So far we had been camping in UK twice this year…and both times there were yellow weather warnings!
We were more hopeful for last weekend… only to discover we’d gone camping on the coldest May Day Bank Holiday since the holiday was first instituted in 1978. And we’d inflicted our crazy camping on friends!!
Despite the weather everyone seemed to have a good time. We just huddled round the campfire and then slept with lots and lots of layers and our hot water bottles. (If you’re not in the habit of taking hot water bottles camping, you must start, it makes such a big difference on a chilly night).
We were staying at Britchcombe Farm and we have updated our review of the site here. It is a good campsite for groups – we were a group of 12, including 3 children with a motley collection of tents, gazebos and a campervan, but Britchcombe is spacious and flexible enough for this not to be an issue.
Hopefully our friends might consider coming with us again sometime…we’ll put in an order for sunshine next time!
L & R
Sunset at Britchcombe Farm Campsite
Following the sad loss of our ‘outwell day-shelter‘ gazebo in high winds which had twisted the metal frame beyond repair, we decided to replace it with an inflatable one!
Yes, you read that correctly, a blow up gazebo!
We also took a bit of convincing, but in the end we realised that it is always the poles which break in gazebos. We’ve got through two and we’ve heard tales of other people’s disasters. The theory is that the inflatable ‘poles’ will just bend and flex in the wind without damage.
They are expensive, but we recently inherited some money from a dear friend Marg, who loved campervanning, so we thought that buying a gazebo in her memory would be a fitting way to spend it. So we took the plunge and are now the owners of an ‘outwell vale air shelter‘!
The inflatable gazebo!
We went with the vale air shelter because it looked the more robust of the options we considered and it has really good height – no need for even the tall goat to duck to access it. It is smaller than our previous one, but we decided that the sloping shape of the old one meant we didn’t use the full size of it anyway. Also in the rain you tend to not be able to use the rainy side of the gazebo, but for the new one we bought two side panels which should mean we can utilise the full area. It will also be a good size to use in our gardens when we aren’t camping…and we’ll need to use it lots to get our money’s worth!
Even after a lot of practise the outwell day-shelter wasn’t all that easy to erect. Every time we just had to trust that we’d got it up last time, so it must go up ok this time too….although with each use the poles got a little more bent and success seemed a little less certain. The poles did have a ‘click’ mechanism to try and make sure you got them all at the right angle, but that never really worked. Even when it was new we were never able to get them all to ‘click’.
Our hope is that the new one is easier. In theory you just peg out the base and use the pump supplied. The instructions on the bag don’t really explain how the valves work and on our first attempts, it would go up easily – and then collapse when we stopped pumping!! In the end we sort of figured it out, but we might do a bit of internet video watching before our next trip so that we’re confident.
Roll on next weekend!
L & R