So back in January we experienced yet another amazing weekend at Wild Northumbrian. This time round we stayed in the most recent accommodation offering and already the super popular Treehouse Houlet Yurt. I am not ashamed to admit that I was beyond excited to stay in the treehouse. I couldn’t wait to see what it had to offer and whether it filled my fantasy treehouse that childhood dreams are made of…
On leaving work on Friday, I headed straight up to the site as it was easier for me to get there rather than double back home to come all the way back, and I am glad I did because by the time the missus arrived with the kids, it was pitch black. So I had the chance to have a little nose around the treehouse in the light and to get the fire roaring for their arrival. We were going through a cold snap during our visit and were lucky enough to get a dusting of snow on the ground on Friday. I really do wish it had snowed a little more, probably the only time you will hear me ever say this!
Most people would probably keel over at the thought of taking small children to sleep outdoors in the middle of winter – but not us! In fact this is what we strive for – I would like to think we are seasoned outdoor people and the kids take it all in their stride. As long as you have the right gear and a log fire to keep from frozen toes at night then all is good.
Back last summer when we were attending wild intrigue bats and pizza night, Zach had got his eye on the Treehouse when we were exploring the grounds with Cain and Heather and was in awe of the yurt high up in the trees amongst the birds. So when we stopped for Elijahs birthday in September at the Shepherds Hut and he spotted it again he begged us to try it sometime soon.
So for this visit we hadn’t told Zach we were stopping in the treehouse like he had requested at our last stay and had just told him we were headed back to Wild Northumbrian (or Wild Northumbrain as he calls it) for the weekend. When he realised the way we were heading over the rope bridge on arrival he was beaming with excitement. Surprises are always the best – perfect reminder that you can shower children with as many material items as you like but you are only ever rewarded for time spent and the experiences/memories they have and by does Wild Northumbrian allow you to gather those memories.
The yurt is set up on stilts high above the burn with a little hammock underneath, its a nice shaded area for the kids to play. But what I really like about this yurt is the crows nest, once you get up into the treehouse there is another little bridge going further up into the trees and this acts as a little viewing point, perfect for those clear starry night skies, or for the kids imagination to run wild and play up there. Due to the weather for this stay we weren’t lucky enough to see the stars from the platform which was a great shame, but hopefully next time. Zach has been gifted a telescope from a friend recently and he is in awe of the moon and stars he has seen at home, so I cant imaging what we would pick up in the dark skies of Kielder.
Inside the yurt is the same set up as the other ones we have stayed in. Very cosy and homely, with little quirky decorations. Theres plenty of room for us all in the treehouse, especially for the four legged variety. Marley wasn’t as keen being in the Shephards Hut as with little floor space he was always being disturbed from his naps. Here at the treehouse there was plenty of space for the kids to sit on the floor and play, while he snoozed on the sheepskin rug. As always you have your wood burning stove as the heat source but the one in the treehouse has a little oven in it too. We never cooked any meals in it apart from toast for the avocado, bacon and eggs in the morning and it did a good job for that. Handy little feature if the weather was poor outside and you still wanted to experience cooking by fire.
The main feature of the yurt is the good sized bed with tree trunks for each leg. It is a good height off the ground so you dont get the cold draft coming though the floor. The missus shared the bed with the boys this stay and I camped down on the futon on the floor. I must admit I was chilly but with temperatures plummeting below minus overnight I am not surprised.
I am also relieved to say that the treehouse is all enclosed on its own platform with a latched gate at the stairs. We were conscious before arriving that the youngest would be able to access the stairs or at best make a great escape of some kind from a height. Thankfully our fears were short lived and he was able to explore to his hearts content.
The Treehouse just seems more special than the others we have stayed in, and im tempted to say it may become my favourite, but I will bite my tongue until we have test drove them all. It feels and looks so magical, maybe because you are up in the trees. But Zach absolutely loved being high up in what he called his “castle” and we whiled the hours away listening and watching for the birds and the cheeky squirrels.
Whenever we visit Wild Northumbrian we always try and cook on an open fire outdoors if we can and make the most of the outdoors. This time round we made a potato, cauliflower and chickpea curry, and even though it was freezing temperatures outside, we all got wrapped up and sat round the fire while I made the curry. Zach then did the honours of putting our chocolate bananas on to roast. It felt somewhat darker over at this side of the burn, which I imagine will be from the overhanging pine martins, but listening to the burn and watching the flames can only be described as what some people experience in a spa…blissful!!
So I have mentioned before that it is my goal to stay in all of the accommodation on offer to test them out before we decide on our favourite. No idea how long this self assigned quest will take though, but believe me we are certainly enjoying the journey – THREE down only FOUR more to go! The wonderful folks at Wild Northumbrian are forever adding new additions and it seems to be making our choice for our next stay more and more complex. They have recently announced that they are setting up another Hikki bath at Merle yurt – which we havent tried yet but know its in a lovely quiet spot on the edge of the site. So I think before the last of the summer sunshine we will be booking up to give it a whirl.
We are yet to find the Fairy Shrine that is hidden on site somewhere too and surprisingly we think we have covered every area of the site over the years and yet still to spot it. We are making it our mission to stumble upon it and leave a little gift next time we visit.
We already have another trip booked into the calendar for early May. The missus turns thirty this birthday and she requested a return to the Shepards Hut. To wake up on her birthday morning with a view across the valley and who was I to refuse that request?! I do secretly wish we had booked another yurt – just so we could tick another off the list but it only gives me ammunition to book again for a third visit this year I guess!!!
I am eager to see the improvements they have made up at the Shephards Hut though – a new raised decking area and gravelled walk ways have been installed from the hut, to the bath and then to the composting loo, which will make a vast improvement. It was a little muddy when we we were there in September and no one wants muddy feet when entering the Hikki bath. The raised decking will also make the most of the views over the stone brick wall to sit and enjoy.
I would highly recommend booking up in advance – I am secretly sad to say that the site is becoming increasingly popular. Probably with return visitors like us or people who have listened to good recommendations, and the calendar for most accommodations is now filling up quickly. I know from our constant ravings of the place that quite a few of our family and friends have booked up to experience the place from themselves. As much as I want to shout from the rooftops how amazing this place is – I also want to keep it to ourselves, its our little haven that we cant help but long to visit again and again.
*Disclaimer – I was kindly gifted a weekend stay in the Treehouse by Rob and Vicky but were under no obligation to share our experience or write this blog post. As always my views and thoughts are my own and I have always been happy to share my experiences of this place way back at our first visit in 2015.
Im Lew – A blogger and father of two boys, three if you include the dog, living in Sunderland. Not sure I have the hang of this blog niche thing but hey ho, I’m doing it anyway – expect all sorts of randomness.