving, the boys helped me negotiate the very overgrown path up the hill, across the clearing and through the thickets to the general location.  With me shouting directions from the compass, the two of them foraged around in the undergrowth and within a few minutes successfully located our cache. 

So, despite our language and physical disabilities, we all had a great sense of achievement for locating our first international cache.

Read Full Post »

On our initial travois around the grounds at Chateau Charbontiere, we had noticed an abundance of lovely big chestnuts and with the weather so clear and dry at night, it was a necessity for a bunch of Africans to acquire said bounty and roast them over a big fire.

Wellies donned; off-road tyres re-installed (I have a fab set of slicks for indoors), chestnut bag slung over the handlebars (I knew it was worth spending the extra money for these) and we were ready to head out into the wilds of the Charante!

Have any of you ever picked fresh chestnuts before? No? Well then like us, you will not know that before you can get to the lovely nuts inside, you first have to deal with a very thorny exterior.¬† After a few prickly fingers, the boys got the hang of it and started crushing them with their boots ‚Äď this ensured the outer shell was removed and we were left with the bits we wanted.¬† It was a good thing we had my Trekinetic¬†and a very large bag with us, because after an hour or so we had enough fresh chestnuts to set up a stall in West End and make back a bit of the money we had blown in town the previous day.

Oh, what an amazing afternoon out with the whole family and between me pushing and the boys pushing me around the really rough spots (and using my wheels as another method of shelling chestnuts) it became a day to look back and smile about.

On our return the boys set about creating us a fire pit ‚Äď sorry Pat and Tony, but we did clean it all away afterwards!¬† That evening and almost every one after, we had a big roaring fire and the most wonderful fresh PYO chestnuts ever – and marshmallows too.

By the way, I remember finding a few stray nuts in the washing machine the next day!

Read Full Post »

On a¬†return visit to Rivington Hall Barn with hubby, son and daughter-in-law, they brought along a recently purchased iPhone 3Gs and were very excited to tell us about their newest hobby ‚Äď Geocaching.¬† We have known about it for years but coming from Africa this was more about you, your 4×4 and the great outdoors.¬† I had not realised that it was also for urban adventurers just out for a stroll with baby in a smart new 3 wheeler¬†and hot latte!¬† After showing us the application he had bought and how it identified caches in the area we thought that this was a perfect opportunity to try it out ‚Äď after all we were here to go for a walk, so why not see if we could find some treasure at the same time. ¬†Using the 3Gs and some software it was really easy to head in the direction of the first horde ‚Äď who knew that you didn’t need an eye patch and parrot to find treasure!

While I stuck to the more established paths the family headed directly into the forest and stream in their quest for the hidden stash.  This was where the fun really began because the trees blocked much of the satellite signal and it kept changing its mind about the precise location.  After one shoe got swallowed up by the mud and had to be retrieved, and my daughter-in-law nearly becoming the next bog person for discovery by future generations, I was laughing hysterically from my dry and safe vantage point above the stream.  Eventually they admitted defeat and we decided to try for a tamer cache with less mud and risk to life and limb (well wellies and trainers anyway). 

The next cache was fairly close by and proved much more successful, and for me in a wheelchair it was easy as it was along a well-travelled pathway and just off the track.¬† This meant that I was able to participate in the discovery ‚Äď until they needed to dig around the nettles and then I was obviously not able-bodied enough to assist!¬† After leaving a message in the book and trading one object for another of equally little value, we called it a day and headed back home.¬†¬†

I think this may prove to be a very good way to build up my strength and at the same time enjoy the outdoors – hopefully our experiences will come in handy for other disabled geocachers. I have since found a great website at handicaching that allows you to rate each cache for ease of location and you can link back to the reviews from the main geocache website. With any luck, it will encourage a few other wheelchair users to be confident enough to try going off the beaten track; after all if I can do it then so can you!

Next cache here we come; arg, arg me maties…

Read Full Post »

Take one bank holiday weekend and terrible weather and what do you have? A perfect opportunity for a bit of bundu bashing.  Hubby was away on a trip to Australia and I was desperate to go out and get some fresh air, so I invited my son, son-in-law and grandson to give me some support. Where to go? After a little thought I opted for Rivington Hall Barn in Rivington as it is not far from us and has a tea room for that essential cuppa to prepare us for the heavy work ahead.

Did I mention the lousy weather, of course, it was a bank holiday? It had poured for the two days prior and as a result it was a mud bath in the country but being the intrepid travellers, this was not going to put us off.

Parking was a little difficult as human nature seems to dictate that the closer to the door you get, the bigger the prize! Parking accomplished and now for a bracing beverage before setting off. Tea, latte, hot chocolate and bacon barms safely despatched and we set off.

The part of Rivington we decided on is near the Go-ape adventure facility and my goal was to see if I could follow the trail in my K-2. We started off on the high path which was reasonably flat but with enough mud to put off all of the other walkers with prams and wheelchairs. We however were not to be daunted and when the mud got too deep (not for the Trekinetic, but my son didn’t want to get his converse too dirty!), we just went round them through the forest! Roots, rocks and mud were no match for us and we were soon looking for more of a challenge. Rather than going along the path from the high road to the low road we cut across the forest down the steep incline towards the reservoir. Wow, what a buzz! We went zig zagging down the hill over the forest floor with the tree climbers whizzing past us on the zip line. My son helped out a little so that I could practice using my steering and drum brakes and soon we arrived at the footpath. Amazingly we were the only ones I saw taking the off-road option and definitely the only wheelchair that made it round the route. Bearing in mind that I have only been going off-road for a week and need plenty more exercise to build up strength, it was very tiring and I did need son-in-law power to assist me back up the steep slopes.

Muddy and happy we got back to the car and headed home. Next mission ‚Äď find a way to clean off my wheels before loading the car!

(Photo’s not from original day out as we forgot the camera at home!)

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: