Roadtrip through Norfolk, Lake District and Scotland, camping along the way with our just turned 1 year old
The year is 2006 and our first child turns 1 🙂 We were living in London then, in a friends living room, Shahaar’s 5th home in one year! As he didn’t have too many friends of his own then, we celebrated his birthday with all of ours. Shahaar brought along the essentials for the party – Milk for him, Vodka for us – he was so considerate even back then!
It was a very exciting times for us, Ashique was going to start his first paid job and to celebrate we decided to go on our first long road trip in England as a family (We had been on a weekend trip to to Wale before to test out camping with a baby)
Two things that have changed now – We had a very basic camera back then (and no camera phone). Also we were quite obsessed with baby pictures(we still take lot of kid pictures) and didn’t really take much of the gorgeous countryside we drove through, but I hope you can still enjoy the images of this memorable trip, as we shared the joy of travelling and exploring British countryside with our 1 year old baby..
We started with camping in the Norfolk region, less than 2 hours drive from London. One of our favourite regions in England, lovely beaches, famous for the Broads and home to many wild bird sanctuaries. We use this site for camping in UK. We stayed at Overstrand Campsite overlooking lovely sandy beaches, at the top of the cliffs, looking out into the blue sea. Our friend Richard travelled with us until Norwich.There were rabbits milling about everywhere and there were fun places to explore nearby, including RSPB Titswell Marsh. We saw bearded tits for the first time there!
We continued on to Lake District National Park where we hadn’t booked anything and ended up staying at this super crowded campsite near Kendal and it rained all night 🙁 Not much fun with a baby inside a tent, but we did managed to get out during brief sunny spells and play. Key to travelling with a baby, sleep when they do(not the driver though!) We have been to the Lakes several times since and enjoyed ourselves immensely.
We went to RSPB St Bees Head (back then we used to base all our travels around birdwatching sites) and did this crazy coastal walk from there to Whitehaven. The walk is best described here. It took us several hours, through dramatic cliffs and spectacular coastal views. We saw dolphins in the water! At the end of it we realized that the last bus back to our campsite was gone. In a bit of panic as there was no way we could treck 3-4 hours back again, we were helped out by this kind lady who lived in one of the cottages on top of the cliffs. She drove Ashique back to our campsite and he came back and picked us up. Phew!
We continued driving onwards to Scotland and were ever so excited when we finally got there! We kept making our way to Loch Ness, camped near Fort William for a few nights first and then near Loch Ness for another two before making our way down via Cairngorm National Park. Don’t remember much about the logistics, but have these lovely pictures to remind us of our special time in beautiful Scotland and being out in nature everyday.
We do remember the night it went from 18 degrees to 3 degrees!
We had been in England for nearly 2 years by and were quite used to erratic English weather, being sunny in the morning, pouring down within the next hour. But it still did not prepare us for the crazy change of weather we experienced in Scotland while camping near Loch Ness. It was a beautiful campsite, with a huge field in the middle for children to play in and tents and caravans on the outskirts. There were some elderly people who have their caravans here all summer, was lovely to see them growing their herbs and plants outside the windowsill, very friendly folks as well. It was 18 degrees that day, nice and sunny, we had been on a walk and when we got back, one of the friendly locals told us to dress warm that night, it was going to drop down to 3 degrees! I remember us putting on every bit of clothing item we had, jumpers, scarves hats, keeping Shahaar in between us and snuggling in a tight bundle to stay warm through the night in our tent. We survived the night and next day started making our way down to Cairngorms National Park, largest national park in UK.
We stopped for the day in this gorgeous place, home to the Scottish Wild cat and the largest population of the endangered Red Squirrel. Absolutely stunning views, we saw deer up on the hills, and also saw many birds of prey. We were walking on the trail when we saw a number of horses (guided by rangers) coming our way with these objects on their back. As they got closer we saw that the objects were dead deer, just freshly killed, blood not dried yet. It wasn’t nice to see but we knew it was important as part of deer management for the sustainability of the Park. In the olden days these deer had natural predators like the wolf and lynx that hunted on them. But since those predators have become extinct, the deer population can become too high and cause imbalance to the flora and fauna and cause damage to native plants. We were hoping to see the Golden Eagle as we just met some hikers who had recently seen. But no luck this time!
Absolutely exhausted but happy to know that it is so easy to travel with and go camping with our little one. It was the beginning of many camping and outdoor travels around England, Wales and Scotland. Thankfully few years after 2006, we managed to get ourselves a proper camera and can now really capture the landscape and stunning scenery of Britain’s beautiful countryside 🙂