To camp or not to camp that is the question

To camp or not to camp that is the question. We did it once before last summer when the girls were aged two and a half and 10 months and I vowed I would never go again. Deciding it would be good for us all to get away from the trappings of modern life – laptops, tv, mounds of noisy plastic toys – and get back to nature, we set off for a campsite in North Yorkshire.  I had images of the children playing in the grass, picking flowers and making campfires.  Things went all too well to start with, they slept in the car while we battled to erect the tent, then the sun shone as we passed the evening cooking dinner and  exploring the forest we were camping in. Then darkness fell and the nightmare began.  Well it wasn’t really that bad, but you realise exactly how loud a baby’s screams are when you are in the middle of a silent field under the stars. After an almost entirely sleepless night shivering in my sleeping bag with the squirming child, I just about dropped off before the children both woke with daylight at 5am. I was not looking forward to coming face to face with our neighbours when they finally peered out of their tents.

Then to add to the fun, it started to rain, or pour, and it showed no signs of stopping.  The novelty also seemed to be wearing off with Charlotte, two, who had already started whining that she wanted to watch Waybuloo.  After attempting  to visit the local village, hardly visible in the mist, I put my foot down and demanded to be taken home.

Anyway, here we are almost one year on to the day and we are just about to do it all over again. They are older now, there is no rain forecast, we are better prepared, it’s going to be fine…

In advance of the trip I found a book in the library called The Art of Camping. In the section on packing the author describes how one Victorian camping party set off for the lakes with two tons of kit packed on horse drawn carts, including an harmonium, a pantry tent and even a cast-iron fireplace that they then buried in the earth with the intention of digging them up the following year. As I look at our bulging car, I don’t think we are much different. It seems to defeat the point about getting back to nature when you are bringing with you quite so much stuff.

Anyway, nothing ventured, nothing gained, so we’ll give it go and hopefully last for two nights this time. If anyone feels inspired, I have a sneaking suspicion there could be some barely used tent gear on ebay very soon

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