Submitted by callum on 21 Sep 2014


A car camping trip.


Work and family commitments have pushed trekking and camping trips down the priority order. I needed to get away for a weekend and so did quite a few other people and in a glorious alignment of free weekends, Iain, AB, AP, Joe, Gareth and I managed to find one that suited all and the arrangements were made.

The morning after the Scottish Independence Referendum, Iain, Joe and I packed a small truck and headed up to the south shore of Loch Fyne. One of the benefits of car camping it that there is no real limit on the gear you can take. And the Landmann bbq tripod I picked up just a few days before is just perfect for such a trip. The construction is not that solid, so a little care is needed when using it, but it folds down to a compact size that can be easily put in the car boot. The grill is hung from a chain that can be raised and lowered, which allowed for precise temperature control - essential for simmering and not burning stuff! The first test run was to make some Chai Tea, which turned out to be a very good approximation of the Chai Iain and I have had in India. It certainly brought back memories for me of some of the places I have drunk Chai!

Dinner that night was not a grand affair, more akin to general perceptions of camping food - noodles, poached egg and hotdogs. The sun set and with it the wind died - it was so still that Joe surrounded us and the camp fire with tea lights which very gently flickered in the night air. It was closer to dawn than dusk before the conversation and fire died down and sleep beckoned.

All things considered, we were up relatively early and set about collecting some wood for the evening. There was some dead wood a little distance from the camp which provided more than enough fuel for the evening. As Joe and I cut the logs into useful lengths, Iain marinated chicken and vegetables for the main meal of the weekend. AB & Gareth arrive mid-afternoon and we all relaxed round the fire. Evening came, AP arrived and it was time to start cooking dinner. Turns out fish takes longer than expected to cook on a grill! Soon enough, dinner was cooked, served and devoured with great enthusiasm. Once again, Iain had prepared and cooked a meal fit for any banquet feast!

As darkness fell the fire was built up again and we were treated to a grand display of the night sky - the Milky Way was stretched across the sky and there were the occasional streaks of meteors. And Mystical fire!

A fantastic weekend with great food and wonderful company.

Chai recipe:

2:1 = water:milk [or add a bit more milk]
350 ml cups water
1 inch stick of cinnamon
8 cardomom pods
8 whole cloves
160 ml milk [I used evaporated milk]
6 tsp. sugar (or to taste)
3 teaspoons any unperfumed loose black tea
Put water in saucepan. 
Add the cinnamon, cardomom, and cloves and bring to a boil.
Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. 
Add the milk and sugar and bring to a simmer again.
Add the tea leaves, cover, and turn off the heat.
After 2 minutes, strain the tea into two cups and serve immediately.