Yes I have spent my adult life promoting UK Tourism principally Scotland though since my Bright Light Marketing days also the North of England as the ideal place for a holiday or a short break. I do believe passionately in UK as a destination and have enjoyed many a holiday from far North in Lewis to a city break in London to a staycation in the Borders or a break in the Lake District.
I have never apart from a few days as a student camped. Not that my student weekend in Arran put me of camping in fact it remains one of the best weekends of my life. Wall to wall sunshine from start to finish and newly in love with my now husband the world just had that magical feel about it. Plus we went with our best friends and memories of waking up at Lochranza camp site and looking over to the sea will stay with me for life or burning sausages on the beach which we then declared to be the best in the world and at the time they were. You would think then that such an experience would have made me want to camp more. However for one reason and another we never camped partly perhaps as my parents holiday home in the Lakes provided us with the perfect retreat and then I admit I got rather used to the good things in life and four star hotels and luxury villas with pools in Spain became my preferred accommodation.
Then kids came around and the current recession and 4 star hotels and villas started to become more out of reach. Plus as my daughter started to read Enid Blyton’s famous five and their camping exploits we kept getting asked if we could camp. I held out though for a year or so. Then we got given an old tent from my sister and glamping became the must do thing not just in magazines but also in my work life as well. I fell in love with my clients products from a beautiful camping site up North, to Camper Vans for hire in the Scottish Borders and Roulottes in a beautiful meadow below the Eildons in the Scottish Borders. A trip last year to Bamburgh beach also gave me a dream of waking up by the beach and recreating that weekend of so long ago this time with the kids and the pup in tow!
So it was arranged we would go to Bamburgh this summer for a weekend last weekend before the schools went back. Determined not to be caught short we asked my sister and brother-in-law along as well as they have camped many times and have all the equipment plus we enjoy their company. I was looking forward to it and as we sped towards the coast after picking up supplies I was excited perhaps not as much as the kids but I did feel we were going on an adventure.
Until we kept seeing cars in the other direction with their lights on and then it got darker and darker. I checked my phone where I have a rather handy Met Office app on it. A red weather warning for Northumbria torrential rain. My heart sank in my shoes. By the time we got to the Barn at Beal it was torrential and I just wanted to go home. But being ever the optimist I thought maybe just maybe it would be better further south. No it was worse much worse. We reached the camp site South Meadows and gave the kids the option home or stay. Stay was their enthusiastic response. How Andy got the tent up in the rain I will never know but he did and all credit to him. Before we knew it we were all in the tent with the rain coming down and the wind lashing round. The pup in his cage in the tent looked at us as if we were mad and I had to agree we were. The news as Alethea and Michael arrived that the weather was great in the Borders didn’t help. But we spent the evening sheltering from the rain and camped down for the evening. Well the pup was the best as he had his cage and covering. The rest of us endured a night when the water was coming in at every angle and just as I closed my eyes my side of the tent fell in. I tried hard to go to sleep and dream of the sun and convince myself that it would all be great tomorrow but with a gale outside it was impossible. Morning finally came and the whole tent was damp and wet. All our pillows and kids shoes and clothes in fact the best of by far was the pup! The rain was still coming down and my met office app said it was here for the weekend. I am afraid we aborted and went home to a much dryer Scottish Borders and our dry bed.
So our first camping trip as a family was more swamping than glamping and not the ideal of the Famous Five. But you know I will do it again. I was very very impressed with the facilities at South Meadows in Belford full marks to them and I admit that at a brief respite in the night I thought I like sleeping outside and it was comforting having the four of us and the pup in one space. But I am never setting up tent again in torrential rain the plan is next summer we wait for a good weekend and head for where the weather is best. I am not a fully converted camper and confess a Camper Van or a Roulotte still holds more appeal than our wet tent but I have seen the potential of what fun it could be so never say never maybe next year we will recreate that summer weekend long ago but I have to say that this time the pup and me raced to the car to see who could get in first and get shelter and home never looked so good.