Sunday 2 January 2011

Winter Camping at its worst

The forecast for camping wasn't that bad for the last weekend in November 2010.  Chatsworth House Caravan Club site had been booked months in advance and there was never any worry of snow in November - was there ...........?

Friday afternoon was cold and beautifully sunny, with no sign of the white stuff. The temperature at 11 pm was hovering around zero or minus 1, nothing to worry about there, been out in far worse.  Woke on Saturday to a very pretty campsite with 3 inches of snow, watched people walking to the shower block in Crocs (as you do?) and children being pulled on sledges on the site.  What fun! Spent the day walking in the estate, mulled wine in the Courtyard (vastly overpriced at £3.25 for a small paper cup, but warming).  Lunch at the delightful Devonshire Arms in Baslow - 15 minutes walk from the site - and dogs positively welcomed in the bar.  Back to a nice warm motorhome, hot meal and good wine.  Checked thermometer at 11 pm - minus 10.  Oh 'eck.  Still, we were warm and cosy and couldn't do anything about it.  All would be fine in the morning ........

Temperature inside the motorhome had dropped to 10 deg C by 7 am the following morning, despite two oil-filled radiators running full tilt all night.  Put the gas fire on full (we don't like to sleep with the gas fire on, just in case) and soon warmed up.  Took the dog for a slither through the secret door into the estate (see photo below).  Boy was it cold.  Bumped into a lady whose diesel had frozen in their motorhome, and they weren't going anywhere by the looks of things.  "Don't worry chuck (said Mr AP), we'll be fine". 

Guess what?  Engine wouldn't start.  Then, the site lost ALL electrical power which meant not only no electricity, but also no toilets, no water and no indication of when it would be restored.  Things were getting REALLY dire. 

Skipping over all the swearing, head scratching, phone calls and mulling things over with the people next door, to get the important parts defrosted required some ingenuity because using a fan heater or hair drier was not an option until (if) the power came back on.

How did we get moving?  By heating hot water in the gas kettle, putting it in a plastic bottle and squirting it over the offending parts.  It worked and eventually the engine spluttered to life and we were on the move.

The first thing we did when we got home was to cancel our booking at the Caravan Club's Losehill Site, Castleton, for the following weekend.  It just wasn't worth it. 

Above image: Chatworth Park, November 2010
Copyright AvailablePitch 2010



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