I am pleased to say we survived our first camping trip! To give you some background, the missus went once or twice when she was a kid, I used to camp a lot and recently set a goal to go as a family (minus the teen)!
We recently got a tent etc (thanks Mum & Dad) since setting this goal and this weekend was the first opportunity to go, we asked friends and family for some suggestions of where to go, we want to stay local in case Mel really didn't like it and wanted to go home!
We looked a at a couple of places, one that Chrissie (Mediocre Mum) recommended but they were fully booked but luckily my Aunt Jane (for the record she is one amazing lady!) recommended Henlow Bridge Lakes, I was a little hesitant as their web site is ok but not brilliant!
The camp site was about an hour away, and as the name suggest had a few lakes on site! We arrived on Friday evening and prepared to pitch for the second time with this tent! Again no arguments or disagreements and we got the tent up pretty quickly! Little geek helped out too and with the promise of Fish & Chips for dinner she was extra helpful!
The weather was good to us, in fact it was very warm but better than it raining right? As for the camp, we were really impressed, it had great and most importantly clean especially the shower and toilet blocks! I was also pleased to see they had a Roundel, kind of like a covered outside bar with huge fire pit in the middle (shame it was being lit this weekend) but it was showing both tennis finals on a huge screen!!
The weekend really went without any issues, the beds took a little bit of getting used, we have camp beds, although wondering if air bed might be more comfortable (anyone have experience of both?), I know its very British to keep going on about the weather but we were luckily, Saturday remained nice and hot, however the rain arrived over night!
Whilst tucked up as snug as a bug inside the tent I loved the rain, the sound of the rain drops on the tent were very relaxing and I soon fell off to sleep, as did Mel and Katy! It was still raining when we got up Sunday morning but that soon stopped and luckily the tent dried off by the time it came to packing away!
This was I think the only time that we came close to arguing, as usual I wasn't listening to Mel! Ha ha, but alas no argument just a very stern look!
Over a cup of Tea for me, a Pepsi for Katy and Pimms for Mel we discussed on Saturday night how enjoyable the experience had been, and music to my ears when Mel said she would like to go again!!
Now to start making a list of places to visit! I have to say it wasn't all easy though, being our first time there were a few things I wished we had remembered:
Some of the items below are very simple but it didn't cross our minds:
- Kitchen Roll - it is handy and we could have done with this!
- Dust Pan & Brush - Essential!
- Mosquito / bug repellent stuff - there were a few midges or whatever they are called and I am now sporting a couple of nice bites on the legs!
- Water - We took a lot of water but no where near enough!
- Decent BBQ - Ok we didn't realise this until late on Saturday but the site had barrel BBQ to rent, so instead of packing an annoying small one (like we did) check to see if they are available there will safe on space too!
- Enough Pillows? I sleep with 3 at home so found it a bit uncomfortable whilst away!
- Kitchen Utensils - We too knives and forks etc but not things like chopping board or a bread knife!
- Light - We took plenty of torches but not a light for inside the tent, some how I managed not to fall over when getting changed!
This isn't a exhaustive list but will give you an idea, if you are due to go for the first time of some of the things we forgot or wished we had taken! There are other bigger Items I want to get eventually and they are:
- Roof Box - Ok the Skoda Octavia I drive is brilliant, the boot is massive but if Katy ever wants to bring a friend or if Ashleigh (As if!) ever wants to come we will need the space used on the back seat!
- Powered Cool Box - We managed for a couple of days with our bargain 35 Litre cool box from Tesco, but a powered one would be better!
- Mobile Mains Kit - We didn't have an electric pitch but can certainly see why one of these would make things easier!
- Camping Knife - Simply because every man needs on of these right?
- Solar Power Battery - I have seen these at Maplin and they look like a nice bit of geek kit!!
Overall though this has been a very successful weekend, I would recommend the Henlow Bridge Lakes (no they haven't paid me to say this!) as the site has great facilities especially if you or your better half like fishing!
I am now looking forward to our next adventure!!