I've been meaning to post all week about last weekend's trip away, so it being Sunday I thought I'd best get started!
The weekend started with a coffee break at the Krispy Kreme cafe in Edinburgh. The very calorific doughnut was okay but I still can't believe people were queuing for an hour round the bypass when it opened. A victory of marketing over common sense I think!
We met Ben and Lauren (my youngest brother and his girlfriend) in Bellingham where we had a tasty late lunch in what I think was a community centre cafe. After the doughnut I thought I'd be good and have soup, which was a good plan as it was a very tasty homemade onion soup with loads of pepper, just how I like it! We then hit a slight hitch - no mobile phone reception and we hadn't put the address for the yurts in the satnav. Ben had a rough idea of where we were going so off we set in convoy. I wasn't convinced we were on the right road as road gave way to farm track, and going through a farm gate didn't really reassure me! We did make it safely to our destination, but it was definitely the cross country short cut - we didn't use that route again.
We were met by Rob, the owner, gave us a tour of the facilities. He was particularly proud of the underfloor heated shower block! He then showed us to Esk Yurt, our home for the weekend, accessed via a field of sheep - this may be luxury camping but it's definitely rural!
|First task - light the stove!|
It was a bit of a chilly weekend with overnight frost, so it's a good thing the stove kept the yurt toasty warm once it got going. There's definitely something rewarding about keeping a good fire burning!
Friday night started with a trip to the local village pub for dinner. We then headed off to Tarset village hall for a concert - Richard Digance (from Pebble Mill and Countdown fame!) ably supported by a ladies' a capella singing group from Hexham called the Hex Pistols. Bearing in mind all we really knew about Richard Digance was that he's currently touring with Jim Davidson whilst between cruise ship contracts I think we were all pleasantly surprised with how the evening turned out!
Saturday started with breakfast in the kitchen, as there was no way we were going to try and cook on the stove. Rob had left us some eggs from the chickens that wander around the site so it was scrambled egg for breakfast, along with some banana pancakes (Hairy Dieters recipe) I'd brought along with me. We found some leaflets in the Yurt featuring local walks so we picked a short-ish one setting off from the site, going through Greenhaugh village and back over the fields. Some lovely landscape to admire but boy was it muddy once we were off the main road - thank goodness for decent walking boots!
We then headed off to the Boe Rigg coffee shed, a few miles down the road for a very tasty lunch. worth checking out if you're in the area.
We'd arranged to meet my parents in the local pub for dinner in the evening, so just pottered about at the yurt for the afternoon. It's a good job we did as they decided to surprise us by turning up at the yurt - and they'd sensibly brought a map so actually used the right road! It was back to The Hollybush Inn for another tasty dinner, then back to the yurt for a beer and another good night's sleep.
The forecast wasn't great for Sunday but we headed off to Kielder reservoir for the day, equipped with anoraks and walking boots, which were put to good use! We had a nice lunch in Kielder castle cafe then headed off for a walk through the woods - quite atmospheric in the rain really! We didn't see any red squirrels but did see loads of chaffinches and other small birds.
We then drove further down the reservoir for another walk, including a curved suspension bridge which is apparently unusual:
We then headed back to Bellingham to kill a bit of time before the pub we liked the look of opened for dinner. We nearly ended up just eating in Bellingham but waiting for The Pheasant Inn to open turned out to be one of our better ideas. Really tasty Sunday roasts all round, and a vegetarian option that wasn't curry!
After a day of rain it was a pretty muddy walk across the field back to the yurt so I was glad of my wellies.
All in all it was a pretty chilled out weekend and I would definitely recommend 'glamping' to anyone who wants to get away from it all without having to go totally back to basics! And I know I'm probably biased, having grown up in the North East, but it really is a stunning part of the country - beautiful countryside, great beaches, loads of castles and Newcastle if you need a bit of city life!