Found it!! Well nearly.

A part of my eternal search for the perfect camp site has always been the want to camp by water, specifically a picturesque lake. Now I know that there are any number of places one could head out to further afield (I’m based in Kent), but I what I really wanted was somewhere pretty close by, that could be got to within an hour or so and would therefore be suitable for a ‘quick nip out’ for the evening.

On the face of it this should be fairly easy as any look at a map will tell you that there is water of one sort or another all over the chuffing place. However, any substantial body of water will typically attract dozens of walkers and day-trippers, drawn to exactly the same things that I am (the birds, the fish, the peace and quiet). I have nothing against people, I just don’t like most of them. And afterall, a part of the point of these escapes is to get away from it all, be left alone with your own thoughts without interuption, or to enjoy quiet conversation with a good friend across the campfire.

To add to the difficulty of finding this ‘perfect spot’ an absolute necessity (for me anyway) is to have woodland coming right down to the edge of the water in which to camp, collect firewood and generally enjoy all that I love about mooching around in the woods but combined with the aquatic vista.

Well, I have to say that after many years of keeping my eyes open for the right place I finally took the plunge and invested in several new OS Explorer maps (1:25,000) covering the areas I thought I might like to be. Even with them it is surprising how few sights obviously present themselves as having that winning combo of lake and woodland.

However, after pouring over our combined maps at a lovely country pub, Steve, Stu and I identified a likely spot and went to recce it. It was a reservoir surrounded by woodland and despite the fact that certain areas of the woodland were clearly regularly used by dog-walkers et al, we did manage to find a secluded, out of the way spot that was as near as dammit perfect. A week or so later Stu and I took advantage of the beautiful Easter weather for a couple nights out under the canopy, in the woods, by the edge of our new found little paradise. Here are some pictures:

Home for the weekend:

Sunset amid the Bluebells:

The morning mist:

The view from our camp:

Being this close to the water gave me the opportunity to try out some new skills in the form of hobo-fishing, which I had not tried previously. Essentially (if you don’t know) it’s fishing without all the kit by simply dangling a line with a bit of bait (I used a small earthworm) into the water, Huckleberry Finn style. I tied the line to a Willow sapling, climbed out along the trunk of a fallen Willow hang over the lake and spent the most enjoyable hour or two of not catching anything I could possibly imagine. There is no doubt my fishing skills are far, far from accomplished but that really wasn’t the point. Had I managed to catch a fishy my plan was definitely to have it for supper, but that turned out not to be. It was absolutely fantastic to look down into the crystal water and be able see a number of different species (I only recognised the Perch) swimming right around my bait before buggering off without a nibble. It was frustrating, exciting, beautiful and took me to another place. With a little more practice, a little bit of luck, and slightly better kit (especially a more appropriate lure or two) I reckon I could have had one of those 20 ounce monsters!!

Although not completely devoid of other people (almost certainly an impossible ask in the heart of the South East) this is a spot I will definitely be heading back to. And no, I’m not telling you where it is.

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