Eskdale Camping and Caravanning Club Site, Lake District – Review

eskdale cumbria camping pods

The Lowdown

Eskdale Camping and Caravanning Club Site, Boot, Holmrook, Cumbria, CA19 1TH
campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk

  • Tents, camping pods and campervans
  • From £7.70 per night per person
  • Some pitches have electric hook ups
  • Campfires are not allowed
  • Raised BBQ’s allowed
  • Camping pods £43.75 per night

Our Visit

26th September – 28th September 2014

What We Loved

With Autumn now upon us, I needed a nature and fresh-air fix, but didn’t fancy camping in a tent. As usual, right at the last minute (Thursday) I decided to try and find somewhere for that same weekend, and frantically set about searching for suitable camping pods in the Lake District. After exchanging a few Tweets with the super-helpful Martyn, I’d booked us a pod for the weekend at a lovely looking site in Eskdale. I was lucky as the site was fully booked, and I just happened to snap up a cancellation.

Do take notice of the advice on the Camping & Caravanning Club website, and make sure you allow plenty of time for your journey.

I am eternally grateful for the warning I had at the time of booking, informing me about Hardknott Pass (the site lies at the far end of the pass), so was able to take an alternate route. Despite avoiding Hardknott Pass (I really didn’t fancy tackling it tired and in the dark for the first time!) the alternative route we took was remote, often single track and winding. Be prepared, if you take any of the mountain passes, the roads are a little challenging, but a lot of fun too and beware of sheep and cows….you will encounter both ambling up the middle of the road.

We had already informed the site that we wouldn’t be arriving until after 8pm, and we were given a warm welcome. We were provided with a heater and an extra gas bottle, and walked down to our pod. The car park was very close to the pods (a few steps away), and in no time, we’d emptied the car and were setting up inside. The pods come unfurnished, which suited us well, but there was a battery operated LED light inside and the floor was insulated with rubber tiles.

First impressions were good. The pods are located in an adorable little clearing surrounded by trees, and there is something about the cute wooden buildings, that makes you feel like an excited child, possibly because they elicit memories of den building. We have a lot of camping gear, we don’t ever manage to camp light (honestly, we don’t even really try), and were amazed at how much stuff we managed to fit inside!

I suffer from joint problems and so use an oversized, double height air bed when I camp, and with both that and my partners camp bed, there was still plenty of room for us and our absurd number of goods and chattels. The pods are insulated with sheep wool, so not only were they very warm and cosy, (even in the early hours of the morning when I normally wake up shivering, needing a wee) but they are also excellent at blocking out noise and we had two very pleasant, completely undisturbed nights sleep.

The site was quiet, other campers were friendly as were the site owners. The location is just breathtaking. Having never visited that part of Cumbria before we are utterly besotted. We are not fell walkers, hikers or ramblers though we do like going for countryside walks, but I must say, the landscape was so amazing that we have both been inspired to start walking and are keen to try out our first proper route, rather than just randomly going for a wander.

The Facilities

The grounds were spotless and beautifully well kept, as were all of the facilities. The on site shop has a lovely rustic feel and is well stocked with camping, food and drink essentials as well as local meats, ideal for popping on the BBQ. The toilets and showers were clean as were the inside and outdoor kitchen areas.

Out And About

We didn’t have masses of time, but we were delighted that we had enough time to do some exploring whilst there. The Eskdale show was on, which was utterly fabulous and included prize winning veg, poultry and sheep trials. We then took a walk to the station where we took a round trip on the Ravenglass & Eskdale narrow gauge railway, which was delightful. On our walk back towards the site we took a slight detour and fortuitously found ourselves at the stunning, Stanley Force Waterfall, a magnificent 60ft falls right by the campsite.

The area is a mecca for serious walkers and mountain bikers with numerous trails across the fells, as well as routes up to Scafell Pike, Englands highest mountain.

Any Downers?

Nothing at all! We loved it and look forward to returning and exploring the beautiful area further.

Eskdale Camping and Caravanning Club Site Pictures

Eskdale Camping and Caravanning Club Site

The entrance to the campsite

One of the camping fields

One of the camping fields

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The stunning scenery in Eskdale

stream running through the site

Lovely little stream running through one side of the site

the main shop and amenety block

The main reception, shop and amenity block

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Loads of leaflets and maps about the local area, including places to visit and things to do.

outside kitchen area

Outside kitchen area

First glimpse of the camping pods

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Our pod all set up with our camping gear

eskdale camping pod

We loved the decking area outside the front of our pod!

