Given the rarity of good UK sledging (despite living in the ‘cold’ north east) it was exciting to hear snow reports in the Midlands on the very day we were travelling there to visit family after Christmas.
People were advised to stay home or avoid certain roads. We assumed it was the usual over-reaction to a few millimetres of sleet! Nevertheless in true Scouting style we checked alternative routes, crammed the camper with sledges, blankets, hot chocolate, left-over turkey sandwiches, homemade Yuk Sung (must post this recipe, it’s amazing) and headed into the great white unknown.
We May Be Some Time…
The journey took 6.5 hours (due to traffic volume not blizzard). We arrived after dark to several inches of snow, having sung LOTS of carols and festive songs along the way!!
So what to do after a long drive with a hyper-excited 8-year-old (who’s desperate for snow and been cooped up in hospital with cancer for half a year) plus 9 crazy adults similarly hyped up about the weather?
Get outdoors for night time sledging of course. Two and a half hours of it to be precise!
Caroline poised at the top of a steep hill.. (Phone pictures poor – it was about the fun not the photos – so action shots impossible!)
My brother-in-law, an avid though somewhat frustrated adventurer, bushcrafter and all round mountain man, loaded a sledge with wood, cooking equipment and a bottle of Baileys. Head torches were lit and three generations of family headed for the hills, aged 8 to 76, with Wild Grandma and Gump as excited as anyone!
I occasionally feel sorry for Caroline in a world of grown-ups but this night it was hard to tell who was older than whom, proving that real kids of wild come in all ages!!
Snow Fires at Night
We crumped in the dark through glittering snow, slithered on black ice, puffed up the hill and admired stunning Vale of Evesham views and Broadway‘s distant sparkling Christmas lights. The moon was almost full, in a velvety clear night sky. It couldn’t have been more Christmassy, nor more perfect.
Caroline helped the bushcrafters make fire, with an intriguingly decorative windbreak of snow, to heat water for hot chocolate!
By the end of the evening the Baileys was empty, bottoms were sore, gloves were soaked, races lost and won. Dragging Caroline away was a challenge but I’d achieved my best sledging run ever. Truly magical memories made. I love my outdoor family!
Sledging in the Sun
Far from melting overnight, the snow froze so we braved the steep Fish Hill for more sledging at Broadway Tower. Snowball ambushes, snow angels, spectacled snowmen, daring toboggan runs, hilarious crashes and unexpectedly meeting old friends made for another unforgettable few hours in pristine snow.
So what’s the recipe for enjoying a rare moment of sensational British snow?
Get outside into it of course!
Mix in lots of layers, good waterproofs (especially gloves), a sledge, hot drinks, a sense of adventure, gigantic smiles and blend together with a generous sense of fun! Gotta love a British winter.
In a recent moment of madness I agreed to go snow holing in the Cairngorms in March. Watch this space for a probably painful future post…
For more ideas on things to do outdoors with the family see Family Time and look out for a forthcoming post on 30 things to do outdoors.
Oh and this is my 100th blog post since August 2016. Happy anniversary to me!