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Thursday, 28 July 2011

Going Basic

Having been rather busy this year and using my annual holiday for tent shows, we have had to make fine use of my weekends off. Now, we are used to taking our trailer, a complete set-up and everything to ensure maximum space and comfort, but in order to cut down on the packing and to ensure we get away as early as possible on Fridays we have been going basic with our packing. i.e. if it does not fit in the boot or on the car then it stays at home.

We have been using a Karsten 350 Pod with a direct to tent Rain Awning. This coupled with the Karsten carpet, Human-Comfort self inflating sleeping mats with memory foam toppers and down sleeping bags, ensure we are not only warm and comfortable, but are also completely set up with 20 minutes of arrival on site.

A couple of chairs, fold out pic-nic table, side table for our alochol beverages and a portaloo to save the night time trips of the children complete the set up and I must admit it works fantastically for us. We also manage to fit all our clothes into one bag!

We have one crate of cooking equipment inc. torches etc. and dinner is usually alread prepared in the pressure cooker ready to place on the single ring as soon as we arrive. With a young family, we still try and stick to a regimented dinner time.

Breakfast is usually cereal & fruit with a basic lunch and dinner out on Saturday night or a frozen meal taken from the home freezer and left to defrost in the cool bag to reheat in the pressure coorker. This means no gas BBQ or Cobb.

Not only does this really seem to work well for us, but packing away takes no more that 30 minutes, including strapping the childrens bikes and scooters etc... to the roof of the car.

It means that the weekend away really is a weekend away!

Note: Any more than a long weekend and it's the trailer!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Ivinghoe Beacon

Our returning trips to Town Farm Campsite set at the base of the Ivinghoe Beacon, but at the same time overlooking the Vale of Aylesbury seem to be enhanced every time.
Apart from the stunning 360° panoramic views, the rustic offerings of the working farm mix seemlessly with campers. The friendly and enthuastic owner Charles ensures that your needs are catered for from arrival to offering fire pits of a evening and delivering wood to your pitch. On-site chickens ensure fresh eggs in the morning.

This is a relative new site, and as such facilities are always being improved. At first the toilets and showers, spotlessly clean and warm. Currently the older play equipment is being upgraded to ensure the young ones are more than catered for. There is plenty to do in the local area including the Grand Union Cannal, but having a young family - it's great when a site has good play equipment.

The site has public footpaths all around. One of the main ones leaves the site and heads directly to Ivinghoe village. Good pubs, park and basic post office can be found here. Our mountain buggy coped with the terrain well, but the Mclaren did struggle at first.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Bay View Eastbourne

Well, not exactly on the beach, but within 50 yards....is a little gem of a site called Bay View on the edge of Eastbourne
From the regimental booking of the site, to arrival and pitching, I knew that this was going to be a good site. You see there are rules, and these were being obeyed in a very relaxed manner. Again, the wardens were staying on-site.
We arrived (late) and were greeted with a warm welcome, shown to our marked pitch where we received a very informative welcome pack. The marked pitch was for your tent and vehicle, so if it didn't fit, ours did! Fortunately, with the Karsten being modular, we only took the minimum set up as erecting the combination tent as well would have been a bit of a squeeze. Larger pitches were available.

The facilities are good and clean with reception catering for morning papers and milk with some basic supplies available. The small play area is in good repair and shut from 9pm, encouraging children back to their tents.

The proximity to the stoney beach was impressive and as the tide retracted, the sand appeared. There is a seafront promenade walk that takes you directly to Sovereign Harbour - an impressive manmade harbour filled with beautiful vessels from power boats to yacht. The eateries and bars surrounding the bustling goings on provide welcome shade and a relaxed environment to just sit and take it all in.