Summer Holidays – The British Weather Lottery

Summer Holiday in North Devon

They say the definition of insanity is;

“doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Every year I holiday with the kids in Britain, used to be St Ives every year for 12 years. Now it’s just me and the kids I like to mix it up and go different places. Inevitably it is South West or Wales, as they are easy to get to. This year it was North Devon, and this year the British weather played up to everyone’s stereotype of a “British Summer” and was a mixed bag. At least we all have something to talk about – us Brits love talking weather!

I took the kids camping (those who have read my previous entries will know that I had to forgo the Campervan dream, and bought a tent and a Mini Cooper S instead. Still, the tent has paid for itself already, after 2 holidays. The kids seem to love it.

Westmouth Cove, near Ilfracombe, was the destination. The beginning of July had seen the country basking under a heatwave, and the Summer holidays were looking promising. All the papers, in that annual way they do were promising a “Summer of 76”.  The jet stream had other plans, and did its annoying shift that it sometimes does in Summer, which basically meant that from day 1 of the School holidays it just threw whatever weather was sitting in the North Atlantic at us. Hence, a weather lottery. Weather apps looked like fruit machines, constantly spinning. There was me hoping for 3 Suns to line up – and it was wind, rain, sun, in random order. One friend canceled his holiday to Devon looking at the week ahead. I had no choice. It was all booked. Thanks to the weather the stress began to set in. Oh, look, two sunny days, no, 3, no, 1, no, 2 again. Every time I looked it displayed something else.

I busily looked at a mix of indoor activities, crossed my fingers and off we went. We had the sunshine, showers, torrential rain, gale force winds and we survived it all, even losing the canopy in 40 mph winds (metal sheared in half). I had to go out into the storm at 4am in the morning and try and gather in what remained of the canopy in the storm. (Kids slept through all of this!)

We had glorious beach days, went bodyboarding, Stand Up Paddle boarding, exploring, rock pooling, old fashioned adventure parks, trampolining, and most importantly a bunch of memories and experiences, thanks to the British weather.

…. but next year, definitely going abroad. (probably…)



Challenge the Kids – Camping and Snowdon Expedition

Ok, I don’t want to sound like one of those Dads that organise camping trips that no one really wants to go on. But holidays are expensive, and in early spring, you need a plan. Since my “Let’s Buy A Campervan” dream died due to financial constraints, I thought I’d but a family tent instead (and sporty little Mini Cooper S – but that is a different story).

What was meant to be a cheap holiday rapidly began to become expensive as I bought every bit of camping equipment known to man. But I want to do things right. The plan was to visit Snowdonia National Park – and set some challenges for the kids *(and me). These were:

  1. Climb Snowdon – Let’s not forget Oscar is only 7, and Freya is on verge of being a “moany” teenager. But what’s life without a challenge.
  2. Take the Plummet Challenge – a step off a 100ft platform in Zip Fforest
  3. Europe’s Largest Zip Wire Zone – Zip World
  4. Get the kids to love camping.

So with the restriction of a tiny Mini storage capacity we managed to fit in all the equipment, walking boots and camping gear fit for an attempt on Everest.

On the expedition up Snowdon (“expedition” makes it sound like Everest attempt!) Freya was complaining just 10 minutes into the walk. But with a bit of Kendal Mint Cake, and gentle persuasion (plus lying about how far left to go…) we pushed on.

Needless to say, I’m super proud of my kids, as despite promising them we would take train down from summit, we ended up walking down. It was more than 10 mile hike up and down the mountain, and 8 hour expedition.