A weeks holiday: Three bite size adventures for our pint size adventurer! Part II: Walk & Wild camping
Following on from our canoe/camping trip, we decided for our second adventure during our weeks holiday that we would go for a walk and wild camp. The weather was still settled and warm, and we were quickly falling in love with our new tent and down blanket. Good equipment makes all the difference doesn’t it? It’s the difference between getting the job done to sleeves rolled up and running towards comfortable time spent outdoors: Something we’re really up for doing more of this year! We decided on going somewhere that is only about 90 minutes drive away, so we had a lazy morning, checking we had everything we needed. I won’t lie to you, my husband did freak me out a little. We’ve already got the camping bug, no doubt about it, but he’s now caught the light weight camping bug! It’s a whole new thing! We bought him a lightweight airbed for his birthday and now everything has to be lightweight! I knew we were in trouble when he was writing out menus for the two days away – I’ve never know him to be so organised, and fear for my hat collection when we’re away now!
We drove to the start point, and had a quick bite of lunch before we shouldered our packs and started our walk. The two packs weighed about 11kg each, which wasn’t too bad. I had a 50l rucksack, while my husband had the 20l section of the back carrier full. Before long though, our son had already had enough and was complaining he was tired. It was a bit sooner than we had anticipated, as in he hadn’t even lasted 30 minutes. We tried to cajole him in to looking around at the scenery a bit more, seeing the different flowers and snow on the mountains in the distance, playing different games to chase him along but he was having none of it. His mind was elsewhere and he was soon in his carrier admiring the view. The scenery changed as we walked along, the river was on our right and sections of forest came and went providing a welcome bit of shade from the heat of the sun. The valley soon opened out to swooping mountain views further ahead, including a mountain that is supposed to be haunted… think we’ll stay away from that one for now…
We took a small path off to the left and started to head up to a couple of little lochans, hoping that from looking at the map there would be some flat areas to pitch our tent for the night. By this time, our little one was well and truly in the swing of things and had perked up considerably, thankfully! It was great to see him manage the tricky path, and when he came across a bit with a big boulder or deep muddy section, he would stop and look for the easiest way to cross. We got to the Lochans but the ground was too boggy, so decided to have a quick break before continuing again. It was so quiet, the only sound we could hear were a lot of frogs croaking – I’ve never heard so many at the same time! Time was ticking on and we stopped for a bit of dinner by a stream, the sheer idea making our son giggle no end! With him on one side of the stream, and us on the other cooking we quickly had our fill and scoped out the camp spot down the other side of the hill. It was perfect, so we quickly packed up and headed downhill, always our favourite bit! Within 30 minutes, we had found out spot for the night.
Being near a fast flowing river, we set out the no go areas for our son, and quickly set up the tent and went for an explore. There was a smaller river nearby that had some newts in it, as well as some toadspawn. We also sat by the river and dabbled our feet, but it was so cold so we didn’t hang around doing that for long! We crashed out quickly that night, all feeling sunned and walked out. The next morning, we woke early but had a very lazy morning again, drifting to sleep again and waking slowly. I can’t think of many times when our son has let us stay in bed until after 8am! We were a little achey, but ready for our breakfast and cups of tea down by the river.
Our son was quickly in the swing of things that day, giggling, exploring and sharing stories with us. We packed up our tent and headed towards the path again. On our way, our son stopped, waved at the camp spot and said “thank you campsite, see you soon, I will miss you!” It’s times like this that makes it all worth while, all the lists, stress about whether we’ve got everything and enduring the changing and sometimes challenging moods of a three year old. Enjoying time spent outdoors as a family and making special memories is what it’s all about.
The walk out towards the car went quickly, in part due to the varied wildlife we kept coming across. Newts and toadspawn were everywhere (busy bunch!) but the highlight was an adder that we walked past on the path. I was following my son and husband when something on the left caught my eye. My stomach lurched, especially when I saw it coil up as our son was walking past it. I grabbed him and took a few steps away, trying to coherently say to my husband there’s a blooming great adder back there. We gave it a lot of space, allowing it freedom to cross the path we had inadvertently blocked. It carried on its way across the path and we carried on our way, talking to our son about all the wildlife and that no, he doesn’t need to be scared of snakes and no, we haven’t come across any dinosaur eggs yet.
The path soon joined the road and we hoofed it the 3km back to the car. Breaking free from the weight of the packs on our backs, stretching out and changing in to our sandals, we grabbed the lunch we had left in the car and headed to the river for a feast, celebrating another adventure, glad that it has happened and looking forward to the next one. Maybe, just maybe our packs will be even lighter next time…..just don’t tell my husband I may have caught that lightweight equipment bug too and seriously considering cutting off the handle to my comb…and shortening the handles of our toothbrushes….
Coming up on Part III: Campervan weekend roadtrip to the beach
***Please note: This is a blog that was previously published on another of our blogs Adventurous Little Legs, and linked to an online store we also had. We have closed these both down. All content and pictures remain those of Stacey and Keith at Adventurous Little Legs and An Outdoors Family