Camping is something I haven’t really revisited since I was really tiny and we used to pitch a tent in the garden and wake up to the eery, utter stillness of dawn and sneak back to the dark safety of our beds. Other early memories of camping have involved torrential downpours and one epic exodus to the car from a rapidly rising river, with Dad as Moses. I think it’s fair to say camping has always left me feeling a little uneasy and exposed.
This weekend was different though. An almost, but not quite, spontaneous trip away – heading west towards the North Devon coast and the tiny haven of Mortehoe.
This whole coastline from Ilfracombe to Barnstaple seems to be a Mecca for campers, caravans and Winnebagos of all descriptions and it seems that any old field with a portaloo can be turned into a lucrative campsite.
We turned up in the middle of the annual camping Hajj, after an eternity on winding roads staring at the rear net curtains of ill-driven tourers. Something that can apparently turn some of us (me) into unreasonably grumpy sufferers of road-rage tourettes.
Despite this inauspicious start it all turned out to be really fun. We weren’t in opportunistic field with a chemical loo, but a clean, spacious and really well thought out site with the most amazing view out over the headland and sea. The novelty of extracting an entire house from a mathematically-packed boot and that being all you need for the weekend is proper astounding. It’s like making a grown-up den. Nothing is without a vital use and everything has a neat pack-away place to live. And even then there’s no stinting on luxury meals. Breakfast is a steaming cup of sweet brown tea and drippingly-good bacon butties with stolen brown sauce. All made before my eyes on the best outdoor terrace in North Devon. Put this breakfast in London and it’d be £17.95 each.
Our whole DIY B&B experience was £30 a night for our pitch and supplies. Half a real B&B and filled with an adventurousness and buzz that is lacking from most guest houses we’ve stayed in. Out of season I imagine it’d be even better. Right. Where next?