Are you sick and tired of putting up a tent in the cold and wet? Do you find campsites drab and boring? Our range of Regatta tents
not enough for you?
If that sounds like you but you still want to enjoy the great outdoors, here's a look at some of the camping alternatives out there at the moment.
Shepherd's hut in Cornwall
A traditional shepherd's hut like that offered by Hideaway Huts just outside Looe in Cornwall (pictured) is the perfect little romantic getaway for the would-be camper. These are old huts used by shepherds to shelter from the weather during lambing or other busy times, updated for 21st century use.
They offer all the peace and quiet of a rural camping retreat but with a few creature comforts. So while you might still need your waterproof jacket
to enjoy the nearby coastal walks, you'll be able to cosy up in a luxurious double bed complete with your very own wood burner. Your own personal shower block and toilet makes this a real home from home.
Hideaway Huts Treworgey Duloe Nr Looe PL14 4PP, www.hideawayhuts.co.uk
Böds in Shetland
In Shetland, a böd was a building used to house fishermen and their gear during the fishing season. Today, the word has been "borrowed" to describe basic accommodation for those who want a simple holiday on Shetland. Rather like camping barns, these are often very basic – in the more remote parts there is no electricity. There are several dotted throughout the isles, offering a cheap and cheerful way to explore without risking your tent being blown away in the fierce Shetland wind.
Shetland Amenity Trust, Garthspool, Lerwick, Shetland; camping-bods.co.uk
Bothies in Scotland
Another simple way to spend the night in the great outdoors, bothies offer a great way to see some of the wilder parts of the British Isles. These shelters are mainly found in Scotland, though there are some in northern England and Wales. Check out the Mountain Bothies Association (http://www.mountainbothies.org.uk/
), a charity that maintains about 100 shelters in some of the remoter parts of the UK.
Its bothies are unlocked and are available for anyone to use. Maintenance work is carried out by volunteers, many of whom make use of the free accommodation while walking and trekking.
Sleep on a skiff on the Thames
Skiffs are wooden rowing boats about 26 feet long, built for ease of handling and efficient travelling, making them perfect for exploring the nation's waterways. At night a canvas cover converts the entire craft into a tent with room for three people to sleep aboard. The cover can also provide weather protection during the day, though you're still advised to take some good waterproof clothing. You can expect to travel anywhere between 12 and 20 miles a day in a skiff.
Thames Skiff Hire 64 Carlton Road, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey KT12 2DG www.skiffhire.com
Pod camping in Cumbria
It's about as close to camping as you can get without the smell of canvas. These pods are like miniature Nissen huts. Inside you'll find space for four people. The French doors open onto a small sheltered decking area that's ideal for putting your muddy walking boots
out of the way at night. In Cumbria, the National Trust (nationaltrust.org.uk
) has two pod sites, one at Great Langdale and one at Wasdale.