Friday, August 12, 2011

finally popped my camping cherry

It had to happen one day.....Adam & I needed a holiday, had very little money & wanted to go somewhere with mates so the dreaded C word was brought up....camping. Argh! This was my face when Art first mentioned it to me......
After a bit of persuasion I was convinced to give it a go & last weekend was that very weekend. Off we went to Edale in the Peak District with a hole in my sleeping bag, no walking shoes only Doc Martens, skinny jeans (& a dress packed for the last day in celebration that I'd survived if I made it that far) lots of layers, a partly waterproof coat & a huge can of dry shampoo. You may note that the key thing in camping was missing - a tent. We didn't own one so borrowed a spare one from Art. In the pics below I was still smiling, though it was gradually turning more & more into hysteria as we headed deeper into the countryside. I'm normally a proper country bumpkin & love being surrounded by trees & fields but as I kept reminding everyone I loved being in it but not living in it.
We arrived at the campsite/farm at about 8pm after driving down winding roads into a valley. Here I got my first taste of being in the middle of nowhere - no phone reception (which was actually really nice). We pulled up to a farm house to pay our £3 a night per person to be told that the toilets were where the house was & the campsite was down the road & over the railway track where we'd find a cold water tap in the corner of the field for water. We jumped back into the car to see where we were to be living for the next 3 days & found ourselves in the middle of a hilly field surrounded by sheep & not much else. This was when I started to panic a bit & went very quiet. Princess P was threatening to rear her head. Art & Adam got stuck in putting our tent up while I faffed around in the car hoping it would all go away & we'd be outside a little B&B any minute now with a comfy bed & loo closer than a 5min walk down a dirt track. But it didn't happen & I started to face the facts this was it & I better get on with it. As soon as our tent was up I went in & got the airbed pump going trying to make it a bit more comfy & once that was done I did feel a bit happier knowing I wasn't going to be lying on a hard floor come bedtime. By the time we sat down to cook a curry on Art's stove Mattay, Bec, Anna & Gaz had all joined Art, Sam, Adam & I & we stayed up chatting away as it got colder & colder. Thankfully Aunty Sue had told me to take a hot water bottle no matter how hot it seemed & everyone was so jealous when we turned in at midnight clutching the only source of warmth as we tucked into our sleeping bags.
The next morning after being woken up continuously by bleeting sheep Adam & I emerged about 8am. After de-tangling myself from my sheet sleeping bag & sleeping bag I staggered out of the tent wearing wellies, socks, tights, pjs, a t-shirt, a jumper, a hoody & my coat on the long treck to the loo. We pottered around after cheating a bit & getting changed in the car rather than the tent & waited for everyone else to wake up. I felt a bit better about being at one with nature until I heard the thunder rolling around the hills & panicked so made sure everything was in the car to keep dry, then once no rain came I had to get it all out again. Art cooked me a brill breakfast of fried eggs, fried bread & baked beans & we chillaxed as we waited for Towie & Sarah to arrive.
After Towie & Sarah had set up their tent we all headed out on a walk to go up the huge hill (a mountain some Londoners would say!) behind our tents. Thankfully Art came prepared with an OS Map & we set off. I was a bit worried how much I'd struggle cos I'm not the fittest person in the world but it wasn't too bad & everyone I think was quite thankful when I asked to stop every so often to catch my breath! I'm blaming it on the Docs & tight jeans personally, otherwise I'd have been springing up there like a mountain goat. Once we reached the top the view was stunning. I think when you're used to the noises & buildings of London you really notice the contrast here & it was lovely.
We decided to walk back down the other side of the hill & head to the village of Edale & find a pub for a well deserved pint, well hot chocolate. I loved the way most pubs had signs like the one below, I guess they have to say that or they'd get no business.
After a rain shower back at the campsite we got our bbq's out, (in case you hadn't guessed, yes all the bright pink stuff is mine) & started to get them lit. Adam & I had decided to go veggie seeing as there was no fridge to keep meat cold, though going by the temperature (9 degrees) I don't think we needed to worry! The other bonus of being veggie was the food cooked quicker so we ate first. We then noticed the rain clouds coming in so everyone grabbed their stoves to start cooking the rest in case it poured down any minute & just chucked them on the bbqs at the end to get that smokey taste! Thankfully the rain didn't linger so once everyone had eaten we piled the bbq
Just the heat from my little bbq made such a difference compared to the night before & we almost didn't notice the huge rain clouds developing. Art noticed them so we got everything put away while the little kettle boiled for our hot water bottles & we made our last trip over the railway bridge (complete with train going underneath) to the loo for the last time that night. Thankfully we were in our tent before the heavens opened so there wasn't much more we could do than listen to the rain. It was lovely but I tried not to think about it too much cos one minute I'd worry if anything was getting wet or I'd start to think about water & want the loo!
The next morning we woke up at 9am & I felt a bit calmer, partly cos it was the last morning(!) & partly cos I was getting a bit more used to this camping malarkey. Art cooked my breakfast again (love the fact we jumped straight back into our uni roles without any problem!) & we started to get stuff packed away. Just as we were getting the last part of the tent folded away the heavens opened for a split second so some parts got packed away damp which was a bit annoying & exactly what we were trying to avoid. Yoink.
We all drove in a convoy to another village called Hope & had a cream tea or in Mattay's case the biggest Bakewell Tart I've ever seen. After relaxing in the pub/tea room for a while we went for a wander around the village - I've noted down the Indian & Chinese Take Aways that deliver to campsites just in case we head back there again (not that we had phone reception!). Be prepared (wow I hope Anna noted the Lion King reference in there, I impressed myself!).
Everyone asked how I'd found my first camping trip & I admitted it had got better towards the end & I wasn't going to say never again, I'd have to give it another try at a more civilised campsite to fully make up my mind but I hadn't hated it or loved it. Adam had been brill though & he'd loved every minute of it & thankfully as well as everyone else really helped me get through when I started to worry about anything & everything.

Since then though I've decided camping must be a bit like childbirth (you know how people say they forget the pain & only remember the joy of giving birth & that's why they have more than one child), I say this cos Adam & I went out & bought a tent today - after telling everyone I wasn't convinced! I heard one of mum&dad's friends were selling their rather fab tent for a even fabber price so we went to see it this afternoon, helped put it up, went in it & loved it so bought it! Bring on a new type of cheap & hopefully fun way for Adam & I to get out of London a bit more often if we need a break! Hopefully this won't be the last you hear of our camping adventures..........
x x x


andyswarbs said...

Cosmopolitans camping - love it. Well done.

ktpland said...

haha cheers! thanks for lending the tent too or we could have been hugging a sheep to keep warm!