A very proud little boy carefully packed his Great-Grandad’s compass into our rucksack, ready for an afternoon adventure.
We often stop off on the moors for a little wander or a quick run around on our way home. Today we had set aside time for a proper outing. I thought I’d let him choose the destination for our little adventure. He loves deciding where to go and it’s wonderful to watch how seriously he takes his role as leader! Today he chose to visit the Hurlers on Bodmin moor. According to legend, these circles of standing stones are men who were turned to granite for playing the ancient game of Hurling on a Sunday.
He checked his compass and told me we had to follow the arrow West to where it was warm! We went to ‘Australia’ and ‘Antarctica’ (which seemed to coincide with when the sun was out and when it disappeared behind a cloud!) We had a wonderful time charging up and down the ‘hills’. He climbed his favourite tree and we stomped our usual path, then explored a little further, discovering parts of the moor we hadn’t seen before. We zig-zagged all over.
I think with little ones it’s helpful not to have a particular destination in mind when out walking (although he does sometimes spot something in the distance he wants to reach). The joy is in the little discoveries along the way that may be missed when the focus is on the destination instead of the journey. The yellow gorse was almost lighting our way with its sunshine petals (and tempting him to see just how prickly the prickles are!) We spotted dinosaur (cow) tracks and sheep wool, jumped in the mud and stopped to admire the curly mane of a pony. He ran to touch each stone in the circle, hiding behind them and jumping out at me. The freedom is tangible here. A perfect moorland playground.
After a while we went in search of a spot for our hot chocolate. I always find a flask of something warm and a tempting treat helps if either of us are tiring (and also to entice him out in the first place if he is a little reluctant, which isn’t very often!)
He’d decided to bring his nature journal so he drew what he could see around him and slipped a piece of bracken and a gorse flower into the front pocket for later.
Afterwards, we explored ‘our’ mine. It was interesting to approach it from a different direction than normal. The engine house here has been turned into a little museum and he loves to see if the miner has reached the top yet each time!
I often end up giving him little carries on the way back (sometimes due to his hypermobility and sometimes just because he’s four) but bubbles provide a delightful distraction when my arms are aching and then we’re back to the car in no time, changing into clean trousers and snuggling under the blanket for the short drive home.