/ Campsite Rant
Email the campsite everyone is staying at and I can't book a Campervan in. Ok for a similar sized car to park up with a tent in the field. But, campervans have to have their own special touring area. My van was going to take up less room than a large car and tent.
Makes no sense at all, but it's their rules. better go to our usual safe bet of Hardhurst Farm.
Does seem daft. They probably assume vans to mean motorhomes and electric pickup.
Book in as vehicle and tent, just don't pitch the tent? Assuming a small campervan VW or similar...
I had one place try to charge an exhorbitant rate for a van. When I told them I didn't need electric they said it was the same price regardless. We voted with our feet.
Some campsites have strange pricing structures and rules. One place turned us away on the Friday of a bank holiday at 9pm in the rain with a half empty site because they only took three night bookings on bank holiday weekends. Were they expecting a sudden rush?
The National Trust sites have an odd pricing policy - an expensive packaging one if you book online, far cheaper per-person and per-tent ones if you just show up. Madness.
It's not really any wonder that lots of folks with vans are kipping in car parks etc.
It really annoys me when a campsite charges an extortionate amount for a campervan (with or without hookup) but if I was to pitch a tent up next to the van it would be nearly half the price - it makes no sense at all..
You can't go wrong with Hardhurst though, it's our favourite campsite in the Peak :)
Pitch a tent next to your van, but sleep in the van?
We have been using a Berlingo car, with a campervan lift-in conversion for the last year. To save any discussion we always just book in as a car with a small tent, which we do actually have in the back, and 'not get round' to pitching it. It hasn't been any problem so far.
If the group aren't keen to move to Hardhurst will just book in a car and tent. Once we're there I doubt they will notice.
In Harris there are honesty boxes with suggested donations of (I think) £5/night at many strategically-situated car parks. In fairness, the car park surfaces have been improved.
Historically NT site's all worked on a 'first come first served' basis.
The move to offer a booking service incurred a significant cost to NT in both the initial outlay for the software and the yearly licence fees.
Rather than divide this cost among all site visitors it was decided that only guests that benefited from the booking system should pay for it.
You can still opt to turn up on site without making a booking.
It's an attempt to give maximum choice(book or not book)and to only charge for what you get.
Its a flat £5 per booking so if your there for a couple of days it can become a small component of the total cost of your holiday
I had a play again...my misunderstanding, it is the same price plus a fiver as you say.
Not sure campervan are always charged more, NT charge same as small tent, exclude hook up which if you want it is an extra 3 quid
A few years ago, at a campsite near Brighton, I was turned away when I rocked up in my Transit van (planning to use a tent) because I "looked like a traveller".
The same year, at a campsite near Loch Lomond, they insisted I couldn't park the van next to my tent, but had to leave it in the car park near their little shop instead. (But all my mates were fine to park their cars next to their tents.)
The rules are arbitrary, and sometimes the people enforcing them can be pretty charmless too. Ho hum.
I camped in a lot of different places around the country that year, and many of the other sites were lovely.
Sometimes people who run campsites are just a pain in the arse.
I remember a few years ago being yelled at for riding my motorcycle to my pitch while stood up on the pegs, off road bike and the only way to balance it to do the 5mph speed limit I was doing, the woman came shooting over in the car, a lot faster than 5mph, to tell me I was riding to fast, dangerously because I was stood up and there were children around (god forbid I did something to gain more control) and that I should've reported to reception (even though I was already booked in).
I wouldn't have minded if she'd have at least attempted to be vaguely polite instead of yelling or at least have the decency to let me explain my actions but she didn't.
I decided they clearly didn't want my business, didn't go into the pub they ran and left the next day to go to another campsite a few miles down the road.
Of course you are right, people that run campsites can be a pain in the arse, pop in to reception before driving over their grass or children, it generally helps
There is a disconnect, campsite worker waking up after a long winter sleep, everything going well, site set out just so and a firm belief that everyone who arrives will understand how the campsite works.
Then there’s you – escaped from work and the city – wind blowing in your hair as you gun motorbike to freedom – arrive at site, off road bike, grass – we’re off
Generally we’re trying really hard not to be pains in the arse but campers are at great finding new and surprising ways to throw the sleepy campsite worker into confusion so please bear with us
I'd already gone to the reception earlier in the day when i arrived at the campsite and put my tent up, I was returning to it after popping out.
