The last time we spent October week at Haggerston was three years ago, and it rained all the time. We chanced it again this year, and Irene and Sam came with us, and we got lucky this time, with some lovely days.
Our caravan was Castle Lake 46, and came equipped with 3 bedrooms and decent radiators, which were definitely welcome, as it was sunny but pretty cold. Our patch was on a loop around a little lake with an island in the middle, and a bridge to cross over to it. We spent a little while on the island feeding the ducks, and it made for a nice setting. No complaints about the caravan either. We might have had problems with 2 cars but the neighbouring caravans were both empty so there were plenty of parking spaces.
Our first day was mostly spent checking in and getting ourselves sorted, plus a quick trip to the main complex to play on the tuppeny waterfall machines, which became a big draw during the week. As well as getting back slightly fewer 2ps than you put in, the machines also occasionally spat out some tickets. After a whole week's effort we had collected enough tickets for 3 white mice and a couple of packets of refreshers.
We had bought activity vouchers and booked most things online, but had just one more thing we wanted to book. Lucky we did it mostly online as most of the activities seemed to be fully booked by now. There's nothing on on Mondays and Fridays, so we'd booked up Tuesday and Thursday and kept Wednesday free for a trip.
Our first activity day was fairly light but we had an early start. The aerial adventure is a new thing at Haggerston and started sharp at 9am. Sam and Cate got kitted up in their harnesses and helmets and hooked on to the safety line. The course takes you through the trees on rope netting, stepping logs, tightropes and zip lines, and both enjoyed it, though Sam found it hard getting the runner over the joints in the safety line sometimes - there's a definite advantage in being able to reach up high enough to give it a good wiggle.
Back to the caravan for lunch and to call the doctor - Sam had come out in spots overnight and we were worried he might have chicken pox. The doctor thought not, so we didn't have to give him a bell and get him to shout "unclean" to everyone we passed.
After lunch we had aqua-jets, where both kids got to get pulled along underwater by little propellor things. We all spent a while in the pool afterwards but it was really busy.
We had dinner at the Chinese place just up the road, which does a buffet meal. Cate made it as a child by about 2cm (no difficulties there for Sam) and we had a good meal. We were upstairs and had to come down for each course so felt that gave us enough exercise to eat a bit more.
This was our free day. Irene and Sam fancied a quiet day at the park, so stayed to try the adventure golf and the pedal boats, while we drove south for half an hour to Alnwick Castle.
We've been here before, but it's changed a bit since we last came. The entry fee is quite steep but there was quite a lot to do. One of the Downton Abbey Christmas specials was filmed at the castle and they have a short documentary on that, which kept Claire interested. We toured the rooms and they also had a few artefacts from the programme.
The other highlight is the Harry Potter broomstick training. We tried to book up the 11am session but it was already full, despite us getting there pretty early. So we got a ticket for the 2pm one, not sure if we'd stay that long. Thankfully we did.
Cate made some scented soap in the Knight's Quest area, and also dressed up as a knight. Then we tried the Dragon Quest, which was really good, with a couple of well done shocks.
We had a walk in the woods and visited the treehouse before getting back in time for the broomstick training. Again this was really well done. Professors Kevin and Thickbroom taught the class and were very entertaining. At the end we had a chance to photograph our students "flying" on their brooms.
The rest of our activities were all packed into one day, so it was a busy one, starting at 9.30.
First, Cate and Sam had a half hour horse ride, followed by a chance to look after the horses, which mainly involved mucking them out. They're doing well if they can get kids to shovel up after the horses and pay for the privilege! There was also a certificate and photo at the end. Both of our two really enjoyed this, though we had to extract them 5 minutes early to get to the...
45 minutes of archery training and practise in the big tent, including a team competition to see who could get all the colours first.
A quick lunch and then it was out again for bush craft. The kids were taken out into the woods and shown how to light a fire, each getting a shot with flint and steel, then toasting a marshmallow.
A short break for a walk, and a chance for me to get us lost, and then we had fencing. They put on the safety suits, were shown how to hold the sword, and then let loose on each other.
Finally, after dinner, Sam had a kayaking lesson, doing well, especially when he was turned upside down. When the instructor turned him round again he was still clinging on to the kayak, and just paddled away.
Cate had a half hour session at the pool party, where they brought out a big inflatable for the kids to run along and fall off.
We had to check out by 10am on Friday and thought about maybe making another trip somewhere, but the weather wasn't so great, so we just headed on home. Two and a bit hours later we were back and the washing machine was busy.
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