Ah, university. How distant the library shelves and lecture halls seem to me now. But I can still clearly remember one Sunday afternoon when I was hit by a mid-term crisis, in the thick of deadlines and lectures and seminars and year abroad applications.
“It is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins, the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail of to watch it, we are going back from whence we came.”
Being fortunate enough to study in the beautiful South West of England, I try to get out of the city as much as possible to explore the surrounding countryside.
We crossed the county border into Cornwall and arrived in Bude to what seemed like a campsite sent from heaven. After five days of slopping through mud at Somersault Festival, we welcomed the rolling clifftop fields of long grass with wide open arms. A storm was brewing, as we discovered from the blustery gusts of air surging over the hedge from the sea below and whipping over the canvas of our small tent. It all seemed very exciting and adventurous, to be camping at the bottom of a field, on a sea-facing cliff that was soon to be exposed to tempestuous winds. That is, until our tent pole snapped.
The first stop on our road trip along the south-west coast of England was Somersault, a music, adventure and well-being festival set in the heart of North Devon’s beautiful countryside. The photos we had seen from the previous year (also the festival’s first year) awakened memories of our childhood summer holidays, with people swinging from trees into a sparkling river, scrambling over rocks and dozing in long grass under the sun. With this nostalgic setting, and the line-up of all the indie folk/rock bands you could dream of (Bombay Bicycle Club, Angus & Julia Stone and Bear’s Den to name a few), we booked our tickets right away.
As a fervent lover of Lovebox, having frequented the festival’s fields of love and good vibes for two years running, when I heard about its new one-day addition to the weekend I had to check it out. Although the park remained the same, with the familiar flags and vans of funky food, a much more chilled-out, laid-back vibe floated around the fields of Citadel. Instead of pulsing tents of house music competing to be heard, there’s the soulful sound of Bear’s Dens’ acoustics drifting through the trees, or the soft babble of laughter coming from the comedy tent.
If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I’ve spent the past two weeks driving and camping along the south west coast of England. It all started when I found an article about the best secret beaches in the UK earlier this year. From the many photographs of sandy coves, rocky islets and pebble beaches materialised the idea of driving along the South West Coastal Trail, down the foot of England, in my little Fiat 500.