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The Secret Diary of a Camping Ninja: The Carol Singers

24 December 2011 : Written by A Camping Ninja
The Secret Diary of a Camping Ninja: The Carol Singers
Give me a tent in a field away from the crowds any day, but needs must, so a day of Christmas Eve shopping it was to be.  There was a buzz of excitement and festive spirit filled the air, with everyone jigging about as they walked through the shopper filled streets.  By twisting about too fast, trying to make my way through the crowds and getting tangled in amongst somebody’s shopping bags, I was knocked backwards into the front row of a neighbouring choir of carol singers.
How festive, I thought, before I realised that there was going to be no easy way to get myself back out of the choir!  I was a camping ninja by nature, and not a carol singer by any means, but with it being Christmas I thought you know what, just go with it ninja.

I noticed a camera crew filming us.  Everyone else in the choir started upping their game, singing louder and dancing about with a fierce Christmas intent.  At that point I realised that swaying gently from side to side in time with the music would no longer be enough.  I felt like I really needed to sing along, but didn’t have a clue what the words were.  So I did what every camping ninja would do in that situation, and began singing the only song I could confidently say I knew every single word to – the Macarena - and totally got into the groove, dancing my much practised and perfected Thriller moves.

A little while later, all shopped out and full to the brim with mince pies given to me by the choir, I got back home and flumped on the sofa in front of the TV.  The doorbell rang its Christmas jingle and my Auntie Matilda and Uncle Gerald, and all their Christmas cheer, descended on number 63 Monkton Avenue.
We all sat down in the lounge with a glass of Auntie Matilda’s homemade mulled wine and watched TV.  The BBC News came on and to my Auntie Matilda’s delight, they had carol singers on.  She clapped her hands with joy and started singing along in a way that only my Auntie Matilda could.  Oh no, not more carol singers I thought, for I was all carolled out for one day.  Then I spotted a ninja, just like me on the TV.  Hang on a minute I thought… then it was me!  The ninja standing in the front row, who was clearly singing a completely different song to the rest of the choir, was me!  I watched as my mouth moved to the words of the Macarena, as everyone else sang their hearts out to Jingle Bells.  Primetime on the BBC News on Christmas Eve.  Now that was embarrassing!

‘‘Ho, ho, ho!’’ my Uncle Gerald laughed and laughed, like Father Christmas.  But in the Christmas spirit of things, it could all be forgotten.  Auntie Matilda sparked up a genuine conversation about whether she should make savoury Brussels sprout mince pies on Boxing Day, and before my embarrassed red cheeks knew it, my Macarena carol singing disaster had become merely a ghost of the Christmas minutes just passed.

A Christmas wish to all Secret Diary readers and camping fans, for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Now, what would Father Christmas and his reindeers prefer us to leave out by the chimney for them tonight – traditional mince pies and sherry, or a selection of savoury Brussels sprout mince pies?  Hmmm...


23 December 2011 : Written by Katie Astbury
MERRY CHRISTMAS NINJA'S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ©
The count down is over and Christmas is finally here, in less than 48 hours we will be surrounded by turkey and tinsel...and we can't wait!!!

It's been a fantastic year for us as we have seen more and more campsites and campers using Campingninja, and it's even better to see you sharing your outdoor adventures with us! Also as you know we have recently launched our exciting new campaign..Camping At The Games, we have had a fantastic response to the project so far and we can't wait to open bookings on January 5th - if you haven't already you can register here!

But before we head off for a well earned break we thought we'd leave you with details on the Ramblers annual  festival of winter walks that kicks off tomorrow.....

The festival is all about getting Britain on its feet and making room for those extra mince pies, by enjoying urban routes,countryside trails and forest footpaths...and it's all free! It's the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors, meet fellow ramblers and to introduce family and friends to the joys of walking - everybody is welcome! There will be 100s of walks taking place all over the country between Christmas eve and January 2nd, many of which will be under 5 miles and best of all they are all organised for you, so you don't have to do a thing...just turn up! We fancy the Christmas Pudding Buster in the Brecon Beacons on Boxing day, let us know how you get on with your winter walks this holiday and have a very merry Christmas!!

