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Author Topic: Trouble Camping at Castlewellan  (Read 28691 times)

VMCC

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Trouble Camping at Castlewellan
« on: April 18, 2011 »

Now I know why you lot camp up a mountain. I camped in Castlewellan this weekend and it was seriously rough, and very frightening. Even the police didn't make an appearance until daylight.

RedLeader

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Trouble Camping at Castlewellan
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2011 »

What happened?

Now I know why you lot camp up a mountain. I camped in Castlewellan this weekend and it was seriously rough, and very frightening. Even the police didn't make an appearance until daylight.
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big chris

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Trouble Camping at Castlewellan
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2011 »

What happened?

Now I know why you lot camp up a mountain. I camped in Castlewellan this weekend and it was seriously rough, and very frightening. Even the police didn't make an appearance until daylight.


Neighbours from hell and a teenage rave all at the same time  :o will let VMCC fill you in on the details later, she might want to leave a link.
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VMCC

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Trouble Camping at Castlewellan
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2011 »

Thanks Chris I will leave a link rather than clutter up someone else's thread with my horror story!

http://northernirelandcampsites.lefora.com/2011/04/17/hey-all/#post19

Matthew

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Trouble Camping at Castlewellan
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2011 »

It appears I am not the only one with a crappy weekend. Sarah and two friends of ours and I went to Tollymore. Below is an extract from an e-mail to DRD.


Police with machine guns attend a domestic.

My girlfriend and I, along with two other friends and a four old boy decided to go for an overnight in Tollymore as the weather was fantastic and the Easter holidays had started.
We arrived at the camp at approximately 1:30 to find the place clean and welcoming as I have ever found it to be. After a walk and a Barbeque, we had a bit of fun around the still warm charcoal.  After getting into bed around 12:30, we were kept awake by insanely loud music and discussions of a very inappropriate nature for a so-called family campsite. Parents of another family asked if they would turn the music down to which they received appalling verbal abuse.

Around 1:30 the entire site was awoken by a couple in the middle of an argument, this quickly escalated into the boyfriend breaking the driver side front window, the windscreen followed by dragging his girlfriend along the campsite on her back. Moments later three police cars arrived and two officers with machine guns got out, this was clearly a worrying time as we all wondered what was going on. The police stayed for half an hour and left claiming there was nothing they could do, it was up to the park ranger to move these people on. This would have been difficult as there is no ranger after 12.00 according to the cleaning staff!

After accepting the events of the evening were over, we settled back into our tents only to be re awoken by other members of the arguing group going at it again for half an hour. By this time, we had assumed it was all over, no such luck. My girlfriend woke me as someone was trying to get into the back of our tent and was tripping on the guy lines.
Beside us, there were two women and two children who were visibly shaken up after all that had gone on, considering this was their first camping trip, we could only feel sorry for them. 

Finally getting to be around 3:00, we had a few quiet hours in which to get some sleep. Morning came and we were greeted by forestry commission staff who did their best to reassure us and contacted the park ranger who arrived half an hour later. Having talked to us for a few moments, he went to the arguing family, spoke to them and they started to leave.  On inspection of my car, which, was parked less than two metres away from the damaged car shards of glass had chipped the paintwork on the passenger side.
Having had a civil breakfast, it was time to get showered and ready for the day. All would have been well apart from the large amount of gypsies who had made their site their own and their foul-mouthed children.

Tollymore has gone from a place that I have always enjoyed to a place I will never be back to in its current condition.
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VMCC

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Trouble Camping at Castlewellan
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2011 »

That is a very interesting extract - maybe an email should be winging it's way to the same person as I had threats of rape and scissors being used on my tent. It was truly horrifying and it's left me a nervous wreck. The people who did this will be setting up their caravan next to some other unsuspecting family next weekend.

Who did you send the email to? Could you PM me the email address because if the pressure to make the site safer is not felt then it will not be acted on.

I was told I'd be receiving a phone call from the head warden today, but it's not nearly half eleven and no word so far. I think it's time to phone them.

