The weekend before our son’s 8th birthday, I decided to take him away wildcamping in the Cairngorms. It was something we had been talking about for what felt like months and months, but on that weekend, the weather looked too good for us not to pack our bags and head out.
We parked the car at Linn of Dee and walked to Bob Scotts Bothy, somewhere we have been to a few times before so knew the area. It was my first time taking him out camping, so I was a bit nervous, with a new tent I’d never used and hoping my back and hip would survive the 12km walk there and back.
I asked him a few questions about our weekend together recently and this is what he said…
8yo: So, we got in to the car and we got to the place and then we walked for an hour?
Me: It was about that…
8yo: Yeah, dad had said it would be 2 hours at least but we were just talking and getting our pace on
Me: We definitely did move that day didn’t we?
Me: And what was the scenery like? Can you remember?
8yo: Nice, quite icy
Me: It was, wasn’t it? Because it was super cold
8yo: And slippery in some places, wouldn’t you say?
Me: There was, there were some big puddles that had frozen over and it was really thick ice wasn’t it?
8yo: yeah, so we could just pick up a chunk and throw it. When we got there we camped in a little bit that we had camped in before when we had gone there and I thought that fairies lived there because there was a big nice tree stump with a perfect kind of hole cut in to it, door shaped, and then there was also a tiny little burrow thing that looked perfect for trolls!
Me: It was pretty cool wasn’t it? A nice atmospheric place. What else happened? Can you remember?
8yo: All our water froze…
Me: It did… because it was super super cold
8yo: Yeah and then we explored a bit and, oh yeah, the gas canister to cook our food froze so we almost didn’t have lunch…
Me: dinner and a hot drink….and i had to do a silly dance, i had to wrap it in my hat and warm it up, do like a weird shuffle with it. But we got there in the end. It all warmed up and we were able to cook our dinner and have a warm drink. And then what did we do?
8yo: And then we went in to the tent and I had a book, a Beast Quest book, that we read and it was really good. what else happened….
Me: You slept through!
8yo: I slept through…
Me: for 13 hours!
8yo: Laughing… for 13 hours
Me: Which is unheard of! You’re just catching up for the last 4 years or something. Um, yeah, then we woke up and took it a bit slow didn’t we? And packed up and started to head out again. It was really nice.
Me: And what was the weather like when we walked out?
8yo: Quite nice…
Me: It was wasn’t it? We had really lucky weather.
8yo: And about the same, an hour
Me: Yep, an hour walking back to the car. And it was super cold because when we got to the carpark the day before it was -8.5 and it only got colder from there didn’t it?
Me: Soooo, did you enjoy that weekend?
Me: shall we do it again?
Me: Sounds good! When we can, we’ll plan something. What was your favourite bit of equipment that we took?
8yo: Whispers I can’t remember…
Me: If you could suggest anything to other mums and their children going on a wildcamping adventure, what do you think was the one piece that we took that you’d be like, that was the bit that just made the weekend special?
Me: The book? That we read together?
8yo: Yeah I think that’s what made it special. It was proper me and you time.
Me: Cool. Love you
8yo: Love you too
I absolutely loved this weekend with him! He’s right when he says it was proper me and him time, something that is lacking a bit since baby arrived, so this weekend was pretty magical!
He had his small rucksack that weighed in at about 3kg, and included the airbeds, his teddy, his book and a few other items.
My rucksack weighed in at about 10kg, including tent, warm clothes, headtorches, food, water (or ice! 😉 ), double down quilt, poop kit and a few other items.
The temperature was cold, -8.5 when we started out but it was dry and crisp and we had all the proper equipment so didn’t feel the cold at all. We used our Enlightened Equipment double down quilt, which when paired with our NeoAir mattresses work a treat.
The gas freezing was quickly remedied with a dodgy dance and keeping my hands cupped around it. Absolute worse case scenario? We wouldn’t have had anything warm to eat… but we had so much other food with us that we would not have gone hungry!
Once we can head back out to the hills again, I think we’ll plan another weekend, just me and him again…. after we’ve all gone out and had our family wildcamping fix that is!
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