/ Overnight expeditions with my kids - ideas please

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Bobling 09 Jan 2020

I turn once more to the hivemind...

My kids are now 6 and 8 and we can start doing some really exciting expeditions together (insert sub-thread about how you can still do exciting expeditions with a three year old here!).  Last year my eldest and I did a really cool overnight bike ride, camping out on Dartmoor.   It was a very special trip!

I'm looking at ideas for other trips this summer and wonder if anyone has any thoughts, or things that they have done which fit the bill.

My rough outline is to go with just one of them at a time, be away overnight for probably just one night, preferably camp unsupported somewhere, have good scenery and some sort of activity - unfortunately the youngest is not on a bike yet so it would need to be walking/'mountaineering' (or something water-based?) for him.  We're based in Bristol.

The camping unsupported really limits us to Dartmoor or Scotland I think as a stealth-bivvy would not be as much fun with a kid, but I'm very open to other suggestions if I've got this wrong.

I wonder about the feasibility of the overnight sleeper up to Scotland to go to Rannoch Moor and then walk into the hills, but I'm not familiar with the terrain at all, a soggy, boggy midgefest would probably not lead to special father-son bonding time!

Any thoughts welcome!

mrphilipoldham 09 Jan 2020
In reply to Bobling:

Bivvy cave at Laddow rocks is a 'comfortable' mini adventure. You could come up to Manchester on the train, take it on to Greenfield then walk over the top via Dovestones Res. Nice plod down to Hadfield or Glossop for the train the next day. 

Rob Exile Ward 09 Jan 2020
In reply to Bobling:

There's plenty of opportunities for overnight trips in the Brecon Beacons - I took my youngest up  Fan Brycheiniog when he was about 9, he was blown away at how remote it all seemed. And IIRC we finished with a visit to the Dan Y Ogof caves as well.

Then last year I took both my sons to Grwyne Fawr reservoir - there's a (slightly squalid) bothy there, which might be welcome in bad weather but we preferred to camp, and eldest son took a dip in the reservoir...

tom_in_edinburgh 09 Jan 2020
In reply to Bobling:

The West Highland Way stage from Bridge of Orchy to the Ski-Centre is very scenic and could be split in two with an overnight camp.  It's a good track and there's a few potential places to camp along the way.   There's a pub at Inveroran about 1/3 of the way along near Loch Tulla.    It isn't boggy, may or may not be midgey depending on your luck.  

JIMBO 09 Jan 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Brecon is great... Don't forget the plane crash at Careg Goch... My kids loved that and Dan yr Ogof is great... Plus the waterfalls in Brecon are amazing, especially the one you can walk behind.... And Torpantau tunnel is good fun too...

Minneconjou Sioux 09 Jan 2020
In reply to Bobling:

Have you ever thought about a canoe trip? The beauty is that you don't have to carry all of your camping gear very far and so you can make the trip very comfortable. There are many rivers in the UK that would offer the opportunity for you to go completely wild but your best bet for advise is this site here:

https://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/

EdS 09 Jan 2020
In reply to Bobling:

Bothies

marsbar 09 Jan 2020
In reply to Bobling:

Would you consider basic campsites?  

There are a few in the Hope valley and Edale area which would make a nice train and walking trip.  I seem to remember the tunnel on the train journey was a highlight for some of the kids.  

Bobling 10 Jan 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

What's the score for stealth-camping in the Beacons?  Is it generally OK if you are away from roads, leave no trace, set up late leave early type of thing?

Bobling 10 Jan 2020
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

Hmmm, yes.  And they run paddling from Hay-on-Wye, youngest also is addicted to reading so perhaps there could be a plan to canoe overnight to Hay-on-Wye and finish there with a fry up and a tour of the bookshops!

Bobling 10 Jan 2020
In reply to EdS:

Just you can't predict your 'company'....could be delightful, could be an absolute train wreck!

Post edited at 09:55
Bobling 10 Jan 2020
In reply to marsbar:

> Would you consider basic campsites?  

> There are a few in the Hope valley and Edale area which would make a nice train and walking trip.  I seem to remember the tunnel on the train journey was a highlight for some of the kids.  

Yes - in fact the talk of Brecon upthread made me remember a basic campsite under the N side of the fandance where you can have campfires, this would be a good alternative if something more remote was not appropriate.  Just want to avoid pitching a tent in one of those very suburban, caravan sites (though that would be fun too no doubt!).

subtle 10 Jan 2020
In reply to Bobling:

> Just you can't predict your 'company'....could be delightful, could be an absolute train wreck!

Yes, the reason I haven't bothied with my pair! Have taken them in to a few for day trips, made fire and had a meal then left (after fire put out) but not stayed the night

Overnights with children are special, just getting away from the norm, camping out in the "wilds", forgetting the "rules" of modern living etc. - enjoy - got Al Humphreys Microadventure book from the library one time, gave us some inspiration as a family, may work for you as well

MarkH55 10 Jan 2020
In reply to Bobling:

I did a lovely overnight with my son when he was about 10.

