So when then calendar month turns to October most people probably start to open summer sun holiday magazines. Not us. We decided that in the bitter cold the best thing we could do would be to go and stay in a tipi for the weekend. Thankfully a decision that was not lived to regret.
Having discussed staying in tipi’s before once my boyfriend got a new job, having moved, we decided we should do something special for the weekend before he started working shifts and we became more ‘passing ships’.
So the decision was made and I was off scouring the internet for somewhere for us to go. What we didn’t think about was that tipi’s would be seasonal. So the few I called initially had already closed at the end of September. Twice I made the mistake of getting excited of this, as for some reason, I was a month behind. However, not to be disheartened by my stupidity, or the actual month we were in, I carried on with my mission.
Thankfully I found Eco Retreats in Powys. Eco Retreats offer a range of Tipi’s and Yurt’s however without so much as looking at was / was not available we instantly picked the ‘Remote’ tipi. Which was further away from the others. We liked this idea.
Another reason we liked Eco Retreats was because, compared to all of the others we read about, there was a private bathroom and kitchen and they provided candles, a torch and logs for the fire. Now other companies provided the latter but only providing the first bag of logs free.
We set out at 5pm on a Friday for our two hour drive. Another thing we didn’t consider was getting to our destination in the dark. Real pair of geniuses right there…
Originally the company had said someone wouldn’t be available to meet us and I am extremely grateful that they changed their mind on that for a couple of reasons. The place is not the easiest to find and we got lost and had to call someone to direct us but even once we were climbing the correct mountain it was still a little confusing. There are signs with a tipi emblem on but these are pretty small and are not lit making them extremely hard to see when arriving at an hour that doesn’t provide any light. I would recommend sticking in small solar lights under each one to make them a little easier to see to prevent other people having the same trouble.
Once we found our guide, by again going the wrong way, we were shown the way to the car park. Then we bundled ourselves into the ladies land drover, definitely a perfect car for this, and up the hill we went. We were taken through a field which had a tipi in one corner and a yurt in the opposite corner providing both the space and privacy one desires on such a trip.
Once at the top of the hill we parked in front of the fence and loaded ourselves with our belongings to then climb the very dark path into the forest to our ‘remote’ tipi. I could put money on the fact had someone not met us we would have struggled too find this little location.
Despite this clumsy walk in the wilderness it was completely worth it. The tipi’s look so small from the front but they are actually very roomy inside and I was pleasantly surprised. We had a fire outside, that should you wish to cook on, you can get pots from near the car park. Inside the tipi there is a chimnea which two baskets of wood are provided with further wood available from your personal wood store, including axe to get all old school on.
Everything has been thought about with a fridge made from a pot in sand which you keep wet to keep cool. There are cool boxes provided, all bins for recycling, a stove with all crockery and pans, tea lights, a low table Moroccan style with big cushions on the floor and all the matches and tea lights you would require along with big futon bed, which unlike other companies, actually provided all the covers and bedding for.
They had even built our first fire for us which was great as with the night already set in we needed to get started straight away.
The bathroom is a little distance from the tipi, which I am sure any person would be grateful of, which consists of an outside sink, a cold shower unless, you want to boil up water and fill the bag and a compost toilet. The compost toilet essentially means you are crapping in a bag and throwing sawdust in after to mask the smell – not that I smell of anything but roses of course….
I was a little dubious at first but I have to admit that sawdust works better than most air fresheners which just seem to make the smell worse not better. Who wants the whiff of ‘flower de crap’ in the air after all.
As the place was in utter darkness I made my boyfriend promise to come to the toilet with me every time to ensure the forest trolls didn’t take me. I checked for spiders every time and took to whistling whilst I pee’d – gradually this turned to playing Linkin Park as I am a terrible whistler and eventually, with a belly full of rum, I found the confidence to pee alone. Much to my boyfriends delight am sure and alas I was not kidnapped by the spirits of the forest this time.
