Tuesday 11 August 2015

Winds, Whelks and Woolacombe: the joys of a school holiday camping trip

At the end of July we went on a camping holiday in North Devon. We had such a lovely time, rockpooling, roly polys down the sand dunes at Woolacombe, ice creams everyday and the best fish and chips we've ever eaten at Squires in Braunton. We came home with a lovely collection of seashells to wash and indentify at home. Despite the fact we had a great time, our camping holiday nearly ended before it began. 40-50mph winds were forecast for the day we were due to pitch our tent, they weren't wrong...
Winds, Whelks and Woolacombe: the joys of a school holiday camping trip
We had chosen a site with a beautiful view, but campsites with amazing views are normally high & exposed. This one was no exception. We lay the tent out as we always do, but when it came to stand the poles up, we couldn't fight against the wind. In fact the wind was so strong, it bent one of the metal poles. Mr M stood looking at the bent pole in shock and uttered expletives under his breath. Magoo had been counting down the days to this holiday and I couldn't face packing up and going home again, but the tent wasn't going up without a fight.
We retreated to the car to regroup and have a break from the relentless wind. "When can we go in the tent Mummy?" piped up a little voice from the back seat. "Just as soon as we've got our heads together" came my reply. We decided to try a different tack with the tent and with all our strength we managed to get the bloomin' thing up. Even the guy who owned the campsite was impressed we'd managed it. Despite our awful first day, the sun did come out and the rest of the holiday was glorious.
We managed three trips to the beach, once to Croyde and twice to Woolacombe (because we loved it so much). Magoo and I spent a happy hour peering into rockpools at Croyde Bay. We found heaps of shells, including Whelks, Top Shells and Limpets amongst many others. We decided to fit as many as we could into our bucket and bring them home.
A few days after we got back, Magoo and I sat out in the garden and washed the shells. It was the perfect opportunity to have a closer looks at our finds. It never ceases to amaze me how clever Mother Nature is. Each shell is small, but perfectly formed.
rockpooling for whelk shells in north devon
rockpooling for limpet shells in north devon
I particularly like whelk shells. When I was little I used to call them 'ice cream' shells because of the swirly cone at the end which looks like a Mr Whippy.
rockpooling for whelk shells in north devon
studying shells we found in rockpools at croyde beach
Magoo and I love collecting shells, but we don't know much about identifying them. After a quick search online I think I now know my whelks from my periwinkles. I particularly like the UK Safari website
studying top shells we found in rockpools at croyde beach
studying top shells we found in rockpools at croyde beach
studying whelk shells we found in rockpools at croyde beach
Once we had washed them, we left the shells to dry on kitchen paper. Magoo decided to give some to Grandma and we've kept the rest in a bowl on our dresser. It's a lovely reminder of our time spent in North Devon.
collection of shells found in rockpools at croyde in north devon
And here's some photographic proof that our tent withstood the winds...we spent the whole holiday slightly in shock that we managed to put it up at all :)

And the view from our tent, beautiful, but windy!
school holiday camping naer barnstaple in north devon
I'm linking up with Country Kids over on www.coombemill.com
Whatever the Weather over on www.lifeunexpected.co.uk
Point + Shoot over on www.youbabymemummy.com
Let Kids be Kids over on www.letkidsbekids.co.uk


Coombe Mill - Fiona said...

Well done on a huge achievement putting the tent up in those terrible winds. I'm sure that's the same week my boys went on scout camp, I really thought they would all come home that night but thankfully they managed it and a week did indeed pick up. You visited some of my favourite of beaches in Devon and what a superb collection of shells. If you pop over to my trash to treasure linky there are some lovely ideas of things to make with them. So pleased your camping adventure turned out well in the end. Thank you for sharing with me on Country Kids.

Mary @over40andamumtoone said...

What a stunning view and well done on keeping the tent up. Nothing quite like collecting shells is there #Whatevertheweather

Unknown said...

Glad your tent stayed put! SOunds like a great holiday and what lovely pictures. Thanks for linking up to #PointShoot xx

Unknown said...

Well done for getting the tent up, hard work, but sounds like it was worth it and what a lovely view from the tent. Love the shells.
Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

Unknown said...

Well done for getting the tent up! I'm so glad it stayed up for you. I love collecting shells, they're so beautiful. It sounds like you had a lovely holiday despite the winds at camp and your little one was so patient for waiting for it to go up. I love Devon but have never been to this part. It looks beautiful and I've always heard great things about Woolacoombe. Thank you so much for linking up to #whatevertheweather x

Unknown said...

The shells are gorgeous such beautiful colours! I need to have a look at the UK safari website to check ours out too.
I'm impressed you got the tent up in the wind and it survived. I can't imagine we would manage that, we only just manage to get ours up in the dry, although the midgies were awful as there was no breeze, so that's another challenge!
Thank you very much for linking up with our #Whatevertheweather Wednesday, hope to see you there again tomorrow. :) xx

EmmaT said...

It's always a challenge putting up tents at the best of times, but wind is not good. We went to Dorset in July, lots of first time mum campers, and a couple of us tried to help one girl put her tent up in the wind (it wasn't anywhere near 40mph but was still hard), and struggled so some other people from the next tent came and helped. So well done on getting yours up in such winds.

The shells looks gorgeous. We think we might be camping in Woolacombe next summer.


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