We had some reservations about it though, primarily being the sloped entrance. This was one of the main problems with our old Hi-Gear, the sloped front was completely impractical in the rain; it was impossible to have the main door open without the inside of the tent getting soaked. I couldn’t see how the Concorde would be any different.
With weather warnings for thunderstorms across the UK, we decided to select our destination for a weekend camping trip based on the weather map. It seemed that East Anglia would escape the worst of the storms, and we’d always fancied visiting the north Norfolk coast so narrowed our search area to this stretch as far as Cromer.
When we impulse-bought our trusty Go Outdoors Gobi4, we never dreamed we’d end up mad keen campers, but three years on, holidays under canvas have become a large part of our lives and serious camping demands a serious tent. That’s how we justify it to ourselves anyway.
So it is with an ambivalent sense of bittersweet nostalgia and dizzy excitement that we embark on our search for the Tent Of Our Dreams™
We selected Brook Meadow based on it fulfilling every one of my campsite criteria, including the more picky nice-to-haves. There’s also a fishing lake in the middle of the site and while we thought that would be a nice feature, we weren’t expecting the landscape to be quite this spectacular.
Choosing a campsite is no different to anything else, you start with an idea of your perfect solution, and via a process of comparison and compromise, find something as closely resembling that initial vision as possible. The length and angst of this process is usually directly related to how concerned you are that everything is just so. Being the perfectionist I am, the process tends to err on the lengthy and angst ridden for me. Over the years though, I’ve managed to hone my methods to minimise the chances of the MacBook being thrown out of the window in a fit of frustration.
It’s a rare day we head east from It’s Nice Out HQ but when the weather forecast drew a vertical line down the UK with icy storms in the west but soaring temperatures in the east one weekend, we decided to investigate camping options in Lincolnshire.
I always struggle to find ideal campsites, a problem I’ll write about another time and one of the reasons for producing It’s Nice Out. This occasion was no exception, but one of my preferred methods, a Google map search, threw up The Grove at Anderby; although they were just starting out and their web presence was not as polished as it is now, the site met our not extensive but seemingly difficult-to-fulfil criteria.
I wouldn’t say we were 4-seasons campers, but it certainly felt like it when we awoke to a tent covered in ice during this particular trip. Mustering all of our British (and Turkish) grit, our party of 4 soldiered on in the face of inclement weather and managed to coax a brilliant weekend from this potential early-spring washout thanks to the beautiful location and plentiful supplies of gin.
It’s the first of March, my favourite month, and with the sun shining and lighter evenings it finally feels like spring might be in the air. With this in mind, here at It’s Nice Out HQ we’re starting to get excited about planning camping trips.
In honour of today being St Davids day, a celebration of the patron saint of Welsh campers*, I thought it wholly appropriate to feature this review of Pembrokeshire campsite, Lleithyr Farm by our Welsh wonder Charlie; including some beautiful images by (Welsh) photographer Maria Farrelly.
*This may or may not be true
I love camping. I love being outdoors. No surprises there. I do not like being cold, uncomfortable or hungry. I admit, I’m pretty feeble when it comes to physical endurance. But camping doesn’t have to feel like a test of endurance if you have the right kit. It needn’t be expensive, or technical, or even specifically intended for camping. In addition to our standard gear which I’ll talk about another time, there are a few additional items which I can’t be without, which smooth the edges of every camping trip. Now while I admire and even covet the kind of antique storage pieces, whimsical decorations and beautiful textiles favoured by the bell-tent fraternity (or should that be sorority?!), our camping style is more Gore Tex than Liberty print and I’ll be exploring in more detail various camping styles in later articles. For now though, I’d like to share five simple, affordable products that will enhance any camping OR glamping experience. Other than cider. Starting with…