Rough Glamping in Cumbria
A quick blog on a recent camping trip in the Lake District. We are lucky enough to have use of a field near Ullswater and in the summer often head up there for a spot of wild camping. No need for electrical hookups, hot showers, toilet blocks and all that nonsense, all we need is the field, a tent, some good gear, some wood, a fire, beer and we’re away. Glamorous Camping with an Edge….
Whilst we may not have all the mod cons on tap, there’s no need to be unprepared and half the fun of camping is getting all the gear out of the roof beforehand, finding out what the mice have not eaten (foam mats being a particular favourite) and sorting it all out. Loading the landrover with said gear, son and dog is also always an experience. Luckily this year I managed without having to resort to strapping the Morgan the hound to the roof. 5 minutes in the great Patterdale Village Store for some food and a disposable bbq, and a quick trip to Catstycam, our local outdoor gear shop in Glenridding to replace the mice mauled foam mats and get a few new tent pegs and we’re all set.
Setting Up Camp
Obviously being August in the Lake District one wouldn’t expect perfect weather but any hope of a break in the incessant rain to at least allow us to put the tent up are soon dashed. Howling wind and lashing rain add to the sense of adventure as we fumble around in the wet grass fixing poles and pegging in guy ropes before the tent takes us on a giant balloon ride. We also assemble a cheap and cheerful gazebo to give us some notional cover for cooking and eating. Obviously this was designed for keeping the sun off on an August bank holiday rather than camping in a Force 10, but some hastily added gaffer tape and additional guy ropes will hopefully hold it in place for the night. Sods law being sods law of course having struggled for an hour to get the camp in place under a monsoon as soon as it’s all up and secure the rain stops and the sun comes up. Oh happy days…
The Camp Fire
Quite rightly most campsites don’t allow campers to randomly chop down trees, dig big pits in the ground and have huge bonfires. Luckily for us we can do all of these things on this field so we do. Obviously rather than chop down trees we hunt around for logs and branches which have been ripped up in the last year of hurricane Lake District weather and soon assemble a fine collection. Much sweating with the bow saw later means we even have a passable collection of logs. Obviously it’s all damp as hell but a quick solution is to light a disposable BBQ, shove it in the fire pit, and stack the logs and branches on top. An hour later we have a BBQ to cook on and a bunch of wood dry enough to keep us going for the evening. BTW top tip to keep your fire going overnight – put stones on top of what’s left of it and it’ll keep fizzling away safely all night. Who needs Ray Mears….
The Evenings Festivities
BBQ goes well and camp fire does it job until Morgan goes strangely quiet as we’re all ging gang goolying. Soon realise he’s under the gazebo with his head in a bag and 2 packets of breakfast bacon inside him. Ho hum. And at that point the heavens open again so it’s time to head for the tent. This being the 21st century the days of reading books by torchlight are long gone and within 5 minutes all is dark except for the glow from various Ipods and gadgets and quiet except for the distorted racket of various films and music through headphones. And so to sleep…
Well for all that it except Morgan, who decides that spending the night in a tent with a full moon outside and various foxes, badgers and stray sheep wandering around is not going to be easy. So he gets into a routine of settling for 10 minutes, waking, barking, being let out of the tent, disappearing for 30 minutes, waiting for me to come out in the rain to look for him, back into the tent, settling, waking, and on and on and on.
The Morning After
Eventually I fall asleep with my head out of the tent waiting for him to return from his latest patrol, only to be woken up by him slobbering over me wondering what on each I’m doing. Still the benefit of being in the great outdoors is you get to experience the sunrise, so I do. The fire is still smouldering despite the overnight torrents so I kick it back into life and enjoy the morning dawn.
Needless to say by the time everyone else wakes up at a more reasonable hour it has started raining again. So with no bacon, cold, wet and grumpy offspring, and a grouchy dog we decide to head for home. We pull down the Gazebo (which takes all of about 30 seconds) and decide to leave the tent until it’s stopped raining (so that’ll be next June then) and head for home.
Oh the joys of Lake District Camping!