This Saturday, people across the UK (and possibly further afield) will be taking to the hills, woods and fields for a night of wild camping. If this is the first you’ve heard of it, it isn’t too late to join in the fun.
Just follow these five steps to plan your own wild night out.
Step 1: Find a Friend
Don’t get me wrong. Wild camping solo is one of the best experiences you can have. (And in some cases the most nerve-wracking, but let’s not go there.) But if you’re new to wild camping then you may enjoy it more if you bring along a couple of friends.
If your friends are proving to be less than willing (what? Miss Casualty?) then it may be time to find some new ones. Fortunately, there are plenty of places to do so. Legendary adventurer Anna McNuff has been rallying women to meet up in various locations across the UK. You can sign up here. (Guys, you’re just going to have to organise your own fun for the night.)
Step 2: Decide on a location
Time for some research. As much or as little as you want. Decide how far you want to travel and how you want to get there. By train? Bus? Bicycle? On your own two feet? Anything goes.
Bear in mind the weather when you’re planning (currently – fingers crossed – looking dry!). You may get a beautiful view from a hilltop, but if it’s a windy night, you may also have a cold, sleepless night. If it’s looking like rain, then pick a spot in or near a wooded area to give you a bit of shelter if the heavens open.
Step 3: Organise Victuals
I love the word ‘victuals’. It makes me think of the Famous Five and lemonade, hard-boiled eggs and freshly-picked blackberries. But basically, I’m talking about food and drink.
A nice country pub is the easy option and a good starting point if you’re meeting people for the first time. Even if you eat at the pub, it’s always nice to have a hot chocolate before bed so be sure to pack a stove.
Step 4: Get Your Kit Together
You don’t need much to go wild camping. A sleeping bag and mat and either a bivvy bag, tent or hammock. That’s about it. A wee nip of whisky is always nice. As is hot chocolate. (Or chocolate full stop.)
If you’re not sure what to bring here are a few ideas.
Step 5: Choose Your Spot and Settle Down for the Night
Wild camping can be a fickle thing. You’ve spent hours pouring over maps and choosing the perfect spot for the night, then you get there and, well, it isn’t all that great. But don’t be downhearted. Sometimes your perfect spot is just around the corner.
A couple of things to bear in mind when choosing your spot:
- The direction you’re facing so you can watch the sunset or sunrise (or possibly both).
- The likely wind direction. It’s worth checking the forecast before you set out as the wind direction can sometimes change overnight. (Yes, that is the voice of experience talking.)
- How visible you are. You may not be bothered by early-morning dog walkers or locals coming across you, but it’s worth remembering that in most of England, wild camping is technically illegal. If you’re a guest on someone’s land, it can pay to be discreet.
Wild Camping Tips
You can find out more about the legalities and practicalities of wild camping in this post. But the most important thing is to have fun and respect the environment. And don’t forget to share your adventures on social media with the hashtag #microadventures if you want to be in with a chance of winning a prize in Alastair Humphrey’s 2017 Summer Solstice Challenge. You have until the 9th July to enter.