For the love of Lanefoot Farm Campsite

As soon as Spring had sprung we hit the road for the Lake District for a week in our 5 metre glawning.
We arrived at Lanefoot Farm campsite, Thornthwaite, and had to go on the hardstanding rather than the more picturesque field due to the inclement weather they’d had of late (and which was to follow … but more on that later).
Lanefoot Farm campsite is a gem of a find – very glawning/burner friendly – with lovely owners, great pitches (fire pits available) , a wee shop, and lovely clean showers and toilets. It’s a working farm so lots to see, including, potentially, the ugliest sheep in the world (it isn’t a local attraction but it should be)…what do you reckon?!
 img_1067A short 15 minute walk up the lane brings you to Middle Ruddings Country Inn or the village of Braithwaite – two good options for eating out and drinking.
It is also a half hour walk (or one hour if you’re nearly six months pregnant) to Whinlatter Forest Park which has amazing walking and mountain bike trails, café, Go Ape and more.
We did the ten minute bus journey into Keswick one day from Braithwaite and did the usual tea rooms, art galleries, lake walk stuff.
We also went to Thornthwaite Teashop which has a nice art gallery/gift shop and even nicer cakes.
With rain for 80% of our week, hail for 10% and sleet for 5%, it certainly tested the waterproof qualities of the glawning2016 and groundsheet which didn’t disappoint. The mudbath beneath us was pretty impressive (like walking on a water bed) but the luxury groundsheet didn’t allow a bead of moisture through so with our glawningGLOW wood burning stove as well it was toasty as always. We rarely go away with a 5m glawning because it’s just the two of us but it was lovely the have the extra space (mainly for all the lovely glamping paraphernalia we’d just bought at Ikea!) and it fitted just fine on a standard camping pitch.
If we could have dragged ourselves away from the cosy glawning more we’d have tried some of Wainwrights walks…
Maybe next time.
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Running Our Own Glamping Business : The Highs and Lows

Once we’d come up with ‘The Best Campervan Awning Ever’, we then needed to set about imparting the joy of the glawning to others and actually making it into the business we believed it could be. This involved a lot of hard work and fun, in equal measure. With his own bare hands my husband designed our website www.glawning.com using Adobe Muse by watching hours of online tutorials to teach himself web design.  Meanwhile I set up all the social media known to man to plug our products.  The joy (and curse) of the smart phone means I can blend every tweet/facebook/instagram/pin/like/retweet/blog into everyday life, often doing so as I walk to and from my other job, narrowly avoiding being run over a few times.

We attended as many VW festivals and shows as physically possible, up and down the country to show off and sell our glawnings, stoves and coir matting, meeting lots of avid campervan fans along the way, not to mention lots of lovely kids and cute dogs.  There aren’t many occupations where you get to drink on the job (definitely one of the highs).

It extends the camping season so much that when we’re not showing and telling we’ve been able to go away ourselves even in the dead of winter and still be all toasty in the glawning – all in the name of ‘market research’ of course.  We’ve even had a Christmas glawning party in the back garden! It’s a standalone tent / driveaway awning so it doesn’t need the canopy and campervan to work.

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It hasn’t all been a walk in the park.  We’ve had our setbacks and we’ve learned first hand what a steep learning curve it is to set up your own business.  When we started out we were storing all of our stock in our living room.  It wasn’t a lot of fun wading knee deep through glawnings 24/7.  We didn’t have a trailer so every time we went to a show we’d pile about eight glawnings and stoves into the back of the van, drive for hours and then have to decant any that we didn’t sell back into the house.  We’ve had major production delays, we’ve had horrendous weather at shows, we’ve had van breakdowns, we have round the clock enquiries to respond to, and much more.  All this whilst still having day jobs and running Retro Runaways VW campervan hire.  At times it was NOT pretty.   But as time moved on and the business evolved we got ourselves a little trailer and we now have a lock up near our house to store all the paraphernalia…such luxuries.  We’ve also just sold Retro Runaways VW campervan hire so that we can channel more of our energies into glawning world domination.