The children weren't anywhere near me, and I was riding on the track at the posted speed limit, unlike the majority of other people and unlike the woman from the site who came over to shout at me. As far as in concerned she was bang out of order, I literally hadn't done anything wrong.
The only reason i was stood up on the bike was so i could control the thing at 5mph, its not an easy task.
I do understand that some campers can be a nightmare and i do realise that he majority of site owners are trying not to be a pain in the arse but some just are.
Haha, the bloke at the Red Squirrel!
A few years ago we turned up at the Red Squirrel one Friday, anticipating the fact we were possibly going to be a little noisy, we parked at the far end of the site miles from the nearest tent.
At 7am the next morning our "friendly" sign loving host, burst into the van shouting at us to move (because we were parked on the closed bit of the site). Only to be confronted by a 5' square still drunk, Y-front clad Glaswegian, who thinking we were being attacked (he was like that), chased the poor bloke all the way back up to his hut. Screaming that he was going to kill him.
seems pretty unreasonable then
>>the Red Squirrel!
Has the ladies loo fallen down yet? Whole thing used to wobble alarmingly whenever anyone opened the door the last time I was there, only time I've considered putting my helmet on before going for a crap. Taking the mick a bit at eight-fifty a night.
I'd also like to nominate the site where the site owner had a massive strop at me for, amongst other things, peeing in the dog-emptying area (bog block was locked) and "telling lies" about the number of people in my tent (apparently no-one makes one-man tents, I shall have to email Terra Nova and tell them some of their products don't exist), and also the (different) site where the owner had a go at me for stuffing up his "camping ticket in windscreen to prove you've paid" system by turning up without a car.
And by way of a special mention, a certain pub campsite in the south-west where buying a camping ticket involves filling in a form giving your first name, initials, last name, date of birth, arrival date, departure date, length of stay, home address, landline number, mobile number, work number, email address, car reg no, car colour, car type, method of payment, next of kin's name, next of kin's address, shoe size etc etc ad nauseam. When I pointed out that no other campsite I've stayed on requires all this information I got the response "Well, all the other campsites are breaking the law, then!". I asked what they needed the information for. "Terrorism", apparently. They weren't able to explain what they were going to do with the data or how long they were going to keep it for, but they do make some efforts to validate it in that I had to do the form twice as apparently "rusting sh*theap" is not a valid entry in the "car type" box.
Oh yes, and the bogs were so dire that I ended up paying 20p to use the far, far nicer public ones further up the village.
Did you actually read the post you were replying to here?
Quite ironic really, given that it was essentially complaining about people who run campsites making erroneous assumptions.
Not stopped on the Red Squirrel for ages.
Do you remember the campsite on the edge of Fort William, In a large garden at the end of the Glen Nevis Road (for want of a better description)?
The old dear that owned it once took our money, disappeared, staggered out of the house 2 hours latter, completely p*ssed and attacked us with the yardbrush for not paying. It got that bad someone called the police, ho had to turn up and have (another) chat with her! :)
They've updated all their facilities. Lovely fresh toilet and shower block year before last I think. Better facilities than the SYHA up the road! Price increased to £9.50 these days.
these days, well worth it for the facilities.
The NT booking fee in inexcusable - yes I know they paid a stupid amount of money to "invest" in a system to allow bookings but that was stupid. A diary, a pencil and an email address would have done the same job better and cost, ohh about £1.50.
not ironic more tongue in cheek - i didn't really think mad hatter had run over anyone, i just gave that impression, sorry to have fooled you
i hope the rest of my email supported the hatter who i feel had been badly treated
i will check the numbers for you but think about 8k bookings per year - lot of paper and quite a few pencils needed to keep track of that
I remember that! Cheap and cheerful. My kind of campsite.
Or alternatively, easily enough bookings (and overall income) to absorb the costs of the booking system itself?
"Hallo is that Cher Ripooff?"
"Could I book a table for tomorrow night?"
"Yes but there is a +30% charge just for booking"
Booking should be free or even -ve cost as part of demand management.
It is all very Ryan Air and not very NT
It took cinemas long enough to realise that by people booking online they could (a) better manage capacity to demand and (b) save front desk staff. They used to charge extra, I didn't used to book. They now offer a discount, I near enough always book now.
