Camping and the value of a good lesson quickly learned | Jack Marshall's column

It started with a giddy New Year’s resolution-esque moment of determination. Me and my brother decided we were going to do more stuff, not just talk about stuff we wanted to do. Travelling, walking, eating, seeing.
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And camping - camping would definitely be the cornerstone of our new selves. The thing which amalgamated all our other New Personality Traits into one rugged outdoorsy and wanderlust-driven package of intrepid elements-be-damned resolve.

Scatty with excitement, we bought a tent on eBay but, it being January, only realised once it arrived that we wouldn’t be able to use it for about five months. No matter; there were no excuses now. All the gear and heads full of ideas.

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Drunk one summer’s night out, we concluded the following weekend was finally Our Time. We booked a campsite near Bakewell and congratulated ourselves for being so tremendously decisive.

Our frankly pitiful tentOur frankly pitiful tent
Our frankly pitiful tent

Arriving bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and oozing naivety, we quickly realised neither of us had put the tent up before. Turning to the trusty trial-and-error method in full view of the pros was faintly embarrassing, but we were undeterred.

Left with a puzzling additional pole which we failed to find a thread for, (see image for details of our lacklustre efforts), we gamely acknowledged that other tents seemed more taut and professional than ours, but laughed it off, made a fire, and started drinking.

It was then that we began to realise that we’d forgotten a few things. A teaspoon for stirring tea. Forks for spearing food and serving coleslaw from our huge tub of coleslaw. Pillows for sleeping. We agreed this wasn’t great, but that we were intrepid enough to cope.

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We’d also failed to account for the fact that camping is essentially sleeping outdoors. Tents aren’t like houses in that they’re quite thin and go on the floor, which gets cold when it’s outside. Overnight, the temperature hit 3°C.

Almost blue with cold, we woke up at 4am in what felt like a bottle of Fanta as the light fell on our bright orange tent. Shuffling outside into the weakest sun Derbyshire’s ever seen, we stirred our brews with the chicken knife.

Lessons have been learned. We go again.