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LOUGH KEEL CAMPSITE WEBSITE

 

So your are going to camp. Hopefully you know where you are going, but by campsite I am not referring to the town/city/sitename. By campsite here I mean how to layout your camp.

It may not seem that important to some people, but the first time they wake up to a tent that has been crushed by fallen branches, or smoke blowing into their tent from the campfire, or experience the '10 mile' trek to the toilets in the middle of the night they will regret that they did not put a little more thought into their camp's layout.

Most of this admittedly is common sense, but we all make mistakes and learn from previous expierence to make that next camp run a little more smoothly.

Locating your Campsite

If you are not actually on a 'campsite', for example when out hiking in remote regions, then care should be taken when deciding the actual location of your campsite (before we come to layout).

If you are on high, exposed ground go down to find a sheltered spot. Similarly though, when on low, wet ground seek higher shelter. Look for somewhere sheltered from the wind, on rising ground that has no risk of flooding, and no risk of rockfalls/avalanches.

Remember that hot air rises, cold air sinks. Valley bottoms often contain pockets of colder air, and can be areas for frost and damp mist.

Ideally you should be near a good, clean water supply (although not too close. Pitching camp near the water you will be invaded by insects!). On river banks look for the high water mark, and be wary of flash floods in mountain ranges where streams can suddenly turn into 5m of water with almost no warning!

Choose ground that is reasonably flat and free of rocks and roots.

Don't forget to check above your head too. Look for dead wood in trees that could fall, bee's and hornet's nests are not very nice neighbours either. Keep away from solitary trees as they attract lightning. In forested areas keep to the edges of the forest. Take careful note of any tracks, including those made by game. You will not want unwelcome animal visitors in the night.

Do NOT camp at the following;

  • Hilltops exposed to wind (move down and look for shelter on the leeside)
  • Valley bottoms and deep hollows. They could be damp and more liable to frost.
  • Hillside terraces where the ground holds moisture
  • Spurs which lead down to water (often routes to animals watering holes).

 

Waste Disposal

 

First Principles

Wet Pit

Dry Pit

Wet Bin

Dry Bin

Oil Can Filter

Incinerator

Tin Cans

 


First Principles

Waste will be disposed of. That should be the rule for camp.
Simply do not leave any waste, of any description, anywhere at any time.

When you arrive at the site you should already know what the warden/landowner wishes you to do with any rubbish (you dont? Go and ask now). My knowledge of local, 'modern' sites is that they have specific areas for rubbish disposal, clearly placed bins, and an incinerator of their own. They also tend not to let people dig any pits/trenches for any use (campfire, rubbish disposal or latrines). Make sure you know what you can and cannot do on your site.

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Wet Pit

If permitted a simple wet and dry pit should see to most of your needs. Simple to construct, you just excavate an area around a metre square, and at least 20 cm deep. Clearly rope off and mark the pit, and make sure it is placed so that people will not be falling in it every two seconds.

Cover with a layer of interlaced sticks and a filter layer of grass/leaves etc. These layers should be renewed daily.

When you have finished with the pit, it should be filled in with earth and completely covered. It should then be marked with a sign placed into the ground at that point with a date on which it was created.

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Dry Pit

A dry pit is constructed as above. The two pits should be next to each other, and fairly close to the campfire and kitchen area. For the dry pit you simple need a -hole-in-the-ground'. Only place thoroughly washed or burnt material here, otherwise you will have animal visitors and insects paying you a visit, making life in camp a bit more uncomfortable!

Never place any glass or sharp materials (e.g. a ripped tin can) in the pit.

When you have finished with the pit, it should be filled in with earth and completely covered. It should then be marked with a sign placed into the ground at that point with a date on which it was created.

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Wet Bin

Most campsites frown upon anyone digging holes in the ground, most certainly when they intend to leave some form of waste in the hole! Instead you will want to construct a bin. You will need two types, a wet and dry.

The details of construction have already been covered in the camp gadgets section.

Make sure you replace the bin bag at regular intervals and either store in a place that is out of reach of any person/animal or, ideally, immediatly dispose of this rubbish at an appropriate area. Most campsites have proper bins for waste disposal anyhow, but if you are camping in the middle of nowhere, you will either bury your rubbish or take it home with you!

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Dry Bin

Only washed items should be placed in the bin. Any cans or containers must be flattened first.

See camp gadgets for details.

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Oil Can Filter

A filter will be required for all those mucky and greasy wet items you want to dispose of. If you are allowed to dig into the ground at your site, make yourself a trench a just bigger than your can, and at least 30cm deep. Stuff your oil can with grass, leaves and bracken.

Place a grid (either metal or make a lattice from natural materials) over the hole and place the filter on top. Make sure you replace the filter materials often.

Use to filter any wet, or more useful, greasy waste.

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Incinerator

If the site does not have an incinerator of its own you will need to make one. Any rubbish that can not be burned on the campfire should be placed in the incinerator. The ashes should be removed at regular intervals and disposed of as above.

You will need a large metal can (an 'oil-drum' type is ideal). Pierce the can with holes all round and place over a fire. You may find it easier to fill the can with earth and use a large nail or spike when making the holes.

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Tin Cans

Empty tin cans can be a bane at many campsites. They are difficult to dispose of. Quite simply you have two choices.

You either burn them, then bash them flat and bury them.

or you crush them and carry them home.

Most modern tins can be recycled now so simple clean them, flatten them and store apart from the others.

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Send mail to info@boylescouts.ie with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright 2001 1st/11th Roscommon Scouts
Last modified: June 23, 2002

 

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