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So where can I camp?
In theory you need to ask for the landowner's permission before you camp anywhere - although in practice many wild campers choose to keep their activities low key and behave responsibly.
The enlightened people of Scotland however do have a statutory right to camp - which is accompanied by certain responsibilities. Do a quick Google to acquaint yourself with the specific rules.
Certain National Parks also permit wild camping. Dartmoor has a map of areas where people are allowed to camp on common land and certain farms in the Brecon Beacons permit campers.
The Peak District however actively discourages wild camping because there have been a series of damaging peat fires.
Are there any rules?
There are certainly some guidelines which are generally agreed on by those in the know, and here are the basics...
- Only stay for one night.
- Arrive late and leave early. It's a good idea to minimise the time that your tent is pitched during daylight.
- Leave nothing behind, obviously.
- Always conduct toilet activities downhill of your camp and at least 30m from any watercourse or path. Bury it at least 6in deep and carry any paper waste out. Most campers carry a trowel.
- Camp on high ground, off the beaten track and away from homes or farms.
- Move on without argument if asked to do so by a landowner.
- Use an unobtrusively coloured tent if possible.
- Don't light a fire, use a gas stove for your cooking.
- Avoid digging ditches, moving rocks etc. just to accommodate your tent. Pick a different spot instead.
- Camp with just one or two tents, not in a group.
What will I need?
The majority of wild campers fall into two categories - tent users and bivi baggers.
If you opt for as tent then you'll probably want a lightweight one or two-person item, preferably designed to stand up to the elements. You'll also want sturdy pegs and a decent hammer to drive them into hard ground.
The other basics are a ground mat and a sleeping bag. Semi-inflatable mats are the most popular choice with the seasoned wild camper, as they combine comfort, low pack size and insulation qualities.
Down sleeping bags are popular for similar reasons - and if you've ever worn a down jacket you'll have some idea how toasty and warm they can feel.
If you can't function without a cup of tea or a warm meal then a camping stove and some lightweight cooking gear should go on your list - along with a water bottle or bladder and your chosen foodstuffs of course.
If you're considering taking the bivi (short for bivouac) route then you'll still need a sleeping bag and ground mat. There are custom-made bivi bags on the market, in a range of fabrics of varying breathability - but some bivi-ers opt for a tarpaulin instead.
Wherever you are sleeping, you might also want to take a headtorch, a camera and a hip flask with a drop of your favourite tipple.
And of course you'll still need your normal hillwalking gear, map and compass - perhaps with some extra layers of clothing.
What do you reckon? Have you tried wild camping? Would you like to? Comment below...