Here's to a prosperous 2012, best wishes,

The Campingninja team!

Calling all ninja's...are you or is someone you know volunteering at the 2012 Olympic Games??

21 December 2011 : Written by Katie Astbury
Calling all ninja's...are you or is someone you know volunteering at the 2012 Olympic Games?? 2012 Olympic crowds will be huge!
The Campingninja team has come to realise that there are 1000's of volunteers/Games Makers still wondering where they will be based for the games, and more importantly where they will be staying! It seems as though there is a lot of uncertainty, and we would like to help any of our ninja friends who may be in a pickle! 

As you know As you know our latest campaign, Camping At The Games, has received tremendous support, but not only from ticket holders but from volunteers across the globe! For many volunteers ensuring you have somewhere to stay in close proximity to the games during the Olympic/Paralympic period, that isn’t going to break the bank, is a major concern. But the difficulty is booking your accommodation when you are not sure where you will be based or what shifts you will be working, however this is where Camping At The Games can help!

On the 5th January 2012 we will be opening priority bookings for each of our Olympic campsites (all of which cost no more than £10 per night), although this doesn't solve the problem of knowing where you will be based, each of the London sites will be in easy commutable distance to all of the main venues, therefore you will never be staying too far away. And For those of you who do not know your shift pattern or think you may based outside of London if you register here and outline your concerns to the Campingninja team will do it’s best to accommodate you.

We hope that this may ease the woes of our ninja friends or friends of ninja friends, and urge that you spread the word this Christmas time, because as soon as 2012 hits the race will be on to book your Olympic camping spot!!

Over and out,

The Campingninja Team

The Secret Diary of a Camping Ninja: Beardecember

18 December 2011 : Written by A Camping Ninja
The Secret Diary of a Camping Ninja: Beardecember

Forget Movember.  It was all about Father Christmas beard December this month.  After weeks of fine grooming and snow sparkle colouring of my newly fashioned Santa style beard, I removed my ninja neck scarf to reveal my big, white Father Christmas beard at the office Christmas party. 

Everyone fell off their chairs with laughter, literally, which made me think that probably it had been a bad move to wear red today as well!  It wasn’t quite the reaction I expected, but it was a popular choice with the kids outside the office when I set up my tented grotto in the local park.  There were plenty of tent pegs to give away and lots of camping stories to tell (with added seasonal Christmas twists of course), and plenty of festive cheer to go around. 

Merry Christmas everyone! 

We Love Camping, You Love Camping...Lets Book Our 2012 Olympic Camping!!

13 December 2011 : Written by Katie Astbury
We Love Camping, You Love Camping...Lets Book Our 2012 Olympic Camping!! Camping At The Games hits the BBC
The Campingninja team has been delighted with the response to our latest project, Camping At The Games, and would like to thank all our ninja friends for your support! 

For us it seems like the perfect solution, we love camping and we love sport so why not combine the two! Camping At The Games is providing great value accommodation, from no more than £10 per night for adults and £5 for children during the Olympic and Paralympic games, at campsites in close proximity to all the major venues! And best of all, the sites will be hosted by local sports clubs and the proceeds will go a long way in reinvesting in their facilities and developing sport in the UK!

As always at local sports clubs we anticipate the atmosphere at these sites to be buzzing and so far we have received a great deal of interest from families, couples, groups of friends and volunteers, which will only add to it! Also you may have already seen that Camping At The Games went viral last week in a feature on BBC World News about Olympic accommodation that "won't break the bank" or line the pockets of large hotel chains, so we are expecting the project to be just as popular with our international visitors, therefore if you haven't already, register here to entitle you to make priority bookings!

Camping At The Games venues will be announced on January 5th, and priority bookings will open for those who have registered, for those who haven't registered bookings open on January 12th, but we suggest you get in their fast!

P.S. We hope the Christmas shopping is going well, and for those with festive hangovers here are some top tips from lonely planet to help you out! 

Over and out,

The Campingninja team

Perhaps this isn't the weather for nude hiking anyway....?

