Country House Sleepover, Adventure Tarp Style
After a rainy night in Coniston on the first wild night of our Sleepover Season, the chance to bivvy out in the grounds of Halecat House, an English country house in South Cumbria, seemed a much more civilized option. But we had clearly underestimated the neighbours…
A perfect lawn for…. an adventure tarp?
I have myself down as the Lady of the Manor, with Stuart as Lord Something or Other. OK there are some anomalies with that. Bivvy bags don’t quite fit with the image. And no one ever slept rough in the garden in Downton Abbey. But still, we can sip prettily from nice china with our little fingers pointing upward as we look to the stars. It will be a Royal Garden Party but with tarps instead of turrets. And if the weather changes we can always go inside for an emergency jug of Pimms.
Of course we have staff
The great thing about being the Lord and Lady of a country house is that you have staff to put up the tarp. The children make great staff. Once you brief them they are off like one’s racehorses…
The gardens at Witherslack’s Halecat House are flat and spacious and seem quite benign compared to the environments we’ve been reading about in Extreme Sleeps, the latest book Stuart’s been reading in an effort to skill us up for sleeping out.
But this is no Extreme Sleep; putting a couple of tarps up on a lawn should be no problem at all. At Coniston we had to rig the tarps with rocks and string; this time Terra Nova have provided poles, pegs and a couple of alternative designs for rigging.
But I’m not sure our staff are up to the job..
Come on boys get the tarps up
The thing about an English country estate is that the wildlife live there too. And camping without a tent leaves you open to their affections.
What’s that noise?
As the sun goes to bed we retire to the lawn. But some stay longer than others.
In the dark, the atmosphere is buzzing
Terra Nova’s Discovery bivvy suddenly comes into its own. Wrapped up in its regal red depths, with the wildlife zipped outside, Cameron sleeps like a Lord.
In the morning, our midgy friends are gone. And so have some of Cameron’s. And we’re packing up.
How quickly can you derig then?
Soon all trace of a wild camp will disappear, restoring the country house lawn to the preserve of weddings and garden parties. Wild sleepover number two is successfully completed. Midges successfully outslept (by some). And avoided by others.
So how was it boys?
I think our wild sleepover season just got itself some bite.
Disclosure Note: Our thanks to Terra Nova who loaned us the equipment to bring you this story. And to Halecat House for the use of the lawn. And very comfy it was too. All the experience, views and opinions are, as ever, entirely our own.