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Anyone considering not camping this summer? A rant.

(44 Posts)
Erebus Tue 26-Jul-11 10:18:51

- Cos I have just gone and done it. I have crossed the bridge of no more English camping. There, I said it.

I just called (absolute last minute I was allowed to!) to cancel our summer camping trip. Lost the deposit but it was only £20, and I reckon that's a small price to pay now I have come to my senses and recalled that the last 4 summer camping trips have been between 'compromised' if not ruined by rubbish weather, AND they've been getting worse, from 3 days out of 7 in Lyme Regis (inc sitting on the beach in hoodies on the good days), to 4" of rain in North Devon last summer, absolutely no sun and a huge petrol bill as we spent days driving a bit aimlessly around. I think that was the trip that broke my spirit- it took 2 weeks to scrub the red clay mud off the tent and dry it off; it took a month to finally get rid of the fungal foot infections we picked up by having wet feet ALL the time; we barely socialised with our friends in the next tent as it was far too cold, wet, windy and miserable to sit outside beyond the huddle in the day tent to eat, after 5pm (the DCs watched DVDs, back to back on their laptop every evening!).

I confess my eyes have been opened a little, albeit expensively, by an Easter trip (yes, I know, Easter, which was The English Summer this year!) to Australia visiting family where we stayed in 2 resorts for 4 days apiece, in units. No mud! Things to do inside on the one day it drizzled! Warm drizzle at that. Free use of a washing machine and tumble drier (Devon cost us £15 in drier bills!- I can do 'grubby' but not damp).

Thing is, I am a camper! I have always camped inc some rugged, carry everything hill walking. We have camped every year for the 8 we've been in the UK. But I have just reached the point where I sadly concede it is no longer worth our while. The 'trade offs', the sitting outside in a pleasant field, DCs off running around in shorts and T shirts, BBQ sizzling, wine in hand, sun slowing setting over a bucolic scene of English summer evening loveliness- well, it just hasn't happened for us for 4 years now, but the mildewed tent, the constant mild, damp discomfort, the having to take the entire winter wardrobe as well as shorts and T shirts (and buying a trailer to carry all the excess 'rain-proof' gear, wellies, gortex, fleece x 4 apiece, tarpaulins +++), then having to wash everything when I get home has!

So today, late July when the weather forecast said '23 degrees with occasional showers' and in fact we have 12 degrees and a deluge has convinced me. DS1 is out on a school trip (hopelessly ill equipped as I had to choose what he should take as he has to carry it all day and I decided on a change of summer clothes, a light rugby shirt and a kagoule, based on what I thought I knew!) and will come home wet through and possibly miserable!

Grr.

As you were.

fruitshootsandheaves Tue 26-Jul-11 10:25:52

Get a caravan..that's what we did after a horrible night of gales and rain in our tent.
Best thing ever! Can still go in horrid weather, if it's cold we just put the heating on! grin. Went to the Lake district for 2 weeks. Rained everyday but the fact that neither us nor our clothes or bedding were damp or cold made all the difference. Ir you're towing a large trailer with all the equipment in and a huge tent as we were you may as well be towing a caravan.

TooManyBlossoms Tue 26-Jul-11 10:26:53

The year before last we camped in Woolacombe for a week in August. It rained constantly. The fifth night we were woken up in the early hours to a scene of devastation - monsoon rain and howling winds had trashed the campsite - tents were ruined and the site was flooded. We chucked everything in the car and drove the 8 hour journey home in our wet pjs. I then vowed never again.

Fast forward to this year. As a 3rd year student nurse, money is tight, so it was either a camping holiday in this country or nothing at all...this year we've bought a little, very old caravan, so we do have more "luxurious" accommodation, but still, my dreams of sitting in the awning sipping pimms have been sadly dashed.

We're going to Cornwall in 2 weeks...can't say I'm particularly looking forward to it sad.

Selks Tue 26-Jul-11 10:30:13

Go camping in France or Spain, that's the answer!

Selks Tue 26-Jul-11 10:31:00

Or get a campervan with an awning.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 26-Jul-11 10:33:15

Yes, I got a campervan for these reasons. The trade off though is lack of space in a small van, but there is only me and DD and we take a pop up tent as well for storage.

