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to want to camp under the stars?

(25 Posts)
pipedreamer Mon 29-Apr-13 15:08:00

Regular with a name-change as I may give identifying details and would prefer not to be recognized on my other threads.

I grew up in the States and Canada, and we went camping every summer. Now I live in Ireland and I am keen to take my daughter camping.

But I find myself stymied by what I can only conclude is a geographical and cultural divide. (I have been camping in North America within the last five years, so I know it isn't a generational divide alone!)

To me, camping means sleeping in a tent, at a site that is fairly remote or at most, near to a few other tents. Facilities might consist of a shower room and toilets. Entertainment is what you make yourself. If very lucky, there might be a bit of beach. There will certainly be woods or hills for walking. Food is what you bring in. There's probably a crappy shop somewhere nearby, but certainly no restaurants. If it rains, its a bit miserable, because you are camping, but that is part of the deal.

But when I start googling and researching camping in Ireland or the UK, it is a different world. Facilities seem to include activity classes for kids, restaurants, water parks, 'camper kitchens'....leisure activities?? But camping is a leisure activity already, surely!

Sites look really crowded and seem to be shared with caravan parks. The appeal seems to be in getting together with other families, resort-style, rather than being alone in the countryside.

Let me stress, I am not a hardcore outdoor enthusiast, and am not looking to take my toddler into the outback and feed her on wild dogs I've strangled with my bare hands. But neither do I want to be surrounded by crowds and entertainments. I just want a bit of nature and peace and yes, a bit of 'roughing it'.

Can anyone help me out here? Am I looking for something that doesn't exist here?

meebles Mon 29-Apr-13 15:15:57

that sounds heavenly! most of my campsite searches are looking for a site like that. I've been looking at a place called Inwood in hampshire...might try it out soon.

LadyBeagleEyes Mon 29-Apr-13 15:20:20

I'm sure there's loads in the Highlands, we have one here, a toilet and shower block is as luxurious as it gets, and a village shop.
I've seen them in the Lakes too.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Mon 29-Apr-13 15:21:02

This sort of thing? Try using search terms like wild camping, forest camping.

Waltons Mon 29-Apr-13 15:25:01

Try the Camping and Caravanning Club

LadyBeagleEyes Mon 29-Apr-13 15:26:10

I did wonder what search terms you were using Op.

Rosesforrosie Mon 29-Apr-13 15:26:51

Sites like that definitely exist, they are just less likely to have a website!

gerbilsarefun Mon 29-Apr-13 17:04:42

We use Camping and Caravanning Club Certificated Sites. They are small and basic, some with toilet/showers, and usually just a field on a working farm. In my opinion, worth the fee to join the club.

andubelievedthat Mon 29-Apr-13 17:33:07

Cambeltown may be the place you want to be ,very remote, very unspoilt tiny old style,,unchanged town, and lots of basic sites ,Atlantic rollers, never anyone on miles of beach because they all piss of to Spain on Easyjet(yahh!),loads of historic stuff e.g.castle,caves with century old scary paintings in/onwall, seals lolling around on rocks looking daft,and nice small population, wonderful place, you may give it a google ,oh and that beetle bloke ,Mccartney,he has a spread there ,i saw him in town many years ago ,but like everyone else ,so what, ?he gets left alone ,its that sort of place ,i think you would luv it.

Cookethenook Mon 29-Apr-13 17:43:08

I always mock DP for his 'camping' experiences he has as a child.... they did eurocamping where their tent was already put up for them when they arrives and the campsites had play parks, swimming pools and tv rooms! We dug our own toilets and washed in freezing cold streams smile
This is a great book that might have what you're looking for.

Cookethenook Mon 29-Apr-13 17:43:27
Ooops, sorry!

YoniOrNotYoni Mon 29-Apr-13 17:55:12

What search terms are you using?! I've only ever been to sites like your first description. Have you tried the Cool Campsites website or the Rough Guide to Camping?

pipedreamer Mon 29-Apr-13 18:03:12

Oh, wow. Lots of help here!
I was just using search terms like "camping" and "campsites". And I kept coming across articles like this
which just made me think I was on the wrong track.

