June Family Adventure – Camping, clifftops, sunsets and seabirds

“A big fat sky and a thousand shrieks

The tide arrives and the timber creaks

A world away from the working week

Où est la vie nautique?

That’s where the sea comes in…” –

Dr John Cooper Clarke


 

 The end of June seems like such a long time ago, we’ve packed a lot in since then. Sunny days and sandy feet are still etched firmly into our memories though, and this little one night camping trip was full of magic.
The weather was set to be good so be took advantage and decided to camp for June’s family adventure, and hit the coast.  If I remember correctly (and I usually try and blank these moments out!) the kids were being particularly reluctant and argumentative, making pitching the tents a bit fraught.  A camp stove tea sorted them out (food always makes a difference).  We decided we’d take a walk along the cliff top to Bempton Cliffs after tea.
It was a beautiful early summer sunny evening, grass blowing in a warm wind, the sound of the sea drifting up over the cliff top, and more importantly HAPPY KIDS!
Hiking with kids Bempton Cliffs
Happy kids heading for the coastal path.
We had a wonderful surprise as we walked towards the coastal path, a barn owl flying past. So quietly and gracefully, it flew right in front of us, low above the grasses along the cliff edge and towards Bempton. The girls were in awe, it’s hard not to get excited when seeing a barn owl fly, they have such an ‘other worldly’ presence. You can just about spot it on the following photo, by the time I’d grabbed my phone it had flown into the next field.
Barn Owl Bempton Cliffs
Barn Owl flying along Bempton Cliffs

The girls disappeared along the footpath, the youngest two usually have some game or other that they play as they’re walking, or spend their time hunting for moths and beetles across the path.

We finally got to RSPB Bempton and spent ages stood at the viewing platforms watching the gannets and puffins flying to and fro. An incredible sight seeing the cliff transformed into a tower block for seabirds.  Thousands of gannets, packed in one after the other, perching, precariously to the chalk. Staking their claim to a small patch that will become home for their chick.

RSPB Bempton Cliff Gannet Towers
Thousands of gannets.

They are so compelling to watch, the puffins look hilarious throwing themselves from the cliff heading out to sea. They were definitely not designed to fly long distances.  What a treat. To top off a lovely evening we witnessed a stunning sunset, orange and pink light filling the sky.  I hope my kids remember these moments as they grow up, or at least still have a sense of being in awe of nature.  She may not realise it but my mum passed that appreciation on to me.

Sunset over the North Sea
Bempton East Coast sunset

There have been lots of  recent articles and books on children’s and adults nature deficit disorder, this is so sad. Being outside and in nature in intrinsic to our being, without the feel of the wind, soil and sound of birds, we are becoming sad as a nation.  Being connected to nature and the seasons makes us feel good, it should be prescribed.

After a good nights sleep in our tents we got packed up (this has become so much easier and quicker since we started using two smaller tents), and drove to North Landing at Flamborough to meet my parents and our ‘holiday dog’ Alfie.

We had fun climbing over the green slimy seaweed covered rocks on the beach to check out the chalk arches, more puffins nesting in the cliffs above us.

We walked across the other side of the Bay too,  up the cliff to the Flamborough lighthouse.

Looking down to North Landing from Flamborough Cliffs
Looking down to North Landing from Flamborough Cliffs

The grassland on the tops of the cliff was full of marsh orchids and six spot burnet flying around, my youngest daughter was in her element.

It’s a great place to spot more puffins too, during the breeding season there are Yorkshire Wildlife Trust volunteers stood on the cliff top with scopes at the ready for kids and adults to watch these lovely birds.

We rounded our weekend off with the obligatory Fish and Chips at Bridlington, making the most of the lovely weather and not getting home till late on Sunday.  We were incredibly glad we had done as the following week was wet and windy.

Sometimes it seems a whole lot of hassle to have to pack stuff up, prepare food, drive.  But it is always, always worth it, worth a bit of stress and discomfort, to be fully outside for a day or two.

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