Lakes, Loopo Breeze and Long Walks.
We left Worcestershire early on a Friday, hoping to avoid the worst of the traffic on the way up the M5 and M6. The SatNav said an optimistic 4 hours, however this wasn’t to be and we endured a stressful 6 hour journey punctuated by the predictable toddler vomit and chants of ‘are we nearly there yet?!’
We came off the motorway and straight into the gorgeously winding, twisty roads and stone-wall sheltered fields of the Lake District. Sheep and lambs were everywhere, the mist clearing into the distance, and the children cheered up by the sight of far away mountains akin to the world of Peter Rabbit.
The road across Austhwaite Brow was stunning (albeit wiggly) with views down the side of a treacherous drop into shaded, bluebell strewn valleys with babbling brooks and plenty more lambs playing. We reached Fisherground Campsite and were immediately impressed by its location – on a flat patch of farmland at the foot of a ridge of large, rocky crags. Given that it was the Easter holidays, we were all amazed that aside from my brother and his family who had already pitched up, it was only us on the site – the forecast Storm Hannah doubtless putting people off.
Reception was very helpful – lent us an EHU extension as ours was too short, offered us some eggs, talked us through the facilities. They walked over with us to our pitch and then left us to it. This was our first trip away with our new awning for our self-build camper – a Renault Trafic high-top. The awning is a Loopo Breeze. It was also the first time we’ve put one up, but we were all really surprised at how easy it was. We unzipped the bag, took out the awning, and laid it out on the ground, found the inflation points, and pumped up the beams using the large pump supplied with the awning. (I’d previously watched some videos on how to pitch these so had a bit of a head start!) It only took a minute or so of pumping before the beams were rigid, and with a helping hand from my brother, we pulled the awning upright and pegged it out. Getting the van aligned with the tunnel correctly was a bit of a fiddle, given that it was the first time we’d tried it and we weren’t sure how close it would need to go to be sure the awning tunnel would fit over the van. With Storm Hannah forecast, we didn’t want to risk any leaks between the van and tunnel. After a little back-and-forth, we figured out where to place the van, and used the straps to peg the tunnel down over the top. Then we put up the porch canopy and set up with our table, chairs, cooker and the kid’s toys.
I was really impressed at the amount of space in the awning! My brother and his family had brought a 4 man tent with them, that they couldn’t stand up in (he’s 6.4” as is my husband, his wife is 6.1” and I’m 5.9” so we like plenty of head room!) but we could all stand up in the Loopo Breeze. Once the rain hit, we all settled down inside to heat up a curry, with the kids playing and the rain and wind battering down on the awning. With the storm bars in place to add some extra strength, we were all happily remarking on how safe, warm and dry we were.
Fisherground Campsite is now high on our list of campsites to revisit. Just up from the site is a steam train track, from which you can halt thesteam train and take it along the railway to Ravenglass, a small seaside village with a stony beach, a couple of pubs, and incredible views along the journey. We all became big kids as we went on our steam train adventure and back again – just perfect.
The site also has many very useful features such as a hot box for drying boots, washers and dryers, and immaculately clean toilets and showers with plenty of space. Showers are 50p but two 50ps will get you a perfectly long shower – and there’s even a free hairdryer! There’s also a freezer for re-freezing coolbox blocks. The kids absolutely LOVED it as there's a fantastic adventure playground for them, with a babbling brook running alongside, and a little lake with some rafts and a stick that they can wobble their way across.
The following day we left the kids with my brother and my husband and I headed up behind the site to traverse the rocky crags above. A path through the houses at the side of the campsite leads to a steep incline over the railway track, from where you emerge onto the heathland above.
The elusive phone signal returned after we reached the crag summit, so we called down to my brother and waved at the children from far above. By this point, the quads were screaming a bit, so I was glad as the climb levelled out and we reached a large tarn.
Following a brief paddle for the dog, we began our descent. The views were simply stunning, and we could see the campsite down below as well as the steam train puffing along the track. To the West we could even see the sea beyond Ravenglass. We climbed down a zig-zag path to the road and walked back along to the campsite, aching legs but very satisfied.
We were only able to stay for two nights and as it looked like rain was headed back in, we decided to pack away the awning while it was dry. I was a little apprehensive about whether we would be able to get it back into the bag, but the process of packing away was about as quick as it had been to put up. We took out all the pegs, removed the storm bars, detached the straps, wound up all the guys, then let the air out of the beams. It deflated under its own weight, with no need to squish it flat at all. We folded it into thirds, drying the groundsheet as we went along, with a tea towel, then rolled it up. The straps supplied in the bag came in very handy for tying the awning together and getting it back in the bag – which was so incredibly roomy still, that we also managed to put in all the other bits and bobs as well, including extra pegs – with room to spare. It slid easily back under the bed in the campervan, and we were done.
We’re all absolutely over the moon that we found such a brilliant campsite and a brilliant driveaway awning – both combined made for a wonderfully nourishing weekend away, despite Storm Hannah’s best attempts to put us off. A great time was had by all, and we can’t wait for the next adventure.
- Siani Driver