JUST imagine… a long weekend in rural isolation with no wifi, no phone signal and not even any electricity?

Heaven for some, but the prospect of a few days without my iPhone filled me with some trepidation. I spent the journey up the M6 frantically catching up on texts and emails before the 3G disappeared, only to be replaced with the ominous words ‘No Signal’.

However, I needn’t have worried. On arrival at Howbeck Lodge – a Featherdown Farm in Cumbria and just two hours’ drive away – I took a few deep breaths of fresh air, listened to the wonderful sound of silence, interrupted only by the bubbling of a nearby stream and the sound of lambs bleating and I began to feel the stresses and strains of life in the fast lane slowly drifting away.

We were off for a few days’ ‘glamping’ – all the benefits of camping but without roughing it too much, which was just as well looking at the weather forecast.

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We parked the car by a barn and transported our belongings by wheelbarrow to our canvas lodge. I overpacked as usual, so it took a couple of journeys back and forth, but each time we offloaded stuff, the kids hopped in and it was my husband that got landed with giving wheelbarrow rides, which they absolutely loved. We were off to a good start.

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As we set off for the farm after school finished at 3.15pm, we decided to pay a little extra for Featherdown’s ‘premium package’, which meant that our beds were already made up when we arrived, the fire lit and a delicious meal was brought to our tent by the farmer’s wife.

As it started to go dark, we lit the candles, put more logs on the fire and the place became very cosy indeed, especially once the red wine was flowing and the marshmallows toasting on the open fire.

The next morning was time to explore the farm. We were off to a rainy start - but we weren’t about to let the weather get us down. First stop was the chicken coop to collect eggs. Guests are welcome to help themselves and the children were fascinated by this – but we ended up with more eggs than we could get through!

More excitement as we met the goat that ended up getting all of our leftovers, the rabbit, the horses, loads of adorable newborn lambs and some huge, rather scary looking bulls. Howbeck is a traditional sheep and beef farm and ‘Farmer John’ is passionate about his livestock, particularly his Highland cattle.

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There were even some incredibly cute lamas, although they were much less interested in us once they realised we didn’t have food with us, choosing instead to carry on munching grass.

This tended to be the pattern for each day and apart from a brief trip to Keswick, we were happy simply pottering around the farm itself. A highlight for us all was a ride on the trailer – we piled on, pulled by the farmer’s quad bike as we went to help him feed the sheep in some neighbouring fields.

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There are loads of walks nearby and my boys had hours of fun building a ‘bridge’ across the stream using small rocks.

Although there were just four of us, each tent is equipped for a maximum of six people. It has wooden floors, a small kitchen area and there are three bedrooms, but it was my five-year-old who had the best one – a bed in a cupboard – otherwise known as Oliver’s Den, which no-one else was allowed in.

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There is even a flushing toilet, so you don’t have to go traipsing across a dark field in the middle of the night. You don’t have to rough it too much though, as the nearby toilet block has hot showers and there is also an honesty shop with all the necessities you may need, you simply write down what you take and settle up at the end.

Our last night was very cold and we needed our extra blankets and hot water bottles, but even the sub zero temperatures did not spoil a magical weekend such as this.

It was great to be able to go back to basics with the children and for them to experience life on a working farm, away from the TV, and the hectic pace of life that we all have.

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As we left the serenity of the farm and headed home, the phones suddenly started bleeping and messages and voicemails arrived. We were back to reality sooner than we wanted to be. It certainly won’t be long until we book our next break to Howbeck Lodge and if you’re in real need of a complete break from the rat race, you’ll not only escape it here, you’ll forget all about it.

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