This weekend saw us pack our bags and head to the hills to live life as Apache Indians!!
In order to put a different twist on celebrating a friends 40th birthday we decided to spend a couple of nights in an authentic Native American teepee. Now we are no strangers to camp life, but the thought of not taking our tent and pitching it on a wet Friday night after work was rather appealing.
Low Wray Campsite near Ambleside is the home to 4 Winds Lakeland Tipis which offers a number of ready pitched teepees fully equipped with everything you need for a comfortable stay.
When we arrived the kids were beside themselves with excitement to see that the teepees were arranged in such a way as to give the shaded corner of the site a real Native American village feel.
Individually and beautifully decorated, the teepees are very colourful on the outside making the village really eye catching as you go by. All weekend we had admiring and jealous glances from other campers as they were heading past us on route to their tents.
Our teepee was named Fisher Lodge and was decorated in pale blue and yellow with a very private aspect of the field close to the small brook that runs around the outskirts of the village.
It didn’t take long before the girls had their wellies on and were carefully negotiating the water to the other side.
Of course it did not take much longer long for one of them to step into a bit which was deeper than the height of their wellies and after that numerous trips were needed in order to empty the water out of them.
Once the bags were inside the teepee and everything was organised we turned our attention to the obligatory barbeque (included with the teepee along with firewood and kindling!!) and after a hearty burger and sausage based meal washed down with beer/wine/cider/whisky the numbers around the campfire slowly started to dwindle as one by one we went to bed.
Boz, whose birthday it was and who was now dressed in his traditional Indian Chief headdress, and I were of course last to go but only after realising that while we were barbecuing the last two burgers over the dying embers of the campfire the time had reached 2am!
Low Wray Camp site is situated right on the western shore of Lake Windermere and not only offers teepee hire but wooden pods as well as spaces for pitching your own tent either in a woodland setting or in a larger open field which runs right down to the shore of the lake. It even has its own boat launching facility. The site is huge but the pitches are so spread out and dotted throughout the wooded areas that there was a real wilderness feel to it. The view from the lake shore across to Waterhead was idyllic.
Saturday gave us more opportunity to explore the inside of the teepee which even with four adults and two children in it (as well as the gear from outside which needed shelter from the unfortunate rain) was surprisingly spacious. We had opted for the largest (18ft) teepee and inside we were supplied with everything we could possibly need from cutlery to a gas heater if it got cold.
The teepee even has a carpeted wooden floor which really helps to insulate the tent from the ground and we found it very warm and cosy inside (even my wife Joanne who normally complains of being cold 24/7 when camping).
The rest of the day was given up to a visit to Grasmere to stock up on gingerbread from the world famous Sarah Nelson Gingerbread shop and a spot of lunch in the Lamb Inn before a walk around Ambleside itself.
After debating what to do with our last few hours we remembered that included in the price of the weekend was complimentary membership of the leisure facilities at the nearby Windermere Manor Hotel which, when we got there, turned out to be a charming place with friendly staff and an empty swimming pool, sauna and gym. We spent an entire hour with the place to ourselves followed by a bit of lunch.
All too quickly it was time to head off home. Again I was relieved not to have to take down a tent and pack it away which always fills me with dread wrestling to get a huge tent into a bag which always looks too small to fit it into. Before long the bags were packed and we were off back down the motorway on our way home with a tired out 7 year old Indian squaw in the back seat gently snoring to herself.
If you’re looking for a weekend with a difference an don’t mind the outdoors life then I can fully recommend trying out the teepee
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to leave a comment.