Going it alone
Dom has been super busy at work recently which has meant it’s just been me and the kids most weekends. To start off we played it safe, with some local dog walks and trips to all the lovely castles we have on our doorstop, but this didn’t really cut it with James and Sophie, they were soon yearning for something a little bit more exciting.
As much as I hate to admit it (I’m forever telling my two, both boys and girls can do anything they want to) I soon realised how dependent we are on Dom. Not only are an extra pair of hands useful but he’s the knowledgeable one when it comes to outdoor adventures too. Well not anymore, the last few months have been the push I need to brush up on a few skills and make sure I’ve got out with the kids on my own.
I’m a bit ashamed to say we’ve very much fallen into stereotypical roles in our outdoor adventures. Dom gets the equipment ready and loaded up, be it bikes, canoes or sorting maps and I get lunch packed up and our clothing sorted. Now this is partly down to the fact it just makes sense, he’s far stronger and manhandling canoes and bikes isn’t the struggle for him as it is for me. So, to help we’ve invested in a new bike trailer which fits on the tow bar of my car and slides forward so we can still get in the boot with it loaded up. it’s made a world of difference and been well worth the money, I now can easily get everything loaded up on my own.
Dom is also usually the one who looks after our bikes and I’ve always been happy for him to take charge. I’m pretty sure James is more capable of repairing a puncture than me. Now there’s no way I’d be heading out on my own with two children without being able to do some simple repairs myself, so I’ve brushed up with the help of some tutorials and videos and I’m pretty happy I could cope with most things now. I’ve been pretty impressed with myself and have really enjoyed tinkering with our bikes in the evenings.
Despite all my gloating about going it alone, I’d be lying if I said we’ve carried on as normal. Whilst I’m happy heading off on my own with two kids, heading off and doing things to the same level as we were doing with two adults is a step too far at the moment. I just can’t get past running through the what ifs, as I plan what to do. What if one of them fell over and couldn’t carry on, how would I get them back? How could I get Sophie up any hills, when she doesn’t have any gears? So, we’ve revisited a lot of our favourite trips from when Sophie first learnt to ride.
A recent favourite has to be a trip down Glen Almond. It may not have any fast single track but it’s still a lovely trip. James has also been able to get more involved with the planning and has really enjoyed being more involved. He’s been helping to carry things and giving me a hand with the map reading and as much as he’d hate to admit it our trips haven’t been as boring as he thought they’d be with the added responsibility.
Whilst we’ve survived this manic spell, we’re all looking forward to trips out as a foursome again. Though maybe we’ll make daddy make the sandwiches and leave the “mans work” to mummy. How does everybody else cope taking your little trekkers out on your own? I’d love to hear your tips.
About the Author
About Me & Mine
James' family is James' (aged 7 months), daddy - Dominic, mummy - Helena and Jarvis the dog. We currently live in Norwich but head to the mountains of Snowdonia and the Lake District as often as we can.
Before James was born we were a very active family doing lots of canoeing, hill walking, camping and snowboarding. Since having James we are determined that having a family and enjoying the outdoors are both possible. We are keen to make sure James can not only join in with our adventures, but that he will be happy and comfortable at the same time.
Favourite place in the world:
It's a tough choice but Arisaig on the West coast of Scotland gets our vote. With the whitest sand and bluest sea we've seen, you have to keep reminding yourself you're in Scotland rather than a tropical paradise. The views out towards the Small Isles and the Cuillins on Skye are stunning; it really is a magical place. With sea kayaks it's easy to find your own private beach - well apart from the odd otter (real ones rather than Spotty ones) and seal to share it with. It's definitely somewhere we plan to take James to as soon as possible.
Favourite things to do outdoors:
We are keen canoeists and love to get out on the water as much as possible - whitewater, flat water touring or sea kayaking; we're not fussed as long as it's wet. We are both qualified instructors and enjoy passing on our love of paddle sports to others at our local canoe club. We have already has our own little bow paddler in the making, James, out in the canoe and are looking forward to many more trips.
We also do a lot of walking. We get out everyday to visit our local woods and parks to walk our coker spaniel, Jarvis. When we get the chance though, we prefer something a bit more challenging and regularly visit the mountains of Snowdonia and the Lake District. James' dad Dom, is a qualified mountain leader and is keen to pass on these skils as soon as possible.