Checkout that sunset!
As part of the 50 things to do before you’re 11 and 3/4 we invited some families to come and camp on Dunstable Downs with the Rangers. After getting all the tents up I was in charge of cooking the chilli, good wholesome food to keep us warm throughout the night, and even better that it was cooked on the camp fire. You cant beat alfresco dining !
The families first task (well after they’d put up their tents, which I must add were all put up very expertly) was to walk barefoot in the grass. The mums and dads were a bit reluctant at first but they soon let out the big kid in themselves and thourghly enjoyed their stroll in the sunshine. Myself and Ranger Tom stayed behind to look after the food and managed to squeeze in a best of 3 on the giant connect 4!! It was a competition I lost , but great fun.
Once everyone had been fed and watered it was time to work it all off with a night walk. We left just before sunset, and what a beautiful one it was. Ranger Rose had great fun rolling down a hill with the children. That’s the great thing about being a Ranger it means we get to be big kids everyday . Ranger Jon pointed out some of the rare orchids and other plants that love chalky grassland and we had a treat of seeing a kestrel getting its supper before going back to roost. There were plenty of slugs as well, of all different colours(!) which the kids loved. After our walk back up a very steep hill, (which didn’t diminish the kids energy) it was breakfast time for the bats. So armed with our bat boxes (these enable us to hear the bats, as they’re call is too high pitched to be heard by the human ear) the boxes change the sound to a frequency we can hear. We heard and saw quite a few pipastrelle bats which was amazing. Both the little and big kids enjoyed the experience!
Ranger Jon at his best.
Back to camp and it was time for toasted marshmallows and hot chocolate, which certainly went down a treat. Overlooked by a fantastic night sky, I think that’s one of the best parts of camping, especially when its a lovely clear night like we were blessed with.
After one of the best nights sleep ive had in ages it was my duty to cook all the happy campers their breakfast - it certainly woke me up cooking over the roaring fire! We were treated to a unexpected talk about a steam roller called Jenny and the Junior Rangers got to feed the pigs their breakfast and see where the chickens live. Then they were taken on a little tour of the Downs in our vehicles, great fun going over the lumps and bumps allong the way. The mums and dads were very grateful for more tea and coffee and the warmth of the campfire.
We were very lucky with very good weather and a great time was had by all, I could’ve quite easily camped another night! So could the kids, but I think Mums and Dads were definatly looking forward to sleeping in their own beds that night.
Another experience I’ve been very lucky to be involved with during my time as an intern, it was great to see the children loving the great outdoors and eager to learn everything they could. After all they’ll be the ones looking after it all in the future and they’ll do a fantastic job of it to.