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Author Topic: Camping at Meelmore Lodge  (Read 4387 times)

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Camping at Meelmore Lodge
« on: June 22, 2009 »

I have been itching both for my first camp of the year (shamefull that I left it so long) and to get out for my 10 year olds first time under canvass (or whatever they make tents out of these days :D). I had supposed to have been going for lads drinkies on Sat afternoon but when I found out they weren't even going out until after 8pm it seemed like a waste of a weekend so on the spur of the moment I floated the idea of camping in the Mournes. Hadn't really thought it through because not only were we going canoeing on Sat morning which I didn't want to miss but it turned out that The Prodigy were playing an open air concert for 15,000 people in Newcastle on Friday night and I didn't want to be in a campsite with a load of monkeys.

In the end the small boy was incredibly excited and I didn't want to let him down so we all drove out to Meelmore on Friday night to check it out. It seemed quiet enough and the people who run the place are quite amiable so I decided to fire away. Sat morning I filled the car and headed off to the Quoile for a very relaxing paddle finishing at 1230. After much dithering I decided to just take the canoe with me to the Mournes as Pete was nearly collapsing with the excitement and he didn't want to waste time going back home to unload.

It had been raining on and off but was dry when we put the new Vango Juno 300 Teepee up. Thankfully it was easily erected. I had seen pictures of people putting a tarp up attached to the top of the teepee at one end with a pole at the other. We tried this and it turned out to be a complete life saver. It meant we could keep the tent door open and have room to sit and cook. I'm not sure it would stand excessive winds but it was fine with the 15mph or so we had. We (or I) wanted to walk up to Hares Gap but with the weather a bit damp it didn't seem worth it so we just mooched about the campsite. I have a portable BBQ that we used to cook sausages and bacon but it's going right in the bin - you can't change the cooking height of the grill and it's not worth the hassle.... Later on we burned a few fire logs in the BBQ which was nice and sort of circumvents the no fires rule that you get in most campsites these days.

There were loads of people about as it must have been a Duke of Edinburgh weekend so there was a nice atmosphere in the site. Unfortunately (as ever) there were a couple of groups of teens playing dance music loudly on their car stereos which always ruins the calm but it wasn't too bad and they stayed at their tents. There wasn't any running around messing and it was funny watching the few girls that were with them tottering about a muddy field in the rain in heels. It's a shame that it's always dance music, never anything more varied or that doesn't have a thumping bass that travels for miles. As soon as you're more than 25m away it just sounds like someone trying to start a steam engine :D We spoke briefly to the owner who said that they usually don't let groups of kids in, only familes and they had only relaxed the rule for this weekend because of the concert but I'd read in a few other places of people complaining of music into the small hours. However by the time midnight came we were both so knackered we were asleep in minutes, but the music was still going, not sure until what time. I had brought a sleep mask to see if it would help me stay asleep past sunrise but left it in the car like an idiot so was awake from 530am. It rained most of the morning but the wind had dropped again so we reconfigured the tarp so we had some more room and pretty much cooked and ate until 11, then went home.

[smg id=55]
Teepees up. I think they look great and when you only have 2 people the pole acts as a great divider to ensure everyone stays on their own bloody half ;) Can't imagine how you'd get 3 in tho. There was some condensation on the inside in the morning but nothing to worry about. It also has a hang loop which means if there's a tree about you don't need the pole.

[smg id=56]
Getting the tarp up was the difference between a good weekend and a bad one - theres no porch so we'd have got soaked. As it was, with the extra shelter we could stay outside all the time. I wanted to sleep with the doors open but Pete didn't like the idea.

[smg id=57]
The views from the site are awesome - this taken straight out the tent door. All the better, the mountain on the left is Slievenaglogh which is the one we climbed a few weeks earlier!!

[smg id=58]
What a great place to be making your dinner...

[smg id=59]
Side view. Makes it look like the site was deserted, we just picked a quiet end.

[smg id=60]
Nothing like a fire when it's dark. Also, don't underestimate fire logs. We lit two and once they were going well gave them a bit of a poke and there was loads of heat. 3 did us about 3+ hours. We had brought some with us but the owner drives round on a quad and sells them.

[smg id=61]
Getting my breakfast cooked for me on Fathers day. By the time we came home we'd had 3 lots of super noodles in 24 hours. The small boy just can't get enough of them.

[smg id=62]
Even in the rain the view was still great. Felt bad for the DoE people who were all setting off for days walking with some seriously big rucksacks.

[smg id=63]
The tarp reconfigured for more space. I had it tied to the car roof rack for stability - this definately wouldn't work in wind but when it's calm its great.

[smg id=64]


[smg id=65]
I was able to put a pole behind the tent, then take the tent down with the tarp still standing as an experiment. Might be a problem in wind but it was a good way to not have to take the tent down last.

All things considered it was a top weekend and we both can't wait to get away again. Next time I'd like somewhere in a forest were we can light a fire but also near the car... Things we learned this weekend.. (1) Camping is a pain in the ass if you don't have something flat for setting stuff on. (2) Gaffer tape can be used for so many things it's unbelieveable (like attaching a glowstick to a football - that was a laugh). (3) It doesn't matter how far you travel, if you're near your car you'll always be able to hear dance music from somewhere, it's just one of those things!!
« Last Edit: June 22, 2009 by jonno »
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