Tag Archives: camping

A review of campsites along the South Downs Way

Camp for the night
Camp for the night

Here is a list and review of each camp site that Ishai and I stayed at during our hike across the South Downs Way. We carried our own tents (sharing a two-man tent), stove, food and water and always booked the camp sites before arrival.

We covered the South Downs in four weekends, arriving on a Friday afternoon at the first site, walking to the second campsite on the Saturday afternoon, and then continuing the walk to a train station to return home in London. (Incidentally, if you are planning to do something similar, investigate a Friends and Family railcard to save a small fortune on rail tickets).

This required a fair amount of research beforehand. The first source was the Official South Downs Campsites and hostels. This was compiled in 2013 and doesn’t include some of the campsites that we stayed in (I asked the owners to add their campsites to the guide). Continue reading A review of campsites along the South Downs Way

Walking the South Downs Way: Weekend #4

Arriving at Falmer station
Arriving at Falmer station

This was our fourth and final weekend walking the South Downs, totally self-sufficient carrying tents, food and cooking equipment.

This weekend started in Falmer, next to the Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club stadium and opposite Brighton University, and finishing in Eastbourne. We agreed with the rest of the family to meet us half way through the second day (Sunday) for lunch and join us for the walk into Eastbourne.

We were aware that during the winter period we’d have lost our training advantage of the previous three weekends – our bags felt heavier and the hills felt steeper and longer. Continue reading Walking the South Downs Way: Weekend #4

Staying hydrated on hikes

Once this water has been treated it will be good enough for humans
Once this water has been treated it will be good enough for humans

When you’re re drinking two litres of water a day in Europe on long hikes, or 4-5 litres a day on Kilimanjaro it’s easy to get sick of the taste of water.

I use SiS hydration tablets for long hikes. They don’t offer any energy (i.e. they are calorie-free), but they taste nice (which encourages you to drink more) and replenish good thingies in your system. During the summer I was getting some cramps on cycling commute and after using these (one every other day) I stopped getting cramps.

As with all these things, try them before you go hiking. Continue reading Staying hydrated on hikes

How to pack clothes in a rucksack

This is how we have been taught to pack clothes in a rucksack when we go camping at Scouts.

It works for a single night (in fact, it works even better for a single night), or a 9 day summer camp. It is just as applicable for lightweight camping such as a microadventure, or a family camp.

An extra tip is to put 3 or 4 days of clothes wrapped in this way, into a large Ziploc bag to keep them waterproof. Continue reading How to pack clothes in a rucksack

Our first microadventure

On Tuesday night my Dad asked my sisters and I who wanted to go on a microadventure. We didn’t know what that meant, so only Shelley and I said yes. It sounded interesting.

We looked at different bivvy bags and bought three for me, my sister Shelley and Dad.

On Saturday night we packed our stuff together. All we took was the clothing which we were wearing, a fireproof cup each, a sleeping bag and some matches to get our fire going.

Microadventures use bivvy bags not tents

So last night we slept in a divvy bag without a tent.

We rode our bikes 5 miles from our house to a local camp site. When we arrived at the field we were sleeping in, a scout group was there. They only took up about an eighth of the field, so we had plenty of remaining space.

We picked the place we were sleeping at, then laid out our bedroll, then made a fire. There was a really good wood pile that at the camp site, and we started the fire with just one match.

While our fire was scorching hot we made hot chocolate and ate marshmallows on sticks.

We ended up getting to sleep by 10:15pm and we slept in our full clothing.

Eventually when my Dad woke me up at a cruel 7:30 we didn’t have breakfast, but we rode our bikes back home and straight away had breakfast and a very warm shower.

I didn’t think I was that tired, but ended up falling asleep for three hours this afternoon.

I enjoyed the microadventure because it was a different experience sleeping outside of a tent. I’ve camped in a tent for over 60 nights in total, but sleeping in a bivvy bag was warmer (although my face felt colder), had less space yet was more fun than a tent.

Now I’m looking forward to the next microadventure. Definitely.

Our first microadventure

The best campsite in the UK – it’s in Snowdon

Tent with a view
A great view to open your tent to in the morning

A few years ago we decided to camp in Snowdon. Up until then we’d always found a B&B nearby.

