Wild Camping (pt 1)

And so… to wild camping.

It’s been in the local news recently (well actually, it hasn’t – parking up and camping by the roadside and leaving a mess isn’t wild camping dear BBC, but we‘ll not dwell on that here)

Essentially, wild camping is technically illegal in England and Wales (different rules in Scotland and Dartmoor) unless the permission of the land owner is sought in advance, a largely impractical undertaking given the way the ownership of land, even in national parks, is divided.

The general unwritten rules (increasingly well written) are to pitch above the height of the last intake wall, pitch late, leave early and make no mess. Basically you should be well away from sight so no one should even know you’ve been there once you’ve gone.

Which is kind of the point of wild camping. It’s not about lingering on the outskirts of civilisation and still making use of its amenities, it’s about temporarily retreating from it almost entirely, with the knowledge you can slip back in when ready. It’s about sitting on top of a mountain under the dying sun as the sky sets on fire; knowing there’s no rush to get back, no rush to go anywhere…

And if you’re really lucky, it might just be warm enough to laze outside the tent as the stars pierce the faded sky, and you’re surrounded by the comforting bulk of the darkened immutable mountains.

Your bed is with you and you can crawl into it when you’re ready, suitably tired and humbled.

And if that’s not the biggest escape from the daily worries of life there can be, then I don‘t know what is. It’s the purest immersion in solitude and freedom you can get on a crowded little island like this one.

Next post: Wild camping in the Lake District… essential for summer mountain photography? (coming soon)

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