I think impromptu trips are always the best. I love the idea of waking up on a given morning and by the afternoon deciding to go away camping for the weekend, just because!
It’s a bit like being able to eat breakfast cereal for dinner, just cause you’re an adult, but not adulting.
Anyway, that’s just what we did, last Friday. We have camping gear stored in the attic for ages, ever since we sold our campervan, so this weekend just passed I decided to pull it all out, pack us and our two springer spaniels into our car and just head off.
Coupled with a few jobs we had to get sorted, the adult bit of our trip, which meant a visit to the Apple store in Belfast and a visit to family, the rest of the time was spend hanging our with our two dogs.
Hand on heart hanging out with my two dogs Missy and Daisy just makes me so happy. Daisy had been a bit sick recently so it was really good to just spend time with them. They are apparently getting older, a fact I was in complete denial off until our recent trips to the vet, and it just made me so conscious of how short the life of a pet family member can be as it passes through ours. NO taking for granted anymore!!!
Side note: Last Christmas on a trip to Belfast we stayed in Lisburn and we had breakfast in Bob & Berts, being new vegans it was kind of hard to find places to eat. Reading the menu it seemed to be porridge was the way to go, and then I happened across their peanut butter, maple syrup and porridge offering. To be completely honest I thought it sounded disgusting, that was until I tasted it. Bob & Berts single handily converted me to liking porridge made with water, topped with the afore mentioned peanut butter and maple syrup, which I have been eating for breakfast ever since. Needless to say when in the vicinity I had to revisit to make sure I hadn’t imagined it, hands down my favourite breakfast with coffee of course.
Porridge, peanut butter and maple syrup in Bob & Berts, Lisburn
One of the main things I really wanted to do was bring the dogs to Tollymore Forest Park in Newcastle, we had been there earlier in the year, see blog about the here, and at the time I thought they would love it.
Missy loving the wind in her hair, and mouth, and nose, and eyes !!!
I also wanted to camp there, but sadly when we arrived it was completely full. Next time though I will book. As we were being turned away, the forest warden there kindly told us about a place just two miles away called Meelemore lodge, where they would have places to camp.
Camping with our Dogs
Following the direction we easily found it, and the wonderful vista of Hare’s Gap that we would be waking up to the following morning. Tent/Awning erected we went for a short walk up towards the Hare’s Gap, but as it was quite warm we took it easy and sat by a small stream with the dogs.
Camp site with Hare’s Gap in the distance.
The campsite itself was lovely, with a café/ bistro attached, ample washing area, and dog friendly, a fortuitous find for sure.
Awning pitched for the night, first outing without the camper van.
Pathway up towards Hare’s Gap.
Missy ready and waiting for her walk.
That evening we went into Newcastle, had a walk by the beach with the pups and had a vegan curry takeaway sitting beneath the Mourne Mountains.
Entrance to Tollymore Forest Park.
Vista from Tollymore Forest Park into the Mourne Mountains.
One of the many follies in Tollymore Forest Park.
On the way to the river.
The following morning, up bright and early we headed on to the original intended destination Tollymore Forest park. Parking up we made our down towards the river Shimna, which runs through the forest. Sitting out on the river with the dogs as the played in the water.
Puppies in the river Shimna.
We then opted for the Arboretum walk, which is is quite short.
Alan & Daisy
Towards the end of the walk we came across a Cork tree, which is native to the Mediterranean basin, being Spain, Italy, France, Portugal and Northern Africa. I’d never actually seen one, but of course I’m very familiar with the product created from it, corks for the top of wine bottles, and the many bags and shoe designs found through out the shops in Portugal. The tree is quite stunning to see up close.
Cork tree details
Short video about cork harvesting
Finally it was back to the car for the trip home, with many coffee and water breaks. Till next weekend that is 🙂
Missy & Alan in Starbucks
Daisy at the Applegreen