Inside our pod

The inside of our adorable little pod – we loved it and it was so warm and cosy!

eskdale camping pods

inside our pod

Plenty of room inside our pod, using an oversized single air bed and single camp bed.

eskdale camping pods

You’ll fall in love with this site – we certainly did.

leaving the site

steam railway

Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, a lovely way to spend the afternoon!

Stanley Force Waterfall

The gorgeous Stanley Force Waterfall, just a short wander from the campsite

http://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/campsites/uk/cumbria/holmrook/eskdale

Highplains Vintage Floral Popup Tent – Review

We are suckers for pretty, and we also love hassle-free, so we loved getting the chance to test out an adorable vintage flower design popup tent, from The Bedding Company. We usually camp in tents that are significantly bigger, so to get a fair opinion, we got team member Shammie (student and festival lover) to take it away for a weekend break in the Lakes. Read on to find out more!

Highplains Vintage Floral Camping Pop Up 2 Man Tent
£30 The Bedding Company

Highplains Vintage Floral Camping Pop Up 2 Man Tent

Our Verdict

Of course we loved the design, but looks aren’t everything, so no matter how pretty, we want to know that a product can stand up to real life use. For our field test we used the tent twice. The first time, team member Shammie took the tent away on a weekend trip to the Lakes. Used to sleeping in popup tents, she reported back that it was quick and easy to put up and had enough space for her and her boyfriend. However, she did say that they had to keep their rucksacks in the car as there is no porch area and not enough room in the tent for the two of them plus their gear.

We then put it up again in the garden for our shoot, and were impressed by the ease and speed of pitching the tent. It literally took us 2 minutes, and that included pegging it down and pegging the guy ropes too! Once inside, it took a little bit of getting used to. Our tents tend to be big, really big, and it’s been a long time since either of us had used a 2 man tent.

I set up my bed, took my rucksack, book and lantern inside and snuggled into my SLPY bag. The tent is quite low, so I was unable to sit up fully (I am 5.7″), but there was ample room for me with plenty of space left for my various bits and bobs including my large rucksack. I would recommend the tent for use by just one adult, unless you are looking for something easily portable and you don’t intend to do anything, but literally sleep in the tent, as with two of us inside, it was rather snug.

Popup tents are ideal for short camping trips and are best used in the summer time. This tent is waterproofed, but even so, popup tents are typically are not able to stand up well to prolonged bad weather, so for summer music festivals, sleep overs, for older kids who want a little bit of independence on a family camping trip or for those who need something light and highly portable, then this is a super little tent. The tent also comes in other patterns and there are matching sleeping bags and camp chairs available too.

Tent Details

  • Matching camp chair and sleeping bag available
  • Polyester outer with waterproof coating
  • Taped waterproof seams and single layer waterproof floor
  • Sturdy 6.9mm Fibreglass Poles
  • Ventilation window at the back
  • Double front door for extra ventilation
  • Inner mesh to keep out the bugs
  • Includes carry bag, steel pegs and ropes
  • Dimensions: L220cm x W120cm x H95cm

Vintage Floral Tent Pictures

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Lovely attention to detail

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Clear and simple instructions, though if you aren’t familiar with how to fold away a popup tent, we recommend viewing a YouTube ‘how to’ video before your camping trip

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Sturdy sewn in external peg loops

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The gorgeous exterior of the tent (more tent designs are available here)

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Me inside the tent!

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Ventilation window

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Mrs Betty Owl inside the tent to show scale

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Tent set up with a single self inflating air mat and over sized single SLPY sleeping bag

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Would We Recommend It?

We’d recommend this tent to anyone on a budget, who doesn’t want to compromise on looks – at just £30 (best price from The Bedding Company), it’s great value for money. The tent feels very well made, with lovely little styling features that set it aside from similarly priced competitor tents. It’s lightweight, super easy to pitch (it took us 2 minutes to pitch it, including pegging it down). Brilliant value for something that looks so distinctive and we love that you can get a matching sleeping bag and camp chair!

A big thank you to The Bedding Company who supplied the Highplains Vintage Floral Popup Tent for us to field test.

