The sun was setting as Lucy, Susanne and myself started the long descent down the hill to Chapmans Pool; a cove situated in the Purbecks Hills. In our backpacks were our essentials for the night; sleeping bag, pillow, thermals, bivvy bag, food and drink. We carried a couple of bags of wood between us. Up at the carpark we had chatted to a lady who was sleeping the night with her daughter in her car. She was intrigued and a teeny bit envious of us as we put our bags on our backs and set off towards the sea.
I’m back at work again. Been back for a week or so. This time I’m working in Weybridge; a place I have never been to before. Spring has finally sprung and Surrey is looking gorgeous. I’m working in a very rich area. The most amazing houses, rise splendidly from behind the trees. I’ve brought my road bike with me and have been exploring around the gated community. Some are a little bit ostentatious, but each to their own 😉
Rather nicely, I’m working a 5 day week. I can’t tell you how lovely it is to do a 5 day week. I finish in the morning on the Saturday and don’t have to be back at work until the Monday morning. Plenty of scope for fun. Lucy and I had planned our first bivvy camp out for the first weekend in April and suddenly it was upon us. I drove to Bournemouth with a stop halfway to have a skype interview in the car. Always preparing for the next job.
We left Bournemouth by the small car ferry and headed into the Purbecks after stopping in Corfe to get some lovely warming food in out tummies. Sunset was about 19:30 so we quickly ate and then headed to the beach carpark, passing the most amazing view of Corfe Castle, nestled in the between the hills.
We steadily made our way down and down until finally we reached the bottom. We had planned to sleep on the sand, but after S pointed out the fact that there was a possibility of landslide due to the wet weather and no vegetation growing, we explored to the left. There were a couple of deserted sheds (with a worn out sign saying no camping and no fires) but right on the grass edge, was the remains of a fire pit and a perfect viewing spot to watch the sun go down.
S had pre-made a most delicious drink, that looked like orange juice but tasted divine; ginger and rum being some of the ingredients. We toasted our night ahead and then got down to the work of setting out our sleeping area and watching the sun set. Every stage of the sun going down was picture worthy and a cloud hovered to the left, looking totally fake. Sunsets are amazing, but watching the sun go down, whilst preparing for a night under the stars is particularly special.
Fire had to be sorted next. I had been a little apprehensive as I’ve only made fires in fireplaces or wood burners, but it wasn’t long until we had one merrily burning. We got changed into our cosy thermals and wrapped ourselves up in our Dryrobes and settled down for the evening. Then came the serious business of roasting marshmallows. Funnily enough, this is something that I never did as a child and had probably only done it once as an adult. It turns out there is no right or wrong way, it’s all down to a matter of taste. You can either gently put it in the glowing embers and slowly heat it or, like me, stuff it in the fire until it catches fire, blow out the flame and then take off the top layer and repeat. Crisps and wine finished off our feast as we chatted into the night.
As the night enveloped us and the stars came out, we noticed some really bright lights on the other side of the hill. And they seemed to be making their way down to the beach. We chatted but kept an eye on the powerful lights (3 of them) as they made their way down. L remarked that she hoped it wasn’t the fun police as the came closer and closer, to where we were camped. A young man appeared, wearing cycling gear. He and his friends had cycled from Southampton that day and were planning on spending the night in the same spot as us. They tucked themselves around the corner, and made themselves a fire down on the beach.
It’s funny. You think that you are the only ones in the world who had this thought. This thought of sleeping the night under the stars on that particular night. And then you meet other adventurous people and you realise you are not the only ones, and thank goodness for that. The world would be a boring place otherwise; a population of people who work 9-5 and then sat in front of the tv for the weekend.
It was getting later and we were all ready to turn in for the night. A shooting star had been spotted. I threw on the rest of the logs on the fire and then we all snuggled down into our bivvy/sleeping bags. Toasty and warm. I fell asleep quite quickly, but woke in the night to stare up at the starry night. I looked at the constellations and hugged myself with happiness, thinking how lucky we are…. The next thing I knew it was just starting to get light. Dawn was about 6.30am and I heard a “Morning, Nikki” to my right from Lucy and it wasn’t long until Susanne was awake too.
We had discussed plans the night before of a morning dip in the sea, but decided that it was too rocky where we were, so the decision was made to go to another beach after packing up camp. We had a quick breakfast of apples and breakfast bars and then set about tidying up. Leave nothing behind. The walk back up the hill was a bit of a killer, but we (I) stopped often to turn to look at the view as the sun started to rise. To our surprise, we spotted a man following the same path as us up the hill. He had obviously done a camp out too!
Once in the car we headed to Studland Bay; a four-mile stretch of golden, sandy beach. A small collection of morning joggers and dog walkers were also up and some glanced at us with curiosity as we stripped down to our swimming costumes. It was an overcast morning and it didn’t look particularly inviting. The three of us walked with purpose to the shore, slipped off our Dry Robes and walked into the water. Man it was cold!!! My toes ached (I should’ve worn my wetsuit socks) as I followed the other two. I had to get out quickly, just to get some warmth into my toes, then resolutely plunged back in to catch up with Lucy and Susanne.
“Ok, after three..” said Lucy. “One…. two…. three!” The three of us submerged ourselves quickly. Well, that definitely woke me up. S and L swam a few strokes, but I was ready to get warm and quickly headed back to the shore.
Then, with skin glowing, tingling toes and smiles on our faces we headed back to civilisation…. A perfect start to April.