Carry On Camping

Until this weekend, I never understood the appeal or desire of the British to go camping. I am now a converted camper and will be taking my children, on this inexpensive and fun family holiday, regularly. Whilst I don’t think I will ever be a diehard camper, like some of the friends we went with, who spend fortnights on a campsite.  I most certainly am able to spend a few weekends of the year sleeping in a tent and taking in the lovely outdoors.

Thankfully, my worst anxieties were overcome immediately. The toilets were not miles away and filthy. They were no more than 150 meters away and cleaned twice a day. The showers were not freezing but great powerful hot showers. There was even a room to wash your pots and pans in. It was not the great big wilderness that is associated with real campers, but a taste of family camping in Britain in 2011. I could have even taken my hair dryer and straighteners as there was a plug socket in the bathroom. Rosedale campsite got a big thumbs-up from us.

Of course, the weather plays a big part in any camping experience and we had our fair share of rain. Waking up in the rain, running across to the toilets first thing in the morning in the rain and cooking in the rain started to become wearing, but it was great to see that this didn’t bother our little girls. They just put their waterproofs on and played in the rain.

What did dawn on me during my weekend was that we were the only ethnic family enjoying in our surroundings. It would never have been an issue for me and I wouldn’t have even thought about it until one of our friends who is a seasonal camper, said this was the first time he had seen an Asian family camping. He has been camping, numerous times a year, for 40 years.

Does this surprise me? Not really. I don’t know of Asian families that go camping unless they are hiking the Ladak trail or climbing the Himalayas. I don’t even know why we don’t go camping? Is it the sleeping in the tent, sharing communal facilities, the rainy weather or that is it seen as just too working class British?Although most of the families around us were very middle class and it seems to be a real middle class trend. I asked my parents why they never took us camping and they said they preferred staying in B&B’s and cottages as they didn’t feel accepted in staying at a camping site. They said it was a very white thing to do and they didn’t want to face racism on holiday.

What I have learnt is that the Forestry Commission, pro environment / nature groups and organisations are implementing policy and practice to encourage more ethnic diversity and engagement into British woods, forest and lakes as they see it as a concern. There was a call for the Lake District to hold an Asian Mela by one group. Now that would get the Asian’s down there.

Weirdly enough, this camping trip did make me and my husband feel very British.


p.s. I didn’t get to read my book….

4 Comments to “Carry On Camping”

  1. My mum is always absolutely horrified when I tell her I’m going camping. Her question is always “but you can afford a hotel, why are you staying a tent?”. I think she thinks tents are only for refugees.

  2. Hi Bunty

    Sounds like you really enjoyed your trip but I have to admit it would be my worst nightmare. I am not good in rain at the best of times and I would have been so miserable camping in it. I do just think of sheer filth when it comes to camping this is heavily influenced by my festival-going friends especially the ones who go to Glasto I have seen their photos they are really really bad and they told me about waking up with slugs in their tent!

    I have only ever been camping once on a compulsory school trip where the only excuse to get out of it was a death certificate. I didn’t mind it but it is just too close to nature. I don’t have a class issue with camping but it is absolutely not on my radar of things to do.

    As children we begged our mum to buy us a tent so we could camp in the back garden but needless to say we never got our wish.

  3. I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate camping !
    Unfortunately I forgot this last year when I agreed to go camping in Brighton – it was hot all day and we got drunk on the beach which was fun – then had to pitch tents with mild hangovers and it started to rain. Slugs SLUGS everywhere

    I begged my friends to allow me to sleep in the car!

  4. My aunt told me this weekend that she went on an over 60’s camping trip to Derbyshire with her friends. All Asian.
    How cool is that!!!???

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