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Posts Tagged ‘jurassic coast’

At the end of May we made our now annual pilgrimage to the Jurassic Coast. At once inspirational and calming, this has fast become one of my favourite places in the UK. We camp at the Golden Cap in Seatown, just a few minutes walk from the pebbly beach, the SouthWest Coast path, and the fabulous Anchor Inn, with possibly the best beer garden in the world…

Sunset Golden Cap Seatown Anchor Inn

We were only there for 3 days, but we managed to enjoy a lot of things, namely…

  • 2 breakfasts at the Watch House Café in West Bay
  • Watching the children somersaulting down the steep beach at West Bay
  • Having a whale of a time at the brilliant West Bay play park – far too good for kids
  • Walking up Thorncombe Beacon for lunch at the fabulous Down House Farm café
  • Having salted caramel icecream and making sand castles on Lyme Regis Beach
  • Stovetop coffee in the quiet of the early morning, sat in the sunshine, revelling in the view
  • Making s’mores on the Barbeque. I’m not a fan of marshmallows, but toasted and squished between homemade oat cookies, I’m prepared to be converted.

Perhaps best of all is the experience of  Wessex FM – which we perhaps cruelly rename Toilet FM. It’s the background music in the wash blocks and communal facilities, and it’s completely predictable. It seems to be set about 15 years ago. The playlist below pretty much sums up every tune I heard in the 3 days we were at the site. Disclaimer: I have left out Uptown Funk as the only current track.

Let’s hear it for the boy
You can’t hurry love (Phil Collins)
Candle in the wind
A view to a kill
Always on my mind (Petshop Boys)
We built this city
Sex Bomb
Don’t leave me this way (Communards)
A kind of magic
Wake up! (Boo Radleys)
Holiday!
Hungry like the wolf
There she goes (The La’s)
Oh what a night!
Get into the groove
You give love a bad name

And what’s not to love about that?

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We were first bitten by the camping bug a couple of years ago, and this year our summer is punctuated by several trips (long weekends in the main) to new and familiar sites. Last week we spent 4 nights at Norden Farm just outside Corfe Castle in Dorset. If life really is a journey and we can learn something from every experience, allow me to share…

My daughters are freakin’ brilliant kids. I love them to pieces. This trip reminded me just how much (as if I needed reminding). More details to follow below…

Dorset might just be my new Devon/Cornwall. Much as I love that Southwest peninsula, we’ve spent this break in the ‘Isle’ of Purbeck and a week in West Dorset this year, and I’ve really loved it. Studland Bay is a simply gorgeous beach, and the whole Jurassic Coast is full of surprises, delights and treasures…

Lulworth Cove on The Jurassic Coast

Lulworth Cove

There is almost nowhere cosier in the world than the four of us under the duvet in the early morning.

Camping is definitely at its best when you let your body clock slow down and you simply exist in the moment. Things take longer, so let them. You’re at the mercy of the weather (more of this too!) so just go with it. If there’s a queue for the washing up facilities, don’t panic. You’ll get it done soon. I really wanted to spend more time at Studland Bay, but the brevity of our stay and the unseasonal weather conspired against us. So now I just want to go back…

Camping is about walking, not driving. I really liked the proximity of this campsite to Corfe Castle. From zipping up the tent we could walk up the hill to woods that surrounded the site, and barely 15 minutes later we were rewarded with a stunning view of this amazing ruin.

Corfe Castle

We coined the phrase ‘snobservation‘ during this trip (it was new for us). In a large campsite like Norden Farm, with so many strangers living in close proximity and relatively cramped quarters, most with their children, and lacking solid, insulating walls, it’s difficult to avoid family arguments or particular styles of parenting…

…my empirical evidence from last week would suggest that siblings between the ages of 3 and 13 can play well together for between 48% and 81% of the time. But they do spend most of the rest of the time screaming; at each other, at their parents, at the world. Or at least it seemed that other children scream, and their parents often scream back. Without meaning or wanting to sound smug, I am genuinely proud of my girls for the way they don’t scream or yell or bellow over trivial matters. Of course they quarrel and squabble and sometimes shout at each other, but they also apologise and forgive. For a 9- and 5-year old they seem pretty emotionally mature <end of smugness>.

Having previously experienced pretty fantastic weather on our camping breaks, we were brought down to earth by Dorset in August. The forecast had been OK for most of the week, but it mostly turned out to be breezy, not-that-warm, and cloudy with intermittent drizzle and showers. We still managed to do most of the things we wanted to, but then on Thursday the bland predictions of ‘heavy rain’ came true with a vengeance. It started raining in the early hours of the morning, but by breakfast time it was a constant downpour. As fair-weather campers this was not what we signed up for. We had planned ahead for this and pre-booked cinema tickets, but as we left the site and drove to Poole, conditions seemed to get much, much worse.

It was clear the rain was falling much more quickly than the drains could cope. Main roads were awash, fast becoming barely-passable fords. In fact, 2 weeks’ rainfall was delivered in just a few hours and parts of Bournemouth were suddenly under water.  We went to see Studio Ghibli’s latest work of wondrous beauty, Arrietty, which we all loved. On emerging from the cinema it was still hammering down with rain (in fact I’d flinched several times during the film as I could hear the rain on the roof of the cinema), and we were increasingly nervous. What would we find when we returned to the campsite?

Well, our tent is fantastic. Not a leak, not a drip. Only a couple of instances of condensation resulting in tiny splashes of water in a couple of corners.

And then, what a difference a day makes. Friday dawned bright and sunny, clear and calm. We indulged in a tremendous breakfast and learned (again) that proper food cooked and eaten outside simply does taste better. The morning was so sunny that the tent even managed to dry out completely before we had to pack it away.

Camping Breakfast of Champions: cheese omelette, bacon roll, baked beans, tea.

I’m not a completely fair-weather camper any more. I can cope just fine with less-than-perfect conditions, but I definitely don’t want to do Thursday again. Roll on and fingers crossed for our trip over the Bank Holiday next weekend…

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