“I still believe in paradise. But now at least I know it’s not someplace you can look for. Because it’s not where you go. It’s how you feel for a moment in your life when you’re a part of something. And if you find that moment… It lasts forever.” ― Richard, from the movie The Beach
So maybe not my first time camping but definitely my first time camping in twenty years! In fact the last time I slept in a tent I could fit in my girl guide uniform! (Not counting festivals as camping because I barely slept and definitely didn’t cook at them). To be honest even on the guide camping trips I was the one that would sneak out of my tent in the middle of the night and explore the woods at night! Not to mention the adults would do most of the cooking! So basically yeah this is my first time camping and it’s definitely my first time camping alone.
For some crazy reason I decided at the start of August that I would go to Cornwall for 8 days to hike the southwest coastal path and that camping would be the best option figuring if I hated it I could always come home and at least I tried it!! And if I loved it then I figured I would be able to go away every weekend during next spring and summer! This is about the level of thinking giv most things. Either way it would be an experience! But firstly I would need to buy a tent!
First thing I did was write a list because I am an anal planner and I love a bloody list! Tent being the first thing on the list! I had a budget, list and some savings for my trip so I headed to Millets (mainly because there was a sale on and because I could get further discounts with my national trust card). I looked at b&bs in Cornwall for the same time and they were coming out at £1500 so even if I was never going to camp again this was still cheaper!
Honestly I can’t say enough good things about the staff at Millet’s as well as having a list of things I needed to buy I also had a list of silly questions all of which got answered by the staff who managed to keep a straight face. Also nothing was up sold to me which meant I walked away with everything I needed for a week of camping for less then £200! I opted for a three man tent which should have been £190 but after sale and discount I got for £60 and it was the one that the staff recommend. FYI it was a brilliant tent, three man so I was able to really spread out, being 6ft can sometimes leave things feeling a little small. Other things I got were a 3 seasons sleeping bag, cooker, bag then just small things that you don’t think about like duet tape.
When it came to picking my campsite, I knew I only wanted a basic site as long as there was showers I would be happy, I spent so little time there that I really didn’t need anything else! So I looked at all the places I would be walking too and places I wanted to visit and picked somewhere central which worked well. However next time I might just camp as I go! The campsite for the week was £100 which included electric (so I could charge phone and camera, etc). £300 compared to £1500 was a no brainer! I also picked to camp the week the school holidays ended, still warm and less tourists.
Food was pretty basic but cooking on this trip was more about refueling so I could keep walking and during the day I would stop at places for lunch. I think with it being my first time I wasn’t sure what would work or not work for me. Although I now know for my next camping trip I would love a small table and would be much more comfortable cooking a range of different meals.
One thing I still remembered after my twenty year break was S’mores. I bloody love these chocolate/marshmallow treats, not ashamed to say I got through five bags of marshmallows.
One thing I have noticed after spending the last 8 months hiking and climbing (general outdoors things) is that I don’t get half as cold as I used to.
Best thing about camping is no make up and soaking up some vitamin D!
I can safely say I had a very quiet week on the campsite which was a god send! So how did it go? On the first night I hated it, I wondered what the fuck I was doing and didn’t think I would survive the night let alone a week. By the second evening I bloody loved it and couldn’t imagine living indoors again. Safe to say I will be camping as often as possible going forward and now I have done it once I feel a lot more confident about doing it again.
Also how do people use sleeping bags? Asking a friend, because I literally felt like I had been buried alive!!