Duncan Barkes: Camping’s certainly not for me

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THE news that 90 per cent of Britons detest camping, compared to other forms of holidaying, has generated much chuntering amongst those who prefer a break in a tent or a tin can.

In these austere times, a camping trip is obviously a cheap way of taking a break.

But there are those who genuinely favour this kind of holiday. According to the latest statistics from the Great British Tourism Survey, 17 million Brits took a camping or caravanning trip in 2011, compared with just six million UK holidaymakers who visited France, and 10 million who hot-footed it to Spain.

For years I have taken part in a one-night-only annual camping trip with other dads and our children. One night under canvas (or nylon) is all I can endure.

Nothing is ever simple when staying outdoors.

The most basic of tasks requires planning and/or effort, which hardly makes for a relaxing, stress-free break. To make a mug of tea you have to faff about getting water and coax it to boil on a little mediaeval stove.

To achieve this without causing an explosion or getting grass in your cuppa is a feat in itself.

Answering a call of nature is fraught with challenges.

After beery japes around the camp fire, the inevitable three-mile trek to the loo in the pitch black might be sobering, but that’s about all you can say for it.

After a night under the stars, I need a soak in a hot bath, a medicinal brandy, 24 hours’ kip and the ministrations of an expert physiotherapist to repair my aching body.

President Obama should shut down Guantanamo Bay and simply make terror suspects camp for a month.

The guilty would soon ’fess up to anything, I’m sure.

Obviously, caravanning is less of a hassle.

With a loo, mattresses, oven, and even a fridge, it is a less primitive experience than the tenting lark.

But whenever I encounter someone towing a caravan on the roads of West Sussex, they always appear to be rather frazzled, though maybe that’s due to being roundly abused by other road users?

Why anyone would holiday in a tent or caravan out of choice is beyond me, but if it’s your (enamel) cup of tea, then jolly good luck to you.

But, for me, especially as I get older, room service is a prerequisite for any holiday.

• Agree or disagree with Duncan? Email your views to letters@worthingherald.co.uk, letters@shorehamherald.co.uk or letters@littlehamptongazette.co.uk, or comment below.