Tuesday, 12 July 2011


We've just got back from the annual sailing club trip to Ullswater and it has been blissful! This is due, in no small part, to the fact that Nathaniel's overriding attitude to the weekend has been this:

He simply loves camping! He likes it that we are all together, he likes running around outside, he likes playing with rocks and mud and water, he likes boats and bits of rope and he likes his friends from the sailing club. He doesn't need toys at all (the emergency duplo went totally untouched), and is much happier playing with all the gadgets and gizmos that our new family-friendly camping regime entails:

He greatly enjoyed exploring the three different types of camper van, and setting fire to things en masse.

Nathaniel adopts the British-standard BBQ look!

In fact, he is probably happiest when poddling around the campsite with open access to all our (and everyone else's!) equipment:

Morning under the YRISC gazebo. The many bottles of home brew aren't all ours!

We were very lucky - the weather forecast hadn't looked at all promising, and after last year, no-one really fancied a wet Ullswater. But in fact, the only rain was on the Friday night. Admittedly it was serious rain, the sort where the insides of your waterproofs are somehow soggy, but we emerged unscathed. Not so fortunate were Hugh and Caroline who found that they had camped on rather a deep dip which filled up, flooding their tent through the cunningly positioned holes in the ground sheet at the centre of the tent (good work Vango! Did you design this tent for British use?).

Hugh attempts to cut a drain for lake Brazier, but is disappointed to find that the water has gathered at the lowest point!

After that evening, we had no rain at all, just beautiful sun obscured just enough by clouds to keep us cool, and enough wind to keep everyone on their toes!

The sailing wasn't bad either! Ian remembered that Lasers are much more fun when you have enough room to get them planing, and he even managed to practise his capsize routine! Nimmy decided that toppers were more her cup of tea, and after a blast across the lake, happily poddled around the marina.

Daffodil, Hugh's project for the last four years, was taken on her maiden voyage, and everyone was impressed with not only how beautiful she was (the inlaid sycamore was coveted by all), but how well she sailed.

I decided that I was too fat and unsteady for anything more exciting than the rescue boat, and it was a bit breezy for Nathaniel, so we stayed ashore. But this didn't mean that we stayed dry!

Nathaniel was terribly pleased to discover that he had got big enough and responsible enough to play in the water. And that's where he spent most of his time.

Sourcing and throwing rocks of different sizes became a full time occupation, and Nathaniel was delighted to find that this activity could be continued at many venues, even when dragged off to walk up Aira Force!

Other firsts for him included fording his first stream;

The intrepid explorers, successful after fording the raging torrents

learning how to climb up rocks;

and finding out that he really doesn't like fizzy drinks!

The sailing club suddenly has a real gang of kids, and although most of the adults act like children most of the time, Nathaniel really appreciated his new friends. He and M (age 6) and E (age 3) played together wonderfully, and Nathaniel became quite smitten with M and demanded to join him in most activities and be taught how to do important things (such as walk up slides and climb up ropes).

It really was the most amazingly relaxing and entertaining weekend. When I asked if he had enjoyed himself, Nathaniel said "Yes, I like camping lots", and the thing he enjoyed most was "people from the sailing club". With the three families with kids now making this a longer and longer weekend, I can see it being a week-long adventure next year!

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