What is the best way to find a campsite? If you’re thinking about going camping and do a search online for campsites + location you will invariably be faced with a selection of search results for websites aimed at helping you to find a camping site. Given that there can be a vast array of campsites and holiday parks in the area where you thinking of holidaying, campsite finder websites can be a helpful tool for choosing and booking a suitable site. So which is the best website to use when looking for a campsite? We decided to review some of the websites on offer and will post our findings over the next couple of weeks.
Which camping site finder is best?
Review of Best Camping Site Websites
The websites that we chose to review are as follows:
Also on our list was www.lovecamping.co.uk which looked pretty good, but it started redirecting to www.ourwedding.co.uk – a wedding planning website! Although it is back online again now, it has unfortunately missed the boat this time around.
www.lovecamping.co.uk - its turned into a wedding planner!
The criteria that we considered to be important and that were under consideration in these reviews are as follows:
General appearance and usability
Ease of search
Number of campsites found
Advanced search options
Quality and information about each campsite
Other useful information
Amount of advertising
Before kicking off with the first review, I have a little gripe! Many of the websites that I looked at have advanced searches where you can select “Adults Only” as a search criteria. Yet when I selected “Adults Only” campsites the search results often showed campsites that accepted both families and accepted adults only. OK, so maybe you’re welcome to camp at the site even if you don’t have kids, or maybe the campsite is very large and has separate family and adults only areas, but generally speaking if you’re looking for a campsite that is adults only it should not welcome families. Gripe over.
The first site to be reviewed in this series is www.find-a-campsite.co.uk. This particular website is a basic directory and hence the review is quite short.
The bright green background is quite garish, as are the adverts. Nevertheless the layout is clear and uncluttered. The main feature of the page home is map of the UK where you can choose a region. There is a list of the Top 20 Areas, including the Lake District, Snowdonia, South Downs etc. You can also select from a list of counties.
find-a-campsite.co.uk - a no frills campsite directory
If you click on area on the map you are automatically zoomed in. You can then click on a county in that area. From here there is list of campsites, listed alphabetically by town. Also displayed is the postcode and telephone number. Some of the campsites have links to their own websites, which are available at £25 per year. Other than that there is not any information about the campsites or their facilities.
On the homepage they state that they have over 2200 campsites listed, and each county that I clicked on does have a substantial number of sites listed.
This website is very basic, using a simple directory listing. If you have a particular town in mind where you intend to stay and do not have any specific requirements or criteria that the campsite must fulfil, then find-a-campsite.co.uk is worth using.
This is my first blog post, and though it is not my first attempt to use English I’ll apologise in advance for the incorrect grammar, spelling, typos and general idiocy that this post will surely exhibit!
The point of this particular post is to discuss the Bogle Stroll 2011 that I have signed myself up for. The event is taking place at 7pm on Friday March 4th 2011. The Bogle Stroll 2011 is organised by Manchester RAG (Raise and Give), which is a part of the University of Manchester Students Union, an excellent organisation that oversees and supports charity fundraising by Manchester Students.
The Event – Bogle Stroll 2011
The Bogle Route - Source Bogle.org.uk
Firstly, do not be fooled, the Bogle “Stroll” is deceptively named. It is an extreme 55-mile endurance test that will likely provide podiatrists with plenty of patients for the foreseeable future.
The 55-mile urban walking route takes the form of a ‘figure-of-eight’, with its hub at RAG’s headquarters at the Manchester Students Union. The course is split into two legs.
The first leg of the journey tackles the South of Manchester. Starting from Manchester Students Union participants will toddle along to Manchester Airport and Stockport before returning to the Students Union approximately 10 hours later, in time for breakfast!
Breakfast provides the perfect opportunity to rest and re-energise tired limbs and minds (it also promises tea and coffee-which is a bonus!)
After breakfast, the participants will embark on the final leg of the journey, which ventures to the North of Manchester via Failsworth, Farnworth and Salford.
On average, the Bogle Stroll takes 21 hours to complete. So that is the equivalent of flying to Beijing…and back.
The Bogle Stroll will undoubtedly be a relentless test of physical and mental endurance.
In a team of five, I’ll be participating in this year’s Bogle event. We have set ourselves the target of completing this distance in less than 20 hours.
To exhibit the challenge that the Bogle Stroll will pose to me, it is relevant to give an idea of my own fitness and abilities. I cannot shower myself in glory. My present level of fitness is probably comparable to Colonel Gaddafi’s sanity.
However, I have been known to walk to the local supermarket and even run for a bus.
My training began on Tuesday 22/2/11, less than 2 weeks before the event. This is not purely a consequence of stupidity, but due to the fact that I only signed up for The Bogle Stroll 2011 a few days ago. Still, not the healthiest position to be in, I admit.
