Rain or shine...

My Force Ten pitched up at Keswick Club Site

OK, so the weather's not been brilliant has it?

I'm fairly sure one of the big daily papers was promising a heatwave to hit us later this month. Let's hope so, but in the meantime I wanted to share a few of my previous camping experiences where I've had a really enjoyable time, even if the weather hasn't been great.

This year, I've already been camping a few times in my little two-berth Force Ten tent (which I love - it feels like home away from home). Most recently I was at Keswick Club Site, pitched about 20ft from Derwentwater with an unobstructed view of the lake and surrounding hills.

The weather? Damp, cloudy, grey. Even a torrential downpour at one point.

But, you know what? It didn't matter one jot to me. I'd go so far as to say it even made the view more enjoyable, the hilltops shrouded in light cloud, occasionally clearing then closing in again. There was almost a mythical quality to the scene, which in my opinion is one of the best you can enjoy with the Club.

Coupled with a good hillwalk up a nearby moor on the approach to Helvellyn, a pub meal back at ground level and a local ale in a decent Keswick inn that evening, it was a pretty memorable and, above all, enjoyable weekend spent in Cumbria. I had to dry the tent out afterwards but it's no hardship to do that. I felt utterly rewarded.

One of the most memorable camping trips I've been on, however, was in temperatures of about -10C in the midst of a Scottish winter.

I went to Galloway Forest Park in Dumfries and Galloway to report for the magazine on the area's brilliant night skies, the darkest in the UK.

Wild camping (legal in Scotland, though we still sought permission), I was treated to a fabulous display of the cosmos courtesy of the freezing air that had been cleansed by a typically Scottish drenching and high winds just hours before.

When I'd satisfied my wonder at the spectacle above me, I was able to climb into my tent a few yards away and wrap up snugly (two sleeping bags!) for one of the best night's sleep I can ever remember getting in a tent. Without the cold and rain, I wouldn't have had this amazing experience.

For me, this just goes to show that our national obsession with the weather shouldn't be a barrier to getting out and enjoying the great outdoors. The wind and rain and snow and freezing temperatures all play their part towards fostering great camping memories, and my two examples merely scratch the surface.

What adventures have you been on where the weather has made them more enjoyable? I'd love to know.


Stuart Kidman avatar Posted by
Stuart Kidman
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Stuart Kidman

Stuart Kidman avatar

Stuart Kidman is the magazine's Deputy Editor. He has been a journalist for ten years, writing for local newspapers before joining the Club in 2009. He loves camping and enjoys nothing better than trekking off into the wilderness to 'rough it' for a couple of nights.

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Camping & Caravaning Comments - 1 comment

Helen Spencer

The quintessential childhood memory for me was of nights under canvas, mainly in the rain. My dad was a cub leader, so big green thick canvas tents were a major feature in my early years!

I now specialise in encouraging families to preserve their childhood memories, and capture the memories they are making right now with their own kids under canvas. I launched a website in 2010 which enables people to do that, www.SaveEveryStep.com

June 26, 2013 Reply to this Comment

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