Ad – We were kindly invited by Wild Intrigue to experience their Bats & Pizza night.
One of the cool things about blogging is the opportunities that come up that manage to push us out of the usual routine. I never would have thought about spending a Friday night in rural Northumberland cooking my own stone based pizza & tracking bats, but that is exactly what we did!
Bats & Pizza nights are the brainchild of ‘Wild Intrigue’ and are held on various nights over the summer in grounds of Wild Northumbrian. The nearest village is Greenhaugh past Otterburn, so it is a bit of a trek from Newcastle (took us just over an hour) but so worth it! The site is set in a gorgeous valley with five yurts, a shepherds hut & a treehouse! Now we are a bit partial to glamping so will be popping this on the list for a future stay! Think the girls would love the novelty of staying in a tree house.
Wild Intrigue’s Bats & Pizza
After parking up near the church we were greeted by Heather & Cain from Wild Intrigue who were to be our guides for the evening. Heather had been worried about the weather as a rainstorm was about to hit, but it actually turned out to not be as bad as forecast. We are Geordies anyway so aren’t put off by a bit of rain. After grabbing a hot drink (juice for the kids) we took our space on the wooden benches in the deck of Peewit Hut & got to work on making our pizzas.
The Pizza Part of Bats and Pizza
Heather had (thankfully!) pre-made the dough so it was just up to us to stretch out the dough to a thin base then add some lovely fresh veg toppings & cheese. I have a new respect for pizza chefs as making it thin is harder than it looks no matter how much you spin it.
It was lovely to catch up with our blogging friends Rachel & James (Life in Geordieland), Sam & Steve (NE Family Fun) & Chloe & Simon (New girl in Toon) as the pizzas were cooked in the outdoor pizza oven. The kids were desperate to go to the tree swings with Heidi, Harry & Jack so they pottered off to play as soon as they finished their pizzas.
We were given a selection of fresh vegetables, basil leaves and mozzarella. We’d also been told that they were providing the ingredients as a vegetarian pizza. If we wanted to we could bring our own meat to add to the toppings. Not wanting to go against the flow the thought of a vegetarian pizza didn’t offend us. However when Simon brought out his family pack of salami, all the Hoopers were swayed!
Cain took the pizzas and was chief pizza baker. The temperature in these wood fired pizza ovens is intense and watching it you got a toasty glow on your cheeks.
What we thought was a thin pizza base soon puffed up on cooking. So next time the idea is to get the dough almost wafer thin. As it was our first time, it’s all part of the learning process.
A Nature Walk
Before the dusk set in we went off on a little wander around the campsite. To explore the wildlife around the locality. This area is one of the few places in the UK where Red Squirrels live, and the plan was to keep an eye out for them. The kids were armed with bug collection pots to collect and inspect minibeasts.
The route crossed a meadow and over a stream. To cross the stream you have to go over the most wibbly wobbly bridge which added to the fun. The kids loved it and as expected they added more wobble than required.
It wasn’t long before something caught the eye of the kids and their collection pots came out. Heather brought out her spotting guides and pointed out what they’d found.
Along the route you pass the Yurts and Huts in the woods, which look so cool. I know our two would be very excited about sleeping in a “treehouse”. Definitely one for the future glamping plans.
As the route continued we headed down a steep incline that had natural steps made from roots of the large tree. As it was drizzling the ground was slippy, which added to the fun of traversing the slope, while gripping on to the support rope.
Toasting Marshmallows around a Camp Fire
We headed back to the campsite where Cain had managed to get the campfire going. Willow sticks were handed out and we got onto the business of toasting marshmallows. The kids managed to get two wedged on their sticks for optimum toasting! Hot Drinks were provided again. A quick show of hands favoured Hot chocolate for everyone. This went down well too as the temperature dropped.
Time For the Bats
Heather explained the different type of bats we have in this country & how by using the bat detector you can tune into their high frequency to hear them chatter. It didn’t take long before a bat flew overhead and we’d picked up it’s clicking noise on the detectors.
The harder thing to do is actually photograph a bat, but out of about 50 photos I actually caught one. You can just about see the bat in the sky by the trees. They are so fast and swoop around the area in the dusk. It can take a little time to tune into spotting them because of their speed.
Bats & Pizza Night was a massive hit with the whole family & can thoroughly recommend booking onto one of their nights. The girls loved the campfire & we just loved chatting with our friends making the pizzas. It was so nice to break from the norm & reconnect with the great outdoors.
Bat & Pizza Nights: Cost £12 adults, £10 under 18’s & under 5’s free/
Address of Campsite: ThorneyburnTarset, Hexham, Northumberland NE48 1NA