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This is a question The Great Outdoors

Deskbound says: Camping! Hiking! Other stuff that's not indoors! Regale us with your tales of the great outdoors, whether it involves being rogerred by the Scout Master or skinning your first rabbit.

(, Thu 29 Mar 2012, 14:49)
Pages: Popular, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

Bit of a pearoast, but people enjoyed it before...
Back when I was much much younger and still in School, trying desperately to get my funk on with just about any female willing to try it (little did I know that it wouldn't happen for several years to come), I somehow befriended someone who would later become one of my better male friends in School.

His name was Ryan. Before you get excited, no I did not bum him, nor did he bum me and, sadly, this part of the story more revolves around him than me.

Anyhoo, being at an all-boys school certainly wasn't helping my heterosexual case at all, but little did I know that Ryan was, in fact, gay. I had no problem with this, he had always been a good friend to me in a strictly friends-only sense and in fact I was a little bit intrigued. I'd never met a gay person before, despite Ulster apparently being the gay capital of the world (if that statistic includes lesbians, it sure as hell explains a lot on my end, but I digress...).

The day Ryan came out to me was an interesting one. He didn't confess his love to me or anything, I just had a damn good intuitive sense about things. For instance, being young boys we would naturally imply that the other loved the cock. One day, as per normal, I said something like "Ahh Ryan you big Gay, you love the cock". Naturally, he responded "No I don't!", for fear of being assaulted by any of the Chavvy types that might be listening nearby. I then replied with "sure you do, I bet you had a lovely big cock right up your arse last night and everything", to which he replied "...n...no!".

What was that?
A pause?!?

"Wait a second!"
"y..you....you did! You really did!".
My voice quickly died down, yet there was clear exclamation.

I had always suspected Ryan was a bit gay, that was half the reason I teased him about it, but he always denied it. Until now.

"You're gay, aren't you? Just admit it!"
"...ok....yeah...but don't tell anyone"

Ryan was gay. Suddenly the world made a lot of sense, for the brief few seconds before he made his next comment:

"I lost my virginity last night"

At this point, I'm still in a little bit of shock at Ryan finally coming out, then he lands that bombshell. I'm all for equality, but I didn't really need to know that. I think my brain was still processing it.

"We did it in the hedge just outside 'spoons"

Ahh the local drinking establishment. Low-brow enough to serve those who are barely 16, let alone 18. Suddenly things start to make sense.

Ryan then proceeded to go into quite graphic detail about how he got bummed in this hedge for the first time. My fragile brain was beginning to crumble under the pressure.

Amidst Ryan's descriptions, he added "...I had so much fun, I dropped my bottle of coke!".

That was the end of his story and now I had some of the best graphic imagery of one of my best mates getting bummed for the first time. Fan. Tastic.

Skip forward about a week and suddenly, my ship had come in. One of the local, not-quite-so-posh girls got drunk enough to kiss me. With Tongue. Woo-hoo!
Next came actual gropage. I could have came right there and then and still been brimming with joy, but I didn't expect her to do that thing where they wink at you with her tongue sticking out. I knew what this COULD mean, but while I was busy processing it, she was already tugging at my arm.
She drags me off away from the other people who were out having a drink and a spliff that night, around the corner.
Soon enough, we reach a hedge that she pulls me into. She pushes me onto my back and that's when it REALLY starts to get heated. This was it. This was my big moment. Mr Wrigly and I were about to set sail, I was about to become a man. And she was pretty hot, as well. I didn't care that she was a bit skanky, I didn't care that she was quite drunk and I was completely sober, I wanted this, I wanted this so bad. I did care, however, that something was sticking into my back.

"Hold on a second, love" (Because in Belfast City, everyone is either "mate" or "love").

I reach under and pull something out. It was a half empty Coke-bottle.
I immediately realised where I was. I was in the bushes outside wetherspoon's. I was holding the bottle of Coke Ryan lost. I was in the exact same spot he lost his Anal virginity.

And that's when the images came. They were graphic enough without knowing the scenery, now I knew the layout, how hidden it was, what you could see. I was probably looking at the exact same telegraph poll he was when he was on his back (Yes, apparently gay people can do it like that as well, you just have to raise their legs a...nevermind). I could even see what looked like hand prints in the dirt. Hand prints. Pretty dug in, too. He must have been ridden pretty hard.

Hard. I remember that feeling. That feeling that disappeared the second I realised what the object poking into my back was. I wasn't the only person to be "Poked in the back" in those hedges.


Mr Wrigly had gone home for the night, cowering away in fear at the nasty thoughts going through my head. It didn't take long for "the one" to get bored and hop off to go look for a "real man" who could "get it up".
My chance. Gone.
All because of a Gay boy called Ryan. Who incidentally became a complete whore and figured since I was the only one who knew about him, that he could tell me everything. EVERYTHING.

I wouldn't lose my virginity for 2 more years later.


P.S. Sorry about the length, but Ryan thought the girth was fantastic.
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 13:48, 7 replies)
Does a B3tan shit in the woods.
After far too much beer last night I had to get up early and take my parent's Jack Russells for a walk this morning. Half way along the popular route for dog walkers I felt my stomach rumbling and arse bubbling and knew what was coming. Finding a secluded spot amongst the trees and behind a pile of fallen logs I checked several times no one was about and pulled my pants down, leant back on the tree and did the deed.

Ever tried shitting diarrhoea while not getting any on your shoes and keeping two inquisitive Jack Russells away from your arse by shouting, 'get the squirrels, get the fucking squirrels'.

I hate pooping outside : (
(, Sat 31 Mar 2012, 20:29, 9 replies)
Pearoast from CP
Stony cove rocks................
Not as hard as my head apparently.

Some years ago I was spending a happy day with a few of my thirty-something mates all round Stony cove, a popular scuba training spot in the midlands. With us was my mate Spence, an ex-Marine mountain and arctic warfare specialist. He'd brought along ropes and climbing gear for the afternoon's fun.

