It seems crazy that this time last year we actually braved going under canvas for the Easter weekend. We couldn’t even imagine going now with the weather we’ve been having lately, but last year we had an absolute blast, and surprisingly gorgeous weather in comparison.
(n.b. I did actually start writing this post when it was freezing outside and there was snow on the ground!)
We had packed our bags and headed off for sunny Weymouth, one of our favourite places, and we found the most beautiful campsite where we were able to pitch where we liked, and because it was the beginning of the season we practically had the place to ourselves, and so chose what we thought was the best spot to pitch up, with a view just to die for.
It doesn’t take us long to slip into the camping life. Give me outdoor cooking, a beach view and a porter potty (because we like to traipse across the damp grass in our crocs and socks as little as possible! Oh ok so it’s just me that chooses crocs as my footwear of choice when camping, Char wouldn’t be seen dead in them…but I can’t help it, they’re just so practical!) over technology and home comforts any day! And we even quickly got over the fact that our tent pole snapped when we first arrived and so I had to spend over an hour in the little camp shop trying to find an off cut that would match, then having to re-thread the whole pole, which I’ll tell you now is not easy (not that I was doing it myself, but my god it was oh so painful to watch!) But anyway, all that aside, tent finally pitched and we could finally start enjoying our few nights away, and we were blessed with the most gorgeous sunset on the first night while eating our bbq food and drinking hot chocolates (complete with marshmallows & whipped cream) just perfect!
We always start our days out with a big cook up, and of course I’m the one that does all the cooking, but it’s ok because Char always does her fair share of the washing up! I just love that smell of bacon wafting around the campsite, and the sound of the sausages sizzling away…always reminds me of camping, and the best way to set us all up for the day. We always pack lots of picnic food & snacks too, and the menu would always include a couple of bbq dinners for the evening, at least one fish & chip supper, usually after one of our long days at the beach, or lots of walking when it’s just too late when we get back to the tent and all we want to do is eat and then lights out, & not forgetting the essential supply of ingredients for s’mores! For me it’s all about the food!
Our long weekend in Dorset was filled with adventure. Day one we decided to visit the beach which never fails to be a fun day out. After lots of childhood days out to Weymouth, I know the area well and so naturally wanted to recreate some of those memories that have stuck with me all of these years. Just seeing the famous clock along the promenade fills me with excitement, it’s the realisation of being at the seaside. Then of course there’s the sand man, the funfair, arcades, searching for the white horse up in the hills, building sandcastles, listening to the sound of the seagulls & eating ice-creams while dipping our toes into the freezing cold sea, just to remind us that it IS only April, and we are still in England! Yes we did all of these things, and they felt just as good as back then, and I love that I can now pass on these traditions to my own little family.
Once we’d had enough at the beach, because in all honesty it had begun to get a little bit chilly, we thought we’d venture a bit further and visit the lighthouse at Portland Bill, which was beautiful. We also spotted the Olympic Rings on the way too so managed to get some cheeky snaps!
We didn’t actually go up the lighthouse but we did a bit of fossil hunting nearby and had yet another ice-cream there too, because why not?!
We’d always go back to the campsite exhausted because we’d have crammed so much in while being out and about, but the evenings are always fun in the tent. After food we would venture to the showers to get warmed up and into our pjs and dressing gowns, then we’d go back, torches in hand, lay out a picnic blanket and pillows outside the tent, get snuggled under one of our many fleecy blankets together and spend the next however long we wanted stargazing. This is what we look forward to most as a family. We would just lay looking up at the stars, with a view like no other due to the welcomed lack of light pollution, and enjoy spotting the satellites and shooting stars (yes we’ve seen many) and it never stops being magical & exciting.
Please don’t look at the socks and flip flops! (well at least they weren’t crocs this time!!)
The next couple of days we visited places neither of us had been to before. The first being Lulworth Cove. Wow, how had I not seen this place before? I loved everything about it, we all did. The views were just something else, and we enjoyed walking up the hill to really appreciate and take in how beautiful it all was. There are some lovely shops nearby and an ice-cream parlour, and we had fun searching for fossils and lucky stones on the beach. You can literally spend hours here soaking up the atmosphere and taking in the views, as well as gorgeous scenic walks all around.
