Monday, 30 June 2014

I ♥ Camping


Something rather remarkable occurred in the Yorkshire Dales over the weekend. John and I got bitten. Not by the midges (and there were plenty of those) but by the camping bug. I've always said I don't mind camping, but, if there's a choice, I'll take walls and a roof over canvas any day. (I should point out that we haven't camped in 15 years, not since we slept in a tiny two man tent on someone's farm in Cornwall to watch the eclipse in August 1999.) But we had such a wonderful weekend with our friends, on a really lovely campsite near Pateley Bridge, that we thought hmm, maybe we can do camping after all. Maybe all our pro-camping friends are onto something.

When we arrived on Saturday lunchtime is was raining a little and it was all rather cold and bleak, with that kind of heavy, grey sky I dislike so much.


We weren't thrilled, to be honest, and I was glad we had no tent to put up, as we were sleeping in a "pod".


It's a fabulous idea. Small and basic inside, with two single bed frames and room for a double mattress, it has electricity*, a kettle and a useful things like a water canister, picnic bench and fire pit. You bring your own mattresses and bedding, and I wasted no time making it look pretty.


It was comforting to know that, no matter how much it  might rain outside, we would be snug. 


After a cup of tea we walked down to the river that runs through the campsite and spent a while down there. I say a while but it was all afternoon, I think. Time seemed to stand still. We were a large party, about 20 adults and 20 children, all families we've known for years. We met through the NCT when all our eldest children were babies or toddlers and, 8 years on, still like each other. 


It was so gloomy down there, with no sunlight to filter through the trees, and it was all very lush and still. 


Beautiful wildflowers were everywhere you looked.


There was a lot of clambering and paddling fun to be had in the (cold) water. A lot of the kids were in wetsuits and were having a great time.


 Bella, like me, preferred to watch from the riverbank.


The clouds parted as the evening wore on and we lit the barbecue and opened the wine.


The kids finally went to bed very late - I've actually no idea when, time just seems to pass when you're camping with no routine to ground you - but not until they'd listened to stories around the campfire. We all sat outside until even later. It was pretty cold and I was glad of the fires.


We woke to a beautiful sight on Sunday morning:


I mean, how can you not be happy and glad to be alive when you see those hills, the spectacular beauty of the Yorkshire Dales, and that blue sky. Nothing more to think about than the task in front of you. Boil kettle. Find mugs, Make coffee. We had breakfast (rolls, butter and jam because it was easy) and I was glad I'd remembered the cafetiere. 


And I think it was at about that moment that I had my mini-epiphany and thought that, actually, me and camping might be friends after all.


 *****


*Although there is electricity there is no wifi, which was fine with me. Also, since it's in the middle of nowhere, there is no phone signal either!

59 comments:

  1. Wow, looks amazing! I've only ever been camping a couple of times and haven't ever had the courage to go just myself and my daughter (no car either which makes it very difficult) but I love the idea of those pods, looks ideal!
    Bet you had a lovely time x

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  2. Camping and I have never been friends, but your excursion does sound lovely. Actually, the pod camping sounds like a good idea, I think I could do that. Who knows.

    And I am in love with the down-by-the-river collage.

    Slán go fóill,
    Giselle

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  3. I love camping as long as I am warm and dry, I can cope with anything! I am not keen on putting up a tent in the rain though

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  4. I quite enjoy camping but definitely at the comfort end of the scale and I like to have electricity as access to a fast cuppa and a warm hot water bottle help me cope with most things. I have wondered what camping pods were like so nice to read all about it.

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  5. The scenery is magical and that pod looks likely kind of thing. I like the idea of electricity and your own mattress.

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  6. Good for you guys. Isn't it fun? I've had ups and downs with camping but it's usually really nice. I'm glad you had a good weekend.

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  7. What a great pod that is - now I wouldn't mind camping if I had accommodation like that but the tent bit doesn't entice me in the least, I have to admit. Being out in such beautiful countryside must have been wonderful and your pics and story certainly tell of a most enjoyable time - so - here's to the next time?
    xoJoy

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  8. It is especially wonderful you were able to go camping with a group of friends! I have good memories of going with a large group when our boys were the age of your children, and we all had a great time. The pod is really clever, and looks especially nice for iffy weather. I hope you get to enjoy many more happy camping adventures, Gillian. :) xx

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  9. If I had those kinds of views I'd want to camp every weekend!!
    Tammy xx

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  10. I love camping. We are staying in some pods like that in Ireland this summer. Ireland is not a place. I am prepared to risk under canvas... They look great and I'm really looking forward to it!

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  11. I love the pod. We have something similar here in the US but I was never able to reserve one. It looks like you had a wonderful time after all.. Even though it's a lot of work to prepare it all I think it's a worth it ... So simple yet so relaxing and happy. I'm glad you had a good time Gillian.

