Enjoying a Camping Holiday when you Hate Camping
I hate camping. I hate the thought of spending a night sleeping under a piece of canvas. The cold. The noise. Being uncomfortable. I just can’t understand why you would. This isn’t an unsubstantiated hatred either. I have been camping. It was cold, damp and noisy. Camping is not for me!
This was my attitude when I met my husband. He was more than happy to go camping and I think it became his mission to convert me. I was managing to hold out pretty well, but little did I know that by having his children, I was also providing him with allies to his camping cause. Kids love the idea of camping don’t they? So when Rich suggested we have a camping holiday, I was outnumbered in the vote. He also planned to camp with friends, so I couldn’t really back out.
Of course, Rich didn’t just want us to have a family camping holiday. He wanted to make me love camping. I had resigned myself to the holiday. I was pretty determined that it would be the first and last one we would have though. Rich was not going to be beaten. He knew the first way to win me over was a decent sized tent and something comfy to sleep on. Then it was all about the facilities at the campsite. We were booked into Nicholaston Farm on the Gower, where he and his friends had camped before. I honestly thought that the camping equipment that we had bought would be on Ebay within a couple of days of our return.
I don’t like being wrong. But worse than that, I don’t like to admit that I am wrong. The holiday was one of the best ones that I have had, and I am a bit of a camping convert now. So what made it so good?
Rich (and friends) made an excellent decision on the campsite. Nicholaston Farm was brilliant. An electric hook-up so we could use a kettle for much-needed cuppas and charge my phone helped. The shop and café provided important camping sustenance – cooked breakfasts, croissants and ice creams. However, the real gem was the toilet and shower block – with underfloor heating. The annoyance of having to cross a field in the cold, dark middle-of-the-night for a wee was much better when you know you can relieve yourself in a warm, clean toilet block.
The immediate surroundings
The campsite was a ten minute walk to Nicholaston Burrows beach. The walk was through a wood and sand dunes, before you arrived at the huge expanse of sand. Being a Biologist I was very excited about how this was a wonderful example of succession. This was not really appreciated by the rest of the party. There was also plenty on the beach to stop me getting downhearted by the less than enthusiastic response to my suggestion that we could do a line transect through the dunes. There were loads of rock pools to explore. They were teeming with starfish, anemones, crabs and the odd fish. But even these were trumped by a curious seal swimming close to shore. Of course, just the presence of a beach to play on was enough for all the kids.
Slightly further afield
The kids would have been happy to spend every day on a beach. We were so lucky that for the majority of the holiday, the weather was good enough to enjoy the nearby beaches. However, on the only wet day we had, we went slightly further afield to the Mumbles. The girls enjoyed the amusement arcade on the Mumbles Pier – especially the 2p machines. After they had exhausted their supply of 2 pence pieces, we walked down the pier to the lifeboat station. There was a good view of the lighthouse from here, and as the tide was low, we walked out towards it to see how far we could get, before deciding that the rocky path may be a bit too slippy!
After lunch, we took a land train along the front. The kids enjoyed the train ride and it was nice to have a rest from all the walking and escape the drizzle for a bit.
We got off the train and headed up to Oystermouth Castle. As it was coming to the end of the day, we decided not to pay to go in, but did enjoy the views from here.
There was something really nice about just staying on a campsite. From sitting outside in your pjs (and warm jumper) to eat breakfast to doing the same in the evening with a G&T in hand. It was lovely to watch the sun go down over the coast – the gradual darkening of the sky and stars appearing overhead. We were even able to enjoy the Perseid Meteor Shower on one clear night. After a busy day offsite, the girls enjoyed running around on the field with each other and even an impromptu game of boules.
I wasn’t expecting much sleep. I had heard from other people how the kids would be running around until it got dark and then up at dawn – not great in August. However, we all had the best sleep ever. Maybe it was because of the very active days, tiring us all out. Or possibly because we were all sleeping together in the tent. But the girls were sleeping for at least 10 hours – all the way through the night. I haven’t slept this well for over six years. I actually felt really rested and relaxed from the holiday. And as normal sleeping behaviour has resumed since we got home, I am seriously considering pitching the tent in the back garden and sleeping out there.
All of the above made it a good, family holiday. What made it great was the company. When I first met Rich, I was anxious about how I would be received by his friends. Rich is lovely (obviously) so I shouldn’t have been surprised by the fact that his friends are also lovely and as a consequence we get on really well. It’s even better that some of his oldest friends also have children of a similar age to ours. Camping really is so much better when you can enjoy playing (kids), chatting and a drink (adults) with good friends. For the girls, being able to play with Evan (who they both love) from the moment they got up, until they went to bed, well life doesn’t get much better than that. The sound of them playing and laughing together put a smile on my face for the duration of the holiday.
I honestly cannot believe how much I enjoyed this holiday. It will go down as one of our best family holidays. I have become converted to camping and am already itching to get the tent out again. Do let me know of any recommendations you have for campsites to try either in this country, or maybe even abroad!