Saturday 24 March 2012

Eskdale Campsite Cumbria - a return to traditional camping values

Camping Pod at Eskdale Camping and Caravanning Club Site

Here at, we speak to some really interesting people.  This week we had a fascinating conversation with the owner of two very different but complimentary campsites in The Lake District: Ravenglass Camping and Caravanning Club Site and the Eskdale Camping and Caravanning Club Site both run under franchise by Martyn and Sara Merckel.

We "met" through Twitter - we'd put a tweet out asking for campers' experiences on staying in a pod or wig wam, and straight back came an offer from Eskdale Campsite to stay in one of their pods.  A quick phone call later, and we were in!

We stayed on the Ravenglass Camping and Caravan Club site in Sept 2011 when Mr AvailablePitch did the Traction Engine Experience  which runs out of Muncaster Castle.  Little did we know at the time that this was a franchised site.  In fact, Martyn tells us, it was the very first Camping and Caravanning Club franchised site in the UK. 

Ravenglass Camping and Caravanning Club Site

Aimed primarily at caravanners and motorhomers, Martyn and Sara purchased the site in 2004, opened for the 2005 season, having completely revamped and landscaped this tiered, wooded site.  We were very impressed with our stay on the site, particularly the warm welcome from the wardens, (well, it IS The Friendly Club), the landscaping and layout of the site and the amazing shop situated in a log cabin, which sells everything you might ever need, and much more besides.  The site is perfect for motorhomers, because the sea is within easy walking distance and for longer journeys without the 'van, the railway station is just round the corner. 

Having never been camping or caravanning in their lives, Martyn and Sara then thought "what the heck" and bought the Hollins Farm Campsite in Eskdale in 2006, developed it over the winter and opened in 2007.  They have continued to develop it ever since, and it is now a Camping and Caravan Club franchised site, with an AA 5 pennant's award, for tents, trailer tents and smaller motorhomes (no caravans).  Whilst remaining passionate about traditional camping values of enjoyment, safety and comfort for campers, (they have a "wellies welcome" policy!) Martyn and Sara ensure that campers enjoy top notch facilities including new showers and toilets, a family room, drying room, children's play area and a camping barn for larger groups.

Always at the forefront of new innovations, Eskdale was the first campsite in the UK to have camping pods.  Sara had seen the concept and was determined to have them at Eskdale.  Some interesting conversations took place with the local authority, and after 5 months of negotiations, the pods were erected entirely in keeping with the Lake District scenery.

Camping Pod at Eskdale Camping and Caravanning Club Site
So campers now have the choice of either taking their own kit to Eskdale, or staying in a heated pod.  And even if the weather turns a little wet, there is so much to do from the Eskdale site, ranging from a ride on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Miniature Steam Railway, several pubs within walking distance, local walks from the site, to a walk up Scafell Pike accessible from the campsite for the really, really fit!

So huge thanks for the invite, Martyn and Sara, can't wait to visit and experience a pod for ourselves! 

Pod images courtesy of the Camping and Caravanning Club
Ravenglass image, copyright AvailablePitch 2012


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