After a little hunting around, we booked the Snowdon Base Camp, also referred to as the Snowdon Inn or the Cwellyn Arms because the camp site owner also owns the pub of that name (as well as a few properties in the tiny village of Rhyd-Ddu).

It is a magical camp site. Continue reading The best campsite in the UK – it’s in Snowdon

13 Top Tips for Camping in the Rain

One surprise outing during our wettest summer camp was to the local laundrette
One surprise outing during our wettest summer camp was to the local laundrette

This year we had our wettest-ever Scout summer camp. It’s not one of those awards which one looks back on with any smiles or pride, other than the thought that “we made it” through the camp.

Although rain isn’t welcome during any type of camping, it’s inevitable here in the UK. Some of the prettiest places in the UK are in the top 10 wettest places.

So it’s worth being prepared. Here are some top tips about camping in the rain. I’ve split the tips into two sections – kit related, and at-camp related. Continue reading 13 Top Tips for Camping in the Rain

Steripen water purifier review

Steripen - a great way to make water drinkable within a minute
Steripen – a great way to make water drinkable within a minute

Last week I drank from my bicycle water bottle on the way home from work. I had that immediate feeling of “that doesn’t taste right”, but it was very hot and sunny, and there was still half a mile of a hill to climb.

Half an hour later at the end of the ride I was at home kneeling in front of the toilet, with my body getting rid of the water as quickly as possible. It wasn’t pleasant. Continue reading Steripen water purifier review

South Downs Weekend #2

The weather had been so nice in London recently that I was worried about how Ishai and I would stay hydrated on the South Downs. We’d been sent the Steripen for review, which seemed perfect timing. I resisted the urge to take bigger water bottles, although on reflection we could have done with them.

Saturday was due to be a sunny 23 degrees and Sunday was forecast 19 degrees with light rain. In England, we have to pack suntan lotion and waterproofs. Continue reading South Downs Weekend #2

South Downs Weekend #1

My dad and I had climbed  mountains before this weekend and we felt that we wanted to do a different challenge so we did some research and spoke to friends and we said that we would walk the whole of the South Downs Way.

We’d been planning this for a while and all we wanted to do was go.

We bought lot of new equipment like a kettle and a gas stove from GoOutdoors and we found that they were much lighter than we thought they would be.

As we were planning the weekend we planned what we were going to eat each day, making sure that we were picking light weight foods.

My Dad carried the tent and I carried the food which meant that my rucksack constantly got lighter throughout the weekend.

We travelled to Winchester by train from Waterloo station after getting a tube from Bank where my Dad works.

When we arrived we had to walk to a caravan site 3 miles away. It was quite basic. There was only 1 other tent with a local artist staying there, which meant that it was a very quiet night and we could have a  choice of where we could pitch our tent.

Some of the caravans looked lovely and the grass was kept in very good condition. Nearly every caravan was fenced off and the camping area was fenced of too. They had clean drinking water, clean toilets and nice showers.

We woke up super early and only saw 2 other people awake at that time.

We saw lots of hills with beacons on (beacons are large torches which people used to set on fire to signal things to other people far away).

We saw some offroad motorcyclists zooming around as we were walking and could not stop hearing their loud engines for a long time. We also saw hang gliders jumping off a hill in Queen Elizabeth Country Park and even saw a charity bike race.

We started to get really tired about a mile from the Sustainability Centre and I could really feel the blisters on my feet. But we carried on waddling and when we arrived there were no staff so we had to go searching.

Eventually we found our pitch which had someone in it with a BBQ cooking their dinner so we had to wait for them to finish. Luckily they went to their teepee quickly and they were kind.

We had a very good nights sleep.

The Sustainability Centre had very strange toilets as they had a straight hole into some hay were your waste got decomposed. The showers were solar heated  which meant that they were hot and were lovely!

When we woke up water had got under our tent’s outer as it rained that night and we’d put the tent up in a hurry. We had to dry it off as we had breakfast. The washing up facilities were good as the sinks were clean.

As we left from  The Sustainability Centre our aim was to get to Petersfield station (which was not far away from the south downs track) so that we could get back home by train and tube, and we made it!

So that was the first 26 miles of the south downs way.