We parked in Brecon and walked out through Llanfrynach then up and over Fan y Big to camp in the tree line on the eastern edge of the now empty Upper Neuadd Reservoir.  We had the valley to ourselves and it felt like a real adventure for him.

The walk back to Brecon took us over Pen y Fan and Cribyn.  

You could shorten the trip by parking at the Storey Arms or something.

1
Rob Exile Ward 10 Jan 2020
In reply to JIMBO:

Torpantau tunnel? Tell me more...!

JIMBO 10 Jan 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

OL12 map... Entrances at 051170 and 056171... was the highest train tunnel in uk... Good spooky walk through best with a candle or torches off if you can... Nice end to the day having been up Fan y Big and on the way back to the car park. Follows a bend so in the middle you can't see either entrance. Take gaiters/wellies or carry children across the flooded entrances... dry once inside.

pasbury 10 Jan 2020
In reply to Bobling:

Absolutely fine if you find an out of the way spot, Llyn y Fan Fawr & Fach under Bannau Brycheniog or the Cwm NE of Fan gyhirich are good examples.

I intend to take my kids wild camping for a night this year (one at a time) I think a shortish walk in, then camp and the next day climb a hill and walk out again would be ideal.

Bobling 11 Jan 2020
In reply to JIMBO:

Haha, I just spent a bewildered minute scrolling round Merthyr on bing maps before realising you'd given a six figure grid ref, not a four figure one!  I don't think I am qualified to take my kids on any expeditions!

Post edited at 09:45
Bobling 11 Jan 2020
In reply to pasbury:

Good call, though I might suggest do walk > camp > bug out.  Then you camp at the end of a tiring day with a glow of achievement, and if sleep doesn't go so well you know all you have to do is pack up and leave rather than trying to cajole a tired child through the crux of the expedition.  If you are nearish to Dartmoor I've got a great plan for an overnight bike trip I'd be happy to share.

pasbury 11 Jan 2020
In reply to Bobling:

I'm within striking distance of Dartmoor so yes please.

gethin_allen 11 Jan 2020
In reply to Bobling:

All sounds great fun but I think you may be over complicating the situation. Going out wild camping anywhere will be a great adventure for a 6 year old, even if you know you are only 20 minutes from civilisation it's a different world from home for the kids.

Bobling 11 Jan 2020
In reply to gethin_allen:

Mmmm.  If luck is on your side then yes, it will be a great adventure.  I'd rather remove as much of the luck element as possible, then they will want to come again!

Post edited at 10:36
Bobling 11 Jan 2020
In reply to pasbury:

OK - park up in Okehampton next to the Granite Way cycle path.  Cycle to Lydford on this path.  At Lydford you have options - you can either extend the ride through quiet lanes (there is a route in Lost Lanes West), or if you are a bit tired of biking you can go and poke round Lydford Gorge.  We'd planned the former but ended up doing the latter and it was amazing - beautiful place, worth the NT entrance fee!  We also collected twigs for the fire pot.  Cream tea in Lydford optional in theory mandatory in practice.

Retrace your steps along the Granite Way to Prewley Moor, and jump off the cycle path onto the moor proper.  Push/ride up onto the moor (I think you can ride on bridleways but not footpaths) to find a place to camp that feels sufficiently cool.  We aimed for Blackator copse but fell short but as it turned out that was fine.  Pitch camp, go for a walk/boulder then campfire round a twig burning firepot (that was AWESOME and an idea I got from UKC).  Next morning more bouldering if you fancy, break camp and glide back to Okehampton and home for tea and medals.

I was carrying a LOT of stuff.  Two very full panniers what with bike repair kit, sleeping kit for 2, tent, 2 roll mats, climbing shoes and food/water.  Got a fair old sweat on when pushing up onto the moor!  Still great memories - this is now one of my favourite photos and has not been tampered with - the clouds really were that colour and no it didn't rain on us! https://www.ukclimbing.com/photos/dbpage.php?id=338371

Post edited at 11:12
JIMBO 11 Jan 2020
In reply to pasbury:

> I'm within striking distance of Dartmoor so yes please.

Around Burrator Reservoir.... Leather Tor has a nice ridge scramble and the area near Cuckoo Rock is good for a wild camp after.

Around Fernworthy Reservoir the dam is impressive and camping at the clapped bridge just north is popular.... Nearby is the Tolmen Stone which is worth a look and all the standing stones like Longstone.

have you seen a book called Dartmoor 365?... Worth it for some inspiration

pasbury 11 Jan 2020
In reply to Bobling:

Brilliant thanks, got to look up twig burning fire pot now. I’ve always relied on my pocket rocket 🙂

marsbar 11 Jan 2020
Bobling 11 Jan 2020
In reply to pasbury:

Mine is a Solo Stove Lite.  I used a jetboil for all the cooking and hot drinks, this was just for warmth and light while we played Uno.  Really good though, cave man telly.

marsbar 11 Jan 2020
In reply to Bobling:

Ooh very nice.  One for my want but don't really need list


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