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Northern Ireland Campsite Forum June Meet 2016

Last weekend we had a Northern Ireland Campsite Forum Meet with some faces new and old. We met for the first time the lovely ladies Melanie and Mel, with their beautiful daughter Brook. John, Claire and her husband Stephen, and Stevie made up the rest of the small meet. I managed to get out of work a little early and drove the hour and a half to the campsite. We were staying at Hillfoot Campsite between Dungiven and Coleraine. The weather was great with beautiful blue skies showing Benbradagh Mountain off at it's finest. 

I brought my gorgeous Bell Tent and had it up in no time. I had a fairly stress and effort free set up as I had been careful with the amount of things I brought. I did however, go a bit heavier on the glamping this time as I wanted the tent to look nice for visitors. I went for a Native American type theme with Navajo printed fabric and bought a new duvet cover to match various throws and scarves that I already had. The cushions are from my sofa at home. 

On the Friday evening the beautiful warm day transformed in to a beautiful cold evening. Luckily the campsite has a cottage for campers to use which provides a living room space with a wood burning stove. I had devised a Table Quiz of 8 rounds with a music round provided by yours truly on the guitar. I sang and played the first two lines of 10 songs including Bob Marleys Three Little Birds, Adeles Someone like you and Leonard Cohens Hallelujah. Half a point for the name of the song and half a point for the artist, and I accepted cover artists.

The 'craic' was mighty, the quiz went down a storm and afterwards we did some singing with me playing guitar and various people having a go at singing.

On Saturday John, Stevie and myself headed up to Portstewart for a walk up the promenade and a cheeky drink in the Anchor Bar at the head of the town. Grabbing a Chinese takeaway on the way 'home', we took to the cottage again for another night of music, singing and craic.

The weather turned bad overnight between Saturday and Sunday but we were aware of the coming rain with John giving us regular updates from his phone, and so it was possible to choose a slightly drier half hour to throw the camping gear in the car even though I'm home with a wet tent.

Even with that it truly was a great weekends camping trip and I am looking forward to my next camping trip which is our annual 'big' holiday, which this year is in the Lake District.


Glenariffe Campsite Issues - Update

Well we are now in print! It is the first time the Northern Ireland Campsite Forum Facebook page has been in the newspaper. 

Laura Peters got in touch with her local newspaper last week and they have published the following article. Well done Laura in highlighting this issue. Wouldn't it be nice to address the ongoing discrimination against tent campers in Northern Ireland. 


One night in Donegal

In Northern Ireland we don't often get a long spell of good weather. However we've been having the best run of dry and warm weather for as long as I can remember, with temperatures from May through to now in the mid to late twenties and hardly a drop of rain. It has been too hot!

So, perfect camping weather! Off I went, I went very light, throwing a 4 person pop up tent in the car almost like an afterthought. I wasn't even sure where I was going! But I did know one thing, I wanted to go to the beach.

The best beaches I know of are in Donegal, particularly all around the coast of Gweedore. My favourite beach is adjacent to Donegal airport and I had a new toy to play with, a Stand up paddle board.  I wanted somewhere with relative privacy to try it out as I knew it would take a bit of getting used to.

I went straight to the beach, pumped up the paddle board and got going. I had my little dog with me who caused a bit of a problem jumping on board with me. I found it very challenging to actually 'stand up' on the Stand up paddle board, sitting down was definately more my style. I literally spent hours paddling up and down the coast line in shallow water, no deeper than waist deep.

By this time I'd formulated a plan. I decided that I'd stay at Sleepy Hollows Campsite where I'd been once before quite a long time ago. I knew the pub down the road, Leos, would do a nice meal so I called in there for a Steak on the way to the campsite.

I knew Sleepy Hollows was quite bad for midges. I'd forgotten just how bad and although I had quite a bit of 'smidge' on I got quite badly bitten. The following morning the midges just descended on me like a cloud attacking my face in particular. It was horrific, so I literally threw everything in the car and went to the beach. At the beach the constant breeze ensured that midges can't hang about too long.

Another scorching day meant that even at 10am I was struggling with the lack of shade. I backed the car up to a quiet spot at Mullaghderg Beach and pitched the tarp at the back of the car. My swimming gear was still a bit wet from the day before so I used the poles as a drying line. Then I set about making breakfast on the stove and there wasn't a single soul around. It was bliss. 

In the afternoon after another day of paddleboarding I decided that I didn't want to stay a second night partly because of the midges at the campsite and partly because I did have a commitment at work which I could have delayed a day but I preferred to get done in the time frame I'd told the client I would. I headed back to the campsite to pack up and by teatime I was back on the road heading home. 

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