In the year and a bit since Valerie and I became parents we’ve been slowly and carefully been working out how our young family can spend time climbing and walking. We started with visits to the climbing wall before moving on to bouldering and walking trips in which we stayed in hotels and hostels. Last weekend we took the big step of taking Leo camping for the first time. Although, to be honest, it might be more accurate to say that we took the baby step of taking him glamping for the first time.
We stayed in a camping pod at the brilliant Dunsdon Farm in Devon . Our camping pod was basically an insulated wooden hut with carpeting, a porch, an electric heater, electric lamp and a cool box. Using a camping pod meant we didn’t have to worry about pitching a tent in the rain and had a lot more space for Leo to play in than he would have had in our tent. A real plus was that each camping pod had its own, lockable, tiled bathroom with a power shower in the nearby wash block. We also really liked there being a “rainy day room” (basically a lounge with sofas) and widescreen TVs that showed a live link to the inside of a Barn Owl’s nest. It was a world away from my usual camping experiences and a good way for Valerie and I to gently get our head around the practicalities of taking Leo away camping of camping with a toddler.
The down side to our trip to the West Country was a cold virus that took the energy out of us. However, we still managed to do things we enjoyed. Leo discovered that he really likes Cornish pasty. I had fun bouldering on the beautiful and friction-full rocks of Hound Tor (where a bouldering mat is as much about stopping you landing in sheep droppings as hurting yourself in a fall). We all enjoyed walking along the beach at Bude, although Leo hated that we made him wear a hat and gloves (which came off pretty fast after Leo discovered he could reach them with his teeth).