Pitching up with Dads’ Army

You would think that, as mankind continues its technological advance, spending a week under canvas would be considered a primitive pursuit but, on the contrary, camping is very much on the up.

Wednesday, 22nd May 2019, 6:50 am
Updated Wednesday, 22nd May 2019, 7:50 am

If I am being brutally honest, camping has never really been my thing as spending days upon end wearing the same clothes, while not washing properly, was something I did plenty of in my teens and early 20s.

However, last weekend I was persuaded by a group of fellow dads from my daughter’s school to cast aside my long-held prejudices and spend a weekend in a field.

Dad’s Camp has now become something of a movement, meaning fathers everywhere have to leave the lawnmower and Sky Sports for two days to spend quality time with their offspring.

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But before the real fun begins, there is the very serious task of putting up the tent to consider.

For some, this is a doddle, as easy as making a cup of tea, but for folk like me, those who were born with toes where our fingers should’ve been, then it is as straightforward as nuclear physics.

The instructions that came with our tent, which has now been used twice in four years, proclaim it can be erected in just 12 minutes - what the author neglected to say was that this could only be achieved with a small platoon of commandos.

Our tent eventually went up thanks to the assistance of kind-hearted dads, who clearly couldn’t see a grown man whimper and flounder for a minute longer.

What struck me during our 40-odd hours getting away from it all was that camping is no longer something that only scouts and people who grow their own marrows partake in but is now a bona fide 21st century pastime. The fields at our site were full of expensive family cars and I saw at least one supermarket delivery van making multiple drop-offs of essential supplies, although I very much doubt there was any Kendal Mint Cake on board.

Apart from having my shorts ripped open as I attempted to clear a farmer’s fence, it was a screen-free weekend enjoyed by all.