Everyone (apart from maybe Freddy Krueger and Goths) prefers sweet dreams to nightmares. For campers the dream is to arrive at a secluded wood, pitch up and have the place to yourself. Once the birds have gone to bed there’s nothing but the rustle of the bracken and the odd falling pine cone to disturb your slumbers.
This 100-acre woodland of mixed pine and broadleaf in East Lothian has only two small clearings in the bracken for a maximum of four tents at a time. And it’s all so far from any road that you’d need a high-powered Spooks-style surveillance kit to detect any sound. You also have to leave your wheels at the gate and walk up the track for five minutes to find the site. Each pitch has a stone fire pit and rough, wooden bench seats so you can cook and keep your bum dry at the same time. Just around the hill from the pitches sits a log cabin offering a snug vantage-point for spotting birdlife and deer. And if you look back towards Edinburgh, you can see the rump of Arthur’s Seat rising into the sky.
The views from the pitches are none too shabby, either. They’re a bit subtler, though, looking out over the soft farmland towards the sea, with the bird-splattered Bass Rock poking out of the water, and Traprain Law in the distance. The law is a large earthen mound, first used as a burial chamber in about 1500 bc and subsequently used as a fort before housing a Roman town. You can also see North Berwick Law, a 180-metre volcanic plug, topped off by a replica pair of whales’ jawbones (the real ones, which had been placed there in 1709, eventually rotted away and had to be replaced in 2005). Beyond all that is the sea, a bluey-grey sliver. There are some great beaches on the East Lothian coast, from the massive dunes of Gullane to the gentler pleasures of Tyninghame, and some wonderful little villages like Athelstaneford, which sounds like something from the Domesday Book, and traditional towns like North Berwick and Dunbar, both solid and stoney and built to withstand the rigours of North-Sea winds.
The Wray family has owned Blinkboony Wood since 2002, but they only began to take a few tents in 2007 and it remains something of a sideline. Steve Wray is a man of many parts. He grows his own lavender, which keeps the local bees happy, and has a small workshop where he runs classes in such exotica as charcoal making and bird-box building. Around the back is the compost toilet and a marvellous vernacular greenhouse he built himself.
All of which leaves you in absolutely no doubt that this is a site for purists, a real back-to-nature adventure with limited home comforts. There’s the compost toilet and that’s about it: no showers, no running water and no electricity. Just you and the trees, the birds and the bees.
FacilitiesThere’s a compost toilet and each pitch comes with a gallon of fresh water (though not for drinking) and, as the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons used to say, ‘That’s all folks!’.
Food & Drink
The weirdly named Goblin Ha in Gifford (01620 810244) is a typical small village pub with a handful of locals sneaking a pint in the middle of a weekday afternoon. Don’t go for the bistro; head for the small cosy bar at the side of the hotel.
The Owner Says
Are you a looking for a secluded wild camping experience? Yes? Then Blinkbonny is for you!
We are nestled on the edge of the Lammermuirs near the idyllic village of Gifford. Blinkbonny Wood is a family run woodland, with five camping pitches. Each pitch has a fire pit and wooden seats, but no running water or electricity.
To drive: Haddington is the nearest large town and is close to the A1 expressway. From Haddington follow signs to Gifford. On coming to Gifford turn right at the church and continue
through the village. On leaving the village take the first left just before Gifford Golf Club, toward Longyester. Continue along this road for about three miles, passing Yester farm and the sign to Castle Park Golf Club. Turn right at Longyester farm, and continue for about half mile and you will have arrived at
Blinkbonny. For sat nav users - please don't rely on the postcode to get you to the wood - it is the nearest postcode and will only get you to Longyester. If you come to a telephone box you missed the right turn at Longyester farm.
The closest you can get by public transport is Gifford. There is a bus service to there but it’s a 3û-mile walk to the site.
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