At the weekend we headed out to to top left hand corner of Yorkshire to celebrate Jaygo’s 10th birthday. We wanted to make it brilliant for him – regular readers will know he’s had a rough old time this year. I think I can safely say we ticked all the boxes.
Jaygo wanted a camping weekend. A couple of years ago we had a fantastic time in at Hoggarths (blog post) – so I emailed them to ask how they were fixed for a large group – and they said they had another field nearby that we could use. From the map and photos I scoured of the area, it looked idyllic – an oxbow field surrounded on 3 sides by the River Swale .
Hogarths is billed as a wild camping experience. Friday night was textbook wild! Rain in biblical proportions hammered down – luckily after we’d set up a waterproof gazeebo and various other dry hangouts. A fairly chilled night around the fire ensued after the rains. The River had ‘doubled’ in size and was roaring and sandy brown with mud that it had ripped from the sides of its valley. Quite an impressive sight.
Saturday morning -I started the day by making a damper. A trip into Kirkby Stephen for supplies and a pint on the way back at the rather nice pint serving Black Bul Inn, Nateby. Whilst England were winning the ODI cricket series on the trusty Roberts radio (one of my only concessions to electronics for the weekend bar my Nikon D70s camera) we saw our party pad out to it’s full compliment size of 31. Our field was not only home to Clover (our land ship) and all who sail in her, but Olive the Hymer, A pop up waterproof gazeebo (brilliant invention), Bingo Bongo, several tents, a Yurt, a composting toilet tent and a battle arena which all the boys waged nerf battles all day long and absolutely loved it.
Sunday – Jaygo’s birthday. Beautiful day ensued. A happy chappy was presented with a scooter and an MP3 with some music on it. We pottered around and slowly packed up, soon after giving Jaygo is cake before heading up to the Tan Hill Inn (Britain’s Highest Pub) for a pint on the way home – a truly memorable weekend, shared by a lovely bunch of people.
Wild camping prep tips
We’ve never quite prepped as much for a camping mission as this one. The latest addition to our camping kit was a composting toilet – a ‘models changing tent’ from Argos for £16, coupled with a toilet seat on a sturdy wooden box, a sack full of sawdust and a spit for digging big ‘oles with and some sanitiser. We moved the toilet every 12 hours or so and capped the old one with a plug of turf we’d saved. This was suitable to service 30+ people amicably. As well as this, we’d previously acquired sails to act as shelter for the side of our van, and Tibetan Prayer Flags to act as pretty things and guy rope don’t trip over signallers. The barometer was also quite handy, being utterly removed from the usual methods of telephone and internet signal luxuries. We had asked everyone to bring some wood for the fires, and sawdust – in the end I acquired a boat load of sawdust, but was very grateful for everyone’s wood contributions.
Best clothing for wet camping tips
Friday afternoon brought with it torrential rain. I actually quite liked that. My rain kit comprises of a Driza-Bone Sou’Wester, A Barbour Wax Jacket, trawler fisherman waterproof trousers, RAB Gaiters and Asolo boots. A sou’wester is one of the best things I’ve purchased in recent years – they don’t restrict head movement like hoods tend to and gaiter / boot combo mean you don’t get cold and / sweaty feet like you can do with welly boots after a prolonged period.
Campsite midge protection tips
Near inland water, in North England and Scotland at this time of year – until mid September ish, midgies can be an extreme irritant. We’d purchased full midge protection – including mosquito head net hoods (although they look silly, and are a bit restrictive do the trick). Avon Skin So Soft (as used by the Royal Marines, so I’m told) – which acts as a base layer that midgies cant bite through and some deet wipes. All based covered. I also find smoking helps (although wouldn’t recommend unless you already smoke!) and a woodfire also help.
Best clothing for hot camping tips
As little as possible. Don’t forget the sun block!
A bunch more photos:
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