Recently me and the family threw caution to the wind and took an evening trip up to Northumberland on a school night to explore the great outdoors, and to be re-wilded! We attended a Mini Expedition with Wild Intrigue for a Bats and Pizza night at Wild Northumbrian. We have stayed here a few times so the choice of venue was familiar to us. The place still excites us each time we get to visit. Its filled with such natural beauty and every time we have stayed we have been reluctant to leave.
When we arrived on site we were warmly greeted by Cain and Heather who are the founders of Wild Intrigue, after a few introductions to all that were attending we headed off to the Pole barn where the table was set with our dough ready for the pizzas, and plenty of toppings to choose.
When we stayed here last time the pizza oven was there and free to use but we never did get round to trying it. So this was a perfect opportunity to give it a whirl. Like I said before the dough was all prepped on the table, so the hard work had been done. All we had to do was attempt to stretch it out very thin and in a good oval shape (I say attempt as we were all rubbish!!) Well thats not strictly true, Newgirlintoon was there on the same night and her partner absolutely nailed it! He never said…but I think he may have been an Italian chef?! But the shape didn’t really matter its all about the taste surely? That didn’t stop me being jealous of his perfection though! HaHa.
What I liked about the set up of the table was that we were all seated together on one long table, the boys included. Meaning we all got to have a good chat whilst getting on with our pizza creations. It was nice to meet new people in such a calm environment and listening to Heather and Cain talk about there inspiring work.
My eldest son Zach had an amazing time making his pizza. He actually played with his dough like playdoh and may have even dropped it in the dirt a few times. Now i know we are quite open to the great outdoors but i draw the line at him eating pizza topped with soil so I had to make his base in the end but he still had a go.
He loved putting all his topping choices on his own, and then he eagerly followed Cain to pop it into the pizza oven. It only took a matter of 2 minutes to cook through, and even lesser time to for him to demolish it! So all in all, the pizzas were very tasty. There was even more dough to go around for a second helping of pizza if we wanted, and It took all my will power to say no because I secretly wanted a second, maybe even a third they were that good.
After stuffing our faces we took a little stroll around the site just as the sun was considering setting after such a beautiful day. It was nice to have a look around again as it has been a while since we have been here. We headed down over the rope bridge, which Zach is now old enough to tackle independently since our last visit and so he proceeded on over with whoops of glee. He is such an adventurer. We then passed the new Treehouse, which looked amazing. Definitely wanting to stay there in the near future. We then crossed over the stream and back up again and as we reached the top the light was stunning and i managed to grab a quick action shot of us strolling through the grass.
Cain and Heather told us all about the ecology reports they had carried out on the land at Wild Northumbrian and the various cameras they had hidden around too. Unfortunately no badgers were out and about so early on on our wander but we did get the promise of something potentially crossing the paths of the cameras.
Zach loved helping out with the cameras, he was constantly chatting and asking a hundred questions. The outdoors really inspires him and he thrives on learning. He makes me very proud – total proud Dad moment. I think he enjoyed the evening even more than me.
After our walk we headed back to the Pole Barn to some hot chocolate and lit the fire ready to toast some marshmallows on. Cain prepared us some perfect marshmallow skewers, much better than the shop bought bamboo ones we tend to use and i was interested to hear that he had chosen willow to chop and use as that is the fastest growing tree that would then regrow what we had used the quickest.
As we were finishing off our treats Heather and Cain got out the bat detectors, and were explaining the different types of bats and what was more common around the area. They even had little booklets showing you the different breeds of bats which Zach took great interest in. You can buy them from field-studies-council.org I thought these were really good and definitely something I want to invest in for the kids adventures. As well as talking about the different bats Heather showed us the two different types of detectors they had. One which plugs into your phone were you can see the sonogram of the noises on the app, and the other where you can hear the different frequencies of the bats.
Once we were all prepped and dusk was upon us we headed on round to the toilet block then to the church yard to see if we could spot any bats. Zach’s detector went off first and I have never seen him so happy, he was over the moon. We managed to pick up common pipistrelle and we spent some time watching them flit backwards and forward through the tree lined church yard. Zach’s face was glowing in happiness. It was a lovely moment and a one i wont forget in a hurry. He has honestly told everyone and anyone that would listen about his trip to “catch” bats. Even getting to stand up at nursery at carpet time to tell everyone about his latest adventure.
So if you fancy yourself a little adventure on a summers evening or your just sick of doing the same old thing with your kids or as a couple and fancy a change of scenery; why not give this a try? I can promise you, you will not be disappointed. It will be the best evening you will spend in a long time.
It is definitely something I would do again and I look forward to booking up onto the next one.
Check out the website here http://wildintrigue.co.uk/ ; there are a few different events coming up this year, as well as more of the Pizza and Bat Night that we attended.
The following dates are already planned:
Monday 13th – Adults only night
Tuesday 14th -Family Night
Wednesday 15th – Family Night
Find Wild Northumberian here –
I also wrote a blog post about Wild Northumbrian not so long back here if you want to know more about this little hidden gem.
Disclosure – I was invited to enjoy a complimentary experience in return for a totally honest review.
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.