I have been camping for about five years now and I love it. The first time someone mentioned I should try it, I wasn’t sure. Then I thought back to my teenage years when my Dad used to take my brother and I to France in a big orange and brown canvas tent with lurid flowery curtains attached. I loved it. But I wasn’t so sure about camping at home in the United Kingdom. The weather just isn’t so good.
Anyway, after a few discussions with a friend who camps and the realisation that it could be a way to get away without spending quite as much money I decided to give it a go. My camping friend organised a collection when I left the job I was in and they brought me a tent, a small suitcase stove and a kettle. The best leaving present ever. So, new house, new job and new tent.
My first trip was, after much deliberation, to Tan Y Bryn farm near Llandudno junction. It is a Camping and Caravanning Club certificated site and had an electric hook up field which was fairly flat and full and a sloping field with magnificent views of the sea. From what I can remember there were toilets which were alright and cold water taps, but no washing up sinks or hot water. We washed up in a bucket and boiled a kettle. I think that since then they’ve installed washing up facilities. The thing that sticks in my head the most was the views. At night when you went to the toilet you could see the lights from the boats twinkling in the distance on the sea -magical. I was hooked.
We slept on a slope, but it didn’t bother us too much as our heads were up the right way towards the top of the slope and our feet were facing down. We had so little camping equipment at this point that it didn’t really matter about it sliding down. We sat outside on a rug and I cooked on a stove perched on top of it’s own suitcase box.
At the time the children were 3 and 8, so I did worry a bit about them, but they loved it. They loved being with me and they loved being outdoors. There was a little playground up the road and my eldest was in charge of fetching water which he loved. He was also in charge of fetching pegs whilst I put the tent up. It was flexible poles so I could do it on my own. The biggest problem with that early tent was the bedroom compartments. They were supposed to sleep two each, but when it rained the double air bed touched the sides and if we moved too much and it leaked a bit in the corners. It didn’t put us off. It was the start of lots of camping.