This time of year makes it much easier to get away without booking time off work because it stays light so much longer. A two hour journey means that you can still pitch your tent up in daylight which does make it somewhat easier. Of course you might need to check with your chosen campsite that they don’t have any restrictions on the latest permitted arrival time.
We decided to go to Conkers. This is a Camping and Caravanning Club Site in Leicestershire located next to Conkers Discover Centre. It was surprisingly closer to home than we first thought which meant that we were pitched up and ready for dinner quite quickly. Nathan decided to check out the play area while we got things set up before going with his Dad to get fish and chips. Well, we had expected it to be a lot later than it was before we could sit and eat so that seemed like an easier and quicker option. It was nothing to do with me being too lazy to cook!
Once we had eaten, we went with Nathan back to the play area where he was already beginning to make some friends. After a while I started to feel a little cold and decided it was time for us to head back to the tent and settle down for the evening. Eventually I managed to persuade Nathan to come back with us as well as it was getting quite late and it was time for him to settle down for the night.
With Nathan happily tucked up in bed, it was time for us to relax with a bottle of wine and make plans for the following day. The site reception has a selection of leaflets but of course, there is also Wi-Fi available which means you can use the internet to check routes, opening times, costs, etc. There are many walks and cycle paths leading directly from the site and at least two of them will take you to nearby pubs. Well, all that exercise and fresh air makes you thirsty!
Next morning we had a very leisurely breakfast. In fact, so leisurely that by the time I got myself to the shower block, they were closed for cleaning! Thankfully they told me I could use the family room if I couldn't wait until they had finished. Then we were ready for our walk. The path was very good and made for a pleasant and relatively easy walk along what appears to be a former railway track leading down to the site of Donisthorpe Colliery.
Along the way we spotted an old signal post which Nathan found really interesting and I found his explanation of how it used to work equally interesting… the imagination of a 6 year old is a wonderful thing. A little further along was a marker showing what coal seams had been worked on and how many meters below ground level each seam was. These are the little things that in the hustle and bustle of daily life we would never see and it’s nice sometimes to slow down and see a bit more of our surroundings and learn about its past.
Nathan loved finding mini-beasts along the way, snails, caterpillars and beetles seem to be his favourite. Having warned him once or twice to be careful not to catch his arm on nettles at the side of the footpath, he asked how and why nettles sting. Who knew that a leisurely walk could also turn into an educational one?! We did our best to explain and I did my best to take a close up photograph of a nettle leaf to show him when we returned to the tent, but like most 6 year olds, his curiosity soon disappeared when we arrived at the pub and found an amazing play area in the beer garden.
After some light refreshment, we headed back to the campsite but the journey took slightly longer as Nathan’s little legs were getting tired so he took every opportunity he could to sit down. My favourite spot he found was in amongst some very tall buttercups. Buttercups seem to be very few and far between at home so it’s lovely to see them in abundance when we’re away.
As we neared the campsite it started to get a little chilly as there was a cool wind so we were glad that we all had our Regatta softshell jackets with us. Or so we thought. Having asked Nathan if he wanted to put his on, we discovered that we had dropped it somewhere along the path. We knew we’d had it with us when we left the pub so I offered to take Nathan back to the tent whilst Mark went back to look for it. Well, my excuse was that I had to go and cook dinner so I couldn’t possibly walk back! A short time later, he arrived back at the tent with the jacket safely in hand. Phew!
Of course, that evening we did realise that one of the main reasons we chose Conkers was so that we could visit the Discovery Centre and we hadn’t even been there. We knew we wouldn’t have time the next day as we’d planned another laid back breakfast before packing down the tent, so as we settled down to sleep, we both agreed that we would just have to pay another visit here in the not too distant future.
Although the weekend had gone so quickly, we had a wonderful time – weekends really don’t get much better than this. Now we’re just looking forward to our next one.