And fun it was! Loads of abseiling and rock face scrambling, all done under the supervision of an accredited expert in the field. The last thing we were to learn was "the pendulum". In essence, this manoeuvre sees you at the end of the rope, half-way down the rockface, running/swinging across to find a handhold. I elected to go first.

The first two swings were a bit hesitant so my mate encouraged me in his gruff marine way by calling "RUN YOU MINCING CUNT!"

So I ran.
As fast as my legs could carry me, bearing in mind I'm 60' down a 120' sheer rock face with a deep, cold lake at the bottom, but I sprinted!

Did I mention that I'd elected to do this without a harness? Just a strop, looped round my legs and waist and fastened with a carabiner? Rope looped through a descender? No?

Then read on.

10 yards before the end of my run I realised I was going WAY too fast so, I tried to slow down. Unfortunately the friction between my boots and the rock was even less than that between fresh poodle poo and parquet so my legs flew out in front of me. In accordance with the laws of physics, my head then rushed towards the rock with equal speed. It seemed to take about two hours from my slide to the impact, but impact it did. I blacked out.

My friends watched me hit and they thought at the time it was unsurviveable. Within seconds, one had called the ambulance, two others abseiled down to me and found CP unconcious and gripping the rope like I was pulling Gary Glitter off one of my daughters*.

The ambulance arrived in minutes, by which time I was already at the top, sitting up wondering why my head hurt. At the hospital I was X-rayed to buggery, had all sorts of reflex tests and kept in overnight.

1 bruise. Didn't even break the skin.

I was so proud of my new-found indestructibility, I strutted to the nurses station to get discharged (insert smutty comment here), basking in my superheroness. They gave me back my clothes minus my trousers and grots.

"Where's my trousers and pants, did you have to cut them off me"? I asked, still swaggering a little.

"No, we threw them away 'cos you'd shit yourself" she replied, beaming.


*Original euphemism deleted due to extreme non-PCness
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 9:17, 8 replies)
its great....
Camping is something I enjoy hugely. From Duke of Edinburgh trips to weekends on the lash in the mountains. You simply can’t beat a bit of camping.

I start my trips about a week before I go, getting bits out and ready for the day we go, I love getting all my gear together out of the shed, taking stuff I haven’t used In ages and carefully packing it into the car so it all fits properly. I love the drive, the stopping off at service stations . I love setting up camp to make it ‘my castle’ and ensure several nights of comfort,. I love putting up my tent and standing back admirably whilst challenging the elements to try and blow down my tent. I love sitting out after the sunsets with a cold beer and some AM radio, I love it when it rains at night and even a light shower sounds torrential – but I’m nice and wrapped up. I love the early morning cigarette with a mug of tea and the dew on the grass as the sun comes up. The smell of bacon being cooked in a frying pan with no non stick properties whatsoever. Clouds lifting to reveal stunning mountainscapes.

It is a true mental tonic for the man in a repetitive day job

All though the pros outweigh the cons – there are some tough cons…

If you are fortunate to camp when it’s a good English summer, the sun rises about 4:30am and within 20 mins – your tent is like a furnace.
If any neh do gooders are on site with you , chances are they have left food out and the chances are that seagulls (or other birds) have spotted it and proceed to eat every crumb around. Whilst making as much noise as possible.
Children. Nothing against kids camping, but when your being told to keep the noise down when having a beer at 10:30 so the kids can sleep, but they’ll happily wake at 5am to play football against your tent, they need to be brought down a peg or 2…(pun)
Sex. in 100 years of tent evolution, people should realise that nylon with the thickness of the average pube has no sound insulation properties what so ever.
Weather. I can put up with whatever the elements throw at me, but sometimes it will be that bad that you just have to admit defeat and lash the tent in the car and head for home.
Going home. Horrible. You know the car is full of crap and unclean stuff and your in work tomorrow. And the tent needs to be dried out. 3 weeks later and there is still stuff at the bottom of the stairs you will definitely put away this coming weekend….like you said you would 2 weeks ago.

Still I wouldn’t change it – I love the outdoors – its not about getting away like you would at a sandals resort, its about getting your head sorted, giving your eyes something good to look at. Sometimes its good to have muddy hands and shoes without resorting to hippy shit.
(, Tue 3 Apr 2012, 17:58, 8 replies)
From the top of Pen y Fan in Wales...
With the sun still pelting down, it was a hard old slog up the mountain. And what did we do when we got there? Admire the view? Slap each others backs on a job well done? Nope. We threw stones down the side to see how far they'd roll.

"Hey guys! Look at this!" I shouted, heaving a large round boulder the size and shape of a car wheel over the edge. I fully expected it to fall about twenty yards and stop. Instead, it shot down the mountainside like shit from a goose gaining momentum as it went. About 1,000 feet below us there was a squad of soldiers (probably members of Hereford's finest SAS) on a mountain route march. Like a silent movie, we watched in horror as one of them pointed up the mountain at the guided missile approaching, and they scattered in all directions, quite literally for their lives.

For a full five minutes, the boulder of doom thundered on. At one stage it ripped through a flock of sheep, miraculously missing every one of the panicking beasts. Then it chased a horse for a full hundred yards before slamming into a dry stone wall, sending shards of shattered rock in all directions.

I thought it was the funniest thing I'd ever seen. The rest of my party did not, and offered to hand me over to the SAS for target practice. Kindly, despite a few choice words echoing up the mountainside ("You melon farming melon-farmer!"), they declined.

In summary: Don't throw big rocks at the SAS. They get cross.
(, Thu 29 Mar 2012, 16:46, 6 replies)
I took my Dad for a hike around the Polish mountains last summer.
That part of the Carpathians are called the Tatry, and they're not particularly high; they top out just over 2000m, and there's a cable car up to 1850m, so I envisaged a pleasant, lightly strenuous hike in and out of the valleys before going home. Hell, teenagers do these sorts of walks during summer camp; my fat old father could surely manage it.

