The trip which nearly put us off camping for life!

In the early year’s of our relationship Hubby and I decided that it might be fun to go camping together as a tester for taking Curly away on holiday. In our lack of wisdom we bought a “Brand New 9 man tent” from eBay for only £100!!! We really should have seen the warning signs then shouldn’t we?! I know a 9 man tent might sound a little bit overkill for 2 adults and a child but we were thinking along the lines of . . . a bedroom for us, a bedroom for Curly and a bedroom to store all our bags etc in so that the living area was free from clutter.

We set a date for the August Bank Holiday weekend and decided that Bakewell would be a great destination and Hubby said that I should leave it to him and he would the pitch for the weekend. (This coming from the man who found DVD’s in his briefcase which he was supposed to return months after we had watched them!!! No wonder we stopped receiving further DVDs to watch).

As the weekend drew nearer, I asked whether he had booked a pitch and the blank expression on his face told me “ooops I forgot”. “I’ll do it now” he said. He rang around site after site just a week before the Bank Holiday weekend trying to find a pitch in Bakewell but it turned out there was a Camping Fayre on so they were extra busy and nearly all booked up. Finally, success!! He looked at me with a smile and said “I’ve booked one, apparently it’s a little way outside of Bakewell and it’s on a hill top, but it should be fine”.

The weekend arrived and we packed our new tent and camping gear into the VW Transporter we had borrowed from work and set off for Bakewell. We found the site and yes indeedy it was on a hill top, a VERY exposed hill top!! The kind of hill you would see in Peppa Pig! ‘Deep breaths’ I told myself. It was a very windy day when we arrived but we were determined it wasn’t going to spoil our weekend so with much hilarity as the tent kept nearly blowing away across the hillsid. Almost an hour later our tent was pitched (kind of). We headed down to Bakewell and had a very enjoyable day exploring, shopping and chatting over a drink in a cosy pub followed by a heartwarming meal. When we left the pub and looked at the skies above, we gave each other ‘a look’, it didn’t look very rosy at all. We decided to head back to the tent and settle down for the night.

Holiday Hell
Heavy rain via Shutterstock

Back at the tent, the winds and the grey skies seemed much stronger and much darker, the tent appeared to be dancing in the wind. We zipped it up and decided that, yes it was moving quite a lot but it would be ok. As the night grew darker the rain began to fall and gradually became heavier and heavier. That’s when it started . . .

drip, drip, DRIP, DRIP, DRIP!!!!

The tent seams were springing leaks all over the place, we used our brand new camping pans which had never been used to cook in to catch all the water and quickly realised a set of 3 just wasn’t going to cover it so we moved all of our gear into the middle of the main area and figured that would keep it the driest.

Then the thunder and lightening started and the wind grew stronger, the rain got heavier and as we decided to retire to our slightly soggy sleeping bags in the hope that we would wake up to find it was all a bad dream, the tent started to bend down on us. YES!! The wind was blowing so strong on that hill top and the poles were bending so much the roof our sleeping pod was just inches from our face. We decided to move to the middle of the lounge area with our bags and just pray that the tent was still there in the morning.

After hours of getting no sleep we finally gave up and slept in the back of the transporter which was rocking for all the wrong reasons. I honestly thought it was going to roll right off the hill. By some miracle, we eventually drifted off to sleep (no doubt rocked to sleep by the rolling van) waking up in the morning to blue but windy skies.

Within hours of getting showered and dressed and eating our breakfast we drove back to Bakewell to the Camping Show and ended up buying ourselves a tent. We didn’t care how much it cost we just knew we couldn’t spend another night in that tent. It was that or we would never go camping again.

We took our new tent back up to the hilltop site and pitched it right next door to the wonky leaky one, moved our belongings from one tent to the other and then promply rolled the other tent up and threw it in the back of the van. I didn’t even take any photographs of the old tent, I hated it so much I just wanted to find the nearest skip to ditch it in.

Holiday heaven

‘Moving in’ to our new tent felt like we were living in the lap of luxury; we had bought a Vango 600 and we still have the same tent over 8 years later and it is still as good today as it was then albeit we are out-growing it with the size of our family. It just goes to show that sometimes it really does pay to spend a little more for quality. We have had many happy camping trips in our Vango and have taken great care of it because we appreciated how much it saved us that weekend. Sure the wind was still blowing and the rain continued to fall as night fell but we were cosy, warm and dry and we ended up having a lovely weekend in Bakewell. Needless to say, I book all the holidays now and as we pour ourselves a glass of wine on the first night of each camping trip we toast the tent and have a little giggle at the trip which nearly put us off camping for life!!!!

This is our entry into the Holiday Heaven or Hell Blogger Competition.

2 thoughts on “The trip which nearly put us off camping for life!”

  1. What a disaster! Whenever we go camping it always always seems to rain and be really windy! And Ross wonders why I am never really keen on going!

    • Apart from this one time I can honestly say the majority of our camping trips have been a big success, sure we’ve had the odd downpour but thankfully our tent has stood up to it and we have been cosy and warm inside. The Beans absolutely LOVE camping and we can’t wait for our next trip 🙂 x

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