This post was originally published on www.randomstoat.com on 23 August 2010.
The day started off early (The alarm going off at 6.40am was a bit startling to say the least), allowing plenty of time to make sure the car was packed and to give me time to pick up my three passengers for the trip down to Newquay. A quick round of toast and a final check before I set out. All three passengers were ready at the appointed time and we set out almost on schedule at 8.30am. Unfortunately for everybody in the car, they were pressed in like sardines. Being the driver I think I was the most comfortable all the way down, physically at any rate. Emotionally I was dealing with the fact I couldn’t see out of my rear window, something I’ve never really had to deal with whilst driving before.
What followed was a four hour car journey down to the South West. We only had to stop on two occasions, once just past Bristol for a toilet stop, and once again planned for Junction 28 on the M5, where we would meet up with the other two cars in our proposed convoy. A snag was instantly hit in that no services were signposted at Junction 28, so I carried on to the rather impressive services at Junction 30. Managed to resist buying a Burger King meal, I have a pathological desire to eat them whenever I go away on holiday, mostly because it’s a long distance to travel to buy one at home.
We met up with Adam, but Ant and Rich ended up missing the turn and somehow ended up traveling south towards Plymouth. We decided to carry on and meet them somewhere along the way. I was glad to discover that Mountain Dew has returned to these shores, in the form of Mountain Dew Energy. By the time I got to drink it it had gone warm, so I may have to seek out another bottle and drink it as nature intended – chilled. Shame it cost £1.70 a bottle at the services…
We eventually met up with Ant and Rich on the A30 towards Newquay, and after another brief stop at a petrol station we continued on to the camp site at Trethiggey. It wasn’t too difficult to find, about 600 yards from the main through-road to Newquay. Just out of the way of most of the traffic and not horrendously busy, unlike the camp site a bit further down the road – very busy, situated right on the main road, and very restrictive in that you have to park your car next to the tent. Trethiggey was much more pleasant. A convenience shop and a reasonably priced bar/restaurant, a separate car park and the option to pitch your tent anywhere you like in the field. Naturally we positioned our three tents in a triangular formation, spurning outsiders and firmly establishing a base camp. The toilet and washing facilities were pretty decent for a campsite, four showers, four toilets and a trough for peeing in. I’ve never been one for using a trough or urinal, but I could smell them from some distance away. Even more concerning was that the games room was next door to the gents toilets, and you could hear people talking through the wall as if they were stood outside your cubicle. A bit freaky.
Setting up the tents was surprisingly easy, none more so for my tent as I’d never actually tried setting it up until our arrival. Once the sleeping arrangements were sorted we popped to McDonalds for a quick snack, then to Morrisons next door for BBQ food and supplies. I have never seen a supermarket quite as busy as that, and I spent seven years working Christmas week at Tesco.
We struggled through the masses and bought man food – meat, bread and beer. Well, I bought Dr Pop seeing as I’m not the drinking type, but still, enduring image isn’t it? We headed back to the campsite and set fire to some meat (all rather tasty). After the food was consumed it was getting on a bit, so we decided to nip up to the Quintrell Arms, a pub just a short walk from the campsite. They had some really nice red leather chairs in the bar, conjuring the image of some exclusive gentlemen’s club. But of course it wasn’t – it was a family pub.
The evening at the pub drew to a close as we all finished our first drink, the travels of the day obviously having their toll. Except on me, I was pumped full of Mountain Dew Energy. It took a while to get off to sleep, but I managed it eventually. Then we just had to deal with the excessive number of rabbits that roam the grounds at night, some of which decided to sleep against some of our tents. Thankfully I didn’t have any close encounters…