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The Crunch in Real Life – The Great British Holiday Empties

Sitting in a campsite, that is usually busting at the seams at this time of year – I am forced to reflect on the impact of the huge cuts that all of us below the levels of the wealthy pampered have been steam rollered into.

Around us, where there should be dozens of laughing and happy children, all enjoying the Great British Holiday, there are empty spaces. There are no children playing outside in the pouring rain. We were here the last two years at the same time of year, and the site was full of laughing, happy families and their children, splashing in huge puddles of thundering torrential rain. In a circle of 17 spaces that are usually crammed full, there are only three of us who have braved the economy, and the wet and wild scottish summer.

The site may fill up once the English children are all off school, but what does it say about the Scottish economy that a camping and caravan site that is usually full, is so empty? Yes, it is likely to fill up again for the weekender crowd, but without holidaymakers, there will be fewer sites to use, and the potential for “wild camping” will come back into business.

Camping and caravanning have seen a nice boom in recent years as money has tightened, although its safe to say that it is certainly not one of the cheapest hobbies around. There is something lovely about being able to relax in comfort, and away from your main home, and the absence of fellow holidaymakers this year has totally taken me by surprise.

Are seasoned caravanners and campers really giving up on their holidays and staying at home, or are they “wild camping” and being ostracised as travellers wherever they go.

It’s obvious that the campers and caravanners won’t be staying at home, but where are they? Are they staying closer to home to save petrol / diesel money, or are they taking off as our elder generations did?

My parents and grandparents both set off on adventures across the UK with packs on their backs in the summer time. I never did that. I wouldn’t feel safe doing that, especially now with the children, but I’d love to.

  • Should “wild camping” be allowed?
  • Should we be able to go, as we did as children – off into the wilds, and park where we felt the scenery is beautiful?
  • Are we too focussed on the “scare tactics” that seem to be evident as news in todays media that we are over cautious of where we go and what we do?
  • Is it really more dangerous today than it was in our grandparents younger days?

I don’t know. I only know that I don’t do some things that I would like to, and I shelve “just in case”. About the extent of my bravery, is my tin tenting with the kids while hub stays at home to work and keep an eye on grandma.

I am sad to see such an empty campsite and I hope the business picks up for them soon. I can’t really believe that people are “wild camping” instead, so it has to be that people have less money to spend using their lovely tents or caravans. Hopefully this isn’t one of the British Traditions that sees the end of many well run and well loved sites.

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My Home From Home

We have a caravan.  Yes, we are one of those families, who you see hogging the inside or middle land on a motorway, dawdling along at 50, and holding up the traffic.  Five years ago, Mr Scottish and I were of the opinion that the average caravanner was put on this earth to be the scourge of all other motorists on the road.  Mr Scottish would happily shake his fist, and rant that caravans shouldn’t be on the road (ala Jeremy Clarkson and James May style).  Now he is the one that everyone else is shaking their fist at.  It always makes me laugh.

Special needs children meant that they couldn’t cope with crowded airports, long queues, and being away from their own beds etc.  We tried camping in France and it was an instant hit.  Just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, we tried it again via hired caravans in Scotland and yahey, the kids loved it.  The outdoors, being at the bottom of mountains, and just riding their bikes all day, or playing with other outdoorsey type children was what they enjoyed.

We tried a couple of commercial sites, and although Mr Scottish liked the evening pint, and the kids do like a bit of entertainment now and again –  I absoulutely detest those sites.  I agreed to compromise with one week a year where I suffer the holiday camp style entertainment.  The rest of the time I love.

We ended up with a caravan as I couldn’t cope without my hairdryer, or my straighteners (frizzy hair).    The last straw was having no cooking facilities, nowhere to sit, no heating, damp bedding, and no toilet and watching all those nice and comfortable in their vans.  I decided that if everyone in the family was going to enjoy this lark, and we were going to go away every school holidays for now, then it would have to be in comfort.  I was not prepared for how much I would love the kick back in the middle of nowhere type of holiday at home in Scotland, but I do.

Introducing the Peg.   You might just hear quite a bit about her this year.  Who else braves the UK weather in canvas or tin tents?