France & UK - February 2018

Day 1:

My first trip of 2018 started this morning … yes you guessed it … very early at 05.30! After a few stops for fuel and food I finally arrived at the first stop of todays roadtrip, the lighthouse of Cayeux sur Mer, then a second lighthouse at Ault and the third one at Cap d’ Antifer, the weather was perfect for photography with blue skies and the sun in the right direction, however the low temperature and the added wind made me feel like freezing every time I left the car. On the drive to Ouistreham (Caen) I crossed the famous Pont de Normandie … filmed it with the GoPro off course … and arrived in Ouistreham by late afternoon, I waited for the Brittany Ferries “Normandie” to leave port for a good photo opportunity and after taking some shots of the nearby lighthouse I went on to the west for one final lighthouse at Ver sur Mer, then I felt I hade enough of driving for one day and parked the car at the ferryterminal to wait for boarding time. By nightfall I had a perfect view on the same lighthouse I saw earlier so I took the time for some evening shots and then relaxed in the terminal until I could board the Brittany Ferries “Mont St Michel”.

By 22.30 I was finally onboard the Mont St Michel and went for a late night dinner and a whisky to finnish the day before going to bed in my cabin.

 

Day 2:

I woke up early as planned because the ship would arrive in Portsmouth by 06.45, I decided to skip breakfast and go for a hot drink instead. After picking up my friend Louy in Southsea I drove all the way to Bristol, a first time for me to visit this interesting city. Our first stop was the famous Clifton Suspension bridge designed by Brunel and built over Avon Gorge. Isambard Kingdom Brunel was a great engineer and Bristol is the place to be if you want to see his achievements. So after a quick stop at Cabot tower and a drive around the city we arrived at the SS Great Britain, this ship was the second liner designed by Brunel and possibly the first real succesfull oceanliner when she was completed in 1843. After lunch and exploring the ship and museum it was time to get back to Southampton.

 

Day 3:

Today we started in Southampton where we boarded the Red Funnel ferry to the Isle of Wight, on the way we had a great view on the Saga Sapphire and Oriana who were both docked at Southampton cruise terminals. Upon arrival the first of our stops was the so called “Pepper Pot”, an ancient Roman lighthouse that is located on top of a steep hill so it took some effort to get there as we had to climb this hill on foot in freezing temperature and high winds.

The next stop was the Osborne House, this used to be a royal retreat for Queen Victoria. We had to get back to the ferry on time to see the ships in Southampton so we sent by Mayflower park and then to Hythe Marina to have a good view on the ships leaving Southampton, off course the ships had to be delayed again so by the time they left it was dark. After this little problem it was time for dinner and getting back to the hotel.

 

Day 4:

This morning we went to Cobwebs in Southampton to buy some ocealiner and aviation memorabilia before going to Titchfield abbey for brunch and some walking around the old abbey. Then we went to a place I have been trying to visit for some years now, the Hovercraft museum in Lee on Solent, they have a fantastic collection of large and smaller hovercrafts including the last two SRN4 types. After another stop at Gosport for a view on Portsmouth I went to drop off Louy and then drove all the way to Hurst Point to have a good view on the Needles lighthouse lit up and the nearby Hurst Point lighthouse before going back to Southampton for dinner and sleep.

 

Day 5:

On my last day in the UK there wasn’t anything I needed to do urgently so I drove by Netley Abbey before pikking up Louy again. Our next stop was a place I have been trying to visit for a while now, Portchester Castle is a Roman fort near Portsmouth that has been rebuilt into a medieval castle over time and is now a historic site with a church within the walled castle.

After a lunch near Netley we went for a walk around the Royal Victoria Country Park and the beach, when we reached the exit we noticed a small bookshop where I found some interesting cheap books and once we were back on the road it was time to get to the Marine Parade to have a view on the ships, off course the Oriana escaped us again because she didn’t leave before sunset so we gave up and went to Gosport to take evening shots of Portsmouth instead. By now it was dark and time for a tea and dessert before I went to drop off Louy again and get back to the ferryterminal. By 23.00 I was boarding the Brittany Ferries “Mont St Michel” and went straight to my cabin to drop off my bags and head for the restaurant for dinner. The last thing on my list was the bar for my late night whisky before going to bed.

 

Day 6:

The last day of my roadtrip consisted of getting up around 06.00 and breakfast onboard the ship while we were making our way into Ouistreham port. Once I left the ship I decided to follow up on a tip from Louy and stopped briefly at the port of Le Havre where the Brittany Ferries ships “Normandie Express” & “Bretagne” are laid up for the winter. After that I went straight home and upon arrival had done over 2500 km since I left.