Sun, sun, sun, sun, sun. Yippee! Spring has hit the Moray Firth coast with a splash of colour, dithers of big fat bumble-bees and today I saw my first butterfly. That means it’s time to finally introduce the minxes to mine and The Boss’s favourite sport of… camping.
Pre-kids, we camped every weekend, all year round. In the garage we had 2 washing crates of carefully packed camping supplies: if we were going for a weekend we took one, if for longer, we took both. Camping was a means to getting to do what we wanted in life without wasting time driving there, or making polite, hurried chit-chat with B&B owners. So come Friday night we’d load the little Puma (or Corsa if we were taking the tandem), drive to the other end of the country, spend a quick 20 minutes setting up, then a leisurely hour or 2 unwinding over a bottle of warm white wine and packet of broccoli & cheese pasta packet sauce. Then whip out the stovetop espresso maker, like this one, perfect for the little single ring gas burner in a tin box. Then we’d spend the entire weekend climbing, cycling or walking (depending on what my current injury was – I’m a bit clumsy, me).
Anyway, when Maxi Minx arrived, we camped 4 or 5 times, only stopping when all-day morning sickness from the impending arrival of Midi stopped me wanting to venture out, much. Since then, we’ve talked and talked about resuming our old life. We determinedly want the girls to grow up to believe that weekends = live outside. Now Maxi and Midi are old enough that we can cope with keeping a slightly more relaxed eye on them whilst keeping Mini safe. So it’s time to go for it!
We started to dither about tents. Which brand? What size? How many berths? Dome or tunnel? Price? It was absolutely overwhelming. After spending a night bamboozled at the sheer choice available, I whittled it down to: hydrostatic head of 3000 minimum, proven ability to withstand Scottish wind gusts, Vango or Outwell brand, side-by-side sleeping compartments for maximum minx-control, dome, compact (and therefore warm) sleeping compartments, 4-6 man (bigger would be fun, but putting them up whilst watching 3 little would-be escapees isn’t a good idea…), and under £350.
Tall order? Not really. Me and The Boss compiled independent short-lists of 3. The only one on both lists was the one we went for: the Vango Maritsa 500. We got it cut-price, so there was money left over from our budget to get 2 really good sleeping bags for the elder 2 minxes (Mini can use the buggy sleeping bag still). It’s now lurking in the hall in 2 boxes. We aim to try it out this weekend in the garden. Wish us luck in our bid to brainwash the kids that dirt and camping are good!