The Keswick Mountain Festival – Camping in the Lake District
THURSDAY – Taking the family camping, as all you hardened campers are aware, is no mean feat. For me it actually feels easier going abroad, there’s less prep and seriously less baggage but where’s the fun it that eh, where’s the adventure? We were invited to the Keswick Mountain Festival courtesy of Blacks and Millets. We turned up at the designated campsite at 9.00pm on the Thursday evening, were given our KMF wristbands and were told to pick our space for the weekend. Tents of all sizes lay before us from tiny one man tents to huge family tents with living areas no less. Since meeting my other half I don’t suffer from tent envy anymore, he likes the finer things in life so our home for the weekend was a 5m bell tent. The volunteers on site couldn’t have been more helpful and friendly, although, now I think about it, they didn’t offer to pitch our tent for us, hmm.
We set up in record time and by 10pm we were sipping cider whilst watching the stunning sunset on the mountains right outside our front door. The sounds of hushed conversations and children giggling and generally just the sound of huge collective “ahh” from everyone was good for our souls. My BIGGEST fear though, on any camping trip, is ‘the toilet situation’. Most festivals we’ve been to have just had the most dreadful facilities but I can honestly say that over the whole weekend ALL of the toilets were pristine and my emergency toilet cleaning kit didn’t have to come out once!. Some people don’t give a rat’s ass about this but it genuinely ruins my enjoyment, so much so that I limit the alcohol intake so that I don’t have to go as much. Maybe I’m just grumpy in my advancing years but I just don’t like looking at other people’s bangers and mash or sitting on pee! The showers blocks were a godsend too, with the weather being so hot, we had fabulously hot and clean (there I go again!) showers just a minute away from our tent.
FRIDAY & SATURDAY- Starting the day with bacon butties from the, practically, on site Café first, and don’t forget the coffee and tea. Day 1 of the festival and just 15 minutes stroll from our campsite took us to the shores of Derwentwater and into the festival village. This isn’t your regular music festival with bands on from morning till night, this is a fabulous mixture of activities for nature and sports lovers followed by entertainment in the evenings whilst watching the sun go down with the ones we love most, whilst eating some stonkingly good food and drinking beer and Champagne. We were treated to music from the absolutely bonkers sounding Peatbog Fairies (ravey bagpipes anyone? Well, it got the teenager jumping up and down), Peter Hook (Joy Division, New Order), Blurb (a cover band but my favourite!), The Farm (Alltogether Now) Mel C, and all on a stage that was literally right on the shores of the Lake. We were treated from above too, parachutists and an aerial display team filled the sky with tricks and smoke hearts with the theme from Top Gun playing in the background. Tres cool.
If this is the kind of festival you’d like to get your teeth into next year then be prepared to try all kinds of activities such as:
- Navigation training
- Open water swimming
- Rock Climbing
- Hiking (Buttermere Horseshoe, Catbells Sunrise Walk, Coniston Old Man etc)
If sports is more your thing then you can enter races for:
- 3 Peaks Challenge (A 9 hour target to complete 18 miles around Catbells, Wallcrag & Latrigg)
My other half and his friends are already planning next year’s trip and they fancy doing the 3 peak challenge – even if it’s just for the t-shirt and bragging rights! Don’t, for one minute think this is all for adults either, kids are allowed to do most of these activites and there were plenty of them for sure, all actively encouraged to participate.
If, like me, you fancy taking your weekend off a work a bit more, erm, slowly, then there were some amazing talks to attend too. The likes of Alistair Humphries telling us about his worldwide adventures, and the amazing, Emma Brennand, talked about the making of Planet Earth II. And don’t forget the shopping! Many retailers were there with giveways to tempt you in. I nearly bought a motorhome for £50K and then remembered I didn’t have £50K so took a boiled sweet instead.
Overall we had a tremendous weekend. Our campsite was ideally located, the weather was fantastic, Keswick town welcomed us with open arms but unfortunately work was waiting for us on the Monday. We’ll be back KMF.
A big thank you to Blacks and Millets for inviting us for the weekend. If you are thinking of taking the family camping this summer you can get practically everything you need by clicking the links below, go on, show them some love……