Thursday 31 May 2018

A Wild Weekend

This last long weekend has been just wonderful, and the continuing good weather (we've barely had any rain here) has been the backdrop for a getting back to nature,  barefoot paddling, rope swinging time. I feel like I'm on a post holiday come down, and any doubts I previously had about not having booked a trip away this year have been firmly put to rest. We have so much to enjoy right here, and as  much as I love the outdoors, I'm not the type to be out in all weathers, so it's even better to be able to seize the opportunity to get out while the sun is shining.
On Saturday we needed to run an errand, but rather than letting it interrupt our day, we made it part of it. So, as is usual here, a picnic lunch was packed and off we went, and as soon as we had collected our parcel, we went down to the nearby nature reserve. The fine golden sand felt so soft and warm beneath our feet we had a lovely time collecting shells and much to our surprise we discovered some Oystercatcher eggs. To say it was breezy would be a bit of an understatement, it was so blustery we couldn't even manage to fly our kite, but the air was warm and we enjoyed our lunch sheltered among the dunes, on which we all had a great time climbing up and down  and trying to avoid the prickly grasses.

The following day we took ourselves off to the woods and completed one of the  National Trust Wild Trails. We had such  a lot of fun. Of course, it is designed for children but I'm proud to say I managed it all! 😃 We followed the written clues around the woods, crawling through a wall, climbing over rocks, balancing on trees and finishing at a rope swing which was Lily's favourite part. A great little adventure.

For a while now I have been hoping to get Lily camping, and last week, with the promise of some good weather,  I decided at the weekend would be  a great time to do it, completely forgetting, of course, that it was a Bank Holiday and there was no availability. I didn't want to chance one of the sites where you just turn up, so it would have to be Monday night. No problem, that would be fine, and the site sounded perfect for us. Lily began counting  down the days.
On Monday morning, as soon as we were packed ( how much stuff for just one night?!!) we set off and made our way to Ullswater. Our first stop was Aira Force, a beautiful waterfalls walk through ancient woodland. The climb was quite steep and it was such a hot day we were grateful for  the shade of the trees. Having walked up to High Cascades, we made time for a paddle in the stream on the way back down, before stopping for a picnic lunch. We then followed the pathway down to lake shore for a rest and another paddle before making our way to the campsite.
It has been a good few years since I've been camping so I was a little anxious, but I couldn't have chosen a nicer site for Lily's first time. It was a small, friendly site and we were given a lovely pitch with it's own water supply, overlooking the play area and just a few metres away from the shower block. The tent was soon pitched and as Lily went off to play with new found friends, I was able to relax in the sunshine, read a book and even do a little crochet, although it felt a little strange to be working on a woolly blanket in that heat, so I didn't spend too much time on it.
As afternoon turned to evening, the faint aroma of barbecues started to waft around the site and we cooked the sausages on our little camping stove, then as the sun began to set, we drank our hot chocolates, before snuggling down for the night in our sleeping bags.
The following morning, after breakfast, we walked up the lane from the site to Little Mell Fell. We had planned to climb it the previous day but as it was so hot I didn't think it was a good idea. Still warm, but a little overcast, the morning made for a much more comfortable walk and it was a lovely way to end our long weekend. We returned to the site, packed up the tent and made our way back home.
We've had the best few days, and did Lily enjoy camping? Apparently, it was 'awesome!' and she's looking forward to the next time.
J. X