If you’ve just jumped in here, here’s what you’ve missed of the adventure so far:
- My UK South Coast Circular Camping Adventure (Part 1)
- Camping at Devizes, Wiltshire (Part 2)
- Camping at Veryan, Cornwall (Part 3)
- Camping at Verwood, Dorset (Part 4)
Now that you’re all caught up, let’s crack on with this post.
At this point, we were on our way to the fourth stop in our 1000+mile road trip.
We had been really lucky so far and hadn’t encountered much traffic as we sailed from campsite to campsite. However, Google Maps was telling me that, this time, we wouldn’t be so lucky.
To try and minimize the time we were stuck in traffic, we made a stop at a McDonald’s Drive-Thru.
I chowed down on a double-bacon and egg McMuffin with two hash browns whilst Winston enjoyed his bacon roll with no sauce, all from a corner of a car park whilst watching the traffic slowly disperse on the live feed of my navigation.
I felt as though we had now ticked off a road trip requirement. After all, can you even call it a road trip if you don’t visit a drive-thru at least once?
To the beach!
After a long drive, we parked up on our pitch at the campsite, and the first thing we did was RUN to the beach.
The Camping and Caravanning Club site of Normans Bay was located directly opposite a sand and shingle beach on the East Sussex coast.
I unclipped Winston’s lead and off we went running towards the water.
Winston did a sliding stop to have a poop and as I reached in my pocket to get a poo bag, the wind blew said poo bag off down the beach. Since I’m not a fan of littering (especially plastic bags) I chased it!
….and I kept chasing it!
I finally caught it about 150-meters away from where it had escaped. Success!
…now to re-locate the poo. 🧐
T’was a tad breezy…
The next order of business was to pitch the tent and get everything set up.
Much easier said that done!!
Pitching a large 4-man tent on my own in high coastal winds was not easy. It was like trying to pitch a large kite, and I almost lost the tent and the tarpaulin a couple of times.
It was made more frustrating by watching other people roll up in their motorhomes or caravans, and as soon as they had parked, wap out two deck chairs and start making a cup of tea. All whilst I was wrestling with a 4-person parachute!
In this moment, I did think about going home. I was tired and this wasn’t very fun.
I looked up the campsite’s cancellation policy and Googled how long it would take for me to get home. The answer, 5-hours. It was possible, but it was still a very long drive, especially since I had just driven for over 3-hours that same morning.
In the end, I decided to suck it up! Not all my adventures are going to be plain sailing. Overcoming problems and obstacles are what helps to make the memories and what adventures are all about.
After giving myself a pep talk, I pitched everything as best as I could.
Here’s a picture of my tent getting blown inwards.
Have you ever tried to sleep in a tent when it’s blowing a gale outside?
Let me tell you, it’s not fun.
You get precisely zero sleep because the noise of everything rattling is akin to a form of Chinese water torture.
Before going to bed each night, I had to check that all the ground pegs were secure and make adjustments to help make doubly sure that my shower tent and windbreaker would still be there the next day.
Every morning, when I opened the tent door, it was anyone’s guess as to whether everything was where I left it, or if we had blown off to the Land of Oz. Being greeted by a group of munchkins certainly would have fit the narrative.
I was constantly worried about the tent ripping. In the end, I just had to accept that if it was going to rip, then it was going to rip, and there was nothing I could do about it. I had pitched the tent as best as I could, under the circumstances, and could do nothing else except keep my fingers crossed.
Thankfully, it made it through.
Out of all the campsites I had planned to visit on this trip, Normans Bay was the one I was most looking forward to simply because it was ON the beach.
The thought of waking up in the morning and going for a quiet stroll along the sand whilst watching the sunrise seemed like such a blissful idea.
Sadly, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.
On the first day, the tide was in, which meant we had to walk along the top of the beach, or more like wade through it.
Have you ever tired to walk through shingles and pebbles for a considerable distance? It certainly takes it’s toll on your legs and feet. I only walked about half the distance I had planned for that morning before turning back.
The wind was also blowing full steam ahead and cut right through me. I had wrapped up as best as I could but still felt the cold and my eyes kept watering.
This was not what I had in mind.
On the plus side, not everyone was cursing the weather. I saw quite of few people take advantage of it and hit the water to windsurf and kitesurf.
It got better
Up until now, I’ve not done anything except complain about the wind, the cold, the shingles, the lack of sleep, etc., but I am glad to say that things got much better! 😊
The weather improved dramatically, the wind dropped and the temperature rose, and I began timing the tide.
I planned our walks around when the tide was out so we could actually walk on the beach and Winston could play in the water without me fearing he would be swept out to sea!
The last half of my stay was very enjoyable with long beach walks whilst watching sunrises and sunsets.
This is what I had in mind!
I’m glad I didn’t go home.
After our 4-night stay, it was time to move on to our last stop of the trip, Sandringham in Norfolk.
I managed to get packed away in record time and we left the site before 9am.
The first few days of constant wind at Normans Bay had tested me, but I was still in the game and the adventure continues.
- 18 Tips When Pitching a Tent
- 20 Ideas for Mini Adventures
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- 24 Adventurous Activities That Should Be on Your Bucket List