Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Wild Camping at Predannack
Last week was Activities Week for the local comprehensive school at Mullion. Whilst many kids went off to Britanny and North Cornwall in their pursuit of adrenaline, a group of 24 chose to spend their time camping here on National Trust land at Predannack a couple of miles from their school.
Rather than walk along the roads, we arranged for a short cut to be taken across Predannack Airifeld where CPO Jack Frost escorted the children through the 'Grave Yard' fire training area.

And so to the camp site. Or rather the corner of a lovely flower rich meadow high on the Downs above the National Trust farm at Predannack Wollas. As far as facilities: a tap T-ed off a cattle trough for water and a very basic long drop toilet for which they had to make shelter from bracken and sticks!

a very well disguised toilet! (photo credit: Ben Giles)

I had agreed to run a bushcraft session for the children on their first day, and decided to try a "hangi". A hangi is a traditional Maori method of cooking food in a hole in the ground. After the kids had dug a hole and lined it with stones, I showed them how to make fire without matches or a lighter. A fire was made in the hole and after a couple of hours when the fire had burnt down and the rocks hot, a couple of hunks of local meat were lowered in. A joint of Dexter Beef (from the National Trust cattle grazing the cliffs) and a large leg of local mutton were wrapped in wild herbs and hay before being lowered into the hole, buried under more leaves and then earth before being left for another couple of hours.

We then set to making some bread which was cooked on the open fire whilst the meat slowly cooked.

Perhaps it was because the kids were so hungry following their long walk, digging holes and erecting their tents, but I've never seen food being devoured with such enthusiasm and gusto once the meat was eventually dug up from the subterranean oven! Hunks of slow roasted, herb and hay infused beef and mutton were wrapped in flat breads with salad. Only a bare bone was left for my dog Rusty to chew on.

Anyway, after a very wet and windy night with very little sleep by all acounts, the children walked from Predannack to Mullion Cove where the children were treated to a trip out on kayaks thanks to David Green from West Cornwall Adventure, one of the National Trust's ambassador businesses.

Despite a few concerns and worries from some of the children, all the children took to the sea exploring the coves and cliffs around Mullion Harbour.

(Photo credits: Ben Giles)

Whilst half the group were paddling their kayaks, the other group explored Mullion Cove learning about the Trust's plans for the future of the harbour. With climate change, sea level rises and increasing repair costs, the Trust has taken the decision not to undertake any further major repairs to the harbour walls following significant storm damage.

The next morning (after another wet and wild night under canvas), the children walked back to school. I'm sure they all had a great time. Many of the children were well outside their comfort zone, but everyone really mucked in and enjoyed the adventure.

It does go to show that you don't need to go far (or spend much cash) to get away from it all, learn new skills and have an adventure. And as far as carbon footprint, I reckon we kept it as close to zero as possible! Justin

Photo: Ben Giles

1 comment:

  1. Great Idea! Nice to see these kinds of events going on locally!


Contact us


Email *

Message *