Monday, 25 May 2015

if you're happy and you know it clap your hands....

As I am sitting back on the armchair with my feet on the pouffe, eau de camping all but a distant memory lingering in my nostrils, two loads of washing done, sleeping bags aired and packed away for another trip, I am feeling extraordinarily lucky to be able to go away for a long camping weekend, to share the experience with my family and a handful of friends.

We camped in Kinlochleven in the Highlands. The campsite is very laid back, cheap and cheerful. It has an unpronouncable name and you can find it here. The views on the way there (and back) are amazing.



It was a weekend of contrasts (the blokes were of course right to worry about the weather forecast), Friday was all blue skies and singing birds. Saturday started off gloriously sunny but ended wet and windy. Very wet. Sunday was all showers and wind. Monday was dry once more, with the occasional sighting of blue sky and one glimpse of the sun. Perfect to pack the tent away dry. There is nothing worse than drying a house sized tent draped over banisters, tables and chairs. 




Whilst the weather could have been better, the company was ace. 



Within moments of arriving, the children fell into their usual routines of climbing the 'mountain of doom' and the 'hill of death', swinging on the rope swing, wading through the burn, jumping in and over puddles and poking sticks into the fire. The teenagers went fishing, kept themselves to themselves or entertained the company with strong teenage opinions. 

The adults also fell into their usual routines.

The men were hunting and gathering: plenty of fire wood was loaded onto the trailer and hauled back to camp, fish & chips were purchased in a nearby pub and the occasional foray into the local Coop was organised to replenish the larder. 

The ladies engaged in more homely activities: bunting needed to by hung, muddy clothes needed to be picked up all around the campsite, children needed to be counted and sorted into their respective clans, and gossip needed exchanging. This was best done in Bertha, a small campervan with just enough seats to accomodate all women.



A new routine was added this year: dog watching and dog chasing. Jack and Rudie added much hilarity and camp security. The campsite owners were happy for dogs to run around as long as their mess is picked up. Rudie, a puppy, is a bundle of energy, never too tired to have another round of play. He enjoyed running and running and a little more running. Jack (now a teenager) did also enjoy all the above but took his guarding duties more serious. He particularly disliked kajakers, loud drunks trying to cross his burn and bike helmets with silly pink rubber Mohican spikes. 



In between routines and chores, food and drink was shared and jokes were told around the campfire, inside the tents or Bertha (a small and delightful campervan). Mystical fire dust turned the flames green, much to the astonishment of little children. No fish were caught. An attempt to make s'mores was not so successful. A variety of home cooked curries was sampled and enjoyed. Many bags of crisps were consumed and plenty of beer and prosecco, too. Much laughter was heard and some shouting also. Injuries were treated, mostly bruises from falling of the rope swing or rolling down the mountain of doom. Water was mopped up inside tent porches using old newspaper and discarded clothes. A rip in our tent was not fixed (again). Teeth were sometimes cleaned and there was even the odd person taking a shower. Hats were useful to disguise bad hair moments. There were some fabulous puddles to jump into. An afternoon trip to the Ice Factory was loved by all children. Some turned out to be natural climbers, others maybe not so much. Important questions were asked and answered, for example how many times a day on average to you wish your children/mother to some other less hospitable place? A swollen sprained ankle was cooled with frozen chicken curry.

 

I am tired, happy and full of new memories. I didn't set myself any goals for the camping weekend (this being a holiday) but at the back of my mind there were a number of things I wanted to achieve:
  • to be warm during the night and to not get up to hike to the loo.
  • to not wash any dishes for the duration of the trip
  • to belly laugh as much as possible
I did well on all counts. I invested heavily into a self inflating camping mat worthy for a trip to the high mountains in mid winter (which I have no intention of doing). I pretended it was my lost Birthday money that I spent. Thank you mum. The mat was comfortable and insulated me from the cold ground perfectly. It could of course be coincidence and what really kept me warm was the hot flushes. Time will tell. I managed successfully to avoid all dishwashing duties (apologies to those who stepped in) and I laughed a lot. Thank you all! You know who you are.

I am ready for bed! Camping is a very tiring activity. I hope you all had a good Bank Holiday weekend. Cx

25 comments:

  1. Sounds amazing, a great family trip with lots of special memories made to treasure. The flushes don't last forever and then you are permanently cold...

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  2. Yay!!! Sounds and looks like a wonderful time indeed!!! So glad that you had fun and enjoyed it all. The children all look very happy indeed!!! What could be better. Shame about the rain but it doesn't sound as though it stopped you for even a moment!! Wonderful! xx

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  3. It looks and sounds fab. I'm glad to see your tent is even bigger than ours. Perhaps we'll attempt camping again this summer...

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  4. That sounds like a great weekend!

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  5. What a brilliant weekend, it really sounds wonderful. That tent is quite an amazing thing. Glad you had such a good time Christina. CJ xx

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  6. Sounds like a great time was had by all and you describe it so well I felt I was there too. Actually I remember camping in the Highlands, we used newspapers as extra insulation. Brrr.

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  7. What a great weekend and what a gorgeous camping site. It sounds such fun, we might give camping a try this summer.. x

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  8. I salute you Christina! Lovely reportage.

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  9. what a wonderful post about your weekend, truly lovely x

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  10. Sounds absolutely wonderful despite the weather!

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  11. Your descriptions and the pictures really convey the great time you had. I love that there always seems to be one brave sole in shorts.

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  12. Fantastic post Christina. How well you convey the feeling of great happiness and adventure that you all had. I can almost smell the woodsmoke! Greta photo's too! X

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  13. Looks like a very happy bunch of campers, must have been a very good vacation.

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  14. Wonderful pictures, Christina! It looks like you made memories to last a lifetime!

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  15. Sounds like you had a wonderful time! I particularly like the idea of the magic fire dust (must try and find some) and those sausages look delicious!
    Hope you have a relaxing time now you're surrounded by home comforts once more.
    S x

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  16. What a great account of your camping trip - it certainly made me smile and want to clap my hands :-) And seeing as you brought up the topic, I have a questions: do you find that the hot flushes are never around when you're cold and need warming up? Oh no, it always seems to me to be when I'm already toasty warm indoors!! Tee hee.. Enjoy the rest of your week,
    love Gilly xx

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  17. It looks like you had a fantastic time Christina. And no dishes the whole time - lucky you! The scenery looks amazing.

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  18. The only time I ever slept well in a tent was when I was pregnant....

    The weekend looks brill fun. The wet and mud only add to the experience of anyone under 18, and to the post break work load of the mothers! Hope the weather stays drying fit for the rest of the week!

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  19. What an awesome weekend away! That part of the world is absolutely gorgeous. I like how you captured the little "minutes" of the weekend with you camera. Close-ups of faces and things that will help you remember your weekend away. Our first camping trip of the year go rained out a last weekend, but I have 2 more planned for the next month. Your pics and words have got me even more excited to get out with our little camper. I hope we can create as many fun memories as you!

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  20. I love how happy you sound here! Camping with friends is such fun, I'm really looking forward to our trip in June and hope it's as much fun as this. Stunning scenery too. X

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  21. It sounds brilliant Christina! How nice that Jack had a friend to play with too :-) xx

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  22. It sounds like a fabulous, happy weekend. I've never been camping, I don't think it's something I'll ever get to do as I'm married to someone who values his comfort too much.

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  23. Sounds like you had a really great time.

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  24. sounds wonderful! we are currently planning a trip to scotland with the dog and the tent for later in the year, and I'm all the more excited now :)

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  25. Looks like a fab time, I love camping and getting away for weekend breaks.

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Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx