Monday, 30 September 2013

The last camping

If we had been better about updating the blog, then you would have heard more about our extremely succesful mass-camping expeditions this summer. We and three other families (all with older boys and younger girls) have found the ultimate combination of people, and have had great fun decamping to the moors, abandoning the cars and spending all weekend eating, searching for wood for fires and riding bikes.

It helps that we have three canvas tents between us so our camp is very aesthetically pleasing!

It might have seemed like a silly idea to go again in September, when it was hardly likely to be boiling, with four little boys who had just completed their first three weeks of school. But it seemed a much better idea than hiding in the house with aforementioned tired monsters.

So off we went to a little campisite outside Goathland which we had entirely to ourselves. It was pretty windy, but the sun the shining and Friday night was spent eating, drinking and making merry as we watched the moors descend into darkness.

We reaped the rewards of coming despite the tiredness factor - all the kids were in bed and asleep by 8 o'clock (a record for us!), with no fuss. Several of them requested to go themselves! So the adults had a very pleasant evening around the campfire.

It was chilly the next morning, but we happily munched two breakfasts (our routine is eastablished now - fill the kids (and some adults) with cereal, preferably something exciting (many cheerios were hurt in this process), and then get the bacon and beans flowing ready for second breakfast), and kites were exhumed from the boots of cars. Nathaniel had his special red kite kite which he got for his birthday which ruled over all, including Ian's stunt kite which was too difficult to manage in the stiff breeze. It is unclear how much Thea got out of the excerise.....

When lunch started to beckon, we pulled ourselves together, sent the boys out to collect worms, and made our way down the hill to the trains.

Oh yes, I hadn't mentioned the best bit about the campsite - it was two fields above the North York Moors Railway, and a steam train came past every hour or so! So we watched some trains and then wandered down the old railway track into Goathland. Once we were off the side of the hill and in the shelter of the valley, the sun came out properly, and before we knew it, we were carrying jumpers, tights, hats and gloves and were stipped down to vest tops! We walked through Goathland, saw some trains, parked the bikes and climbed out the other side up onto the moor and down to the river.

Lunch was brought out, and so was the fishing equipment. While most of us ate, Bruce got the kids fishing, and it was't long until there was a cry of "fish!" and we all clambered down to the river's edge to see their reasonably sized brown-trout! Any thoughts of supper were dashed by N's (not Nathaniel) distress at its being out the water and insistance that it was thrown back immediately. Two more fish followed, the last one, which was big enough to eat, got away at the last minute. Nathaniel absolutely loved it. He had his concentrating face on the whole time, and Bruce said that he just fired off a constant stream of questions. So that's more kit he fancies now.....

We weren't able to get back through Goathland without resisting the call of the pub, so we stopped for beer and icecreams and a large number of hula hoops!

By the time we climbed the hill back to the campsite, the sun was low in the sky, and everyone was tired.

The next day generally resulted in eating meals that ran into each other, with a pause in the middle to all pile into the teepee (which has a stove) to sing along to the guitar, read books and play with lego. It's amazing how many bodies can comfortably fit into a 6 metre tentpi!

Our only problem now is how to survive the winter without camping........

Sunday, 22 September 2013


As you are all mostly aware, Nathaniel is very interested in castles at the moment, so it seemed like a great idea to celebrate his birthday by visiting one. Jim and Vicki identified Bolton Castle in Wensleydale as the best, on the ground of having a lot left of it, wild boars and a maze, and so off we went.

It was very fine! We spent ages exploring the different areas and discovering about blacksmiths, and armour and threshing rooms. It was a wonderfully windy but sunny day and so it was strangely warm (in the sun), cold (in the castle) and windswept (everywhere).

The kids had fun running around and finding interesting places to climb and hide, including a very fine dragon cage.

The maze was surprisingly complicated despite being quite small.

We learnt about owls and watched them fly;

And had a go at archery (except for Nathaniel who wasn't interested in organised fun with an audience!).

And listened to medieval music.

And of course there was lots of tasty cake eating, tea drinking and scenery enjoying.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Bicycle, bicycle

Of all the many York festivals, I think that my favourite is the Festival of Cycling. We've gone pretty much every year, and never get bored. This year we were on our way to a friend's house for lunch, so we didn't spend as long as previously there and missed out on the Skyride (a route round the centre of York and then out to Rowntree Park with all the roads closed and hi-vis vests for all cyclists), and on go-carts and pedal-powered scalextrix and the bike stunts.

But, of course, we wouldn't miss try-a-bike

Or the toddler version

And then on the way home, we watched a hot air balloon inflating and taking off. What fun.