24/08/11 - All set for Dorset
A new location for this year's Yucca camping.
It’s fair to say I’m not a natural camper. The only tent I've ever owned is one of those you throw in the air like a giant Frisbee and it magically puts itself up, and I once paid an eye-watering £70 to sleep on a pre-inflated air bed in a pre-pitched tent at a festival. So on learning about the tradition of Yucca camping - where each year everyone in the company and their families are invited for a weekend under canvas in the countryside - I felt ever so slightly apprehensive.
My fears weren’t exactly allayed when, a few weeks before this year’s trip, several packages of industrial-strength waterproof nylon arrived in the work post, supposedly to help reinforce the “event shelter” (are we going camping, or into a war zone?). The thought of sleeping in a tent drove some to make last-minute phone calls to camper van rental companies. Kat and Richie regaled me with stories of previous trips’ apocalyptic weather and, as if to prove the point, freak floods in nearby Bournemouth ripped up tarmac and destroyed shops with a mere 30 minutes of rain the day before we leave.
Oh, me of little faith! I arrived at the campsite, Eweleaze Farm in Dorset, on Friday to a symphony of sunshine, rolling hills and sparkling sea in the distance. Eweleaze is a huge, family-friendly site in a glorious location overlooking the coast, with puppies and goats and peacocks and guinea pigs and miniature ponies and chickens among the excited kids and relaxed-looking grown ups. Tent pitched and beer in hand, this Yucca camping lark seemed pretty good after all.
Saturday morning brought drizzle and a bit of rain, so we donned our cagoules before setting off on a highly entertaining/scary walk along what was possibly the muddiest coastal path walk in the world. Lisa’s husband Matt attracted his fair share of banter for wearing flip flops, which seemed ridiculous at the time but soon turned out to be the best decision ever, as the cloud lifted and the blazing sun appeared. The rest of the day was spent swimming in the sea, soaking up the sunshine at the local pub and generally revelling in the beautiful and bucolic surroundings (dotted with ‘extreme’ cows) of the Jurassic coast.
The barbecues came out as the sun went down, and we had an amazing rain-free evening around the campfire, eating tasty burgers, singing along to Yucca’s resident guitarists playing the hits of Radiohead and Lionel Richie, watching the giant yellow moon appear above the horizon, doing a bit of amateur stargazing (someone reckoned they spotted Jupiter - cue everyone checking their iPhone astronomy apps) and enjoying a cider or two.
Other highlights included Brian not only cycling the 70 miles to the campsite but tweeting progress updates on his way, the resident goats trying to eat our chocolate croissants and a member of the search marketing team managing to get an entire string of illuminated Yucca blue fairy lights into his mouth (don’t try this at home, kids).
Can we go again next weekend?
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