UPDATED WITH NEWS FROM THE YHA (25/6/20)
This website doesn’t really venture into the murky world of politics. Well, not since we (the British) as a country made the monumentally stupid decision to leave the organisation that has helped maintain the peace in Europe for most of the past 70 years… STOP! Let’s not go down that avenue again. (I’m still as angry as I was in June 2016 by the way.) Back to the matter in hand. In his statement to the House of Commons earlier, the Great Leader (err… Boris Johnson) uttered the following words:
“From 4th July, provided that no more than two households stay together, people will be free to stay overnight in self-contained accommodation, including hotels and bed & breakfasts, as well as campsites as long as shared facilities are kept clean.”Boris Johnson, House of Commons, 23.6.20
I do wonder what this will mean for us cyclists. Many – not all, but many – of us prefer to spend our nights under canvas (or whatever it is they make tents from nowadays – please refer to my short history of the tent as expounded in Spain to Norway on a Bike Called Reggie). I am certainly one of the many. Here’s proof:
That was 2015 on the continent. What of 2020 in the UK? I’m hearing contradictory reports as to whether campsites will be open to people who, err… camp. I have always considered that to camp you actually need a tent. Not a caravan or a camper van but a good old tent. A couple of weeks ago I heard a report that said that campsites, when they did reopen, would only be for… caravans, mobile homes and camper vans. The reason? Because those people brought with them their own toilet. Wash blocks would not be open thus rendering any campsite off limits to the likes of me and most of you.
Even this morning on BBC Breakfast, the man who runs this campsite – see Tweet below – in Shropshire stated that he would not be opening his new £1 million wash block (what does he have in there??) with obvious consequences for people who are not in a position to bring with them their own toilet.
Earlier this evening I mentioned all this confusion on my own Twitter feed and a very mixed response came back:
It prompted me to investigate a little. It looks as though The National Trust are taking bookings for tents on their campsites as from Monday 6th July. As for the YHA… a quick check of a handful of their hostels would imply that they are not taking booking for tents. Yet.
UPDATE FROM THE YHA (25/6/20):
“We know that a lot of guests are looking forward to the reopening of YHA Camping & Cabins sites. From 17th July in England, you can stay in pod and cabin accommodation at a range of smashing locations. Please be assured that accommodation and facilities will be thoroughly cleaned with Covid-19 secure products. Thanks to Tuesday’s announcement, very soon we’ll be able to offer pitch-up camping as well. Perfect for all of us craving a night under the stars, somewhere spectacular.”www.yha.org.uk
As someone who is keen to head out with his bike and his tent at some point during July or August, I would love to know what your experiences have been in trying to book tent accommodation after July 4th. Please share them in the comments section. The other issue for cyclists is, of course, that it’s not always practical to book in advance. Indeed my preference is just to rock up and ask (almost rhetorically) if they have a space for me. I have only even been turned down once, in Castellane in 2013. Campsites always tend to find a little corner for one person, one bicycle and one small tent… Will that still be the case in the summer of 2020 with stringent social distancing in place?
I could just head for Scotland and start wild camping. But don’t get me started on the trains…
This whole cycle-camping thing is supposed to be stress-free…