Camping in Gosford Forest Park

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Last month over the bank holiday on the 25th May, David & I actually went camping. I say actually because it was one of my May Goals, as David had been wanting to go for ages, and I'm quite proud that we actually went! We decided to head to Gosford, as it's my favourite place in the world (well....maybe just in NI), and I know how to get there easily enough, so there would be no directions drama, which is always nice!

We borrowed my brothers’ tent, filled the car with as many blankets, duvets, pillows & food as possible, and set of for 3 days camping in the beautiful forest.

In the days before we went, I'd been scouring Pinterest for ways to make camping easier, more comfortable, ways to help us camping first-timers be a bit more prepared. I mean, we were only going for 2 nights, and we had a couple of disposable bbq's, and the car was packed full of everything we would need. It's not like we were in a hugely remote place or anything. Markethill is literally across the road from the entrance to the forest.
But anyway, I was just interested to know what kind of tips and hacks seasoned campers have come up with. The only one that I found to be remotely helpful was about using blankets/duvets instead of sleeping bags. Most of the other tips were about complicated campfires, and ways to cook proper meals etc and we weren’t really planning on doing any of that!
But the blankets & duvets…a stroke of pure genius! I'm pretty sure everyone hates sleeping bags. Everyone. They are so uncomfortable, & restrictive & they don’t even do a very good job of keeping you warm. Unless you use a double sleeping bag for yourself (hey, Laura!), I can’t see how anyone could be comfortable in them. Most of us, myself included, merely tolerate sleeping bags when there is no other alternative.

This tip said to ditch the sleeping bags altogether, and bring as many blankets/duvets as you can get your hands on. Layer them over your airbed, sleep on a couple and use a couple on top, bring your own comfy pillows and that’s it! You have the cosiest, most comfortable bed ever!
Confession: We brought our 2 sleeping bags anyway, just in case the whole blanket scenario wasn’t as cosy as described.
But, it was the best decision we’d made for the weekend. My brothers tent is only a 2-man, and it was so narrow we were scared that the airbed wasn’t going to fit, but once we got it sorted and had all of the blankets piled in, it was glorious! Definitely so much better than just a standard sleeping bag, I would 100% recommend it!
Anyway…that's more than enough about blankets, I think.

Casually feeding some sheep...
It was a really chilled out 3 days. On the first day we met up with David's sister, Shelley and her family as they live literally 5 mins away from Gosford. I couldn't be more jealous!

It was a lovely way to start our weekend. It was my first time meeting Shelley & Lee, and their two little girls, Hannah (3) & Brooke (1), and it was so, so nice. We had so much fun, just hanging out, chatting and playing with the girls, who are both absolutely adorable!

They spent the whole afternoon with us, we had a picnic, went for a little walk to feed the birds and then it was time for them to go. They invited us round to theirs for dinner the next night, and once we had all the picnic stuff tidied back into the cars, they headed home.

After we had our bbq for dinner, David decided to put his Bear Grylls skills to the test, and wanted to make a fire. I'll be honest, he actually did quite well...until it started raining and put it out!

It rained then on and off for the rest of the night, and that just reminded me why I'm not that fussed on camping.

I mean, what do you do when it's raining? We ended up just sitting in my car until it eased up enough that we didn't mind going for a walk in it. That's when I prefer a caravan over a tent. At least in a caravan you have somewhere comfy to chill and hang out if the weather is terrible!

Luckily, when we woke up the next day it was dry. There was even patches of blue sky, which made us hopeful for a beautiful day. It stayed dry, for the most part but that was as beautiful as it got, really.

For the next two days we really didn't do much. We went on a few walks through the forest, which was absolutely beautiful, as always. We sat around our campsite, I read and David hunted through the wood behind us for firewood.

We went to Shelley and Lee's house for pizza on our second night, and again it was just so nice! The girls were alot more comfortable in their own home, so we had all the fun playing with their toys!

It was a great few days for us. It was so lovely being able to just relax and go at our own pace, with nothing to worry about. Gosford is one of the most peaceful places I've ever been. The forest is so vast and tranquil and beautiful, and if you're lucky enough to get it on a good, sunny day it's ethereal, almost makes you feel as if you're in a fairytale!

We are hoping to get away camping again soon, possibly back to Gosford, or maybe we'll branch out a bit and go somewhere new! Who knows?!

If you've never been to Gosford, I highly recommend it. It's just so beautiful!

Have you been on any trips recently?