Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Newbiggin Farm Certificated Site, Waberthwaite, Cumbria

We'd wanted to visit Newbiggin Farm Certificated Site ever since they subscribed to AvailablePitch.com a couple of years ago, but time, other commitments and perceptions of how busy the Lake District can be, prevented this until Easter 2010.

Easter 2009 saw many campers cancelling sites at the last minute as snow and bad weather took hold. Now, we ALWAYS pre-book our desired sites well in advance for all Bank Holidays, as we know from running AvailablePitch.com, that sites, particularly the special or popular ones, get booked up months in advance. And if you want to get on a Caravan Club main site for these dates, you either book when online/telephone bookings open in January, or forget it.

Our criteria for the first camping trip of the year: A Certificated Location or a Certificated Site with hard stand (to stop our motorhome sinking to its axles), with hook-up (Easter can be VERY cold) and preferably loo and shower facilities. We also wanted go go somewhere we'd not been before. Newbiggin Farm fitted the criteria, and because we booked early with Colin Walker, we and our friends were in.

CLs and CSs take a maximum of 5 units (CS's can also accept tents), so you are never over-crowded or find yourself on a noisy site during a peak period, and this is a huge benefit at busy times of the year.

The forecast for Easter weekend was not good, indeed Colin told us he'd already had some cancellations as people feared 3 days of wind and rain. In the event, we had a mixture of weather, but not exactly as the weatherman had predicted.

The approach lane to Newbiggin Farm is a little narrow, and care is needed through the hamlet, however, as hardly any traffic uses this road, it is not a problem. We nearly pulled onto the rally field in error, because we spotted another motorhome already pitched up and lemming like, we followed. Just in time, Bill appeared from no-where on his pushbike and guided us the short way on to the camping area, on the left hand side.

Colin, his wife, father Bill and adorable sheepdog Bess run this working dairy farm. A few farmyard smells are to be expected, however the views from all pitches and the welcome from the incredibly friendly and genuine Walker family more than compensate. Warning: Don't stay on a farm campsite if you don't like "country type" smells...........

The camping field is about an acre, very slightly sloping, with the hard-stand area at the bottom of the site. As Colin observed after a night of heavy rain, maybe they'd have been better placing it slightly higher up! Never mind, it worked for us and our axles remained firmly above ground.

More about this lovely Certificated Site in the next blog ........

Image above: Uninterrupted views from Newbiggin Farm Certificated Site, April 2010.
Copyright AvailablePitch.com 2010

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Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Heard about SimonSeeks.com?

A really interesting email popped into AvailablePitch.com's "Contact Us" box recently. Researchers at SimonSeeks.com, a new travel website had read our Blog and wondered if we'd write some camping and caravanning-related travel articles for their new website. Wanting to know more, we learned that in addition to the satisfaction of seeing your articles on the web, Simonseeks also gives travel writers the chance to earn money when readers click on their reviews. Hmmm - does it now? So how does that work then? Here's what we discovered:

SimonSeeks.comcomes from the same stable as Moneysupermarket.com and Travelsupermarket.com and has big ambitions to become a top 10 travel website. Founder, Simon Nixon (hence the name), a keen traveller himself, launched the website based on his own interest in travel and his experience in searching for tailored travel guides online. Simon says: "The site is distinct by the quality, range and relevance of the reviews, and is easy to use. I am confident this aspirational venture will prove a success and that simonseeks.com will quickly become one of the UK's most popular travel websites."

Anyone can have a go at writing travel guides, from travel enthusiasts to celebrities and media professionals, and anyone can submit an article for consideration. The guides must be "original, informative and readable" and all articles are vetted first to ensure they are of a good quality. After registering, budding writers have access to writing hints and tips to help them get started. Once published, guides are rated by visitors and the most popular ones move to the top of the ratings and potentially earn more money for the writer.

So, how exactly do you make money from your articles? Well, according to Simon "Writers share revenue with Simonseeks.com based on the number of visitors who click on their travel guides. Commission is paid on bookings made with the travel partners, and writers also take a share of advertising revenue. The more often an article is read, the more the author earns. The secret lies in cross-selling advertising that is directly relevant, and closely matched, to editorial"

At the moment, sadly, there isn't a specific "camping" section on SimonSeeks.com, and we have asked that this be included as a category, so that the millions of UK campers can find reviews about campsites and caravan parks quickly and easily. At present the site seems geared more towards hotels, restaurants and resorts, however, there is huge potential for campsites and caravan parks to be part of this new online travel community. Therefore, the more people who write camping articles, and mention the campsites visited, the more all-important business will be generated for campsites and the more information is available to help campers find their perfect campsite.

Take a look for yourself at http://www.simonseeks.com/ and who knows, you too could become the next big thing in camping and caravanning writing - and don't forget to look out for AvailablePitch.com articles in the future.

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