About Me

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Hi! I'm Eunice and I live in Bolton, Lancashire, with my two dogs Sophie and Sugar and an assortment of cats - well it used to be Sophie and Sugar, now it's Sophie and Poppie. I first began camping back in 1997 when my then partner took me to Anglesey for my birthday weekend. We slept in the back of the car - a hatchback - using the cushions off the settee at home as a mattress, and cooked and brewed up on a single burner camping stove. The site was good, the views were great, the weather fantastic and I was completely hooked. Following that weekend we got a two-man tent and some proper accessories and returned to Anglesey two weeks later, then over time we progressed to a three-man tent followed by an old trailer tent, then a new trailer tent, a campervan and finally a caravan. When my partner decided that the grass was greener on the other side of the street - literally - in April 2009 and I suddenly found myself alone after fifteen years, I decided there was no way I was going to give up camping and caravanning if I could cope on my own. This blog is the story of my travels, trials and tribulations since becoming a solo camper - I hope you like it

Saturday December 8th 2012 - First winter camp

A very sunny but chilly Saturday morning saw me leaving home for north east Lincolnshire and my first solo winter camp. Okay, so if various people thought I was slightly mad when I went camping in late October they must have thought I was positively insane going in December, especially as the weather had, for the most part, been bitterly cold and frosty over the previous couple of weeks. But I was going to a particular place for a particular reason and winter is the only time I could go; my eventual destination was a place on the Lincolnshire coast where, between mid October and mid December there is a large breeding colony of grey seals, and my mission for the weekend was to get some photos of them. I'd been there four years previously and though I'd got some good photos of the seals in the protected area of the dunes I'd actually trekked right out along the sand flats almost to the water's edge, which was about a mile walk, and got some even better photos there so I was keen to repeat the experience.

When I'd first thought of going, which was only a couple of weeks beforehand, I'd asked my friend Janet if she fancied coming with me and at first she was all for it, especially as the site I'd stayed at previously had a B & B which would, in the current cold weather, be far more comfortable than camping. However, when I'd phoned to check availability I found that dogs weren't allowed in the B & B, and as neither of us would be happy leaving them in the van overnight when it was so cold, and Janet wasn't really too keen on actually camping anyway, the idea was initially scrapped. But the more I thought about it the more I wanted to go, though it would really all depend on the weather - if we had any snow or anything which could make driving conditions difficult then I wouldn't be going anywhere, but if I left it till the last minute to make a decision then I probably wouldn't get a pitch on the camp site anyway as it's only a small place and being close to the seal colony it gets booked up quickly.

So after several days of watching the tv weather forecasts and with my thoughts alternating between ''I'm going'' and ''no I'm not going'' (I'm not usually so indecisive!) and the possibility of getting a pitch on the camp site dwindling with every passing hour, a solution came in the form of MissE, a UKCS member who had seen one of my posts on the forums and suggested an alternative camp site where she and a few other UKCS-ers would be spending the weekend. It was about twenty miles inland from where I wanted to be but it would be quiet and there would be no problem in getting a pitch with ehu, also it was behind a pub which did meals - that all sounded good but again it would depend on the weather, so as she was going on the Friday she said she would let me know what conditions were like. So on Friday morning I packed up the van in readiness - I decided to take the small tent as it would be easier to heat than the big awning - and waited for an on-site weather report, which came that evening and was very favourable. And now, after a quick phone call to the pub to double check that there was indeed an electric pitch available, I was on the way to Lincolnshire to indulge in some seal photography.

The drive over was relatively easy and quite pleasant in the morning sunshine, and I arrived at the site in the village of Moortown just two hours and ten minutes after leaving home. The first thing was to park by the pub and go to book in; I hadn't a clue how much it would be as I'd never asked when I'd phoned earlier, so I was pleasantly surprised when I was only charged £7.50 per night, and that was including electric. The camp site was behind the pub with a small car park and a hedge separating it from the pub itself, and as I drove round and into the main part of the site my first impressions were good; a large level field with one end split by conifer hedges into a smaller section where there were a few seasonal caravans, and backing onto the main part was a large fishing lake with access all the way round which would be ideal for walking the dogs. A railway line ran past the far side of the site but I'd been warned about that by MissE, and trains don't bother me anyway so it wasn't an issue. After being greeted by MissE and the others, and introduced to Shorty and her hubby who I hadn't met before, MissE made me a very welcome coffee then I had a wander round the field to suss out where to pitch. John and Bill had both pitched between two unoccupied caravans and as there was a vacant hook-up point and plenty of space between their tents I decided to pitch there. It didn't take long to put the tent up and get my belongings inside and once everything was sorted out I took the dogs for a walk round the lake then spent a while chatting to the others, during which I was asked if I wanted to join them when they went to the pub later on for an evening meal. That sounded good to me and it would save me making something for myself so the answer was most definitely a 'yes'.

The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing on my bed in the tent, reading a book and watching a bit of tv; it had gone cold again once the sun had gone down but with the fan heater on the tent was actually quite cosy. It was getting on for 7pm when Bill shouted that they were all off to the pub so zipping the dogs into their bedroom so they wouldn't escape while I was away I put my jacket on and went out to join them. The pub menu wasn't extensive but home made steak and ale pie was one of the items on it so I settled for that, and though Bill had said earlier that the food was only so-so I actually found the meal quite nice, and at only £6.95 for the pie, three veg and lashings of gravy it certainly didn't break the bank. And as pub meals go it was far better than the meal I'd had at that place in Northumberland in August!

After a very pleasant hour or so we all made our way back over to the camping field and though it wasn't late we said our goodnights and retreated to our own tents for the rest of the evening. I spent a couple of hours reading and watching tv then when the long day began to catch up with me I took Sophie and Sugar for their bedtime walk round the field aided by my camping lantern. Back in the tent once more I settled them into their bed and snuggled into mine for the rest of the night, with my fingers metaphorically crossed for good weather for my seal photography the following day.

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