Camping rant

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camping in the mountainsI love camping me, and have done it for on and off all my life. A great cheap way to see new and interesting places. I have many fond memories of going camping in my home country Denmark and much of Europe. The great things is that you are pretty much taking your home exploring with you. Which is the point of camping that you can break up camp and move along when you have had enough.

I have done camping with tents, trailer tents, caravans and mobile homes. Though my favourite is camping in a tent as you feel so much more in with nature, not in a tree hugging way. But go out and see nature and new places, isn’t that the reason why you go camping?

So therefore over the years I have build up an little rant and need this blog to get it out there, so pull up a chair (you will need it) while I get up on my soap box.

Holiday homes and caravan sites:

The users of these sites, why?

Yes if you have a mobile home I can some what see why you are keeping it at one location, because they are so bloody big. Even though the title does imply that you move it around now and again instead of having it at the same place all year around for the next 30 odd years.

But why the heck do you get a mobile home, which you are not moving around, why not just a summer house, small cottage? They are essentially the same, immobile. And in the same location for the time that you are using it ?

The campsite we stayed at this weekend just gone, was by all means very well kept. But if it wasn’t for the wheels on the “houses”, this caravan site could easily be your local cul-de-sac in suburban somewhere *). With the local pub and corner shop at the top of the road, with the little annoying yapping dog outside number 38.

Isn’t camping going out there enjoying the countryside away from the noise, the hussle and bussle at the place you call home?

We got woken up by the same noises that we have on our estate. Nah, I tell a lie, our estate in central London is quieter than this village, erm, campsite. Cars coming and going at odd hours, car alarms going off, people talking loudly on their way home from the pub.

Caravans:

A few years ago while I was working on a campsite, I saw an English man parking up his caravan. From years of parking a caravan myself with my mum and dad, I knew that he had parked it wrong. And was in for some trouble to get in a good location on his pitch. So I wandered down to the pitch one to say welcome to the site and two give him a hand as this wife didn’t look like a lady that would have been happy to do a bit of extra caravan pushing.

I commented on his parking and he said not to worry and pulled out the remote control and drew the caravan into position while the wife was decking up for dinner. He told me that the next model up would have its own way of leveling out so you didn’t have to run aroud with your wrench and level.

The fun part was that he didn’t have to do the shouting “to the left, no my left!” and the heavy pushing. And it kept the divorce at bay. Yeah I remember the hassle it was to park a small caravan on a steep slope in Austria, when I was a wee nipper. I can laugh at it now, but at the time me folks needed a drink or two before they could speak to each other after that affair.

I’m sorry that is NOT camping. That is more like a B&B or hotel holiday. As the caravans also have televisions, SKY I’m sure is getting beamed in. Like the ones I saw this weekend, 20+ inches !!!

And some of them were even as big as a mobile home. So why the heck not get a mobile home in the first place? And don’t come with the excuse that of we can just pull up the tent pegs and go somewhere else. Nah, I’m not buying that when I see your flower bed around your front porch.

Oh yeah, and before you start to cook in a caravan do open the windows, though I’m sure that some might have an extractor by the look of the size of them. But you did make me laugh out loud when I heard the firealarm go off and your were holding your pan with your burning sausages out through the gap in the door of your caravan.

camping a forestPeople at Campsites:

Generally people who goes camping are just brilliant, nice and friendly. But there are some people, no matter how keen they might be, who will never be cut out for camping.

-Noise : please do keep your voice, music down as people are sleeping in tents and do not have two feet of insulation between you and them.

And please don’t starting shouting after your dog, kid etc at 6am as they whole campsite will hear you.

-Drivers **) : The campsite is not a race track, kids are at play and people are there to relax and enjoy their stay. Please don’t start faffing around with your car at 11:30pm or later as your car alarm will go off and we all will get to hear it. One of the reasons why we go camping is to get away from that.

-Cleaning : even if the site is fully serviced with bar, shop and night porter, please do clean up after yourselves. The reason why most of us go camping is to see nature, not a landfill. Remember these two little rules – leave it as you find it, what you bring with you in, you take out with you. Your mum ain’t here.

Not really part of the rant, but there is a bit of lack of logic and experience of the outdoors, where I’m sure we all have been once. But today I saw a couple on their, by the look of it all, first camping trip taking their tent down. They had moved everything outsite before they have even packed it up, knowing the outdoors – it will rain soon and all your stuff will get wet. They started to take their new tent down in a haphazard way, knowing the outdoors – the wind will pick up any time soon and your tent will be gone. And then the rain I talked about earlier will start and where would you put your gear then ? Oh yes, they will learn as we all did.

*) and **) Why would you in your right mind go on holiday on a caravan or mobile home site. As the traffic is just the same, was’t the plan to get away from it ?

Oh well time have a rest, you got a good deal out my two cents, but I’m sure that there will be more to come given the camping I get to do!

3 COMMENTS

  1. Aside from family holidays camping with Eurocamp & the like, I have never stayed at a camp site, although I used to do a lot of backpacking. For all the reasons you say. I suspect was easier to find places to pitch 30 odd years ago.

