I did it. Despite swearing I would never spend a night under canvas with my two monsters, I finally succumbed to the lure of family camping. We bought a 2 bedroom Halfords tent from ebay, some beds and pans and bits and pieces and headed off into the wilds to survive on nothing but our wits and instinct for two days.
Or rather we drove two hours up the road and pitched our tent at the Blue Dolphin Haven campsite which is complete with kids play areas, swimming pool, bars, restaurants, shops and nightly entertainment. Real Bear Gryll stuff, you know?
Despite being rained on, surviving through high winds and two nights of high spritied children, we left with everything pretty much in tact. Apart, that is, from my dignity. That I left in tatters blowing in the wind across Filey bay.
Ahh, camping, the great robber of self respect.
1. Doing the minstry of silly walks in flip flops (cause you forgot to buy wellies for yourself) around a wet field trying to find somewhere non- boggy to pitch your tent in whilst being watched by an enitre campsite.
2. Spending an hour setting up your tent and unloading all your stuff (seriously we had WAY too much stuff. The poor kids did the whole journey there with their knees up around their ears) and feeling all proud of yourself only to then watch a family with twice as many children and half the amount of junk put their tent up in about 30 seconds, cook their dinner, get their kids in to bed and turn in for the night whilst you are still trying to figure out how to light your stove.
3. Lying in bed in pj’s, socks and a hat. There is something very undignified about sleeping in a wooly bobble hat.
4. Attempting to get out of a sleeping bag that’s lying on an air bed: wriggle, kneel, tentively stand and then fall face first as your feet get caught up in sleeping bag.
5. Wincing as the swear words you utter whilst trying to disintangle yourself from said sleeping bag, ring out over a silent camping field.
6. Squatting over a child’s potty in the middle of the night, aware that the entire feild can hear your stream of pee hitting the plastic base.
7. Only realising after you’ve got back in to bed that the torch you took with you also illuminated to the entire camping field your ridiculous attempt to free yourself from your bed and your over- potty squatting.
8. Having to carry said potty, that your two year old has now poohed in, over the camping field, past the caravans to the toilets all the while knowing everyone thinks that’s your pooh.
9. Moaning very loudly about how long these camping kettles take to boil as every other tent around you sips their brew, only then thinking to check whether you turned the gas on or not. Ahem.
10. Packing a tent in the wind.
And the really daft thing? We’ve already booked our next camping trip. I am clearly a glutton for punishment. Or in need of a psych evaluation.
About our trip
Where? Haven Blue Dolphin just outside Filey on the North East coast of England.
What? Two nights camping including entrance to swimming pool, playground, evening entertainment etc
When? May 2012
How much? £20 for 2 nights in a tent with no electric hook up
What did we think? It was good, the kids enjoyed themselves and therefore, so did we. Camping field was a little damp but toilets and shower facilities great. Evening entertainment and pool lovely (pool was heated to nice temp and had slides). Children play area was a bit rubbish to be honest but the kids seemed to enjoy themselves. I preferred Thorpe Park Haven site which we visited the year before although their pool wasn’t as warm or nice.
Would we go again? Assuming we don’t fall out of love with camping (our next trip will be to somewhere with no kids entertainment/pool/trampolines – you know, actual proper camping) then yeah, we’d go again.