Campsite Psychology

Carol and I spent many happy years camping variously in France, Germany, Switzerland or Austria during the height of the season. Our timing was in large part dictated by the fact that, though we ourselves were unencumbered by rugrats, we frequently travelled with close friends who were encumbered by rugrats. So, we got quite used to campsites that were approaching capacity and therefore always having neighbouring pitches occupied.

When we did more solo travelling, we deliberately avoided rugrat season and went to France typically for the first two or three weeks of September after the main rush had ended. We became accustomed to visiting camp sites that were less than half full and really enjoyed the extra space. Now, happy in retirement, we tend to go to France for six weeks encompassing June and have become thoroughly wedded to half empty sites with almost too much choice as to pitch selection. Whilst we are basically sociable creatures and generally enjoy friendly interactions with fellow campers, we also value privacy and seclusion and typically strive to choose a pitch that puts as much space as possible between ourselves and any immediate neighbours.

It has always struck us as odd, therefore, when on occasions we’ve watched new arrivals who seem to enjoy creating a crowd; folks who appear to shun relatively sparsely populated sections of a site and seem inexorably drawn into close proximity with others. Are they perhaps looking for security in numbers?

Such was the case today. Having first cleaned our car and caravan of all the cherry blossom stripped from the surrounding trees by yesterday’s gales, we drove out to investigate the Torpoint peninsula. Upon our return we noticed a new arrival. Behind us are two rows of ten and eight pitches each, a mere four of which were occupied. Opposite us is another file of seven pitches, none of which were occupied. Where was the new arrival? Directly between ourselves and our erstwhile nearest neighbour two pitches away. You have to have worked really hard to find a pitch on this site with two immediate neighbours but these folks had valiantly succeeded. It’s not as though their chosen pitch has a particularly great aspect, either – they have artfully treated themselves to a view of the roof of les sanitaires (the facilities block).

It’s not a problem, the spaces here are reasonably generous so nobody is exactly crowded. I just don’t understand the mentality. Why would anyone ignore strings of empty pitches in favour of plonking themselves directly between two others? Weird!

Oh, and it’s pissing with rain again. 🙁

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