Millets invited us to go camping with them in the Peak District. We had no idea what to expect and no tent at that point, but we were really keen to explore our new area this summer and to fill the void left by selling our caravan. It turned out to be a really magical experience, all weekend we could really sense how much effort a small team had put in to make it really special for us.
No fancy angles in this post today, I thought I would simply share some of those moments that made our return to tent camping experience special – after having a VW Camper and then a caravan for the last 7 years we’re warming to tents again.
Setting up Home
We were invited to make our tents a home from home, so I asked my followers for ideas, and they were brilliant. Miss L really went to town on making the tent look incredible – we got really told off every day for leaving it in a mess. Oh how we have come on since the toddler days of camping! The little things I always thought were a huge phaff actually made a big difference and took up no room – mainly bunting and flowers. Collecting the flowers was all part of the fun of discovering the site. You can find out more about our tent and camping gear loves in this post.
Location, Location, Location
The camp was at Gradbach Scout camp, this was special for me and Mr A, as he suddenly remembered he had camped there before (he thinks with Scouts), and I had stayed at the youth hostel next door with primary school, it’s no longer a Youth Hostel but does have a great cafe. Since we moved near to the Peak District, we are nearer to Macclesfield where we both grew up so all sorts of memories keep coming back. It was our 12th wedding anniversary too, and we spent it camping with a load of random people. Luckily they all turned out to be lovely. Here we are recreating wedding photos – this time sporting a rather fine Peter Storm waterproofs!
We were already really looking forward to meeting Colette and family from We’re Going On an Adventure, having compared tent notes on facebook, and we had managed to find Lauren from The Helpful Hiker on Twitter was coming too. Shortly after we arrived we had another lovely surprise, Louise from My Gorgeous Boys appeared with her gorgeous boys. We’ve randomly ended up on two holidays together before, in Rhodes and at Camp Bestival, so our kids are well acquainted. All the kids got along really well though, it didn’t take long for the fun to start, while the adults caught up and shared camping hacks, tips and the odd fail too.
Our camp setting was beautiful, leaving our cars and loading our gear into a van was a new experience, we were soon far away from civilisation, in a row of small secluded fields by the river. Mr G was in his element pretending to be Bear Grylls.
Communal cooking is lots of fun. We had fun doing a Ready Steady Cook challenge organised by Coleman. Miss L was now in her element, as she absolutely loves Bake Off, cooking and baking. First we made Chilli laden with dark chocolate, followed by Plum Crumble started on the hob, baked in the BBQ and finished with a blow torch (new piece of camping gear I need!). There was also a communal breakfast and lunch and an evening BBQ. I had forgotten how much I love cooking outdoors, and how good food tastes outdoors and how adventurous you can be with a few magic ingredients (dark chocolate and cinnamon). Now the kids are older it is an activity we can all really enjoy together, rather than something one of us does while the other watches the kids. The kids really took the lead.
A Family Hike
We retraced the footsteps of my Year 5 school residential with a hike to Lud’s Church, an awe inspiring 100m long chasm in the rock caused by a landslip where the rock detached from the hillside, leaving a hiding place for everyone from Robin Hood, to church reformers, to The Green Knight.
Now the kids are a little older, and once the younger ones were in bed, they soon decided to tell ghost stories. We were so impressed with their imaginations! We also managed to play some garden games by lantern light too.
Buxton Mountain Rescue also came to visit – to share what they do and make a video with Millets, not to rescue us I might add! I will share that in my next post as it was really fascinating.
From us to Millets a huge thank you for giving us the most brilliant re-experience of tent camping!
Disclosure – we were provided with gear, food and adventure for the weekend by Millets. Read more about the gear we tested in this post.
Photo credits – 1,7,8,9,10,11 photographed for Millets, all others by me, P Alexander.