Camping Holidays

Camping Holidays: Cheap Holiday or Holiday from hell?

From the first holiday I can remember my parents always took us on camping holidays.

At the time I never though much about why we where going camping, it was the done thing, as it was cheap and if you didn’t like where you where, you got up and moved your tent to another campsite. I suppose at aged 6 you don´t question why you´re sat in the middle of a field in a canvas house, sleeping on the floor and having to use a bucket as a toilet!

However we had many holidays for many years doing the same thing. “Any holiday is better than no holiday at all”, my dad used to say.

It’s not that my parents where poor but when you have 4 kids you have to economise and boy did we economise.

I think the first camping holiday I remember was sitting in a field in Aberystwyth on a wet and cold English summers day. The campsite was situated on top of a cliff and the wind was howling in off the sea and battering everything insight. Including our tent and us.

1979tentThis has got to be one of the worst experiences of my childhood, my parents sipping wine with my Auntie and Uncle, whom we always went on holiday with, and seven kids herded outside into a force nine gale wearing nothing more than a flimsy Kagool, being told “its only a shower”, to play the most dangerous game ever invented, Swingball.

Description of Swing Ball:
It’s a stick, about 6 foot long, which you push one end about six inches into the ground, on the other end is a piece of string, attached to it is a tennis ball. The aim of the game is to hit the ball back and forth in an arc with solid plastic tennis bats. The winner is the person who manages to get the ball to the top or bottom of a coil situated at the top of the pole, which the other end of the string moves around. Either that or the one who manages to knock their opponent out with the tennis ball. I still have bumps on my head from games I
played when I was 10.

My over riding memory of where ever we went was the weather, I suppose you don’t notice the weather so much when you’re in a brick house protected from the elements, but in a tent you might as well be outside.

Even light rain and wind would pummel the tent making it shake from side to side and creak and groan. Or being woken in the middle of the night as your father battles with the wind trying to knock tent pegs back into the ground that the wind has ripped out, either that or being woken in the middle of the night by a sheep going “baaaaaah” six inches the other side of the canvas as the farmer who owns the site has let his sheep loose in the field you’re camped in. “Baaaaah!”

However, I also remember the good times we had as well. If you’re in a tent and its warm, its great. Sitting, eating your lunch or dinner outside. Seeing the beautiful scenery close up. Or, being situated within a stones throw of the sea and hearing the waves crashing onto the beach as you drift off to sleep.

It might sound like I hate camping but even now in my adult life, I still have my own tent, admittedly it’s not the grand affair that my parents once owned but its big enough for me and wifey and all our bits and bobs.

theporterboysWe try to go camping as much as possible, if we go to the Lake District we go to the same place every time as it’s a small site which is nice and quiet.

I enjoy the calm of being close to nature, eating sat on the ground, there is no civility in camping, its just you, in a field, with a tent and a few home comforts. No TV, no annoyances. Just being able to see the world as it is. Although I now prefer a campsite with a toilet instead of the bucket!

If you have never been camping, it’s worth to try it once. It’s a real humbling experience and one that most people find pleasant and try again and again. If you don’t like it you don’t do it again.

Also its very cheap, some campsites charge as little as £6 per night per tent, but don’t expect a gold plated toilet seat for this price.

It’s a nice thing to go camping with friends and to sit in the evening round a BBQ enjoying the weather or good conversation and watching the sun go down. I still go camping even now and a few years back we went to Cornwall in Mid June and didn’t return home until October!

As for my parents, they still go camping, however now they take their little house (as my mum calls it) with them. They now go caravanning and will disappear for weeks on end touring all over the country as they’re both retired. You might have been stuck behind them somewhere before now!

Anyway, I would recommend a camping holiday to anyone, its cheap, its relaxing and most of all its fun. If you’re unsure give it a try, I’m sure one of your friends will lend you a tent for a weekend.

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