Category Archives: As Bare As You Dare

Nakation – France (August 2013)

This August, I spent a fantastic fortnight in France.  After deciding that Barcelona was too expensive for a 4 night break, I looked into alternative holiday destinations.  Thankfully, with the help of a borrowed tent we were able to spend two glorious weeks in France!

Looking for a place to visit (somewhere warm, naturist and not too far from the Port) I delved into my back issues of H&E Magazine, consulted the Bare Beaches handbook and searched online, we chose Euronat.

Despite the longer than expected drive from Calais (with an overnight stop in Tours), Euronat is amazing!

The aforementioned Bare Beaches book describes Euronat as “large and modern, offering camping, caravanning and luxury self-catering chalets.  There are shops, restaurants, a big indoor pool and a spa with sea-water treatments, all set in a pine forest.  It’s a peaceful place much loved by visitors for it’s friendly atmosphere.  A great place to try naked camping.”

Getting to Euronat is quite straight forward.  Take the A10 South before heading into Royan.  Here get the ferry across the Gironde (30 Euro per car one way) to Soulac-Sur-Mer.  In Soulac, take the D101 towards Grayan-et-l’Hopital where you can then follow the signs for Euronat.

Checking-in was a breeze with staff fluent in English.  They do ask for a passport photo of each guest at check in so visitors can have their identification card produced.  If you forget, they have a passport booth on site.  The card’s are used to get access to the indoor swimming pool as well as if you leave the site on bicycles (for your car, you are given a sticker for your windscreen).

Our first impression was how large the site was – it is massive!  Following the signs to our pitch, we found where we were to spend the next fortnight.  We had booked a pitch with electricity that was surrounded by pine trees, close to the sanitary blocks and waste disposal area.  Perfect!

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No BBQ’s are allowed on site so fortunately we made full use of our borrowed cooking equipment.

The commercial centre is where the bars, restaurants and shops are located.  Here we hired bikes 7 days (highly recommended) for about 30 Euros each.  Over the course of the fortnight we ate in 3 different restaurants on site:

* Bar-Restaurant L’Oree Des Pins (standard bar food including tasty pizzas, steaks and Grande Biers!)

* El Nino (spanish style tapas)

* Fish Restaurant (probably the best meal we had during the whole fortnight.  A little over-priced but good quality)

We tended to use the on-site deli counter where you could buy cartons of couscous, greek salads, local sausages and good quality Steak Hache – this we took back to the tent and cooked under the stars.

There are 2 or 3 convenience style shops, a newsagents/tobacconist, internet cafe, hairdressers and shops selling beach towels and sarongs.  Two shops worth noting though are the Boulangerie and the Cave.  Open at 7.00am, the Boulangerie was always busy particularly first thing in the morning as visitors stocked up on baguettes, croissants and delicious patisseries.  The Cave, is Euronat’s on site off-license which houses 3 enormous vats of wine where you can pick up a 2 litre bottle of vin for 2 Euros.

A word of warning though – the shops all tend to shut around 1.00pm – 3.00pm so make sure you’re better planned as we were as we got caught out on a couple of occasions!

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At night, there was often a live band playing at L’Oree Des Pins or in the main square in a temporary outdoor stage.

Elsewhere on the site there is a Thalassotherapy centre where we enjoyed a pleasant afternoon in the spa, sauna and jacuzzi (15 Euros per person for 1/2 a day).

There is also a large indoor pool, tennis courts, mini-golf, sculpture classes, pottery, basketball courts.  The list is endless and certainly provides more than enough to keep people entertained!

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The jewel in the crown at Euronat is it’s beach.  Bare Beaches describes it as a “glorious expanse of golden sand”.  The beach is a 10 minute walk from the commercial centre of a 5 minute cycle ride.  The beach is divided into 3 sections – North, Middle and South – all have lifeguards on duty but dogs are restricted to north beach.

Due to the favourable weather, the beach was always packed (particularly where the lifeguards and safe swimming zones located), although a short walk allowed everyone their own bit of space.

When the tide is out the shore-line was full of people flying kids, exploring warm pools and playing bat and ball. A word of warning though, the tide does come in very close to the sand dunes so I’d recommend you pitch up close to the back of the beach as you can.