On a charming May morning, we took the cable car up to the most famous peak for a quick look at neighbouring Slovakia, before trudging back down the other side of the valley to get to the next peak. The summer sun beat down, we admired the burbling streams and outcrops of gorse, and generally marvelled at the wonder of nature and the complete lack of other hikers on the trail.

But as we walked along the valley floor my old man's questions became more and more insistent; "Can you see the trail up the other? I don't see the trail back up. Is there a trail back up? Can you see it? I can't see any point on the peak where you'd cross. Where do we cross? Have you seen anyone else? Does anyone else know we're out here?"

We walked closer and closer to the approaching mountain, which bore a strong resemblance to a cliff, and as we rounded the final curve in the trail my Dad finally got his answers about the path ahead. Where once had been a prepared trail of granite steps up and out of the ravine, there was now little more than rubble, as a winter avalanche had turned the only way forward into a treacherous slope of fragmented stone.

The old man turned to me, and as the perfect swear word forming on his lips, the gods spoke for him. An enormous boom of thunder blasted across the valley, and the sky darkened in seconds. We were up against a cliff wall, we had a three hour hike back to the nearest shelter, and a storm was brewing just the other side of the mountain.

We huddled under my emergency poncho, spreading the plastic sheet over our heads as the clouds burst and the rain pounded down. We were crouched in the lee of a boulder that had been brought down by the avalanche, and with every peal of the storm we could here the loose rock around us quiver and rattle. We counted the minutes.

Fortunately for us, the summer storm soon abated, and the rain and lightning finally petered out. And we looked up at the cliff, and decided it was the only option open to us. So we climbed.

And climbed. And climbed. Bellies to the ground, we hauled ourselves up, feeling the loose rocks slither and settle under every gingerly-placed hand. In some places the only way forward was to grab fistfuls of the wet straw-like grass poking through the stones, at other times we had to plunge our arms elbow-deep in snow still frozen into the shadow of boulders. It was painful, agonising, and all too slow.

But when we got to the top, it was all worth it:

(, Wed 4 Apr 2012, 20:59, 7 replies)
Stag doo on the beach
This is not my story, its a friends.

They had been invited to a stag doo - down on the beach near brighton. The idea being, they would spend the day fishing, cook what they caought over a fire, then spend the rest of the evening getting trollied by the sea.

So 6 or 7 of them head to the beach and begin casting out lines. One lad - lets call him john - was opposed to the idea of fishing, or any bloodsport - as he said it. After a few words were said about joining in, and do it for the groom, he eventually picks up a rod and casts it.

First cast. the weight and bait fly through the air, they suddently become entangled and wrap around a passing seagul. The seagul then plummets to the Sea.

"Shit! shit!" shouts John. the line is now spinning off the reel as the seagul splashes down. Another Seagul (presumably his mate) flys down beside the now thrashing seagull. Its calling out for his mate... "Squawk, Squawk!!!"

"what do i do? What do i do?" John was in a panic, he didnt want to even fish, let alone drown a bird.

"Cut the line!" shouts another lad, thinking that if you undo the tighness of the line, it would untangle the bird.


With that, the seagull drops below the surface, as it was obvious the line was the only thing keeping the bird above the water...

the splashing stops, and all that is left is some bubbles and a rather confused Seagull wondering where its mate has disapeared to.

John never fished again...
(, Tue 3 Apr 2012, 15:24, 6 replies)
Have you ever seen your own testicles? Not the ball sack... Your actual nuts?
My mate Phil has.

Running full tilt down a steep hill when he was a nipper noticed that he was about to plough into a barbed wire fence. Rather than trying to stop he decided he could vault it. He was wrong. As he describes it,"I pretty much slid down the length of that wire on my nuts."

Fortunately they were able to sew everything back into place but he has a VERY nasty scar that runs from his barse down his inside leg. He say's when he was a teen it was an interesting talking point whenever he got a new girl into bed.
(, Thu 29 Mar 2012, 16:06, 10 replies)
Why I hate camping
Camping; a great British pastime that to me is one of life’s truly overrated experiences. I went camping once and I’ve vowed never to go again. If I ever get even a little bit tempted to join friends on their camping trips, I always remember the reasons why I hate it so much. Then I spend the next few days sat at home in my warm house, sleeping in a comfortable bed, smiling to myself in the knowledge that one of them will be stumbling to a nearby bush in the early hours of the morning to urinate and will probably tread barefoot in fox’s shit.

Reasons why I hate camping so much:

It could be the middle of a glorious summer, a delightful heat wave period, but rest assured, as soon as you pitch a tent it will start raining. Once it starts, it doesn’t stop, and it is impossible to keep anything dry. Clothes, personal belongings (such as phones and wallets), seating and even food will soon be damp. Don’t even think about trying to start a raging fire for you and your fellow campers to congregate by. Instead, you’ll be forced to huddle around a smouldering pile of sticks in an effort to keep warm.

Once sat in your huddle, there will always be someone in the group who will get out their guitar that they have brought with them especially. After a few minutes of strumming out-of-tune chords, they will try and get everyone else to join in with renditions of Kum-By-Yah or some other song that nobody really likes nor indeed knows the words to. A few campers will start clapping along. It is at this point you should consider going home.

The food is always terrible. As it is neigh on impossible to plug in a freezer, tinned foods are on the menu for the majority of the camping period. Granted, a few sausages may be cooked on the first night, but after these have been consumed you can only look forward to a diet of sludge. Any meat that is cooked will be nice and crispy on the outside, and raw on the inside. Unless you have a cast iron gut, you’ll be squatting in the bushes in no time at all.

