The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday, 10 August 2008

The LEJOG Awards

In the last few days of our LEJOG jaunt* we amused ourselves for a couple of evenings playing ‘best XXX’ and ‘worst XXX’.

The result was the LEJOG Awards. Our votes were as follows:

Best campsite

(taking into account value for money, location and facilities):
Me: Cheddar Bridge (£7 for two per night, excellent facilities, well kept and with a river right by the pitch)
Mick: Hadrian’s Wall C&CC (close to best facilities of any campsite, good location, cheap breakfast, good layout; lost out for me due to the poor state of the grass (or lack thereof))

Best value campsite

Central Caravans, Watten (£5 for two, including use of the washing machine and kettle)

Worst Campsite

(value for money doesn’t come into this category; this is purely those that we disliked):
Tanpits Cider Farm just outside Taunton (cheapest campsite we stayed on, but horribly unclean facilities amongst other complaints);

tied with:
Tyne Willows Caravan Park in Alston (expensive, dreadful facilities and entered via a scrapyard, to name a few complaints).

Worst Value Campsite

Border Forest Caravan Park, Byrness (£14 and not even any soap or hand drying facilities – and it was the midgiest experience of the whole trip!);
tied with
Tyne Willows, Alston (£10, with hideously bad facilities)

Best Wildcamp
The other side of the river from Culra Lodge. Magical place to wake up. See the second photo here.

Worst Wildcamp
None was bad, but on a comparative basis, the one by Broomy Law had nothing to recommend it and the one after Cauldstane Slap was blighted by midges.

Best Bothy Night
Loch Choire (okay, it really was an unfair category as we only had one Bothy Night, but it was good enough to warrant an award)

Best View
Coming upon Loch Ericht. See first photo here.

Best non-camping accommodation
Warren’s Farm, Yeoford

(A handful of others deserved commendations too - like Weavers at Trevescan, Hafren House in Welshpool, Kinrara at Whaley Bridge and Allanfauld Farm at Kilsyth)

Best Value non-camping accommodation:
Warren’s Farm, Yeoford
(Highly commended: Allanfauld Farm, Kilsyth)

Worst non-camping accommodation

The White Lion at Weston
(a very shoddy, very dated room, at an above-budget price, took an age to track down a member of staff to check us in and it was the only place that agreed to an early breakfast and then served us only cereal and toast).

Worst value non-camping accommodation

Oykel Bridge Hotel (in close contest with Langdon Beck YHA)

Best Meal
Cross Keys, Kippen. Really, if you’re in the area, go and try it (highly commended: Kinlochewe Hotel and G&A, Melrose)

Worst Meal
The extreme error of smooth oatcakes and peanut butter for three lunches during a string of wild-camps. It makes me shudder just to think of it.

Best Day
Can’t choose. Almost all were good and with all of the different ingredients that made up a good day we couldn’t say that any one good day was better than another.

Worst Day

(a few days had a bad point or two, but this is the one that really stood out in our minds – plus it was the day on which I lost my compass, which of the few things I lost on the way was the most expensive to replace)

Maelor Way.

(*Can you believe it was over a month ago already? Where does the time go?)


  1. Great post, thanks!

    I couldn't help noticing Tyne Willows Caravan Park in Alston. That'll be the muddy thing more or less in the middle of the shops, presumably? When I was in Alston on the PW I thought I'd misheard the directions: I've not come across a farm in the middle of the shops before. I didn't stay there but I went there to meet somebody who did, and it looked dreadful. Hmmm... I hope I've not got the wrong one. I don't know of another campsite in Alston (I stayed at the one about a mile out, which was excellent).

  2. I fear that Alston may be a place that could be famed for bad campsites, because Tyne Willows wasn't in the middle of the shops. The entrance was between the petrol station and the narrow-gauge railway, just the other side of the scrap-yard.

    It's actually a static caravan park, but they've got a small patch of grass where they're happy to rip off campers. The facilities really did have to be seen to be believed (edited highlights: the toilets were in the basement of a factory building, accessed via the scrap-yard; no toilet door would close, never mind lock; the shower didn't have a shower head as such, nor hot water; the only sink with a hot water tap that worked didn't have a drain attached to it (stand well back!)).

    It was definitely one of those experiences that bore out your observation in your Pennine Way write-up - that all campsites along the way charge more or less the same, no matter what the quality of their facilities.

    As far as I could make out, it's the only campsite in Alston these days. Given that half an hour before arriving there we had been sitting in the YHA, I think that we really should have stayed there - but as hideous as the campsite turned out to be, at least it gave us a tale to tell!

  3. I adored the Oykel Bridge Hotel! I believe I might have even told you how glorious it was as you were getting close to it!

    Here was my take on the place:

    Mind you, when I got the bill, most of it was the product of the excellent wine list, so perhaps I didn't notice if it was a tad expensive? Certainly worth it though.

  4. Having listened to Gayle and Alan's tales, we shall eat at the Oykel Bridge Hotel, take advantage of their facilities and camp in the general vicinity when walking the Cape Wrath Trail next month (actually they were fully booked when I phoned to ask about accommodation a few weeks ago!!!).