An overcast early morning saw me leaving home at 7.30am for Willow Lakes in North East Lincolnshire and my first camping weekend this year, meeting up with the same small group of campers who I'd met up with last December. The weather over the previous few days had been reasonably mild with blue sky and lots of sunshine, great for camping and getting out and about with the camera, but not so that morning; it was dull, grey, and with a very cold wind blowing, but as I'd been looking forward to this weekend for a while I wasn't letting it put me off.
The drive across to Lincolnshire was easy enough, being mainly motorway and one A road, and just over two hours after leaving home I pulled into the entrance at Willow Lakes. I didn't need to book in as I'd already paid my fees over the phone so I just drove straight round to the camping field, and after spending a couple of minutes taking stock of my surroundings I decided to pitch on the same side as everyone else and in the shelter of a very tall conifer. I'd got the tent up and was just in the process of making up the bed when I heard what I thought was rain on the roof, but when I looked out it was to see snow. Not proper snow though, more like fine hailstones, but it did enough to put a thin covering all over the grass; this didn't bode well for the weekend and I did have a moment where I questioned my own sanity regarding the decision to camp, however I was there, the tent was up and everything was in it, so giving up wasn't an option. The 'snow' didn't last long though, and within a couple of hours it had melted away into the grass, leaving little trace of its existence. With everything in the tent sorted out I went out for a quick chat to some of the others then made a long overdue late breakfast of coffee and toast before taking the dogs for a wander round and a bit of exploration.
At the far end of the camping field was a small fishing lake backed by a row of modern terraced holiday cottages with a view across the Lincolnshire Wolds to the Humber estuary in the distance. A track ran behind the camping field and down past several paddocks to a much larger fishing lake with more paddocks at the far side and where three chalet-bungalows were being built near the water's edge. Just inside the site entrance was a large stable block with tack rooms, feed storage areas and many unoccupied loose boxes, and coupled with various mounds of rubble and hardcore dotted round the place it looked to be very much a site which was under development as an equestrian centre with fishing and camping facilities thrown in.
After a good walk round I went back to the tent and made another brew, then with the dogs back in the van and a quick look at the map book I set off to find Waltham windmill. It turned out to be closer than I thought, being only a five minute drive away from the site, but being out of season it was of course closed. A few of the surrounding buildings had been turned into shops and a restaurant, but with the exception of the small garden centre and the outdoor shop these were all closed as well so I just had a quick wander round the grounds, snapped a couple of photos then got back in the van and returned to the site.
The rest of the afternoon was spent chatting to other campers in the group then as the daylight faded I took the dogs for a quick walk round the field before retreating to my own tent for the evening. With the fan heater on it was quite snug inside and I passed the hours until bedtime reading and watching a bit of tv, then when I started to find it hard to keep my eyes open I braved the cold wind once more and took the dogs for their last walk, making a circuit of the nearby lake and the stable block before returning to the tent. With the dogs snuggled into their bed on one side of the tent I snuggled into mine on the other side, and it wasn't long before sleep overtook any thoughts I had for the following day.
- 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