Normally I am not quite so neurotic about walking around in the dark but this was more than dark, if that is possible, as it completely blanketed and enveloped everything. Walking back to the car to get our final belongings, the much needed rolling tobacco, my insanity only seemed to expand as our torch struggled not to be engulfed into the black and every insect and animal came out to greet us by the way of cracking twigs just out of sight…all the ingredients for a nice little slasher movie…! It was hard to not freak out for the first hour..much to my boyfriends happiness who took joy in tapping me on the shoulder or jumping at me saying ‘urgh’ every few minutes making for a comical evening jaunt.
I have to say even thought there being two other tipis it felt VERY remote. However I had it on good authority that a murderer wouldn’t be bothered to walk all that way up the mountain… and slowly but surly the rum helped with that notion despite having jumped out my skin at least 5 times.
Once back in the safe haven of our tipi we went about getting things in order, lighting the fire, munching on snacks, playing card games, stoking the fire and sipping on rum.
Having been in our new home for a couple of hours I started to wonder why my eyes were trying to escape my head and started to worry that I was not going to be able to cope for the whole weekend with the fire going, as nice as it was, there seemed to be a heavy black plume of smoke hanging in the air. I felt like we were slowly mimicking snakes getting as low as we could to avoid the dreaded smog.
Thankfully, after a few attempts we realised that having the fire roaring at all times helps with not living in a tent of smog as this pushes the smoke straight out meaning you have a smoke free zone. Obviously as the fire settles and starts to go out this does give off a bit more smoke but opening the doors or opening the roof more does help with that.
Each time we went outside we marvelled at how many stars we could see. It was like someone had got a huge handful of glitter and thrown it into the night sky. We were very lucky to see the sky so clear and had it been summer I could have lay on the ground and watched the night sky close in for hours. It really was beautiful and I can imagine there are many a shooting star to see should you watch long enough. The only other time I have ever seen a sky like it was when I was in Australia on a boat in the middle of the ocean. It really is amazing what you can see with zero light pollution – the world in its raw form is really something to behold.
The tipi really was perfect, it was a little utopia from the moment we walked in to the moment we left and we enjoyed just kicking back, getting hypnotized by the fire, whiling the hours away chatting about everything and nothing and eventually we talked ourselves to sleep in a rum induced haze.
The morning came with the bleating of sheep. Now these sheep are kept in the field below and the gate is supposed to keep them from coming up the mountain but it would seem an early morning rambler had set them free and they had come to stir us from our slumber. I went outside to find that there were right next to us and was thankful that they hadn’t taking to eating the guide ropes or the tipi itself.
As we had arrived in the nightfall we hadn’t taken in the view upon arrival but it was a beautiful sight first thing in the morning, even through blurry hangover vision. The forest was so dense you couldn’t really see anything but could you felt like your eyes were truly open at the same time. It really was a beautiful setting.
Having had three hours sleep we decided to go looking for wood. There is a big wood shed however they do advise you gather your own wood also which we did for the outside fire. Following this we decided to eat some breakfast and snuggle back down to watch films on our laptop which was had charged prior to packing. What we didn’t evaluate was, us being geniuses and all, our laptops abilities to play DVDs…which was non existent. I luckily had one episode of ‘The Strain’ on my laptop so I watched that whilst my boyfriend slept peacefully next to me.. to which I must say I was very envious. I always have a problem sleeping after alcohol. Always opting for water or cordial in any other given day I think once I have fuelled myself with the nectar of rum, or the like, my body goes into some kind of sugary overload and prefers to keep me awake as some cruel punishment opposed to allowing me to sleep in a sluggish hangover.
We were soon up and about again making a fire outside and some dinner. The night was not as clear on the second night but just as still. It was so quiet the only interruption was the occasional sheep bleating or the sound of a cow mooing as its call ricocheted across the valley.
As well as a romantic get away this would be great location for a group of friends to rent out a yurt and gather around a camp fire.
It really was bliss and a place I would highly recommend. I have never quite felt so at peace and relaxed and I truly hope we go back sometime and maybe when it is warmer. Although saying that, outside the tipi was winter clothing but inside you would have thought we were in the Bahamas as that chimnea really kicks out some heat.
My boyfriend decided he wanted to live in a tipi after this adventure and you can’t get a better review than that.