Round up of my Camping trips this year, Outdoors means camping, whatever the weather in the U.K and theres certainly been some extremes this year!! Read on. April 22nd friends and I marshalled a group of riders from Bournemouth to the edge of Lyndhurst in the New Forest for the first ever Brother in the wild weekend event, with 100+ riders from all over U.K there. Weekend of riding around on the familiar gravel tracks for me and a super camp made excellent by the Big Bear Family providing the very hydrating beverages in the evening.
June came around and it was time for me to lead the Wimborne Vintage Bike ride which is part of the V-Dub In The Pub event, a Campervanning weekend. My VW T4 did me proud for a couple of nights as well as the Vintage bike. So far so good on the weather in midsummer, but change is coming…
July I was asked again to lead MTB rides in the New Forest from Ferny Crofts Scout Camp site near Beauliuea road for a Surrey School. Big weeks work in the peak Summer term 2 period that is when most schools do their Outdoor and Adventurous Activities. We led them around some of my favourite forest in Denny area and of course a chance for me to camp for 3 nights was welcomed to get away from the screens and live outdoors. July 17-18-19 saw some of the heaviest Thunderstorms in history, through which we tried to sleep. Seriously doubted my tents chance to cope with the rain volume, school bell tents were washed out many times and several students spent the night indoors in fear. As one of the teachers said after major clean up ‘what dosent kill you makes you stronger’ Certainly a big contrast to daily life for the 300+ Year 8s camping there. Thankfully my kit didn’t fail and I saw the week out before returning to run the third Orienteering week for Durweston School the next week.
August. When schools broke up for summer it was off to Scotland for the Bi –Annual Scottish 6 days via a friends in Edinburgh for a week. 7 nights being my longest camping stretch this summer, have to say again that there were no midges, with only a day or so of rain it really isn’t as hard as people make out. Find it funny how averse people are in Blighty to anything remotely challenging- like riding your bike 3 miles to work for example. So Bonnie Scotland and a great weeks racing in the wildest places in the U.K, as always very technical Orienteering made more rewarding by returning to the cosy comfort of a down sleeping bag, minimal possessions, music and lots of reading. Simplicity of life being the joy of life.
September. An early date this year for the Caddihoe Chase South West Orienteering championships saw me down to Hayle, Cornwall for the weekend 07/08 September. Talk about extremes of life, this weekend had all of them. Saturday a sun drenched day of racing, playing in the sea and eating outdoors between sitting around in the sun. Then the weather came in, some vicious front from the south west came in and as we were camped in the sanddunes we bore full brunt of it. 3 AM my shared tent appeared to be nearly lifting off which companion fixed, then shortly after the event organisers shouted for us to come and help secure the event tents which were also about to take off. We lowered the left of the two big tents to half way and staked it down again for the day. Ah, maritime climate don’t you love it. Blue tents in photo here were the club tents, rendered pretty useless for day two of the event!- Completely flattened in the night.
Finally another marshalling job for the 100 people who signed up to ‘Ride to Bestival’. Working with friends from Velodomestique we took a 25 mile route from Southbourne to Lulworth as an alternate way to get to the festival. Super day with some good sorts there, especially the two tandemists that rode the whole way on a single speed 1920’s machine. By arrival here my summer kit was honed to perfection and I had as always trusty trangia stove, 3 days food, aeropress, new sleepmat and correct clothes. Only thing was after one camp and being robbed in the night amongst other reasons, this festival wasn’t where I wanted to be for the weekend, regardless of the weather I disappointedly came home.
Nice to recall some great times and have this to remember them from 2017. Its raining as I write this for an afternoon outdoors teaching today, mildly inconvenient compared to some of the scenarios of this report. So there’s a round up of a great summer camping thanks for reading.