What they should do is to have a more dynamic booking engine. As it is, they put up a certain number of "small pitches", "medium pitches" etc on a very crude online booking engine. But these aren't marked on the ground, so 2 "small pitches" might fit in one "large pitch". Yet when they've sold out of "small pitches"...
I'd suggest free and better!
The "in-site" booking system the NT is using to charge is awful.
What about a system where you phone / email the site and they put a note in the site diary and don't bother charging £5 for the privilege?
You can see how it happened - "put it out to tender" and no one thought to do a powerpoint presentation extolling the virtues of a diary and pencil.
This isn't a bad point. It could perhaps be complemented by an online indicator (red amber and green) of bookable space left. The trouble with a campsite obviously being that unless it's in marked out pitches (the NT sites aren't) there is a fairly dynamic amount of space available depending on what kind of kit people actually turn up with.
Because I'm a nosy parker, I've just had a quick play with their online booking thingy. Unless I'm missing something blindingly obvious, it would appear that as a single adult wanting a couple of nights at Great Langdale in mid-week, I can expect to pay over £15/night. Riiiiight ....
Yep - sounds about right. And the wonderful thing (for them) is there are plenty of National Trust card holding people who are more than happy to pay those prices.
I must admit we had a terrible time in Langdale one Bank Holiday weekend in 2006. NT campsite was full so we went down the road and pitched up. Next day (Saturday) we returned to find our tent completely surrounded by mega tents complete with their respective parties. We were then woken through the night as people decided to drive to the toilets. Since then we bought the AA Camping Guide and won't stay anywhere else. Never been disappointed and have also discovered that posh campsites have hot water and showers that don't have cobwebs in them! :-)
I suppose a bank holiday is the only case where booking at such a site would be advisable. If you turn up on Friday evening on any other weekend, most likely there will be space.
AT the opposite end of the spectrum, there's a certain rugby club that allows camping.
We turned up one evening in the dark and wandered into the club house. 'Pitch anywhere outside the white lines - would you like us to turn the lights on for you?' Kerchunk! On go the floodlights. Once we've pitched the tent, back to the club house we go and they turn the floodlights off. We ask if they do food. 'Not this evening, but pop up the road to the Chinesee take away, bring it back here and eat in the club house here with a pint' On top of that, flat, stone-free, well drained turf and club house showers.
But they certainly have tape measures, and in my only experience at a NT site, know how to use them to tell you your guy rope is 5cm past the limit.
done pencil and paper and its a nightmare - we used to book about 50 pitches in that manner, excruciating
the booking system is far from perfect but a quantum leap from pencil and paper (its why all big hotels, events, etc use them)
don't think there is any possibility in convincing you on here so why don't you come down, have free nights stay on us for you and another, i can show you the booking setup in detail and anything else you might like to look at - still leave you loads of time to get on some great routes
> ... peeing in the dog-emptying area
What is a dog-emptying area - it sounds most unsavoury and not somewhere I would want to pee?
ha ha - grim
>>it sounds most unsavoury
Yes, pretty much. It was 2am (arrived late, accident on the motorway) and the alternative was banging on the site owner's door and getting him out of bed for the key to the bog block.
No idea why he felt the need to keep the bog block locked and issue all the campers with keys, site wasn't in a location where you'd have thought vandalism and/or passing punters nicking the loo rolls he keeps for the paying customers would be a problem.
I still don't understand how you go about emptying your dog though - or why anyone would want to do it. In my experience they empty themselves quite effectively.
I think the idea is that you arrange for it to empty itself in that area rather than all over the camping field.
it's a control thing, its kind of psycological, would put off the noisy and disruptive
i think most folk who work on campsite's will have to deal with some really difficult customers at some point
(who you would reasonable object to campsing next to)
these control measures all reduce the frequency of these events
the events themselves can be fairly traumatic for the guest and the people working on the site
Disagree the key/pass-code/swipe card is another thing I absolutely hate....I think it doesn't deter anti-social behaviour.
In fact it increases the likelihood off it, I've been tempted (but never have) more than once to shit on the owners doorstep having arrived late to find the bogs locked.
I think it has more to do with campsites owners wanting easy lives, and trying to deter weekenders, and later arrivers, wanting to catering for family groups booking for one or two week holidays.
A passcode or swipe card is one of my first indicators of the owners/wardens having lost-the-bloody-plot
I don't understand why camsites if they want to lock/passcode the main block don't have one very basic shitter unlocked.
