2 April 2021 – Wild Camping

Hope you’re having a good week.

Now that we have a tiny bit of freedom, I remember last summer, the last time we briefly had some, I persuaded the family to go wild camping in The Lakes.  Here’s how I sold it to them:

Beautiful sunset melting behind a craggy ridge, lying in your sleeping bag staring up at The Milky Way, stories around the stove, bacon butties in the morning, the distant sound of Herdwick sheep, that sort of thing.

Not sure whether you know this, but I’m a liar. And you know it’s all going to go wrong, so I might as well cut to 12 minutes into the walk.

We stepped into a bog, and I’m not one to exaggerate, but it was the size of Wales and probably most of Cheshire. As my youngest daughter’s head disappeared under the mud, I could sense it wasn’t going well.

After an hour of squelching, I was so desperate to keep morale up I think I might have mentioned ‘character building’ and I could’ve even said ‘no pain no gain’ for which I profoundly apologise.

We eventually emerged from the ooze, and took this selfie halfway up

Three seconds after this, I looked up at the darkening sky. We’d missed the sunset, but hopefully the Milky Way would save the expedition. The stars were there in all their glory, but, unhelpfully, they were several light years behind a thick bank of cumulonimbus that had just whooshed over the top of the ridge.

Then a splodge hit me in the eye. Then another, this time big and fat, then a shower nozzle opened up and, unprovoked, a gentle breeze turned vicious.

This is the technique I used to put the tents up

Flapping around on a guy rope is a lot of fun. Luckily the family were thoroughly enjoying themselves…

At 5.30 am, after a restful seven minutes sleep, I wondered if we could salvage the bacon butties. As I popped my head out of the tent, God threw another bucket into my face, he’s a funny guy that God.

I crossed bacon butties off the list and continued staring at the tent roof, thrashing a centimeter above my nose.

In the morning, we stuffed all our sodden things into our bags, when I say our bags I am mostly referring to my bag, and headed off down the mountain. The only way I can convey to you how a saturated mass of tents, sleeping bags and clothes felt is with a drawing.

Let’s end on a motivational note. When we eventually got back to the car, we drove down to a local cafe by the lake and had the best sausage sandwiches we’d ever had, ever.

Here’s my take-home from the trip – bad experiences make good things better.

Here’s the family’s take-home from the trip – Shut yer face, Dad.

That’s it once again.

I’m going to drink beer in a friend’s garden this weekend, following the rule of 6 guidelines obviously. Living in Cumbria, I have been able to reuse my tent sketch above to illustrate the likely outcome.

Have a great Easter weekend, hope you’re not flapping on a rhododendron.

Take care and all the best,


2 April 2021 – Wild Camping

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