I've never been one for basic accommodation and camping really didn't appeal to me. Then I rediscovered myself a few years ago and decided to try new things; that bucket list making an appearance, hypothetically perhaps, but I decided to dig out the sleeping bag nonetheless. We've been a few times now, each time to a different camp site. And I have to say, I surprise myself when I tell people how much fun it is to get outdoors, sleep (almost) under the stars, and listen to the rustle of wildlife just inches away.
Jon and I have just spent a very enjoyable weekend in one of our favourite counties, Derbyshire. This time we visited a campsite near Bakewell. Arranged around an abundance of meadows and nestled against a picturesque hillside, the site was a short stroll from the local village pub. The bonus being that the food in there is exceptional and they even have a pool table, on which we spent the majority of Saturday afternoon in our own little pool league. I ignored the comments from one guy who obviously assumed, as a woman, I didn't know one end of the pool cue from the other, and I do hope he witnessed me pot the black on our fifth game - best out of five; not one to brag, of course.
We got chatting to our neighbours in the tent next-door, who were obviously serious campers with their fire-pit and gas stove, collapsible washing up bowl and various utensils that you tend to find in the aisles at Go Outdoors. They even had a string of solar lights around the porch of their tent. Oh, and a television. Jon and I sat outside our pole tent looking in envy at their air tent and their little set-up of luxury as we flicked off the bugs and beetles that assumed they'd been invited to a pyjama party in our sleeping bags.
Yes, we lived rather basically for two and a half days, a couple of tarpaulin sheets tucked around the insides of the tent to stop the rain coming in on our first night - though it didn't stop the drips, unfortunately. We did take a bucket, though. We had a feeling the toilet block would be a bit of a trek. But I'm happy to report that damp sleeping bags, a bug bash and a pole tent with an intermittent drip hasn't put either of us off, and so we have taken the plunge and invested in a very nice air tent with a porch (posh) and my next mission is to write a list of accessories from the aisles at Go Outdoors in order to make our next camping trips a lot more luxurious (and dry).