Farewell Summer Competition Prizes Worth £150! CLOSED

farewell summer competition

The Summer may be drawing to a close now, but here at Camping With Style, we think the best way to let the memories live on, is by looking back at some of the pictures we’ve taken over the last few months. So to enter our latest competition, we’d like you to look back at pictures you’ve taken of your outdoors adventures this summer, and share you favourite picture with us on Twitter or Instagram.

competition

The prize includes:

  • Beautiful children’s Wigwam tent (it would make a superb Christmas present!)
  • A funky picnic rug
  • 4 person luxury picnic basket

How to Enter

NOW CLOSED

Winning entry posted on Twitter by @Scoobs4

winner

After the closing date stated below, we’ll choose one lucky winner to win the amazing prize below, supplied courtesy of wayfair.co.uk

Terms & Conditions

  • Competition is open to UK entrants/residents only – the prize will only be posted out to a UK address
  • Competition ends at 6pm GMT on Sunday 6th October 2014
  • If the prize is not claimed after 28 days, the prize is forfeit
  • No cash alternatives offered and Camping With Style maintain the right to amend the competition at any time
  • 1 entry per person
  • Pictures must be entrants (or a family members) own work – stock photography or pictures taken from other sources will be disqualified
  • Prize supplied by Wayfair.co.uk and subject to availability, if not available at the close date, an alternative of the same value will be offered

sponsored by Wayfair.co.uk

Lotus Grill BBQ – Review

The Lotus Grill is a stunning bit of kit that we were excited to get our hands on.  One of the joys of camping for me, is al fresco cooking and dining. I love the simplicity of cooking over an open fire or BBQ, and we’ve tried lots of different camping grills and BBQs over the years, read on to find out how the Lotus Grill measured up.

Lotus Grill
£129 Cuckooland.com

Lotus Grill BBQ Review

The Lotus Grill from Cuckooland.com is an award winning, portable smokeless BBQ. It has a battery-powered built in fan, which constantly supplies the charcoal with air and cooks smoke free. The Lotus Grill is also quick, ready to cook on in just 3-4 minutes.

Our Verdict

We immediately loved the fact that the grill comes in a sturdy carry bag, making it supremely portable and ideal for camping. We don’t usually ‘do’ instructions, but due to the unusual design of the Lotus Grill, we thought it would be prudent to do so. The instructions are tucked away in a little pocket inside the carry case, and we found them very clear and easy to follow and in just a couple of minutes, we had the grill lit.

One of the big benefits of the grill is that it reaches cooking temperature in well under 5 minutes, so you don’t need to sit around for ages waiting for coals to turn white in order to start cooking.

The grill cooked evenly and it cooked a lot. We used the grill for 4 adults, and cooked 4 quarter pounder burgers, 2 large pieces of salmon, 4 prawn skewers and 4 chicken breasts and corn on the cob. Pretty impressive considering the item is so compact.

The food all stayed juicy, and because the temperature is more even, we didn’t get the usual hot spots that cause the burning, that you get with a normal coal BBQs. The central part of the grill is brilliant for searing food, and there was something quite gratifying about seeing all the fat from the burgers and salmon collect in the bottom of the grill. Fat is kept away from the burning coals, which means there is very little smoke generated, making the grill pleasant to use.

Cleaning the grill was also really easy to do. We left it to cool down outside for a couple of hours before unclipping the grill and washing it. Because it is all stainless steel, hot soapy water was sufficient. I only wish I had a dishwasher, because amazingly, the Lotus Grill is dishwasher safe.

Getting The Grill Started

  • You start by taking the grill off (which easily unclips), and remove the central brazier.
  • Fill the brazier with charcoal and squirt a ring of lighter gel on the bottom plate.
  • Turn the convection fan on to full and use a match or lighter to set the gel alight.
  • Once this is lit, place the brazier over the top, then clip the grill back into place.
  • Wait a couple of minutes for the charcoal to catch, and start cooking!

Lotus Grill BBQ Pictures

Lotus Grill BBQ Review

Lotus Grill BBQ Review

The Lotus Grill is available in a range of gorgeous colours, of course I opted for the fab plum purple colour :)

Lotus Grill BBQ Review

Super clear instruction booklet included and stowed away in the carry case.

Detailed lotus grill instrucitons

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start cooking

A ring of lighter gel to get the grill started.

Lotus Grill

The central brazier where the charcoal is contained.

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Lotus Grill Food Cooking

Food cooking on the grill.

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food cooked on the grill

Would We Recommend It?

Yes. The Lotus Grill is beautiful, well made, easy to use, easy to clean and comes in a sturdy carry case, making it ideal for cooking whilst camping.

cuckooland

A big thank you to Cuckooland.com who supplied the Lotus Grill for us to field test.

