“You’d better catch this wan and you’d better have a ticket cos here’s the man”
As performed to the tune of Marty Robbins's "Last Train to San Fernando" by the estimable Mr. William Connelly Esquire, erstwhile Laird of Strathdon. The song ends in a rambling story called "Going Camping" in which our hero and friends go up to Balloch for the weekend and spend all their money on wine.
Well, summer is here and my thoughts have turned to a few nights under canvas (a few nights being the optimal amount in my experience. Any more than three and you can include me out). In recent years it’s become modish to refer to our style of camping as Glamping, that’s Glamorous Camping to the uninitiated. It involves a certain amount of style and what passes for luxury on the average campsite, where Gore-Tex rules and clogs are de rigueur. I first became aware of the concept a few years back when Mrs Cyclo and I used to go up to Oban every weekend, camping at the now defunct site out at Ganavan Sands. A French couple arrived on site in an old Peugeot Estate. They unpacked a huge canvas tent and piles of cushions. They had a carpet and some old oil lamps. It took the fellow an hour to set up and after he’d finished their tent resembled a Bedouin camp. His significant other then emerged from the car and went into the tent where with the flaps of the doors wide open she proceeded to strip stark naked. She slipped into a kaftan in front of my astonished but appreciative gaze, lay down on the cushions and there remained for the rest of the evening, sipping wine while Mr Frenchman barbecued at the door (and one supposes worshiped at her feet).
Mrs. Cyclo and I looked at our poor wee tent (with which we had previously been delighted) our mismatched sleeping bags (one of which I’d had since the Scouts) and threadbare, itchy travel blankets and despaired. The following weekend we arrived with one brand new sleeping bag to replace the oldest one we’d had, nicer blankets and a few wee cushions. The rot had set in. Before long we’d amassed tables and chairs, storm lanterns and firepits, old canvas rucksacks and wicker baskets and a luxurious languor as we desported ourselves around the toilet blocks. (Camping is only ever glamorous in a relative sense).Last year we finally decided the time had come to upgrade our tent. After a long search we decided on the Outdoor Revolution Starcamper 3 pictured above. We wanted a tent that was small enough for wild camping but just big enough in the porch area to allow a couple to sit inside on wet evenings without developing a dowager's hump. Money was an issue, but at RRP £133.44 this tent fitted the bill perfectly.In an ideal world I’d like the Outwell Indian Lake Tepee below but I can’t justify the outlay when we really only go camping for a few days a couple of times a summer.