I will try 'wild camping' now.

ANd I didn't think of Rough Guide, I like their travel guides.

Also I am going right now to google cambeltown!


pipedreamer Mon 29-Apr-13 18:04:39

oooh, galloway - i remember now hearing about them years ago for their 'dark skies'...and meant to remember it for the future!

ratspeaker Mon 29-Apr-13 18:42:56


some "campers kitchens" are a couple of gas burners with a sink outside Durness- lovely beaches, although it has a restaurant and bar nearby you can camp a fair bit away from them.
There's Spar shop nearby but both it and the petrol station are closed on Sundays up the west coast of Scotland near Achiltibuie
( if you want a meal in the bar, which is up the hill, it's best to book)
we saw a pod of porpoise in the bay when we were there.
The campsite is a field, with a tap.
There's local public toilets down the road.
Sheidaig is a lovely wee village, has a pub, shop and great views

andubelievedthat Mon 29-Apr-13 21:19:33

Hope i am not "crowding" your post, just a though, u could do that "google maps " thing ,if u do ,don"t stick with just the tiny town centre , go along the main(little) road to the fab little villages too ,and they have a brill art deco ciname building! which is really great to look at and is ,as i remember ,open once a week !best wishes

Casperthefriendlyspook Mon 29-Apr-13 22:23:04

We were in Galloway at this site earlier in the year - very chilled out, and lovely people.
Also, the Cool Camping books and website have loads of ideas for quirky and quieter places -
Good luck in finding somewhere fab!

pipedreamer Mon 29-Apr-13 23:05:25

OK, now I am getting more excited about the whole thing. It looks like there are more good options in Scotland than anywhere else, but I have found a few now in Ireland as well. This is great.

sashh Tue 30-Apr-13 05:13:55

Go to a motorbike rally.

You get

A pub
A field
Maybe a van selling burgers

FurryDogMother Tue 30-Apr-13 09:56:52

Also have a Google for Old Head Camping and Caravan park, Louisburgh, Mayo - it does have static caravans but also a basic field for tents, plus a bar within walking distance (child friendly), a small café, a great beach, an ancient woodland, horseriding, surfing etc. within easy reach. Fishing from the pier, rock pools with crabs and winkles in them etc. Worth a look? Surrounded by mountains and on the shores of Clew Bay, easy access to hillwalking too!

There's a nice basic campsite at Doolin, in Clare, too.

YellowDinosaur Tue 30-Apr-13 10:32:02

I love exactly the type of camping you're talking about, especially if you can have fires.

My favourite campsite is Brockwell woods in blaydon near Newcastle. It's organised wild camping in the woods - there is a tap at the entrance but other than that nothing. You can have fires and dig a hole for your toilet. And the pitches are huge and spread out (some are big enough for several tents so you can go with friends) so you are not on top of each other.

Check out the camping forum in the MN travel section for more recommendations.

whydidyoudothat Tue 30-Apr-13 10:54:46

we've camped here a few times. not to far from Hastings for the coast.

aldiwhore Tue 30-Apr-13 11:06:34

I loathe formal camping sites.

Unfortunately the really pretty sites tend to be packed in Holiday time.

Remote is quite hard to find. Pretty, not so much, but you will be sharing a field with many.

There's a field in the shadow of the Trefan peak in Capel Curig, North Wales that is wonderful... it has a loo, and a sink. No electric, no family entertainment, mostly walkers. My children love the walks around there.

DeepRedBetty Tue 30-Apr-13 11:12:02

Sadly any site that's made it into Cool Camping will either be (a) swamped or (b) four times as much in fees as it used to be.

At least that's what happened to the two I already knew and (previously) loved when that bloody book was published and every tealight-and-bunting bell tent owner got their Jo Malone scented fingers on it.

Casperthefriendlyspook Thu 02-May-13 14:58:00

I have to say we've been to a fair few spots from Cool Camping - Galloway, Kintyre, Dornoch, Mull, and none have been mobbed, or over priced. Maybe it's different in really busy tourist season, but we had a fab time at each of those mentioned.... Oh, and I don't work for cool camping, or have Jo Malone stuff! (Or a bell tent)

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