3 SEPTEMBER 1937, Page 22


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.]

Sut,—I have read with pleasure (and a certain amusement) the excellent article on camping by Mr. Richard Freund in your issue of August 27th. It deserves a brief reply.

If Mr. Freund had known more about the history of camping in Europe, he could not have written " English campers, being new to the game, have still almost everything to learn." - Modern camping was introduced to Europe by Englishmen and notably by The Camping Club. In a leading article called " La Patrie du Camping " the editor of the French magazine Camping says " We must thank our English friends for showing us that camping is not only a privilege for explorers. It is an invention Of the British spirit." The Dutch Club, the N.T.K.C., has just celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary and its first business was to acknowledge its debt to The Camping Club for its early lessons. When the Touring Club de France, many years ago, started its Camping Section, it began by borrowing some of our tents in order to show French manufacturers how modern tents should be made. In Belgium no tent is more popular with the pedestrian and cyclist camper than the Itisa which, like almost every type of lightweight tent now in use, was invented by our members. Our tents have been used in Arctic regions and for the attempts on Everest, but equally we have excelled in such camping comfort as Mr. Freund prefers. At the recent International Camping Congress at Wiesbaden, the German campers admitted the superiority of our tents, while no other country was able to rival the comfort and convenience of the motorist tents and English trailer caravans used by our members.

Our club's history is a thirty-six-year record of constant progress and there is no form of good camping for which we have not been in great part responsible. We even have fixed campers similar to Mr. Freund but our essential inspiration has been mobility. We have been chiefly imbued with the spirit of adventure, whether shown by such presidents as Captain Scott or Lord Baden-Powell, or by the humble cyclist or pedestrian who goes off into the unknown with his kit' behind him. Though we issue a list of over 2,000 camp sites, the majority of our members- seem just as keen on solitude as Mr. Freund and they can have it on many of the listed sites ; while the site described by Mr. Freund -might have been the one I use myself for lazy week-ends,—Yours faithfully, S. J. C. RUSSELL, Organising Secretary.

The Camping Club of Great Britain and Ireland, 38 Grosvenor Gardens, S.W.r.