Chez WW in England

Chez WW in England

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Birdoswald Roman Fort, England

28 April 2011

Years ago, before I went on my first real camping trip with my mom and aunt, I had been warned that I wold be cold, wet, dirty and hungry. I was none of those things. In the years since, I had never been any of those things. I got cocky. Camping was easy.

Andrew has been given a two week break from classes and we decided to see some more of England that is further away from the house. The weather had been beautiful, with hot and sunny days. Perfect summertime weather for camping. We had decided to camp in Northumberlandand Durham and explore Hadrian’s Wall and the Yorkshire Moors. I knew that we would be close to the Scottish border and had been warned that Scotland was always cold. Our sleeping bags are rated to -7 so I was confident. I can now say that I was a fool.

We piled all of our camping gear into Mini Me Millie. I had made a nest of pillows for Brittany on the other side of our kit bags. Brittany preferred the bags over the pillows because she could see out the window. Before we hit the motorway I strapped Brittany into her seatbelt. After we were on the road for an hour I turned to check on our girl. She was no longer in her seatbelt. She was perched on top of the bags all happy with herself taking in the beauty that is the Lake and Peak Districts.

The beautiful hot weather we had been enjoying vanished the morning we left for our adventure.  Ominous grey clouds covered the sky. Rain fell at times. I was not dismayed. I would have an interesting sky that would be beautiful for pictures. We headed north and drove past the Lake andPeak Districts. My heart was swooning. They both reminded me of my beloved NewfoundlandCumbria touched my very soul. The rugged beauty is a sight to behold.

Our first campsite was very very close to Housestead Roman fort and Hadrian’s Wall. The sky had brightened and the sun was shining. We set up the tent and quickly went off in search of the wall …and food. We had bought a camp stove for this trip complete with fuel tanks, hose and regulator. The regulator was not the right one. Our plans of cooking our own meals were dashed.

Birdoswald Roman fort was very close and was an ideal location to watch the sunset. It was there that I first got a taste of what was to come. Bone chilling cold. My hands were so cold that I could barely hold the camera. Why had we not brought hats, gloves, long johns or down jackets? This was Northern England not the Mediterranean.

Our tent is very tall. Andrew has no problem at 6 feet tall standing up in it. The top is all mesh. I have only ever been camping in this tent in the summer in Canada. The mesh makes sense since it can still be quite hot at night and by 8 in the morning the heat has driven you out of your sleeping bags. Northern England in the spring in not like Canada in the summer. I was lulled into a false sense of security by all of the summer weather we had been having. I just blocked out that it went down to close to freezing at night.

Our huge tent was impossible to get warm. We do own a heater for the tent. It is in storage back in Canada. I could see my breath. We slept with our bodies, including our heads, under the sleeping bag. Brittany curled up between us. She had just gotten a hair cut and was a little cold too. In the morning, she stuck her head out from under the sleeping bag and quickly went back under.
I started to notice that the gift shops for all of the sites we visited were selling hats and gloves. All of those warning were true. I wish that I had paid heed.

Let this be a warning. Camping in Northern England is cold. Be prepared. The next time we go camping, I will pack the cold weather gear and be prepared for the freezing cold nights.

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