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22 May 2012

Gertie's Guide to Glamping

CampsiteIs Laurie Lee's early written work "Cider with Rosie" your husband's favourite read?

No matter, I will describe to you this... Lush green fields rolling away from you as far as the eye can see, badly potholed dirt roads, beautiful ramshackle buildings, churches quaint enough to be described by Austen, plotted walking trails isolated and wild enough for Heathcliffe's Cathy, coal-fueled barbecues roasting vibrant colored veggies, farmyard smells, wellies, fresh air, log fires and pints of amber-coloured cider. I live in France but I recharge my batteries in England's green and pleasant lands.

A couple of weekend's ago I was fortunate enough to mix a girls' weekend with 'glamping' (glam camping), local Somerset cider (scrumpy - in copious amounts) AND sunshine!! It was the holy trinity, a magical trifecta and a holiday so brilliant, I'm going to blog about it.

Gertie's Guide to Glamping:

  1. The Campsite. If you're like me and you've previously made bad campsite choices then you'll know how important the venue is. The experience of rocking up to a muddy hole full of weed smoking hippies, stag do's and real life bad ass travelers should be left to Glastonbury Festival exclusively. Cool Camping, a book recommended to me by a great friend of mine, has never led me astray. It features only the best UK campsites, not pricey, but clean, friendly and often set in the most stunning locations. I also love the detail included on local amenities. After all, the most important information has to be how long it takes to walk to the local pub and the opening hours of your local shops.

  2. Pack the kitchen sink! Camping is fun for all ages, right? Right! But the older you get, the more padding you need. My arsenal includes two therma-rests (just for me!) an SAS-approved sleeping bag, two pillows and a duvet. A coffee pot is an essential, as is a gas stove. Bucket barbecues are a boon, pack kindling, wood and coal and prepare for the arctic. Then you can only ever be pleasantly surprised! 

  3. Over cater. The attractions of camping are many. Wiping away your make-up and ditching your work clothes for fleeces and thermals is liberating. Getting back to nature and making do with the basics makes you appreciate what you do have. Without the TV you can relax and spend quality time with family.... Blah blah Yadda Yadda... And all this is true but camping is also an excellent excuse to EAT! Burgers, sausages, barbecued salmon (stick it in foil with sweet chilli sauce - yummy!), buttered baked potatoes, corn on the cob, kebabs of fat juicy veggies and salty halloumi... It's amazing how much people can put away while on a camping trip. Maybe the temperatures make the mind force the body to stockpile? Whatever! Don't scrimp on the groceries!

  4. Man makes fire! Or woman... Just make one, and make it early so it's hot enough to keep you warm when the temperatures drop.

  5. Local produce. Try it out, wherever you are. Camping in the heart of Somerset was a fabulous opportunity for some scrumpy tasting! Julian Temperley, Alice's dad (yes really!), makes the most amazing cider and cider brandy at Burrow Hill. He supplies Fortnum & Mason but also the locals and any passerby with a craving for scrumpy straight from the barrel - 4 litres are sold for £6.80.

  6. Research! Obvious I know but often the cool camping sites have bikes to rent, pony trekking, designated walking trails, facilities for children. Make the most of the fresh air!
Stay safe, always pack toilet roll, a torch and most importantly Gertie Geeks, please have fun glamping!


"Carol's Farm"


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