If there are no toilet facilities (because you’ve chosen to camp in some woods rather than a site), then you’ll have to make do with a bush. How great is that! If neither of these choices appeal to you, you have the option of holding it in until you get home. What a fantastic holiday experience.

Due to the above reasons, most people will be in a pretty bad mood, and conversation will therefore be mundane and quite frankly, annoying. Typically, some cad will start to tell ghost stories as the night draws in. Yawn.

Sleeping is impossible. If you’re not sat with your eyes wide open, saying “what’s that?” worriedly at every noise you hear and thinking the worst, you’re laying shivering in a sleeping bag, with only the tent canvas between you and the wet grass. The wind will blow the sides of the tent in, sticking it to your face as it is so wet, and there will always be, without fail, an earwig or beetle underneath your sleeping bag in the morning.

The games you are forced to play such as Rounders or some other nonsense sport, which always results in the alpha male of the group smashing a ball with a lump of wood into a nearby field so that a group of children and women scamper after it, trying to avoid the cow-pat landmines. The same resulting arguments always follow during these games; ‘I was no way out!’ or ‘Those aren’t the rules!’, for example.

The tent itself is one of the most annoying things about camping. Putting the thing together in the first place is akin to a challenge you’d find on The Krypton Factor. Again, arguments will ensue, normally about which piece of the frame goes where. There is a high chance that at least one peg will be missing, so the tent will have to be weighed down from the inside. I am also under the impression that the manufacturers base their tent sizes on dwarves. ‘Two man’ tents are only really suitable for a child, a six-man tent can fit 3 people at a push; you get the idea. Then there is the sweaty condensation that forms on the inside of the tent, so that it clings to you should you be so brave to put your face anywhere near it. Tents are rubbish. I’d rather sleep in my car.

The air of depression in the car on the way home, once the camping trip is over. It’s the realisation that you’ve wasted a few days of your life to live outside. All your clothes are dirty and wet, and you have to take all of your rubbish back home with you. Why did you go camping? Why?!

People always tell me, ‘camping isn’t like that anymore, they have showers and everything!’. Well I should fucking think so! A shower is the minimum I’d expect if I was going on holiday. The absolute minimum! Plus, surely staying on a campsite is the cheats way to camping? Any excuse for them to say that they’ve been on holiday really, but it’s not proper camping. It’s not too disimilar from me pitching a tent in my back garden, and then nipping inside to use the shower every morning.

I don’t know what the big appeal is about the ‘Great’ Outdoors. I think maybe it stems from the youthful enjoyment of building a den with your mates, and pretending you were on some sort of great adventure. There can’t be any other reason for it. Sometimes, I do have a guilty admiration for those people that enjoy camping, but then this admiration soon passes and I think to myself, ‘Grow up and have a proper holiday’.
(, Mon 2 Apr 2012, 15:05, 26 replies)
Last year went camping with a few other families for the August Bank Holiday. I purchased some wonderfully bright cream chino's especially for the event.

The tent went up a treat, the campfire was roaring and the lukewarm beer was flowing. The chino's looked just the part. A few beers later and I felt, what I thought would be a rather audible botty cough coming. Hoping for a fantastic humerous response I offered my finger to my fellow campers to pull.

Upon pulling I squeezed with all my might, to get the best sound... I was confused rather than the sound of ripped curtains, I, and all the other campers just heard a dull squelch, then silence.

That's right I had just followed through whilst wearing a pair of unblemished cream chinos. I was hoping that it wouldn't have shown through, but I was sadly mistaken. It left an almighty mess.

Emptying out your own mess from said chinos into a portaloo at 1am isn't much fun I can tell thee.

The next day the in-laws came to visit us at the campsite. Which was very nice. When they came to leave the mother-in-law asked if there was any washing we wanted doing, without thinking my wife passed over the carrier bag containing my shit-stained-chinos. She washed them and gawd bless her, never mentioned it.

I supposed that will teach me for thinking Cream Chinos are in any way acceptable.
(, Thu 29 Mar 2012, 15:42, 20 replies)
You're seriously asking a load of shut-in's about what goes on outside?

(, Thu 29 Mar 2012, 14:51, 16 replies)
A Mountain Rescue
Not my story really, but that of my brothers and his best mate.
My brother is a proper outdoorsy type, fit, an accomplished climber, cyclist adventurer, can fly a plane and pretty much conquer most things once he sets his mind to it. His mate is ex-army and discovered a love of climbing early on his career and once he became a civvy they used to go out into the wilds together on a regular basis.

They both live in Scotland and decided one day to do a snowy climb up the 3,565ft Stob Ghabar one of the fine Munros. Well prepared and geared up and aware of the conditions, they set off.
They had a great time, and when they stopped to take in the amazing views, my brother turned round to see that he was now, well and truly all alone.

His mate was gone, disappeared, nowhere to be seen. As his stomach hit his crampons and then came back up into his mouth, he searched the lower slopes for any sign, desperately wanting to see any sign of his friend, even a broken body would be better than nothing, but there was no sign, not a sausage.

His mate had lost his footing, he had banged his head as he fell, and a simple mistake sent him careering 1000ft down a frozen slope, he was trying to catch the ice with his axe, but ended up bouncing over boulders, sliding down the rough cliff face, thrown around the rocks and stones and ice for only 10 seconds, but to him it felt like a lifetime as he struggled, desperately to cling onto something.
Amazingly he came to a sudden, abrupt, stop on a ridge, with a shoulder broken in 3 places, and bleeding and covered in cuts and bruises.
He looked up the mountain and could see a trail of blood behind him. The only thing that stopped him flying over the ridge, into the frozen Loch and to his certain death, was a simple strap on his rucksack. It had snagged on a rock and saved his life, and stopped his back from being broken.
Bleeding and disorientated he finally managed to blow his whistle, and while looking for a way to get back up, he started stumbling along the ridge.