My Weird, Wonderful Hobby – Live Action Role Play

For the past 5 years i’ve been involved in a hobby called LARP, which stands for Live Action Role Play. Some dislike the ‘action’ bit and prefer to refer to it only as LRP, but that’s just pedantic as it means the same thing. Now you are probably thinking “Live Action WHAT?!” and that wouldn’t be a surprise, as it is still a relatively unknown hobby outside of the LARP community.

Members of the Harts Faction at the Gathering 2014

Members of the Harts Faction at the Gathering 2014

I go to around 4-6 LARP events each year. Some contain less than a hundred players, others, a few thousand. The biggest LARP event in the UK takes place over August bank holiday weekend and consists of around 3,000 players. Run by Lorien Trust, it is called The Gathering and It’s essentially, a massive 5 day (most turn up on a Thursday night, the day before the game starts) festival-like event, where all of the players take part in a massive, complex and often physically demanding, but fun game. During the game we stay in camps based on the faction we are in, so for me, it’s the ideal hobby, as it combines camping and being outdoors with a massively fun and immersive game played with friends.

This is me, in costume. I currently play a Dryad (woodland Fae)

This is me, in costume. I currently play a Dryad (woodland Fae)

We play a character of our choosing, we dress up and act like that character as the game unfolds, which is full of twists and highly detailed plot that we use our character skills to try and progress or overcome. We all work together to combat the bad guys, and whilst dressing up and taking part in a live version of Lord Of The Rings isn’t to everyone’s taste, i’ve met some truly amazing people doing it, and it’s a hobby that I dearly love and so wanted to do a feature here on the blog. Sadly due to illness, shots I obtained from the latest event are limited, so i’ve added a few pictures from previous events too.

Seelie Court, a group within the Harts Faction

Seelie Court, a group within the Harts Faction

All events have a ticket price from anywhere around £45 to £70 per event, and there is a surprisingly large ‘back stage’ team of crew that run and manage the game, consisting of actors who know and reveal the plot, game referees who make sure the (many) rules are adhered to, make up artists, plot team writers, set builders, first aiders, security and so on.

LT Gathering 2014

What Makes A LARPer?

You’ve got to be fun loving, creative and you can’t take yourself too seriously. Many of us are definitely in touch with our inner child, and find dressing up and playing lets-pretend, immense fun. Who says the dressing up box is for kids only?! If you are the sort of person that pretends they didn’t realise a party was fancy dress, as an excuse to turn up in regular clothes, then LARP probably isn’t for you.

LARP character

A previous character I played in a different system

Most LARPers will readily admit that they have a geeky streak to them. That doesn’t mean we all spend hours playing board games like Dungeons & Dragons, reading graphic novels or sat in front of our PCs playing WoW, but, if you have even a teeny tiny geeky side, you’ll fit in well at LARP and may find world lore, game mechanics and rules much easier to understand.

Harts Camp, Gathering 2014

I personally think LARPers are a clever bunch, and an alarmingly high number of my LARP friends have the doctorates to prove it. That said, LARPers come from all walks of life with varied backgrounds and from different professions. One of the things I still love about the LARP community is the sheer diversity, and the fact that you get to make new friends of people you might never otherwise encounter in your own day to day life.

Market Place Traders at The Gathering 2014

Players walking through the market place where weapons and costume can be purchased