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  12. How amazingly pretty are the surroundings, there where you were staying !!
    I love camping - always have... But it has to have a little bit of "luxury", so no tent, but a camper or a caravan... That wee little bungalow you were staying in, would be perfect :-) !

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  13. I love the Dales - my kind of scenery. And I like the idea of sleeping in a pod too. I don't do festivals any more because the thought of sleeping on the ground and THOSE toilet arrangements make me shudder, but pods look so much more civilised.
    Your photos are fab too. Glad you had fun.
    Sarah x

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  14. Well, yes, those pods do look more civilised than tents but there's still no loo attached which is a deal-breaker for me. I do see the attraction of being in lovely surroundings, with friends, it must have been fun.

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  15. Wild camping in remote Scotland is the best .... but I'd be very happy with views of the Yorkshire Dales :)
    For anyone worried about speedy cups of tea without electric hookup, check out JetBoil. As quick as a kettle and almost as easy to use :)

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    1. Hi Liz. I'll bear that in mind, thank you. My friend was proudly showing off something called a "Kelly Kettle", which has a hollow centre (or something) for very fast boiling - I think it works on a similar principle. x

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  16. What an incredible place! those pods are such a clever idea and I'm sure take most of the stressy bits out of camping. It really did look like great fun and SO pretty there too.
    love Jooles x x x

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  17. The pod looks like a very civilised way to camp. I'm still friends with my NCT group - 17 years later! The children are really good friends too. X

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  18. I know it well ..... it's a magical place. Glad you had a great time.
    Jacqui x

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  19. So glad you had such a great time - heres to many more camping trips,
    Kate x

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  20. Now that is camping on a different scale! Very nice pod.
    We are hardened campers and went to The New Forest for our annual camp recently - it is lovely when the weather is lovely and this where a pod would be handy I think!
    Best wishes
    Jenny

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  21. glad you enjoyed it. we love camping but our cabin has taken over now which is fine because it is camping without the fret of it blowing away! Jo x

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  22. We've been talking about going camping with our girls in Derbyshire if not this summer, then next year. I've never done camping before but I'll give it a go now that I've seen how much fun it could be. And yes, I'll try to remember to bring the cafetiere too! Have a lovely week! x

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  23. Time does stand still when you camp, that is one, of the many, attractions for me :)

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  24. Beautiful pictures and I love that when you're out camping you lose all sense of time and being away from everyday life and technology is nice. I'd love to try one of those pods - I like camping but when I'm staying in a tent I live in constant fear of touching the two pieces of the tent together and waking up to a wet tent!

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  25. The pod looks great - camping but not quite as risky as a tent. We used to go camping (in a small tent) every year but haven't done for a few years now. But I know what you mean - it's great fun and very relaxing (well, except for the times when you're standing in a gale trying to keep the tent for taking off!).

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  26. I reallylove the "pod" you slept in - just the kind of snug little cave I used to fantasise about as a child. And then to wake up to that view in the morning... wow.

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  27. The pods are the sort of thing I'd love to rig up, when I finally own that piece of land in the Cornish countryside. I think it's a genius idea. So glad that you all had a lovely time.
    Leanne xx

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  28. I've done pods, tent and now I've got a caravan. Pods are great and are a great alternative to a tent, although when we camped we often did it with electric so we could have a kettle or a heater. I still love camping, and always sleep like a log in a tent. However one holiday which consisted of a week of constant rain pushed me to the limit and I cracked when my husband suggested looking at caravans! Love the pictures x

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  29. Ok, now I'm envious and homesick for the Dales. The photos are lovely and definitely do it justice. Thanks so much Gillian. Take care.

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  30. If I chose camping, then this is the way to do it!
    Margaret P

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  31. looks wonderful. I love camping but the teenage daughter HATES even the thought of it, so we never go..........

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  32. This looks fabulous Gillian and I am so pleased to hear that you all had fun, it sure looks like you did! I absolutely love camping and doing it with friends is even better. I suspect we are likely to see a little tent purchase!! xoxo

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  33. Those pods are such a good idea!!! It looks like you had a wonderful time!!! Welcome to the camping club!!! We haven't been in a long time but we also love it!!! Have a great week!!!
    Love
    AMarie xxx

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  34. I am glad you had a lovely time camping, it is so much fun and -you are right- time is irrelevant and mealtimes and bedtimes are determined by hungry tummies and tiredness. I am completely addicted to camping, particularly with good friends and their children. Thank you so much for taking the time to visit my in my own space Gillian, I really am happy that you stop by and comment. Cx

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  35. Sounds like a great time. We have not been camping in years, but for our honeymoon and on two later trips, we spent several weeks traveling across the country and camping. I have to admit also, that it is not my favorite thing - I am too much of a worrier of things that go bump in the night. But there is something pretty special about waking up in a tent (or pod) in the morning and having the simplified routine of starting your day and knowing that you don't really have to join reality for a bit.

