Saturday 6 August

We leave Carshalton Beeches at ten past nine and have a steady run down to Dover, avoiding junctions 6–8 on the M25 due to a closure, the result of a bad accident the previous day.

Arriving at the dock not long after eleven, we are offered the 11.50 am sailing, putting us one and a half hours ahead of schedule. (Our booked ferry was the 1325.) It is not long to wait in the line before we start loading.

We want to walk around the deck of the ferry, but most of it is roped off. So we go for lunch. I have haddock and chips but Rachel decides to go for a burger.

As we leave Calais we think we have found Mum and Dad’s favourite hypermarket, but it turns out to be the Intermarche one. Neither of us is especially impressed with it, but we stock up on a few basics to see us through the next few days. It takes us longer to go around the hypermarket than we expected and we are not away until gone four o’clock.

We rejoin the dual carriageway out of Calais, but the exit to the D943 is closed off and we are forced onto a short section of peage motorway, much to our disgust.

(magnify) Camping Municipal de Brunement

The Garmin doesn’t seem to be giving us the most obvious route towards St Quentin, and I wonder if I will have to stop the two navigators fighting. There is intermittent rain. Just past St Omer our suspicions that the Garmin’s estimated time of arrival is very optimistic are confirmed when it tries to send us right off the D943 to the wrong St Quentin. Once reprogrammed with a different St Quentin the directions start to seem a bit more sane.

At around seven o’clock we decide to stop, still some distance short of St Quentin. We use the Garmin to find a nearby campsite, but despite seeming quite busy we can’t even find the office, let alone the owner. It doesn’t look all that nice anyway, so we go to the next one on the list, which goes by the name of La Vallee de la Sensee, just off the D43 between Douai and Cambrai. The owner comes out to meet us and shows us to a hard standing area with electrical hookup near the facilities. It transpires that we actually turned into the municipal campsite rather than the Garmin’s suggestion, but we are not complaining. Whilst not the most pretty campsite, it is fine for our needs tonight.

Tomorrow we’ll put Dijon into the Garmin and see how far we get.

Later: Garmin gives us a silly route to Dijon. Troyes works much better.