On a paid for campsite, some form of night security is a must. Talk of banning tents doesn't help, with me it was caravanners who were the problem. There is only one solution, have a warden present through the night, doing patrols and have their contact number included on the literature that is given out. My piece of paper had two numbers, one for the office but in office hours, and the other was the local district police number. I phoned the police but they said that unless they made a physical approach to me or my property there was nothing they could do. When the later threats came about the rape I should have phoned them back, but was aware that it could possibly make things worse and by this stage I just wanted my neighbours to go to bed so that I could pack up once daylight arrived.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2011 by VMCC »
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RedLeader

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Trouble Camping at Castlewellan
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2011 »

That is just nuts. It's hard to believe how incredibly badly some people can behave. I know it's cheesy but who brought these people up to be so selfish and unpleasant. Bigger family campsites need some sort of security and the local police should be over like a shot when something happens if not doing a bit of a driveby as part of their beat.
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spartan00117

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Trouble Camping at Castlewellan
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2011 »

Cant believe this happened myself.  We were there at the opening weekend of the season but we didnt camp on the tent field, we camped beside my sisters caravan instead.  There are other places to camp instead of the main field at the front of the site.  Which always floods anyway. There is a small field at the bottom end of the lake which can be used as well. 
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LandyLiam

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Trouble Camping at Castlewellan
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2011 »

I can imagine the problems that might occur if the police arrived in a dark field full of very drunk people   :o  i reckon this is an issue for the site managers. I find the owners of privately run sites are more pro-active in this area as it is their livelyhood at stake if the site gets a bad name (or wrecked). The hand brake turns on the grass near the tents is very worrying, with all the mobile video phones about these days we'll probably see it on youtube soon. Remember being at Benone once and the police arrived (at first we thought they were called for us as we were a bit noisey  ::) ) as someone had drunkenly driven a car into a mobile home  :o imagine that was a tent!
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VMCC

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Trouble Camping at Castlewellan
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2011 »

I was in the caravan section too, it was people in the caravan beside me that were the problem (not the only problem though). A dog walker I met at 6 am Sunday morning said that there was a rave in the camping section last Friday night as well. Its often thought that tenters are the problem, but in my experience it's the tenters who have an understanding about how noise effects other people and are often very considerate, although I concede there is alot of people who buy cheap, see camping as a weeks partying then throw the lot in the skip and they're the opposite of considerate campers, not campers at all in my book.

Castlewellan is divided into Electric hook up and non-ehu, in the main that falls into caravan and tent sections but more and more tents have, and expect to use, electricity. I don't often use mine but at this time of year I wanted to bring a small fan heater, the laptop and a decent light as it still gets dark very early. It was just as well I wasn't in the non ehu section as they were rioting down there.

VMCC

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Trouble Camping at Castlewellan
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2011 »

The small field at the end of the lake was being used by a D of E group, and it looks like exactly the kind of place I'd like to camp - and off the beaten track too.

The youngsters who were camping there were making these little twig boats, and floating them on the lake. All sound very Enid Blyton doesn't it!

Until they got bloody great big stones and sunk them all....

suspectmonkey

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Trouble Camping at Castlewellan
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2011 »

Would you believe I was just coming on the forum to have a rant about my experience at Castlewellan this weekend!  I decided to walk the Newcastle Way which runs through Tollymore, Castlewellan and Murlough.  As it's around 28 miles long I decided to have an overnight stop in Castlewellan Forest Park.  I was expecting this to be a luxurious evening given I'm used to wild camping in the Mournes... how wrong was I!

Around 7pm on Saturday night I noticed a large group of young people in about 4-5 cars all playing music etc. in the camping section of the main campsite in Castlewellan.  I didn't have a problem with this initially, but by around 11pm it became clear that these guys and girls were just out for a drinking session.  What followed was nearly 12 solid hours of anti-social behaviour.  The music was left blasting all night, the car engines were regularly bounced off the rev-limiter and there was constant shouting and yelling.  Some how I managed to sleep fitfully through this, but was woken around 3.30am by a punch up close to my tent.  The whole group were yelling and jeering at their drunken mates, and I repeatedly heard them yelling both secterian and racist slogans.  I was genuinely concerned for my safety and am not embarressed to say I was quite literally scared.  I would have felt safer pitched in the centre of Belfast at 2am on a Saturday night! 

By 7am the music and shouting was still going on when eventually the Forest Service Ranger arrived and asked them to move on.  It took them a further hour or two before they left, presumably still drunk, and they still continuted to blast their music and shout up until they left.  When it all settled down I spoke to the tent nearest to me who were a couple with a 3 year old boy.  They told me how they were woken around 4am with these drunken youths jumping on their tent.  If I was scared I dread to think the experience that little boy and couple went through...

