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A Guide to Surviving a Camping Trip
“Why on earth would I need a guide to surviving a camping trip? Are you having a laugh?” No. No, I certainly am not. I’m writing this to supply an increasing demand. After recent experiences I’ve felt an overwhelming urge of sorrow for the poor souls that have to endure camping. If I had the time I’d write a book on this and it would sell for millions. Unfortunately I’m too busy popping thousands of blisters that have claimed their home... on my feet.
7am: Today’s the most exciting day of the journey. You’ve got your new walking kit on, stylish walking shoes, a hat and the latest fashionable scarf. Anticipation fills the air as curiosity paces through your mind. You wonder what’s in store for you in the “beautiful” countryside that you’re approaching. The journey drags on but the cheerful singing from your classmates heightens your mood. The adventure is soon to begin. Probably the worst adventure of your life, but nevertheless you’re at the start, so let’s not worry. After the bus exits the motorway you no longer have time to listen to your music, all your attention focuses on the windows, oh and what’s behind them. Trees. Grass. More trees. More grass. Hills! Oh yes, huge 900 ft hills. Suddenly horror seizes you. Your senses kick in and you realise you’re in the Lake District. The bloody Lake District.
You get off the bus and take a huge breath. Fresh air fills your lungs. Not so bad after all? Think again. Already you’re feeling cold and that pink, thin but ever so stylish raincoat you’re wearing is a huge regret. You look down at your watch.
10am: “GIRLS!” Your most evil teacher shrieks. “Get your bags from the bus, we are setting off immediately. Make sure you have all your belongings. Don’t forget your food!” Food? We were supposed to bring food? You have a long day ahead of you.
12pm: You’re surprised that you’re actually feeling pretty good about yourself. This trip is doing you good. A 2 hour walk, surrounded by lovely scenery, fresh air satisfying your lungs and you’ve even made new friends. Life couldn’t be any better. Don’t get used to this feeling, it vanishes in one hour.
1pm: The wonderful feeling you experienced an hour ago has been replaced by hatred. Pure hatred. You despise everything. You hate your mum for sending you on this trip. You loathe your teachers for missing out that minor detail that you’ll be climbing 900ft mountains, you even detest your friends who are effortlessly skipping ahead of you with a huge smile on their face. As you finally regain your breath you raise your head. Damn. You wipe your eyes to ensure what your seeing isn’t an illusion from dehydration. Oh it’s not. You turn your head to your teacher with a look in your eye “please, no”. You turn your head the other way and repeat the look to your friend. “Yes Carmen. We will be climbing this”. Oxygen seems to suffocate you as your worst nightmare has come true. Subconsciously your head turns again, bringing your body with it. Desperately you search for an escape route. A taxi? A bus? A road? Another person? Your mum? Even a helicopter!? But no. Nothing can save you. You’re in the middle of the Lake District, facing a 900ft hill. These things cease to exist.
2pm: Sweat is dripping down your face. Your beautiful blonde hair has been turned into rat tails by the wind. Tears of frustration have caused your mascara to smudge, leaving black rings under your eyes. You look like Gollum. You’re trying your hardest to complete an impossible task. Frustration has almost killed you. Suicide seems like a pleasant option. Exasperated, you look ahead to see the whole group waiting, yet again, for you. No longer are you pink from exhaustion, but now your glowing red with embarrassment.
3pm: As you look up you see nothing but clouds floating effortlessly in the blue sky. Oh how you wish you were a cloud. You now look down and see your feet. You turn your head sideways and your bag obstructs your view. Yes. You’re lying on the floor after fainting. People start to crowd around, their faces full of concern. Your mouth feels drier than the Sahara desert. “I threw my water away to make my bag lighter!” As the words escape your mouth the look on everyone’s face changes from concern to utter disbelief. You are an idiot.
5pm: Oh great! You can no longer feel pain! Numbness has taken over. Your feet are so cold you can’t even feel them. Your soggy socks are a minor problem. Minutes pass and more and more blisters ease their way onto your wrinkled, wet feet. Your only aim in life is to get to the camp site, alive. You want nothing more than to sit down, drink some hot chocolate and drift off to sleep.
6pm: You’re delighted. You’ve reached the campsite. 3 hours later than initially expected, but nevertheless, you’re there. This is the best feeling you’ve experienced in what seems like years. A huge sensation of relief causes you to actually smile for the first time. Happiness runs through your bloodstream and you feel goo- “Carmen, time to put up the tent” screeches your devil of a teacher. As you face her a scowl appears on your face, you not only look, but feel like a wild dog. Put the tent up? I’ve spent all day climbing the English Himalayans and now I have to put the bloody tent up. Could things get any worse?
8pm: The wretched tent is FINALLY up. You spend the next 10 minutes planning your complaint letter you’re going to write about the poor quality of the instructions on how to set up a tent. It’s time to cast aside negativity as you realise you can indulge in your favourite drink. Hot chocolate. You reach for the shining silver flask. You can almost taste the hot soothing chocolate sliding down your throat, instantly warming your shivering body. A smile creeps across your face as you begin to twist the lid. That smile disappears. Empty. There’s a note in the lid “sorry Carmen, there was no hot chocolate in the cupboard this morning and I couldn’t resist”. Is it normal to have psychopathic thoughts about ways to kill your mother? You’ve just carried a heavy flask across the treacherous mountains of the Lake District to discover it’s empty. God, why do you hate me so?
10pm: You’ve wanted to sleep since 4pm but you’re forbidden as there’s a meeting regarding tomorrow’s plans. You slowly trudge across the muddy campsite towards your group of classmates. They’re all smiling, singing and laughing. You consider killing them. You decide against it. After 10 minutes of being told wonderful news that you’ll be climbing another 900 ft mountain the following morning you begin to wish you were dead. Or a cat. Or a beetle. Or even a rat. Anything but yourself.
10.15pm: You’re in your cold wet sleeping bag. So much for being waterproof. You begin planning your escape route but tiredness gets the better of you. As you fall asleep you make a promise to yourself. You will never, ever go camping again.



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