The second of my finds

After the success of the the first of my finds, we were full of anticipation about what our next campsite would be like! Our first experience of an ‘adults only’ campsite!!

When we arrived it looked very promising – stunning views, lots of space, not too many other people.  The site was called Campfire Weekends and the team running the site were very friendly – with the whole family getting involved.

Our disposition towards the site changed somewhat when we visited the toilet facilities!  They were billed as compost loos, but really they were just bucket toilets.  Even that could be coped with if there was light to see by, but you had to wear your headtorch even in the middle of the day!  And if you’d taken a lantern instead, you would have been disappointed as there was no hook to hang it on!

But before you could experience any of this, you had to overcome the challenge of opening the door!  To stop the doors blowing in the wind you were asked to lock/unlock the doors from the outside using a screwdriver!!  The less-bright goat was so confused by the system she had to go and ask another camper to help her open the door the first time!!  If you need to ask for help to access the toilet, something is wrong!

Normally when you wake in the night needing a wee, you are tempted to put off getting out your sleeping bag and try to avoid going to the toilet until the morning.  Not in this site!!  Waking in the early hours, the first thought was – oh good, all the other campers are in their beds, I’m going to make the most of the opportunity & go for a wild wee behind the tent!!

The experience cemented our plan to get our own camping toilet!!! (More of that another time!)

R & L

PS here’s how we scored the Campfires Weekends site.

 

Good job goats have waterproof coats!

It’s a good job goats have waterproof coats… and trousers…and wellies!  We certainly needed them last weekend!!

Always, always, always pack them all… even in the middle of July. Although you can hide in your tent when it’s raining, waterproof trousers are handy so you can sit down even if your chair has got wet in an earlier shower.

Even on a sunny trip, wellies are useful to wear in the morning when the grass is wet with dew.  And being able to pull them on without worrying about laces is a bonus in the middle of the night!

We’ll tell you more about our soggy camping trip soon.

R & L

goat by kevin

Goats love adventures!

The Wayfarer

I’ve a new challenge – the Wayfarer’s Walk!

This is a 70 mile long recreational path which runs between Inkpen Beacon in Berkshire to the village of Emsworth in Hampshire.  I liked the idea that it is going to take in towns, villages, woodland, open downland.  It starts in an area I’ve never explored, the North Wessex Downs and makes its way to the coast.

Actually, I believe we’re doing it backwards and that it’s supposed to starts in Emsworth on the south coast of Hampshire and proceed north/north-west the full length of Hampshire to finish at Combe Gibbeton on Inkpen Hill, just over the Berkshire border. But I like the idea of starting at the top and making our way down to the sea.

The Wayfarer’s Walk was initiated in 1981 by Bill Bide (Principal Officer for Rights of Way in Hampshire) and at least in parts is based on old tracks that were used by farmers to drive their sheep to animal fairs held in New Arlesford and Farnham.

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Here’s how we got on with the first section.

L

The first of my finds

Last weekend we went  to the first of my campsite finds – Rowbury Farm Campsite.

It was easy to get to, not far from the A303.  I arrived early, but the site was already fairly full when I got there – all these people working from home who can leave work early!!

As the first of the goats to arrive, I had a bit of a panic about which of the remaining pitches to claim.  Turns out I needn’t have worried, all the pitches on this site are nice.  All get the evening sun and they are seperated by pretty swathes of wildflowers.

See how we scored it.

I’d forgotten how much I love camping!… but not long until our next trip.

R

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Repairing tent poles

It’s time to get your kit ready for some camping trips!!

With some of our older tents, broken fibre-glass poles are a reasonably regular occurrence.  I think it’s just that they are old and well used. I used to just take the poles to a nice man in the Cotswolds Outdoor shop who fixed them for me, but then he stopped doing it.

So, I decided it was time to save myself some money and do it myself.  If you want to fix yours, here’s how!

Here are the problems I needed to fix. On one pole the joiner had split. On the other the pole had cracked and we’d done a temporary repair with tape!

First step is to fish out the elastic that joins the pole sections together. Do this from the end nearest the break.

The first time I fixed a pole I bought the Vango tentpole kit, and it came with a nifty wire hook thing. It might be worth investing in a kit for your first repair or maybe you could fashion something from a wire coat hanger?

Since that first time I now just buy the odd pole that I need. S K Camping which is one of our favourite camping shops has a bucket of odd poles. You can take the broken one, find one that matches and buy just the one.

Once you’ve fished out the elastic you need to untie the knot.

Now take the poles apart, being extra careful to keep them in the right order!

Once you’ve located the broken pole, cut your replacement section to the right size.

 

Next you need to file the end to remove any sharp edges.

Now re-thread the elastic through all the sections – in the correct order.

Tie off the elastic at the end. You’ll want to do something like a triple knot, just to be sure it holds.

And good as new – you’re ready for your next camping trip!

L

Beating the lock down rush

I was very excited to hear that campsites could reopen from 4 July 2020. But finding one with availability was tricky!

The usual suspects were either booked up or not open…but on the pitch up website it shows similar campsites in the area…. and voila new options were found!

In my excitement, I almost booked one without toilets or running water – so my advice is to double check facilities before confirming your booking!!!

Our first two campsites of the season will be ones we’ve not been to before. Can’t wait to report back!

R

Wood storage

In the last post I was saying I bulk bought Heat Logs at B&Q.  We also never waste wood.  If we buy some when we’re camping and don’t use it all, we take it home and squirrel it away to use another time!

But I don’t have a lot of space at home, so where to keep it?  Well, here’s where it’s lived very happily all through the winter:

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An ordinary black dustbin!  Our council moved over to using wheelie bins, so my old bin was going spare.

It doesn’t look so pretty , but the flowers help a bit!

L

 

Fuel for the fire

A good fire is very important.  Especially if cooking your dinner relies on a getting a good blaze going.  Dinner is also VERY important!

Usually when we go to a campsite we buy whatever wood they sell us.  Indeed some campsites insist that you burn their wood.  But as you’ll have seen on our campsite reviews not all the sites sell good wood.  Sometimes it smoulders and smokes rather than burning nicely, I guess because it hasn’t been seasoned long enough and isn’t properly dry.

We’ve tried various different other types of fire fuel – including ones made out of coffee grounds and made out of newspapers.  However, our favourites are these:

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According to the packet they are made from recycled sawdust and shavings, which are dried and then tightly packed together after being compressed at high temperatures.  No additives or chemicals – just compressed wood.

You buy them in B&Q.  Well, when they are in stock, which seemed to be pretty much never last year!! This year I saw them sitting there before lockdown and although I  had no plans for camping or fires I bought a couple of packs, just because I could!

They always burn nicely and are a good to suppliment any substandard wood you’re made to buy!  Not only are they very dry, meaning they light easily and aren’t too smokey, but they are designed with a hole through the middle, which lets the air through, getting a good blaze going.

They are also a good size for putting on top of the dutch ovens for when I’m using them for baking.  Previously I used charcoal briquettes for this, as in the picture below, but that didn’t last long as I was forever losing the little lumps in the fire!

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Now I just stick burning wood on the top.  It can be a bit precarious and I need to swap them around as the logs on the top tend to go out. These regular sized, little logs with their holes to help them burn, work well for balancing on top.

L