After here we ventured to nearby Durdle Door, and again, just wow! You see pictures of these places in books and magazines, but nothing compares to seeing them with your own eyes. The view from the top was amazing, yes you’ve probably gathered by now that I’m a sucker for a view….take me anywhere and I always want to find the highest point for the best view, it just never fails to make me smile. We then took the many uneven steps down to the bottom for a close up look of the picturesque scene. Getting down was the easy part, it was the going back up that was tough, not so much for us but for Finley who as a typical 4 year old was not overly impressed that he had to use his legs a bit more than usual….queue then lots of crying from him and bribes from us of ice-cream and chocolate if we could just, for the love of god reach the top without anymore blooming winging! Still, we wouldn’t have missed this for the world.
Well that was camping at it’s best, perfect weather, great days out, not to mention stunning views, and so this obviously leaves us wanting more, so naturally we booked another camping trip for later on in the year with the hopes of coming up trumps again….but who are we kidding?! It doesn’t always work out like that…….
We booked our next trip to sunny Cornwall and headed for a gorgeous looking campsite in Liskeard with a beautiful view of a huge lake. And it truly was spectacular. We arrived on a scorching day, the tent, which we’d borrowed due to the mis-hap with the poles on our one last time, was easy peasy to set up, and we settled down to enjoy a bbq dinner with hot chocolate just in time to watch the magnificent sunset. Surely this was going to be yet another problem free camping trip. Hmmmm, not exactly!
We settled down for the night and started reading Finley’s bedtime story, a fav of ours ‘Percy the park keeper’. All was going well until suddenly our blow up camp bed started moving, like a LOT, and making very weird noises. Now I’m all for trying to stay calm in these situations so as not to scare Finley, but I couldn’t help it this time, I absolutely freaked out thinking there was an actual mole coming up through the bed (I blame the Percy books for my overactive imagination here!) It was lifting up, and I was going with it, so of course I was squealing like a hyena, hysterical at what was going on, and causing Finley to become worried and scared. On closer inspection though (not by me, I made Char examine the floor and bed as I had launched myself across to the other side of the tent in a blind panic!) we realised it wasn’t in fact a mole (you don’t say!) but just one of the seams popping on the blow up mattress causing a big mound to form, and the mattress to lift me up in the process! Subsequently we had to calm Finley down and convince him that I was, infact just re-enacting a scene from ‘One Snowy Night!’ and then for the following 4 nights we had to endure a very uncomfortable sleep on a now deformed blow up bed, and all the while I was suffering from a stinking cold!
The following morning we woke up to a cold and rainy day, and after a very restless night I was feeling worse than ever. But nevertheless I decided to try and shake it off and set us all up with a warm filling cooked brekkie, so on my one little stove I set about frying up the sausages and bacon and tinned new potatoes. I didn’t anticipate how windy it was…we so need to invest in a wind break, but anyway I carried on regardless with our little stove fighting against the wind, sat on a table with a parasol to keep the rain off me, and taking a hell of a lot longer to cook than usual! After about an hour I put the cooked food in a tin to keep warm and proceeded to cook the beans, and butter the bread, completely unaware of what was to happen next……a huge gust of wind came up under the parasol causing it to tip the whole table, complete with cooked food, baked beans and bread (yep, you guessed it….buttered side down 😩) all on the grass! Seriously, I could have cried (I think a few tears did slip out) and crawling back into bed was the only thing for it! Luckily for me my gorgeous girl took over to clear up the mess, and managed to salvage some of what fell onto the grass to make us all bacon and sausage sandwiches (we definitely surpassed the 5 second rule here!) and I think the rest of the day we just laid in the tent, me feeling sorry for myself and rain forecast for the following day too – great!
