Well ……

In just a few days we have had people ask us so many questions already!  So I’m going to try and answer a few!!

What’s the challenge?

Over the next 12 months, we plan to visit all 48 English counties, and as much as possible (hopefully all) of the rest of the British Isles! Driving through won’t count, we must stop and actually do / see something – it must be a visit of value!

This is going to be our topic ‘learning’ for the year! There is so much out there, right here on our doorstep, in our own country, that we know little, if anything, about!

Why are you doing this?15940452_1640413592652068_2609066870342315192_n

We keep talking about travelling, and we realised that England has 48 counties and we have NEVER visited the vast majority of these locations!  And there is so much to see in the rest of the British Isles!  None of us have been to Northern Ireland at all, the kids have never been to Scotland and I have only been for about an hour. Even the Republic of Ireland, where I lived, and the cubs grandparents still live, our experience of the country is very limited!  So the logical thing to do was to start here, exploring what’s on our doorstep.

We have broken the ‘countries’ of the British Isles down to 95 areas to visit!  48 counties in England, 6 areas (almost the preserved counties but not quite!) of Wales, 6 counties in Northern Ireland,  26 in Eire and 9 areas (approximately the regions) of Scotland. (Scotland was by far the most difficult for me to break down, whilst making the challenge achievable!  Hopefully we will be able to visit the many of the counties, within the regions, but I had to give us some guidance!).

Are you going to travel continuously, and how will you fund it?

NO!  And with difficulty!?

While I would love us to travel continually, hitting county by county, that can’t happen! This challenge will be undertaken in small sections!  Some counties will be covered as day trips, others will require staying over and may take place over a longer period of time.

Mr Patience still has to work, (to fund my/our gallivanting habit!!!) and the girls love their dance too much to miss loads of it! Financially we can’t afford to travel continually , and while it would be great, I am ever grateful that I am home with the wolf cubs everyday, learning and living together, and that we have the opportunity to do this at all!  We could have planned to cover just the counties we haven’t already visited, but where’s the fun / challenge in that?  And the learning this will allow is IMMENSE!!13731737_1434340803259349_2899194497930841790_n

On the whole, we are incredibly frugal as a family, so we hope to carry this through to our challenge.  (We have more chance of success if we can limit costs!)  We will hunt for bargain train fares, cheap places to stay,  travel out of season etc.  Mermaid, General and Cupcake are happier in the woods, up a mountain or on a beach, or at a free museum, than they are at ‘ticketed’ costly events.  So the plan will be to locate free events / landmarks / places of beauty in each county.  This  allows us to keep costs at a minimum, and making our only additional costs fuel and accommodation.

When we started talking about travelling as a family, we took on a paper round together.  It doesn’t pay a fortune but it does give us a weekly amount to save towards exploring!  It also encourages the children to contribute, and understand the value of earning and has taught them how to save for something they want!

Where are you going to stay?

We’re going to wing it??

Okay, that’s not a good answer, but we are going to play this by ear, and go with the flow a little!  Some areas are close enough for us to do as a day trip.  Other places we will camp, or hire a caravan.  If I can locate a kind family / friend, then that would be a bonus! Sometimes we will stay at a Premier Inn / Travelodge!  Whatever works out cheap and logical (with 3 cubs and 2 grown ups!) at the time!

Are you still with us?

That’s a brief idea of what’s going on!  We hope it makes sense!!  Where are you, and what would be top of your visit list?  (Free would be great!!!)  We intend to share all the great places we find, postcard style, and would love your recommendations, as we will be flying blind in so many areas!!!

Crazy?  Possible?  Affordable?  Who knows – but that’s what makes a challenge!

How many counties have you visited?