Because of various work commitments and changes of jobs earlier in the year we won’t have a chance to get a proper holiday until late September/early October. I am hoping for the last two weeks of September, but because my boss has jumped in with the second from last week first I don’t know whether I can have that week off too. I can’t see any reasons why we both can’t be away from the office at the same time, however my boss seems to think of me as her “right hand man” and one of us has to be in the office at all times. Personally, I think this view is ridiculous, as I have two other work colleagues more than capable of dealing with things in our absence – I just need to convince the boss.
If I can’t get the second from last week of September my holiday will have to be put back to the last week of September and first week of October. Things obviously start to cool down in the autumn months (and by the start of October autumn is well under way) but it shouldn’t be too much of a problem in the motor home. If we had the folding camper it would be a different story, however I am not overly fussed with the motor home. The other potential advantage is that from the 1 October it changes to low season and the cost per night falls. The cost doesn’t fall by much, but every little helps right? All I can say is that it’s a good job I didn’t want a summer holiday this year!
Anyway, with the summer rapidly disappearing and holiday time approaching it is time to try and sort out the holiday. Since this is the first year with the motor home we thought it bet to stay in the UK (to get used to it) and go to parts of the UK we have never been to before. When we had the folding camper the furthest north we would go was North Yorkshire (and only then in the summer months) because Northern England and Scotland are notorious for wet weather, which is not fun in a folding camper. With our new accommodation we thought it was time to head further north, and since we have talked about the Lake District many times before it seemed fitting this should be our first long distance trip in the Accordo 120.
I admit I am not knowledgeable about the Lake District and all I know about the place (from what I have been told) is that it is exceptionally picturesque (which is great because I have a passion for landscape photography), it is full of tourists and very busy all year around (even in the “quieter” parts) and it is damn expensive. I have to say that busy and expensive doesn’t really appeal to me, but you have to take the rough with the smooth right? Besides, if we don’t like it we can always pack everything away and move on – oh the joys of being in a motor home.
I find trying to find campsites a mission, even in the technological world we live in. The internet is a fantastic tool and very useful finding useful campsites, however I find it makes me “over analyse” potential campsites. UK Campsite is a great website that allows me to search a variety of campsites with the features and facilities we require, which is a great time saver however since it also features reviews about each and every campsite I spend ages checking out the reviews to see what other campers think about the campsites.
I like to review different products, services, camp sites etc. on line and whilst I pride myself in writing a balanced review highlighting the advantages and disadvantages/the pros and cons I know there are many reviewers who don’t seem to do this. I find that if someone has an overall good experience they write just about the good bits and “gloss” over the bad bits, which is not really right as nowhere is perfect, is it? Similarly, I find that if someone has an overall bad experience they write solely about the bad things (and often exaggerate them or dress them up a bit to make the point) and don’t mention the good points. This also isn’t fair as everything has at least one positive, doesn’t it?
I guess it is human nature to focus on just the positives (for an overall good experience) and exaggerate the negatives (for an overall bad experience). I mean, there have been times when I have written a glowing review about a campsite and didn’t really want to ruin it with the bad points, no matter how small and insignificant they were. Similarly, I have written damning campsite reviews and didn’t want to highlight the positives because I felt let down, ripped off and hard done by. Even though there have been times where I wanted to write about just the good, or just the bad I have always resisted (and always will) and written a balanced review. It’s a shame others don’t, and because of this I always take reviews with a pinch of salt.
The thoughts, opinions and experiences of other campers are very useful, there’s no denying it, but trying to decide just how much is accurate isn’t easy, and also eats up the time. Another problem with reading reviews about campsites is that they lead to more questions, which then leads to “googling” the campsite and trying to find even more reviews that are not on UK Campsite. This also leads to additional research, which also eats up a lot of time. It wouldn’t be too bad if the research answered what I was looking for, but most of the time it doesn’t – which is time wasted.
One of the biggest problems with the internet is “information overload”, i.e. there is too much of it, and when looking for campsites there is now too much choice. My family holidays growing up as a child were always camping and choosing a campsite took no time at all. My father was a member of a camping club (I forget whether it was the Caravan Club, the Camping and Caravanning Club or some other club) and simply chose the county he wanted to go to and then looked it up in is directory, and the first campsite listed was the campsite he called to make a booking. If that campsite was full when he wanted to go he called the second listing, and so on until he found a campsite with availability.
My father wasn’t bothered about reviews or other campers’ thoughts and opinions, which in all honesty were difficult to get hold of in any case. Some of his camping magazines had the odd campsite review but these were few and far between, and seldom in the parts of the UK that he wanted to go to. My father simply found a site, booked it and that’s where we went. Simples.
In my experience, the internet has removed this simplicity. Well……………. this was the case up until a few hours ago when I decided that I was getting bored of hunting for campsites, reading reviews about campsites and researching different campsites. Yep, I decided to kick it back old skool, or as much as I could and have selected the campsites by looking at UK campsite, typing in the desired location, individually numbering each campsite listed and then running a random number generator on the laptop to see what campsite we are going to book. We have got two alternative sites just in case the first “choice” is fully booked, although I can’t see too many problems with that given we are going the third and fourth week in September or the last week in September and first week in October.
Just in case you’re wondering where fate is sending us I can announce that it is Pier Cottage Caravan Park in Cumbria, Church House in Melverly and Tudor Caravan Park in Slimbridge. We may spend a night between Slimbridge and home on the final stretch, however this is undecided and if we do it’ll most likely be Wyton Lakes near Ely.
Other than Wyton Lakes (which we may or may not stay at) I know nothing about the other sites. I have been tempted to read the reviews and do some additional research but I have resisted and vowed not to do any research at all, which isn’t like me at all. My intention is to book the campsites once I know what weeks we can take) and then wait until the time comes to disappear off on holiday.
I have to say that I am actually quite nervous about the way we chose which campsite to go to. I am excited, but also quite nervous because if we have made a poor decision, that’s it for long holidays until next year. I guess we are going to have to visit the sites with an open mind, travel with no expectations and make the most of it. If the campsites don’t end up being what we are after we are going to have to deal with it, move on and make sure we never go back. If the campsites end up being better than we hoped, well it’s all good.
Choosing the campsites using the above method, once we decided how to go about it, took around 10 minutes to select all three sites, plus a few alternatives in case we can’t get it. Now how’s that for efficiency? I will, of course, review each campsite in detail (most likely during out stay at each) and will list the pros and cons, the advantages and the disadvantages, and the good and the bad so watch this space……..