This short trip was not really planned as a Bertie run but as Eileen needed to take eye drops frequently through the day and those needed to be kept in the fridge it was essential to take Bertie with his fridge! We had already booked two nights at the Holiday Inn Express in Tamworth so in this case Bertie was just transport! We wanted to attend the Annual Meeting of the Debdale Owners which was held at Great Haywood Sports and Social Club. That is about 200 miles from home so was never going to be a single day event.

We left home at 10am and followed teh well work route along the A143, A14 and A5. We stopped for lunch in the layby on the old A45 at Bottisham where we had cooked lunch as we had no idea what we could get in Tamworth. Moving on from here on the usual route we made a short detour to visit the Naseby battlefield viewpoint. We have driven past here so many times on A14 and I was vaguely aware that the location of this famous Civil War battel was close by but this time I did some research before we left and I found that the Battle of Naseby Society had created a proper carpark with a viewing platform and information boards. The car park was excellent and probably good enough for a stop over anothe time. The view point was quite interesting but as with all battlefields all one could see was fields! I am not a huge fan of old battlefields and we do not usually bother with them. This one however made an excellent coffe stop and leg stretch. This is Eileen’s first long trip since her eye operation 4 weeks before and I was keen to break up the journey.

Since we drive this route everytime we go to spend time on our shared narrowboat (Debdale) we travel this road several times ever year and it is strating to lose its charm!

Tamworth proved to be rather better than expected. We have driven round the bypass many times and we have cruised the Coventry Canal which also bypasses the town a number of times but we had never investigated the town. We still have not done so really! The hotel we had booked into was on the Snow Dome complex on the edge of the town near the retail park and had excellent parking right beside a big lake. We got a bit confused at the entry to the car park as the barriers opened automatically as we pulled up and we did not need to get a ticket. It seems large vehicles get in free as they are assumed to be delivering! We could have reclaimed our parking from the hotel but this was much easier. We parked up by the lake in front of the hotel and checked in etc and then returned to Bertie to have our supper!

Bertie parked up at Tamworth SnowDome viewed from the Holiday Inn Express
Next morning we were down to breakfast bright and early. One of the reasons for using Holiday Inn Express is the good breakfast. Not knowing what the catering would be like at teh AGM we decided to fuel up for the day. It is a short drive on to Great Haywood from Tamworth and the autumn colours through Lichfield were gorgeous. Parking at Great Haywood was interesting as Bertie simply did not fit through the antrance to the car park at the Social Club even though I did try but decided on balance I would prefer to retain some paint on the sides and we parked up in the street. When teh AGM ended at 5pm we drove back to Tamworth and had a quick supper in Bertie parked beside the lake. Up tp our room for a wash and brush and up and lots of clothes as tonight is firework night and Tamworth has a huge public display beside the castle. It was a five minute walk over the footbridge across the main road and there it was – thousands of people, loads of noise, lots of stalls and we were early enough to get front line view beside the railings of the display which was superb and lasted a full 20 minutes. It was just as good as the displays at Plymough but so much better for being so much closer!

Sunday morning was a lazy start and then we headed home. We took the opportunity to visit Stoneywell one of the National Trust’s recent acquisitions and access problems mean that have to book in advance and numbers are very limited indeed and our previous attempts to visit had not been successful. This time we had booked well in advance and we had a slot booked for 11am. The car park is a little way from the actual place and you have to use the free shuttle bus.

Stoneywell House (National Trust)
We spent a couple of hours here including the guided tour of the house. It was not quite what I expected. Quite interesting and a fine location but smaller and less impressive than I had had hoped.

After a lunch in Bertei before we left the car park we headed for home arriving back just before 5pm.

Mileage reading on return: 121806 kms
Mileage reading at home: 122451kms
Mileage this trip: 645 kms


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