For my first training session I walked a distance of 10 miles in 3 hours. I accomplished this feat in skinny jeans and a pair of high-top Nike’s that should have been binned years ago! I have decided to rethink my attire for the main event. The main reason being that once I got home and rested for a few minutes I could barely stand from the pain in my feet!
Last night – my second training session – I went for another 10-mile practice walk. With new trainers I felt reinvigorated. I completed the same distance in the same time. Consistent or lack of improvement?
I’ll be looking to increase the distance this weekend when I have some time to do a 25-mile walk on Saturday.
The problem for a 55-mile walk event is there really is very little opportunity to do a complete practice run, considering my work commitments and need for sleep! As a result, it will only be on the actual day that will I find out if I am capable of this distance!
Now, if I ever want to retain the use of my limbs, I’ll have to be well equipped. The essentials will be:
Comfortable trainers! Though the Nike high-tops may look cool, experience has demonstrated that they will show no mercy.
Tracksuit bottoms. As described to me by my girlfriend, “Jeans will chafe”. Ouch.
Food and Drink. And no, this is NOT a pub-crawl.
A hat. Manchester in the beginning of March will not be hot.
Spare socks. Could have been an easy oversight but these will be paramount in the prevention of blisters.
A mobile phone. In case it all ends in tears and I need to call a cab!
I hope to complete the 55-mile distance. It may seem naïve/stupid/implausible, but to aim for less would defeat the purpose of this challenge. Yes it will be painful, tiring, long and difficult, but reactions to life’s challenges help define who we are.
Please click this logo to donate now
Apart from my own personal goals, I am – along with my teammates – hoping to raise as much money as possible for the Christie Cancer Charity. The Charity funds projects for The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, which operates outside the scope of the NHS. The Christie is an international leader in research and it is one of Europe’s leading cancer centres, treating over 40,000 patients a year. If you would like further information on the Charity please visit http://www.christies.org/.
If you would like to sponsor me, please go to www.justgiving.com/boglestroll5 . Any amount you are willing to give would be appreciated. I personally want to thank those of you who have read this far and despite my ramblings still decide to donate. If we all contribute we can raise at least more money than the banks pay in tax.
For more information on the stroll or if you’re thinking of perhaps taking part next year, then go to http://www.bogle.org.uk/.
Psst! - If you have any tips for me leave them in a comment!
Continuing our series of interviews with polar explorers and adventurers, such as Dixie Dansercoer and Mikael Strandberg, we have recently had the pleasure of interviewing Chris Foot, arguably the most self-demanding man to reach the South Pole on foot.
Solo, unassisted and unsupported, Chris Foot had to carry and drag everything he needed for the entire expedition.
During the 2010 / 2011 summer season in Antarctica, polar explorer Chris Foot made an attempt to become the first person to travel solo, unsupported and unassisted to travel from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole and back.
Only the select few dare to travel solo and completely unsupported in their individual pursuits of extreme excellence and self accomplishment. Thriving on the inherent risks and dangers coupled with the protracted period of solitude experienced, captures the essence of ultimate human performance.
Interview with Polar Expeditionist, Chris Foot
What drives someone to take on a challenge like this and is it possible for the average hiker to become engaged in polar exploration? In this interview Chris talks about his motivation and his experiences on his South Pole expedition.
CheapTents: What inspired you to get into outdoor pursuits in cold weather regions?
Chris Foot: After spending 14 years in the British Military and working in extreme cold weather environments as well as hostile settings, the progression into the Polar regions seemed like a natural continuation and pursuit of my personal desire to push myself to the absolute limits of mental and physical capacity. I will be about for a while I hope.
CheapTents: What is you biggest weakness?
Chris Foot: Impulsiveness I think, or impatience. Maybe there the same thing?
CheapTents: What has been your worst injury (if any) from outdoor activities and how did it happen?
Chris Foot: I have never had an injury and I touch wood as I say that. I am a very robust individual which you need to be if you have an interest in long haul expeditions with no immediate support mechanisms.
CheapTents: You have just returned from a solo, unsupported trek from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole. Why did you set yourself this challenge?
Chris Foot - 700 hundred miles is not enough.
Chris Foot: No one has done it before and I needed to set my heights on something big. A one way trip of 700 miles is not enough to satisfy my personal
needs, in order to squeeze everything out of me the return journey was the only attractive option. However, due to a delayed insertion and a 65 day window, the one way was all I completed in 41 days. Starting with 135kg, this was a good effort but I’m still left wanting.
CheapTents: Unfortunately you were not able to make your planned returned journey from the South Pole back to Hercules Inlet. What were the major deciding factors in abandoning your attempt?
Chris covered an average of 18 nm per day across the frozen landscape.