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  36. It looks and sounds as though it is a wonderful place to stay!!! I love the idea of the pod and the fact that you are dry and have electricity, that sounds like my sort of camping, as otherwise I am not going near a tent!!!!! Glad that you had a great time! xx

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  37. I have never been camping and even though I know I might not like it I would really love to try it, just once to fulfill my curiosity. The only problem I am facing at the moment is my 11year old being adamant that he will not go. I have been trying all year to give it a try. I am sure if I show him a pod or something similar he may just be convinced. It sounds as if you had a great time and it looks beautiful and those pods probably make camping a bit easy.

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  38. Gorgeous setting and views. I like the idea of camping, just not the real thing. (Tried it once many moons ago and had to sleep with my head stuck out of the tent. As for those shared facilities, just no!) Have to ask, though, how on earth did you manage to pack three mattresses?

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    1. They were inflatable. We bought two singles and one double (very cheaply from Go Outdoors - under £10 for each I think) and, once deflated, they fold up back into their cardboard box, which is about the size of a large hardback book or shoe box. So they actually take up very little room in the boot. We find them very handy as a a temporary spare bed when we are staying with friends, or have friends staying with us. You wouldn't want to sleep on one every day, but now and then is fine. x

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  39. How lovely for you, it sounds like you had a super time. I must say I do like the idea of a pod as opposed to a tent. It looks like a great place to visit.

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  40. Wow that looks like my kind of camping. The pod looks so cosy. No wifi would be fine with me too sometimes its nice to escape everything x

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  41. This post makes me want to try camping! Like you, I am not a fan of tents. Too many musical festivals where I've been too hot, too wet, or too cold! But a pod - that sounds like my idea of fun! The boys will probably love camping so I suspect I'll be dragged on a few trips come the next few years. *help* :-) x

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  42. Oh now that looks fabulous fun. And those views too. Perfect combination I reckon with a great bunch of friends. Glad you had such a great time x

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  43. Love your style of camping! I think the pod is the perfect solution - you are still 'roughing it' but with a decent night's sleep (I assume), which makes the camping and nature-based weekend just lovely! Chrissie x

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  44. I love camping! Seeing all the wildflowers are my favourite part :) Looks like you had alot of fun x

    cranberrydeer.com

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  45. Yea! I love your little cabin--so cozy. We have something like that here--a yurt. So fun and out of the routine. Time feels like the olden days, doesn't it? Just a little taste.

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  46. That looked great. Beautiful pictures. Definitely yes for the pod rather than the tent.

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  47. Looks like you had a wonderful time. I have a little tent somewhere, and my middle boy is so desperate to go camping I can feel myself seriously considering it sometimes! It would be just me and the boys though, and I wonder if that might be all a bit too much. But if the sun shines and it all goes well I can see it would be fantastic. It looks like you found a beautiful unspoilt spot. CJ xx

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  48. Looks and sounds like a great time was had by all. Fantastic photos.
    Marianne x

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  49. Hi Gillian :)
    What fantastic weekend such a beautiful place.
    Friends, a fire, a glass of wine and the kids happy , PERFECT
    For years I dont go camping ,i have to do that once again with my litlle one .
    I love the way you see life , enjoying the little big moments that make us happy.
    Havee a great week
    xoxo
    Lulu

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  50. Merci de partager avec nous d'aussi belles photos! I love camping too !!!!
    Lucie

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  51. Wonderful scenery Gillian and the pod sounds great, so much more comfortable than a tent!
    Jane x

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  52. Glad you enjoyed your camping trip - I do love the pod, I could just see myself sat in there, cup of tea brewing on my little stove and a good book and plenty of knitting to keep me company - all in my back garden of course!
    Caz xx

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  53. I am not a fan of camping, but I could totally go for this! Your little pod looks so cute and comfy, and you know how much I adore your pillowcases. Your weekend sounds like it was just delightful with friends. I love friends that you can totally be yourself with and really have a good time... that's the best kind of friends to have.

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  54. I've never been a fan of camping either. I only ever seem to have been camping in the height of hay fever season resulting in me suffering horrifically. Also, never seem to have been to a "nice" campsite (Glastonbury & agricultural shows, so come home filthy & smelly!). But I think if you go with good friends, the weather is good & you stay at a decent campsite with good toilets/showers then it could be a lot of fun!

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  55. I was in Cornwall for the eclipse in 1999. Or was I Devon?!.... unfortunately wherever we were it was cloudy!!....glad you enjoyed the pod. Much easier than putting up a tent. A bit more like sleeping in a cabin I think. How did you manage to take your mattresses! X

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  56. The pods do look very civilised. We've not yet tried camping...we like our home comforts (toilet/bathroom mainly!) a bit too much. The amount of stuff we took away with us for a few days (indoors!!!) would probably stop us from even attempting camping for a bit yet. I'm glad you had a lovely weekend and hope you find a good tent!!

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