By now my brother and another climber had heard the whistle and spotted him, ‘GO BACK GO BACK GO BACK’ he screamed at the top of his voice, and waved his arms like some kind of maniac , as he could see that if his friend took another confused step, he would go off the end of the ridge that he had landed on and be gone forever.
Thankfully he saw them and collapsed where he stood.
They slowly and carefully made their way down to his friend and gave him sugar and fluid to try to stop him going into shock.

2 hours later the mountain rescue arrived and 6 of them winched down from the helicopter and carried him in a stretcher 300m down the hill and finally got him to hospital.
The Glencoe rescue team were amazed at how lucky he had been, if it had not been for his rucksack he would be dead.
He thankfully survived to see his then newly pregnant wife give birth to their second child and gave climbing a break for a while. He also got some free rucksacks and a first class trip to Italy to be on a talk show to tell his tale, but I think being alive was the best thing he got out of it.
Being prepared did help, but be careful out there kids, you never know what could happen!
(, Tue 3 Apr 2012, 22:00, 2 replies)
The Magic Bus
After a day out exploring a foreign land, we were attempting to return home. We'd managed to locate a bus stop which would probably take us toward the city, but there was no timetable and we had no local knowledge, so we were just waiting. The road in either direction stretched off into the distance, with no visible traffic. We had no idea if the buses ran hourly, daily, weekly or only when there was an X in the month. In my memory there was tumbleweed blowing around, but that's probably wishful thinking.

After about an hour, we were starting to get worried. There hadn't been any car traffic, so we couldn't even attempt to hitchhike, nor any passing locals to ask. And it was too far to walk - even if we had been sure about the direction. There was still no sign of a bus, not even a dust-cloud on the horizon to give us hope.

Then my companion had a brainwave. "Watch this," she said, "This ALWAYS works." And so saying, she took out a packet of cigarettes, and lit one up.

At the precise moment that she took her first long drag, a bus roared to a halt beside us, large as life and with a prominent "No Smoking" sign in the window. I have no idea what twisted dimension it emerged from, or whether it simply popped into existence merely to satisfy the rule that, the moment you light up, things will change so that you can't smoke it.

I don't smoke, but I now always carry cigarettes and a lighter, in case I'm ever stranded again.
(, Mon 2 Apr 2012, 14:08, 7 replies)
Most years I go on a camping holiday in darkest Wales
There's a group of about 20 families, and it's been going on for at least 30 years. We all camp around in a massive circle, there's a massive fire in the middle, and for the long weekend it's almost perfect communism - everyone shares everything, and everyone chips in a couple of quid to the local farmer for a couple of whole lambs for the big roast on Sunday.

The sort-of aim, apart from community, is hill-walking, and each day two expeditions set off - the long one first thing at about 10ish, for a walk of about 10 or 15 miles, and then in the afternoon the short one, which is generally a couple of miles over the hills to the nearest pub.

Those who want to remain in camp, and do chores - collecting wood for the fire, cleaning gear, etc, and then in the evening, those who are sober drive around to the pub and ferry back the walkers, who are invariably half-cut by then.

We all have our tea around the big fire, chatting about this, that and the other, and as the wine and beer flows, the songs start, and then by about 4am most of us are in bed.

It's a truly lovely thing, and I'm looking forward to going again this year.

Funnies? Last year I had to put my 75yo father to bed at about 12, as he'd collapsed into our tent and was singing about how the hair on her dickie-dido went down to her knees.
(, Thu 29 Mar 2012, 15:29, 8 replies)
Taking time off today
and building a greenhouse.

By the time my neighbours get back I'll have a fake crime scene tent over the top of it and convince them that the previous owners of the house buried a murdered prostitute in the back garden.

They were Christian Fundies after all.
(, Thu 29 Mar 2012, 15:11, 2 replies)
Phosphorescent plankton
I go camping every year on my own in Greece. By far my most memorable moment is the time I had diarrhoea for three days during a sweltering 35 degree heat wave. There hadn’t been a breath of wind for days and sleeping in a small nylon tent was becoming unbearably hot so I thought I would go and sleep on the beach where it was cooler.
I was feeling very ill but I took my sheet down to the beach and lay looking at the stars. I saw over 5 shooting stars during the next few hours and then soaked with sweat decided to go for a nuddy dip in the sea at 4am. As I stood in the water feeling sorry for myself I swept my arms through the sea and it was like running my hand through big chunks of glitter suspended in water. The lack of wind, heat and stillness of the water had allowed the phosphorescent plankton to develop. It only flashed light when it was agitated and looked like a beautiful green electric current in water. It was absolutely amazing and I was almost thankful I was ill as I would never have seen it if I hadn’t gone down to the water at night.

And then I had an explosive bowel movement and shot a stream of fetid runny shit into the sea and probably killed it all.

Swim! Swim away!

Mother Nature got her own back however as once back on dry land I drifted off to sleep on the beach and learned why no one sleeps on the beach; I woke in the early morning just as the sun is rising, soaked with dew and eaten to death by mosquito bites....
(, Sun 1 Apr 2012, 16:21, Reply)
First time camping as a Cub Scout
Got forced to go camping on a weekend as a 6-7 year old, holed up in a large tent with about 10 other kids. Middle of the night I needed to pee so bad so I crept out of the tent as to not wake anyone and headed down to the festival style porta-loo...only to find another of my fellow campers cowering in the confines of the loo holding his undies in one hand and completely covered in shit. And i really mean COVERED in shit.It was even on the walls. And the smell. Oh the smell just almost made me puke. We looked at each other and he said in a quiet voice, 'Help'.
Without a word 7 year old me slowly closed the door and crept back to the tent and waited until morning, holding my almost bursting bladder.
Never saw that shit covered kid again.
(, Thu 29 Mar 2012, 23:39, 1 reply)
I pretty much grew up in the Great Outdoors.
As a kid in the Adirondacks in the 1960s and 70s, I had a lot of time to myself in the woods. I spent many hours playing with chipmunks, and got to know a lot about white tailed deer by hanging out with them. I can identify a fair number of bird species and tell you a lot about the ecology in the Adirondacks, based partly on having gone to college for Forestry but mainly on my own observations.

