So last weekend we went on the first camping mission of the year.
We were all really looking forward to it. A party of 14 amassed on the campsite I’d sourced in what sounded like a lovely farm run site near Skipton (Cracoe, Threaplands Farm). I’d specifically asked on the phone if I could have a fire in a brazier type thing. The answer went along “yes as long as it’s off the ground”. Upon arrival the rudest woman I’ve met in a long time came steaming into our camp grunting “NO WOOD”.. no amount of “no but ahh but,” from my end would appease her. Upon enquiring if she was the owner of the site she told me that she “helps out” (although certainly not in the customer relationship management department I’d wager). After a lengthy chat with the lovely farmer Mr Wade who at one point saw sympathy to my obvious safety conscious attitude, the necessity for fire due to the inclement weather and midgies abound conceded, only to be interrupted by Linda the helper with her usual barks of NO WOOD.
Feeling less than happy about the whole situation we went through a not inconsiderable volume of barbecue fuel to keep warm. Hardly ideal. The next day we went out and purchased a large bag of coal, which we lit in a barbecue, off the ground. As we got accustomed to the odd experience of having a coal fire outside, we were told NO COAL. A joke really.
Every excuse in the book, from “it’s dangerous” (you don’t say!) – they had someone injure themselves, it’s bad for ashmatics (my own son is an ashmatic! and he was quite happily asleep in the van) to the people stay up late and talk until 2am (chea! that’s the idea!)
I wouldn’t of minded if I’d known from the outset that we weren’t allowed fires. Anyway – a fairly damp and cold weekend, emphasised by the distinct lack of basic human needs when living outside – fire. To me, a fire is an essential part of a campsite. Campsite owners should switch onto this fact (especially when, as is often the want of British weather it’s cold and damp) and look at ways of enabling this (Fire Marshalls? Only allowing qualified fire starters? (and we’d have to go on a course etc at our expense) surely there must be something that would keep everyone happy.
Anyway – apart from that, the campsite had the terrible “go to bed, it’s gone 9.30pm” type attitude. they pecked the heads of people nearby who had music on – we were the only ones in audio range and we didn’t mind in the slightest. They seeemed happy with the ‘arrive late, set of early’ walkers etc but didn’t seem to like people enjoying themselves, or indeed having a holiday. Would be a good place for a stop over – not a good place for a ‘holiday’ type setting.