Who doesn’t love camping? (Actually I know at least one person who REALLY doesn’t lol, but he’s one of a kind!) Before the kids came along H and I were off camping quite a bit. I don’t really have a good reason why we haven’t done it sooner with the kids. We did one night in a glamping pod with NJ a couple of years back but never in a tent, on a busy site too. That time has just been.
Over the last Bank Holiday here in the UK we decided to pack up our tent, along with a whole host of paraphernalia of ours and some borrowed from friends and headed up to Leyburn in North Yorkshire for a two night stay at Akebar Park.
We have a decent sized roof box so it wasn’t a struggle to pack everything we needed, other than NJ’s bike – going forward we need to look at getting a rack for taking this places, it was a bit of a struggle to get it in!
Once we’d got our pitch the boys sat in the car and watched their Amazon Fire tablets whilst we got the tent put up. In fairness, after 6 years waiting it probably went up easier and quicker than we’d ever done it before! We soon had everything up and ready and the boys were dead impressed. NJ took off on his bike, J-Bubb on his Paw Patrol scooter and they were soon blazing around the loop road around our section of the site, The Poplars, making friends along the way.
Hot Dogs on the camping stove were the order of the first evening and the boys loved them, sat out in the open air. So did we. This is what we remembered about camping.
After tea we had a walk around the site, which is big but lovely, with a river running through the middle of it and bridge over it. We walked up to the site’s pub, The Friar’s Head, which is a typical lovely, North Yorkshire country pub. We stayed for a drink before heading back to our tent to turn on our lights as the sun went down and toast some marshmallows on our stove (we didn’t have a fire or bbq on this trip). Again the boys loved this and, before we knew it, bedtime was here.
We weren’t sure how bed time was going to go. Were we all going to have to go at the same time? Would they be scared? Too Excited? Would it be too noisy for them to settle? We got them in to bed but they were definitely to hyped to settle down so after about half an hour of jumping around on the air beds we decided to bed down with them too. It was about half ten and, in fairness, we were pretty tired too! It was still a while before everyone started to settle but my favourite memory of the whole trip was lying next to NJ, holding hands and listening to an owl that we could here up in the trees. Every time he heard it he squeezed my hand, and I did the same, that we knew we were listening to the same owl.
In the morning we had a good camp breakfast of porridge and/or bacon butties, washed down with a good cup of coffee for dad!
Day two saw us heading to Camp Hill Estate for a woodland walk and explore. Set deep in the countryside just out of Bedale, Camp Hill has lots of outdoor activities for kids. There’s an aerial adventure, zip wire and climbing walls for those aged 6 or older. We headed around the woodland trail, looking for the ten tree stumps with anagrams for deciphering. Along the way we stopped off at the Woodland Kingdom adventure park – a huge fort with obstacles, climbing things, swinging things, sliding things for kids of all ages, including me.
It was great. Set in a clearing in the woods we’d taken a picnic and took advantage of one of the picnic tables spread around the edges. There were also stone bbq platforms at each of these, which at least one family were using and I thought was a great touch.
After an ice cream at the end of the trail we headed back to our camp where mummy and daddy tried to relax a bit as both boys went rattling around on their bike and scooter for an hour or so. We were booked in the pub for dinner at 6 where the food was excellent and the kids really behaved themselves helping us have a lovely evening.
All in, we had a lovely weekend for our first camping trip as a family. Blessed with great weather for camping the kids really enjoyed it. Sleeping under canvas, eating outside, making friends, having adventures and getting dirty. We’ll definitely be doing it again. In fact our camping box has already started taking shape!