Charlie had asked that we might get his friend Jack out for a paddle and to camp again, so we had a good think about how this might be done. The answer to make this an interesting adventure for a couple of seven year olds would also overcome the problem of Jack's dad not driving.
The cunning plan was this. Charlie and I would head down to the riverside field we've camped in a few times by car with canoe and camping kit. Jack and his dad would arrive by train at the nearest town while Charlie and I would paddle up stream to meet them at the slipway just out of town. Jack would have to find the slipway using a series of photographic clues Charlie had pieced together and added to some written instructions. The last of these being the image of the paddles and buoyancy aids Jack and his dad would be using for our trip back to our camp.
The plan was going well and Charlie and I making good progress towards the slip when the train carrying Jack and his dad passed us with still a couple of miles to go. An extra effort was made, but warp factor nine isn't easy to maintain in a canoe for long and not wanting to put Charlie off at all I allowed him to rest and snooze low down in the canoe out of the wind. We arrived at the slip with me in some need of a drink! Still, a picnic had been planned here and a chance to let the boys run around and expend some energy before making them sit fairly still in the canoe for the trip back.
Despite the wind freshening, the trip back was lovely with bright sunshine. We passed a couple of anglers, but otherwise had the river to ourselves. The river is quite overgrown in places with the willows reaching from both banks to try and meet in the middle.
For those who haven't seen our canoe before, here's a shot of it where we got out.
Arriving back at the field I'd planned to camp in the Plastic Palace (aka the stealth tent) was put up and made ready to sleep under.
Next job was to get some food on the go while the boys had a good explore of the area. A simple fair of burgers and snorkers in buns, so, while not perhaps the healthiest, everyone tucked in well. Toasted marshmallows and ghost stories for pudding as the boys sat around the fire in the dark.
We allowed Jack and Charlie to have quite a late night, which went down well, they were clearly shattered though and were soon asleep. Time for James and I to crack a bottle of wine and sit yarning and prodding the fire and watching the stars.
Morning was slightly overcast, and the boys spent their time entertaining themselves with sticks and molehills, playing in the riverbank and doing imortant seven year old stuff.
Here they are, two kids, some sticks and mud and vivid imaginations.
A breakfast of scambled eggs and fried bacon in Fajitas filled up any spaces left in tummies and set us up for the day. Not that we'd be here for much longer as James and Jack had to catch the train to get back to York for lunch.
A shot of the camp before clearing up to head back home.
It was a tight fit getting us all with our gear in the car, but all too soon we were back at the station and saying our goodbyes.
Charlie has already asked if we can do it again.
Soon Charlie, soon!