I’d been camping with the family earlier this year, back when I was heavily pregnant. So the idea of heading off again in our brand-new tent, a six-week old in tow, didn’t seem too crazy. It’s surprising how many people seemed rather shocked that we’d contemplate taking such a small one for a couple of nights under canvas (oh, and it was the end of September, in Scotland…)
Child number one had enjoyed the experience so much the first time, however, that we didn’t want to pass up the opportunity for one more adventure before winter kicked in. Comrie Croft is a supremely child-friendly spot, tucked among the knobbly, verdant Perthshire hills. It’s a campsite with strongly ecological credentials; sustainably managed and with a real sense of community. For the three-year-olds among us, the main draw is an out of action quad bike to clamber on and a pen of chickens to feed. Any family thinking of camping in Scotland should check it out – there’s a mountain bike track nearby, and we spent most of the time during both our visits on site; children frolicking in the sunshine among the tents, tepees and katas (cars are not permitted within the site itself), and exploring the surrounding woods, in which rope swings and muddy puddles abound.
Anyway, back to the baby – in fact, there’s not too much to report. He was great. We camped with three other families, so there were plenty of adults and older kids to take turns holding the new addition to the gang. I hardly saw him all weekend. As I sat back, fanning woodsmoke from my eyes and chowing down on a charred sausage, the thought occurred that this is what it might have been like back in the stone age, when extended families gathered around the fire, their offspring being cared for communally. Except without the toasted marshmallows and beer…
At night-time, small one slept like a log, at least for the first night. The second night, which was a little colder, he slept no worse than he would have at home. Loads of fresh air must have done the trick. I’d researched beforehand on how best to keep a tiny baby warm while camping – both ‘The Art of Camping’ and ‘Adventurous Parents’ blogs were helpful, mainly just to know that other folks had been under canvas with such a wee child. We didn’t buy any fancy kit, just layered the wean up with what seemed like a huge amount of clothes – sleepsuit, soft trousers and top, woolly cardy, socks, jacket, hat and finally big fleecy pramsuit. It seemed like loads when we were putting it all on in the rather over-heated toilet block, but once in the tent I definitely think we did it right; it was nearly October after all.
On the second night, it had been clear all day so temperatures dropped to around 3 degrees Celsius at night-time. I took baba into my sleeping bag with me, and when I felt he was actually getting a bit too warm I just opened some of the layers. The trickiest thing that night was feeding – I couldn’t avoid getting a rather chilly back! Small price to pay for an amazing weekend, and we only wish we didn’t have to wait until next spring to get the tent out again.