When Bekah told me she had booked us a few days away camping in the Peak District I thought “Oh no, I hate camping, it’s cold and I am more of a hotel dweller!” Now, I was right about the cold bit as I didn’t have a sleeping bag fit for purpose, but apart from that I loved it.
We set off for Lime Tree Holiday Park situated on the outskirts of Buxton, about two hours behind schedule because, hey, who has multiple children and ever leaves the house on time? That’s right, no-one!
We eventually arrived and we were greeted by a lovely lady on reception who went over the rules of the site. The only one I can remember is no noise after 10pm, everyone to be in their tents. This one stuck with me because I am old and have little desire to be awake after 10pm. Great rule!
We drove through the holiday park on to the top field where the camping took place. Upon exiting the car, the interior of which looked like Chesterfield Refuge Centre, yet again another perk of residing with multiple young children. I was immediately in awe of the mesmerising view of the Derbyshire landscape. I could see for miles and to my right was the marvel of design that is the viaduct that runs through Buxton. Maybe this camping malarkey is for me after all.
We pitched our tent and within minutes two little girls came to see if Eva (our eldest, aged 10) wanted to play. So, off they went into the middle of the field to play ball games. That just left the three-year-old to entertain, and by entertain, I mean ply with snacks.
Sitting in the heart of the Peak District completely disconnected from the outside world, at first, filled me with a sense of anxiety. Like many of my generation I have become reliant on this new world of hyper-connectivity where anyone can contact me via a variety of platforms. It took me a good couple of hours to relax, unwind and reach a state of serenity. I decided to open the copy of Dune I purchased for the mini-break and almost read a full-page before I was accosted by a three-year-old dictator making outrageous demands, for a change!
It was early evening so I decided to fire up the BBQ. Bekah had bought, prepped and packed all the food so all that was left for me to do was cook it. This is a very strange cultural tradition where the women do all the work and the men take all the glory, but I’m ok with it! The burgers were slightly burnt on the outside and a little pink in the middle, perfect!
The night drew in and we ventured into the tents. The kids were far too excited, but eventually fell to sleep. Around 11pm it became very apparent that my sleeping bag wasn’t fit purpose. Advice: when spending money on camping gear ensure you invest in a quality sleeping bag or spend the night shivering, praying you’ll pull through!
The following day we ventured into Buxton to visit the Pavillion Gardens and buy a new sleeping bag!
The Pavillion Gardens date back to the 19th century, the grade 2 listed building is a site to behold, inside you will find independent retail outlets, an art gallery and even a cinema. The gardens span over 2.5 acres where you will find fun for all the family including a boating lake, adventure playground, a stream to paddle in, a miniature railway, outdoor gym, a bandstand and plenty of picturesque spots for a picnic. The kids absolutely loved it and so did we!
Buxton town centre is the perfect mix of green views and local independent shops and eateries. We popped in to the Sacro Lounge for lunch. Bekah and I opted for Tapas and it was delicious. They have a
varied menu with something on it to suit every palate. I then made my most important purchase ever, a new sleeping bag!
After a jam-packed day in Buxton we headed back to the camp site. The kids took part in a big game of rounders and football before we retired to bed. I am very pleased to say that the sleeping bag was fit for purpose.
We are so blessed to have the Peak District as Chesterfield’s back garden and I can’t wait to see where our next tent-based adventure will take us.
Words & Images: Simon Paterson