A COUPLE pictured sleeping on their car roof near Keswick have told how they improvised to try and keep their children smiling despite a series of mishaps during their first ever family camping trip.
Kirsty Beck and her partner, Kris Hardy, faced a catalogue of challenges during an incident-packed short Lakes break with youngsters Byron, 17, Daisy, 12, and Louie, 11.
After their third holiday of the year, to Cornwall, had been cancelled, law student Kirsty and business owner Kris hatched a plan B, buying some camping equipment and diverting to Cumbria.
The couple, both aged 35, had booked a camp site near Keswick but found when they arrived it was full.
Ex-military man Kris then tried to improvise and pitch their tent in a quiet spot in picturesque Portinscale, close to Derwentwater.
But after being taken to task by a villager, they found their car was stuck in a ditch and had to summon the AA. Approaching midnight, they found B&Bs were also full and opted instead, as a last resort, to sleep inside their vehicle.
“It was around 11 o’clock at night, pitch black and too dark to pitch up a tent,” said Kirsty. “We were all tired and worn out. We were in a little lay-by and Kris said ‘we’ll just sleep in the car’.
“But five of us trying to sleep in the car was just impossible. It was too hot and so uncomfortable, so Kris said ‘let’s get on the car roof’. So he got on the car roof first and after about 15 minutes I ended up on the car roof with him in sleeping bags. We’ve never done it before and by that point it was late and we just wanted to get some sleep.
“Luckily it was a dry night and to be honest we fell asleep quite quickly. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be!
“This was our first camping trip. It took all along to convince the kids to go anyway so by this point we were trying to keep them smiling and keep their spirits up. But the kids were so good. They didn’t strop, they didn’t moan. They just took everything in their stride and just carried on. And they thought it was hilarious that we slept on the car roof!”
But the mood turned sour at around 6-30am when a passing dog walker began taking photographs.The woman, Kirsty alleged, verbally abused her eldest son, said she’d “never seen anything so disgusting in her life”, and had accused the family of leaving behind litter.
“The only thing that was taken out of the car were sleeping bags, so there was no rubbish left behind whatsoever,” Kirsty responded.
After failing to find a B&B for the next night, the family headed to Blackpool and then home to Bradford, West Yorkshire. “The kids looked at it as an adventure. It’s memories – something they can tell their grandchildren about. We just kept everyone laughing so it was good in the end,” she added.
“It’s not put us off going to the Lakes at all. A lot of people have since contacted us from the Lakes saying if it was them they would have offered help.”