Comrie Croft has some great little mountain bike trails but it isn't only a campsite for the sort of person who takes their bike to bed with them.
There is plenty for their non-wheeled loved ones.
My bestie turned forty just after me, and ten of us went for the weekend to celebrate with frothing mugs of prosecco and grilled steaks in the High Meadow.
There are no photos of this because
I was incapable it was dark. We missed the aurora borealis by a day but the stars were incredible. Like the permanently blue skies above the clouds that you only see from planes, I forget all those stars are there, plainly visible, away from the city glare. It's so important to be reminded. They made visiting the compost toilets in the night well worth the excursion.
What I mainly want from camping is to have no one or thing man-made in my field of vision or hearing, except for my tent, because the payoff for eschewing a hot bath and down duvet is perfect solitude and natural beauty. I want to be able to sleep wherever my legs tell me the day's hike needs to end and I don't want to pay for the privilege. Ideally, I want to cook freshly gathered mussels on a driftwood fire. But there are other kinds of camping: there's just wanting to get together with friends, outdoors; there's desperately needing to lure your thirteen year old away from screens for a weekend. Both of these are only made possible by easily accessible locations, hot showers, phone charging lockers and limited wi-fi - all things you might want to hike a mile from under less sociable circumstances.
Most of the camping I've done has also been on foot or public transport which is worthy and righteous but, after twenty-two years and counting as a car-free adult, I now value the times I have access to a grown up with a driving license and a vehicle. It enables the transportation of French presses and catering-size blackberry and plum crumbles made the night before from the glut of garden fruit and eaten cold for breakfast.
Add to this, the further luxury of an undercover open air tea garden and we were still very happy campers despite a day of heavy rain.
Because everyone knows survival against the elements requires a few of these little essentials, like condiments and garnishes.
And forget baked beans - for any nights when you've left it too late to wait for the embers for grilling meat or cooking camp toasties on the fire, rucksack-forbiddingly heavy jars of Polish bigos, pulpety and fasolka on the Trangia are the thing when weight doesn't matter.
You still have to have a fire though. Always a fire.
Maybe it was the weather or the fact that coffee-drinking hikers were heavily outnumbered by tea-drinking bikers, but I did virtually no walking at all. I average about ten miles a day in my city life and, for the first time in months, my post-tibial tendonitis eased up and I stopped fretting about problems and concentrated on the small, pressing tasks of fire and food. I love this about camping.
We did walk around the short site trails
and into nearby Comrie,
past a few of Perthshire's big trees, but Ben Chonzie will have to wait. It's probably not going anywhere.
My menfolk and I stayed a day longer than everyone else
and woke to thick mist
that sank into the valley revealing blue skies and sunshine.
Next time I want to camp on one of the lovely woodland pitches that make it easier to pretend you're not on a campsite. My family have already complained they are too dark/midgey/scary but I thought they were utterly perfect.
They are full of ferns and streams and bats and PINE MARTENS.
There are also nordic katas with wood-burning stoves and sheepskin beds for the winter.
I wanted to stay.