By: Blonde Two
At the beginning of January (the month of my 50th birthday), I set myself the Get Outside challenge of sleeping outdoors (or very nearly outdoors) for 50 nights in 2018. It is the end of what has been a very hot July and, although I have achieved a fair few outdoor sleeps, I have surprised myself by my unwillingness to leave my bed. An abundance of summer insects may be the main causal factor of this, although I have tested the mosquito net that Mr B2 and I bought during June’s trip to New Zealand.
50 Sleeps for July 2018
Outdoor Sleep 24
Type: Bivvy (with mosquito net)
Location: Horner, Exmoor
Date: 2nd July
Reason: Night 1 of 3 DofE Silver and Gold nights.
Supper: Pub dinner, whitebait and chips at the most excellent Ship Aground in Minehead. I think it may have been a mistake putting the start of the South West Coast Path just along from here as I am sure many people never leave this excellent pub to start their trek.
Breakfast: Bacon and mushroom sandwich at about 11:00 (the day’s start was much earlier than this).
Comment: This was a beautiful campsite in the very heart of Horner. The grass was green (back in the days when it was) and there were plentiful trees dotted around to offer shade and a hanging branch for the mosquito net. Lovely and peaceful with most excellently behaved youngsters.
Outdoor Sleep 25
Location: Westermill Farm, Exmoor
Date: 3rd July
Reason: Night 2 of 3 DofE Silver and Gold nights.
Supper: Rice with vegetable curry, heated up for the staff team. As I am not particularly good at cooking rice I was amazed when it emerged fluffy and delicious at dinner time. Experimental churros made a delicious pudding.
Breakfast: I really can’t remember, probably something related to tuna and out of a packet. Also squashed pain au chocolat.
Comment: A lovely commercial campsite in a beautiful valley, Westermill Farm has a DofE field at the end. We shared the field with noisy sheep and quiet (even quieter than the night before) youngsters and avoided the showers by dipping in the baby River Exe. Bunting was strung and plans for the next day were made.
Outdoor Sleep 26
Type: Bivvy (with mosquito net)
Location: Pinkery, Exmoor
Date: 4th July
Reason: Night 3 of 3 DofE Silver and Gold nights.
Supper: As it was the last evening of the expedition, supper consisted of whatever we all had left over and pancakes. We probably also consumed a few midges.
Breakfast: Boiled egg and Frazzle wraps. A favourite but this time with the addition of sandwich spread.
Comment: Upon arrival, we discovered that the camping field was liberally strewn with cattle of both genders. A phone call to the site manager led to an offer to sleep in the woodland area, which gave another opportunity to hang the mosquito net (this time from a ridgeline line between two trees) and bivvy. Five o’clock morning supervision of the teams was easy from our see-through shelter.
Outdoor Sleep 27
Type: Tent (a nice big one with an airbed)
Location: Hole Station Adults Only Campsite
Date: 7th July
Reason: To introduce Mr B2 to Hole Station, the excitement of the can crusher and the self-composting toilet.
Supper: Sausage ratatouille cooked over a campfire
Breakfast: A most delicious bacon and mushroom roll from the quirky Hole Station cafe
Comment: Another fantastic stay. The accommodation at Hole Station is so peaceful and comfortable that I always feel that I could stay there forever. Mr B2 and I have since been pondering the possibilitiy of a woodland shelter in our garden (we have at least five trees!)
Outdoor Sleep 28
Location: Down Lovely Lane (well just off it)
Date: 21st July
Reason: My Dad’s 75th and his neighbour’s 80th birthday party, which lasted the whole weekend and involved much fun, some singing and two very well-travelled Irish chaps.
Supper: International cuisine – pizza, pasties, camembert and Irish single malt
Breakfast: Boiled egg sandwiches cooked in the van (I had taken emergency supplies)
Comment: We had a lovely sleep in a very narrow Cornish lane at the bottom of Dad’s steps. Luckily the trains don’t run too often on Sundays because we were almost on top of the railway line.
28. Van – Cornwall