Chris Foot: Abandoning the return was a hard decision but I had a strategy to hit the Pole in 40 days with the 65 day window, instead of the intended 80 days. I knew I would have to be covering around 20-22nm a day before I hit the pole. I was doing less than 18nm a day at this point. It would mean increasing the pace to 25nm a day overnight and I knew I could not sustain that. Making a clean cut at the Pole with a one way, made more sense than trying to crawl back and getting picked up short and still failing.
CheapTents: Do you intend to attempt the return journey to the South Pole again in the future? Do you have plans for other expeditions?
Chris Foot: I intend to be back this season. I know its possible as I carried out the return journey strategy with all the weight to the pole, so I know exactly what needs to be done. I think a 75-78 day window is realistic to get this completed. Arm chair enthusiasts may disagree, as some thought I should of carried on this time.
CheapTents: What were the most difficult challenges during the expedition?
Chris Foot: White outs can be mind numbing and I had around 8-9 full days of it, when you have a really bad IPod, the days drag!
CheapTents: What were the highlights of the expedition?
Chris Foot: 41 days to the Pole Solo with 135-40kg start weight is the only real good thing I take away from this. That was 4-5 days faster than I would of planned. I’m a hard man to please.
CheapTents: What are your favourite bits of gear, and why?
Chris Foot: My Thermarest chair converter, great to sit back and have a moment whilst supping your brew after a hard day on the ice. I’m not a kit freak, the basics will always get you there if used properly.
CheapTents: You are a supporter of the charity Combat Stress. Why is this particular charity important to you?
Chris Foot: Combat Stress is an essential charity to help former soldiers confront and overcome mental illness i.e. PTSD. I have had an intense military career but luckily remain mentally unscathed by war, others are not so lucky and need this critical assistance.
CheapTents: Any people or sponsors that you would like thank?
Chris Foot: Devere Group, YCO and C3IA Solutions. These people part with the cash and ensure the pursuit of extreme human endeavor can be pushed whilst inspiring others to have a go and raise awareness of vital charities.
CheapTents: Anything else you would like to say?
Chris Foot: Some adventurers voice that Polar travel is only for the select few or specialists. I have read about this crap far too much. Solid Basic training followed by applying basic principles will see you achieve some unthinkable things, in whatever arena you choose to venture.
Many thanks to Chris for providing us with this insight into your South Pole expedition. Good luck with your attempt this season!
Everyday is hard as expected and the temp has got significantly colder and the wind stronger. I went for a change to mitts due to this, and realized after 37 days of finger gloves what sometimes seems 2nd nature becomes a pain in the ass! Even I nearly fell pray to the classic” I will just whip the mitts off for a second and adjust this” it was a second and no adjustments made, even I know this is the common cause of polar travelers in the dodgy handshake club getting frostbitten rapido! Chris Foot in Antarctica, 2nd Jan 2011.
Unless you’ve had your head in the sand over the past few weeks we have all heard about the changes to the Public Bodies Bill which will mean that the government can sell off up to 85% of our forests, without protection for access or biodiversity. This as many of us agree cannot be allowed to happen, these woodlands are part of our national heritage and are loved by the British public.
Cycling in the Forest of Dean - Source: GeoGraph
As an update and to clear the fog somewhat, last week Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman, announced that there would be a halt to a section of the bill relating to the criteria for sale of some forestry. This however, is a little dull on details, what Mrs Spelman neglected to say was this was for the 15% of forestry under sale in another section of the bill previously announced, and nothing to do with the 85% sell off which we are all up in arms about! The means that the consultation on the sale of 85% of our forests is still going ahead as planned, details of how to get involved in the consultation process are at the bottom of this post.
To help us to understand just why these sales mean so much to British people, over the next few week’s we will be publishing a series of articles about the forests, from facts and figures to interviews with lots of people we’ll have it covered.
Last week we talked to Arlene McCarthy, North West MEP for Labour, and here’s what she said.
Where do you personally stand on the forestry sales (public bodies) bill?
As a regular walker I believe our forests and woodlands are an important part of England’s national heritage. At a cost of 30p per person a year to maintain, I think it’s a price worth paying. We need to keep our public forests open for everyone and ensure that they remain in place for future generations to enjoy.
Where does the labour party itself stand on this bill?
1. Labour is opposed to the large-scale sell-off of Forestry Commission land in England and will vote against the forestry components of the Public Bodies Bill.
2. The Public Forest Estate (PFE) is an important part of our national heritage from our iconic ancient forests, such as the Forest of Dean and New Forest, through to local woodlands around England.
3. The 1997 Labour manifesto said that it favoured: ‘a moratorium of large-scale sales of Forestry Commission land.’ In Government, Labour only allowed the Forestry Commission to sell off small parcels of the Public Forestry Estate AND to buy new land to increase public access.
