Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Glamping Hens

Hello there, I hope everyone had a great Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK – and just a great weekend elsewhere:)

I have caught up on some sleep today, and wanted to write a bit about our ‘Glamping’ experience. I don’t want to write everything about the Hen Weekend as such, just because it was others who organised it, and it was someone else’s party weekend, and I just don’t want to take someone else’s thing and put it all out there… But I do want to talk about the Glamping, and the site, and share a little of what I enjoyed over the weekend :)

I didn't take as many photos as I normally would, as I was busy getting to know people and joining in with all the fun, but I've done my best with the limited photos I do have...

Arriving at the campsite via the boardwalk over wetland

So first up, our wonderful Glamping site… We stayed at a lovely eco glamping site just inside the Welsh border, in Powys, very near to famous Hay-on-Wye. Named Cosy Under Canvas, the site has won multiple awards over the years from various tourist organisations. 

Camping dome

Far from the main road, the site is set in a small patch of woodland surrounded by farm land, and consists of 2 tipis, 3 domes, plus showers, toilets (not flushing ones), a kitchen area and a sitting area – as well as camp fires for each tipi/dome, some log-fired hot tubs, hammocks – you get the idea :)  The site owners even organised some local produce for us to cook on the camp fires, and made one big veggie and one big meat chilli for us to heat up for dinner after our canoe trip. Yum yum!!


The site makes use of grey-water recycling (that’s water from sinks and showers, but not toilets), composting toilets, and has recycling bins for all your waste. All your heating is log fired, including a rayburn for heating the shower water. You can however walk up to the house and use a wetroom for an electric shower and a flushing toilet…  The cooking can be done over the campfires, but there are also gas hobs in the kitchen area if you prefer.

The kitchen area - with lovely bunting, an upcycled cabinet and vintage enamelware :) It also now has the jug I forgot to take back with me :(

It was wonderful when I arrived. I was a bit late, having just moved house the previous day, and then having to empty my car, find everything, pack again, and then make the 4 hour drive! I arrived fairly tightly wound, but everyone was sat around a campfire, there were giant wheelbarrows for bringing your stuff over the boardwalk about the wetland – no struggling with armfuls of stuff! I was in a dome with 4 other people who I had met before, and my bed was a soft sleeping roll on the floor of the dome, complete with pillows and lots of woollen blankets. Lovely! Pouring myself a drink, I joined everyone down at the camp fire and got to know a few new people. There were school friends, university friends from her first degree, friends from where the bride-to-be lives now, university friends from her Masters degree, her sister, and me - the groom’s sister. We were quite a big group – and between us all we had literally come from Edinburgh to the Isle of Wight to be there, which I thought was quite cool :)

Apparently the tipis were fairly dark inside, but the camping domes had some clear panels to one side, allowing the morning light to flood in. The dawn chorus was also very loud and enthusiastic, being as we were in such great countryside, so there was no need for alarm clocks in the morning! We got up and ready for our canoe trip on the Wye. The bride-to-be had no idea what was in store for her, and knowing how much she would enjoy it, it was really fun to see the apprehension! We were picked up at the campsite by the company, Interactivities. They were really good sports, and were happy to help us keep up the secrecy until we reached the river where the canoes were waiting for us!

I was surprised when we got started with the canoeing – we didn’t have an instructor or leader with us, we were just given a vague lesson on the river beach where we began, a map and instructions about where to break for lunch and where to stop at the end, and then were allowed off alone! (I say alone, we were a flotilla of 12 little boats!!) It is a very flat river though, and these Canadian canoes are relatively stable.

Lunch was fab. We had enjoyed the peace and the views of the countryside and the banter of all the hens as we paddled down the river, and then we hauled out at Hay-on-Wye and headed to a nearby pub, Three Tuns, for food. The lunch was really hearty in this particular pub, and the sun came out, so we all really enjoyed ourselves. Then it came time to get back in the boats for another couple of hours paddling. It was on this leg that we spotted a couple of broods of teeny tiny brand new ducklings! They were so cute!! Then at the end, when our landmark bridge indicating that we would soon be at the end of our trip came into view, the bride’s boat capsized! It was hilarious – it had been planned in advance – not that she knew – and her canoe-mate just rolled the boat over and in they went! She was so shocked!! The manager of Interactivites was in on it, and was even on the bank waiting for us so he could get pictures of it for us!

Picture from www.facebook.com/interactivities

Back at the campsite, we had a fancy dress theme to surprise the bride with. We all got ready and she was blindfolded and dressed up to join us. She loves a bit of fancy dress, so she was really pleased with her final costume of a panda! (She has a real thing about pandas). We had a few games and quizzes and things, and plenty of drinks and cakes and food – it was great, I even learned a new drink to make which was delicious :)   At the end of the night when things were calming down again, we all sat around a good fire toasting marshmallows and talking. A really lovely way to spend an evening :)

With costume #1...

...and now a happy panda :)

The next day lots of people left for home – there were plenty of people there who had babies waiting for mummy to come home, and even some who were currently pregnant – hence there was not a strong drinking focus!

The remainder of us headed out for another pub lunch and a brief mooch around Hay, with a few brave ones going for a swim in the river! Then we went back to the site for our final evening. We stoked up the fire for the hot tub, stoked up the camp fire for cooking and marshmallows, and then got started on the cakes and bubbly that people had brought! Not a traditional order to eat dinner in I know, cake then hot tub then dinner, then more cake… but it really was great. I particularly enjoyed the mushrooms with blue cheese cooked in foil in the fire – yum!!

Panda in a hot tub

It might not have been a very wild and very drunken hen night that some people would want, but I thought it was brilliant – great people, great food, and great fun. Perfect :)

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