This year our breaks away have pretty much all been about camping.
With money tighter this year than any other and work commitments coming out of our ears we had planned to take a longer camping trip away but with me unable to go for longer than a couple of nights we decided to stay closer to home and decided to book a 2 night camping trip to Callow Top in Derbyshire.
Callow Top is only minutes away from Dovedale stepping stones which Ollie has been promising we would visit for 8 years and with never getting there camping up the road means there was really no way we couldn’t visit!
The campsite we picked had some great reviews and with a play park and outdoor swimming pool if made for an ideal place to go, after all its been gloriously hot all summer…. Until the week we arrived.
When we arrived we had the tent pitched in less than 30 minutes and the internal belongings unpacked and set up and we headed for a walk round camp to get our bearings.
We were camped at the bottom of field 6, which as its name says is a field and we discovered we were a fields walk away from a toilet. Never great when toilet training a toddler but hey hoe. The cafe looked great with some good food offers but we never managed to actually try any food.
Within 2 hours of arriving Jacob fell over and ripped off half of his big toenail which lead to blood, snot and tears and an earlier than planned return to the tent for some first aid, paracetamol and cuddles. Thankfully after the paracetamol kicked in Jacob was less clingy and we could get on with getting tea sorted which we had planned for a picnic.
After tea the rain decided to put pay to any further plans so we rolled down the tent door and began settling down for the night. We were woken on and off through the night with rain of epic proportions. However, I am pleased that we upgraded our sleeping bag as this time we weren’t cold!
As the first morning broke Jacob was a lot happier, all though he didn’t want to walk on his poorly toe so Daddy carried him a lot. We had planned to go straight to Dovedale stepping stones and spend the day there but with rain still falling we headed into Ashbourne (minutes away from the campsite) to buy some toe covering sandals and like anywhere we go some fudge for Ollie too!
After a quick soggy walk round we purchased both things on the list along with some cakes and decided to bite the bullet and take the kids to a soft play locally to spend a few hours letting them play and let off steam.
As lunch was eaten and some fun was had we finally noticed blue skies appearing and headed to Dovedale for our first family visit (which i will write about later this week) Ollie and Joshua headed off to the pool for a swim while i stayed with a napping Jacob.
Tea consisted of tinned hotdogs, however we had wished we had tried out buying food onsite as there were some lovely smelling stone baked pizza on offer along with a lager array of offerings on the menu.
On the second morning we were due to leave at 11am but decided to let the tent dry for an hour and then pack up and leave before the weather turned again.
Callow Top had been on our must visit campsites but if I am honest I am not sure it was what we expected to be honest. For the amount of pitches on site I don’t think there was enough facilities in the form of toilets and showers and for anyone pitched on field 6 it can be quite a wait at bust time to use a toilet. The play park was nice for older kids but had limited things for toddlers and to be honest many people were using it as a child minding service instead of being present while their kids used the park they were allowing them to just play all day up there on their own so it was chaotic and children were slightly wild on there.
We would certainly consider going again to Callow Top but we would be requesting to be nearer a toilet and probably somewhere on field 4 instead.
I know Callow Top is a site that has extensive regular visitors and I can see why if your maybe camping as a group and using it as social gathering that wants to be a near a pub. However for me don’t think it has the family element of relaxation I would expect. Maybe with more facilities and them more spread out it would change my mind.
It was a nice break away spending some time with the kids but I can’t wait to discover other campsites in the area so watch this space.