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The beach also has unusual concrete blocks that have been graffitied, but actually make a nice addition.

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As with this part of the coast the waves can get quite big so it was no surprise that may visitors to the beach were enjoying the waves either body-boarding or taking part in one of the surf schools.

Also, this west-facing beach also allows visitors to witness the most amazing sunsets – we thoroughly recommend taking a patisserie and a bottle of wine down to the beach, sit back and watch one of nature’s wonders.

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There is a fairly relaxed approach to nudity – it is only compulsory in the indoor swimming pool and the spa.  There are signs at the beach although there was some teenagers and females wearing bikini bottoms.  This issue has led to a petition being started by (I assume) regulars of chalet owners at Euronat to campaign to the owners to enforce strict full nudity across the whole site.

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I’m not too sure that this is the way forward for Euronat – the place works because it is family friendly, relaxed and people feel comfortable.  I think if nudity was made compulsory, many people would be put off, particularly those with teenagers children and partners who do not want to be naked all the time.  In evening, 99.9% of visitors are fully clothed (it did get quite chilly at night) and to be honest I think that if you go out for a meal then clothes should be worn in the evening.

Overall, Euronat is a fantastic place to enjoy a naturist holiday.  There is a wonderful atmosphere full of people of all ages and walks of life.  I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone.

If you have been to Euronat, we’d love to hear your thoughts as well as any views on whether nudity at Euronat should be made compulsory.

Morfa Dyffryn – July 2013

Back in July, the weather forecast looked good (and having visited before), we headed across from Manchester to one of the best naturist beaches in the UK.  Barebeaches book provides the following info:

“The is Wales’ finest nude beach and one of Britain’s favourites.  With an inspiring location in the Snowdonia National Park it attracts naturists from across the country and even visitors oversees.  The golden expanse of sand shelves gently into the sea, providing perfect conditions for swimming: water quality is excellent.  The extensive dunes behind the shore form part of a national nature reserve.  Fine vistas across the bay to the Lleyn Peninsular and glimpses of distant mountain peaks inland”.

Sounds great doesn’t it? It is. Almost.

The beach is located north of Barmouth on the A496 (the coast road).  Almost exactly four miles from central Barmouth you’ll come across the village of Tal-y-bont.  Drive through Tal-y-bont and over a narrow bridge.  Shortly after this bridge you’ll come across a road down to the beach on the left-hand side (signposted ‘Traeth Beach’ and Dyffryn Seaside Estate).  Follow this road down to the first car park.  Here there is a road to the right signposted Dyffryn Seaside Estate.  Drive into the campsite and turn left at the small roundabout.  Here we paid £2 to leave the car all day.  There is a small shop where you can buy provisions.

To get to the naturist section, take the path at the top of the car park which takes you through a cut in the sand dunes.  Once you get to the beach, turn right.  It’s about a 10 minute walk to the naturist section and is marked by official notice posts (the large number of naturists will also inform you that you are there!).

Most beach-goers tend to congregate at the start of the naturist section and there was around 100 – 200 in total.  We decided to continue walking along the beach were people were more spread out. This year we were more prepared for the wind that blows across this beach so set ourselves up with windbreak and parasol.

The beach is long and wide and when the tide is out you can walk a fair distance out in the shallow water or explore the small ‘heated’ pools along the beach.  Here we sat and soaked up the sun whilst watching small hermit crabs in the shallow pools.  All in all it is a lovely beach with a pleasant atmosphere – families playing in sea, beach-goers of all ages chatting, and people flying kites.

However, as mentioned in my previous blog there is also an atmosphere of lewd sexual behaviour (particularly with men congregating in the sand dunes).  Although the day we were there, the activity actually happened on the beach.  Right next to us.

A few hours after we arrived, a middle aged couple arrived and set up to our right – our wind break meant that we could see them until we wandered down to the sea.  On coming back from a refreshing dip, I noticed that the man was quite clearly masturbating his partner whilst she say on her back.  You would think they would stop having been caught so to speak but instead nonchalantly carried on!  What is it with some people?! Can we not go to the beach and enjoy a few hours sunbathing naked without the need to witness this kind of behaviour? No wonder naturists get a bad name (and which led to the closure of Holkham Beach).

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If anyone has been to Morfa before we’d love to hear from you! What was your experience?