I can build a fire easier than anyone else I know. I can construct a crude but serviceable shelter out of things I find in the woods. I know of a lot of edible plants in that part of the world, and have learned well how to track things through the woods. I don't think I'm quite up to living off the land, but I can certainly make myself comfortable in the woods.

And why did I develop such an interest?

See, my parents bought land up there when I was an infant, and began building a house there in 1967. By 1970 we had a second house underway that was habitable within the year. This meant that every weekend and every summer for about as long as I can remember was spent there, working on the buildings or cutting firewood or whatever needed to be done. So I spent a hell of a lot of time in close proximity with my three sisters and Mom.

You know how a group of women living together will have their menstrual cycles synchronize? Well, there were certain times when regardless of the weather it was best to go find an isolated corner of the woods and hide.
(, Thu 29 Mar 2012, 18:10, 4 replies)
Pow. Right in the kisser.
I've mentioned this story before on a QOTW ages ago, but I'm retelling it because it still amuses me years on.

It's 1990, me and two friends are tooling around North America in a clapped out and ancient Audi, sleeping in an even more clapped out and ancient canvas tent. It was a two-man tent. Three people were just possible, if you slept top-to-tail and didn't move. At all.

I'd drawn the short straw of the double-feet end, with my head at the closed end of the tent. We'd been warned about keeping food in our tent, about how it attracts big bad furry animals, but the car had been broken into the week before and we weren't having our Doll noodle stash nicked again, so I had all the food down my end too.

So there we were sleeping off an evening beers, camping halfway up a mountain in Canada, just where Sculley gets abducted by aliens in The X Files in fact, when I'm raised to a semi-conscious state by movement by my head. With a groggy "awww fuck off" I swat at the movement. I make a suprisingly solid contact with something warm, furry and slightly wet. There's a yelp.

Instantly all three of us are more awake and more sober than we've even been at 3am. There's a 2ft rip in the end of the tent. Outside, down the slope in the moonlight is a dazed looking racoon.

I think it's the only fight I've ever won.
(, Thu 29 Mar 2012, 18:06, 3 replies)
Drugs = Bad, Camping on drugs = Good!
Cast your mind back to the early days of this millenium, the Suga Babes were storming the charts and still on their first lineup and people were still inexplicably listening to Dido and Blue. Obviously, the best escape from this level of manufactured inanity the most sensible course of action for a young Keios and his friends living in the south of England was to find a nice obliging campsite in the New Forest and go off for a weekend camping while smashed out of our gourds.
Fast forward a day and we'reall nicely settled into our campsite (conveniently placed well away from all the sensible, normal folk thanks to a friend who worked at the site) when someone pulls out some acid. Needless to say, being sensible, smart young people we all partook. A few hours later as dusk begins to settle, someone has the bright idea that as we had a fire pit, we should really have a fire going. Enthusiastically we gather up enough fallen branches and dead leaves for a moderate blaze, then go to light it.
And fuck all happens.
Confused, but not put off by this turn of events we continue to try and light it, to no avail. For about 30 minutes. After this time, I stand back and run my hands through my hair, mildly exasperated. "Huh?" I wonder "What's this weird feeling in my hands?" as I was still tripping balls.
"Holy shit!" I exclaim loudly "I'm wet!"
"What?" comes the cry from the others.
"Yeah, I'm fucking soaking!" I say, before realising that in fact, EVERYTHING is soaking and it is, in fact, pissing with rain.
turns out we had been so focussed on getting our fire started that out tiny drug-soaked brains had managed to block out everything else, including the fact that we were now stood in a field getting sodden. However I have it on very good authority that the elderly couple camping in the next field had spent the entire 30 minutes or so we had been trying to light a fire in the rain watching us and pissing themselves laughing, so I figure it wasn't an entirely wasted experience.
(, Thu 29 Mar 2012, 17:40, 1 reply)
I think I may tell of the time I was getting back into a dive boat a seal popped up and bit me on the arse.

I was getting back into a dive boat a seal popped up and bit me on the arse.
(, Thu 29 Mar 2012, 15:12, 1 reply)
The 'Festival'
My most bizarre camping experience happened a few years ago... A friend of mine told me about a great local music festival that was happening in a couple of weeks, and she wanted to bring her boyfriend and his mate, but asked if I would come along so she wasn't the only girl.

Firstly we barely had any equipment, just sleeping bags, and none of us could afford a decent tent, so I decided to buy a £7.99 2-man-er from the local bargain warehouse. (probably should have taken it out of the case first, but more about that later...)

So the festival weekend arrives, we drive around for several hours trying to find the place, until we come across a small handwritten sign, directing us into this random farmer's field containing 2 marquees and a burger van.

The boys hadn't arrived yet so me and my friend decide to pitch the tent. We very quickly realised this was actually a kids play tent and would not accommodate 4 fully grown men and women. With nothing left to do but wait for the lads, we went to a beer stall... only to find this weird kid we knew from college manning the stall. He told us the event organisers hadn't managed to arrange an alcohol licence in time, but had found a loophole in the law which meant that they could 'raffle' the booze if it had tickets stuck on. So you paid £1 and 'won' a can of beer - a prize every time!

Later, my mate's 6' 4" boyfriend arrived with his tall skinny friend, plus plenty of booze and baggage, laughed heartily at our tent fail, and we went off to rave.

