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We Did It! The First Ever Babble Open Camp: Loch Chon 7-9/09/18

Updated: Mar 23, 2019

(I should be honest now and say I began this post just after the camp in September 2018 , then abandoned it as draft until January 2019 - almost 4 months later! I do feel it is worth a write up, so, fwiw, here are my memories!)

As I said in my previous post , to call this "The First Ever Babble Rock Camp" is a bit of a misnomer. We 'Rockers have camped many a time and place, sometimes even with each other. What we've never done before, however, and what we successfully pulled off at the beginning of this month, is a camp potentially open to all 549 members of this site. What has prevented us hitherto includes the logistics of proposing a site, and then dealing with undertake (not such a problem) or excessive update. Once a group reaches a certain size, it becomes impossible, and most campsites rightly encourage a small clientele. Moreover, as most sites strongly discourage large groups taking up all their spaces, who would even be responsible for booking the pitches?

In the end we organised it like this: initial discussions were had on the Facebook page about the possibility of such a camp, to see how much interest there was. The moderators then informed folk that they would book their own pitches on an as-yet unrevealed campsite and post details of the location along with a booking link. A few caveats were posted, reminding folk that, despite it being a Babble Rock camp, they were also responsible for their own safety and enjoyment on this event. The booking link was finally revealed and people booked their own pitches.

I'm pleased to say that, in a group of 500+ members, our concerns about over-and-under take-up didn't materialise: it seems that everyone who was available that weekend and wanted to come was able to book a pitch and we ended up with 14 families attending, comprised of 22 adults just pipped at the post by 23 tiddlers.

Loch Chon is part of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority from whom you must get permit if you want to wild camp anywhere in the Trossachs area. Loch Chon differs from most of their wild camping sites in that, even though the tents are scattered through the woods in a 'wild camping' layout, (as far as is possible in an area of such heavy footfall as the Trossachs) there is also drinking water and rudimentary toilets (rudimentary in the sense of no showers/no hot water).

So, given that the presence of water and toilets effectively qualifies this as a campsite, it is an extraordinarily beautiful one. The pitches are scattered throughout the woods above the loch in such a way that your neighbours are generally a considerable distance away.

We camped from Friday night to Sunday and other folk joined either for one or two nights. Our youngest member, Baby Emma, was only weeks old at the time! During the day the kids ran wild through the woods and people took it in turns to go out on the kayaks which were brought by me, Graeme and one of our other mods, Allan. We also brought life jackets small enough for babies and large enough for adults. There was (almost) no risk of capsizing given the conditions and types of kayaks we used, so no one apart from Graeme and I wore wetsuits. In the evenings we built a campfire and put hammocks out by my pitch and folk were free to come and go as they pleased. The weather played ball most of the weekend and the attendees were fab....many of us were strangers to each other at the start and firm friends by the end!

We'll definitely do another one (or more!) this year - 2019 - so watch the Facebook group for details.

Attendees: No of families: 14 No of adults: 22 No of kids: 23

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