We have had hundreds of chats and lots of feedback from our wonderfully supportive customers and potential customers which has led to us change supplier this year and make some improvements to the glawning in the form of a darker sandy colour of canvas, zipped in luxury ground sheet, luminous guy ropes, heavy duty stakes and pegs, zipped on canopy, and more, not to mention bringing back the highly demanded 5m version.

Here is our new glawning2016:

It has all been quite the adventure but the best bit is seeing our customers enjoying the product we created. There is already a superb community of glawning owners out there, growing daily, whose support, kind words (and photos*!) we are indebted to.  One day, we’re all going to meet up for a festival of our own, I promise.  In the meantime, glawning owner or not, if you find yourself at a show where we’re exhibiting please come and see us.  You’ll receive a very warm welcome.

This is where I’ll be:

Cheers!

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*Photos of our customers doing us proud (thank you):

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How the glawning came to be…

We’ve camped A LOT since 2010 when we tentatively joined the VW campervan owners world by spending our life savings on a brand new Danbury conversion called Babs. We took to our new way of life like ducks to water and never looked back.  Anyone with a campervan knows the joys of being able to hit the road at a moments notice and be set up at a campsite with a beer within a couple of hours, away from the house and all those odd jobs.  Bliss.004

We well and truly caught the bug and added another Brazilian Bay to our collection (Jemima) so we could build a business hiring them out in between our own camping trips.

It was on one such trip that the first seeds were planted for the creation of the very glamourous awning we sell today. However great campervanning is, we’re always on the lookout for ways to make it even better, and on a trip to Scotland in 2013 we decided we’d had enough of our nasty nylon awning.  It was dark green (boring).  It had ripped off the side of the van in the middle of the night during gale force winds in Scotland (scary).  It was freezing in there (brrr).  It was a dumping ground for all our junk (yuk).  On the whole, it was an embarrassment to put alongside the campervans we were so proud of. We were convinced we could do better.  We started a series of ‘what ifs’.  What if we could get an awning that was made of canvas and didn’t rip all the time?!  What if we could get an awning that was pretty and nice to sit in like a mini living room?!  What if we could get an awning with a little wood burner inside?! Thinking that our ideas, if they were possible, would probably have already been done we started researching with a vengeance to find the perfect awning we’d had in our minds eye. It didn’t exist.  Anywhere.  Not to be outdone we drew a design of ‘Our Dream Awning’ and approached a bespoke tent making company in hope.

Voila! Here it is on its first outing at How Stean Gorge Campsite in Yorkshire:

How Stean Gorge

It fitted to our gutter rail using a pole and clamp and all we needed were a few tweaks here and there to the canopy before it was pretty much spot on.  We fitted an Anevay Frontier woodburning stove in it using a flashing kit and had a glamping weekend that we thought only dreams are made of.

The unpredictable British weather did its worst but we were toasty everywhere we went with our glawning and woodburner. Some rugs, bunting and Moroccan lights later and we had a home from home that we were so proud to attach to the van.  And one that doesn’t go into orbit in high winds either.  The stability of the glawning is excellent because everything is tensioned on one central pole and pegged out at twelve points with strong guy ropes and pegs.

Our first interior photoshoot:

Glawning Interior How Stean

We got so much attention wherever we went that we were sure it was a marketable product.  We decided to christen our glam awning the ‘glawning’ (geddit?!) and to trademark the name and register the design rights. With shaking hand we placed our first bulk order.  We needn’t have worried. With glamping being so popular the 4m and 5m glawning soon took off as many campervan owners were on the lookout for something more luxurious and robust than nylon to while away their camping weekends in.  And this was just the beginning! Tune in again soon for the next instalment on the glawning timeline –  ‘Running Our Own Glamping Business:  The Highs and Lows’…

www.glawning.com

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Happy New Year Happy New Glawning 

Disregarding all flood warnings, off we went in Jemima, our Brazilian Bay VW Campervan for a short getaway to the depths of the Lake District for New Year.

New Year’s Eve dinner was had at the Brambles Bistro in Brampton (very disappointing on the food front to be honest).  Things started looking up when we checked in at Lanercost Bed and Breakfast – our New Year treat to ourselves.  Very nice it was too, next to Lanercost Priory ruins and church, with home grown wholesome food, their own rare breeds of chickens and an ancient dog called Mutley.


