Why You Should Escape City Life This Summer By Wild Camping
Summer in the city can be hot, sticky and claustrophobic at the best of times but after the recent lockdowns, the urge to spread our wings and get away from the stifling confinement of city life and find space in the great outdoors is palpable for all of us. This is where wild camping in the UK can suddenly seem like a real win.
There are times when we all want to escape whether we are in the workplace or working from home, we all get tired of emails, social media and the constant barrage of news (most of which is pretty depressing these days). We want to disconnect from these modern-day stresses and reconnect with nature and what better way to do that than to be able to throw some essential gear together and decamp to the countryside?
In a few hours or less, we can be communing with nature, lying underneath the stars and enjoying a wild camping experience.
Why Try Wild Camping?
Wild camping is an age-old tradition, after all, we began life as nomads roaming around and bedding down in temporary shelters. Before we began to settle into lives that tie us down we were able to really immerse ourselves in nature. Wild camping is simply sleeping away from formal pitches and finding remote spots to spend the night. A true experience in nature. It’s no surprise that it’s so popular.
The stresses and strains of modern life with its technologies and long working hours have severely limited the time we can spend enjoying nature. In turn, this means we are losing the emotional, physical and mental health benefits of the outdoors.
In the UK we have some of the longest working hours in Europe so it really is important that we take a break when we can and rural tranquillity over the hustle and bustle of city life with its noisy and polluting traffic is a bit of a no-brainer.
Wild camping is an attractive proposition but does require a little planning as it is illegal in England and Wales except for parts of Dartmoor where an ancient bye-law allows camping on common ground. It is really important to ask the landowner’s permission.
Wild camping is broadly legal in Scotland thanks to the Scottish Land Reform Act 2003 – but you still need to check, for example, that the land is unenclosed and ask for relevant permissions.
It is important, wherever you decide to go wild camping, that you follow the basics of the Outdoor Access Code:
- Move on quickly – arrive late and leave early
- Leave the countryside as you find it and take rubbish with you
- Be polite, considerate, and mindful of people’s privacy
- Be safe – don’t light a fire if you’re not sure it’s permitted
Wild camping unlike traditional camping allows us to experience the very essence of nature in its purest form. Wild camping is a great way to enjoy activities such as mountaineering, hiking, cold water swimming and exploring remote wilderness, but also provides opportunities to explore historical places and wallow in places of outstanding natural beauty.
The success of your wild camping adventure will largely depend on your forward planning and your wild camping equipment.
Wild camping should be a refreshing, uplifting experience refreshing the soul and helping to reduce stress by allowing us to re-engage with Mother Nature. It takes us out of the cities and towns and allows us to enjoy a rural adventure which places us outside of the stresses and strains of modern civilization.
What Essential Equipment Do I Need For Wild Camping?
Remember that many wild camping spots are, by their nature, off the beaten track, so you may be carrying your equipment for a while. It can get heavy (and even wet if the conditions are not on your side).
The list below is pretty comprehensive but you may wish to think carefully about your capacity and plan accordingly well in advance of setting off.
Things you need :
- Somewhere to shelter/sleep: a tarp, tent, bivy or hammock as well as any sleeping bag or mat
- Food and drink: Stove/water bottle/firestick, matches or a lighter/tea-making kit/utensils/food/mug
- Navigation: torch/map/compass
- Keeping dry: dry bags/spare clothes
- Hygiene and health: first aid kit/wet wipes or cloth/toilet roll/sunscreen/sunglasses
- Carrying it all: Bergen backpack /bungees or paracord
- Personal: any essential glasses or medication
There will be some pieces of equipment listed here that you might feel are more relevant to you than others but remember this is a basic list. There is, what some might see as a glaring omission, the smartphone (but we are guessing that whilst that might be a relief for some, others will feel it is a vital piece of safety equipment).
Places To Go Wild Camping
Even with legal restrictions in place, there are hundreds of places to escape to on your wild camping recharge.
We have listed just a few of our top ten favourites in the UK for you to consider.
In no particular order:
- The Lake District, England
- Isle of Skye, Scotland
- Snowdonia, Wales
- Dorset, England
- Fleetwith Pike, England
- Sprinkling Tarn, England
- Lingmoor Fell, England
- Cairngorms, Scotland
- Loch Lomond, Scotland
- Dartmoor, England
Things To Do When Wild Camping
If the experience of peace and the connection with nature is not enough of an incentive for you to swap the city for wild camping in the rural delights of the British Isles, then here is a very short list of just some of the further adventures you can experience.
Whether you choose to wild camp in the hills and mountains, forests and woodlands, moors or near the water there is so much to explore and enjoy.
- Hiking trails
- Cycle trails
- Cold water swimming
- Exploring renowned geological sites
- Exploring history
- Sampling local lifestyles
So this Summer why not shake the dust from your city shoes and escape to the country with your backpack?
Wild camping will give you the nature therapy and freedom you didn’t realise you needed.
Leave your desk and your stress behind, step off the treadmill for a while and head for the hills (or mountains or forests or moors).
Pick up your bergen. Begin your escape. Breathe.