Camping in the cold: Winter getaways!
It’s not bleak, the frosty wind isn't making moan and the snow is far from being deep, crisp or even. So forget the carol singing, now is the time to go camping.
You have to be pretty hardy to camp in Britain at all, given our invariably awful summers. And with the advent of better equipment and year-round sites, it’s getting even easier to sleep beneath bright cold skies. It's no wonder more of us are opting to head out into the chilly wilds with a tent. Britain has a stark beauty in the winter – one that we miss, stuck in front of the TV, eating Quality Street. In the clear and crisp air, sunsets are more vivid, more colourful. The moon rises early, to light supper by the fire; the mornings are frosty and hushed. Hushed, indeed. At this time of year, there are fewer crowds and the sites are cheaper - so grab a copy of Cool Camping and take your pick of the very best sites.
You can pretty much drive in to the brilliant WoWo campsite - which is always sold out far in advance of any spring and summer holidays – and make camp under the trees. The kids can run riot, shattering the tranquility of the place, as you warm soup over the campfire.
While it might feel like the wilderness, as you wake to the hooting of owls in the morning, there are cosy pubs with roaring fires only few miles away. Not to mention hot showers, should anyone play too fearlessly near the brook. And for the fearful, there is a tempting array of glamping options. In fact, part of the reason winter camping is becoming so popular, is because campsites are providing more luxury for when the frosts arrive.At Fforest, the beautiful, rambling nature reserve cum campsite in Wales, you can book yourself in for a Hygge retreat. It’s the latest nordic lifestyle craze - essentially a marrying of nature, comfort and simple indulgence, Danish-style.
You might be pushed to truly experience hygge in an all-season tent but there is an eccentric and fun selection of huts, domes and caravans at Fforest to hunker down in, while the wind whistles outside and the fire crackles inside.
But to really see the crisp, clear winter nights in all their arctic beauty, you need to leave the damp of Britain behind, and head for an igloo in Finland. A thermal-walled, centrally heated glass igloo. The temperatures outside at Kakslautten’s Igloo Village might be -22, but from the toastiness of your ‘room’ you have unpolluted views of the Northern skies, with, if you’re lucky, a chance to see the Aurora Borealis. This may be winter camping for the faint-hearted, but it’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Besides, if anyone asks, you can just say you stayed in one of their real snow igloos - average night-time temperature -4. You see, camping doesn’t have to be hot to be cool.
Sally Chatterton is a freelance journalist who has written for the Telegraph, Independent and Evening Standard
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