I truly am in shock and awe that such behaviour is tolerated on paid, public campsites.  With hindsight I regret not phoning the police, although I would be surprised if others didn't.  Being honest I think even the police would have struggled to handle what literally had become a drunken mob.  I really do think that a Forest Service Ranger should have been on site to nip this behaviour in the bud early in the evening, or to arrange for the Police to move on the crowd when the behaviour continued into the evening.  I think 4-5 car loads of young people with one little tent and large quanitites of alcohol should have rang a few alarm bells... this group clearly wasn't there for camping, just a cheap location to get drunk without any fear of punishment from the authorities. 

I personally won't be back to a Forest Service campsite as from recent experience I feel this behaviour is the norm rather than the exception.  E-mail of complaint on it's way to the Forest Service and DARD as I speak...
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VMCC

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Trouble Camping at Castlewellan
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2011 »

I don't know how you got through the night down there, the noise up where I was pitched was very frightening, like a riot. The warden I gave my written statement to was the same warden who let that group in the night before. He said that he'd admitted a group of girls and that they didn't have so much as a wine gum between them. At 8.45 on Saturday night I was on the interlinking road between the two sections of the site. What passed me was a convoy of young guys in souped up cars - maybe eight to ten cars in all. They didn't exactly look like a useful bunch, but since it was 15 minutes before the warden closes up his office I thought, well, the warden will have let them in and taken their money, they'll be legitimate enough. But now I realise that the girls might have been sent in first, and the lads joined them by nipping up the one way exit, as I had done the night before as a shortcut to the shop. That road doesn't pass the wardens hut.

Just after 6am on Sunday morning a man drove in to the main car park where the toilet block is. The car park was locked so he parked his white van up in the gate on the caravan park side. I spoke to him as I thought he was a warden. He was there walking his dogs, and does so every weekend that early in the morning. He told me that last weekend there was a similar scene in the camping section of the campsite, and also that Tollymore was the same story. We had a bit of a moan about lack of security, I was close to tears really I don't know that he thought of me! He also told me what time the warden comes around to unlock the gates - 7.30am.

So at that time I talked to the warden, who phoned another warden and shortly after the two men landed around at my pitch in two separate vans, one a landrover style one and one a large van. I was busy packing up hoping my neighbours wouldn't wake and was a bit horrified to see them coming up to me. I said to them I'll talk to you but I'd rather get out of here first, you could make things worse and the people next to me will turn on me even more. So we made a arrangement to meet at 9am at the Wardens office.

The second of the two wardens, who also happened to be the one who admitted the group of girls the night before, was a bit late. It was exactly 9am. Through the trees I saw a red car and a white car doing handbreak turns - make unknown not because I don't know one car from another, but because I was too far away and also looking through trees. The tent, which I think is a proaction argos, large family tent - steel poled, blue with a lighter blue on the roof. Well, they narrowly missed that.

Then the police drove slowly up through the main entrance, past me, did a ninety degree turn towards the caravan park. The cars on the caravan site disappeared like snow of a ditch. This was at 9.05am. At just before 9.10am the warden came to the office and I wrote out my statement about my neighbours, but we also discussed the goings on at the campsite. He told me that they used to have 'family campsite' on a sign on the door but they had a group of twenty somethings on one occasion, who they would not let in because they weren't a family. This group got in touch with local newspapers, claiming discrimination and causing them all sorts of grief so it's possible DARD can't turn anyone away or you'll have a situation like the gypsies at Dungannon golf club a few years ago, they successfully sued the club for discriminating against them. This is where a privately run campsite win, they are entitled to be discerning about who they let in. It's not fair to the groups who do behave themselves though. 

While I was writing my statement there was a maintenence guy outide the warden hut. He'd been sent down to the campsite to clear up. He used a few choice words to describe how bad the mess was. I thought surely it's cheaper to hire a night time security man than to clear up the mess every sunday morning.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2011 by VMCC »
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big chris

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Trouble Camping at Castlewellan
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2011 »

Dont know about neighbours from hell, sounds more like the campsite from hell, just what are the campsites coming to letting this go on  >:(
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whoRya

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Trouble Camping at Castlewellan
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2011 »

Truly awful stories.  There are some people who have an inability to behave in a courteous and respectful manner.

I'd love the police to be a bit more proactive.  Having heard the stories of the night before, if they'd pulled a few of the boy racers in at 9am and breathalised them it may have been a telling story.  I hate this bull about waiting until an offence has been committed or if someone "wants to press charges".  If they get a few complaints they should take a quiet drive round, if they observe some behaviour that constitutes a breach of the peace they should act!
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