Amy and Ella’s weekly highlights – 19-26 July
A wild night on Dartmoor
My highlight of this week was not hard to choose. We had all been looking forward to doing this activity for ages and were so excited when it was finally arranged.
Dartmoor National Park is one of the only places in England where it is legal to wild camp and so, as our caravan site was barely an hour away, there was no reason not to grasp this opportunity. Consequently, a few days later, we were sat in the van, camping gear and loaded rucksacks banishing all space in the boot, watching the beautiful moors, rivers and U-shaped valleys whizz past the window. After cooking a veggie English breakfast on a barbie (whoever said camping meals had to be pot-noodles and dried foods!), we set off towards the source of the Dart. A couple of miles later, we found our spot, a small, flat clearing flanking the point where the river did an amazing 90o turn. Our neighbours – a herd of Dartmoor ponies and a couple of adorable foals who found us very intriguing and kept coming close to get a better look at us throughout our time there.
We set up our tent at a record breaking early time of 2pm and immediately, after the pillow fights (sorry, setting up), thoughts turned “what now?”. It is easy in modern society to slip into the rut of bored = get out technology, but when you’re camping and have no tablet to, thankfully, turn to, your only answer is nature. We had surprising fun making reed boats using only grass, playing plant javelin and trying playground games like Granny’s footsteps, What’s the time Mr Wolf as well as dancing. And there was the opposing hill to scale as well, of course, before bed.
No-one was ready to set off back to the van when it was time to go. Caravans are nice and homely but it is too easy to let comfort kill ambition. Nothing can take away the excitement of sleeping under the stars and living simply, be it a trip for a day, week or fortnight. We all felt so much better after a night away, refreshed and happy. It is amazing what just a short amount of time with nature can bring you. I really enjoyed that night and I would certainly recommend you try it too.
Hillhead – sun, fun and plenty of kids
My highlight for this week was definitely staying at the Hillhead Caravan Club site. With all of the fun things to do and to keep you entertained on your stay, I just got a friendly vibe from this site.
Almost straight away we were drawn to the playground, where all the other kids were found. The good thing about it was that it was appropriate for kids of all ages. Within five minutes of being there we had made enough friends to last us for years.We occasionally all went to the pool together and threw balls at each-other, played water tag and piggy in the middle in the water.
Most of the afternoons were spent playing with friends or telling funny stories in the grassy maze while we hid from the seeker. I was so upset leaving my friends at school behind when we set off on our year of ed-venture but it is the sort of friends we meet at the sites like this that keep me company. I’m looking forward to the summer holidays when there are more kids about to play with.