Fired up and ready to go

Camping trips aren’t yet allowed, but we can get ourselves in the mood by having a mini-campfire at home and dreaming of camping trips and tents!

We love our new protable fire pit – it weighs next to nothing and packs down into a little pack about the size of a flask.

It’s definitely feasible to pop the firepit and a few of our favourite heat logs into your backpack and take it with you. We are fired up and ready to go… just as soon as lockdown rules permit!!

L & R

Long Distance Walks – guest post

During Lockdown it’s nice to reminisce over previous adventures. We thought you might enjoy reading this guest post from a loyal blog follower about his favourite long distance walk. On his recommendation Glyndwrs Way is on our to do list!

L & R

The UK is blessed with wonderful walks – many just the right length between incredible views and reasonable places for overnight stops.  We’ve met visitors from Australia and USA who come to the UK just because such walks are not possible with their huge distances between centres of habitation.  So which walk to do – mountains, or coastal paths or perhaps moorland?  Having done many long distance trails, the favourite so far has been the 135 mile horseshoe shaped walk “Glyndwr’s Way” which is perhaps the least known of the 15 National Trails of England and Wales.  The walk commemorates the rebellion against the English by Owain Glyndwr, proclaimed Prince of Wales in the early 15th century, and passes through much of the countryside where he fought the English.

As it is in Wales, the walk is inevitably full of hard-to-pronounce place names and comes with the continual fear of rain (although apart from one spectacular display of thunder and lightning while we were very exposed on the top of a hill, nervously holding our (conducting?) walking sticks, that fear was unfounded).  You are unlikely to see many other hikers on the route and I’m afraid there aren’t many tea shops but there are plenty of sheep (Wales has 10 million sheep and only some 3 million people)! 

It has varied, beautiful scenery between the charming mid-Wales towns. The trail is clearly signposted (we only got a bit lost once!) starting in Knighton literally on the Wales – England border, going all the way to Machynlleth which is not far from the Irish Sea coast, and then makes its way back to Welshpool. In fact, there are only four small towns on the entire route: Knighton, Llanidloes, Machynlleth and Welshpool.

With reasonable fitness it can be done in nine or ten days.  According to the guide book the total ascent is 23,556ft and one or two bits are really quite steep!

For me the highlights were probably the reservoir Llyn Clywedog and the beautiful Lake Vyrnwy (below) with its wonderful, many arched viaduct and dam but you spend much time on the walk with spectacular scenery while crossing open moorland (with sheep), working farmland (with sheep), river valleys (with sheep) and woodlands (yes, even some sheep there!).

We took a day off at Machynlleth to visit the Dyfi Osprey Project which is well run and worth visiting.

From a practical perspective, it is worth noting that some of the campsites, pubs and B&Bs in our guidebook were no longer open so careful research is vital.  However, everyone we met on the trip was friendly and helpful.

Mapping your escape from lockdown?!

The days are getting slightly longer, spring is on it’s way and (with the help of our favourite Billy Goat) we have just the thing to help you plan some trips to look forward to once lockdown rules permit:

Yes, our campsite reviews are now available via a map interface! Not only does it feature our favourite ‘space-ship’ tent as the icon – but it gives each campsite a ‘goat rating’ out of 5! You can then click on the ‘full goat review’ to read our honest opinion of the site and our star rating on all the important things.

Hope you enjoy planning some trips!

R & L

Spending more pennies!

In the last post, I told you about our new toilet, but you also need to think about the other toilet accessories you will need to purchase e.g. toilet brush, bin, cloths for cleaning, extra toilet roll etc.  We put ours in a little basket to keep them altogether and stop them falling over.

But most of importantly you need a toilet tent! 

For us, colour was an important factor – we like everything to blend in. 

After that we needed one that was in stock (there was a rush on them due to the pandemic!).  We went for Kampa – the colour is good, you will either love or hate the icon on the door!

It’s pretty easy to put up, but we did break one of the bungs on the end of one of the ceiling poles very quickly.  We like the little added details of a pocket to hold the toilet roll, a further pocket for storing other bits and pieces, and the ventilated roof!

Hygiene is obviously very important, and even more so in a pandemic, so we have also added a hand-washing station to our set up:

The funky water carrier with tap attachment is by Colapz.  It works well for handwashing, although it’s annoying that you can’t use the last bit of water due to the height of the tap outlet. As the name suggests it packs down small, as does the shallow collapsible basin.  The little table is by Outwell.

Our encampment is now en-suite – the height of luxury! 

R

Time to spend a penny

Yes, COVID spurred us on to invest… in our own camping toilet!

Previously we thought this was a bit excessive but the experience of an unpleasant toilet this last summer, combined with the importance good hygiene with respect to the virus, made us change our minds.  The convenience of not having to trek a long way across a field to the toilet is also great.

After a bit of research we opted for Thetford excellence electric flush. Thetford has a good reputation, which gave us confidence to invest.  This model has a larger waste tank so less emptying (although tank gets heavier in between empties!).  What with a proper seat, an electric flush and an integrated toilet roll holder, it is almost as good as toilet at home!

An important consideration is that you need space in your car for transporting it.  The waste tank and flush tank can be separated or there are smaller models available, but get your tape measure out before you place your order.

You need to get special chemicals and toilet rolls. I dose up on waste tank chemicals and water before the trip so that is ready.  Also dose up on flush tank chemicals but Thetford advise not travelling with full flush tank so water gets added at camp site.

At the end of trip, after emptying waste tank, I add tank cleaner so that it is doing its thing as I’m driving.  The movement is very good for this apparently!

New for next season will be sachets of chemicals – making dosing at the campsite easier and reducing the space needed for transporting chemicals.

R

One for the Wombles

We’ve lots of followers in South West London – and in these days of restrictions on how far you can travel for exercise, I thought you might like to know about the Summerstown 182 blog .

The name relates to the 182 people on the memorial in St Mary’s church Summerstown which commemorates people who died in World War 1. However it covers lots more of the local history and has 25 self-guided local history walks you can do as your lockdown exercise.

Today I did the self-guided walk called Frankie goes to Collywood and it was very interesting. Learning about the history made my daily exercise walk in a familiar area much more fun.

Hope you’re all finding small ways to keep embracing your inner goat during lockdown.

L

Santa knows what goats like!

Somehow you don’t need to write a letter to the north pole for Santa to know what to get you for Christmas. I received these lovely camping related gifts!

When I’m sitting in my armchair warmed by my pretend fire, this cushion helps remember where I’d rather be!

A COVID camping essential…

And best of all I highly recommend this book as essential reading before embarking on next seasons camping trips!! Needless to say Mr Strong’s camping trip doesn’t go smoothly and we can all learn from his disasters!!

Happy New Year!

L