We joined the Bessacarr Owners Club when we bought Bessie and thought it might be nice to go to our first ever Rally to meet fellow motorhomers with a ‘Bessie’ of their own. Driving down to Sidmouth on a Friday afternoon on the A303 in the school holidays was not a wise or well thought out route. However after 3 hours we rolled up on the site, a small golf course transformed by many motorhomes, caravans and tents of every conceivable shape, size and age. Thankfully our small group of 14 people in 6 caravans and our motorhome fitted nicely into one corner of the grounds with trees at the back of us and plenty of people watching available in front of us.
We arrived at 5pm and literally after pulling on the hand brake and locking the doors, we were immediately invited to join everyone else for wine and cheese, masses of it! Getting to know everyone while eating a cheesy banquet, trying to remember names while drinking wine, and swapping stories about trips was a wonderful introduction to the group and it past 11pm when we went off to bed.
Our first goal next day was to attempt to put up our newly acquired, and ridiculously named, Privacy Room. It is 4 meters long by 2.5 meters wide and fits onto the wind-out canopy, having two sides and a front, complete with 3 large windows and a door. Private – I don’t think so. Anyway we accomplished it in a relatively acceptable time and it means we can store the table, chairs, sunbeds, BBQ, shoes etc without having to put them away every night.
That done, we disappeared to find the bus into Sidmouth town centre to have a look at the Folk Festival and accompanying Beer and Cider Festivals. As it was sunny we had a walk along the promenade and made our way up 50 steps to view the scene below while munching a very tasty ice cream and admired the Connaught gardens which have been constant winners of various awards since the 1980s.
As we planned to spend the following day at the festival, we took the bus back and joined our fellows campers at our joint BBQ. We all contributed food items, a couple of chefs dealt with the cooking and we were soon tucking in to 2 types of Pimms by the jug-full, and all manner of food.
After coffee and Jill’s home made cakes on Sunday morning we decided to walk down to Sidmouth and after a short bit of busy road we made our way down a footpath and cycle track with mature trees and fields beyond. There was a small Nature Reserve with benches and noticeboards and further on it developed into an open space of trees, mown grass areas and gardens as it neared the town. Having worked up a thirst we decided to visit the Swan as there was live music, with a multitude of musicians playing small accordions, violins, various sized recorders and guitars. Everyone was so relaxed enjoying the music and sea shanties and as we can’t play or sing, we tried the beer and cider which was very good. Returning to the sea front we found the promenade heaving with people and craft stalls, and the streets were decked with flags and bunting, with lots of happy, smiling people enjoying the music, dancing and food on offer. We enjoyed fresh crab sandwiches on the promenade before winding our way through the streets, visiting another watering hole, before catching the bus back.
The weather was forecast to be rainy on Monday so we said our goodbyes and headed east to find better weather. Stopping at a campsite in Osmington for one night enabled us to visit Weymouth for the afternoon by bus. The beach is a long and wide curve of sand, complete with donkeys, helter-skelter, sand sculptures and ice-cream stalls at one end and a walkway the length of it passing a Nature Reserve at the far end. It was a little grey and breezy, so we opted to walk around by the harbour in the shelter of the quayside buildings and just happened upon a handy little pub with seating outside in the sun so we could watch the boats in comfort.
On our way back next day and not wanting to waste an opportunity, we decided to visit the Blue Pool at Furzebrook just south of Wareham. It is a disused clay pit and depending on the size of clay particles suspended in the water, the colour will vary from red-brown, grey, green to a blue/turquoise. It was more green and brown but still beautiful surrounded by paths among the pine trees and flowering heather which we meandered around for an hour before finally heading home.