Holidays for me should be all about relaxation. Peaceful surroundings, comfy beds, hot running water… When folks have ever asked me to go camping with them, I can quite honestly say that I have laughed at the thought. Me? Camping? Me? Peeing in a bush? Me? With no phone and internet for the weekend? No way, no way!!! (Ma-nah-man-ah!)
The team over at Harvest Moon Holidays in East Lothian swayed me to try Glamping – Glamorous camping. There was a promise of a bed, of a toilet, a shower with hot running water – but also the chance to have that fully relaxing holiday out in the open. When I say open, I do mean open as this is the east coast of Scotland, and boy is it open to the elements!
I grew up not far from the Harvest Moon Holiday retreat. Tucked away on the beautiful East Lothian countryside and coast, I knew that going back to visit after moving away from there 18 years ago, would bring back so many memories. My Mum still lived in a near by village until she passed away a few years back, so it was always still home to me. The good thing about being invited there was I knew the area well and decided that it was a great way to show Nathan (and his friend Megan from our extending blogging family) where I grew up and some of the fantastic things to do in the area.
Friday afternoon I picked the kids up from school and they were both buzzing in the car. So excited for our adventure to our treehouse holiday in Scotland. The drive from Lancaster was an easy one as I have done it many times. The kids however were doing a great job of being backseat drivers and constantly asking if I knew where I was going, the ability to take a big road trip like this and NOT use a satnav was alien to them both. By the end of the journey they thought I was some magic guru that had google maps downloaded into my brain!
We arrived later than expected (due to the weather on the way slowing the motorway traffic down a bit) which did mean that we did not get the usual meet and greet that the team that run the Treehouses and Safari tents like to give people. We were however greeted by some other campers who had just arrived and there was a little bit of confusion as to which treehouse was which, the map was helpful, but as it was almost dark when we arrived the treehouses did not have numbers on which would have been handy. We found our treehouse and the kids ran from room to room exploring their new surroundings and our home for the next few nights. I set the kids to unloading the car – something that normally they would not want to help with, but because they get to push everything in wheelbarrows around the camp site, this was a great new game to them and they were happy to unpack. While they got on with that, I made a start on the AGA and getting a fire going so I could have a much needed cuppa and cook us some dinner.
Our treehouse was beautify crafted with many nice little touches throughout. The team had really thought closely about what everyone may need while there and it means that the whole experience is stress free – there is no need to worry about bring camping gear and stoves etc with you as everything you need is there. Just without the added electricity which I would normally rely on. For light you had rechargeable lanterns which you could exchange each morning in the onsite shop – along with ice packs for the cool boxes and pick up extras you may need for your stay. Getting the fire going was fun, it takes around 45 minutes for the AGA to heat up and for the water to boil for a cuppa – so if like me you need a coffee in the morning, make sure this is one of the first things you do. The kids claimed their beds and set up how they wanted to sleep that evening while I made a start on dinner. A packet risotto with some BBQ chicken skewers from a local butcher. Dinner went down well and by the time we had tidied up and got sorted, it was almost 11pm so it was off to bed.
It was lovely getting into a proper bed, with a duvet (and very nice Egyptian cotton sheets too) there were extra blankets and hot water bottles, should you need them as the bedrooms and bathroom are separate from the kitchen area and away from the AGA which give you plenty of warmth. It was an all pile in one bed type of evening because the kids were a little unsure of the noises from the forest behind, we all snuggled up together, I read for a while to them and before I knew it, I was stuck in the middle of two snoring children.
Saturday morning greeted us like a normal Scottish Saturday morning. It was raining. This did not deter the kids from getting up at 7.30am to explore the camp and more importantly go and visit the animals. On site there is a small pen of animals, lambs, chickens, ducks, rabbits, which the guests are asked to look out for while they stay on site. Children can use the bottles to feed the lambs, scoop up chicken feed and more. They were both down visiting the animals before breakfast in their PJs and were so excited to bring back three eggs for breakfast which we had with some sausages.
After breakfast, we got ready to go out and have an explore of the local area. The first stop was Knowls Farm Shop a short drive away. Beautiful produce locally grown and around 100 chickens that you can feed that like to chase you around. After that we took a drive to North Berwick to drive passed Archie’s castle from Balamorie and Trapain Law – an extinct volcano which is now home to a wales jaw bone on top which some monks dragged up there to worship. The kids were mighty impressed with my tour guide knowledge. We drove through North Berwick and stopped off at the beach to look for shells, before taking a drive through my old village of East Linton and then on towards Edinburgh following the coastal trail route, which is a lovely drive.
After doing a bit of shopping at The Fort retail park, we had lunch and the kids were determined to go back to check on the lambs. The weather had cleared up and we were able to enjoy using the outdoor BBQ to make smores – whilst Nathan, Megan and the rest of the camp tried to catch the escaped rabbit who had jumped out of his pen! Early evening when the sun was going down, we made sure that we put all the animals to bed as per the instructions. Catching chickens is quite fun. We made a quick dinner and as we were all shattered, we decided to head to bed and read for a while.
Sadly, we had to wrap up our stay a day early as we needed to be back in Lancaster for the afternoon. An early start meant that the kids were not as excited this time about using the wheelbarrows to get everything back to the car. A long goodbye to the lambs and chickens and our first glamping adventure was done. As we drove away from camp we saw deer in the forest who decided to run along side the car – we were sure it was their way of saying goodbye.
We had the most amazing couple of days with Harvest Moon Holidays, the kids are still talking about it and saying that it was the best holiday ever! They have asked to go back again, but for longer than a weekend, so they can get to explore the dunes and beach more. I was very worried that I would not cope without having electricity and having lived up that way before – I knew phone signal could be patchy sometimes. Before going, I invested in a solar power phone charger pack which kept my phone and tablet running over the weekend which made it feel like I did have some connection to the outside world. Being a blogger and having no internet or phone charge is probably one of our worst nightmares! I would suggest that you take a power bar or solar charger with you if you want to keep a mobile running while you are there.
We cannot thank the team at Harvest Moon Holidays enough. The weekend was magical and had all the elements of a Scottish camping trip I would expect, (midges) but with the added comfort of beds and hot water. We did not really see any of the staff during our stay, but they were available by phone if ever anyone needed help with anything.
We were given a weekend break in a Treehouse in April 2015 for our review and honest thoughts. Please visit their website at http://www.harvestmoonholidays.com/ to find out more about their lovely site and see some of the fantastic interior images of the tents and treehouses.
Originally published on A Mum Inspired.