Night falls, rave continues, 4am the heavens open and we decide it's time for bed. In this tiny tent we were packed like a box of matchmakers (bags included), totally soaked, with our legs sticking out the velcro door. It had no lining and no waterproofing so effectively we’d have been better off sleeping under an umbrella.

Anyway, fortunately it hasn't put me off camping for good, and made a great “How did you get your chest infection?” story, though it's the first and last time I'll ever take a dump on an open riverbank!
(, Tue 3 Apr 2012, 16:37, 6 replies)
A pearoast, but worth it I think...

Many years ago, when I was about 14, I went on a summer "outward Bounds" camping trip organised by my school. A week of outdoors activities: canoeing, climbing, orienteering and so on. I was rather surprised that I'd decided to go on it, as even then I was about as athletic as a sloth on temazepam, but in a moment of madness I signed up, and in the end had a lot of fun.

One night we were sent out on Night Manoeuvres, basically orienteering in the dark - and, as it turned out, the fog. Couldn't really see more than a few metres ahead, so when we came to a fence we simply climbed over it -- there could have been a gate mere seconds away, or it could have been miles. Pressing on, hopefully in the right direction, I noticed that the grass seemed to change just ahead - there were no more long stalks. As I got closer, I realised there were no short stalks, either. Then, even closer, I realised that there was, in fact, no ground at all.

Yes, the towering genius that was our P.E. Teacher and trip organiser had chosen to send us out on night manoeuvres, in the fog, on Beachy Head. Beachy titty-fucking Head. A place not known for its sympathetic treatment of the lost, literally or spritually. I had come within about half a metre from becoming the main story on the evening news that night, a greasy smear down the famously white cliffs, and something of a setback in the teacher's career path.
(, Tue 3 Apr 2012, 14:08, Reply)
Massive drugs!
My first acid experience was not so much like dipping my toe in the water, more like bellyflopping in from an orbiting satellite. But then I’ve never really done subtle…

The first time i ever went to an outdoor rave also happened to be the first time i dropped acid. This was with a mate of mine who had tried it before, once or twice, but was in no way a veteran of psychedelia. We were both young, naïve and quite, quite drunk.

We left the train station after coming from a nights drinking in Brighton, and we were immediately asked by these two other guys if we were going to this rave. We knew nothing about it - so asked where it was, and tagged along with these two, sharing a taxi.

We got to the site, a few tents, with a few travellers outside, listening to a stereo.
Not much or a rave, really. We looked around, thought “oh well, it was worth a try”, and started back to the main road. it was then we noticed several people actually walking through this small campsite, further away from the main road. So, using the zen method of navigation, we followed them…
…through a small wood…
…and over a hill…
…and through another small wood…
…and there it was: lights, sound system, banging music, all soundproofed and invisible from the main road by the South Downs and the wooded areas. it turns out the first small campsite was a warning outpost, i think, possibly to deter unwanted revellers (but then again in might just have been some people camping).

So we get to the actual site, and my mate says we should buy some acid. So we do - one each - and stash it in our top gums, and go about exploring the rave.

Nothing happens for about quarter of an hour. The psychedelic Smarties just weren’t hatching…

So we buy another one, leave that in our mouths. Some effects eventually start to make themselves known, which is all very good, but the whole experience was much milder than what i was expecting. “oh well, maybe they’re weak” we think - and look to buy some more - but we’ve only gone and run out of money.

So what do we do?

Went round begging for drugs money.

Even asked some travellers, which got a “you joking, guys?” response.
anyway, pretty soon we had enough for another three more trips, so we shared them.

And it was really only after we’d ingested the last half each, the first one really started to hit home.


And we’d done three and a half trips each.

Our heads turned inside out. It was so raw, to primitive and tribal - the whole experience. insects flying past turned into one dimensional comet trails of tracers. The people dancing morphed into one whole pulsating mass of writhing limbs, pulsing as one huge undulating entity. Kaleidoscopes of fractals before my eyes exploded into impossible colours of ever-more infinite beauty. We talked, laughed, and pondered . . . everything.
Including how to sit down, i remember . . .

Many many hours later, we walked the fifteen miles home (as we had no money). We were ambling down the middle of a twisting, tree-lined road in Sussex, as there were no vehicles using the road at all, for some reason. Just idly strolling down the road, chatting about what tripping was like, laughing till our sides hurt and our smiles ached.

Then: a terrific, blood curdling roar screamed down the road next to us, far too fast to see, the sudden noise tearing apart the serene early morning quiet like a jet powered hound from hell barking out deafening thunder.

We looked at each other, both totally and utterly freaked out and terrified…

…and then another blur of noise and violence and colour tore past us, scaring us so much we jumped into the hedge at the side of the road, hugging each other in fear, wondering just what was going on.

Then another dozen or so of these ultra-fast bellowing monsters stampeded along, racing past just inches from where we were lying in the undergrowth, cowering in absolute abject horror.

Turned out that’s why there wasn’t any traffic on the road. a local club of enthusiasts had cordoned off the stretch of road we were walking down, and were racing their motorbikes along it in the early morning.

That’s how I lost my LSD cherry.
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 17:02, 10 replies)
Why I live in Scotland

That's a cheeky wee pint of Schiehallion beside Loch Broom. One of many sharpeners before tramping across six Munros in two days of glorious sunshine - while the less fortunate were watching the Royal bloody Wedding.
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 10:27, 18 replies)
Solo trip
It was 2001, and I was in the process of breaking up with a particularly awful boyfriend. I decided that what I needed was a solo trip around Ontario: I'd take my kayak, and camp wherever I found myself.

One of my first stops was at a national park on Georgian Bay. You had to kayak in and out of the site; it was on an island. I was pretty familiar with the area, and felt pretty safe. It was early May, so it was quiet. I didn't see any other campers on the island. I set up my tent, properly stowed my food to keep it away from the animals, and settled in for the night.