4. The Forestry Commission made land sales of 9,500 ha and purchase of 5,400 ha whilst Labour was in government.
5. We are not opposed to selling off land. But we are opposed to large-sale proposals which contain no certainty over which land can be sold, to whom and without guarantees on how it will be managed.
How will the bill effect the North West and it’s economy?
It is very hard to put an economic value on our forests. Forestry Commission land in the North West amounts to about 28,000 hectares.
The commercial value of Forestry Commission land in the whole of England is currently £528 million. However, the Government is looking at ways to capture the ‘eco-systems services’ provided by forests such as carbon storage, biodiversity and the benefits of public access. All things that are very difficult to put a price on.
The Public Forestry Estate could play an important role in developing carbon markets and generating renewable energy sources – none of this value is factored into the sale price for land so we could in effect be selling of an incredibly valuable future asset.
The Public Forest Estate currently receives funding from government to make up the net difference between its expenditure and the amount it can raise from its own resources.
For the current financial year, that extra operating cost from government is expected to be £10 million.
Labour ministers accepted the need to reform the forestry estate both to reduce the cost to government and ensure a sustainable future BUT not at the cost of selling off the whole estate.
Labour wants to see more innovative management of the forestry estate, with more diverse income stream development around leisure businesses, renewable energy and new partnership arrangements.
What actions are you taking as a Member of the EU Parliament to help the Save Our Forest Campaign?
The EU has substantial forest resources as a whole, having the 6th largest forest area in the world. There is, however, a lack of an appropriate legal basis under the Treaty of Rome for a European forestry policy. The European forestry strategy, which has developed despite the absence of its own legal basis, emphasises sustainable management and calls upon various instruments which are part of other community policies such as rural development, environmental protection, development cooperation, the harmonisation of legislation, research, statistics and so on.
The European Parliament has tried to remedy this situation on several occasions, perhaps most notably in 1993 with the creation of EUROFOR and the publication of the study ‘Europe and the Forest.’ This lead to the adoption of the Resolution on a forest strategy for the European Union in 1998.
The Forestry Action Plan was adopted on 15 June 2006. Over a period of five years (2007-2011). The Action Plan focuses on four main objectives:
1. to improve long-term competitiveness
2. to improve and protect the environment
3. to contribute to the quality of life; and
4. to foster coordination and communication.
Labour Euro MPs will of course be supporting the Save Our Forest campaign in the UK.
Neither the Conservatives nor Liberals mentioned this bill during the election campaigns, do they have a mandate for this bill?
It’s clear there has not been proper consultation on this Bill and its already being rushed through the House of Lords.
The Liberal Democrats have found themselves once again caught in hypocrisy, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander’s Comprehensive Spending Review announced plans to sell off Forestry Commission land despite the fact he previously campaigned against such proposals.
Speaking of the SNP’s sell off plans, Danny Alexander said: “Private companies buying 75-year rights to woodland would naturally seek to maximise returns from timber extraction. There is no sign that the consequences for conservation, recreation and tourism have been properly weighed up in these plans. The Government is using ‘slash and burn’ tactics when some of the Highlands’ most iconic and well-used outdoor attractions are at stake.”
Do you believe this is privatisation of the forests?
Yes I do.
The plan to sell off England’s forests is an act of environmental vandalism. The proposals will destroy the funding system which has protected England’s forests for nearly a 100 years. Private companies will cherry pick sites for commercial development and voluntary groups will be left to look after ancient woodlands without a budget. The true value of England’s forests will never be reflected in the price the Tory-led government gets from selling them.
What actions can we take as a country to voice our concerns?
More than 360,000 people have signed a petition against the Tory-led Government’s plans, the largest such campaign since the general election.
One of my local Labour Party’s is organising a protest walk to one of the Forestry Commission forests to help raise awareness. The public need to make sure their voice is heard for their sake and our future generations.
In addition to the above link we’ve also found several other websites to keep you up to date with the latest happenings with this bill and also allow you to sign the “big” petition. 38Degrees currently have 525,668 signatures at this current time, however with your help we can get this up! Click here to sign the 38Degrees Save Our Forest petition.
Another good resource is OneVoice, lots of news updates here all of which can be fed to your e-mail inbox.
Before we close up this post I would like to take a moment to ask you to all please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/pfe-englandconsultation this is consultation questionnaire, you don’t have to post or email anything just click a few buttons. And further more I would like to encourage you once you have completed the consultation to send the link to your friends and family.
And finally, I would like to thank Arlene McCarthy for talking to us about this bill. It is great to know that herself and her party are behind the Save Our Forest campaign. If you have any questions about the bill or for Arlene please leave a comment below and we will send them to her and let you know of the responses.