You might have seen on social media that we’ve just returned from a last minute camping trip. On Sunday we took part in the Renegade Run, a car rally from Hillsborough to Castlewellan. The focus of the rally, other than a load of lads showing off their noisy cars, was to raise money for a worthy cause. The event raised £2500 for the family of Jack Milton, a 12 year old car fanatic who has been diagnosed with a form of Cancer called Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)


As the weather was to be glorious we decided it would be silly not to spend the night camping out in Castlewellan forest park. Halfords had recently been in touch asking if i’d like to get my hands on a copy of their ‘Ultimate Camping Guide’ for 2016 so it really seemed like kismet.




The guide we were sent from Halfords has a tonne of info about how to get the most out of your camping trip. There’s tips about what to pack, festival survival tips and even advice on great campsites from Aberdeen to Land’s End. You can view a pdf version of the guide here


As this was Luisa’s first camping trip and Matt had work on Tuesday we only stayed for one night. I thought this would make a great ‘dry run’ and hopefully set us up for a summer of camping trips. When I was a child my family used to camp a lot. There are countless beautiful spots to camp across the UK and Ireland and I’ve loads of brilliant memories of trips with my parents and brothers. I’m hoping that, in time, Luisa will have the same experiences.


hannah owen camping


My favourite tip from the guide was a practical idea about food and drink storage. You should take all your drinks out of the cool box when you arrive on site and store them in a bucket of water to keep them cool. This means that every time someone need a coke (or a cider, in our case) they don’t need to open the main cool box therefore the food stays as cold and fresh as possible. The more you know, eh!?


Anyway, we had a fab time. It was just a short trip, as I said, only really lasting two days but we managed to fit a lot in. The weather was incredible, almost too hot at times but I had loads of suncream with me and comical hats for Luisa.


camping collage 1




Camping with a baby is pretty hard work, next time we go I’m hoping that we’ll have a new tent. Ours is perfectly fine but it would have been better if there were separate bedrooms so that we could have somewhere to sit that wouldn’t disturb Luisa. I have my eye on one off the new Orla Kiely designs but there are loads of other options available on the Halfords website.


If you’re looking for somewhere to go camping in Northern Ireland I’d really reccomend Castlewellan. In high season it’s £17 per night for a pitch but there’s no surcharge for parking or extra people. There’s lots to do in the forest including walks, kayaking and bike rides. If you’re so inclined there’s also an impressive maze. Much more up my street was the onsite cafe which is really reasonably priced. Hopefully we’ll be back in a new tent very soon, fingers crossed we get more of the same weather though.


camping castlewellan lake