The next day came, and yes it was raining but we weren’t going to have another wasted day in the tent! So we got googling and found a leisure centre nearby that had an inflatable event which was right up ours and Finley’s street, and it really was great! We all had so much fun and for those couple of hours it didn’t matter at all that the weather was crap outside! After that it had actually brightened up so we decided to venture to the nearby village of St Cleer with the quaint little shops, and we even treated ourselves to a traditional Cornish pasty, lush! The car was parked in a pay and display and we thought we’d make the most of the blue skies so took a little stroll through the streets, not really knowing where we were going. We were walking along the high street and came across a little co-op, which had a back entrance which lead out to a carpark. We thought as a change of scenery we’d take this route instead, and then just follow the same direction towards the car (roughly) and take a left when we could, to lead us back onto the high street. Well we must have walked about 30mins without even finding a bloody left turn, and we didn’t know where the hell we were! We’d blooming well lost the car! The time was nearing our parking ticket expiring, and Finley was having a meltdown because his legs hurt, and he was tired and hungry! So the only thing to do was for me to leave them both there, turn around and walk back as fast as I could, back through the co-op and take the high street route back to find the car, then go and drive to where they’d be waiting. The funny thing in all this was that the heavens decided to open again, so all the while I was walking back I was just giggling that I’d left them both without coats, and no shelter and I hadn’t even found the car yet!! Needless to say when I eventually got to them they looked like drowned rats! So back to the tent we went for an afternoon of games and a bit of cooking in the tent (with lots of ventilation!) to save it being blown away again!!
The following day was raining yet again, so we had the idea of visiting Fowey as there was an aquarium there, and although it was small (just one room in fact) it is over 65 years old and includes some fascinating sea creatures and a touch pool to get really up close and personal. We spent about half an hour in here (we circled the room about 3 times and enjoyed the touch pool for about 10mins) and it was a welcome break from the rain showers outside! After this we went for an ice-cream and then because it was still raining, we googled bowling places nearby and set off to St Austell for a change of scenery and a competitive game of bowling. (Finley won!) We actually didn’t mind the drives to all these places either, we would just blast out our music and sing along at the tops of our voices, just glad to be out of the rain, our favourite song being ‘chick chick chicken’! We finished that day with fish and chips from the local chip shop taken back to our tent, with the smell of salt and vinegar wafting through the air! Yummy!
On our last full day we were lucky to wake up to the warmth of the sun and a pure blue sky! We couldn’t believe it, so after another cooked brekkie we packed our bags and headed off for a much needed day at the beach, and what a day it was! It was just gorgeous, we parked our car in the car park at the end of the street, and made our way through the traditional Cornish street with our crabbing buckets, blankets and picnic in hand down towards the sandy beach of Looe. We picked a spot not too far from the water and spent the next few hours dipping our feet in the sea, building sandcastles, people watching and soaking up the rays! Bliss! We then did some crabbing nearby and were lucky enough to catch about 10 crabs, with the help of our smokey bacon bate! Then after a couple of hours came the time to release the crabs back into the river, and rather than chuck them overboard (which was a very long drop) we thought it much kinder to go to the slope and let them walk their way into the water. However as soon as we tipped the bucket onto the slope, a swarm of seagulls came down on the crabs like a flock of vultures. It was awful, those poor crabs! But the sight of it made us all giggle hysterically as it was just so unexpected! That’s the last time we do a good deed like that, and next time they will just have to suffer a long drop with a big splash, rather than being eaten alive by those greedy bloody birds!!
Our day was topped off with a trip to the arcades and the fair, and a bbq back at the tent, just in time for the sunset and more stargazing in the evening.
Packing up the tent is always a sad occasion, we never want our holiday to come to an end, but at the same time the thought of going home to our creature comforts that we usually take for granted fills us with a warm fuzzy feeling. So the following morning we enjoyed a last cook up, and as a last laugh at the campsite, when we went to the toilets we noticed another camper in there washing up all of her breakfast things, completely unaware that there was a separate washing up room to do that! She made a right mess of the toilet sinks, and we left our eventful holiday site giggling yet again!
But our holiday wasn’t over just yet, with another gorgeous day we headed to our final attraction, Adrenaline Quarry , where we enjoyed a bit of go karting next door at Kart World and then I jumped off a sheer cliff on one of the longest maddest zip wires in the UK! This was actually a 1st year anniversary present from Char to me (she must love me enough to throw me off a cliff!!) and it was just brilliant, the perfect exhilarating way to end our camping trip away.
So there you have it, our highs and lows of camping. We’ve been away during the very best weather and the very worst, but we are never put off, because we always have the best time when we are away and are already planning our next camping getaway!
So go on, what are you waiting for? Pack up the car and head somewhere exciting!
“I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream” ~ Vincent Van Gogh
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