But even with the van we packed up early last year and left. We were in Woolacombe as well and it was like a monsoon. It was too wet to venture out to do stuff in the rain and we soon got fed up of being cramped in the van.

We're going to Tenby in 2 weeks. Fingers crossed.....

Erebus Tue 26-Jul-11 10:56:01

Ah, selks -we actually decided, 4 years ago, to do just that (France) BUT then the £ did that thing against the Euro and it became unaffordable.

Somehow, a caravan feels like cheating, which is a stupid and ludicrous thing to think! My early holiday memories (40 years ago!) are of my dad growling at 'bloody caravans' crawling along the A303 to Dorset/Cornwall as we took a canvas square frame tent to Charmouth, but the thing is, those roads have become way faster with dual carriageways etc. Campsite now have nice areas for caravans whereas once they had a soulless concrete slab up by the loos for them so it really should be considered, esp as I am hanging my tent hat up!

I like campervans, my reservation being the need to take the whole thing with us when we day trip to the beach (see that? I said 'beach' as if there was a chance one day of the holiday might be nice enough to go to the beach!)

Mm. Caravans......

Thanks everyone for not laying in to me like I had broken the Holy Pact with the Camping Brotherhood. I really like camping when the odds are stacked marginally in our favour but, like everyone else on here, I work hard all year, my leisure time is limited, I need my family-time holiday and I just don't want to come away from it for the 5th year in a row thinking 'Thank god that's over'!

Ephiny Tue 26-Jul-11 14:24:57

We had a rainy but nice camping trip with friends recently. Things that helped it work - a gazebo for cooking under, a big campfire so even in the rain we could all stand around and be warm (and dry on one side at least!), tent with 'porch' area so the wet boots/waterproofs could be left in there keeping the sleeping compartment dry. Didn't get wet clothes or feet at all as we were in waterproofs (and waterproof shoes) when outside, and it was lovely being snuggled up inside at night listening to the rain.

We were lucky though l that we got the tents up before the rain really started, might have felt like just going home if we got there and had to put the tent up in the pouring rain. The damp dog smell in the tent wasn't ideal either hmm.

I think there's no point if you're not enjoying it though, it's supposed to be a holiday not a punishment!

Scholes34 Tue 26-Jul-11 15:07:33

Would normally camp, but as we're off to North Wales this year, thought this was pushing our luck, so have opted for a cottage. We're then off to the north of England to take advantage of the YHA offer of £29 per family room per night. Am looking forward to having warmth, dry and electricity. We are looking to camp at the end of the holidays though, as I will miss it desperately otherwise. We have a tarp and a porch on the tent, but DH always insists on cooking outside. Have had some lovely holidays though with DH and DCs all snug in the tent, rain outside and washing drying around us, but listening to music on the radio, eating nice snacks and playing cards and drawing straws to see who goes out to make the next coffee - don't forget the Italian stove top coffee maker for excellent coffee!

ShowOfHands Tue 26-Jul-11 15:15:45

I've just had a fortnight in Devon. It was bloody hot. We sat in the sun, had bbqs, wore shorts/t-shirts (and they were too hot), swam, paddled, ate icecream and had a lovely time.

I worked out a long time ago that British summertime is what it is and what it always has been. People expect long periods of scorching sunshine and realistically it doesn't work like that. Never has actually. I heard an interview with a weather man on t'radio the other day and he was saying that people moan to him every year about 'summer <scoff> what summer?' and actually summer has always been the same. We just remember it differently as we get older/grumpier. So in the end there's never bad weather, only the wrong clothes.

Oddly enough though, holidays in May/June ime (I used to go then because it was cheaper/quieter, but now because it suits me in many ways) are always a lot more successful in terms of warm weather than holidays in July/August.

strandednomore Tue 26-Jul-11 15:21:21

I don't do camping - too many bad memories of shivering in a damp tent in the lake district as a child. Would rather stay home, at least there's a toilet within a few feet of every (warm and comfortable) bed in the house, plus hot showers on tap!

