When Q Hotels asked us to test out their nature trail during our recent stay at the beautiful Chesford Grange, it was met with a slightly mixed reception. Joe was beside himself with excitement, he loves all things nature and considers himself a mini Bear Grylls, and Jack was quite laid back about the whole thing.
When we arrived at the hotel the rain had been horrific all morning, not at all the weather you want for a nature trail, but mother nature was kind to us and the sun was soon beating down on Warwickshire.
Our brief was to follow the trail and share our thoughts. And little did we know when this mission was set just how much fun we would have, and how much we would laugh on that sunny afternoon.
We set off with our adventure pack, which consisted on a wildlife activity guide, a notebook, trail guide, clipboard, pen and pack of nature top trumps. Now, I never ever intended it to be like this but Joe decided he and Chris would be in a team together. Teams, I mean when did that get decided? When did a nature trail ever become a competitive sport, hmmm! Welcome to life with the Christie boys.
So, both in teams, Chris and Joe and Jack and myself we set off with a pack each. The aim was to spot as many types of wildlife on the list as possible, and there were lots to choose from. Different types of birds, foxes, flowers, leaves, and rabbits I could go on.
From the outset Chris and Joe were taking this very seriously, whereas Jack and I had been chatting we tried to take a vlog but kept laughing and by now had missed several rabbits, and different birds that Chris and Joe were gloating at. They were also quite cross at us for laughing and scaring the wildlife.
So we did what any losing team in a nature trail would do! We cheated, now hear me out on this because I am really an advocate of honesty, I can’t stand lying. But the winning team was just to smug, and that is something else that bugs me, if you are going to win, then win with grace.
At first they believed us, a woodpecker, a fox, 3 rabbits and hare, but here is the thing with being dishonest you get a little to confident. So then we decided to add bear to the list. We were rolling on the floor at Chris and Joe’s response, the looks of disgust and disbelief on their faces, ooh I am giggling now thinking about it.
Next thing we know Joe is pointing and saying look there must be 20 rabbits over there, now Jack and I who hadn’t seen one like complete mugs were looking trying to see them when Joe said quick Dad lets run and lose them.
Yes, I know you read right they tried to lose us! Said we were reprobates and lowering the tone of the trail. So for some time they walked quite a way ahead of us, we straggled behind like naughty school children trying our best to find things for our list.
After about an hour Chris and Joe announced they had won, which Jack and I did not have a leg to stand on to argue and we all set of back to the hotel.
So, did we enjoy the trail, we absolutely loved it. It just goes to show as long as you are with your family you can have a great time anywhere. Yes, Jack and I could have taken it more seriously but Jack being a teen got much more out of the experience by having fun, whereas Joe loved the scavenging and hunting for items to add to his list.
The trail was beautiful, I love walking through woods, and feeling that relaxed feeling you can only experience being in a tranquil environment such as a forest or deserted beach. The trail completely engaged us all, yes we all used the experience slightly differently, but that is what catering for a family is all about.
When we returned to the Hotel we retreated to the bar for a cold drink and a game of nature top thumps which was a great addition to the pack. I love games like this that engage the whole family, it is so much better than the boys playing on the I Pads, don’t get me wrong, there are times they do play on their I Pads but that is why I welcome moments like this.