Car journeys in the rain: Caravanning in Snowdonia

We all remember long car journeys as kids. It could be a day trip out to the beach or even a mammoth drive back from relatives; everyone can remember leaning their head against the seatbelt and staring out the window at the rain coming down. There’s something so comforting about being driven through the rain, perfectly dry and warm, gazing out at the maelstrom outside. If you feel like it’s been a while since you’ve had this feeling, then why not take a caravanning holiday to Snowdonia?

The caravanning holiday is something quintessentially British. The weather does not need to be wonderful, in fact sometimes it’s preferable for the rain to come in droves. We spend thousands on our camper vans, motor homes and caravans; so even though we love to complain about the weather when it turns south, we’re secretly pleased at being able to take refuge in our metal behemoths. Going to Snowdonia out of season almost guarantees rain, as well as quieter caravan sites and stop off points.

Feel free to shoot me down in the comments section, but I’ve always felt that a caravan holiday should be an insular affair. I know; life is about embracing people and new opportunities. But when I’m rolling in my caravan, I like to stick with the people that I’m bunking up with. A familial vibe is built when three or four people share a small space for hours on end. Driving through the winding roads of Snowdonia, with three companions talking and playing music, I began to get that feeling once more.

motorhome-hire-panoramaAs the afternoon draws in, after stopping for lunch, the sun begins to drop behind the mighty mountains that we’re driving through. Slowly, one by one, my companions start to fall asleep. Simon & Garfunkel gently lull them into peaceful dozes whilst a light pitter-patter of rain begins to beat down on the windshield. The last rays of the sun briefly splice the rain shower, creating an imperfect rainbow for just a few seconds. Only I get to witness this, my travelling companions sound asleep now, and I feel almost honoured; the roads have been empty for a good hour or so.

When I pull to a stop at a conveniently placed layby, my friends start to yawn and awaken, staring wide-eyed at the new environments around them. The rain is still softly pattering down as the last notes of ‘Song for the Asking’ fade away. The handbrake is pulled up, the canopy pulled open and at last we get to stretch our legs outside. One round of tea is followed by another until, before we know it, the door has been slammed shut and we’re all staring out the widescreen windows at the rain coming down – silent in our contemplation.

SnowdonI know what you’re thinking: “Wow, what a wild holiday.” But remember what this is. This isn’t a lad’s weekend in Malaga, nor is it a bubbly, cultural staycation in Madrid. This holiday costs half as much as those, and puts us miles out of the way of any other person. It’s a weekend spent in comfortable silences and deep thought. Where the drinks flow early in the evening and beds are sought before midnight. When the sun rises and you’re awoken by the reliably consistent, soft tapping of rain overhead – you may be slightly hungover, but you’ll also capture that feeling of comfort and safety; as if you’re eight years old again and you’re on a long car journey home.

What does caravanning mean to you?

Caravanning is, like all things, subjective. Some people might want to stay on top of a mountain with no one else any where to be seen, teetering over the cliff face with the frothy water pounding on the rocks below. Death rearing its scythe from the waters and tickling your toes as you sleep. The black sky extending round your head like a black cloak on a dark rider. The path you followed up here has no beginning, and its end lies in the water. The water that never rests, never ceases its tumultuous pounding, like a man burning with anger and hate, never able to sit still, never able to be at peace, the water hates, and it keeps hating the rock and the sky and itself and the world. It lives the pain of the endless ocean.

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“The sea does not welcome man, is that not clear? All it ever wants to do is push us back to the land or, if we have it fail in that, swallow us whole. If we bothered to listen when we put our ears to the sea wind, we would hear only a dark low voice, bidding us to leave it in peace” 

Billiam Béarnaise, recipient of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, 1971

Not all people want to teeter on the edge of doom though, some like a more sanitised experience. Some like the large scale family parks with all the amenities you could imagine. Karaoke on Thursday nights and table tennis every day at two. Young girls in polo necks emblazoned with ‘sunny-side caravan park’ welcoming you to the desk and helping you check in. Discussing your model and its pros and cons with Steve and Sarah from East Dulwich in the pitch next door. Cheese and cucumber sandwiches. Looking down on those in tents. Looking enviously and angrily at those in camper-vans. Looking bored. Looking tired. Trying to look happy. Maybe this is true caravanning.