Erebus Tue 26-Jul-11 17:17:32

Yes, ShowofHands My good friend has just had a fab week in the Lake District. She has learned of the need to go at the very start of her DCs private school holidays. We, being of a more plebeian persuasion, are forced towards the rain of August. Every year.

Yes, we may have a 'meteorological summer' but it no longer coincides with 'state school summer'!

ShowOfHands Tue 26-Jul-11 18:23:43

Erebus, I hear you as a fellow pleb. This is the last year we'll be able to take term time holidays so from next year it will mean contingency plans and packing wellies.

<shrug> I like living in England. I like rain even. A holiday's what you make it. If camping no longer works for you then do something else. I like camping, rain or shine.

reelingintheyears Tue 26-Jul-11 18:27:04

We were really lucky this year.
We went camping on the first weekend in July and had five scorchingly hot days.
I don't mind the rain either.
I just love camping.

ivykaty44 Tue 26-Jul-11 18:32:23

camping in France, and don't ever book - as then you move on to somewhere dry if it dares to drizzle. take camper van with awning for sun or rain and lots of comfort

cjbartlett Tue 26-Jul-11 18:37:30

We just go last minute
So look at the forecast and think excellent weather this weekend and off we go
Only drive about an hour away and go for the weekend

Erebus Tue 26-Jul-11 19:10:35

Oh yes, I love camping too! But not necessarily when the small window of 'holiday-success' what with the needs of Other People, (like children), have to be factored in, and it's lashing down- need to be factored in. If it were all about me, that'd be different, but I want all of us to enjoy it!

Fennel Tue 26-Jul-11 19:17:01

I do know the feeling. What we usually do is arrange our camping at short notice and rearrange or cancel if the forecast is bad. That way we have rarely had a rubbish camping trip in the UK that's lasted more than a couple of nights, cos we just go home, or occasionally we have booked into a hotel for a night.

I like camping in France or Spain much more but DH tends towards the UK holidays. But by just not going if the forecast is awful we have avoided the miserable weeks other people seem to suffer.

We are going to be stuck this summer though as we've booked 10 days in the Scillies with tent but no cars allowed. So we can't come home if it's bad. I am really hoping it lives up to its Sub-Tropical Paradise hmm reputation.

Fennel Tue 26-Jul-11 19:17:47

by the way I don't know where it's 12 degrees but here in Devon it is lovely and hot this week.

Erebus Tue 26-Jul-11 19:24:58

But- don't you find you can't get IN at the desirable sites if you leave it 'last minute' these days?

Ah! The Scillies! St Agnes?

As for 12 degrees- on my in-car thermometer at 10am this morning in Hampshire.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Tue 26-Jul-11 19:58:32

We are in Norfolk at the moment and it's alright! Okay, it's not as hot as we would have liked but the ds's are loving the freedom of the campsite and we have managed one afternoon in the sea.

I can remember shit Caravanning holidays as a child when the weather was awful, nothing much has changed.

Fennel Tue 26-Jul-11 21:30:07

We can always find campsites we like at the last minute. We like sites without that many facilities, quite a few of them don't take bookings. Or we can nip in at the last minute when other people have cancelled.

Yes we have got 5 days on the St Agnes campsite, and I did have an idyllic couple of days there when I was 16. And 5 days on St Mary's. We have just been trying to sort our camping gear and see how to transport it, in a mere 2 bags each. We tend to throw lots of stuff loose into the car, except for overnight backpacking which we are good at, but that's not for 10 days with kids. I might have to start a "Help has anyone ever camped in the Scillies?" thread.

It is still warm here this evening, the kids are all out having water fights.

Ceolas Tue 26-Jul-11 21:41:07

Even up here in Scotland it's been baking today. We camped at the weekend. It didn't rain.

reelingintheyears Tue 26-Jul-11 21:42:06

Try Woody Hyde near Corfe Castle in Dorset.

We go there every year and never have to book.

Erebus Wed 27-Jul-11 08:03:12

I went to St Agnes years ago and stayed in the newly created holiday cottage/s on the farm. My friends camped. Iirc, all the campers gear was loaded from the Scillonia onto the St Agnes 'ferry' by the staff, then on St Agnes loaded onto the trailer of the farm's tractor and then driven onto the campsite. Some people had a lot of gear!

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