I'd like to share my thoughts on the practicality of camping for one night only. I'd planned to go for two nights, solo (well with dog) while kids were at grans only dental appointments put paid to that. Anyway the weather report showed there wasn't any real point staying the second night.
The thing is, I'd got all excited about going camping (even though I'm just back from a two and a half week jaunt - see 'BIG TOUR') and I couldn't bear the thought that it might not happen. Even the night before I hardly got any sleep, I was so excited about going camping! I was going on my holidays!!....even though I'd just got back from some.....
I'd written a list detailing the things I would need. It included the Quechua seconds base plus inner, a lightweight airbed, my XL sleeping bag, a flight blanket (thin but warm), pillows, one chair, the stove plus kettle, a mug spoon and sharp knife, the sigg bottle for milk, the dogs crate, a windbreak, a lantern and a change of clothes. I also took the airbed pump, my toothbrush and a container of coffee, and strangely, a melon.
My Quechua really turned heads. I was very proud of my egg like space pod and I think everyone else was secretly envious of my cool tent. My sister and BIL (and kids) arrived on site for the afternoon. They had two little dogs, but one of them got tragically killed on the road last week. The remaining dog seemed to really enjoy the company of my dog. It was decided that we would all go to the beach, a place called White Park Bay. I've been here before but came at it from the east end, I've never approached it from the main path. The path is very steep, it's not so bad going down but it's a 15 minute hike back up to the car park again which required a fitness level better than mine. It's worth it though. Once I'd got my breath back from the ascent of the path we went off in search of fish and chips (diet...what diet) and luckily there's a place nearby that has won an award from the Fish Fryers Association. The whiting was spot on. Life is good. Especially when washed down with a couple of cans of beer.
I have to say I didn't sleep all that well. I've got spoilt with my Intex double height airbed. It took a few minutes to get feeling in all limbs again come morning. However, the 10 minute walk into the village to The Copper Kettle, where I sat outside and had 2 slices of bacon and two poached eggs, made it all a distant memory. I started striking camp at 12.30 and was on the road by one. That's not bad going considering it took me longer to force my sleeping bag into it's sack than actually take the tent down.
I've come to the conclusion, and you all probably already know this, that when packing up the thing that takes longest is emptying the tent. The quickest part is dropping the tent. Even my Icarus can be dropped and packed in 5 minutes. It takes me an hour to take all the crap out of it! On this occasion I had very little to take out of the tent, which eliminated all the faffing around!