Having pushed myself on expedition, my body was in need of some TLC, so after a night’s grace our Duke of Ed group made back to the mini-bus for a break in Bude, North Cornwall. Having only visited the region fleetingly years ago, I was looking forward to exploring another area, along the northern coast this time. We were dropped into town to browse round the shops and generally had the afternoon at leisure. I happily poked my head round shelves of dainty trinkets and nick-knacks, before perusing the local surf shops. Reared by the sea, I went through a bit of a surfing-chic phase in my teens, which I sort of out-grew, (though I still make the odd purchase) but to be in Cornwall I couldn’t help but have a look!

Unable to help myself, I made what I was told an obligatory purchase from Zuma Jay (a local surf brand), telling myself it was the perfect souvenir to reward myself with, while reminding myself of the trip. This was followed by another obligatory action, as we bought a selection of Cornish pasties to eat along the seafront. I mean let’s be honest, who visits Cornwall and doesn’t buy a pasty, unless of-course you’re not a fan, which admittedly I decided I’m not, but at least I tried! Lightly refreshed my partner and I wandered off for a stroll along Summerleaze Beach, where I rejoiced in allowing my feet to feel the grainy sand and salty sea air. Having spent almost a week in the country, it was a great escape to be by the ocean and growing up by the waves you never quite let them go.

As evening drew-in, we pitched up at our camp, which couldn’t have been a more ideal spot. Perched back from the rolling cliffs, we had a great expanse of lawn with views out over the Atlantic and along the jutting cliffs beyond. The only minor downside was exposure to the wind, so we had to get creative when it came to building camp. Shielding our tents behind the mini-buses, we set up along the hedge, trying to shield ourselves from the weather. Then it was BBQ time, despite the wind it was dry and after a week of little packet food, I was looking forward to a meaty burger!

We lounged until darkness fell, chatting over the charcoals, playing fluffy bunnies and generally chilling after the week we’d all had. This was summer was all about, relaxing with friends round the BBQ, unwinding away from work. With work and study and life’s daily conundrums, I think I’d forget what it was like to have fun. Bude really was a blessing. As the embers began to fade at our feet, the sun dropped dramatically in the skies above and we rushed to capture the view. The yellow glow changed into a scarlet orb, which quickly merged into the clouds. As dusk fell, we delved for the kettle and boiled milk for a round of hot cocoa and sat in our camp chairs until the air turned cold, before turning in for the night.

Having awoken from yet another night of camping, I rushed to get dressed having slept in later than planned. This morning we were destined for the beach to go surfing, a pursuit I’d always wished to try but in the past had backed out. (A girl who grew up by the ocean, scared off by the sea, most peculiar, I know!) However, I knew this time round it was now or never, I refused to give in to my anxiety and gave it a go.  Early on, I managed to catch a wave wrong and was submerged underwater, I panicked and gasped for air, my lungs engulfed by a tide of putrid sea water. Coughing my guts up, I wiped the salt from eyes and paused to consider my options. I could have called it quits there, but then I would be giving in and my fall would have been for nothing. Defiant I trudged back into the waves. I might not have been amazing or even managed to stand up, but I faced my fears, had a laugh and even got off my knees a couple of times! (Note below my eager smile, straight after my plunge into the water. As they say, if you can’t beat em’ join em’ and try to laugh it off.)

Having taken on the ocean, I was actually sad to leave my board behind, though glad I no longer had to chance the winding hitting the board back in my face! We went straight from the sands back to the shops, where my group and I dined in a quirky, hip-retro diner for a good proper lunch. From there I met with other friends and wandered round a few other stores, including the most delightful rustic, bohemian shop which I could have easily wasted a day in. Short on time, I didn’t have long, but left rather surprisingly with a gorgeous rainbow woven rug and vowed that I would have to come back.

Like the pervious day we returned to camp for tea, where I indulged in a craving for spaghetti bolognese and enjoyed filling myself on well-earned carbs. As before we sat round our stoves, chatting long into the night. We had a good chuckle over a few games of cards and indulged in another hot cocoa. Sadly, there was no such sunset tonight and I went to bed tinged with sadness that this week was coming to end. Tomorrow we would leave Bude behind and venture on to Exeter for our final night. By this stage I was begun to reflect and look forward to the future as well. The week had given me a taste for the good life and I toyed with the idea of coming back as a leader one day. Though I didn’t think too much, wanting to savour the time I had left as a participant. My head hit the pillow with a wavering smile, Bude had been good and I was grateful for that.