  

Kiln Hill campsite avec glawning™ was our home for the next two nights for some more R & R and a chance to try out our brand new glawning2016. It’s a caravan club campsite so beware there are no loos or showers 😁 but they allow woodburners 👍. £18 per night got us hook up and wondrous views of the snow topped mountains with Bassenthwaite lake just about visible. Perfect for lots and lots of self indulgent glawning snaps of all the improved features such as zipped in groundsheet, darker colour, zipped on canopy, improved vents, bugmesh door, luminous guy ropes, heavy duty steel pegs and stakes etc.  We’re SO  happy with it.  For full spec and further info including prices visit our website.

The Sun Inn is only a mile down the road but of course once we got ensconced in the glawning trying out our new wood burner there was no shifting us. We also happened to be able to test the waterproof and windproof qualities of the set up when we found ourselves in the eye of a storm that night. 😁. Everything remained in tact. Very impressed. Check out some storm footage below:

 We spent the next day testing out our new stove prototype which has all the features everybody loves about the traveller stove (i.e it’s pretty, you can see the fire, you can cook on it) but at a fraction of the weight, size and price. This one weighs in at a very manageable 11kg and dimensions are a mere W250 x D402 x H253. It comes in stylish matt black with a 60mm stainless steel flue and built in spark arrestor.  We sat there in front of it for hours, snug as bugs in rugs. The 3.5kW it kicks out heats the glawning up just as effectively as the traveller or frontier stoves. Our new ‘glawningGLOW’ is available to purchase now for delivery in March.  RRP is £175 but there are some fine January deals to be had on www.glawning.com right now.

 

We had a lovely evening at the Sun Inn consuming lots of good food and drink. It’s one of those dog friendly pubs with dog biscuits on the bar. This is all well and good until every single dog in the pub (seven) starts barking in unison for about three minutes and then this happens another three or four times during the evening. Incessant dog barking aside its a great pub to spend an evening in with a roaring fire, friendly locals and good pub largely apportioned pub grub.

After a day pottering around the various shops and coffee houses of Keswick along with a lake walk we headed home, very well rested (and a very well covered in mud).

Mud, midges & mountain biking – AKA a Weekend in Scotland 

We snatched a rare weekend away for ourselves. To pedal our bikes rather than peddle our glawnings and headed into the depths of midge-infested Scotland with campervan and glamorous bell tent awning for a bank holiday get away. 

  
Balquhidder Braes Holiday Park could do with a bit of a spruce up and it’s right next to a busy main road but any campsite that allows fires gets a big thumbs up from us. This is, after all, what camping is all about.  AND the smoke from a wood burner keeps the midges away so it’s a win win. We were toasty despite our on board petrol heater not working and the inevitable drop in temperature experienced upon entering Scotland 😉 

  
Our sleepies helped too.  Still can’t get over the novelty of not having to get out of sleeping bag to go to the loo. 

 The campsite owner is lovely and rides around on his quad bike all day making sure everyone is ok.  It’s also a mere few yards to a restaurant cafe called The Golden Larches (as opposed to The Golden Arches), serving no-frills pub grub, cooked breakfasts and cakes and that.    

 We went to do some red squirrel spotting with friends in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park after lunch at The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre and actually saw them from the Red Squirrel Hide!

   
  Lots of other kid friendly activities at this place including Go Ape.  

The Rob Roy Way is great for cycling (wonderful views and easy terrain) and we could access it from the campsite. Made a day of it and stopped in Killin for a nice lunch at The Shutters Restaurant & Coffee Shop. 

   
  On the whole, Scotland was kind to us. 

  
  
P.S. Take a look at our list of recommended campsites that are glawning & wood burner friendly for some inspiration on where to glamp next!

Doing Dartmoor, Devon.

