After a spontaneous eBay used tent purchase last week, I decided to take my family on a camping trip. Although the weather put a stop to many photographic opportunities, I thought I would share this little story with you all the same and show the few images that I did capture.
After scouring the interweb for some time, I found a great little camping website called ukcampsite.co.uk
This website listed loads of camping and caravan sites from around the UK and beyond, with user reviews. It was on this website that I then happened upon a site called Henbant Bach Farm in Caernarfon, Wales. This site immediately caught my attention as it was different to other sites on offer…and didn’t really consider itself to be a real campsite either! So…I decided that this would be the ideal location to road test the new (old) tent with the family.
We were greeted at the site by Jenny, one of the owners. She was very welcoming and gave a tour of the site and facilities before we decided where to pitch our tent. There were huge areas to choose from and all with different surroundings, we opted to pitch atop a hill with amazing views of the site, the coast and the mountains and with a big open area where we could see the children as they played.
Our original plan was to explore the surrounding areas and use the site simply as somewhere to eat and sleep but it quickly became apparent that the site itself had enough for us all to explore. Shortly after settling in, we went exploring through the woods where we found one of their three lakes/ponds, alongside this lake was their boat which all visitors are welcome to make use of…well, I didn’t need to be told twice, so we all took turns rowing out which was both relaxing and great fun.
Now, here is where things got a little interesting (and not as illustrated). That night there was a really bad storm, with the tent taking a pounding from wind and rain. I personally can only quote this from the rest of my family as I can sleep through anything! What I can confirm for sure is that when I awoke the following morning, there was more water inside the tent than there was outside…we were soaked, as were our belongings.
Not put off by this, my wife and I proceeded to strip out the tent and its contents to soak up and dry out all of the water…meanwhile, the kids found their own silver lining from the storm in the form of hundreds of baby frogs hopping around.
We went for a stroll down to the site cottage where we discovered the ‘Campers Barn’ which consisted of a small stone hut with a sofa, dining table, phone charging point, WiFi, fridge, microwave, wood burner stove and kettle, as well as a well stocked library to keep you entertained while in there. They really had thought of everything and this was a really useful spot to be in while drying off and drying our wet clothes and towels as they also had a washing machine and tumble dryer available to use.
In this area, there was also a nice hot shower and a real, plumbed in flushing toilet! I mention the toilet because over on the camping field, they have a compost toilet which isn’t as bad as it sounds. It has been affectionately named the loo with a view because of the large window you can see out of while you are sat in there! I was reluctant about using this facility at first but when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go, and I was pleasantly surprised to find a well maintained, clean and (almost) odour free loo…with a rather nice view 🙂
We went shopping after drying off to buy something to spray on the tent to make it a little more waterproof, the staff at Millets were very helpful and recommended a product called Nikwax Tent & Gear Solarproof as this was easy to apply to an already erected wet tent…so was ideal! We gave this a try but was unable to do some areas of the top of the tent due to its height and how much spray we had remaining…so with crossed fingers we left it to dry while we had dinner and allowed the kids to explore some more.
The following morning, we once again required the use of the Campers Barn as we leaked again, but nowhere near as bad this time so I figure the spray would have helped much more had I covered all areas with it. We dealt with things much more efficiently and Jenny helped out by lighting the log stove in the barn (because I was useless at it)!
The children really enjoyed our last day on the farm, exploring the poly-tunnel, meeting the sheep and chickens and watching the pigs scoff down their dinner, but all good things must come to an end so we loaded our soggy tent into the car and headed back to suburbia!
All in all, beside all of my rambling on, Henbant was an amazing location and I cannot recommend it enough to campers, even if you prefer your comforts you should give it a try, just fot the experience.
All images from our little camping holiday can be seen here