One of our favourite campsites is Aberafon, on the Llyn Peninsula. The facilities are basic and the view is spectacular, which is the right way round in my books. You can pitch right on the little wild shingle beach or choose a more sheltered spot further back from the cliff edge, or within a tree-lined field next to a wildflower-fringed stream. The site owners are very accommodating of groups, so are the perfect place for our annual camping trip with local school families. The kids’ primary school hasn’t quite got round to organising all their inset days in one week to provide hardworking parents with a blissful off-peak holiday opportunity, but they do arrange a couple of Fridays here and there, enabling a long weekend.
About half of us arrived on Thursday night and were treated to the most terrifying winds I’ve ever experienced while camping - 50mph and lasted for hours and hours and hours - 9pm at night to 8am in the morning. The awning poles of our tent snapped in dramatic fashion and the awning itself had to be wrestled to the ground as it made a bid for airborne freedom. My husband and I eventually got to sleep at about 4am, with the walls of the tent billowing and the centre pole rattling away. Bell tents are supposedly the strongest tents out there, with an aerodynamic shape to cope with crazy winds, but never having actually experienced it before, it was jolly scary.
Fortunately we were greeted the next day with watery sunshine that rapidly turned into blistering heat, so my 2am cursings of “if this wind continues I’m packing up and going home” fortunately did not come to fruition.
Instead, I rolled the sides of the tent up (how ace is that?) and read a book while the doggies and three year old napped.
We brought along our Italian friend Jess, who kept rustling up incredible food - including asparagus frittata, nutella pancakes made with coconut milk, courgette cooked with lemon and coriander, and tiny anchovy pizzas made with dough that she actually made from scratch in her tent and then cooked directly on the braai.
I contributed a baked camembert, and a cream tea.
Meanwhile, my husband braai’d endlessly for 30-odd people. You can just about make out his shadowy figure through the wreaths of industrial smoke.
We all headed down to the beach at sunset for kayaking and swimming.
It wasn’t as sunny the next day, but I still managed to squeeze in some lounging.
Obviously we partook of a classic 3000 calorie camping breakfast before the lounging began (brioche croissant, pain au chocolat, bacon, eggs, and proper coffee in our moka pot).
We went back down to the beach in the evening to warm up with a bonfire, marshmallows, and whiskey (some of us enjoyed rather more of the latter than others).
Then back to our lovely glowing tent for a very late bedtime (again). We had hook-up this time and used a spare LED strip light to light the tent up beautifully.
After packing up the next day, we didn’t want to go home, so we drove over to Abersoch for a lovely cup of tea in our friends’ new static caravan while watching sheep meandering over the hills, followed by sandwiches on the beach.
And then we went home. The end!