“What a shame my house doesn’t move”. It’s not the kind of thing you hear from every weary camper as they struggle to find the keys to the front door. Yet returning from a long weekend at Wanderlusts, it’s precisely such a statement that rings around the cavernous rooms of your bog-standard, oh so normal kind of home.
Set up by Barny Maurice - who ran away to the circus at the age of 16 and lived with fellow trapeze artists for over 20 years - Wanderlusts is a true on-the-road experience that puts campers in control of their new home and shows you the romantic, bohemian lifestyle of living on the move. The creek of wooden wagon wheels, the breeze in your hair and the ever-changing country backdrop – his creation is far more than your everyday idea of 'glamping'.
The experience begins from the moment you arrive, meeting at a local pub or car park to be picked up by a traditional, bow top gypsy caravan that Barney has painstakingly restored with his bare hands. Clambering up to the canvas covered cabin guests can not only prep themselves for a few nights beneath the stars as they rattle down the road, but also have the chance to take the reigns and bring the caravan to life under the trusted power of two gorgeous Shire horses.
The journey, as well run as it is unique, takes passengers through the quiet country lanes of Cumbria, stopping along the way at pre-organised camps that Barney has arranged over the years with various local landowners. Each of the camps are specifically chosen in wildflower meadows, nestled by a private tarn, lake or millstream and all have toilets and space for an open fire. One, which Barny describes to us as an ‘island field’, is perched between diverging waters with a flank of tall trees on the third side, while another spot rests on the banks of a kidney bean shaped lake where campers can wild swim in the waters, gazing up at the rising Pennines all around. The spaces feel authentic, wild and untainted – precisely Barney’s aim – and once set up with a roaring fire, guests are left entirely to the sounds of wildlife, water and utter peace and quiet.
Whether you trek with your trusted steed or ride in the beautiful cocoon of the gypsy caravan, all options build on the couples indefatigable knowledge of nomadic life – knowledge they are all too happy to share. One thing is for certain. You won’t think of ‘home’ in the same way again.
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