Wasdale and reduced camping…

Easter half term arrived and I had come up with a brilliant plan. We’re going to Berwick-Upon-Tweed next week but I fancied doing something else so we booked to go camping for 2 nights in Wasdale. I’d never been before but had heard about it’s brutal beauty and figured it can’t be that cold at Easter (ignoring the fact that Easter was in March this year). I had envisioned a weekend with the kids, no electronics or phones, just lots of wild activities, and hopefully a bit of walking.

We own a tent, but have never used it. We own a fair amount of camping equipment (apart from a table which we borrowed of my Mum) because we always plan to go camping but never get round to it and I was adamant we were going to go this year and wanted to start the year as we meant to go on.

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The weather had been terrible in the run up to the camping trip and the forecast was for torrential rain but still I told myself and Bob that it would be fine.

I was wrong.

The journey up to Wasdale took us along the West Coast of Cumbria, a beautiful area that has a much more remote feel to it than other parts. The roads winds a fair bit and as someone who suffers from travel sickness, it made for a pretty unpleasant car journey. However, it was expected and the scenery was stunning so I was still very much looking forward to our stay. We booked at the National Trust campsite and checked in with no trouble. We found a great spot in the site with direct access to the toilets (without being too close) and with trees to help protect us from the wind (but without big over hanging branches). After we pitched up we headed over to the Wasdale Head Inn for a bowl of chips and a pop. It was lovely and the other food they were serving looked incredible! The kids started getting restless and were desperate to start throwing some stones so we headed back and went down to the waters edge. The kids were more than happy trying to skim stones and playing with their Dad and I was happy as ever taking photo’s of the landscape and their games.

This isn’t a lake with a ferry, or full tourist places. In fact, aside from the pub and the shop next to it, there is nothing, at all. Here the tourist attractions are the lake and surrounding mountains (Wasdale Head is the starting point for ascents up Scafell Pike). The rain started to come down so we headed back to the tent and to cook some tea. Everyone was looking forward to the BBQ and as usual Bob took  the job of chef for the evening.

Food eaten and night setting in, we set the kids up in their half of the tent. By now the temperature had dropped considerably but we had brought plenty of blankets and things so they were quite snug.

Shortly after, we headed to bed and found it had got colder still. Sleeping with fleeces on and hearing the wind pickup outside it was pretty uncomfortable. We heard the rain and felt the wind hitting the tent. I decided to make a late night loo run and it was a good job I did because I discovered somebodies unsecured gazebo had blown across the campsite and ended up inches from our tent. Bob got out of bed and took the gazebo down and we made the decision to bring the kids in with us. We were a lot cosier and everybody got some sleep albeit not much. The next morning I decided to go for a shower (it was a relief to find the facilities were clean and working) as I wasn’t feeling very well at all and thought it might help. Bob sorted out the kids breakfasts and I returned. The campers came to collect their gazebo and apologised profusely.

I made the decision to cut our camping trip short as I felt no better and more rain was forecast for the day. It turned out to be a wise move as we discovered water pooling underneath the groundsheets.

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On paper it was a disaster but it doesn’t feel that way and I’m glad we did it. It gave us an idea of what to expect when it all goes wrong (I did once float away in a tent during flooding and storms in France). The kids had fun and didn’t really seem to notice any of the problems and at the end of the day that’s all that matters. The campsite was great and we’d happily stay there again (though, maybe during the Summer) and I look forward to exploring the area more but on this occasion, leaving early was the sensible choice and it hasn’t put me off camping one bit.

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