 

 

Nakation Event – Brighton Naked Bike Ride (June 2013)

After taking part in the Manchester Naked Bike Ride last year (click here for blog article), I really wanted to take part in the big one – Brighton!

On Sunday 9th June, I joined 600 or so others and circled round the gorgeous city in a protest against oil dependency and car culture.  WNBR’s take place around the world are a celebration of the bicycle as well as the power and individuality of the human body.

During the ride and immediately post ride, I have to say the whole experience was on the whole really good.  However, upon reflection I have changed my mind about participating in further rides.

The main issue that I have is with the number of intrusive photographers that the ride attracts.

The event met at Preston Park whereby the organisers had created a tented area for participants to get changed/body-painted which offered some privacy.  In addition, stewards walked around with placards asking for photographers to get permission before taking photos.  Non-participants were told to stand around the perimeter of the participants circle.  I acknowledge that the start of the ride is in the middle of a public park so making it fully private is very difficult but getting changed in front of onlookers and photographers was a little daunting.

I am mindful of my ‘day job’ and so have made sure to wear a mask at this and previous rides.  As much as I enjoy the rides, there is the sense of fear afterwards that someone is going to recognise me!

I’m not opposed to people taking photos of the event either (capturing the moment, etc) it is the photographers who turn up with their tele-photo lenses taking close up photos of female participants.  It was very noticeable that when a female participant arrived and started to undress, the photographers started twitching.

Whilst the thrill of cycling around Brighton fully naked is exhilarating, I really wouldn’t want to be a female participant – particularly if i wanted to do it as the WNBR states – ‘As Bare As You Dare’.

I am also mindful of a blog by a fellow naturist – The Naked Imp in which the author decided against participating in the 2013 Manchester Ride due to the number of close up photos of female participants that appear on porn-related websites.  I think that this is a real shame that someone who wants to participate (either as a naturist or to support car-free cultures, or both) has decided against it due to the presence of intrusive photographers.  With this in mind, I have decided to disguise all participants in the accompanying images.

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After cycling down from Preston Park, we came to the first rest spot – Hove Lawns

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Before heading back into Brighton to the second stop – Old Steine

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It was here, that I felt the most uncomfortable to be honest.  We were stood around for about 30 mins in amongst shoppers and photographers (see images above).  I actually put my shorts back on due to feeling exposed.  I didn’t see the need to stay at Old Seine for this length of time, especially as I was stood next to an elderly Brightonian who repeatedly asked me “if there were many ladies participating this year”.  I changed the subject to being from Manchester and was then asked whether there were any mixed-sex saunas in Manchester, and randomly, what the architecture was like! In addition, the PA was too quiet to listen to any of the speeches.

I was glad then, to leave the 2nd stop and head towards Kemp Town and the naturist beach

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Finishing the ride, I spent half an hour of so drinking a few celebratory beers.  However, the breeze got up so I decided to leave.

I was also put out by again, the number of photographers who were lined up along the beach taking photos of participants.  I know that participants know what they are signing up to, and the importance that the media can play in raising awareness of the cause, however, when there is a bank of photographers stood at the beach taking close-up photos, I think things are going too far.

What did amuse me (after the initial shock) was a guy post-ride sunbathing next to me who was sporting an erection who was asked if he could have his photo taken.  The guy replied no which, given the exhibitionist nature with which he was lying, I thought was a bit bizarre!

On the whole, the event was enjoyable and the response from people in the streets, stood outside bars was fantastic.  The sheer number of participants also made the event amazing and much better than Manchester.  The organisation was great with fantastic stewards and Policing.  However, if you are a female reading this, I’d think carefully about taking part given the number of voyeurs it attracts.

The Brighton WNBR Facebook page is requesting feedback for future events.  A few that spring to mind for me are:

* Increase size of changing area in Preston Park

* Scrap use of Old Steine as a rest stop – Hove Lawns was fine but think some photographers just walked down from Preston Park for another photo opportunity – maybe Old Steine was too far for them to walk to?

* Review use of PA system and location for speeches

* Liaise with Police to ensure the there is some kind of presence at the end of the ride at the beach.  What would happen if a group of photographers started to take photos at the beach on any other day? What makes it ok just because people have participated in the WNBR?