lets try - camping
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In the days before overseas sun and sand packageholidays became the norm, the holiday of choicefor most people was camping. It was cheap andfun, and you pitched your tent pretty much whereyou wanted. Even today, the freedom and valuecamping offers is still a powerful magnet, and an
estimated 1.2 million people regularly head off into theBritish countryside or by the coast to sleep out undercanvas.
Except, of course, these days it generally isnt canvas.Camping has undergone a revolution in recent years withthe advent of new, easy-to-put-up tents made from light-weight materials, warm and weatherproof clothing, cosybedding and all manner of high-tech gadgets that helpmake an outdoors holiday far more comfortable andappealing than ever before.
Forget trudging across a muddy field in pouring raincarrying buckets of water from a stream or having to
find a secluded spot to answer natures call. Todayscampers have the latest facilities on campsites, fromleisure centres and heated outdoor pools to bars, restau-rants and childrens play and adventure complexes. Atsome sites in the UK and on the Continent, you can evenindulge in a spa session with massage treatments.
If tents dont appeal, you can enjoy more comfort andluxury by going glamping, the buzzword for glamourcamping. Yurts, tepees, tipis and wigwams, campingpods and gypsy caravans are among alternative optionsfor experiencing the elements in style.
I havent been tempted to camp since my now grown-up children were young and we holidayed a few times onFrench campsites. Memories of camping in Britain arevividly etched in my brain.
The pungent odour of canvas and wet earth fromfamily holidays as a youngster are early recollections. Ialso recall the feeling of excitement after passing my
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Ever since some disastrous camping trips as a young man, Peter Ellegard has never had an in-tents love affair with outdoors holidays. But, as he discovers, things have improved dramaticallyfor those seeking al fresco breaks
lets try n camping holidays
n Camping in the New Forest
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lets try n camping holidays
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driving test in the early 1970s and packing the car bootand roof rack with my frame tent and other campingparaphernalia for a weeks exploration of North Wales.But visions of horror stories come flooding back, too.
glampingAmong them, battling the indecipherable jumble ofpoles in sideways rain in a Welsh quagmire masquerad-ing as a campsite on that trip, the tent flapping aboveme and my mother like a crazed dragon as we tried topull it down over the frame I had finally piecedtogether. Or waking up in a sodden sleeping bag by theshores of Loch Lomond after the water level rose andflooded my chosen part of the campsite from theconstant deluge. Or perhaps braving 70mphwinds in the middle of a wild and stormy Maynight in the Cairngorms foothills to double-pegthe tent and flysheet and put heavy rocks aroundthe edges to stop them being blown away.Trying to read by the light of a Camping Gaz
lantern or hurricane lamp while getting a numbbum sitting on an uncomfortable folding camp chair,or attempting to light a bottled gas cooker withdraughts continually snuffing out the flame are other
camping tipsl Make a checklist of everything you
need to take, and dont forget tocheck your tent and other equip-ment is in good condition wellbefore you go.
l Dont forget to pack suncream andprotective clothing to preventsunburn.
l Pack a simple first aid kit to dealwith insect bites and minor injuries.
l Nights can be cold and tents have noinsulation, so take warm clothing,good sleeping bags and plenty ofbedding.
l Take wellies, waterproofs and brol-lies, just in case.
l Always pack a mallet and buy a
peg-puller tool to remove stubborntent pegs.
l Be careful with any cooking, heatingor lighting equipment. Mains electric-ity in tents can be a potential hazard.Take a fire extinguisher and/or fireblanket.
l Ensure you maintain hygiene to stayhealthy.
vivid flashbacks.Although I am now an agnostic camper, many still
keep the faith. The Camping and Caravanning Club(www.thefriendlyclub.co.uk) is the worlds oldest clubfor all forms of camping and has over half a millionmembers, who spend over 1.5 million nights on its clubsites each year. It offers more than 3,000 places to campacross the UK, including 110 club sites and another1,500 member-only certificated sites, and is in thevanguard of change.Developments for members include the addition of
wooden camping pods at its Bellingham (Northumberland),Eskdale (LakeDistrict), Thetford Forest (Norfolk) and Isleof Skye club sites, while children love spending the nightin the clubs cosy camping dens at its Gullivers MiltonKeynes site. Safari tents sleeping up to four with modcons including two-ring burner, grill and sink areavailable at its Teversal site in Nottinghamshire.There are numerous other glamping options for
chic campers. At 200-acre Yorkshire site Jollydays(www.jollydaysluxurycamping.co.uk), there areseven luxury tented lodges that sleep six and featurewood burners, four-poster beds, chandeliers and sofas.Some also have their own showers.
