So I've had a bit of an introduction to wild camping recently - 3 times in Italy and 3 times in the UK and am fairly happy about it. Next week I will be doing Lon Las Cymru and I am positive I won't have any trouble finding good spots in Wales, but as a trial run for future trips further afield I am going to try a couple of other options like campsites, and hopefully asking locals if I get an opportunity.
Whilst I really like the freedom and flexibility of wild camping and you can appreciate some really beautiful spots in solitude, I have some reservations:
- there are some parts e.g. up in the mountains or by the coast, where it's really easy to find a spot, there are others where it's really hard e.g. I cycled across lots of farmland in northern Italy and it would have been very difficult there.
- I can picture lots of places where I would be far happier if I checked with a local if it's OK to camp or if they know of a spot. I wouldn't be looking for an invitation though there'd be times I'd appreciate it. It's likely that if there are any safety issues I'd be more likely to find out that way than if I didn't speak to anyone. Being from the UK I am familiar with the lie of the land here and can trust my judgment but further afield I'd be less confident.
- I feel apprehensive about the whole 'stealth' aspect of it, like I'm breaking some law. I wouldn't have this feeling if I knew it was officially allowed, like if I were in Scotland or Norway.
So I thought I'd try doing this 'asking locals' thing close to home where it should be easy, on this trip through rural Wales. Trouble is, it still feels a bit odd. Like, what kinds of people are best to ask? I know farmers, who else? Stopping in a village pub? Random people? What do you say, like 'hi I am just looking for a spot to pitch a tent for the night' or 'is it ok if I just put my tent up in this grove, I'll be gone by morning'?' It all sounds like the sort of thing that would make people suspicious
. I know that if I have found a spot I like, and it's close to some farm houses say, then it's best to ask permission if there is someone around, but in general, is it best avoided unless you really have to?
I am sure I'll figure it out, but if anyone has any input I'd appreciate it.