Carry On Camping?
Inspired by Springwatch, BBC Leicester's Helen McCarthy and her friends thought it would be a great idea to take their children camping for the first time. How did she get on?
It was at a party a month or so ago that BBC Leicester's Helen McCarthy was chatting to friend's Chris and Cathy Rickets and came up with an amazing plan.
The two families would holiday together, taking the children camping for the first time.
But has the camping has moved on from miserable wet weekends full of leaky tents, grubby groundsheets and trying to keep warm?
And will the adults cope with trials and tribulations of camping with children who don't really want to go?
Listen: Camping - A Successful Holiday?
After delaying the camping trip for a week due to the bad weather, Helen and co finally set up their tent for the weekend...
Well it seems the group of parents and children were much luckier this week and had glorious weather!
This was much to the surprise of a few of the crew who had previously held reservations about the trip.
Cathy said, "It was a lit more comfortable and a lot more warmer than I thought it was going to be."
With the good weather anticipated for this summer it's not only the McCarthys who have suddenly considered camping as a holiday alternative to white beaches.
Paul McRobert from Bosworth Water Trust says that this year bookings are up two or three hundred per cent.
He believes part of the appeal is the cheaper prices plus a feeling a freedom and safety for children:
"And camping's probably come a long way in the last 10 years.
"It's gone away from where you've got a couple of sticks and a big clothe sheet, to separate sleeping compartments, toilet tents, kitchens, and it's as good as staying in a hotel."
Rain stops play!
Update: Rain Delays Trip!
Helen tried in vain to rally her friends round to the idea of going this weekend despite torrential rain predicted for both Saturday and Sunday.
By midday on Saturday everyone was refusing to set out on the camping trip so it was decided that it would be put off a weekend.
This time it should be okay; weather predictions suggest sun and temperatures of 21C - you can't argue with that!
Will they survive the weekend? Check back here on Monday 15 June to find out...
Listen: Camping - Two Days to Go
Helen discovered the weather is going to deteriorate rapidly at the weekend so decided to go in search for some advice on how to keep dry...
Determined to go ahead despite the bad forecast and murmurs of concern from the Rickets, Helen paid a visit to JR Leisure near Western Park in Leicester.
Camping expert Paul Connolly put her mind at rest by assuring her that the water tolerance of modern tents are higher than ever, and that they'd be as snug as bugs in their sleeping bags.
It seems it's not just their group who are taking to camping this year; Paul has seem a phenomenal rise in trade:
"A lot of families are looking for a cheap holiday, a cheap getaway for the weekends."
He also puts the sales down to the lowered price of tents that are readily available online, and very attractive to young families.
Darren and Krissie from New Parks were in the shop looking for a tent to house them and their six children.
They'd both had some unpleasant experiences of camping as children but are hopeful that modern tents might be a bit more weather and earwig resistant!
Darren said, "We're thinking if we buy one now, spend about five or six hundred pounds now - then it's all done for the next couple of years.
"Obviously you've got to pay for the sites when you get there but it's going to be half the price. So hopefully we're going to give it a go and see what happens!"
So what are Paul's top two tips for protecting your tent against the rain?
Fingers crossed for sunshine!
Chris and kids
Listen: Camping - Two Weeks To Go
On a sunny weekend two weeks before the big camping trip the group thought they should practice putting up their newly bought tent in the Rickets' Knighton garden...
It may be easy to buy a tent but putting it up can be a totally different question!
Cathy felt that it would be a positive trip for the children, "We wanted them to all get together and have fun and experience sleeping outdoors and it's good for them.
"Lots of fresh air, and the adventure of doing it with their friends."
Chris was also looking forward to it having not been camping himself since a child.
So everyone seemed happy, apart from two year-old Emily who was too keen on coming along for the fun!
last updated: 08/07/2009 at 14:48