08 December 2011 : Written by Katie Astbury
Perhaps this isn't the weather for nude hiking anyway....?
In the last week we have finally seen a glimpse of the Christmassy weather we expect at this time of year, and some places, mentioning no names Northern Scotland, have even seen a dusting of snow! which makes me believe that perhaps it isn't a bad thing that last month nude hiking was banned in the Swiss Alps! Not that us Ninja's do not fully support the right to freedom, but surely at this time of year it could pose a potential risk to extremities you would rather keep warm and safe!

It all came about last month when the Federal Court threw out an appeal by a man who was fined after hiking nude past a family picnic in his quest to roam free! Judges said that the Eastern Region of Appenzell was entitled to uphold a law on public decency and that it was only a minor infringement on personal freedom, and although Switzerland doesn't have a law against nudity it does have one against public indecency. The man had been fined 100 Swiss Francs (£69) after he walked naked past a family with small children at a picnic area and a Christian rehabilitation centre for drug users in Appenzell - perhaps this wasn't the best choice of route!

But it's sad news for nude hikers as it has become an increasingly popular pastime in Switzerland and the new ruling applies to the entire country, so nude hikers may now have to look for another country which offers them a warmer welcome - although Campingninja suggests that it may be better to keep wrapped up for now and wait until the spring!

Let us know what you think, would a naked rambler put you off your sausage roll or do you believe it's the very best way to get back to nature...literally?!

On-line Booking: Meeting customers expectations

01 December 2011 : Written by Geoff Vaughan
On-line Booking: Meeting customers expectations On-line booking for Campsites
An excellent article about On-line booking for campsites and holiday parks has come out in the latest edition of the BH&HPA journal. Written by Steve Knowlson it pulls together all the different types of on-line booking systems on the market. From ones which are designed specifically to be used on a Park's website to Campingninja which can be used with any booking system to drive extra bookings to your Park or Campsite.
The article is full of testimonials from campsite owners such as Norman Bliss from Lower Treave, Andrea Gosling from Forest Glade and Richard Barnes from Tehidy. 
The article is based around the campsite owner's interviews and the following themes come out.

  • Control - Both for the park and the customer. Parks stay in control of bookings and can configure pitches, nights, prices quickly and easily. On-line booking allows you greater ability to make sure the right people are coming to your park.

Campingninja says,"We have added functionality for the parks so they can display messages to campers which must be agreed to before making a booking. These are then repeated on confirmation e-mails which they bring with them. This gives campsite owners far greater control and makes sure they are getting the right people onto their park".

  • Convenience - Parks and customers benefit from the convenience that on-line booking provides. Customers want to book on-line, when they want. 

Campingninja says, "Our bookings in 2011 showed that the vast majority of our bookings were made in the evening. At the very time of the day when traditional campsite receptions were shut. Allowing on-line booking captures those bookings without having to reply to e-mails the next day or voicemails"

  • Security - On-line bookings and payments are made over a secure connection, with all sensitive data encrypted. Added to this the parks are charged a far lower rate than cashing cheques!

Campingninja says, "We come across campsites that are having to spend their precious time cashing and processing cheques. Using cheques is the last thing their customers want to use and I doubt the park owners enjoying keeping track of it all manually and trudging down to the bank on a regular basis. This is why we allow campsites to set whatever deposit amount they wish and all funds are transferred electronically to their designated account."

  • Keeping costs down -  Significant savings can be made in handling bookings, taking payments and general administration associated with answering the phone or postal bookings. A telephone booking can take 15mins, so using an on-line booking system can free up staff time for other duties.

Campingninja says, " There is no doubt that one of our biggest aims is to free up campsites owners' and their staff's time. Why pay someone to come into the office in the morning to answer e-mail booking requests and telephone enquiries about availability? Those enquiries should be bookings waiting for you in the morning".

All in all an excellent article from the team at the BH&HPA about on-line booking for campsites and holiday parks and we were delighted to be a part of it. If you are looking to introduce on-line booking then do get in touch. We work with campsites and parks who have the most advanced booking systems in the world to campsites that have no website who even direct their phone call bookings to their booking page on Campingninja. We do all the booking and processing of payments for them and they get on with running their park. 

To find out more get in touch with the team on or call us on 0118 942 1307