I first went camping with my godfather, his wife and two young sons. I was about 12 at the time. My little white tent cost 30/- from the army surplus store and the family used an early VW camper that my godfather had converted. We went to the Christchurch campsite in the Forest of Dean. I’ve been there a great many times since.

On April 9th 1969 I was laying outside the tent with friends watching a clear blue sky do nothing spectacular. Suddenly a strange, beautiful shape was seen high up. The world’s first supersonic passenger jet was on it’s very first test fright. Piloted by British test pilot Brian Trubshaw the British built Concorde was on it’sway from Filton (Bristol) where it was built to RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire.  A little bit of history in the making.

Years later, with a wife, family and dogs I was still camping. I’d progressed from a 30/- tent to a large framed family tent which we were normally able to errect in about forty minutes then one day down at the Witterings the wind and rain played havoc with our usual tent pitching process. It probably took longer to get things sorted than it would have taken to go home and try another day. Eventually we settled down to a well earned cup of tea.

A few minutes later a car towing a caravan drove across the field. The driver swung the outfit around, two ladies hopped out and unhitched while the driver drove back across the field. Five minutes later he was back with a water roll hooked over his tow-ball. The ladies were inside, having put the corner steadies down, making tea.

We brought a caravan soon after.


We started out with a 4 berth Sprite which I towed behind my Safari Landrover. It was perfect for towing as long as you didn’t want to get anywhere fast. The three hour car trip to the Forest of Dean took two days! We couldn’t even overtake a milk float in Slough. We wanted to avoid the M4.