> it's a control thing, its kind of psycological, would put off the noisy and disruptive
Oh I think campsite managers who have a kind of psycological 'control thing' regarding keys put off a great many more than just them.
>>who you would reasonable object to campsing next to
Er, people having a piss where I can see them because they can't get in the bogs! And small children having noisy tantrums along the lines of "Mummy I need to poo no really I need poo NOOOOOOOW!" when they're with Mummy and Daddy's gone somewhere else with the loo key, usually followed by exasperated shouty swearing from Mummy when said small child then cacks their pants.
Closely followed by, in case anyone's wondering:
DoE/Ten Tors parties who can't tell the difference between my tent and theirs.
DoE/Ten Tors parties who get shouted out of bed by their teachers far too early and loudly.
DoE/Ten Tors parties who can't tell the difference between a hand basin and a washing-up sink.
People who don't keep their dogs under control (and, on one occasion, their cat).
People who don't keep their children under control.
The campsite mole at the Plume of Feathers.
(As regards noise, I'm well aware that I'm usually adding to it, in that I snore apocalyptically. I do try to pitch a decent distance away from other people on the site ...)
err ok but detering weekenders would probably be a mistake for any site
its a balance, lots of people want some security but not to by overwhelmed by it
not exactly what i had in mind, more - large group, drink, drugs, music, vehicles, till 4-5am, threats, fire, etc
I need to be more clear
>>deterring weekenders would probably be a mistake for any site
Deterring single people would also be a mistake if you're after keeping things quiet (quite hard to have a raucous party on your own), but there are sites that do ...
When I'm heading away for the w/e sites that have the bogs locked/pass-coded are always at the bottom of my list as places to stay, often well below a tucked away roadside or shore side bivvy. I've no problem with sites that lower the main gate afetr a certain hour, whereby I have to walk in and pitch.
You have no security at a campsite, you have two sheets of nylon between you and the greater world! I'm more concerned about somebodys car hand brake failing and the car rolling over me in my tent while asleep, than who can and cannot take a shit in the cubicle next to me!
Large noisy groups are for the owners /wardens to sort out, if they can't face upto the job and try and skirt it by locking the toilet block and hoping that somehow that is a magic wand, they should find themselves another occupation. Same if they let the odd early morning non paying departee get under thier skin. Some things come with the job...
I find myself, strangely, agreeing with you
> >>who you would reasonable object to campsing next to
> And small children having noisy tantrums along the lines of "Mummy I need to poo no really I need poo NOOOOOOOW!" when they're with Mummy and Daddy's gone somewhere else with the loo key, usually followed by exasperated shouty swearing from Mummy when said small child then cacks their pants.
>> I'm more concerned about somebodys car hand brake failing and the car rolling over me in my tent while asleep
Once had a scary near-miss with something similar on the big campsite at Edale*. Dark green bivvy bags are *so* hard to see in the dark ...
(Fortunately, I was in the loo at the time.)
*Another one with a spectacularly unfriendly owner, unless they were just having a bad day or something.
I find myself, strangely, agreeing with you.............I wouldn't let that concern you.
Hope you have an 'agro' free season. I'm well aware the paying public en mass would test the patience of the Dali Lama, and a handfull are real nasty pieces of work.
Cars and tents is a serious issue, doesn't bear thinking about in a bivi bag - maybe you just got to accept bivi bag only were no cars
Thanks - we're very lucky 99.99% of our customers are the business - walking climbing cycling wild swimming- there was a guy who had just spent 4 yrs on the border of china and tibet, another one who has spent 2000 nights under canvas then there are all the normal folk (us) enjoying the valley as best we can
Elsewhere on the site
Rock shoes stink – let’s face it. Boot Bananas are the perfect way to fight the funk and keep them fresh. They help... Read more
Perhaps the perfect Xmas gift for the climber in your life... Wild Country's Crack School has two of the worlds best crack... Read more
With four photos in this week's top ten, and a UKC gallery of stunning images we thought it was time we had a chat with... Read more
F ounded in 1993, Mountain Hardwear are a pretty young mountaineering clothing and equipment manufacturer but are also one of... Read more
Tonight's Friday Night Video features the Norwegian town of Rjukan, once believed to be the home of the world's tallest... Read more