Snow and the journey's end

Sunday 11th 

We woke up to find that it had snowed over night and there was about 4 inches of snow everywhereWe couldn't move the van as the other motorhome was parked next to us so we waited for him to move and then backed it out of the space and drove up onto the road. Andy pushed the trailer up and hooked it onto the van and we set off slowly.  The roads had not been gritted, everyone had been caught out by the snow fall. 

We had intended to continue our journey up the Wye valley towards Mallards pike and other beauty spots including a heritage centre and castles on the way but, decided to head back to Hertford camping and caravanning club site a day early as we had booked 4 nights from tomorrow, Monday 12th. Unfortunately the roads were so bad that even the A-40 was covered in snow and ice and it was closed just after Cheltenham due to multiple car crashes and we were diverted through Cheltenham town centre with everybody else! Cheltenham was grid locked with cars and lorries all skidding around in the snow. We crawled along in 1st gear for miles  and eventually ground to a halt half way up a snow covered hill and the van would not budge.

Andy switched the engine off, unhooked the trailer and started clearing an area of road in front of the van with the small latrine shovel so that the front (driving) wheels could grip. He had turned the gas on whilst we were 'parked up' at the side of this very busy road and so we had a hot coffee whilst he dug us out. He then got back in the van and waited for the road in front to clear and drove up the hill, not daring to stop until he got to the top, where he parked it and ran back down to collect the trailer. He pushed the trailer up the hill amongst the tyre spinning cars and hooked it back onto the van. 

Thoroughly pi**ed off with this situation we carried on as before, in 1st gear around Cheltenham, trying our best not to stop on a hill again. By this time we were getting hungry and Andy had been driving for hours so we once we cleared Cheltenham and the snow magically disappeared a few more miles down the road, probably near Oxford, we stopped at a McDonalds for some grub. It was dark now and we had been on the road since 11am. We had tried to contact the Hertford camp site but got no answer so we elected to drive straight into Harlow and park outside Andy's daughter, Lucy's house and surprise her!

We got into Harlow at 7:20pm! It had taken us over 8 hours to get here. We locked the van and rung Lucy's video door bell but Andy covered the camera and when Lucy opened the door she just cried with joy. It was such a nice welcome after such a horrendous journey. Andy phoned his other daughter, Jenny, Lucy's twin and she came straight 'round too and her reaction was the same. When Andy's Grand children, Hollie and Riley arrived from an afternoon out and saw the van outside their house, they ran into the house and they both burst into tears too and said how much they had missed us. 

We both phoned our Mums and told them that we were back and made arrangements to visit them tomorrow. we all hugged each other and we told some of our stories of our adventures and then we went and had a nice, well deserved sleep in the van, our final night of 'The great Wales trip'.