Last weekend marked probably our most successful family camping weekend yet! I’m not always the biggest fan of sleeping under canvas, mostly because I rarely manage to sleep, but this year’s annual trip revealed what makes camping a real pleasure for me. I need peace, solitude, space and of course relaxed company. And last weekend had that in spades. For our fifth camping weekend, our group was smaller than normal but perfectly formed and in the perfect location – High House Farm on the Suffolk Coast, a beautiful working fruit farm in sight of the sea.
We were delighted to find we had a massive field to ourselves away from the other campers – I still can’t believe we were that lucky! Once we’d decided on a spot, we had plenty of help with pitching the tents. Alex did a great job hammering in the pegs.
We created a really cosy area for ourselves, complete with a dining tent!
We even had a little kitchen area, professionally equipped and manned by Rob who cooked so many sausages over the weekend I’m sure he was put off meat for a fair few days after he got home (although the kids here seem more interested in eating grass!)
It was great seeing how well the children got on with each other having not seen each other for months – here’s Sophie forming a firm friendship with Aria, and Alex getting up to mischief with Freddie!
After a peaceful night of sleep, only disturbed by Sophie deciding she didn’t like camping at 3am and insisting on sharing our double airbed for the rest of the night, we decided to explore the local area on foot. We set off for the nearby village of Orford along the quiet lanes and paths.
We spotted wild flowers along the way, Sophie loving the poppies especially.
The normally 40 minute walk took us nearly 2 hours because of the little legs we were coaxing along, but we eventually made it to Orford just in time for lunch! We stocked up on bread and meet in the gorgeous little shops in the village and found a picnic spot in the grounds of Orford Castle.
After lunch, the children spent ages climbing trees together – a recurring activity over the weekend.
We then wandered down to the quayside to watch people crabbing and fishing around the harbour, before boarding a little boat for an hour long cruise along the river. We spotted some birds on the RSPB reserve along the banks, as well as some really interesting historical buildings including a beautiful lighthouse which is slowly sinking into the sand an no longer operational and some bizarre pagodas where fuses and charges for nuclear weapons were tested in the 1960s! The boys were mostly interested in looking for sharks!
It got a bit chilly out on the water, but everyone kept smiling!
Back on dry land, we waited for Matt and Dan to fetch cars to take us back to the campsite – no-one was that keen on another 2 hour hike! While we waited, Alex and Fred recreated some famous film scenes together!
Back at the farm, we enjoyed a massive barbecue together complete with marshmallows and far too many snacks! After an evening of star gazing and space station spotting in the incredibly clear and vivid night, we all slept brilliantly in the peace and dark.
The next morning it was time to pack up the tents and enjoy the benefits of being on a fruit farm more fully.
The children loved fruit picking – quickly getting covered in juice as they munched as many berries as they added to their punnets!
They did a really good job collecting loganberries, raspberries and blackberries together.
We ended up with an enormous stash of fruit for the journey home, together with some gorgeous fresh apple juice from the farm shop.
We had a wonderful, relaxing weekend in a totally beautiful spot. We’ll definitely go back to Suffolk for longer, and I might even be persuaded to take the tent!
Our fifth camping trip was a great success – and I’m already looking forward to 2017 when hopefully our little group will be slightly larger! The next campsite certainly has a lot to live up to!