Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Adventures with a Tent (and Prius)

A couple of weekends ago, we bravely went camping.  I say "bravely" because (1) we are very inexperienced campers, (2) we have young children, (3) we just bought a new and huge tent that we'd never put up before, and (4) we live in Scotland - land of the mountain and flood!  Just to make plans a little more tight and exciting, we had just purchased a new bike on gumtree for my six year old daughter and were due to pick it up from Linlithgow en route to the campsite.  In fact, we had just secured a tent pitch at the umpteenth campsite we'd phoned just before we left; all campsites were doing a roaring trade due to the public holiday over the long weekend of 2nd to 5th June 2012.

So, with 360 litre roof box back on the Thule roof bars, and with the Thule bike carrier mounted back on the rear tow ball, we set forth on our expedition.  I thought the mpg would take a pounding but it maintained 50.8mpg and the energy consumption chart showed we were consistently getting over 50mpg.  We made Linlithgow in good time.  We picked up the bike - a Ridgeback Harmony - easily secured it on the bike carrier and off we went to the campsite - Linwater Caravan Park.  Now, I don't mind saying I had reservations about this campsite and its location.  We had intended to go to Aviemore near the Cairngorms but were struck by both our children being sick with a tummy bug.  The delay narrowed our options, hence our heading south to the Lothians instead.  Well, I have to say, I was very pleasantly surprised with this campsite.  The lovely, jolly woman who runs it was so friendly, welcoming and helpful she immediately instilled within a feeling of relaxed calm.  The surrounding countryside was so green and pastoral it just made you happy to be alive.  The kids grabbed their bikes and off they went exploring within the safe surroundings of the campsite.  This let us start on pitching the tent - a very heavy 23kg of Khyam Harewood.  I think we surprised ourselves at how easily we managed to get it erected.  In fact, from start to finish with tent, beds, kitchen, chairs and windbreak all assembled, I think we were about 1 hour 30 minutes.  Packing it up two days later was a bit more problematical because I had forgotten where some of the poles and pegs went back etc.  We got there in the end though.  The only blip over our stay was me managing to drain the 12V battery.  Actually, I think it was a combination of blowing up an air bed and the kids leaving the doors open/courtesy lights on.  Quick jump start and all was well.  See my post on Prius jump starting.

If you are ever in West Lothian and are looking to camp with a tent or caravan then I would recommend you consider Linwater Caravan Park.  Very near to Edinburgh yet at the same time you can walk from your tent out of the campsite onto a country lane that takes you down to the Almond Valley from where you can walk to the Lins Mill Aqueduct and the serenity of the Union Canal and the passing canal boats.  Best of both worlds really - and their tariffs are very reasonable too.  So I thought I'd share a few photos with you as mementos of this very pleasant weekend.  Enjoy!

Blue Prius / Green Tent.  

5 minutes walk from the tent, the beautiful Almond Valley appeared.  My son said, "Daddy why is that train moving so slowly on the bridge?".  Turned out this bridge was the Lin Water Aqueduct and the 'train' was in fact, a canal boat!  Very pastoral, very soothing - I had snippets of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony in my ears.

Looking westwards along the Almond Valley, with a sixteenth/seventeenth century Scots tower house on the horizon.  I think it is Illieston House.

Ahh - the peace and quiet of a happy camp!  Thanks for getting us all there Prius.

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