At some point during the night, I was awoken by the noise of something in the bushes. I wasn't too sure what it was, but it sounded pretty big. I was fairly sure it wasn't a raccoon. I'd never seen or hear of a bear on the island before, but I was pretty sure that was what I was dealing with. I lay there afraid of making any noise or making a move for fear of attracting attention. After a while, I decided to reach for my cellphone; I thought I could call the ranger station and get some help. I blindly groped for my cellphone and turned it on... to find it didn't work in that area. I lay in the tent for the rest of the night, paranoid that every noise was a bear.

Finally, it was light, and I felt brave enough to open the tent flaps. There were paw prints in the sand, the bear had played with the kayak during the night. Luckily, nothing was damaged. I threw everything in the kayak as quickly as I could and got the fuck out of there.

It was probably one of the scariest experiences of my life, but the trip on the whole was pretty amazing. I stuck to campsites a little less off the beaten path for the rest of it, though!
(, Fri 30 Mar 2012, 3:31, Reply)
Branded a liar
What do you call a vertical rock face that's around 15-20 feet high?
To my nine-year-old self, it was a cliff. Later I became all too aware that word conjures something altogether more impressive from the imagination.

My brother and I used to spend every other weekend at our Dads. Unless there was something going on worth sticking around for, we would wander / play around in the woods near his house. One such day we were making our way along the banks of the river derwent and when we got to an inside bend, the bank formed into a ledge so we climbed up to the very steep wooded bank above and carefully continued. Not carefully enough I found upon losing my footing in big clumsy wellies.

My feet slipped from under me and I belly-flopped onto the ground, at once winding myself and beginning to slide backwards down the steep autumnal bank. All I really remember now is the flashing browns of the forest floor and the sensation of sliding over the rough ground before the fall became smooth and black momentarily. The next thing was slamming onto my back and lying motionless in swirling blue as I felt the freezing water washing over me and gently pulling me deeper.

I say that's all I remember because that's the visions and sensations that visited my nightmares well into my teens. As much of a prick as my brother can be, he actually did save my life that day by pulling me out of that river before I drowned. How I got away with nothing more than shock and a few scrapes i'll never know. I've gone back there since I grew up and still can't believe I walked away from it.

It was a while before I told anyone at school, but when I did I made an unfortunate choice of word. I spent about two years being known as Cliffy Bullshit.
(, Thu 29 Mar 2012, 21:51, 1 reply)
I don't have a great outdoors story.
I'm in the firm belief that camping is for refugees and victims of natural disasters only.

So long as there is a hole in my foofoo, I will not reside in a tent.
(, Thu 29 Mar 2012, 16:39, 1 reply)
My brother and my mate were walking in the mountains.
The had been walking all day and were looking forward to a cup of tea, when my mate spotted a bothy (a small stone cottage for walkers). He strode on ahead of my brother and walked in the door and rather abruptly turned around and walked away. My brother asked him what was wrong, but he just replied 'Keep walking'. After half a mile or so, my brother stopped and asked what had happened in the bothy. Well it turned out as my mate walked through the door, there were two rather aged gentlemen walkers in there. One was stood on the wooden bench holding on to the rafters with his trousers down, whilst the other grey haired gentleman was stood in front of him sucking the others cock and wanking. As they saw my mate walk in, the one doing the sucking took the cock out of his mouth, looked at my mate and just said 'oops'.
(, Tue 3 Apr 2012, 14:09, 1 reply)
Walking in the Pyrenees
Camping on a sheep farm, we decided to make an expedition along a nearby ridge. 'Some parts of this walk are slightly exposed,' said the guidebook. Well, that'll be fine with a 7 year old, right? After all, it's in the local book of walks.

So I set off with 2 teenagers and a 7 year old. As we stepped off the road on to the first track we saw a sign: Missing - dwarf goats. We tramped along the leafy tracks, climbing higher and higher. We could see large birds circling above us, and soon we got to a flattish area where there must have been 40 vultures pecking at some dark shapes. We'd found the missing dwarf goats.

We continued - the kids started complaining as it was hot, but then we started to see lizards everywhere, and we crested a rise that gave us a view into the peaks of the Pyrenees - incredible. So with a second wind we pushed on, losing count of the lizards we saw. The ridge loomed ahead of us, looking grassy and welcoming. The 7 year old and his big brother rushed ahead. It turns out that the ridge was extremely exposed - very steep either side, with a little crest of rock about a foot's width wide. The boys were scrambling on ahead, loving it, while I worried after them with their sister chatting away happily. If this is a 'slightly exposed' walk for the locals then I didn't want to see the difficult ones!

We stopped for lunch on a rocky outcrop big enough for us all to sit down. The land dropped away on either side for several hundred metres. We could see our tent, a long way away and a long way down. It really was hot, we had no shade, and we'd run out of water, but the map showed me that at the end of the ridge was a drinking trough, so we pushed on. Eagles were soaring all round us - above our heads, and below us, skimming the steep slopes. Most of the time I couldn't see the boys, just heard their delighted shouts as they found another exciting rock to climb around.

After a couple of hours the ridge flattened out, we dropped down onto a saddle, and sure enough there was the drinking trough, surrounded by cows. We pushed gently through them, finding a trickle of water coming out of a plastic pipe. It was the sweetest water I'd ever tasted, made all the better with the calm lowing of the cows all around us.

From there it was an easy stroll over springy grass back to the tent, passing a chain of 8 little watermills on the way, with a bored teenager who gave us a guided tour for 1 Euro. The last little village we passed through had a beautiful well, with clear water sparkling into a long channel which ran around a little square, shady with hanging flower baskets.

We got back to the tent: I was exhausted. The kids were jumping around reliving the vultures, lizards, the ridge, the eagles, the cows. "Can we do it again tomorrow?" Truly the great outdoors.
(, Tue 3 Apr 2012, 9:16, 2 replies)

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