When my friend asked me to go on a girls’ night out in January, I jumped at the chance. Inspired by a mutual friend of ours, Vicky decided she wanted to camp every month for a year: “I realise that I’ll have to do most of the first camps on my own,” she said. “Don’t worry” I replied, “I’ll come with you.” How was I to know she actually meant it?
We then persuaded another of friend, Amanda, that this was a good idea so, with the calls of ‘You’re mad’ echoing in our ears, we packed our gear into the boot of the car and our 12 months of camping began.
Our first camp of the year took place at a campsite attached to The Halfway House Inn near Bridgnorth. The weather was set to be very cold – well, it was January after all – so we decided that this might be the best course of action. It might be cold outside, but the pub is always warm − especially when it has a roaring fire in the bar. We took lots of precautions to help insulate against the cold and we had about a million carpets between us. Ok, maybe a little exaggeration, but we did put two or three carpets down to help stop the cold seeping in from the ground and we did have a couple of heaters and plenty of warm clothing and bedding.
Once we were pitched up we drove into Bridgnorth where we had a browse around the market and shops before heading to a pub for some lunch – did I mention it was cold outside? Afterwards, we had another stroll around the town before heading back to the tent.
We’d booked dinner in the pub as we thought it would be far too cold to cook outside – nothing at all to do with us being far too lazy to cook and wash up afterwards, honest! The landlord very kindly boiled a kettle so that we could fill up hot water bottles to take back to the tent.
We slept surprisingly well and, much to the surprise of everyone that knew us, we survived our night in the freezing temperatures. The frost hadn’t actually been as severe as we were expecting and when we opened up the tent we were pleasantly surprised to see the sun shining.
After breakfast, we went for a short walk in the surrounding fields before returning to strike camp. Although it was early January, the sun was still shining and it felt pleasantly warm for the time of year, we even sat on our chairs for a break whilst waiting for the tent to air a little − without our coats on! Yes, it’s fair to say that we had enjoyed our first camp of the year, and we couldn’t wait until our next adventure.
Kathryn Whelan continues her personal challenge to camp at least once in every month of the year.
February is school half term month and it was unusually mild so we decided that we would take the children with us. We chose Sytch Caravan and Camping near Much Wenlock, another great choice of sites as there was plenty of space for the boys to run around and it was just a short walk along a footpath to the town. After a short walk there and back, we went back to the tent and made dinner.
After about an hour of trying to cook a spaghetti Bolognese and telling ourselves that the gas wasn’t as efficient as usual because of the cold temperatures, we eventually realised that in fact, the gas had pretty much run out… oops! Fortunately, we had a spare and within a few minutes of changing the bottle, dinner was served.