“What’s a YURT?”
If I had a penny for every time I’ve been asked that question, I’d have been able to pay for the overnight stay!!! If you consult Wikipedia, you will find that a yurt is ‘a portable, round tent covered with skins or felt and used as a dwelling by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia.’ There are several varieties of yurt and all share the essential circular shape, trellis walls, and roof poles radiating from a central wheel.
I don’t know why I wanted to sleep in one… I just did. Some romantic notion of being at one with nature and greener living…well, something like that anyhow. Whatever the motivation, I did my research and came across Ty Parke Yurts and Camping near St. David’s in Pembrokeshire, which looked just the ticket. Their website gave a minimum 3-night stay…but given that this was the last weekend of the season, the owner Gary was willing to accommodate my request for just a single night (although I have to say, I’d have been happy to be able to stay longer!).
So, after the Visit Barafundle Bay challenge, Jo and I set the satnav for Ty Parke. We arrived at around 6pm, and were shown around by Gary – the firewood shed, the multiple recycling bins (plus a small one for landfill), the shower block (including compost toilet) and finally our yurt. We stayed at Ash Tree Yurt, which sits in the corner of a large meadow on which tents can pitch – thought thankfully none were there this weekend. We had our own extremely well equipped kitchen tent, with gas burner stove and picnic table, plus two ‘stargazer’ benches beside a fire pit… Inside the yurt was a double bed and two single futons, a table and chairs and a woodburner. Rugs on the floor, hooks on the frame for clothes… it was really lovely.
We weren’t allowed to bring the car onto the meadow, so we unloaded our luggage (enough for a week rather than a night!!) into a wheelbarrow and transported it to our accommodation. Beds made and food stowed in a fox/badger-proof box in the kitchen, it was time to start the fires and open the champagne. We sat on the benches, watching the sun set, drinking, chatting, and adding logs to the fire pit. We had a light evening meal – not much food needed after lunch in Stackpole and ice-cream in Narberth – popped another cork, and watched as the constellations above became clearer and clearer. Bliss.
At about 10.15 we decided to turn in for the night, drunk on bubbly and the fresh air of the day. Into the yurt we went, to find that the woodburner had all but gone out. And it was COLD! We got it going again, but the air inside had got pretty nippy, and try as we might we couldn’t get that yurt warm! Jo got mummified in her sleeping bag, while I crawled under my duvet wearing pyjamas, a hooded sweatshirt (with hood up), bootie slippers, and with two blankets on top of me. And I was still so cold I thought my nose was going to fall off!! In the morning, Jo told me that she’d woken up in the night and reckoned that I hadn’t moved an inch… not surprising as any movement found a *very* cold patch of bed!!
Not the best night’s sleep for either of us…
By 7.45, the yurt was so light that we were both awake. Jo trundled off to the toilet block; I was too lazy and took the ‘au naturel’ option. Then we stoked up the woodburner – much more successfully this time – and got the kettle on. I decided to take myself back under the duvet with my cuppa… and threw back the covers to find that I’d been sharing my bed with a big black beetle….aaargh!!! Three cups of coffee, scrambled egg on
toast bread for breakfast, and it was time to pack up to leave.
We had ice-cream in St David’s before winding our way home across the Preselli Hills to the M4, with a brief stop in Laugharne for caffeine. We arrived home, shattered, at about 5 pm.
All in all, sleeping in a yurt was great fun and despite the fact that our rookie error with the woodburner made for a very cold night, we both agreed that we would very much like to do it again and would thoroughly recommend Ty Parke as a great place for a different kind of week/weekend away. Thank you Gary and Annie for having us. Getting back to nature is good fun 🙂
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