Friday 29 July 2016

"To go out with the setting sun on an empty beach is to truly embrace your solitude."

With the start of the school summer holiday in full swing and there being a clearly huge change in the number of children and families everywhere we go, I am reminded of how lucky we are that we have the flexibility to do fun and educational things at our own pace, wherever we please and whenever we like. Home schooling is one of the best decisions we have ever made as a family and seeing Opeie stress free and eager to learn every day is extremely rewarding. We were obviously fully aware of how busy everywhere gets during the holiday so Opeie and myself tried to squeeze as much as we could into the last couple of weeks before everything became a lot louder.

I don't fancy the idea of going camping to a family site during the holiday because I remember many of my old family camping holidays to St Ives. The fields would be heaving and the tents felt like they were almost on top of each other. I remember awkwardly stepping over guide ropes between tents to get round to the back and there also being very busy shower blocks. So we decided to make the most of a few days last week where we had nowhere to be. In Shropshire, as we were pulling away the weather was awful! rain, gloom, the sort of weather we've come to expect this year. As we reached Shell island though the sun was lighting up the sky and the big white fluffy clouds were the perfect backdrop for our camping adventures. We found a great spot in a quiet field practically on the beach and got set up.

Opeie loves being in the tent, we had camped earlier in the year and used our 2 man tent but with it being a lot warmer now I thought it would be best to try out our bigger tent. We've had it for a couple of years, just haven't had the chance to use it (until now). Opeie was a great help pegging the groundsheet and guide ropes down with his trusty mallet and once the tent was up it was time for our adventuring to begin.

I wasn't sure what the weather was going to be doing so I packed a LEGO kit to keep us entertained if we got stuck in bad weather. The weather as I said was great but Doc Ock kept Opeie occupied while I was cooking the tea so that was great.

There was no way that Opeie was going to be able to sleep at any reasonable time that night so around 9pm we headed down to the beach (with a sleeping bag) to watch the sun go down. We curled up on the sand and read The Tiger that came to tea, The Gruffalo and loads of Dr Seuss and Berenstein Bears books. It was the perfect end to our first night at the beach.

Surprisingly the bright sunshine glowing thought the tent fabric, the warm sweatiness and even the seagulls making a racket we not waking Opeie up the following morning. He slept great and had a long lie in so I opened up the tent, made a cup of coffee and sat outside taking in the beautiful morning. When Opeie did wake up I quickly realised that I hadn't packed any bowls for our cereal, so Opeie had a large mug and I used a saucepan....classy!

After our Michelin star breakfast, we took a drive along the coast to Black Rock sands as I thought that Opeie would love investigating the caves. I'd not been before but while googling the surrounding area of where we were camping the beach popped up and the photos online looked great. I couldn't have picked a more perfect day for us. I start to feel irritated when it is too warm and although the sun was bright and warm the breeze from the see had the perfect chill which kept us cool during our long walk across the empty beach.

The caves were so much more fun than any of the pictures I had seen while researching and Opeie was asking question after question which is the sort of home schooling day I love the most. The textures of the caves were fascinating, we got to see birds making nests in the rocky hillside and we found lots of Crabs, Jellyfish and Sea Urchin shells.

We spent three hours investigating the beach and the best part was that we only saw 5 other people (I'm not antisocial but having a huge beach practically to ourselves was very idyllic).

I somehow managed to get extremely lost on the way home and drove an hour completely off course. I probably would have realised sooner if it hadn't been for the beautiful scenery along the way. Our satnav lost connection and I got so drawn in by our surroundings that I just kept driving. Opeie had fallen asleep by this point anyway so I didn't feel too bad about the time it took us to get back to the tent.

We had our course taken the Micro Scooters with us and when we finally got back to Shell Island it was time to show the other holiday makers what a pair of pro scooterers were capable of. Shell Island was made for scooting, although you obviously cant take them on the beach, there are smooth path's everywhere and it is one of the fastest ways to get from one side of the island to the other, from the harbour all the way over to the impressive sand dunes.

The few hours of scooting, skimming stones and searching through rockpools really shattered Opeie out so there was no watching the sun go down on the beach that night. We were woken by rain belting off the side of the tent the following morning and I had to get the tent down wet, but we still managed to squeeze in a (very wet) walk along the beach, searching for stones and shells before heading home. It was the perfect two nights camping with my favourite little companion and it has got us both talking about going away again mid-September so watch this space.

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