The Smallest City

14-16 August 2015- St David’s, Pembrokeshire

Me, PG, KateForceOne, Magic Dave, Mother-of-Two, Two, Slide, the Faringdon Archaeologists (x4)* and Burge (and chums)

IMG_2786The annual summer camping jaunt. Intense email-based milling preceded this trip- several weeks of correspondence resulted in no concrete plan until the days running up to departure, when a campsite satisfying strict criteria of (a) not windy and (b) not full was booked. All to no avail. Burge, forming an advance party, changed campsite the day before everyone else arrived. So we found ourselves at Porthclais- very beautiful clifftop, but, to quote a local- with a lazy wind, one that goes right through you rather than round.

After last year’s Adventures under Tarp, this year Slide had purchased two actual made-for-purpose shelters and a windbreak. When we arrived on friday, were delighted to see that Slide had managed to rig both shelters togther into a not-as-per-instructions semi-shelter. It just wouldn’t the same without some homemade tarp action.

IMG_2789We managed a fair bit of short walking. Porthclais is on the coast path, with beautiful small harbour- the medieval harbour of St David’s, so we learnt. Which probably also explains the well-worn green lane to St David’s itself, which we tramped a number of times at varying speeds. PG and I managed one early morning ramble around the coast path to visit St Non’s chapel and Holy Well. Spectacular views along the coast for miles, but possibly a bit ‘edgy’ for PG’s taste.

IMG_2783What a very charming small city St David’s is. On the Saturday night we made the trip for fish and chips. And a moonlit stroll around the grounds of the Cathedral and Bishops’ Palace- definite highlight- lurking in the dark listening to a Welsh male voice choir through the West Door, watching ladies in full traditional dress sitting in the porch and being buzzed by bats. Total magic.


IMG_2765We enjoyed spectacular sandcastle building, cricket and icecream at Whitesands, celebrated Magic Dave’s birthday with fruit gin, ate a vast amount of barbecued meat, and went crabbing at Porthgain. Really enjoyed this little harbour village with its derelict industrial landscape and fantastic Sloop Inn.

Otherwise chewed the fat, argued about wood (quality of), fire (smoky) and life into the night and generally arsed around. Great fun. Quotes of the holiday undoubtedly the much-loved ‘my zip’s gone crazy’ from Annabel, and ‘please god no singing’ from a desperate 3am PG. There is such a thing as too much Burgess & Slide it turns out.

Next year- we vow less milling and possibly a house, and NO TARP. eek.

IMG_2762* It turns out that actually lots of archaeologists live in Faringdon so maybe there’s something in my theory about Oxfordshire being heavily-archaeologised (The Wilderness).


Adventures under tarp

Tuesday 19th- Saturday 23rd August 2014- Watermouth (again)

Me, Kate Force One, Magic Dave, Mother-of-Two (+Slide +Two) and the Faringdon Archaeologists (x4).

We find ourselves staying at Watermouth again (see Freedom), this time for the annual camping trip*.

P1000426A few lovely days packed with good things, including in no particular order: Verity, Arlington Court- home of the particularly interesting National Carriage Museum which made us wish for a revival of horse drawn transport-, sandy beaches, swimming in the sea, rubber ring, sitting by the fire, proper conversation, hanging out with marine life (the kids), eating fish n chips in the car in the rain, Predator top trumps (harder to lose than you might think). And last, but not least, ongoing tarpaulin maintenance. In the end, we went Bedouin-style and parked a car on it to keep it put. Yet again we learnt that staying up ‘an extra half hour’ and drinking neat gin is not a good idea.

Culinary highlights were several- for the kids, hotly-anticipated blueberry pancakes (courtesy of Harvey Nicks and Kate Force One) nearly caused a riot; for the grown ups, the extraordinary last-night combination of pan-fried chorizo and vegetables, barbecued tuna steaks and california sushi rolls (crafted by Magic Dave on site), followed by supernoodles (me). Noone can say we aim for the obvious with our camping fare. Special mention for the hot chocolate at Damien Hirst’s cafe in Ilfracombe, and the s’mores. Definitely a marshmallow holiday.

P1000436Me, Kate Force One and Magic Dave achieved a small walk, from the campsite at Watermouth east along the SW coast path to Combe Martin and then beyond to Hangman’s Hill. Very steep in places, it was definitely a challenge to the legs, but worth it for the amazing views over the Bristol Channel… and the ice cream in Combe Martin and the baked potato on the Sandy Cove Hotel terrace (do we never stop eating?). And for Magic Dave’s go pro action, hopefully to be posted here shortly.

The low point, if there was one, was the chill in the air and the sometimes heavy rain. Autumn truly has arrived. Warm dry beds appreciated on return**.

P1000455*The orange tent still going strong, if a little less orange than it used to be, and held together with a smattering of rubber bands.

**I returned via the lovely peeps at Trevone, and a extremely fine lunch at the Drewe Arms, Drewsteignton.