Driving home back over Winnats Pass
Driving home back over Winnats Pass

With our first ever camping trip in Hansel to Bala done and dusted, we were thirsty for more camper van action as soon as humanly possible. Luckily for us, the weekend after our Bala trip was free of obligations, and with it still being low season, booking a pitch was no bother, even at such short notice.

Once again, we selected a campsite based on the activity we wanted to do, in this case, road biking in our beloved Peak District. We took a spot at Laneside Caravan Park in Hope. We already knew the area quite well for road biking, and it had the added advantage of being just a short drive away.

Riding route plotted on Strava, Hansel packed up and ready to go, we set off in a bit of a rush after work on the Friday, hoping to get there before dark.

Is that kitty litter?

On arrival, we were shown to our pitch. Having only really camped in tents previously, I had no experience of ‘hard standing’ pitches whatsoever, and was mildly surprised to discover that our outdoor space was composed of a large rectangle of small white stones and gravel. This bore an uncanny resemblance to kitty litter, which I spent the entire weekend stepping onto far too heavily without any shoes on, and paying the painful price.

I couldn’t really complain though, as it was more practical than a grass pitch in the rain that obviously followed. Besides which, our eyes were constantly pulled instead, towards the lovely views of Win Hill in the distance.

Enjoying a leisurely breakfast
Enjoying a leisurely breakfast

The riding

Our route would take us over the three ‘stingers’ of the Strines, three consecutive hills, the last of which is ominously named ‘Deliverance’. We then planned to loop around to Glossop in order to climb Snake Pass, a long, winding road which cuts through the High Peak Estate. At just over 4 miles in length, and an average gradient of around 5%, it’s a decent climb with impressive moorland views.

The weather was particularly forgiving that day (phew), and so was the traffic come to think of it – even on the notorious Woodhead Pass – so we passed a thoroughly enjoyable day ticking off 52 miles and 4,500 feet of ascent. (If I did this ride again, I think I’d take Holme Moss rather than ride over Woodhead Pass, quite a lot of extra ascent, but much nicer roads.)

Deliverance, the last 'stinger' of the Strines
Deliverance, the last ‘stinger’ of the Strines

The campsite

We went for an ‘all weather’ serviced pitch at Laneside Caravan Park. Despite the initial surprise at the ‘kitty litter’ surface, it was actually very practical and we didn’t mind it one bit. Where we parked the van itself was spacious and perfectly level, and the staff were friendly and helpful. You can even get takeaway deliveries to the red phone box on site if you don’t fancy cooking!

The facilities are very decent too, nice and clean. The site is a short walk to Hope’s lovely little village centre, where you’ll find just about everything you need, including excellent pubs and tearooms.

It’s perfectly situated for hilly road riding, as well as epic mountain biking and hiking straight out of the door. It’s also well positioned for local attractions, such as the caverns at Castleton, and rock climbing. We’d definitely return, there’s so much you can do here.

Thoughts on the trip

Another camping trip done, and the novelty factor is still definitely there! One aspect we’ve noticed, and this is true of all modes of camping I guess, is that you should expect everything to take twice as long, whether that’s cooking or showering or whatever. We found ourselves slowing down, and taking our time over everything, and that somehow made it more enjoyable. It became part of the experience, rather than just something to get out of the way to make room for other stuff. With our busy lives spent shoehorning as much into a day as possible, this new pace of life out in the open air was a real tonic. Yes, more of this please!


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