‘Would you like to go on a Wild Night Out’? Yes!
‘Would you like to support Explorers Connect and Ordnance Survey’s Wild Night Out 2017 Campain?’ Yes!!
‘Would you like it to be on a weekend when your husband is away assessing DofE so you have to take the kids?’ errr....not particularly..
However, July 1st did indeed fall on a weekend when the OH was away, daft really as he is away every weekend at this time of year for Duke of Edinburgh. I know, I should have been thankful that I could have a night away just me and kids, however there was just a teeny tiny part of my wicked soul that thought it would be so lush to get away for a couple of long days walking and wild camp somewhere utterly remote and beautiful.
So, the weekend of July 1st dawned and after weeks of glorious, hot sunshine we were forecast low cloud so views were going to be minimal. I had a couple of great locations in mind, being with the kids meant that venues were limited as they don’t have the packs to carry all the stuff we would need for an overnighter in the hills. So, I needed somewhere that felt remote and isolated yet was close to a road/trackway.
There were two options:-
Option 1:- next to the Nant Bwch in the Vale of Ewyas. You can drive up the track past the Grange Trekking centre, drop the kit and then park the van back down by the gate. The spot here is gorgeous, in a stunning valley with great views up and down. The site is right next to a waterfall on the Nant Bwch and provides a great feeling of remoteness.
Option 2: Above Twin Streams, tucked under the lea of Twmpa. A stunning spot that I have wanted to wild camp on since 1987 when I first went there. It is set down next to a small stream with a waterfall cascading behind. It is a 10 minute walk up from the remote road where you park. Gorgeous.
We went for Option 2. As the weather was looking to be foggy I felt that the Twin Streams site would be best. Also, I was able to contact the farmer for permission to light a fire and camp (old PGL contacts).
We set off late afternoon with all the kits rammed in to two rucksacks. I decided not to take the two Wild Country Zephyros tents in favour of our new purchase, a 4 man tent from Aldi. YES Aldi. £29.99, 3-4 man dome tent. Luxury for a wild camp! It was a good chance to see how this bank breaking purchase would cope in a real setting. It coped admirably and is my new favourite tent.
We had a lovely drive over to Hay-on-Wye through the Golden Valley as the clouds starting to build and get darker and darker. As we drove pretty much along the border of Wales and England the kids did note that it was sunny in England and dark in Wales – flook I say! We soon arrived at Twin Streams, itself a lovely picnic spot where two streams meet and cross the road.
As we walked up the hill to the wild camp site the cloud started to descend lower over Twmpa but it was still a magnificent site. The wonderful thing though was the excitement on the kids faces as we descended down in to the riverside wild camp site. As luck would have it there was a clearing that was exactly the same size as the tent so I left the kids to get that sorted whilst I checked out the facilities. We had a small stream, a waterfall providing clean water as it flowed through moss and plenty of bracken for those calls of nature. Perfect.
The kids got the tent up in no time, and with no arguments, result. We then set too finding some wood for the fire (we got permission from the landowner and there is an established fire pit on the site already). However, finding dry wood was the challenge as it had rained solidly for the past two days prior to our arrival. We battled on however and collected a great hoard.
It was then Lily’s job, as a Scout, to get the fire started. Getting is started was ok as we took newspaper and straw with us, keeping it alight with wet wood was tricky. We soon realised that the best thing was to crack open the marshmallows and literally cook them over the newspaper as it burnt as the wood, with all the luck in the world, just wasn’t going to light.
The next thing I knew, the marshmallows were gone and the kids had started to get ready for bed. I was confused, when we are at home it is like pulling teeth trying to get the kids to bed so this came as a surprise. I think it was the promise of the McDonalds breakfast the next day that was spurring them on. Or just the thrill of camping in such an amazing spot with nothing but the stream to lull them to sleep.
They were soon both snuggled up so I was able to get the stove on, make a great decaf coffee and settle back to watch the sky darken. It was magic. The sounds, or lack of sounds was mesmerising and I was able to listen to the sheep bleating and slowly settling down and soon it was just me and silence.
We all slept ok, Barney kept falling off his ‘bed’ and despite it being a 4 man tent I ended up rammed against the side with two children snuggled up, practically on top of me, but we did it. We had our Wild Night Out and I am so thankful that the invite rocked up in my Inbox from Ordnance Survey because we had a truly magical time. And the McDonalds breakfast at Abergavenny was just peachy...
For more information on Wild Night Out 2017 and to be amongst the first to hear of the 2018 event, click here.
Wild Night Out 2017
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To Outdoors & Beyond is a blog about the outdoors and how it is the perfect remedy for everyday life; the stress & anxieties it brings & how you can achieve good physical & mental health by being getting outside...