I not only write travel articles for MMM I also read it from cover-to-cover. Consequently, when I read the advice from Terry Acreman regarding fitting high-pressure tyre valves to your motorhome (August 2016), I marked the page and promised to do something about it when we had time. The weeks passed by and the valves remained on the list, until we eventually had time to tackle this. I contacted Tyresave, as recommended, and purchase five high-pressure tyre valves [one for the spare] and then booked our Renault Master in to National Tyres in Manchester for the fitting. The appointed day was sunny and as Manchester city centre is just a 15 minute stroll along the canal from National Tyres we thought we would combine the valve-fitting with a leisurely coffee and a visit to a photography exhibition we wanted to see.
We hadn’t even licked the cappuccino froth from our lips when the phone rang; it was National Tyres to say they couldn’t find the wheel brace. This wasn’t surprising as it is under the bed; feeling it was too complicated to explain, Mr BOTRA volunteered to walk back while I made a start on the exhibition. About 20 minutes later, while I was unhurriedly admiring the photographs, my phone rang again. Having arrived and retrieved the wheel brace, Mr BOTRA was on his way back to the exhibition and the tyre fitter was now ringing to say that the first tyre was off and he could see our ‘van was already fitted with good quality high-pressure tyre valves!
Re-united we both returned along the [now very familiar] canal to pick up the ‘van feeling somewhat shame-faced that we hadn’t realised what sort of valves Renault fit on their ‘vans. The National Tyre’s fitter was very cheery about the whole thing and, to make us feel better, explained that they had only recently started seeing vans fitted with these valves. National Tyres didn’t charge us anything and Tyresave took the valves back with a generous refund so only our self-respect was lost.
Walking along the wide expanse of Fraisthorpe Sands was easy as we headed north towards Bridlington. I meandered along the beach doing a spot of beach combing, finding beautiful stones and shells, watching the oyster catchers feeding on the shoreline and a flock of sanderlings flying in formation. A group of three horses were ridden through the waves and wind surfers were enjoying the surf. We explored the old look-outs that had slipped on to the beach as the soft clay erodes. A beach is never dull. After hot chocolate in Bridlington we returned, now walking in to the wind and I was bent over to avoid the wind in my eyes. I found a discarded plastic bag in the surf and filled it with plastic bottles and other litter as we got closer to the ‘van.
Earlier in the day we had stopped at the village of Rudston to see the stunning tall Neolithic monolith in the churchyard and the graves to Winifred Holtby and the MacDonalds of Sleat. We had camped in an idyllic small site south east of York, no facilities or electric but a view of a small lake. We had watched a group of tufted ducks diving and moving purposefully as we had breakfast.
From Bridlington we walked to Flamborough Head, the path hugging the line of the cliffs. Showers rushed in as we reached the lighthouse and we sheltered in the cafe before going down to the sea. The white cliffs were shining and stunning after the rain and we watched two seals bobbing n the bay. Following the cliff path to North Landing we spotted elegant gannets flying in formation over the surf and guillemots, fulmars and kittiwakes lined up on the cliffs. Another shower came in and we were lucky to just catch the hourly bus back to our campsite.
After an evening of rain, clear skies came and we woke to sunshine. We drove to Pickering and Cawthorne Roman Camp. The ditches and banks of this vast site on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors are impressive. From here we followed paths through woodland, fields and moors on a nine mile walk, much of our route on the Tabular Hills Walk, an intriguing name that comes from their distinctive table-top shape.
Our trip had taken us through swathes of snowdrops and bright daffodils just starting to flower but it was a mammal that made me really feel like it was spring. It was the first day of March while we were away and that morning we spotted our first brown hare of the year gracefully lolloping around the field we were camped in. These fast-moving and beautiful animals came to the UK with the Romans and are always joyful to watch. For me the March hare always feels like a real herald of springtime.