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19/09/2011

Afternoons camping by the seaside

Quechua Base Seconds 4.2

As a follow up to my previous post we did have our afternoons camping yesterday afternoon, and I thought I'd share the photos of the new tent, which I'm really, really pleased with. I haven't admitted the purchase of this tent to my folks yet so ssshhh...keep it to yourself!

I have wanted this tent for some time, it is sold by Decathlon and is in fact a pop up tent. It comes in the shape of a large disc (81cm by 14cm) and weighs about 2 tonne....well it's not an easy package to carry despite the rucksack style straps. But ultimately this is a family sized tent so it's not going to come in backpacker dimensions. It has been superceded by another model, and is about to be phased out. The new model is not as pretty in my opinion, and I would have been gutted to lose out on this tent.

We went to Murvagh Beach in County Donegal, just a few miles from Donegal town itself. I knew that there were various places where people normally pitch as evidenced by the remnants of fires dotted around the area. Being lateish September we had the place to ourselves.

The tent was very easy to put up. This tent has a separate groundsheet which you peg down first, then you use the pegs already placed to tie down the tent. I reckon it was pitched in two or three minutes at the most. It is actually easier not to have the ground sheet sewn in because it means when it's put away again it's easy to shake the sand or dirt off the groundsheet rather than having it trapped inside.

We also went to the Golf Course nearby to see if we could gain access to investigate the old property I'd seen on the historic map. Unfortunately it was not possible as the clubhouse has a panoramic view of the entire location, and in fact looks a bit like an aviation tower at an airport! So there wasn't much chance of sneaking in!
 Some photos.....

a lovely, secluded spot




We did take some strolls through the forest along the beach, and found the remains of an old cottage, now in ruins although the roof is still intact. It was in the deepest part of the forest and was quite spooky, but the effect was exadurated by the approaching twilight. I would not want to spend a night camping there, although there was some evidence that people have done so. Thanks for reading!

05/09/2011

NICF 1st Meet Weekend

.... it really was a meet of mini proportions, with myself and my family and another couple in their caravan. Gail and Stevie are both active members of the forum and it was Stevies idea to get together for a bit of craic, and I'm so glad he did! It was an excellent weekend and I can't wait to meet up with them again.

The weather was pretty awful when we first arrived, the rain heavy and steady. Stevie and Gail had prepared a Chilli for us all to eat which was very kind and gratefully received, even if I did try and choke on a single piece of rice which was when I was so glad I was in the company of a trained nurse (Gail). We got set up and absolutely soaked, and were glad of spicy chilli and a glass of red wine to warm us through. We had a thoroughly enjoyable evening and discovered that we had lots of things in common with each other.

The campsite is on the lower slopes of Benbradagh Mountain and has fantastic views across the valley to Altahullion Wind Farm. Despite it's location the pitches are flat, with any slopes terraced out and landscaped. There are slides and swings, and the amentiy block is in an old Irish Cottage, which also boasts a campers kitchen, a sitting room and a washing and drying facility. I was very impressed with the attention to detail, with the owner providing a kettle for making a cuppa and the washing powder to put into the machine.


The Campsite taken from the amenity block. The cottage on the right is a holiday let.


On the laptop, with Ben the campsite dog




The landscaping means that pitches are flat, and the caravan is on a hardstanding

The Amenity Block

 On the Saturday morning it was overcast but dry, and it was mild too, T-shirt weather, despite now being September. We had booked into a local activity centre to try out archery and laser clay pigeon shooting. I surprised myself by being quite good although my results were not consistent, but it was so much fun it didn't matter. We had an absolute ball, finished off very nicely with moist victoria sponge cake and coffee.



Archery at Foyleho
We got some geocaching in on the way back to our site, Gail and Stevie had already found them but they brought myself and the two boys to a couple of ancient churches and graveyards. In the afternoon we went to the top of the mountain, by car, to find the remains of an American Radar Station. It can be seen clearly on Google Earth but there's not much to see from the ground, apart from the amazing views over Lough Foyle and into the North Sea.


Dungiven Priory
It was difficult to leave the site on Sunday as I really felt I was only just getting into the swing of things. I don't think a weekend is long enough to explore the area and so a return visit will be on the cards.


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