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  1. Family Camping Top Tips

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    Family Camping Top Tips From Sub Zero

    Going on a family camping trip is a big adventure for everyone involved. The secret to its success will be down to your preparation, so if you need some help, just follow our top tips for a great family camping holiday.

    Put Up Your Tent

    If it is your first family camping trip of the season or you have just bought a new tent, ensure you put it up first in your garden just to check it over and ensure you know what you are doing. The kids will love you for it and it’s a great build-up to the actual trip.

    Inspect Your Gear

    How many of you have lit their stove for the gas to run out after a few minutes? I suspect more than will admit it. Even if you just check the essentials it is better than having to beg and borrow when on your pitch:

    Batteries for torches and lamps

    Camping gas for stoves

    Lighters/matches

    Anything inflatable

    Water carrier

    Pack The Car Beforehand

    Be under no illusion, you will pack more kit than you can actually fit in to your car. To avoid family arguments prior to setting off, pre-pack your gear so you know exactly what can be feasibly carried. If more space is needed then think about using a roof box or get friends and family to take stuff for you.

    Plan Your Journey

    You would be amazed at how many people rock up to sites after they have closed or in the dark after they have miscalculated the length of time the journey will take. All it takes is a quick check on a route planner (such as online with the AA) to show you the best routes and travel times. If you are going to run the route off a smartphone app then ensure you are able to charge it during the journey as they can be power hungry. The last thing you want is to travel most of the way for your phone to die.

    Entertain The Troops

    Most parents probably dread the journey to the campsite, especially if it is more then an hours travel time. Keeping the kids entertained in the back of the car should be one of your top priorities as it sets the tone for the rest of the holiday – as well as removing unnecessary distractions from the driver. However, this doesn’t mean you have to comatose them in front of a screen. There are loads of car games you can play without any equipment that will keep the little darlings happy for ages.

    Carrying Meals

    It is very tempting to save room in the car by taking minimal provisions. Most campsites now have a small shop and you are very rarely a short car journey away from a supermarket. But this carries a number of risks. What if you are delayed and arrive after the shops are closed? or setting up your pitch takes longer than expected and the kids are hungry? Our advice would to be take at least a full days meals with you as a backstop.

    Take Some Bricks

    Space is at a premium and you want me to take some building materials? Really? Well, the fact is that a lot of campsites do not let you place disposable BBQ’s on the floor due to their potential fire hazard and subsequent scorch marks on the grass. Propping them up on bricks helps to get over this problem. Alternatively, invest in a collapsible metal table or a fire pit/BBQ on legs.

    Nights Can Be Cold

    Even in the middle of summer, nights can be cold, which is understandable considering your tent is basically a thin sheet of fabric with very little insulation. Instead of taking normal pyjamas, think about substituting them for base layers. They are often lighter but help to regulate your body temperature much more efficiently.

    Family Camping Backup Plans

    Anticipate the unexpected should be your mantra. It could be glorious hot weather one minute, driving rain the next. Spend a little time beforehand researching alternative activities for all eventualities. Even if you run out of time to do this, you can always start your holiday by popping to the local tourist information centre to collect some local ideas.

    Relax

    Camping with the family is a great way to relax for all concerned. Let your kids go ‘feral’ for a few days and they will be as happy as pigs in muck. This doesn’t mean abandoning parental responsibility, just allow the ordinary boundaries of daily home life to be more flexible.

  2. Enjoy Easter Safely In The Scottish Mountains

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    It will soon be Easter, but it’s still full-on winter in Scotland’s mountains. That’s the message from the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) and the British Mountaineering Council (BMC). The MCofS and BMC advise that climbers and hill walkers need to be realistic about the seriousness of the Scottish mountains at this popular time of year, and of the need to match knowledge and experience to mountaineering objectives.

     

    The Easter warning is being issued because:

    • Easter in Scotland is popular with groups travelling from further afield
    • Easter is quite early this year
    • The current winter conditions could continue through and beyond the Easter weekend.

     

    Sadly, this winter has seen a significant death toll on Scotland’s mountains, many of them related to avalanches. Avalanche awareness should be a key component of planning a trip to the mountains over the Easter holiday period. Anyone heading to the Scottish mountains at Easter is being encouraged to give serious consideration to the following ten-point checklist:

    1. Check the mountain weather and avalanche forecasts.
    2. Follow the MCofS on Twitter and Facebook, and check the “Something for the weekend” #sftwe safety tips on Fridays and Saturdays.  These messages warn of likely hazards over the coming weekend.
    3. Be realistic about your ability to interpret and act upon weather and avalanche forecasts.
    4. Be prepared to lower your expectations if weather, visibility and pace dictate.
    5. Allow for the remoteness of many Scottish mountains.
    6. Plan routes carefully and consider likely hazards like avalanche-prone slopes, river crossings and steep cliff faces.
    7. Read the Winter Safety pages on the MCofS website and watch the Ice Axe Self Arrest video on the MCofS YouTube channel.
    8. Day length increases at this time of year, but it is still easy to be caught out after dark.  Everyone in a group should carry a head torch and spare set of batteries or a spare head torch with new batteries.
    9. Be aware of everyone else in your group and don’t allow your group to get separated in poor visibility.
    10. Never be afraid to turn back. The most important objective of a day in the mountains is for there to be more days in the mountains in the future.

     

    MCofS President, Brian Linington, said, “There are always more visitors to Scottish mountains at Easter and Whitsun and we urge them to act upon this advice.  Many are keen to get to grips with the mountains, but the pattern when I was part of the Skye Mountain Rescue Team was for a high number of incidents at Easter.  This was due to a number of factors, including loose holds after winter ice had loosened everything up, together with very icy old snow patches in critical shaded spots.  Both factors caused fatalities in the Cuillin at Easter.”

    BMC Deputy CEO, Nick Colton, said, “The mountains of Scotland are glorious places to walk and climb.  Go prepared, plan and heed the advice that is available.  Remember conditions can change quickly and you may need to adjust those plans and expectations accordingly.  Enjoy the challenges and spectacular scenery that Scottish hills have to offer but, most importantly, get back down safely.”

    The BMC runs training events and publishes good practice information, to enable climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers to develop their skills.  Read the ‘Essential winter know-how’ at www.thebmc.co.uk/winter-climbing-and-walking-skills.

    We would remind climbers and walkers of the need to dress warmly, comfortably and flexibly to make the most of winter days out by building layers of clothing – baselayers, mid layers and outer layers.

     

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