10 June 2008

Happy campers

I appear to have ignored you all for a while. Sorry about that. It's sunny, ok? And we don't get much of that up here in the frozen north, so it's enough to turn any girl's head.

In fact, driven delirious by two whole days of sunshine I actually agreed to go camping on Saturday. I am not the world's greatest camper, and agree to endure nights under canvas only if we take (a) a blow up airbed/mattress (b) my coffee pot, so I can brew horribly strong coffee in a morning to balance out the fact I will get about three hours of sleep.

And, to be honest, it was rather fun. It didn't rain. The campsite was pleasingly low-tech and low key (two fields; a shower block in some old outbuildings), we managed to get the tent up without hitting the small child on the head with the mallet, and the 40-year-old camping stove created pasta and chorizo for tea with a minimum of fuss.

So far, so cool camping. We did look a little bit out of our league compared to the massive cars/tents/gazebos/deckchair-and-table-combos favoured by our neighbours, but hey, you've got to start somewhere. We had a bottle of wine. What more did we need?

Actually, a heater would have done nicely for a start. It was bloody freezing in the evening. With the child deliriously happy in bed in the tent, we sat in the car, read the paper, and tried not to think about the three nice pubs that we'd seen in the village.

It was still on the parky side at 4.30am, as I tried to sleep. And not much better at 7am, when everywhere outside the tent was covered in a thick carpet of condensation and dew. Still, sausages, beans and coffee for breakfast went down well (bizarrely, stirring beans on a stove was the toddler highlight of the whole experience), and it got pretty sunny fairly quickly.

Still suffering from the effects of little sleep and a massive caffeine hit, I may have agreed to repeat the whole experience.



Dinky Dory said...

My friend in the TA wants to go camping. However, i fear her version of camping and mine are very different. Hers is tiny tent, ground matt and big hill somewhere... mine at least needs a shower block or neighbours in a field! Where you went seems to be a happy medium between the two... how did you find the place/know about it? We have been looking for a while but with no joy via google!

rach said...

Dinky Dory: Hello! I came across Demesne Farm in the Guardian travel section a few weeks ago, and was so surprised to find somewhere in Northumberland for a change that we went to check it out! It really was good - two nice fields, ok facilities, and three nice looking pubs nearby. Bellingham is only 40 minutes away from Newcastle, and is right on the Pennine Way, so there's some nice walking around, and Kielder's only another 10 miles or so away.

www.demesnefarmcampsite.co.uk - don't look at this in Firefox as it's awful!

We've also tried camping at Clennell Hall (www.clennellhall.co.uk) near Alwinton (about an hour away from Newcastle, near Rothbury and just next to the Scottish Border). It's a bigger proposition (there's a few static caravans on site, for example), but you can get up into the hills at Simonside for some fantastic walking, and that 'away from it all' feel...

Enjoy, anyway. And don't be fooled by ground mats...they are hideously uncomfortable, and should be banned!

Anonymous said...

Wuss. Ground mats am ace.

Or maybe my bad back is an exact mirror image of the average bumpy field, and that's why I always feel fine after sleeping on a ground mat. Maybe I am a freak of nature...?


Nah. It's just that ground mats am ace.

rach said...

Orb: I beg to differ sir. And I always win. Hence the airbed.