We headed down to Devon for the best part of a week this year so that Jemima could go to the lovely Pete at Space Roofs for a few days to get a pop up roof fitted – we’ve always wanted one of these as you can get different colours instead of the boring Danbury grey.  The joy of being able to stand up inside the van was also a major draw!
Whilst Jemima was having her surgery we walked back from Okehampton to Venton via the Tarka trail where we were staying in our glawning (which works as a stand alone bell tent – brucey bonus!) at Woodland Springs Touring Park which is a quiet adults only site. They do fresh bread to order and there’s a wee shop on site with beers, milk, ice cream etc which is a good job as it’s not really that close to anything if you’re on foot.  What you lose out on in quirkiness here you make up for in perfectly coiffed pitches and immaculate facilities (free showers with lots of hooks & a CHAIR TO PUT YOUR STUFF ON!).  If you like rules and kid free zones then this is the place for you however if you’re a bit of a rebel when it comes to recycling, one way systems and arrival/departure times don’t bother.  You’ll be ‘frowned upon’.
We had a nice evening at The Post Inn 25 minutes walk away – cheap and cheerful pub grub.
Another evening we walked the hour to the Drewe Arms in Drewesteignton and tret ourselves to dinner, bed and breakfast there. Great value and service. On a foodie roll, we fine dined the following evening at The Old Inn in the same village – very classy indeed.  It also manages to feel very homely despite clearly being such a fine, expensive establishment.  It’s not too fine that their golden retrievers aren’t allowed to wander round and bring a stick* to the door of the restaurant room to win the hearts of all the diners in there. How could you resist?! (*when I say stick I mean massive log)
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We went on a National Trust bender visiting Finch Foundry AND Castle Drogo.  The latter of which is undergoing a five year multi million pound rebuild at the moment and visitors can actually don a hard hat and hi vis jacket to climb the scaffolding tower and watch the building site (which is much more exciting than a visit to a castle, I say!)
There are lots of nice walks of the surrounding area including one that passes by the Fingle Inn, a lovely pub by the river, where we spent a boozy afternoon.
We retrieved Jemima from Space Roofs, paid the bill (sharp intake of breath!) and love the airy brightness that this new addition affords. The colour is very eye catching and there’s even a little window in the front fabric.  We’re very much looking forward to not banging our heads as much, and sleeping in the double roof bed rather than the poky three quarter one beneath.  A successful trip all round.
Piccies!!
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Catching Up With The Cotswolds

We headed to the Cotswolds the other weekend with our glawning and Jemima (pics below) for some proper quintessential Englishness. What a pretty little part of the country it is!  Farrow and Ball have done well out of these parts. Beautiful little cottages with wild flower gardens and lush countryside abounded, fulfilling all expectations, and there’s enough thatch to start a forest fire. The sleepy Cotswolds is no understatement either – on the day we walked along the bridle paths from Whichford to Hook Norton we hardly saw a soul despite it being bank holiday weekend. Once there give Hook Norton Brewery a visit – they do some really nice ales and I can strongly recommend the Hooky.
We stayed at the very cool and quirky Holycombe Campsite in Whichford where lots of glamping options are available like gypsy caravan, yurt, tree house, airstream and bell tents, not to mention its very own moat and stone circle.  We were sorted for glamping options, of course, as we brought our unique drive away two door bell tent awning complete with log burning stove for the chilly evenings (and any time we get the urge to burn stuff).
There was a real feel of being at one with nature at Holycombe – not just from the compost loos (say no more) – but the constant lovely background noise of birdsong.  This was coupled with the church bells chiming the hour (the novelty of which soon wears off when you realise it continues all the way through the night…).  There’s only one hook up at this site so goodness only knows how far in advance you’d have to book for that. Otherwise it’s a nice relaxed £10 per night, park where you like, campfires allowed kind of place so a massive thumbs up from us.  No children and no dogs means it’s lovely and quiet too.
Not far away is Whichford Pottery  – definitely worth a visit. Lovely pots, great atmosphere, shop and cafe.  All very wholesome and organic with a menu featuring posh herbs like sorrel, fennel, and chicory.  They even make their own ice cream and it’s a TASTE SENSATION.
The Norman Knight pub is also in the village and has just changed hands so wasn’t serving food when we were there unfortunately but will be by now and looks promising.
We drove to the charming Stow-on-the Wold for a look around. All very civilised.

Click on the link below to see some sleepy Cotswolds footage of buttercups, fields being skipped through and steaks sizzling on our glawnings Traveller Stove:

The Obligatory Photo Album:

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