Forest Tourism Association
n Prepare before yougo so you can relaxwhen you arrive
n Inside aCornish yurt
Cornish Yurt Holidays
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yurtsStay in Mongolian-style yurts with Cornish Yurt Holidays(www.yurtworks.co.uk/holidays) on the edge ofBodmin Moor, where they include wood-burning stovesyou can cook on as well as a small gas cooker, double bed,chill box, separate bathroom yurt and a solar shower, andat Alde Garden (www.aldegarden.co.uk) in Sweffling,Suffolk, which has a yurt sleeping up to five plus a gypsycaravan, tepee and bell tent. West Wood Yurts (www.westwoodyurts.co.uk) has six yurts near Newcas-tle, while HomeAway (www.homeaway.co.uk) has yurtsin Cornwall.
Low-carbon Cornish camping site Ekopod(www.ekopod.com) offers a geodesic dome tent echoing theEden Project and featuring a king-size bed and wood-burn-ing stove with adjacent kitchen and bathroom tents.
Get into the Wild West spirit at sites such as CornishTipi Holidays (www.cornishtipiholidays.co.uk) in StKew, Cornwall, where 40 North American-style tipis areset in 16 acres, and at the Pot-a-Doodle Do WigwamVillage (www.northumbrianwigwams.com), nearBerwick-upon-Tweed, which has 20 wooden wigwams
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lets try n camping holidays
Get theright gearIf you are new to camping, the choice ofequipment and optional extras is bewildering.Tents come in all shapes and sizes. The
Camping and Caravanning Club lists morethan a dozen types, from the basic ridge tentto dome tents, tunnel tents, geodesic designs,inflatable ones, frame tents, tepees and trailertents.Tent fabrics can be just as
confusing. Once-ubiquitouscotton canvas tents are nowquite rare. Larger frameand trailer tents may becanvas but are generallycoated with PVC tomake them tough andwaterproof. Many arenow made from lighterpolycotton or coatedpolyester, while smalltents often uselightweight nylon.Pegs, too, come in all
shapes and types. Youcan choose from steel, plastic,alloy or titanium, but if you want to be eco-friendly, get biodegradable ones that wontharm farm animals or farm machinery if leftin the ground.Sleeping bags, lights and other accessories
have all come a long way in recentyears.Scottish camping gear
company Vango(www.vango.co.uk)makes a range of sleeping
bags and tents and a host ofother camping equipment, including
cooking kits, lanterns, LED torches, bags,tables and chairs.The Vango range includes the Vango
Dormir Comfort sleeping bag (right),designed for comfort and durability, and theVango Elixir 20 (above left), a multi-use
rucsac perfect for active outdoor enthusiastsand day trippers with storage
compartments for all your essentials.l You can WIN two Vango Dormir
Comfort sleeping bags and twoVango Elixir 20L rucsacs,
worth a total of 150.Just go to www.tlm-magazine.co.ukand click on
conditions apply.Closing date May 30, 2012.
n The Vango AirBeam Fluxtent takes just four
minutes to pump up.
n Mongolian-style yurt
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in addition to several yurts. Trevella Holiday Park(www.trevella.co.uk), near Newquay has introducedtepees for 2012 along with safaris and bell tents.
And you can be snug as a pea in your own pod atmore than 40 locations around the country.
If you prefer to enjoy the Great Outdoors in traditionaltents, there are thousands of campsites and youll findthem in some of Britains most breathtaking scenery.
Pitch your tent in one of the most scenic locations atcaravan and camping park Castlerigg Hall (www.cast-lerigg.co.uk) in the Lake District, which proclaims itselfas the Park with the View. It also has camping pods.
Callow Top (www.callowtop.co.uk), in the PeakDistrict, is another picturesque site that caters for tentsand trailer tents as well as caravans. There are manywalking routes nearby and the thrill rides of AltonTowers are just 20 minutes away.
And if you want to camp in a child-free e