Our second camping trip
As you may know, last year was our first family camping trip. I had reluctantly agreed to give it a go despite hating the idea of camping. We had the best time, so we were all keen to go again. We decided to go back to Nicholaston Farm in The Gower, and joining us were some of our friends who came last year. I think what really made it last year was the facilities at the campsite, and having like-minded friends (with children) joining us.
What surprised me most about last year was just how much sleep I had. I had heard of people camping with kids and despite them staying up late, the children would be waking everyone up at the crack of dawn. This wasn’t true for mine, maybe it was all the fresh air and exercise, but mine were asleep at around their usual bedtime and sleeping much later in the morning. I was woken up during our first night. Freyja couldn’t find her sleeping bag. Which seemed odd as she had gone to sleep in it. I spent several, dazed minutes in the dark trying to understand what had happened. Using the light from my phone to help, we discovered Emily was lying on top of her own sleeping bag, whilst inside Freyja’s. She must have wanted to snuggle up to her sister during the night. I have to say, seeing the two of them cuddling each other is one of the best sights to wake up to.
One of the great things about Nicholaston Farm is that it is a short walk through woods, dunes and then onto a wonderful beach. There are no facilities on the beach so it means that it isn’t busy. The beach is sandy, there are rock pools to explore and so much space for the children to play on.
My two could have happily spent all holiday on the beach. Give them a bucket and spade and they are perfectly content digging and making sandcastles.
On the walk down to the beach there is a rope swing, so this usually meant we had to stop to let the kids have a go. It was also quite useful on the fairly steep walk back up from the beach, as the possibility of having a swing was a good motivator to keep walking.
On one of our days on the beach, Neil taught Emily how to fly a kite. It was so funny watching her. She would get so excited that the kite had flown up into the air, that she would lose concentration and it would come crashing back down onto the sand. Which she thought was hilarious. She added sound effects as the kite moved from side to side, and there was definitely a wicked glint in her eye if the kite came zooming down close by, as if she were purposefully attempting to fly it into you.
In fact, over the holiday, Neil became a bit of a favourite with Emily. It may have been because he could thrown her further into the sky than daddy can!
Last year we visited The Mumbles on a wet day, and despite having a great time, we went back on a sunnier day this year. One of the things that we wanted to do, was to get across to Mumbles Lighthouse. Last year, the tide had been in, so we were unable to get to the little island that the lighthouse stands on. This year, we checked the tide times, and started to walk across not long after low tide.
We must have spent about 20 minutes looking around and exploring the island. There were lovely views in all directions. However, as we started back, we were greeted by a not-so-lovely view. The tide was coming in. The girls were panicking that we wouldn’t get back. We gave it a go, with Rich carrying Emily and I walking with Freyja, holding onto her incredibly tightly. Freyja was getting worried, so Rich took her and I carried Emily. Once Neil, Jo and Evan were across, Neil came back for Emily. By this time, I was over half way back, and the fast-flowing tide was up to my knees. It was a massive relief once we were safely back on dry land. It turned out that there were also some other people who were on the island at the same time as us, and realised that the tide was coming in not long after we had made it back. The coastguard were keeping a look out and had to rescue them off the island!
We did try a few different things this year though. Just up the road from Nicholaston Farm was Perriswood Archery and Falconry Centre. Emily was too young to have a go at the archery, so we went had a sneaky ice cream and a wander around the rest of the centre. Emily enjoyed looking at the birds of prey, but she was particularly taken with the piglets they had. She spent ages, watching them and giggling as they ran around. She then decided that she wants a pet piglet. Meanwhile, the rest of the gang thoroughly enjoyed the archery!
Rich had been to The Gower, camping, long before we met. He always talks about Worm’s Head and how he and his friends have walked across to it. Worm’s Head is at Rhosilli, at the western most tip of The Gower. The beach at Rhosilli frequently makes it to the top of various leagues tables for the best beaches. Knowing what the other beaches in the area were like, I really wanted to go to Rhosilli. Just Rich and I and the girls headed off on our final afternoon of the holiday. Rhosilli exceeded all expectations. It was breath-takingly beautiful.
I am sure the sunny day helped. But is there anywhere on the planet more stunning than Rhosilli?
We walked across the coastal path towards Worm’s Head. It was a windy afternoon, but it couldn’t spoil such a lovely walk. Once we had got to the rocky causeway at the start of Worm’s Head, the tide was in, so we wouldn’t have been able to get across. However, after our experience at The Mumbles, none of us really wanted to walk across. But maybe next time…
As if Rhosilli wasn’t magnificent enough, The National Trust, who manage the area, have transformed The Vile. On it, they have planted thousands upon thousands of sunflowers in order to attract birds and pollinators. The vivid yellow flowers were respendent against the striking view of Worm’s Head.
Of course, my girls know all-to-well what happens when there is a flower field. I did manage to get a few shots of them, but they were tired from the walk, so we enjoyed the sights around us and then tracked down a shop for a well-deserved ice cream.
Once again, the kids all got on with each other so well. Even though they don’t live close to each other, Evan and the girls play together so nicely. It makes it so much more relaxing when they are all entertained by each other.
So, I think after a second successful camping trip, that camping might just be OK. That is as long as I have a campsite with facilities, electric hook-up, comfy bed and plenty to do close by. And, of course, great company!