I have had this camper van for four months and only just managed to take it on an actual camping trip. How very lame of me! For the tester run we decided to take the van (which is until now nameless - you have to name your van!) to Seacotes campsite in the Lake District, Cumbria. This site was decided upon as I'm familiar with the site and the surrounding areas, so this meant we could concentrate on our kit and the van - making sure all bases are covered. Anyone with kids will know you have to think of everything!
Yeah, the van is only actually 2 berth, so two of us are in the tent and two of us are in the van. We aim to get a 'Roofnest' for the van. These roof tents pretty much mount on the roof with standard roof bars and then you have a ladder up to a large 2 berth bedroom. They are pretty awesome, so fast money saving is in order to purchase one. They are not cheap - around £1500 if you are willing to buy a used one or £2500 if you want a new one.
Consistent with other visits the campsite was pretty much empty, the only other campers turned up pretty late on and were all backpackers. The Seacotes site is situated at the start of the coast to coast walk, so i'm pretty sure most of them would of been attempting this epic trail. The camping field is right at the back of the site, but it's only a 2 minute walk through the static holiday homes in the pic above to the beach, which is awesome! I love St Bees beach!
I love to take the kids to the beach, they get to run around freely, and I think it's an excellent tonic. St Bees beach has loads of rocky bits to explore to keep it varied. The coastline areas are a quick changing environment, so you never know what you're going to find. Like a rock that looks like a bull, so of course we had to feed it sand and give it drinks of sea water...?!?
Give a child a bucket, a spade, and some sand, and you will have a happy child for sure. I'm not quite sure how many hours we spent messing about on the beach, but the light started to vanish before we decided to go back to the van. These are the rock friends, by the way. Aptly named Stoney, Loney and Coney...
I particularly like the St Bees terrain, it has a lot in one place - pebble beaches when the tide is in, which is good for stone whizzing (a popular boy pastime!), a sandy beach when the tide is out (good for sandcastle building), and a cool rocky coast which stretches out as far as the eye can see (excellent for rock pools). There is a large cliff rising above the pebble beach known as 'St Bees Head', the views from the top are totally amazing. If you like epic treks you can walk to Whitehaven, but it's around 7 miles one way so you have to take food and kit with you.
You can see the start of the rocky outcrop in this next picture twisting away around the corner. I wouldn't advise trying to walk to whitehaven this way, if the tide came in i'm pretty sure there are areas on which it is possible to be cut-off, you would be the latest story on the 999 rescue program...
At the end of the day, when your at the seaside it's all about getting wet! The weather on this particular day (which just happened to be the prince Harry's wedding day) was a little blustery, and even though it was sunny was still a little chilly, so no full immersions going on but paddling around it still allowed, and encouraged (until Joe decides to sit down in it fully clothed, he does get a bit over excited sometimes...)
Even the walk back proved fruitful. Amongst the rock pools we saw loads of Sean Anemone, the kids didn't actually seem that interested but I thought they were awesome! Surely, this must amount to an indicator that the oceans around here are quite clean, I'm no expert but I think creatures such as these are pretty sensitive to pollution, correct me if i'm wrong...
A well earned feed after an excellent adventure, mmmm bockwurst, pasta and carrot sticks!