Tents, Trotting and Terrible Twos

Half term holiday – horray! And sunshine – what a treat!

Tents, Trotting and Terrible Twos

Adventures don’t come much better than spontaneous, so on a spot decision (made one morning looking at the future mid week rain forecast!), we rummaged through the shed, loft and under the bed to retrieve as many elements to the camping gear as possible, threw it in the van (oh, the joy of having space to ‘throw’ things in rather than carefully slotting in the car so the boot actually closes!) and headed to the Valley of the Rocks, near Lynton where there are a number of fairly ‘wild’ camping sites, and you can still have open fires. Excited doesn’t even come close to our Little Trekkers' squeals!

Up goes the tent, in go the kids, and out, and in, and out – and you get the picture! The sheer giddy enjoyment of a new ‘den’ to play in was hilarious! Football, Frisbee, pretend Elves like Legolas shooting arrows, ducking and hiding, tripping over the guy ropes (again and again!), the kids did not stop running!

hazel trails

We finally took a walk down the hazel trails to give the little man some captive rest time; it was just so beautiful with the sunlight through the fresh leaves and the sky and sea sparking blue.

Bedtime was more of the same. Running, rolling, commando crawling, anything to stop going to sleep. Ramona was exhausted and sensible enough to know to try and sleep; Mr Terrible Two was a marvellous example of utterly shattered, but unable to calm down. Stories, cuddles, anything was great for a moment, then off he went again! We all eventually crawled to bed and finally fell asleep, with the classic romantic family setup of Phil giving up and in with Ramona and me wrestling with the monster the rest of the night! Waking up through the night to “what’s that noise?” as there was another Baaaaaa from the next field. It was a long night!

Freddie the pony

Needless to say, crack of dawn, the engergiser bunnies were off again – as Phil lay groaning in the corner. Ramona and I escaped for an early morning Pony trek for an hour across the valley and copses around the farm , with a herd of deer grazing and running just across the vale, magical moments. Eomer got his own ride when we returned, on a hungry pony “Freddie” who kept stopping for breakfast!

Woody Bay steam train

To the Woody Bay Steam Train for afternoon excitement, amazing views and, of course, ice creams. Charming conductor and driver just revelling in the awestruck children (an adults!) climbing onto the little steam train. Eomer’s face as the driver pulled the whistle was priceless!

Just a couple of days away and so much fitted in, it felt like a week. There is so much to see when you’re not surrounded by daily tasks, housework and computers. I know for certain that camping with small children is exhausting for everyone, but it is also incredibly memorable – for all the little things that they make you see, do and take part in. Every second outside becomes an adventure and even the tent itself become an exciting new world to make games in and explore. So as we collapse into our beds, and shut the door to their darkened room, we are already making plans for our next trip away…

About the Author

Ruth Lively-Masters

Ruth Lively-Masters

About Me & Mine

Having lived in N. Devon for the last 12 years, we recently moved across to the other side of the world and now live in New Zealand on the North Island. Our adventurous family includes my husband Phil and 2 small cheeky children: Ramona 8½ and Eomer 5½. I have a wonderful day job as Lead teacher in the sensory unit of an SEN school and spend as much time as possible outside, exploring nature and environments both on our doorstep and further afield.

Favourite place in the world:

Hmm, that's really tough! I loved the west coast forests of British Columbia in Canada, such a humbling, incredible place - tall trees right down to the big ocean waves. There's a whole lot of other places I'd love to explore though...moving to New Zealand has opened up a whole world of new adventures and we’re slowly finding new favourites to add to the list.

Sea, mountains and forests in any combination please!

Favourite things to do outdoors:

Again, lots of favourites. Definitely a mix between walking, cycling, surfing, camping and exploring, combined with taking time to notice detail of a place, hear the sounds and absorb the changes over time and seasons. Active and quiet times are both invigorating for different reasons.

Comments (3)

  • Kerry Teague

    Kerry Teague

    07 June 2013 at 11:25 | #

    Brilliant! I'm laughing that we're not alone in using back carriers and bike seats to encourage two year olds to rest! If only we could invent a way that allowed worn out parents to rest too! Hope next time to go, the sheep sleep a bit better ;-)


  • Ruth Lively-Masters

    Ruth Lively-Masters

    07 June 2013 at 20:41 | #

    Thanks Kerry! Eomer is slightly better at sleeping than Ramona ever was too...its been a long 5 years! still love them though - bonkers as they are!


  • Jay Greengrass

    Jay Greengrass

    26 June 2013 at 14:26 | #

    Shhhhh - I'm still using my sling with my 3 year old most afternoons to do just the same!

    I really empathise with not getting any sleep - we've only just had our first camping trip of the year and it was the youngest little minx who kept everyone awake, then was first up, busy to have more adventures. I loved your reflection on your weekend, Ruth - it's just so hard to see things through littlies' eyes when my own are so heavy and sleep-deprived..! I hope your next trip away is just as brilliant


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