I was trying to find the toilets.
Commonsense said they should be near the campers, and there were a number of tents on the left. I picked a path round the back of them, saw a low building and awarded myself the Poirot Deduction Badge.
There were more tents passed the toilets. And caravans, and camper vans. The latter accommodated in a walled area by the old Dovecote, itself disfigured by two large royal blue rubbish bins up against its sides. As campsites go, it was pretty unsophisticated. There were toilets and shower blocks, a place to empty chemical toilets, electrical hook up, but no shop, no organised activities. There was no reason why I should have found it depressing.
I have spent the day at the Castlewellan Forest Park, enjoying the arboretum and the Cypress Pond Trail. Most of the time I had no mobile phone signal, so it was a bit of a surprise, just as I was photographing the ‘castle, now a Christian Conference Centre from whence came the sound of intermittent singing, when I got a call offering me some work for the week after next. I think I have to take it, though it is the only day I have completely free in a week. Still, bills and all that. But I digress.
The castle isn’t really a castle. It was only built in 1856, in the Scottish Baronial Style, the leaflet states grandly. You can imagine it, all turrets, pinnacles and crenellations made from local granite.
As a place for a family holiday, away from conspicuous consumerism that characterises most seaside resorts, this couldn’t be much better. Acres of woodland, a lake with canoes, and lanes for paddlers laid out like a swimming race, mountain bike trails of different grades – I took photos for JanH – bridle paths (though I didn’t see any horses tethered by the tents), lots of walking for lots of happy dogs and their owners.
I think it was just the sheer number of campers that cowed me. It was like a housing estate removed to an area of natural beauty. I was glad to get back to the quiet of the woods.