Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Camping a New House Farm - part 2

Following on from our first visit, and having a couple of days leave to use up we decided to have a long weekend camping. Initially we'd thought of going somewhere in Norfolk or Suffolk and perhaps picking up Gemma's niece and nephew, but one of them managed to get a fracture so that one was out of the frame. Instead we decided to re-visit New House Farm and spend 3 nights there trying to get to know the Soulpad a bit better prior to a longer trip later in the year.

This time we camped in the top field, since Bob the farmer had been busy and cut the grass in the bottom field and was ready to bale it into hay. This wasn't a bad choice, since the field is flatter and the shorter grass on the top field meant we didn't have any problems getting the tent up. There was a group camped in the far corner from us and more people arrived throughout the day, which we spent on chairs outside the tent with beers and books in hand. Toward evening a bag of wood and some sausages were procured and we spent a nice chilled evening in front of the fire.

We awoke to a world shrouded in mist, but felt quite cosy in the tent. It wasn't quite so cosy having to walk across the dew-wet grass to go to the toilet though. After making a brew, and with the mists receding, we had a wander into the village of Kniveton. Summary - there isn't much there. As we were too early for the pub opening and thereby our chance of a feed, we went back to the campsite, jumped in the car and headed for Ashbourne. Ashbourne is a market town, and it was market day. Unless you have a love for cheap tea-towels there wasn't much to be said for the market. We did have some nice chips for lunch though. After a pint, and stopping at a supermarket to buy beer and a watermelon, we drove back to resume the position - beer in one hand, book in the other.

I managed to slice right into a finger whilst cutting a piece of watermelon for Gemma. Which was more than annoying. Still, it was a little finger and who needs them? We watched more people arriving during the afternoon, including a group of lads who jumped out of the car and immediately threw a rugby ball around for half an hour. Then they put their tents up. Then proceeded to play, I think, every other ball game known to mankind.

More meat was procured, and more firewood, and a repeat performance of the previous evening ensued - this time with more rum.

On the Sunday morning we jumped in the car and went down to Carsington Water. The car parking made me gasp at £4.70 and no change given. Ouch. We set off on a walk via the bird hides towards Carsington village. There wasn't much of massive interest viewable from the hides when we were there - lot's of cormorants and, I think, 23% of the world's population of coots. In Carsington village we stopped for a pint at the Miner's Arms. We had been intending to stay for lunch there, but it took so long to get served, with the bar staff more interested in gossiping than serving, and the beer wasn't great, so we decided against it. A power walk back to the car, and we drove up to the Knockerdown to eat. The beer wasn't much better there, the food was OK, if a bit over-priced and the staff were a little brusque - probably due to being over-worked.

Whilst eating the rain started, so we drove back to the campsite rather than continue wandering. The top field had completely cleared by the time we got back, so the only noises we could hear were the sheep and cows in neighbouring fields and the cry of a buzzard somewhere nearby. After cooking our supper we retired to the tent out of the intermittent rain and stayed there for the rest of the evening.

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