Saturday 8 September 2007

Cornwall Camping - Episode 2

But before we could go to the beach we had to check out the facilities at our campground. And they were superb. The campground had ample facilities to wash dishes and shower. They also only had 46 campsites so it wasn't mobbed.

For the children there was an extensive collection of farmyard animals: geese, calves, ponies, owls, lambs, goats, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs). The children could feed them at 9 am. They could walk a goat and hold a rabbit and ride a pony and give a calf a bottle. There was a miniature golf and train which could be played on-demand. There were trampolines and climbing frames. The were courses to drive little kiddy carts on. And there were loads of other children to make friends with.

Marc and I sat on the porch of the cafe and enjoyed our coffee and read whilst the children played.

After a couple hours we packed up and headed for a beach, any beach. First stop was Harlyn Bay. The beach was packed and we decided not to stop. We went further down the coast and stopped to see the Bedruthan Steps. This is supposed to be the most dramatic piece of coastline in Cornwall. We parked, used the toilet facilities and got some ice cream. As we stared over the precipice I was trying to muster the courage it was going to take to get myself down these steps.

A couple people came up and said it was really worth the walk. They didn't look frightened and seemed to have survived the trek. So I psyched myself up and we went down. Now I ask you to remember back to the spiral staircase in France at Mont St Michel. Remember? I get vertigo. What was I doing going down a rackety steep curved staircase hanging out over a cliff? This simply wouldn't do!

The steps were uneven and steep. I had Abigail's hand and Marc had the dog and Sebastian's hand. I was in front of the decent and trying desperately to hang on to the handrail which was wobbly. We got about half way down and I am looking out over the cliff edge and I freak. I mean - REALLY FREAK! I froze. I couldn't move a muscle. Not another step. There were people behind us trying to get down and the children, sensing my fear, decided they weren't going down either.

We got ourselves turned back around and had to head back up to the top. I was hyperventilating and shaking when we got to the top. I felt like a right prat!

So far, we weren't doing so well trying to get ourselves to a beach!

Off down the coast we headed. Again.

And then we found Mawgan Porth. This was a cute little beach with loads of facilities. We got the very last parking spot and unloaded our beach gear. We stopped for some Cornish pasties and chips and then carved out our spot in the sand. The children played in the fresh water river that ran down through the middle of the beach. We made sand castles and Bailey played with the other dogs.

Several hours passed and we decided it was time to make a move for the supermarket and get dinner started back at the camp.

Sebastian helped me do the shopping whilst Marc and Abigail waited in the car with Bailey I find taking the children shopping to be a bit of an adventure. They've got quite an interesting idea about what one should eat! We didn't let him make many decision except for hot chocolate and the marshmallows for toasting.

We also purchased a proper tent for Bailey to sleep in since he seemed to have gotten quite cold the night before. The shop didn't have the tent set up so i couldn't tell how big of one I was buying. When we got back to the campsite and set it up it was huge! We practically needed another site for pitching it!

The following day we set of for Newquay (after suitable parent relaxation time at the campground cafe) and the famous Fistral Beach. Fistral is famous with the surfers. We went there a few years back when Abigail was just a baby. On that visit, Abigail ate the sand. I was hoping she had out grown that.

We had lunch at a super groovy surfer hostel and then went to get the children wet suits. Sebastian loved his but it took quite a bit of convincing for Abigail to keep hers on. She threw a raging tantrum in the surf shop but finally one of the shop assistants convinced her that she looked even cooler than the surfer chick in the poster on the shop wall. Abigail apparently decided she was cooler and stopped screaming long enough to not scare off the other shoppers.

The beach at Fistral is huge and the waves are even bigger. I wasn't too comfortable with the children playing in those big waves but the RNLI provide the life guards and there were loads of them. Marc and Bailey kept a close eye whilst I starred at the other people on the beach (I love sunglasses!).

It was very late when we decided to head back to the campsite and make dinner. Sebastian had spent the last couple evenings walking around all the other campsites and introducing himself to all the other people and their associated children (if they had them). This night saw several children appear at out campsite for toasted marshmallows. Sebastian had invited everyone round to ours! This boy is going to be a politician!

Thursday afternoon we walked round Padstow and did a spot of shopping. the town was very crowded and we could only find once place to eat our fish and chips that would let Bailey sit on the patio.

Friday was the best day! We took the advice of our campsite neighbours, Ian & Gina, and set off for Treyarron Beach. And this wins the award. We totally unintentionally saved the best for last. This is a beautiful cove with a beautiful beach and great facilities. Again RNLI lifeguards watch everyone. We watched the tide come in and start to go out again. The beach was shallow and loads of fun. There weren't mobs of people and Bailey loved the beach. Seb wasn't so keen on the sea weed but he got over it.

I sat and read a book. It was bliss!

Saturday morning we had the challenge of packing everything up and fitting it back in the car. You have no idea how difficult this was. We packed, unpacked and repacked about 3 times. I finally ended up with my foot well (and the children's) packed full of stuff. the drive home was uneventful (thank goodness!).

CAMPING VERDICT: YES YES YES! I will do it again and again and again. We had so much fun. I now know what to pack and how to pack it. Marc has bought a tow bar for the BMW and we are looking for a trailer so that we can avoid the fitting everything (and a dog) in the car issues! The children were fabulous and they loved the freedom and independence camping gave them.

We were very lucky in that we had gorgeous sunny weather although the evenings were a bit chilly and the mornings were very damp with dew. I am sure this (along with the wet grey France trip) contributed to my chest infection. But we loved it. We can hardly wait for our next camping adventure!

PS You might have noticed that there are no photographs to go with this story. This is not because I didn't take any. This is because the computer that has all my photographs stored on it has died. Not to worry though. I have loaded all the pictures up on Flickr. So I am using my Mac exclusively. As soon as we get the other computer working I will put some pics with the story!
LATE EDIT: We now have some photos although the computer is stil a bit dodgy. Flickr has the whole album of photos!


Janell said...

I love the pony picture!
The vertigo experience sounds awful - I understand that completely, tho I would probably not have been brave enough to begin the descent. Good for you for giving it a try.
And speaking of marshamllows in the campfire, have you taught the English how to make S'Mores, yet?

LaDawn said...

We kinda made s'mores. We don't have graham crackers over here so we bought these cookies called hobnobs and used those instead. Better than s'mores! Steph & Tony love HobNobs. I bring them for everyone each time we visit. I'll bring some to the reunion next year!