After our day trip to Oxford we headed down to Cornwall. I always wanted to try surfing so my boyfriend gave me a surfing course for my birthday. After finishing my dissertation, our trip seemed to be the best opportunity to put this plan into practice. When I was searching for the best spots for surfing as a beginner, I came across this very helpful post by Ali Cairns. I tried to follow his advice and looked for campsites near Gwithian or Harlyn Bay but wasn’t able to find a free spot.
Cornwall is a popular travel destination especially in the summer months. So, we ended up on the campsite Sun Haven Valley near Mawgan Porth. The campsite was more touristy than the others before. I am not sure why it felt not as nice as on the other campsites, maybe because it was bigger. This doesn’t mean that the facilities weren’t great. There was even a differnt food truck coming every evening which made the offer really good. I, personally enjoyed our time on the smaller campsites more but for families with kids this one for example also offered a nice playground and a DVD library.
Mawgan Porth is a rather small but very beautiful bay. After our five days there I, however, think that another beach would have been better for starting our surfing career just because the waves often came in from different ankels and were rarely straight forward. Maybe that was just my unexperience which made it so difficult but you might be better off with the destinations mentioned in the post above.
The campsite was roughly a 15min walk away from the bay. On our first day we had a lazy start waking to a sunny day. We made a full English breakfast on our BBQ and decided to head to the bay to see if we could get a spot in one of the surf lessons right away. We were lucky and booked ourselves into the afternoon lesson with the King Surf School . The lesson was tailored to beginners and taught in a group of around 8 to 10 people.
Generally I would say that a lesson like this is a perfect start to learn the basics of surfing. We were taught the safety rules on the beach and the right technique to stand up on the board. However, I think next time I would go for a couple session just because I was a bit afraid of getting started by myself and felt that more direct guidance would have brought my surfing abilities to a better level.
Despite my own hesitation I had a lot of fun trying to catch the perfect wave and to stand up on the board. I must admit surfing definitely looks easier than it actually is and I wasn’t able to fully stand up. I achieved to surf on my knees though ;).
During our days in Cornwall, we were unlucky with the weather and just had the chance to practice our surfing abilities two more times after the initial course. For this we borrowed a board and wetsuit at Betty’s Surfshop . In my opinion after we had learned the basics it really was important to practice before it would have been of any help to book another more advanced course.
After these first experiences I definitely want to try surfing again. Next time I might book a surf camp somwhere in England or France. Did you try surfing before? Any tips for future destinations?
On our last day in the Lakes we wanted to visit the nearby town Keswick and combined this with a hike around Derwent Water. We took our campervan and drove down into the town. The parking situation was a bit difficult especially with our big car. However, we found a cheap parking space near the lake with the local rugby team. From there we started our hike around the lake. The walk was quite easy due to a lack of ascents. It took us around 5 hours to walk the 15km (9.5miles). You can find an outline of the route here.
I think this tour was one of my favourites just because the scenery was so beautiful and changed every time I looked up. I always love to walk near water or a river. It has something calming and I am reminded of my childhood when my parents took us on a hike and we played in the lakes or rivers we passed.
The good thing of hiking along Derwent Water is also that you can always shorten your walk by taking the boat which runs across the lake in an regurlary manner. It’s good to have the possibility to stop whenever you feel too tired to continue.
When we hit the other end of the lake we crossed a moorland with these stunning looking mountains in the background. Because of the weather it all looked very mystical to me.
Shortly before we could finish the walk it started to rain, so we finally got wet on our last day. Entering Keswick, we then went into the first café along the road and enjoyed some warming hot chocolate with some cake. The Saddleback Café turned out to be a very nice location for homemade cake. You should definitely give it a go when your are in Keswick.
After relaxing a bit, we went off to explore Keswick a bit further. The town is very nice with lots of old buildings, narrow streets and lovely little local shops. In one backyard we discovered a cheese shop were we bought two delicious local sorts of cheese.
Unfortunately it was very rainy on that day so we just walked along the main roads and soon headed back to our campsite were we enjoyed our last evening in the Lakes.
I hope you got a good impression of our time in the Lakes and got some inspiration what to do there. What are your favourite spots in the Lake District? Any tips?
To start off I would like to share with you my experiences and little adventures during my camping trip from mid August to the beginning of September. My boyfriend convinced me to do a camping trip in England after I finished my Master thesis in Leeds. His parents rebuilt an old van into a campervan and so I had no excuse. You need to know that I before I met my boyfriend never had been camping. The idea of spending day and night outside just was very frightening and uncomfortable in my eyes. However after a few short weekend trips and one tent holiday in Croatia I got used to the idea of spending my holidays on campsites and I even discovered the beauty of travelling quite simple.
Besides, I somehow needed to get all my stuff back to Germany which was easier with a van. You have no idea, how much things one person can accumulate in a tiny student accomodation. So we packed all my stuff into boxes and suitcases and off we went from Leeds to a small campsite in the Lake District which was our first stop.
– Apologies for the bad quality – my phone camera is just not the best –
I always wanted to do some hiking there, so I figured it would be a good start for our trip. We stayed on a campsite near Keswick. Burns Farm was run by a charming family and had great views on the surrounding mountains. The facilities were great and very clean. I would highly recommend staying there if you are up for some hiking. It’s a good location to start different sorts of tours which I will talk about in the coming posts.
However getting your groceries was a bit difficult. Well at least it was a sport programme in its own. The first day we arrived, we decided to take the bike to Keswick to do our grocery shoping there. I did look at the map and was convinced that it would be not too difficult to get there. Well let’s say the way to Keswick wasn’t the issue because we mainly went downhill but realising that we would need to go up this much when we go back I was already scared when we arrived at the shop.
Good to have a strong boyfriend, because in the end he carried all our stuff in a big bagpack and we just ended up walking up the steep hill instead of riding… Next time I definitely have a closer look at the map ;).