Wild camping

A few years back my brother Craig and I got the bug to camp out in beautiful natural spots, away from people, noise, light, and just hide for the night where you’re not really supposed to. We have camped under the stars in just our sleeping bags in forests, on beaches and on mountains and have since combined this with cycle touring and with other friends too. In some places it’s quite easy. In Dartmoor national park for example it’s allowed. If you head off the beaten track in the Lake District and The Peak District nobody will know you are there. And if someone does see you, they probably don’t care…

This last point is the one that I still struggle with. What if someone see’s you? What will they do? I often think the worst and feel like a sitting duck. There is a a definite psychology to wild camping. There is a skill. There is a skill to not care almost. Sniffing out the best spots with a nice view, flat ground, short grass, and where nobody can see or find you is a skill for sure, but being able to relax and enjoy the experience and get a reasonable night’s sleep is, for me, the hardest part. My brother is good at this. Hannah is too. ‘What are they gonna do?…. Nobody cares’ is the response to my question of what if someones see’s us?’ I’m getting better at this skill, and can easily sleep and enjoy the experience in most cases, but if there is any discomfort with the choice of location made I will often wake up in the night with a pang of worry and than not sleep any more.

On this trip we have been incredibly lucky to find some idyllic spots where we have felt highly confident that nobody will see or find us. This allows for a good nights sleep. Hannah is better at this than me and falls asleep instantly without worry. Maybe it’s instinct, or being protective, or something else, but I have to be comfortable with a spot before deciding on it. Hannah and I have a rule. If one of us is not 100% confident with a spot, we move on. I think this applies more to me as it’s generally me that is not happy with a spot. I think Hannah would sleep next to the M25 if that’s where she finished cycling for the day.

We have found some beautiful spots so far, and we have found some pretty grim ones, but we have always felt safe. The spot overlooking the valley in Luxembourg was incredible. The spot by the river in Germany was just perfect. The spot in the car park of the national park in Austria was boring, but we felt safe. Our latest experience in Turkey was on a quite beach where although we were visible and had night fishermen for neighbours, they really weren’t concerned with what we were doing and it felt safe. Even though fishermen were walking out of the sea in scuba gear at 2 in the morning and cars were pulling up blaring music, we felt safe. I didn’t sleep much due to the activity but I felt no threat or danger. This is the key for me. The psychology of feeling safe. I’m getting better at it. Maybe by the end of the trip we’ll both be camping next to the M25…

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