Camping up a storm

It was getting dark. Huge, imposing black clouds were rolling in off the sea not half a mile away and the sun had already dropped below the oh so pretty horizon. We’d spent the day riding our motorbike, fully laden with camping equipment for our first week’s holiday together, along the coast of West Wales. We should have stopped and found somewhere to camp about an hour before, but had pushed on to Harlech to visit the castle there. Now it was too late. We didn’t want to ride on any further with the weather closing in, so would have to find somewhere to camp here in Harlech. With no idea where the nearest campsite might be we did what we always do: follow our instincts and allow fate to shape our journey. I was beginning to wonder if this tactic might now fail us as the road we’d taken stretched off bleakly into the distance. A handwritten sign gave us hope: “camping” pointing left down a narrow gravel drive. At the end of the lane was a small house surrounded by very large, and very empty fields. There was a light on at the house so we pressed the doorbell and was met by a rather surprised elderly lady. “Is this the campsite?” we asked. “Yes” came the reply in a slightly confused tone, “but surely you don’t want to camp in this?”

By now the wind had really picked up and dusk had turned to night. The campsite itself was a large field surrounded by low hills on three sides, but open to the sea on the fourth. This created a natural funnel through which the wind was howling. There was not a single tree or hedge to be seen anywhere in the expansive space so sheltering from the wind would be nigh-on impossible. We had no choice, so paid for our stay and headed off through the gate into the field.

On further investigation though, the field wasn’t quite as empty as we’d first suspected. It contained just two objects in the corner furthest away from the meagre light of the cottage. This would explain how we didn’t initially notice the small boat and abandoned caravan! There was a small gap between them. A gap just about the same size as our trusty little dome tent. Standing in this gap the wind was completely gone. The boat and caravan were facing exactly the right way to deflect the wind around this little space. We pitched the tent by the light of our torches and were relieved to be able to clamber into this small bubble of calm for the night just as the rain began lashing down.

From inside the tent we were perfectly sheltered from the elements. You’d never know there was a gale blowing just feet away. We fell asleep to the rhythmic sound of rain falling on the tent and had a great night’s sleep, content in the knowledge that camping really was the best fun, and that the perfect pitch really did exist, right here nestled between a boat and a caravan, in a windswept field on the west coast of Wales.

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