For some, the campsite is the answer. Cheap, cheerful and just enough to feel close to nature – but not too much.
But if you’re ready to take that next step, wild camping may be for you.
What Is Wild Camping?
Simply, you pitch up somewhere stunning in the middle of nowhere with a stove, your tent, your sleeping bag and your sense of adventure.
No convenient car park, no shower block, no campsite bar, no water taps, no toilets!
Where Can You Do it?
All land in England and Wales is owned so camping needs ‘permission’. But wild camping within reasonable limits is often tolerated in many upland and remote areas, particularly in Snowdonia and the Lake District.
Wild camping in Scotland was made legal in 2005. You can camp wild on hill land, except the east part of Loch Lomonds National Park. Wild camping got banned there because ‘wild’ was taken to the limit with alcohol, vandalism and littering.
In Ireland, wild camping is not strictly legal but is tolerated in many upland and remote areas, and the Northern Ireland Forestry Service issues camping permits at some of its sites.
More often than not, the top spots for camping aren’t accessible by car. The wild camper should be prepared for a bit of a hike over a few fields, forest or a narrow coastal path with rucksack and all the trimmings attached. Food, water, stove, bedding, clothes and tools.
Are You Wild Enough?
Given that most wild camping tips include ‘taking a lightweight trowel along’ you need to consider if you can handle digging and using your own personal ‘natural’ loo.
It may not be for you if you can’t begin a day without a flat white and a hot shower!
You can’t leave litter behind, so everything needs to be bagged and carried away when you leave. From your empty wine bottle (or bottles!) to your loo paper.
Wild camping is all about making no impact on the location. You should be able to leave your site as if you’d never been there.
Why It’s Amazing.
The campsite – you were anticipating soft summer evenings, solitude and peace but you ended up pitched in between the ‘party’ tent’, the screaming baby, the revving car. The toilets were blocked, and someone clutching a bottle of wine tripped over your guy ropes at two in the morning.
Wild camping promises to release you from all of this. With the right spot, you can feel the joy of splendid isolation in a completely unspoilt and stunning location.
There’s a magic in reaching an evening and, instead of heading ‘home’, delving deeper into the land to find the perfect sheltered, out-of-sight pitch. Being woken in the night by gusting wind and rustling animals is much less annoying than being woken by humans. Waking to watch the fog clear the nearby summits and lakes, while cooking sausages on a stove, is an irresistible remedy for the soul.
Wild camping will challenge you, remove you from all amenities and conveniences and test your resolve. But when you discover that view, hear that silence, and see that wildlife you will feel more connected to this beautiful planet than ever before.
(just don’t forget your trowel!)
For more info on wild camping, check out these links.
Lots of good tips and good locations where you can camp.
Great locations network site to encourage responsible, ethical and environmentally sound camping and generally enjoying the wonderful countryside.
Go to site with info on parks, rules, tips and locations
For camping in some of the UK’s prime woodland spots. Lots of expert info.
Great advice and tips.