Floating tents, drowned festivals, rivers of mud … so are we still happy campers?

The Observer went to south-west England, the country’s most popular camping region, to gauge the mood of those under dripping canvas in a summer of record rain

Ten-year-old Toby Hulse looked up from his football to consider the question. “The best thing about camping in the rain? I get to play on the iPad in the tent.” Under the eye of his parents, he thought some more. “You can listen to the rain hitting the outside of the tent and work out if you can hear any patterns.”

The Hulse family from Hampshire, together with their friends the Thompsons from Yorkshire, were enjoying a natural phenomenon that has been distressingly rare for campers this summer: the sun. In the second week of their stay at Petruth Paddocks campsite in the shadow of Cheddar Gorge in Somerset, the two families relived the downpours of the last week with a shudder. “We could hear the rain coming before it got to us,” said Toby’s father, Steve. “There was this roar coming across the fields.”

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