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Solitude: A dream? A Nightmare? I have dreamed of some company before. But after years of it, I yearn more than anything to be lonely. Such freedom there is, in loneliness. Yes it comes with sadness, but for some this is a price that is worth paying”

Billiam Béarnaise, recipient of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, 1971

These false choices… they fall like oil from a empty dripping tanker. One that has spilled all but the last of its poison into the depths of a sea that hates it perhaps more than man. We are given these choices and told we are free. Is that freedom? The freedom to choose between neapolitan and raspberry ripple? Between Burger King and some pretentious over priced americana burger joint that serves food on a bin lid and without a smile? MacDonald’s or a lonely Shepard’s Pie for one? I spend so much money day to day. The only thing I’ve ever bought is a lie. I lie that speaks itself as a promise. A promise that shows itself as a lie.

And that is it.

That is what caravanning means to me.

Best Caravan Sites in West Yorkshire

West Yorkshire is a fantastic and varied place for a camping or caravanning holiday. There are villages and towns with heaps of character, some with literary connections. There is rolling farmland, heath and moorland dotted with many scenic picnic spots, country pubs and natural attractions. But there are so many different camping locations here that is can be difficult to know where to start when choosing one for your camping or caravanning holiday. Here are a few of the best caravan sites in West Yorkshire:

Cherry Tree Farm Camping and Caravan Park:

This lovely south facing parkland site is also home to some rare breed Hebridean sheep. There are lots of pleasant walks nearby and all the facilities you may require are found in the nearby village. Keen fishermen will also be glad to hear that there is free trout fishing available nearby.

– Holme Valley Camping and Caravan Park:

This serene, secluded wildlife haven is perfect for a getaway from the cities. There are 16 acres of woodland and nature to explore which makes this perfect for a family holiday. Set on the edge of the Peak District, this is the perfect location if you want to explore this part of West Yorkshire.

– Hebden Bridge Caravan Club Site:

Hebden Bridge Caravan Club Site is, of course, perfect if you want to visit the quirky, hippie dippy town of Hebden Bridge. This lovely town has a whole range of independent shops selling crafted items and several good pubs. It has a friendly and slightly alternative vibe, and it is pleasantly arrayed up the valley sides. This caravan park is a leafy place from which to explore.

Bowland Fell Park:

If you want to visit the pretty little towns of Ilkley, Otley, Knaresborough and Wetherby then this family run site could be a well-situated choice. It is set in a rural location only 8 miles or so from Harrogate and Leeds and yet retains a peace and quiet.

– Rising Sun Farm:

This little site with space for just five caravans or motorhomes is very pleasantly situated on the top of Cartworth Moor just above Holmfirth and is only a mile and a half or so – twenty minutes walk – from the town, which has a pleasant range of pubs and eateries to choose from.

There are many more wonderful caravan parks, as well as tent campsites like Jerusalem Farm and Rough Hey Wood, to choose from in wonderful West Yorkshire.

Living Permanently in a Caravan

Static caravans are the next best albeit simplistic option for owning a home which is as simple as buying furniture. This is true because you can order for one on major ecommerce sites like Amazon and eBay and have them delivered to your location. The caravan comes fully outfitted with the usual facilities you find in a home.

Many people use these caravans as their escape plan when they need to get out of their busy schedule to relax and unwind. For this reason, it is common to find such houses in holiday spots like near a beach, lake or resort. People can own them and use them as holiday homes or can rent one when the time comes. But is it possible to live in one permanently? Can you call your caravan home all year round for years to come? This all depends on a few factors as listed below:-

  • The Cost

This is the million dollar question you should ask yourself before jumping the gun on whether or not you can live in such a house permanently. You want to ask yourself if it is a feasible decision to invest in such a home. The cost is usually dependent on the type of caravan you want in terms of size and facilities thus do ample research prior. Make sure to take into consideration the number of people who will live there too. Also, factor in the park costs and any maintenance that goes into static caravans to be on the safe side.

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  • The Park

This is another important area that cannot be left in the back burner until your caravan arrives. You don’t want to have the headache of wondering where to park it thus you need to be ready. There are permanent parks that operate all year round and semi-permanent “holiday” caravan parks that operate for a few months then close shop for the rest of the months. Such semi-permanent parks obviously can’t work for you if you are looking for a permanent dwelling as it will inconvenience you when not in operation.

  • The Location

Like choosing the location of your home, the location where you park your caravan matters a lot thus choose well. Some research will serve you well when picking your caravan park to be able to find one that has a good view and is convenient. You also want to consider whether it is safe as you will be living there all year round. A remote location can, for instance, work well for a holiday caravan but can be inconveniencing and unsafe for daily living.

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Conclusion 

Living in static caravans can be fun and adventurous but only if one weighs their options well. To be sure if this life is for you as it can be quite the adjustment, take a caravan holiday to get a firsthand experience before making your decision.