  2. Well I’m sure you can still find places to camp as in wild camping. If you look you can find basic campsite out there.

    Which we are not scared of for a night or two. Though it would be great to get a shower now again. Which you can see from most of the campsite we have been at and will be at just have that.

    Some of the basic campsite are very good others are not well kept but then again that goes with the sites with playground, shop and bar with themed evenings.

  3. (sorry for the BUMP)

    Hi
    Just thought I’d give you my two cent’s worth.
    I think many of your gripes would be cured by a little ‘wild camping’, which with discretion can still be enjoyed within the British Isles, so long as you are sensible. Doing this will mean you’ll not have to endure Brits on holiday, something that seems to possess you.
    Otherwise, campsites are a very hit and miss affair. Some are so-so, some are awful (esp. big, group owned ones), and some are blissful. It takes research and a dollop of luck. When you find the perfect one for you, you might just want to stay (tips: ask if the campsite takes groups (avoid), and go for the expensive end of pitch rates!, and don’t use most club affiliated sites as they are peopled by the Rule-Book Gestapo).

    As for your remarks: “why not just a summer house, small cottage? They are essentially the same, immobile…” you have to be kidding right?

    Have you any idea how much a small cottage in any part of Devon, Cornwall, Wales, The Lake District etc. would cost?!!! In fact have you any idea of how much a weeks rent in the same cottages costs?

    We have a touring caravan, my wife, our two children and I. The only touring it does is at the start of the season: from the farm’s barn to the pitch. Then back in October. We used to tour Europe with it, but found a fabulous site in North Devon which is tranquil, small and perfectly suits us. There is no evidence of the ‘bucket and spade brigade’, and it even has WiFi but no mobile reception, which means I can work from there but not get pestered by clients: Perfection!

    The alternatives: We would spend over £1000.00 a measly week renting a cottage for the four of us in a place reasonably close to the beach – within a half hour drive. If we were lucky it’d only rain for half of that precious week. For easily less than twice this much, we get the opportunity to spend up to ten weeks in the ‘van’. Add to this it’s our space, with our kit, so we don’t have to worry about what level of accommodation we are unwittingly faced with. It’s home away from home, for about 5% of the cost of buying a cottage, without even dialing in maintenance costs, rates, utilities etc etc etc.

    I’m self employed and work away a lot (I’m writing this from Bangalore), so it’s great my wife can pack the kids in the car and go and spend time in a beautiful part of the country without having to rely on me. And my children can invite friends, and we have a constant stream of family friends who come down regularly during the summer to enjoy our knowledge of the best surf breaks, best pubs, restaurants, beaches, short cuts, cheap parking, and venders of locally grown produce. My family have weeks of relentless fun, if I’m lucky my clients leave me alone long enough for me to get down for a few weeks too.

    I know my children will grow up with the fondest memories of their time in Devon with friends and family at that campsite. Even for the tarnished cultural mores of the younger generation (they are 9 and 12 years so are equally aware of what’s hip and what’s not), even they know camping isn’t disastrously humiliating. After all they get to hang out with the children of our close neigbours on the site: their dad is lead musician with a band huge on the festival circuit. So it’s all very cool for them.

    Your post comes across as somewhat superior. But I understand precisely where you are coming from. It is harder and harder in a growing population to rely on people behaving in a civilised way. Some people are beyond shame, they do not understand civic duty (let alone pride). I see examples of public behaviour that rankle me (especially drivers of cars) and people do it because they are either ignorant or feel they can get away with it, because no one is prepared to confront them and shame them. More fool us for being afraid.

    But generally people are well meaning and we must take some blame for our own upset because we are personalising other people’s behaviour. It’s very easy to think that people let their dogs bark, their children get rowdy or allow their car alarms to go of just to annoy ‘us’. But this thinking only leads to madness. We all need to be more tolerant.

    So: I hope this explains a little about some of us who return to a favourite place year after year.
    Partly we love the place, have become part of the community and in some small respects support that community financially, and feel comfortable in a place we have grown to know and understand. And partly because we can’t afford -or even dream of buying a cottage. For the same reasons we don’t take fancy foreign holidays (or want to due to the environmental impact).

    I know so many people my age who have the richest memories of caravaning and camping holidays with their families. These people are independent, self reliant people who have grown up knowing the worth of ‘doing the chores’ before heading for the beach. They are neither spoilt nor pampered, nor are they out of tune with the diversity of our broad community. And I know my children will also grow up with the same cultural ethic (despite their mythering and grumbling!).

    If you are ever cycling the western ends of Exmoor look us up. Our campsite is Little Meadow Farm, a little west of Combe Martin. Ask for the ‘Wildgeese’! Sian or Nick will point you to us. I’ll take you up some special hills local to here, and I’ll pour you single malt whisky’s afterwards, and you’ll get to spend some time in a tranquil, but unstuffy, un-manacured, higledy-pigledy campsite I bet you’ll want to come back to. We did!

    best regards

    John Wildgoose

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