The Skinny On Live Action Role Play

  • There are different ‘systems’ in the UK and I play a system run by Lorien Trust or LT for short which you can find more about here
  • As with all systems, we have a set game world with heaps of lore (back story) and it’s own rules
  • Depending on your system, the game rule book can be alarmingly large which can prove daunting to someone new to role play, and even more alarming to some one new to fantasy in general. That was me – in fact most of the references people make, still go way over my head as i’m just not as into the whole fantasy genre as they are but if you like things like Lord Of The Rings and Game Of Thrones, you’re on the right tracks
  • At LT you can camp in-character or out-of-character. If you are camping IC, then you’ll need a canvas bell tent or other traditional canvas tent in order to look the part, camping out of character however is generally more convenient and allows you to use any style of tent
  • In LT there are 4 main events each year, these are known as mainlines, and these are the big events that have all factions attending. As well as the 4 mainlines every year, each faction also have 2 or 3 smaller, faction focused events known as Sanctioned events
  • You can devise your own character to play, choosing things like race, allegiance, and your character skills
  • Costume standards vary from system to system but generally if you want to play a fae, rocking up in a pair of jeans with a set of sparkly toy-shop wings on is not really acceptable, and nowhere near the effort level required – the more convincing you look and the greater the level of detail that you go to, then the easier it is to immerse yourself.
  • Don’t buy fancy dress costumes for LARP, they won’t cut it (though some can be cleverly adapted if you are that way inclined) the level of kit you need to be aiming for is stage costume quality
  • The spirit of the game means that as a player, you are honour bound to play the game with honesty and integrity, if someone deals you damage, you take that damage (there are refs on hand to ensure players adhere to the rules and take damage properly) and when you strike players, your aim is not to maim and cause real physical damage
  • Some people argue that a high standard of kit means it can be expensive for new players to get into. Nonsense. Whilst some people spend thousands of pounds on kit that wouldn’t look out of place in a big budget film, you can look good without spending a fortune. Compared to other hobbies I have, the initial outlay for LARP costume was actually fairly low. Second hand kit, props and weapons are all easy to pick up, though be prepared to invest in anything from £60 upwards for a decent LARP-safe weapon, and significantly more if you want something custom made
  • Think about kit when you decide on and stat up your character – a Paladin tank might seem appealing, but you’ll need to invest heavily in armour and weapons to pull it off
  • Events provide a real sense of community. In the camping areas everyone is friendly and happy to help. Newbies are made to feel welcome and offers of combat training and chat about current plot is usually easy to come by
  • The more you put into the hobby, the more you get out of it. It often takes me far out of my own comfort zone. I don’t find socialising particularly easy, neither do I find remembering complex rules, calls, magic spells and plot easy, but there is fun to be had, and the more you can get stuck in, the more you’ll get from it
  • LARP does involve combat (If you want it, you can opt out if you’d prefer not to get so physically involved). You can choose to use a weapon, such as a LARP-safe latex sword or you can use magic as your weapon, for those who aren’t too keen on combat (real and serious injuries do occur, don’t let the fact that weapons are LARP-safe make you believe they can’t still cause damage!), taking on the role of a healer may be more appealing
  • LARP is very different to historical re-enactment. Whilst some back story and plot may be loosely based on historical events, that’s where the similarities end
  • LT mainilne events mean camping in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside in the stunning grounds of Locko park, the location alone is a good enough reason for me to go along
  • Leave cynicism at the gate – everyone taking part is there to have fun and to get out of the game whatever they want. Snarky one-upmanship is not recommended, suspend your disbelief and get stuck in
  • LARP isn’t just a game for 14 year old lads who want to hit each other with latex swords; lots of families come to LT events as do singles, couples and groups of all ages
  • You will feel utterly daft at times and you’ll have an internal monologue saying “What the hell am I doing?!” but once you’ve left behind your real-world ego and are engrossed in the game and playing your character, you’ll have a whale of a time
  • IC means in-character and refers to times when you are acting, behaving and responding as your character rather than as yourself. It’s best to only drop out of character, or OC, with friends you know well and out of the ear shot of others – chatting loudly about problems at work in the middle of the game, won’t help set the scene for those in-character, who are more concerned with trying to figure out how to track down and retrieve a stolen faction artifact
  • LARP is a great form of stress relief. You don’t have to think about the real world for a few days and whilst it can be a demanding hobby, especially once your character gets more heavily involved in plot and gains status, being able to switch off and live in as I refer to it, Nonsense-land for a few days, is incredibly liberating and refreshing
  • One of my favourite bits about LARP is sitting around a campfire in the evening, drinking (copiously of course), and singing lots of different folk songs. Many have been written specially or adapted from well-known songs, all of which get progressively bawdier. Under the gaze of the often visible Milky Way, people sing, play drums, tell stories and we create an atmosphere which is as close to ancient community life as it’s possible to get, far away from our crazy, stressful modern everyday world

Warewolf at the Gathering 2014

Harts of to Battle, Gathering 2014

LARP costume in my tent

LARP costume in my tent

leather leaf armour dryad larp

More of my LARP kit, including my custom made leather armour

The Gathering 2014

The Gathering 2014

Thinking of giving LARP a go but don’t know where to start? I’m no expert, but i’m more than happy to answer any questions you might have about my rather weird, but wonderful hobby below. Perhaps you are a LARPer and want to share what you love most about the hobby. Leave a comment below, i’d love to hear from you!

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