Updated: Feb 4
Hi, I’m Beckie. Owner/Manager of Bumblebarn, mum, wife, animal addict, gin lover & horse person.
I am an outdoorsy person, and a former scout leader. I grew up camping, and I used to love it… and I didn’t think much of Glamping!
If you were going to do it you should do it properly… right?!
Well, turns out I was just suffering from “young, childfree and naive” syndrome.
After having my second baby in 2016 (they’re two years apart) I was bored of being stuck under a sleeping/feeding baby all summer (she was born at the start of July) AND trying to entertain a toddler, I INSISTED we go camping for a “break” (HA)
So, after finding all the stuff, packing ALL THE STUFF, locating a suitable campsite (only half an hour away cos y’know, the baby hates the car seat) we set off. We set up our tiny tent. We endlessly organised bedding. We walked to the pub carrying both the children to have a meal and bought a single bottle of cider each from the village shop on the way back to the campsite. Wild.
Then my back started to hurt, this had happened a few times in recent weeks and the nurse at my GP Surgery said it was probably a muscle spasm. It really blinking hurt and this was the worst ‘bout’ of the pain I’d had. It lasted ALL NIGHT as I lay on a thin mat in a cold tent feeding my 7 week old baby who thought sleep was for wimps. Yuck.
The next day it eased a tad, before coming back with a vengeance. We packed everything back into the car and went home, before I was encouraged to go to A&E by a nurse friend. My mum drove me and the car-seat-hating-bottle-refusing baby. I was convinced I was wasting their time with my muscle spasm. It turned out to be gallstone pancreatitis – my pancreas was blocked by a rogue gallstone (which I didn’t even know I had) and was digesting itself. Yay. A three day, nil- by-mouth hospital stay followed, still with the 7 week old baby attached. Oh, it was NOT fun.
So, fast forward a bit and I’m not longer particularly attracted to the idea of camping. We bought a trailer tent and I had some fun trips out with a friend and her trailer tent and kids that next summer, it was great having someone to go off with for a few days when our husbands were at work and we helped each other cook and entertain the gaggle of kids and no one ended up in A&E…!
We still had a lot of stuff to take, food, bedding, assorted baby stuff… Those things need to come with their own pack horse I swear. It made me think actually, that Glamping lark sounds great. Everything provided? No having to pack loo roll and pans and plates and cutlery and bedding? Hmm…
Ideas were shared, pictures were drawn, and the vision of a child friendly, family friendly, accessible and eco friendly Glamping site emerged.
A place where you only had to bring your clothes, wash kit and some food. A place with a secure fence and no cars on site. A place with a sea view and ponies next door (we already had those things, which was a bonus!). A place where you could just turn up and relax. A place where if you fancied toasting marshmallows, there were already some suitable sticks so you didn’t disappoint anyone/have to go to the shop. A place where you didn’t have to compromise.
So we built it.
It was the most stressful and challenging thing we’ve ever done. My husband and I worked until 3am many nights. We argued. We negotiated. We worked. We juggled small children. My parents worked. Anyone who popped round was made to work! We spent our savings. We learned A LOT.
And in April 2018 we opened!
We cleaned toilets and made beds and chatted to so many guests that first year, it felt so amazing that people WANTED to come to our site! They booked online before there were even any photos because we didn’t have any, we had a muddy field! We were literally crawling around in mud and snow trying to create our vision. When we opened, they came and they enjoyed it! We listened to everything that was said, advice and ideas and experiences. We adjusted things, adding a more powerful boiler, a bigger fridge freezer, a second shower & toilet when we closed at the end of that first season and had made some money to make improvements.
We didn’t pay ourselves, and we didn’t pay ourselves back. Every penny earned went back into the site and when we opened again in April 2019 we were thrilled with the result of yet another winter of hard work, mud and marital stress!
We also decided to buy a herd of alpacas, as you do. There followed months of training (both the alpacas and ourselves!), license application, insurance negotiation and then launching our Alpaca Experiences in the summer of 2019. We walked Sheringham Carnival Parade, introduced loads of people to these wonderful animals and even got paid to sit in a pub garden with them – result!
After an amazing summer in 2019 we once again closed the site for the winter and continued to make improvements. That’s where we are now; once again we have a muddy field, lots of Alpacas to feed, sheds to paint, planting to do, tents in boxes in my bedroom and a tonne of vacuum packed bedlinen stored in my parents house. We’re doing the behind the scenes work every day, accounts, website updates, taking bookings & deposits for 2020 and 2021! Planning new and exciting things, reserving hot tubs, and still walking alpacas regularly too – we’ve even got a contract with a local resort to do regular walks for their guests starting next week!
What a journey it has been so far, and there’s still so much to look forward to! I can’t wait to be open again, I love when the site is green and it’s sunny, I love greeting guests and hearing laughter around the campfire. I love cleaning the site between guests! Sounds strange, but I love cleaning and ensuring everything is as I would like to find it makes me happy.
This is more than a job, or a business. It’s a lifestyle, and I couldn’t be more pleased with how it’s going.
I look forward to greeting you!