Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Camping & Conversation...

So we headed off to The Lakes for the weekend and in summary we had a lovely time. It was a bit expensive to buy a tent and some of the other stuff we needed, but we had money set aside for a move which is now not imminently happening, so we used about 2/3rds of that. Not sure we entirely pitched the tent correctly (esp' at the front), but the main bit was right enough and it was stable enough to stand up to a fair amount of wind and rain. :) I've decided P needs to do the heavy work and I need to do the pegging out in future as he is far too laid back about it. FIrstly he didn't bang the pegs down far enough for my liking (I smacked them right down hard), or have enough tension in the guys to be of much use in high-winds ( I sorted that out too) and then he decided it would be fine to leave one back corner a bit baggy as he could not find somewhere to put the peg that wasn't rocky (we were a bit squeezed between a 'track' and a craggy bit). I was too tired to try myself by then so I left it too - big mistake!! Our first night was still, calm and dry and in fact I awoke to this outside;

Our second night was a bit different. The weather forecast was in fact spot on - sunny with showers towards evening. It began to ran just as our car came into view after our walk and continued through the night then. About 1am I woke up feeling a little damp and discovered things were only likely to get worse. We had a 'river' running under our inner tent. Natty - in between P & I was already pretty soggy, but sleeping soundly regardless (fortunately it wasn't cold). P at this point was still dry! We moved N onto a drier spot and contemplated what to do... Decided to sit tight in whatever dryness we could and keep warm till morning - and that is what we did. By morning, the duvet we were sleeping on was a soggy mess (we didn't have enough camping mats and the shop we got the tent from had sold out), as was the dressing gown I had put down for extra warmth under me AND the towel I had shoved under the inner tent to absorb some of the river! So we heaved out all the wet stuff, got into dry things ourselves and mopped everything out. Miraculously the problem was only in our section of the tent and a little had run down under the carpet, but had pooled at the bottom and wasn't much of a problem. The kids bits were the bits I had pegged out - and they were bone dry - thankfully, or else we might have had to cut short by a day. Instead we decided to go and buy 2 more mats and two sleeping bags for P & me - which we duly did (more money!!) Then back at base I pegged out the corner of the tent that P 'couldn't', nice and tightly - peg fitting snugly UNDER the rock and down into the ground. Night three - despite much rain - was dry inside :)

The tent was a palace and invoked several "that's what we need" comments from passers-by :) Stacks of room for frugal camping with 8 of us in. We only just got what we took in the car and if we build up our 'kit' we will need to get a trailer or a top-box I think. The kids couldn't move in the car - which is fine while they are small enough to stuff things under their feet and legs, but not so much as they get bigger. Need to work out how to pitch out the front of the tent and the front ground sheet better though - Michelle? Probably being on a fairly interesting slope didn't help a great deal - but did make sliding around on the carpet inside kinda fun for the kids. More like an indoor playground!!

Aside from the actual camping side of things (which for us as a family is all new and exciting, but probably boring for you old-hands!).

Friday evening we went and had a late tea (once we got pitched and sorted) of Fish & Chips. Despite a late night, kids rose early (like 6ish) oon Saturday, which forced me to get up for a wee and I was so glad I did. The scenery and the sunrise was amazing! I decided to stay up and have a quiet wander looking for a shower block. I did find one - just one - down at the back of the farm house, but in the end we never used it (I know - minging, but hey! we were camping!!). After a make-shift breakfast of toast cooked in a dry frying pan and dry chocolatey squares (no milk), we headed of to Haverthwaite Railway. This was very reasonably priced too, as under 5's go free (which meant 3 of ours!) and the family ticket was 2A+3K's @ £14.80. The kids really enjoyed it, but when we got to Lakeside they seriously pestered to go on a boat, or into the Aquarium (neither of which we could afford this weekend). We had lunch and headed back on the train.

Then we took a very pretty drive through Grizedale Forest, up to Hawkshead (which is supposedly very pretty), but it was very busy and three kiddies were asleep by the time we got there. We thought maybe we would go and take a look at Beatrix Potter's cottage over at Nr Sawrey, but it too was heaving (thanks to the film apparently), with bookings more than an hour in advance! It was another £15 to get in, so we gave it a miss - this time - and promised it to the kids for another time. Instead we drove back down to Thwaite Head Village (SE Lakes OS 1:25 - 349,906) and took an walk for about an hour and a half through some pretty woods, up to the edge of Grizedale. It was a bit muddy mind and at one point this was the puddle we had to negotiate :)

Abs had found a fantastic stick, which was a great help, but I broke it by putting too much weight on it to get through a muddy spot! She was so cool about it though.

Sunday, we went to church at Lakeland Christian Centre, which meets in a local primary school. It was very friendly and significantly more 'full' than WCC, but somehow did not quite fit with us. There were plenty of children there though. Next lunch and then a troop up School Knot. Joel has been nagging to do this walk since Jake told him about it the first time we went up. It was a lovely sunny day and it is a lovely walk. Going up there are lots of little craggy outcrops to clamber around on and scramble up and coming back down there are lots of little streams to play around in - and why stay dry when getting wet is an option!

When we got changed back into our Crocs at the bottom (boy do they feel good when you take walking boots off!) we decided to pop in one of the guys from WCC, who we sensed was a little unsettled by the decision that was reached. So went and watched the swans by the lake and the kids played 'tig' while P went and checked the bank balance. Then we nipped up to M's for a cuppa - and as it turned out eats in the end. Then we were joined by L (also from WCC) and M's neighbour with her two little girls - who coincidentally we had met at church that morning. It was lovely! The kids played on M's Wii for the evening while we chatted and ate and had a giggle :) It really was a positive evening and we eventually went back to the tent about 10pm! That night the kids slept in - like we didn't plan that!

It rained all night and into the morning. So we packed up the tent in the wet (which is a pain because it means we have to find somewhere big to pitch it to dry) and decided to make our way home. We were out of cash anyway - only just enough left for lunch and BK on route. It took us an hour to get to Lancaster services and then after eats it took us about 3 hours to get home - nose to tail the whole way near enough. But the kids were good (not!) and we made it home in one piece.

Today I have spent washing, washing and...washing - oh and washing up - with a little interlude to write this!!
And now I'm off to do more of the same.


Michelle said...

Nice tent :-)

Bit puzzled as to how you've managed to get water inside as ours has a sewn in bathtub groundsheet. The front porch is getting better with each pitch. Attaching the groundsheet before pegging out the porch bottom bits was much more successful but we still seem to end up with extra loops that we're not quite sure what to do with.

We're hoping to get to the lakes next year . . .

pcjjap said...

The water came through the tent fabric because there was so much water on it - in a puddle - it was basically ON the inside sleeping quarters!! - just bad pitching!