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The Tent Saga

Within a few minutes of posting “Help needed in choosing a hiking tent” to twitter a few weeks ago, a good friend of mine, who is emigrating, kindly offered to donate his 2 man North Face Tadpole tent to the cause.

The tent seemed ideal, all I need to do was head into London to collect it……

The North Face Tadpole is a light (2.22k), cosy, 3-season tent. Although being quite cosy for two people, it seemed ideal for just me and my dog.  It also sounds like it is pretty quick to pitch –  an added bonus on a 12-day hike!

My friend had bought the tent for a camping trip in the Peak District – and he was very pleased with it. Reviews on the internet seem to agree:

The tent has been used in all weathers, a night in 3 foot of snow, on a hill top at minus 15 in Wales springs to mind, without fault, it certainly feels bomb proof in very strong winds when staked out belying the tag of only being a three season tent.
Song of the Paddle – North Face Tadpole 23 Review

light, easy to pitch, stable in high winds, good ventilation, extremely waterproof.
Customer review on outdoorsmagic.com

The tent also received some positive comments on Twitter, with both @documentally and @fergycool (thanks for the use of your photo) singing it’s praises.

So, last Saturday, with some excitement, I hopped onto a train to London. I don’t get to see my friend that often, so it was nice to catch up over lunch and a few drinks in the pub. After bidding farewell, I headed back to Euston, tent in hand, to catch a train back to Milton Keynes.

Initially I had a table to myself, but as the train started to fill up, I was joined by a family who had come down from the North to watch a football match, and the tent was moved into the overhead storage rack. What followed was a saga involving the family, four Virgin train staff and a frail lady who, despite having problems communicating, I suspect was more with it and capable than she appeared and didn’t want the help the well meaning family forced upon her. The family also felt the train staff should be doing more,  which they then tried to do when the lady was due to disembark at my stop. In all the confusion I left the tent on the train!

There was a lot of colourful language when I realised what had happened as I left the station (just in time to see the train disappear in the distance!). I quickly rang the Virgin Trains Lost Property number, but there isn’t anything they can do until the train is emptied at the terminating station.

I have left all my details and contacted the terminating station, who have not seen any sign of the tent. I am not holding my breath – a tent with no name tag just before Christmas is highly likely to “disappear”.

So I am still without a tent, although at least now I have more of an idea of what I might need. I am also the butt of jokes on Facebook from my so called friends!!

I am sure the saga will continue…..

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