Tuesday 23 June 2009

Easter at Stackstead Farm CL, Ingleton, North Yorkshire

After snow at Easter in 2008 and hasty last-minute rearrangements, a key priority for the Easter 2009 break was a site with hardstanding and electric hook-up. We are huge fans of the Caravan Club's Certificated Locations and the Camping and Caravanning Club's Certificated Sites, especially at Bank Holidays, because crowding just does not happen. Membership of the relevant Club is required to stay on one, however, this gives you access to thousands of small "5 van" sites across the UK, and affords far more flexible choices than the larger Club sites, which are often fully booked months in advance of peak periods.

Stackstead Farm is located about a mile out of the rugged Yorkshire Dales village of Ingleton, famous for the Three Peaks Challenge, Ingleborough Caves and a huge variety of walking opportunities. Wendy and Steve have owned the site for 10 years, which comprises a commercial caravan site (now all seasonal pitches), a bunkbarn sleeping up to 22 people in 4 bunk bed rooms, a small bunkbarn (The Stables) providing basic walkers' accommodation and a Caravan Club Certificated Location.

Caravans and motorhomes pitch in a circle (to keep the Indians out) around a central grassy area, with 5 fairly small hardstandings, but pitching is also allowed on the circular track. The site has spectacular views of Ingleborough mountain and is quiet and peaceful, being a fair distance from the road, however, the downside of the far-reaching view are that it is exposed to the cold northerly winds. There are free-range cockerals and hens pecking around the site, which whilst adding a nice rustic feel, mean that an early-morning lie-in is not possible, and they will stick nosey beaks into awnings and help themselves to any food which is lying around, given half a chance.

The weather was not very kind to us and the wind was gusting up to 30 mph - so strong that we had to take our awning down for safety's sake after the second night. The CL has a basic shower and loo block (shower 50p), which is stated to be heated, but unfortunately wasn't, making ablutions somewhat chilly in early April. The facilities are shared with the nearby seasonal site, but there was never a problem with queues or over-crowding - probably because it was so cold that people used their on-board facilities.

The small village of Ingleborough is about a 15 minute flat walk away and has a mix of traditional shops - butcher, newsagent, small supermarket, gift shop and the amazingly delightful Curlew Crafts and Tea Rooms, which outdoor seating for those of us with dogs - thank you! The food is traditional and homemade, cooked to order, with daily specials and the portions and extremely generous. Their Lemon Meringue Pie is just to die for. It was so good we nearly ordered another portion each. But that would have been plain greedy, wouldn't it?

Wikipedia says the following about Ingleborough: Ingleborough is the second highest mountain in the Yorkshire Dales. It is one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, the other two being Whernside and Pen-y-ghent. Ingleborough is frequently climbed as part of the Three Peaks Challenge, which is a 24 mile (38 km) circular challenge walk starting and finishing in Horton in Ribblesdale.

There is so much to see in this area, and the famous Ingleborough Caves are a must-do activity, as is the Waterfall Trail. However, enough for now - more about these in the next blog .......

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