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Base Camp Journal: Dorset

Though we rarely visit all the places of interest I have marked on the GPS when we're off somewhere, we do get around. We used Wilksworth Caravan Park as our base, and it was as good as any: It's within walking distance of Wimborne town centre, the staff are very friendly, the facilities are well maintained and there is a handy shop at the reception. I couldn't see any pitches that were actually full-serviced, but none of them were more than a few metres from a water and drainage point.

The weather wasn't as great as one would expect for mid-July, and the rain came down heavy one night, leaving our area a bit waterlogged (but thankfully not muddy). There was little anyone could do about that, as the problem appeared to have more to do with the geography of the region. At least we know the Kampa Rally 200 awning holds up pretty well in heavy rain.

We still made it our home for those few days, with enough solar-powered lights and LED strips around Bertha to make our pitch look like Barry Island. On a clear night, Wilksworth is a good location to view the night sky. I was able to see part of the Milly Way directly overhead, while watching the satellites passing.

Wimborne isn't a tourist-type place, but it has so much in such a small area, and it's one of many we've visited on our travels that remind me of how much is lost when councils try to 'modernise' towns. The cafes, restaurants and takeaways in Wimborne are so good we didn't bother cooking anything at the Base Camp during our entire stay. Everything about the meal - the service, the atmos, the food itself - was perfect at the Wimborne Tandoori House restaurant. Just a few metres away from the restaurant, there is a kebab shop ('Best in Town', I think it was called), which I'd definitely recommend.

At the Cafe

During our daytime exploration, we stopped at a pub calld the 'Rising Sun', where we could just order our G&Ts at the bar and relax in the beer garden. Even Le Petit Prince - one of those hipster cafes that aren't really my scene - sold food and drink of a quality one rarely encounters in todays' cofee shops.

Wimborne Minster church looked quite interesting, but we couldn't go in since there weren't enough clergy to keep it open. We did spend a good few minutes chatting with the very friendly and approachable Rev. Andrew Rowland, who happened to be passing by, about the history of the church, parts of which are apparently over 1,000 years old.

Bournemouth

St. Peter's Church in Bournemouth is much grander. It seemed to be open all hours for visits and private prayer. I couldn't help taking some photographs while there, though it does feel rather sacriligeous to point a camera at a crucifix.

Robby said the church is like an oasis of peace and relaxation in the middle of a busy town (to paraphrase) - and it really was. I see churches like St. Peter's as (probably irreplaceable) monuments to the level of vision, engineering and beauty that Western civilisation was once capable of, and churches belong to a time when our culture had a connection to something greater than the politics and celebrities du jour.

As for Bournemouth itself, it's not the most picturesque location when the weather is dull, but it had many things there one wouldn't find at a typical seaside town. The exit from the public car park led us onto a colourful high street, with a fairly big shopping arcade just opposite us. I acquired more shiny things from Claire's Accessories before we proceeded along the street into a wonderful open-space public garden, with a stream, bridges, flowers, a podium with a band playing, and other things. On the other end was the beach.

Bournemouth Pier

The weather was nice enough for us to spend an hour or so at the outdoor area of West Beach bar, where I got more than a little tipsy trying different cocktails. We sobered up by exploring the sea front, and eating burritos from the old Citroen van - we certainly got a lot for £7!

Poole

We went to visit Poole, a harbour town just a few mile south of where we're staying. It has a large shopping centre, just like St. David's in Cardiff, and the high street was near identical to the one in Newport before it became near derelict some years ago.

At the other end of the high street was the harbour, which is very much active, with some boats providing tours around the nearby island and others doing various commercial transport things. And there were a hell of a lot of tourists for a relatively obscure place! We saw a number of the very expensive (and attractive) Sunseeker yachts being serviced.

Update: Water Pump on the Base Camp

We did encounter the problem with the water pump again. The following sequence of actions should fix it: - Switch the pump on at the control panel, and wait for the system to fill from the supply or tank. - Run the shower tap until the air is removed. - Run the bathroom sink tap. - Run the kitchen tap.

If the boiler is switched on before there is sufficient water in the tank, the boiler warning light will illuminate. The boiler must reset, and this is done by turning it off and back on using the red switch on the unit itself.

Posted: 15.07.2021